Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Aunt Jenny...Ten Years Younger

Any Brady Bunch fans out there? I am a child of the 70's, and The Brady Bunch was "must see" T.V. for my generation. I was thinking the other day about one particular episode of The Brady Bunch that revolved around Jan...the younger, whiny, jealous sister of Marcia.

Now...I must admit that I loved Marcia. She was beautiful. She was sophisticated. She was cool. I wanted to be popular like Marcia who could join every club in school and still have time to woo Davy Jones to take her to the school dance. I wanted to have Marcia's uber-flowing hair that would swing perfectly from side to side as she walked down the halls of Filmore Junior High. I wanted to have Marcia's charm and personality that could attract boys like Harvey Klinger. Yes...I wanted to BE Marcia Brady. But Jan? Jan's continual whimpering about Marcia, Marcia, Marcia drove me crazy. Who wanted to be Jan? Nobody I knew. Even little sister Cindy with her lisp and banana curls was more appealing.

Nonetheless, the episode I was thinking about did indeed center around drippy Jan. For you Brady connoisseurs, this was episode 66 during season three where Jan discovers a picture of her Aunt Jenny which was taken when Aunt Jenny was Jan's age. Wow! The young Aunt Jenny looks exactly like Jan! Curious to see how Aunt Jenny looks now and thinking perhaps that is how SHE will turn out to look, Jan writes Aunt Jenny and asks her for a current picture. The picture arrives in the mail, and horror of horrors...Aunt Jenny (played by Imogene Coca) is NOT at all attractive. In fact, Aunt Jenny is old and down right ugly and on top of all this, she dresses really weird. This causes Jan to become more than a little distressed. Will she grow up to look like Aunt Jenny? Oh, we can only hope not. (Fade to commercial so that we might all ponder this tragic thought a little bit longer.)

The crazy thing is when Jan actually meets her, she finds Aunt Jenny to be an amazing person who cavorts with kings, queens, movie stars and yes, even Ari and Jackie O. It seems everyone loves bubbly, vivacious, albeit unattractive Aunt Jenny. All of a sudden Jan realizes...could it really be true...maybe Aunt Jenny isn't so bad after all? And here come the Brady lesson of the week: Don't judge a book by its cover...or....appearances can be deceiving; it is what is INSIDE a person that really counts. Hugs all around.

So what is it that made me think of this Brady episode, you ask? Actually, it is my current obsession with another T.V. show called Ten Years Younger. The premise of this show is that one person is invited to step inside the "big box" — a soundproof display case placed along some of the busiest streets in two of the most appearance-driven cities in the world...Los Angeles and New York. As complete strangers critique the participant's looks and try to guess her age, the show's glam squad of fashion stylists, makeup artists, and hairstylists are standing by in the studio with a plan to take a decade off the person's look in just ten days. The glam squad is teamed with Hollywood and New York's finest doctors and dentists schooled in the latest non-surgical dermatological and dental innovations who will work their magic as well. Finally, the "brand new" participant returns to the "big box" to see if a new set of complete strangers pegs her at an age that is at least TEN years younger. And thank goodness...they always do!

Ironically, Ten Years Younger is on TLC or The Learning I'm thinking, what exactly are we supposed to be learning? That looks ARE everything? That white teeth and a new outfit can make a person instantly attractive? That it takes a "glam squad" to make a person feel good about herself? Heck, I want to be on this program and have the glam squad work their magic on me, but will I really be a more remarkable person capable of cavorting with kings, queens, and movie stars just because I have unclogged pores and a new haircut? What exactly is the Ten Years Younger lesson of the week?

Sadly, there are a plethora of shows on T.V. today with this same premise, and our young girls (including my two teenage daughters) are watching them religiously and learning their "lessons." As I said, even I am obsessed with seeing if the transformation can really take place on each and every show. And...I'm more than a little disturbed to admit that I am definitely infatuated with this program. It fascinates me.

That said, I can't help but think how episode 66 of The Brady Bunch might be different if it were filmed today. Aunt Jenny would be a sad, pathetic person because she is not beautiful. Jan would convince Aunt Jenny to get an "extreme makeover" which makes her look gorgeous and at least ten years younger. All would be right with the Brady world. And the Brady lesson of the week? It is what is on the outside that counts...or...a book can always get a new cover. Hugs all around...just please, please, please don't mess up my new outfit.

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1 comment:

Marsha said...

OMG (had to type that for posterity)--anyway, I remember that episode. I remember being jealous because I WANTED and Aunt Jenny. Our society is totally obsessed with outward beauty--look at all the television shows that deal with this. It is almost like how can I look like a happy person without actually having to work on my life--I know---I will just make it look like it one the outside. Great post--makes me want to watch reruns all day---hmmmm...
Maybe I will--