So, I have always been a huge Brady Bunch fan. Yes, I know, and even agree with, all the criticisms against it: corny, dated, awful clothes, major plotholes, Florence Henderson. I realize it isn't great art, and acknowledge that much better TV shows - even family-oriented shows (?) - are out there. But countless after-school afternoons watching Brady reruns left me with a surprisingly deep affection for this family of eight. (This might have something to do with growing up in a family of eight, albeit with a slightly different boy/girl ratio.) Seeing a classic Brady moment, like Peter eating his moustache, or Greg dropping Mike's blueprints in the gutter, is like slipping on a comfortable pair of shoes (if only I wore comfortable shoes). So that's why several months ago I at last broke down and bought the complete Brady Bunch series on dvd. I no longer feel the need to watch it daily, or even weekly, but I've been making steady progress rewatching the series from the beginning. Whenever I finish a disc I pass it on to my local nieces who, I'm happy to report, have completely succumbed to the Brady charm and have each found in the Brady's an alter-ego: Marcia for niece #1, Cindy for niece #2. (OK, let's all take a moment to sympathize with left-out, stuck-in-the-middle, underappreciated Jan.)
A few weeks into this Bradymania, niece #1 (we might as well call her Marcia) brought joy to her aunt's heart by declaring that the Brady's, not Ratatouille, would be the theme for her upcoming birthday party. This presented all sorts of great potential party ideas - games, activities - and led to two projects that made for a somewhat hectic but thoroughly fun and rewarding week.