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Mark McGuire's Talking It Over
by Mark McGuire

Talking It Over

A Daily Gazette news blog
What's being talked about in the Daily Gazette, Schenectady, the Capital Region, nation and a few other places.
 

So long, Alice

By Mark McGuire
Monday, June 2, 2014
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Those under 40 must be wondering what the fuss is about over the death of a character actor primarily remembered for one role from a show that never even made the Top 30.

That Ann B. Davis, who played Alice on "The Brady Bunch," was from Schenectady was a nice local nugget. But the affection for showered on the actor/character upon her death Sunday may have seemed outsized to some.

But shows like "The Brady Bunch" remain touchstones to certain generations because in pre-cable days mass audiences gathered even for "poorly" watched shows. "TBB" ratings would make it a No. 1 show today.

More importantly, the show, like "The Odd Couple" (also never a Top 30 show) became iconic through reruns, with syndication exposing the comedy to a generation too young to see the original. The slots for such reruns on basic cable packages, especially in the afternoons, were later eaten up by largely unscripted original fare.

That's why certain characters from long ago shows, whether if be Felix and Oscar or Gilligan or Lucy Ricardo or Alice Nelson, still resonate: *Everyone* had seen those shows at some point, and the characters have a universal resonance.

You can still catch "The Brady Bunch" on TV Land, but fair warning: It may not be as good as you remember. (And, for the love of God, do not revisit "Happy Days." Dreck.) Newcomers may wonder what the big deal was. It's a valid question.

Regardless, shows like those were in fact a large part of lives. So, so long, Alice. Take off your apron, kick up your feet and say hello to Mike Brady and Sam the Butcher.

 
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