Another phantastic domestic space . . .


The Multiple Histories of a House in San Fernando Valley

by Molly Boyden

In 1974, Roman Polanski directed the self-reflexive film noir Chinatown which fictionally portrayed the famous pre-World War II real estate speculation/water conspiracy which allowed Los Angeles richest and most powerful men to purchase acres of arid San Fernando Valley land for next to nothing, divert drought stricken Los Angeles water supply to irrigate this land, and then reap a huge profit when the lush land was annexed by the city. This film continued a tradition of noir which focussed on unmasking a bright, guilty place called Los Angeles, a stand-in for capitalism in general, in both its utopian and dystopian guises. [1] 1974 was also the fifth and final season of the squeaky-clean Los Angeles set situation comedy The Brady Bunch, a thirty minute weekly television program which celebrated the family values and interactive solutions of an unusually well-adjusted 1970s, white, middle class family consisting of a widow and her three daughters, a widower and his three sons, and their housekeeper, televisions first show about a blended family. Although at first appearance there seems to be little correlation between these two 1970s produced representations of Los Angeles, particularly since they portray different time periods, are of different genres, and occupy different positions in relation to the high and low divide, the two upon closer inspection, are uncannily connected.

In one of the final scenes of Chinatown, Noah Cross, the perverse multimillionaire who is spearheading the water conspiracy, is asked why he is creating so much havoc when he has the money to buy anything he could possibly want. In response, he speaks of the future. What can you buy that you cant already afford?-- The future. Significantly, 1974 was one future of Noah Cross present and a concurrent self-representation of Los Angeles, The Brady Bunch, though unbeknownst by its viewers, was centred around the real-life 1959 San Fernando Valley, split-level, ranch style home designed and originally owned by Luther B. Carson, a descendent of one of the families who built up portions of the Valley in the early twentieth century and, thus, a descendent of one of the real Noah Crosses Chinatown fictionally portrayed. [2] Carsons house, however, was chosen solely for its appearance and not for its history in order to represent the Bradys middle-class Californian suburban life-style, a dwelling, which in the context of the television program, Mike Brady, the architect patriarch of the Brady family, built circa 1969 to house his new combined family. Although the real Carson home is only a split-level, a fake window was attached to the houses A-frame section before the establishing shots of The Brady Bunch were filmed to give the appearance of a spacious two-story structure which could house three adults and six children. The house first appeared in the second episode of the first season, aired on 3 October 1969, and subsequently in almost all of the 115 episodes that composed the series. Though viewed from a variety of angles, all the clips of house were filmed before the debut of the series. The interior of the Brady home, in contrast, was a set located on Paramount Studios Stage Five. Although the sitcom as a genre is predicated on a celebration of the family and the space in which it operates, with domestic architecture by definition supporting the family narrative, [3] the Brady house has surpassed this role and, as I will argue, has become a media monument with an agenda all its own.

The Brady Bunch living on in syndication for over 20 years, has become synonymous with harmony in the home. [4] Indeed, the home used in the establishing shots of the program has become a major tourist attraction in Southern California and the Internet has several web sites devoted to the Brady house which, beyond containing numerous articles about the home, include blue prints, interactive 3-D representations of the interior and exterior of the home, photographs of the home as it has changed over the years, and even a property report for the Carson (now McCallister) home. Re-runs of the program, which in its noon-hour slot in the Los Angeles viewing area is estimated to currently draw an average of 50,000-100,000 viewers daily, [5] has kept this mass-media self-representation of the 1970s firmly in the cultural memory of its 1990s viewers. Cultural memory, however, may not be the proper term. The Bradys 1970s as a parallel or concurrent present to the viewers 1990s, perhaps may be more correct. As the invisible fourth wall of the set links sitcom home with actual home, the temporal distance between the two becomes blurred with young viewers in particular unable to distinguish the gap between generations. It is thus in reflection of this situation that Betty Thomas 1995 comedy The Brady Bunch Movie presents the anachronisms which arise from the placement of the inexplicably time warped 1970s Brady family in the middle of 1990s Los Angeles.

