Sherwood Schwartz passed away this week, to not a lot of fanfare. A simple mention on the CNN scroll and a blurb on Google news mentioning his two greatest accomplishments: that's exactly how I hope to go.
And while we could spend hours, yea, weeks debating what my two greatest accomplishments are, or even if "accomplishment" is the right word, for now let's stay focused.
Sherwood Schwartz. I never knew the man, but he created two of the iconic sitcoms of our time: Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch.
And while I was always more of a Gilligan man, what young American boy didn't have at least a tiny crush on Marcia Brady? Not to mention, the episode where Marcia's bracelet nearly knocks over the house of cards is still quite possibly the most tense moment in American sitcom history.
Neither show did great in the ratings and were mostly panned by critics. But there must have been something appealing about them, as both lived on for years in syndicated reruns. That's how I and so many in my generation were introduced to them growing up.
I used to know every single episode of Gilligan's Island. I remember one night between the ages of 12 and 15, my friend Archie and I must have discussed half of them while waiting outside the gymnasium/aquatic center for his parents to finish their square dancing class. It was ninety minutes of "Remember the one where..."
For some reason, I loved that show. I wanted to be on that island. The little huts, the lagoon, Mary Ann... What's not to love? And don't get me started on the professor, aka the original MacGyver.
I've always been drawn to shows with an attractive central setting. Some place better than where I am currently. Classic example: Mister Rogers and the neighborhood of make-believe.
Not that I'm slicing bread for the first time here or anything. I think most shows have that, sitcoms anyway. Maybe that's why I never liked Roseanne or MASH. I never desired to be in the Conner house. Or the Korean War.
I haven't seen reruns of The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island for years now. And that makes me a little sad. Sure they may have been a little corny. But you could do a lot worse than corny. There was a certain innocence to those shows that I'm not sure exists anymore. The passing of Sherwood Schwartz is a reminder of that.
So here's to critical unacclaim, three-hour tours, and old TV shows.
"The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost..."