The Totally True Time of When I Found a VHS of a Lost ‘Brady Bunch’ Episode

So, I went back to that flea market and the same seller was there who sold me the last tape. I was a little leery, since last time it was a little creepy, but on the other hand, there might be more SpongeBob episodes (R.I.P. Stephen Hillenburg), so I figured I’d take my chances. I saw a tape labelled “Lost Brady Bunch Episode” and even though I never really liked that show, it was only a buck. If there wasn’t any SpongeBob on it, I could probably record over it. When I got home I put the tape in the VCR. As The Brady Bunch intro started, I could tell that it was near the end of the run because the kids were all old. And then the tape shuddered and instead of Ann B. Davis in the final square, it was Robbie Rist as Cousin Oliver.

I thought to myself “Ugh, not even gonna bother with this one.” I ejected the tape and threw it in the corner of the room. Later I could make sure the tab was still there so I could record over it. If not, I’d just put some tape over it and we’d be good. But I was still in the mood to watch some TV, so I flipped over to the cable box. Clicking through the channels, I landed on a rerun of Night Court. It looked like the one where Dan loses it after Phil got squashed by a piano. John Larroquette is such a great actor, and I love Night Court anyway, so it looked like I found what I was gonna watch.

The episode continued, with Dan finding out about Phil, but this time… it was Cousin Oliver delivering the news. Weird, but ugh. I flipped over, and found a Seinfeld. It was “The Contest,” a total classic. It was right around when George was discovering that without masturbating, he was brilliant, and then it cut to Elaine having the opposite effect. But instead of staring at the rotating tire display… she was staring at a rotating Cousin Oliver. I turned it off, and found a old rerun of Dick Van Dyke, but then Dick Van Dyke tripped over Cousin Oliver instead of the ottoman and I realized that the tape must have been cursed or something. Ugh.

I went back to the corner and picked up the Brady Bunch tape and threw it in. Maybe if I let the tape play, it’d remove the curse and I could watch TV without Cousin Oliver ruining everything. The show picked up from the intro, and the footage was all tinted red. Cousin Oliver came in to talk to Carol, and, honestly, I figured I probably didn’t actually have to watch it. So I picked up the latest Squirrel Girl trade and started reading that. I’d occasionally glance over, and yeah, there was some bloody murder stuff and whatever, but I just couldn’t care because, well, it was a Cousin Oliver episode.

After about fifteen minutes went by, I heard “Hey!” I looked up from my comic and looked around, but didn’t see anything, so I went back to reading. “HEY!” This time, I noticed that Cousin Oliver was looking directly at the camera. “HEY! You gotta watch this! Come on! I’m trying to haunt you!” Cousin Oliver was speaking directly to me. I asked “What do you want?”

Oliver replied “Hey, asshole, I was brutally murdered shortly after The Brady Bunch wrapped, so the least you can do is watch this tape!”

“No you weren’t! That’s the little girl from Poltergeist. You’re still alive! You’ve even had a pretty good career after the fact. You’re in Doc McStuffins! You were Michelangelo in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, and you were even in Sharknado. Dude, you were even in Batman: The Animated Series, which is totally the best version of Batman! One lousy role doesn’t entitle you to some sort of haunted revenge scheme.”

“Wait, really? Well, dang. Now I feel silly.”

“You should! You should be proud of your career! You grew up to be pretty awesome. So knock it off! Besides, you were just a kid in this. It wasn’t your fault they didn’t know what to do with your character. It’s like all those jerks giving Jake Lloyd crap. It wasn’t his fault Phantom Menace sucked, he was like nine.”

“Yeah, that was really messed up. Okay, fine, point taken. See you later, man.”

And then the tape fuzzed out and, hey, more SpongeBob! Awesome! I totally need to get more tapes from that guy.

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