In the move from the 12-inch portable to the 60-foot screen, the Brady house undeniably retains its position of narrative support and, indeed, becomes its focal point. Continuing the filmic exploration of the trope of Los Angeles as a creation of real estate capitalism, as portrayed in such films as Chinatown, the plot of The Brady Bunch Movie revolves around the Bradys week long attempt to raise the $20,000 in back taxes that they owe on their house before it is auctioned off to the highest bidder. The Bradys unscrupulous land developer neighbour, Larry Dittmeyer, has been waiting for a chance like this ever since Mike Brady turned down his $500,000 offer to buy their house. Indeed, the Bradys are the lone holdout in his plan to turn the neighbourhood into a residential mini-mall. Mike Brady will not sell the house that he designed, having picked out every colour, brick, and sheet of Formica, and which has been the first and only house that his combined family has lived in together. In good sitcom conflict-resolution fashion, the ending is happy and the house is saved. Why though is all this attention placed on a 1970s Los Angeles home?

Since the turn of the century, and particularly after W.W.II, the single family home has become a symbol of freedom and human development, [6] the right to home and property, the tangible American dream. [7] This form of housing organisation glorifies a specific form of human relationship (the nuclear family), of demographic structure (two or three children), and of economic prosperity (following fluctuations in the mortgage market and lending rate). [8] The proportion of houses in the housing inventory serves as a reflection of these factors. B. Marchand, in a study conducted on the population and housing in Los Angeles from 1940-1970, noted that:

In 1940, houses represented more than half of the dwellings in Los Angeles County, and apartments only a quarter . . . New construction almost stopped during the war, but experienced a boom after 1945. Between 1940 and 1950 the proportion of single family houses increased rapidly, particularly in the suburbs. In the county the number of houses doubled. This progress continued undeterred until 1960, which marked the peak of single-family dwellings. Half of all the housing in the city and two-thirds in the county was of this type. But by 1960, huge apartment towers were already increasing their share . . . The long evolution toward the single-family house was broken in the late 1960s, probably by the economic crisis, but also by a change in mental attitude. [9]
Marchand notes that in 1970, for the first time since W.W.II, the absolute number of single-family homes in the city declined, while the proportion of apartments, composed primarily of the new apartment towers, increased from 28% to 37% and posits the priority given to collective housing as a major phenomenon. [10] Increased unemployment, general anxiety in American society during the Vietnam War, and growing building costs as well as demographic changes such as an increase in the number of unmarried young adults, a plunge in the birth-rate, and an increase in the divorce rate are all factors in the trend away from the single-family home as the primary housing type in Los Angeles. [11] Furthermore, the decrease in the absolute number of whites in Los Angeles, first apparent in the 1950s, was, by 1970, a significant drop. Concurrently, the African-American, Chicano, and Asian-American populations increased nearly geometrically. [12] The population as a whole, however, for the first time since the founding of Los Angeles two centuries earlier, was no longer increasing. [13] It is thus in contradistinction to actual trends that The Brady Bunch focused on a large white family which, having overcome parental deaths in both of its original familial units, regrouped in order to conform to the idealised nuclear family structure and celebrated this form in a single-family dwelling especially designed by the architect father. Furthermore, unemployment, inflation, the Vietnam War, campus unrest, and race riots simply did not exist for the Brady family. Instead, episodes focused on family outings and vacations, children going steady, and competition for the telephone and time in the bathroom. The familys polyester bell-bottoms and Formica kitchen stood in as a-political signifiers of the 1970s. Though not a true reflection of the realities of early 1970s Southern California living, the Bradys represent a very specific form of repression of that reality, one produced by the Los Angeles television industry for mass distribution across the country for consumption in homes which bore little resemblance to the Bradys, indeed, the sitcom here taking on the role of the Miracle Play of consumer society. [14]

