Hello again dear readers! Your joining me to review “Click” is most appreciated. The episode first aired November 26th, 1971. Last week’s episode, “Her Sister’s Shadow” was a well played drama reflecting real life. “Click” on the other hand I found to be a dull imitation of real life with a few chuckles tossed in. It almost seemed like the writers sat down at the writing table and one said, “We need a plot for another episode.” Another asked, “Well, what happened around your house this past week”. And with the mildly interesting events shared, an episode was born. Let us begin reviewing “Click”.
The story opens with Greg arriving home feeling apprehensive about something. One will notice the bike he arrives home riding is of the beach cruiser variety, complete with a basket on the front. Such transportation must have been the norm on the west coast in 1971. A southern boy in the 1990s would have been laughed off the road if he put a basket on the front of his bicycle (no matter how convenient and sensible it might have been). Greg’s reluctance to go inside and face Carol is interrupted when Bobby approaches him with a question regarding a camera. Apparently Greg is quite the camera whiz. Bobby has also taken an interest in photography. With this scene, the A and B plot of the episode is introduced. Shortly thereafter, Mike arrives home and learns Greg has not shared the important news that his him so apprehensive. Mike agrees to accompany Greg as he shares his burden with Carol.
Inside, Greg stammers his way to telling Carol he is now on the football team. She is none too happy about it. Her experience with football is limited to what Mike and Greg watch on TV where great big guys try to kill each other. Mike tries to support Greg’s cause by sharing the coach thinks Greg is a natural flanker back. I enjoy watching football, but have never played the game for any organized team. Flanker back must be an archaic term for the game as I had never heard it before. Even a Google search failed to produce a result for flanker back, but did suggest that a flanker is a wide receiver. Carol argues that football is just too dangerous. Mike touts the merits of football which Greg echoes to Carol until he suggests the sport teaches a person how to lose gracefully. Greg’s displeasure with this “merit” of the sport was funny. Greg rationalizes a guy can find himself injured falling in the bathtub. Carol gives a chuckle worthy reply when she counters with a guy in the bathtub doesn’t have two other guys there trying to knock him down. All the comic momentum built up in the scene is deflated with the final joke. Carol wishes Greg would have tried out for the debate team and Mike says she’d worry about Greg spraining his tongue.
The next scene introduces the C plot for the episode. The situation at hand really warranted some further explanation. Alice is working with Cindy and Jan to recall the ingredients for one fantastic cake she made them. Sheets of paper must be a rare commodity around the Brady house as throughout this episode she must use the chalkboard to attempt to record this information of such vast importance. The girls suggest it was either lemon or lime that was used in the cake. Alice laments she forgot her own secret recipe. Using a lemon or a lime seems like one of those things that would stand out in one’s memory. Greg enters and begins to share the details about a football play he is crafting. To better explain it, he erases Alice’s recollections from the blackboard. Alice is briefly upset at this, but then states it is no big deal and learns more about the football play.
Ever the fun and whacky housekeeper, Alice joins the boys out in the yard to run Greg’s play. She must have one cannon for an arm. When she attempts to throw the ball to Greg, she launches it well over his head and almost to the street/end of the driveway as we see Mike driving in holding the ball.
The next scene introduces the episode’s guest star. Greg is taking photos of a girl named Linette as she performs her cheers. With the photo shoot complete, Greg starts to work some of his charm and the two of them tell each other how attractive they find each other. Greg suggests a date for the two of them and invites Linette to the pizza place. In the review for “My Sister, Benedict Arnold”, there was a thorough discussion in the comments section of the term pizza parlor. I chuckled when Greg referred to the pizza place this time around. Bobby then interrupts them seeking further camera assistance. The jokes that follow seemed to suggest this was to be one of those true to life moments where a little brother embarrasses his older one, but in this case, the scene just seemed flat and unfunny. The rest of the episode seems to follow suit.
