Monday, November 28, 2016

Cultureshark Remembers...Florence Henderson

A lot of people are going to remember Florence Henderson, who died last week at 82, for her iconic role as mom Carol Brady. She was so much more than just The Brady Bunch, though. She was also in The Brady Brides, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, The Bradys, A Very Brady Christmas...

OK, I'm joking. I really don't remember her from much more than Carol Brady and then for being the woman that played Carol Brady showing up on talk shows, game shows, commercials, and such. It felt like she showed up on Love Boat and Fantasy Island every year, but to me it was, hey, it's Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch.

So what, though? I loved and hated the Bradys growing up. I don't recall ever enjoying it purely for itself on its merits. There was always some degree of, "Man, this is ridiculous," but I sure watched the heck out of The Brady Bunch as a kid, and Henderson was outstanding for what she was asked to do. She was totally corny but always likeable, sexy enough to be a sexy mom but always mom enough to not be too sexy.

I would never say that she was like a mom to me growing up (this is awkward after the way I ended that last paragraph) because I had a mom, and she watched Brady Bunch with me and mocked a lot of the same things I did. But what a TV mom Carol Brady was! I didn't watch TV for a real mom. I watched TV for a TV mom, and Florence Henderson delivered. She always said not to play ball in the house, but she was capable of putting on a silly costume and putting on a show with the best of them. I particularly liked her over-the-top concern, like when they got a trampoline and she spent the whole sequence fretting over the kids doing simple 8-inch jumps and falling on their butts.

All accounts suggest that Henderson was a delightful person off camera. She was a big part of my childhood for her work on camera, and this one does sting.  R.I.P.

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