Given such a background, one wonders why this specific incarnation of 1970s America, that family and that house, have been almost flawlessly reincarnated in the 1990s and imagined as an accurate representation of the 1970s. Although the Brady family cannot be used as a true gauge of change in Los Angeles, the use of this family does nonetheless point up the stark contrast between the Los Angeles of the 1970s as it exists in mass-media memory and Los Angeles of the 1990s. Indeed, though the insertion of the Bradys heightens the contrast, the scale of change in Los Angeles over the past twenty years has been immense. Such is the message of the opening sequence of The Brady Bunch Movie. The opening is the only segment of the film in which the viewer is confronted with the metropolis rather than the neighbourhood. Moving in from an aerial shot of the downtown skyline to street level, the viewer is presented with a Los Angeles that did not exist during the 1970s. Indeed, when Reyner Banham published his 1971 book Los Angeles: The Architecture of the Four Ecologies, he devoted only five pages of text in an 256 page book to the downtown area saying that a note . . . is all downtown Los Angeles deserves. [15] Central to this claim is his perception that despite the fact that most historians have tended to see the development of the city as a normal outward sprawl from a centre which is older than the rest of the city, the original pueblo of Los Angeles, located somewhere on the northern fringe of the present downtown area, though chronologically prior to the settlement of the plains, foothills, and coast, did not adequately match the development of these areas to become an authoritative downtown and, indeed, the location of the original pueblo has been lost since at least 1849 through the action of either an earthquake or careless development. [16] Accordingly, Banham went so far as to dismiss the need for a traditional city centre for Los Angeles and criticised such attempts to recentre the city as the Bunker Hill cultural centre development. Instead Banham posited that:

the language of design, architecture, and urbanism in Los Angeles is the language of movement. Mobility outweighs monumentality there to a unique degree . . . and the city will never be fully understood by those who cannot move fluently through its diffuse urban texture, cannot go with the flow of its unprecedented life. [17]
Writing with a Pop Art sensibility, indeed, Banham was one of the chief adherents of the 1950s British Independent Group, a forerunner of the 1960s Pop Art explosion, [18] Banham celebrated freeways, automobiles, surfboards, retail developments, and even chain restaurants. Having once defined Pop as a firing squad without mercy or reprieve against hieratic art traditions, . . . Southern California with its aggressive Present-mindedness, was [for Banham] a land purified by an exemplary design terror. [19] Banhams de-centred (or no-centred), diffuse and mobile Los Angeles with its lost original pueblo thus stands in opposition to the model which Freud presents in his Civilization and its Discontents. Using the example of Rome as a pictorial representation of the preservation and coexistence of old and new memory traces in human mental life, Freud characterised the city (and by extension, the unconscious) as layered with old and new architectures superimposed one upon another. Freud, however, later refuted this model by noting that historical sequence can only be represented in spatial terms through juxtaposition since the same space cannot have two different contents [20] and additionally by perceiving the normal demolition and rebuilding of city architecture as well as the more violent changes a city is sometimes subjected to as unsuitable for comparison with the mind. [21] Freuds refuted argument, published and as such perhaps seen by Freud as an instructive and worthwhile model nonetheless, has become all the more convincing in an age when holographic technology can create a space with two different contents. Indeed, Freuds Rome, with the help of technology, can be represented according to his narrative. Freuds model, however, still fails in relation to Banhams Los Angeles, a city seventy miles square but rarely seventy years deep, . . . instant architecture in an instant townscape. [22] A different vision of Los Angeles, however, as will become clear later in this paper, may have some affinity to the Freudian model.

