March 22, 2009
My Favorite Episode of The Brady Bunch
No, no it’s not the one with Davy Jones (although that is a good one indeed). Nor is it that three-parter where they go to Hawaii and Bobby finds the taboo tiki idol that brings everyone bad luck. No, I’m talking about the one entitled “The Sharif Don’t Like It”, which was the very last episode to feature Cousin Oliver. It all begins on a late afternoon in May, only a few days after Mother’s Day – Oliver’s favorite holiday, even though his Mom is far away in the jungles of South America accompanying his dad on an alleged “engineering assignment”. It is on this day that Sears begins its annual women’s hosiery sale. Oliver, sick little fuck that he is, had snatched the sales circular from the Sunday paper and hid it under his mattress. A few days later when he is alone, believing everyone is far, far away, he retrieves it and begins gazing at the pages of lower female extremities encased in sheer nylon and silk, wondering how such material would feel against his meager genitals. What a freak! Completing dismissing the teachings of Mohammed in favor of short-lived sinful delights, he unfastens his trousers and proceeds to fondle himself. He closes his eyes and moans quietly to himself as he is overcome by the evil sensations of self abuse. Suddenly, the door opens and little Cindy Brady’s innocence is shattered in an instant, though she does not yet know it. She giggles as the perverted little bastard screams “Go away! Get out of here! Now!” His face is red in shame (as it should be). Shortly thereafter, the youngest Brady finds herself chatting with her elder sisters. “Jan! Jan! Marcia! Marcia!” she cries,“You’ll never guess what I saw Cousin Oliver doing!”
At first, her sisters rebuke her for entering Oliver’s room without knocking. When they learn of what she saw, however, their attitude changes. Giggling through her lispy account of how she caught Oliver “rubbing his little pee pee”, her demeanor becomes much more solemn as she sees the serious looks that fall upon Jan’s and Marcia’s faces.
“You’ve got to tell mom and dad about this,” declares Jan.
“Why?” Cindy asks, “It was funny. Is Oliver gonna be in trouble or something?” This launches Marcia into a discussion of Islamic Law. “Salami Law?” Cindy asks ever-so-innocently.
“No, silly Islamic Law,” says Jan.
“Oh, you mean the Qu’ran.”
“Yes Cindy,” Marica tells her. “Mohammed told us that what Oliver was doing is a bad bad thing and he needs to be punished under the shariah.”
Cindy is bewildered by this and is apparently oblivious to the graveness of her cousin’s sin. Jan and Marcia, however, are quite adamant that she elevate this to their parents. Of course, while they appear to be good Muslims on the surface, one cannot help but think that Cindy’s sisters may not totally be driven by their love of Allah. Perhaps there is also a certain amount of jealousy over their inability to enjoy the same hedonistic pleasures as Oliver. Such sin is, of course, no longer an option since undergoing the female circumcision rituals to which all Brady girls are subject on their tenth birthday (young Cindy has yet to experience the sacramental amputation of the clitoris and sewing of the labia, though Mike and Carol have recently talked to Sam the Butcher about catering the post clitoridectomy and infibulation reception when the time comes).
Soon after informing their parents, the Brady Family Tribunal convenes and Oliver is sentenced to death by stoning. As Mohammed prescribes, the stones shall not be so big that they expire the condemned immediately yet not so small that they fail to cause the necessary suffering before his death. On the big day, Oliver is wrapped in his death shroud and buried to his waist in the backyard. Each family member (as well as Alice) takes their turn hurling stones at him. When it is Cindy’s turn, however, she drops her stone and runs into the house crying. Her stepfather follows. On her bed, face pressed into her pillow, she sobs. “Now Cindy,” Mike Brady tells her, “I know that this is not easy for you but you’re a young lady now. You need to grow up and be a good Muslim.”
“But I don’t want Oliver to die,” she says.
“I know you don’t honey but this is something you need to do. It is Allah’s will” He then begins reading a verse from the Qu’ran to her. Slowly but surely, she comes to realize the terrible thing that Oliver has done and how it is evil ones like him that anger Allah and they are the reason her people have been unable to drive the imperial Zionists from the occupied territories. She rises from the bed and with a look confidence and purpose goes back to the stoning.
When she returns, Oliver’s face and hair are pretty bloodied. One of the lenses of his glasses is shattered and has lacerated his eye. Squinting through the other eye, a look of sheer terror comes over him when he sees Cindy pick up the stone. He screams in terror. With the wrath of Allah in her eyes, she launches the stone. Then there is silence and Oliver is still. Greg goes over to investigate. After checking the pulse in his neck he looks up and says “Heeeee’s dead!” The family then erupts into screams of delight. “We did it, we did it!” someone says as they jump for joy knowing that Allah’s will has been faithfully served this day. As the episode concludes, there’s a potato sack race (Peter wins) and a pie eating contest (Jan and Bobby tie) then the kids don their Silver Platters costumes for a spirited rendition of “Keep On, Keep On Dancing All Through the Night” before the scene dissolves to the familiar grid.
Not sure why but it seems they haven’t rerun this episode in years. It’s a shame. Not only was it entertaining but it also provided an important moral lesson to the kids watching. Perhaps the producers of “Two and a Half Men” might take note.