For those who don’t know, The Partridge Family was an early 70’s prime time show about a widowed mother who helps her five children out with a music career. The show lasted for four years. In all realism, a show like this should’ve lasted less than a single episode. It would’ve lasted thirty seconds.
Partridge Kids: “Hey, mom. I know you’re going through the deepest loneliness of your life, now that your prime comfort in life is dead. I’m sure your brain has spiraled into this hellish pit of nightmare dreams where Dad screams for you to follow him into the fog. How about that music thing?”
Shirley Partridge: “What the hell? No.”
However, the show was insanely popular. And like my last article showed, where there is a stupid will there is a stupider way.
Hanna Barbera planned to make an updated version of The Jetsons, which would take place later in the family’s life, a mind-blowing future of the future. Someone canned this, but liked the concept enough that they applied it to a more logical target: The Partridge Family.
Now, I don’t completely discount the idea. I often have fantasies myself about taking boring, dated television and setting it in a different time zone. But, until television executives accept my script where the surviving cast of “Dallas” decides to try and win a medieval jousting tournament, I will criticize with a heavy hand.
Opening: “The future’s here for us to see.” This line sticks out the most to me in this opening, and, if it’s true, we are in for a hell of a ride. It starts off by showing us that, rather than building floating houses, we’ve just put all of our buildings on precarious, cloud high stalks. What looks to be a curvy highway looms in the foreground, inviting brake failure to all who attempt it. However, the cars fly, all of them of the same model with different colors. From then on, we get a montage of the “cool” things that the future holds. Tennis has been replaced by embracing morbid laziness, where, rather than bother with standing, you flip a switch and the racket hits the ball. This was obviously in the “Post Wii” future, started by a Nintendo developer who became simply too exhausted as he flicked his wrist haphazardly.
The next scene we see is a bus, built for kidnapping children who aren’t paying attention to the sky filled with looming rape buses. After is the most sobering of all inventions, where young Chris Partridge orders something out of a vending machine, it grows huge and then a robotic dog eats it, ala Scooby Doo. This leads me to believe that this show is also a spin off of a cancelled one episode spin off of Scooby Doo, an episode where the gang sells Scooby to scientists who forcibly remove his brain and put it in a robot body. From then on, it goes to the Partridge Family becoming atomized and playing their instruments. From what the last minute of cartoon entails, basically the future is bright if you get a job as a rape bus operator or a robot dog.
The show itself: I’m just going to leave this link here for you to watch, as it explains the show better than I ever could.
If you don’t watch the link, imagine below a Mad Libs space it said “Terrifyingly tired animation of a music video about kids singing about going to a gypsy camp, as drawn by someone riding the spike of a midlife LSD experience. Please kill me before I do more harm.” You would then write “Partridge Family 2200 AD”, and destroy the beast for good.
Necessary: Almost absolutely. As a child not growing up in the 70’s, I would’ve dreamed of the day where, every Saturday morning, I would watch an animated version of a television show music group do ridiculous future things and then play bad music. In fact, I probably would’ve prayed for it, only to be sucked up a glass tube into a bus. But I swear, the whole time I would be in that tube, all I would’ve thought was “MAN, I LOVE THIS FUTURE SHIT.”
Legacy: Shirley Jones, the actress who played the mother of the cannibalistic music clan on the live show, was unaware that the show even existed. I believe that kind of puts the nail in the coffin for any chance of an everlasting impression on the minds of viewers. Later, the show was renamed “The Partridge Family In Outer Space,” mostly to calm the paranoid fears of a future like the one depicted in the show. Don’t worry. The torture inflicted on this animated universe is far, far away.
An apt metaphor for the show itself.