Banham, experiencing the stagnation of the downtown area in the 1970s, could not have foreseen the landrush in the 1980s of Japanese and Canadian capital, in the context of epochal geopolitical shifts, that has made Downtown 1990 second only to Tokyo as a financial pole of the Pacific Rim. [23] Propelled by financial, real-estate and military booms, Los Angeles has moved to Manhattanise its skylines and cultural superstructure in order to:

support the sale of the city to overseas investors and affluent immigrants . . . with a promotional budget so large that it could afford to buy the international celebrity architects, painters and designers--Meier, Graves, Hockney, and so on--capable of giving cultural prestige and a happy Pop veneer to the emergence of the world city. [24]
Furthermore, since the 1970s the traditional Downtown-Westside rivalry has been reconciled through a functional designation of central-place roles (i.e., Downtown as international financial center, Century City as the capital of entertainment law, LAX as aerospace headquarters, and so on), and by the gradual inter-elite acceptance of an ecumenical regionalism vis-à-vis the world market. [25] This development follows the general pattern in which city-building has been left to the anarchy of market forces, with only rare interventions by the state, social movements or public leaders. [26]

In addition to the build-up and re-organisation of the Downtown, social unrest, violence, and racism have been on the rise since the 1970s. Banham, in espousing that Los Angeles cradles and embodies the most potent current version of the great bourgeois vision of the good life in a tamed countryside [27] while believing as well that the supposed social equality and symbolic rejection of the values of consumer society of beach culture is what life is all about in Los Angeles, [28] overlooked the volatile potential of the city as exemplified by the 1965 Watts riots:

Black rioters from the ghetto did not attack white neighborhoods but tried, inside the black districts, to destroy . . . a retail system which exploited them . . . and which was mainly the property of whites living outside the ghetto, but which was managed by Blacks . . .in addition to these demonstrations, there was a protest against the ghettos lack of accessibility . . . [29]
Since the publishing of Banhams book, Los Angeles has become synonymous with gang violence (Crips v. Bloods), racism and race riots (Rodney King), and mobile crime for a mobile metropolis (car-jacking). Indeed, although 1970s Los Angeles, due to its particularly young population, was hard hit by the Vietnam War, the Los Angeles Police Department, in speaking of gang violence since the 1980s, has declared, certainly with a racial overtone, that [t]his is Vietnam here. [30]

Linking a fear of escalating violence to the creation of new irrigated land developments in the Antelope Valley which are following the developmental pattern of the San Fernando Valley, Mike Davis writes:

The eutopic (literally no-place) logic of their subdivisions, in sterilized sites stripped bare of nature and history, masterplanned only for privatized family consumption, evokes much of the past evolution of tract-home Southern California. But the developers are not just repackaging myth . . . for the next generation; they are also pandering to a new, burgeoning fear of the city. Social anxiety, as traditional urban sociology likes to remind us, is just maladjustment to change. But who has anticipated, or adjusted to, the scale of change in Southern California over the last fifteen years? [italics mine] [31]
The above quote from Davis is particularly interesting when read in relation to a quotation from Martin Heideggers Poetry, Language, Thought which David Harvey cites in his discussion of time-space compression as symptomatic of postmodernity:

All distances in time and space are shrinking. . . . Yet the frantic abolition of all distances brings no nearness; for nearness does not consist in shortness of distance. What is least remote from us in point of distance, by virtue of its picture on film or its sound on radio, can remain far from us. What is incalculably far from us in point of distance can be near to us. . . . everything gets lumped together into uniform distanceless. . . . What is it that unsettles and thus terrifies? It shows itself and hides itself in the way in which everything presences, namely, in the fact that despite all conquest of distances the nearness of things remains absent. [32]
Returning to the opening sequence of The Brady Bunch Movie, keeping in mind the incredible changes Los Angeles has undergone since the early 1970s, it, and indeed the entire film, can be read as an example of the time-space compression which Harvey working through Heidegger discusses. One needs to take a closer look at the film, however, to see if the Brady family comforts or terrifies. Accompanied by 1990s rock music and edited with the speed of an MTV video, the opening sequence first exposes many tropes of 1990s Los Angeles and then, through its shift to the Brady family, reveals not only the radical transformation of Los Angeles since the 1970s, but also registers the existence of the recreated Brady family within this milieu as a particularly eerie anachronism, all the more eerie due to both the artificially bright television lighting which showers them and the Colgate smiles and psychedelic clothing they wear. The opening shots jump from a skyscraper level, semi-aerial, revolving, right to left shot of the pristine geometry of the Downtown cityscape to a street level, similarly right to left pan of a particularly grimy stretch of the Walk of Fame which is flanked by cheap beauty and body piercing salons advertised by tacky signs and neon tubing. Notably, the stars of the Walk of Fame are firmly under the feet of rough motorcycle men. After cutting to a group of affluent Asians at one corner of the Walk, the film then cuts up to a road sign marking the approach of the Hollywood Freeway, then to a billboard pointing out the café where one has the last opportunity to purchase a cappuccino before entering the 101. The camera then moves back down to street level to the outdoor café whose table tops are littered with notebook computers, sometimes two to a table. At this point, the film cuts to a No Smoking Anywhere Sign, and then to a bike shop with a highly reflective front window. This is followed by a shot of a crowd of predominantly young people, perhaps outside a school or a shopping mall, which is ironically juxtaposed with a more 1990s street scene in which both a man and a woman in one car, as well as a male pedestrian, and a woman sitting on a bus bench advertising a Hollywood wax museum, though grouped together in one street tableaux, are all isolated from one another through their use of individual cellular phones. There is then a jump up to a sign announcing a ten minute pass or dont pay smog test and then a move down to street level to some rather high tech and well clad street cleaners and then another jump to a woman driving and reading at the same time and still further along to the van next to her whose bumper sticker reads that the driver carries only $20 in ammunition. This is followed by a shot of some bus benches advertising fast divorce and bankruptcy legal assistance. These close-ups are then punctuated with an aerial, semi-abstract, view of the amazingly complex Los Angeles freeway system. The camera then moves down to car level and zooms past some rather apocalyptic freeway electronic sign boards which flash the following messages: LA Exits Closed Ahead Due to Heavy Traffic, Med-Fly Toxic Spray, Quake Damage, Killer Bee Gridlock, and Drive By Gang War Riot. After passing these electronic sign boards, a small metal sign, no doubt circa 1970, hails the freeway commuter with a pleasant, yet in this context, ironic, Have a Nice Day. There is a jump to another aerial view of the freeway and at this point the sound of police sirens blend into the gradually disappearing rock soundtrack.

After this fast paced, but tropologically loaded introduction (i.e. Hollywood Walk of Fame, cellular phones, smog tests, freeways, gang violence, etc.), the supporting narrative is introduced by Larry Dittmeyer speaking on his car phone with his boss, Mr. Feldman, the two discussing the progress of their scheme to turn the Bradys neighbourhood into a residential mini-mall. While all the other neighbours have accepted offers on their property from Dittmeyer, the Bradys are the lone hold out and, as Dittmeyer explains to his boss, Its like theyre not interested in money. Its like theyre not normal. Mr. Feldman asks, Whats their story? and, with that cue, there is a shift into a recreated version of the original 1970s The Brady Bunch theme song and sitcom introduction which, indeed, tells their story. Following from this strangely familiar introduction, significantly, there is a fairly long shot of the facade of the Brady house and action begins as Alice, the housekeeper, comes out the front door, down the front steps, to get the mail. She then drops the mail, bends over to pick it up, and, while bending over, is hit in the rear end by a newspaper. The paper boy, who is riding on the back of a truck which is blaring rock music, indeed, a far cry from the boy on the bicycle of the past, has thrown the newspaper squarely at her. After Alice stumbles back into the bushes, there is a jump to the Brady kitchen and Alice delivers the mail to Mike and Carol Brady. The action then proceeds as we are reintroduced to each of the Brady children in different rooms of the house.

