Ep 05- The Brady Bunch Tackles Measles

Remember the Saved by the Bell "Caffeine Pill Addiction" special? How about the very scary Punky Brewster "Locked in the Fridge" episode? How might the Brady Bunch handle a truly horrifying epidemic- Measles? I'm Forrest Maready and this is my incredible opinion.

In the late 80s and 90s, it became commonplace for sit-coms to air "A Very Special" episode during sweeps week, when ad rates were determined for their shows. If you could get more people to watch, particularly that week, you could command higher rates for advertising on your show. So producers went to great lengths to tackle serious problems of their day. Punky Brewster tackled the rash of "Locked in the Abandoned Refrigerator" incidents.

Kid (yelling from inside refrigerator): "Hey I can't get out!"

And Saved by the Bell took on the growing epidemic of caffeine pill addiction.

Zach: "Pills! You mean you really are taking them?!"

Jesse: "I need them! I need them, Zach! I have to sing!"

Years earlier, the Brady Bunch was ahead of the game, and took on a very serious problem- Measles. You see, back when this episode first aired, which was 1969, the MMR vaccine was not out yet. There was a single measles vaccine that had just become available, but evidently no one had heard of it yet- It's not mentioned anywhere in this episode. So you can understand the terror they lived with.

Carol Brady: "Peter, what are doing home from school?"
Peter Brady: "They sent me home. Measles."
Alice: "It's either measles or a strange case of red freckles."
Carol Brady: "You have got a temperature."

Oh, well. Umm. They don't seem too concerned. Well maybe the father will take things a little more seriously.

Mike Brady (laughing): "Oh no. Are you sure it's the measles?"
Carol Brady: "Well he's certainly got all the symptoms. A slight temperature, a lot of dots and a great big smile."
Mike Brady: "A great big smile?"
Carol Brady: "No school for a couple of days."

Oh he'll come around when he calls the doctor.

Mike Brady: "Peter's got the measles." (laughs)

Well, maybe later on, once the whole family has caught it…

Greg Brady: "We've got the measles, all 4 of us." (laughter)

The fear will really kick in.

Greg Brady: "Boy, this is the life isn't it."
Marsha Brady: "Yeah, if you have to get sick, sure can't beat the measles!"

They seem to be nervous. Under the surface, I can tell they're afraid. I'm sure they're probably worried about the measles.

Mike Brady: "(Sighs). Oh honey, will you stop worrying?"

You see! There! Right there, they're worried! They are scared shitless! They have finally realized the mortal danger they are in! Ahem. What's that? I didn't let the clip finish? OK, run it.

Mike Brady: "(Sighs). Oh honey, will you stop worring and relax, we'll use your doctor."
Carol Brady: "I wouldn't dream of it."

The crazy thing about this whole episode is- the drama is actually about whether Carol's doctor or Mike's doctor gets to treat the kids. They're actually taking on a serious subject- the boys don't want a woman doctor- they think women should be nurses. But measles is not the drama. It has nothing to do with it. It's nothing but a punchline for laughs throughout the whole episode. In fact, as the outbreak spreads from family member to family member, the kids begin to have more fun. Going from lying in bed at first, to playing monopoly at the end (Monopoly would be the equivalent of an iPad at that time).

So when we have news reports that sound like this…

Reporter: "The outbreak of measles that started at Disneyland in southern California last month continues to spread..."

I can't help but laugh. What happened? Before the vaccine, before the life saving elixir was even available, this is what we thought of measles.

Marsha Brady: "If you have to get sick, sure can't beat the measles!"

Now that we have a vaccine, shouldn't we be less afraid? Shouldn't we be laughing and playing Monopoly or iPads? No, we're not. We're terrified of getting it. We are absolutely held prisoner to the lie that Measles kills and you must get more vaccines, more booster shots. If 3's not enough, then 4 boosters ought to do it. If not 4, then maybe 5 will get it. In fact, let's just get a Measles IV drip and then maybe we can laugh again at this completely trivial disease. How much for that, Merck?

It's been 46 years since this episode aired. Nowadays, our understanding of measles, the disease, is far more advanced. We understand how good nutrition, particularly Vitamin A, can easily help the body mount a quick and drama-free response. Our understanding of the immune system has come a long way. In every manner, knowing what we know now, we should be less afraid of the disease than the Brady's, but we're not. Were they just completely ignorant? Did they not realize the grave danger they all faced? How about Carol, the mom? Surely here maternal instincts would cause her to err on the safe side and take some precautionary measures. Some isolation perhaps? A small face mask at least?

Carol Brady: "Well he's certainly got all the symptoms. A slight temperature, a lot of dots and a great big smile."

Carol is not concerned the least bit by the measles. Why?

Carol Brady: "Measles, measles, measles. Well, all the kids have now had the measles."
Mike Brady: "So have I."
Carol Brady: "Well I had them years ago. Looks like the Brady's are finished with the measles. (laughter)"

You see, 45 years ago, before we had been played by the pharmaceutical company, we didn't fear measles, and we understood that once you had it, you never got it again. It was a true natural immunity that for most lasted forever. Not anymore.

Health official: "You can be reasonably near someone for even a few minutes and over time and you can become infected."

True, especially if you got the measles vaccine more than 2 or 3 years ago, which is most of the population. And according to peer-reviewed studies, each booster works less than the one before. Good thing injecting genetically modified viruses containing animal DNA and known neuro-toxins like aluminum directly into your bloodstream doesn't do any harm, else we might have a real problem.

But what about the rash! They're so terrible- we've got to take our children to the ER!

Mike Brady: "Kids, just because they have a few red dots on their head they think they can order everybody around. I think they're taking advantage now."

Hang on. Play that again. Evidently they didn't have hospitals back then.

Mike Brady: "Kids, just because they have a few red dots on their head they think they can order everybody around."

What has changed? What has happened? Why do we fear this disease like Ebola? Before the vaccine was even available we treated measles like a scratched knee. We have gotten played. We've been manipulated to fear something in order to believe the vaccine is necessary. Clearly, it is not. Obviously the Brady's had no fear about a Measles outbreak in their house. Carol and Mike and their doctors weren't moronic anti-vaxxers. Everyone treated Measles like that in the past. They had zero fear for their children's survival.

Thanks to idiot reporters like this…

Dramatic Reporter: "Health officials fear thousands may have been exposed to the measles at Disneyland..."

and this…

Dramatic Reporter #2: "In the measles outbreak, the number of cases is up to at least 145..."

and health officials like this…

Stern Health Official: "The biggest is concern you're going to have is more outbreaks."

and this…

Stern Health Official #2: "I hope we don't have to wait for someone to die before we take this seriously."

and parents like this…

Misled Parent #1: "But it's a personal choice with a lot of possibly catastrophic consequences for other people."

and this…

Misled Parent #2: "and it just seemed unfair to her, to us, to have to take this extra step, as if the onus was on us, instead of people who for personal reasons hadn't immunized their children."

You have become pointlessly terrified about a harmless disease. Now, you are screwed. You have a [censored] up immune system that will never generate authentic immunity, so you'll have to rely on more and more booster shots, which work less and less. Do your kids a favor and don't pass this problem on to them. If you believe that the measles vaccine is completely necessary and that it will improve your children's health, and that people who don't vaccinate are a threat to your health and the world's health, you are a complete and utter moron who makes a 50-year-old Brady Bunch episode look light years ahead of you. All I can do is wish you Good luck with your vaccines! And that is my incredible opinion.