Linette Carter was played by Elvera Roussel. Of all the pretty girls who were guest stars on “The Brady Bunch” I must say Elvera Roussel ranks among the top of my list when it comes to looks. She just has that girl next door look about her while at the same time being quite a beauty. Elvera would continue to act sporadically on TV shows and in TV movies through the years. Her most recent acting credit per IMDB was in 2010. A Google search found a project about the Vietnam War with the New York Foundation for the Arts being headed up by her (or somebody with the same name).
The next scene begins with Greg entering the kitchen and Carol noticing a bruise on Greg’s arm. Upon seeing this purple testament of injury, Carol says injuries such as these are why she doesn’t want Greg playing football. Greg says the bruise is not from football practice, but from when he bumped his arm in math class. What was he doing in math class that would have caused him to bump his arm and leave a bruise like this? If something as mild as a bump in math class leaves this kind of bruise, Carol is 100% justified in not wanting Greg to play football. He is one fragile dude!
After some footage of a football practice, we see Greg in the locker room studying football plays. The coach enters and tells Greg to go home and get some sleep because he is going to be starting in the practice game. The coach was played by Bart La Rue. He also played the football coach in “The Drummer Boy”. The chalkboard behind them has a reminder to the football players to return the towels after they shower. I could not help but wonder why they wanted to not return them in the first place.
The camera subplot returns in the next scene as Bobby once again consults Greg for some photography advice. Greg says Bobby’s pictures, while good for a kid his age, are too posed and he should be photographing people in their natural state. What follows is a montage of Bobby doing just that. Marcia makes a disgusted face while eating a radish, Alice has flour on her forehead, Jan and Cindy prepare for bed and Peter is half asleep. The shot with Jan and Cindy could have resulted in something very bad for Bobby. To just barge in on somebody in the bathroom of all places and snap a pic is never a good idea.
The next scene opens with footage of the practice game and follows with an injured Greg being brought into the locker room. Those who enjoy continuity errors will notice that in the establishing shot, the team in the white jerseys has on gold helmets while the blue jerseyed team wears silver helmets. Greg has on a white jersey and is carrying a silver helmet. Greg’s injury warrants a call to his parents.
Back at the Brady house, Carol is finishing a phone call with the never seen but often referenced Martha. Mike and Greg enter and Carol questions their being home so early. In a funny moment, she playfully pokes Greg in the rib. Upon learning of Greg’s injury she is quite distressed. Greg assures her all is well and says he can continue to play as the odds of getting hit again in the same place are very low. Carol says the chances are ZERO as he not playing anymore. This was a funny line too. This time Mike supports Carol in Greg’s not playing football. The scene is a tad confusing as Mike seems to be suggesting he can play again when his rib is healed while Carol seems to be suggesting Greg’s flanker back career is done. The scene ends on an attempted comedic note with Alice announcing they are having ribs for dinner.
Upstairs, Bobby shares with Greg his photos. Marcia and Jan ask the boys to remove their photo developing equipment so they can wash their hair. At this point, Bobby and Greg’s serious interest in photography should be evident as that is one bulky machine they use in their hobby. Perhaps some older readers can shed some light on this device and if such contraptions were common in homes back in the 1970s. It looks to me like one pricey device that would be in a professional photo lab. Bobby’s exiting the bathroom at the start of the scene suggests he developed the photos himself. Quite an impressive feat for a boy his age!
Mike comes upstairs to discuss with Greg his supporting Carol’s desire for Greg to no longer play football. He suggests that Greg can still contribute to the team in some fashion. Greg takes this to mean he can be the water boy or the equipment manager. Greg has no desire for those roles as they don’t have a cheering section. Mike asks Greg if plays football only for the cheers and reminds him of winning gracefully and losing with dignity. Greg says if he can’t be on the field, he is through with football.
