Paratalk or torque?

My new column, with a title that somehow makes sense. From now on until I stop I will be examining a paragraph in whatever detail I choose. This is also a good time for guests to pop in and do their own paragraph.

Today I’m looking at a paragraph from Growing Up Brady by Barry Williams and Chris Kreski.

Now, I personally think that either Bob has the single most perfect head of symmetrical curls God ever put onto a human head, or he does indeed get chemical assistance. Okay, perhaps I am jealous over the preponderance of big, bushy locks on his head; but I’ve also seen the man arrive for work at six a.m. with every hair in place, and I find it very hard to believe that anyone has a head of hair that perfect. Still, only his hairdresser knows for sure.

Let’s put this paragraph into context. Bob is Robert Reed, the actor who played Mike Brady, the father in the TV series The Brady Bunch. It was a hit programme in the US and judging by the reruns in Australia, also here. The original series ran between 1969 and 1974. It was relaunched a few times but from my reading of the book they didn’t actually go that well.

What was The Brady Bunch?

For those few people who watched something else… The Brady Bunch was a sitcom where two people are left either divorced or widowed, they meet, fall in love and marry. They each have three kids and hey presto! a blended family. Many of the storylines are about dealing with family tensions in a blended family while some of them are about sexism. It was groundbreaking in its day as the producer, Lloyd Schwartz, never quite got around to telling us whether Carole Brady was divorced or widowed. In Schwartz’s mind she was divorced which meant she was the first divorced character on TV.

This paragraph is from a chapter about hair. Why is hair so important to people? It’s something I just don’t understand. But what I do understand is continuity on TV and film. You need continuity and if your hair is always perfect then you don’t need to worry about continuity with hair. I’m not suggesting that Bob’s hair was always perfect to avoid continuity problems but I consider it a valid proposition. If you don’t have continuity then the viewers notice and don’t value the programme as much. The only time continuity errors are not considered a problem is when the programme goes into cult status and people sit there and pick out the errors so they can laugh over them or discuss them at length and try to justify them.