We’ve been watching a lot of Brady Bunch in our house. My four-year-old is obsessed and roams the house singing, “Here’s the story of a LONELY lady…” And yeah, I suppose Carol was a bit lonely before that man named Brady came around with three boys of his HOME (she sings that wrong, too).
So I started thinking about mixing words up. What would happen if the Brady Bunch characters mixed up the words of famous children’s books? Well, we’d have new classics like:
IF YOU GIVE A BROTHER A FOOTBALL by Marcia Brady
A LAVA LAMP IN THE ATTIC by Greg Brady
THROUGH THE GOOFY-LOOKING GLASSES by Jan Brady
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF PORK CHOPS AND APPLESAUCE by Peter Brady
BOBBY, PLAIN AND SHORT by Bobby Brady
FANTHY NANTHY by Cindy Brady
FROM THE MIXED-UP BLUEPRINTS OF MR. MICHAEL P. BRADY by Carol Brady
ALICE NELSON DOES MY SHIRTS by Mike Brady
SURVIVING THE BRADYS by Alice Nelson
All punny stuff aside, the Bradys can teach us about writing for children. Take the episode where Greg gets a groovy new job at Sam’s butcher shop (for a whopping $1.50 an hour!). Bobby strolls in just before closing and orders two pounds of sausage. He follows Greg to the meat locker and the door closes behind him, locking them in. Oh no! How will they get out?
All episode long, Bobby wanted to be taller, bigger. He slapped a line of masking tape on his door to measure his height, then hung on the monkey bars to stretch himself. But now his small stature saves Greg’s life (if we forget it’s Bobby who endangered Greg’s life) because he’s tiny enough to climb through the window in the meat locker door.
Before he climbs out, Bobby can’t help saying, “Sure hope I’m small enough. Gee, I never thought I’d wish I were little.”
Ugh. This ruins the moment!
The character acknowledges the lesson learned, when the audience is perfectly capable of figuring out the significance of Bobby’s great escape.
Now how does this relate to writing?
Your audience is smart. They can figure out the message of your story without being hit over the head with two pounds of sausage.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to read another Brady classic, THE PHANTOM PAY PHONE. (How did they get that thing installed in the house?)