The father son chat is interrupted by a phone call from Linette. She is calling to check on Greg’s rib. Greg assumed she was calling to tell him that she has no interest in him since his high school football career was over. Linette is understandably miffed at Greg thinking her so shallow and superficial. She asks Greg to still come to the game and sit near the cheerleaders and even take some more pictures of her. He is non-committal at the idea. Before it seemed like the door was open for Greg to keep playing after his rib healed. With the prospect that he might be able to play again, one would think he would still be on the sidelines at the game, observing plays or what not. While it wasn’t explicitly stated on camera, Mike and Carol must have told Greg his playing days were over. Greg does eventually decide to go to the game.
The A, B and C plot all mesh together as Alice has successfully recollected the cake recipe and written it on the blackboard. Bobby takes a surprise picture followed by Greg and Peter arriving home from the football game. Alice’s elation at remembering the recipe is countered with the boys’ downbeat mood due to their team losing the game. Greg was too busy taking photos of Linette to see the final controversial play of the game. Peter saw it and begins trying to explain it to Alice. With her back turned, he erases the recalled recipe from the blackboard. Her reaction is what I do believe was the loudest ever scream on The Brady Bunch. Seriously, the volume at which she yells is usually reserved for some horrific circumstance. Alice mourns the loss of a recipe handed down from generation to generation. If the recipe was so all fired important and timeless, why wasn’t it written on a medium other than a chalkboard???? Had Alice somehow committed this fabulous cake recipe to memory for the past few decades, only to have it escape her recollection when she made it last? If it had been written down and mistakenly tossed out with the morning newspaper, one or two lines of dialogue could have made this clear. Instead, there is only the ridiculous circumstance by which the recipe was lost to time. Much like the inconsistency of Greg’s football future, some script rewrite while filming must have changed the recipe from a secret one she conjured up on the fly to some tradition that had been handed down.
Up in the boys room, Mike and Greg discuss the game and admire Greg’s talent for photography. He has since developed the photos he took of Linette at the game. As Greg photographed her, he unknowingly snapped a photo of the controversial play. I doubt many viewers cared much about who won the high school football game, but this episode makes it a plot point as Greg’s photo suggests the player was in bounds when the ball was caught. He and Mike enlarge the photo to the point where it is evident the receiver’s feet were inbounds when the ball was caught. Such a revelation is this that it must be shared with the coach right away. Mike volunteers to drive Greg over to show the coach the photo so he can challenge the play. Were they going to ride to the coach’s house and show him or does he just hang around the school hours after the game? Also, can the camera Greg was using and the photo equipment available lend itself to such an enlargement o the photo? The image of the player’s feet is as crisp as if it was taken from just a few feet away, not the distance we see in the photo Greg took.
I have another gripe about the photo. Is Linette the only cheerleader for the team? This picture would suggest she was the only one on sidelines rooting for the team! That receiver was wide open as well with no coverage from the other team. They could have airbrushed a few other players on the field to make the shot look more realistic. This photo, or the enlarged version of the player’s feet, gets Greg a spot back on the football team. He will now be the team photographer. He will get a movie camera and a press pass. A press pass? For a high school football game? I suppose he needs it to stand alongside all those others authorized to cover a high school football game while the thrill seekers and crazed fans are kept back from all the action.
The epilogue sees that Alice has a happy ending too. That surprise shot Bobby took of Alice right before Greg and Peter came home from the football game included the blackboard and her lost recipe. She celebrates it as the best picture he ever took! Let’s hope she whipped out a sheet of paper and wrote it down and then made copies!
That concludes the story of football, photography and a forgotten recipe. As stated earlier, this episode seems like a slice of normal every day life for a suburban family. One might say it was a plot about Greg wanting to play football or his photography skills, but both just seem kind of loosely intertwined into the events of the episodes. Bobby’s interest in photography is also worked into the story as well as Alice’s lost recipe. Very late into the episode, the outcome of the football game is worked into the story, but the ultimate resolution is never stated. Readers, please share you own thoughts be they good, bad or indifferent. Next week we return to some Brady craziness with “Getting Davy Jones”. See you then!