Notably, once the opening sequence shifts to focus on the Bradys, the lighting becomes artificially bright and flat like television lighting, the pace of the edits slows down dramatically, the soundtrack changes from rock to a melodic variation of the theme song, and all the text, which had helped caption, punctuate and map out the cityscape in the opening sequence, is reduced to the text of the dropped, and, as the viewer later discovers, misdelivered mail, and the assaultive newspaper. In a sense, there is a shift from a postmodern world in which architectural spaces have been flattened into texts, their facades announcing their discourse without any invitation to be experienced and verified in terms of its social, political, structural, environmental and spatial roles to a modernist world of non-textual space that is experienced and lived through. [33] Although the Brady house cannot be placed outside of postmodernist practices as it has been appropriated by that very practice as a reference to the 1970s, it can be seen as commenting on this critical attitude which reduces spaces into texts then legitimizes the rereading of these texts, as if they were excerpts, in order to create debates that focus on appearances rather than on the role of architecture in contemporary society. [34] However, as the opening of the film exposes through its concurrent representation of the 1970s and 1990s, the terror of time-space compression [35] is unavoidable. Harvey writes:

This terror is ineluctably present in daily life because all mortals persist through space by virtue of their stay among things and are therefore perpetually threatened by changing space relations among things. Physical nearness does not necessarily bring with it understanding or an ability to appreciate or even appropriate a thing properly. Heidegger recognizes that the achieved shifts in space relations are a product of commodification and market exchange . . . [36]
A terror of the city has become a common theme in Angeleno life. As Mike Davis discusses in the chapter entitled Fortress L.A. in his book City of Quartz, a concern for personal safety has led to personal insulation in residential, work, consumption and travel environments, from unsavory groups and individuals, even crowds in general. [37] Architecture, combines with security cameras and increasingly high-tech private and public police forces to kill not only the street, but to kill the crowd and its heterogeneity. Davis writes:

The valorized spaces of the new megastructures and super-malls are concentrated in the center, street frontage is denuded, public activity is sorted into strictly functional compartments, and circulation is internalized in corridors under the gaze of private police. [38]
The Downtown hyperstructure . . . is programmed to ensure a seamless continuum of middle-class work, consumption and recreation, without unwonted exposure to Downtowns working-class street environments. Indeed the totalitarian semiotics of ramparts and battlements, reflective glass and elevated pedways, rebukes any affinity or sympathy between different architectural or human orders. [39]
The privatization of the architectural public realm, moreover, is shadowed by parallel restructurings of electronic space, as heavily policed, pay-access information orders, elite data-bases and subscription cable services appropriate parts of the invisible agora. [40]
Heidegger, as Harvey points out, suggests that the antidote to the changing time and space relations as well as to the technological dominion of capitalist society is dwelling. Although Heidegger speaks of a withdrawal from the world market to a simple, idyllic life in a Black Forest farmhouse, Harvey, loosely citing Heidegger, notes more generally that:

Dwelling is the capacity to achieve a spiritual unity between humans and things. From this it follows that only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build. Indeed, buildings may even deny dwelling its own nature when they are pursued and acquired purely for their own sake. [41]
Thus, in turning down $500,000 for a house, which according to a property report filed 1 July 1996, is worth only $112,885, [42] in order to preserve a sense of family rootedness in a home which was especially designed for their new life together, the Bradys can be posited as placing a higher value on dwelling than on capitalist real estate speculation as well as a higher value on an architecture and space that is truly lived and experienced rather than pursued and acquired purely for [its] own sake. [43] Indeed, Mike Brady can be seen as promoting such a way of life in his own architectural practice when he largely unsuccessfully submits models of his own home for projects as various as a convenience store/service station, a Burger Land restaurant, and a health club in order to get an advance on a commission and thus save his own home from being sold at auction. The Bradys, however, are a family created by the television industry and recently reincarnated by the film industry and, since Harvey notes that [e]ven those who physically stay in place may become homeless (rootless) through the inroads of modern means of communication (such as radio and television), [44] one wonders if the Bradys can be seen as such a benign, not to mention authentic, example of dwelling.

Interestingly, Heidegger focusses our attention on the way in which places are constructed in our memories and affections through repeated encounters and complex associations.[italics mine] [45] He further emphasises how place experiences are necessarily time-deepened and memory-qualified. [46] It is of little doubt that twenty years of The Brady Bunch re-runs adequately serve as repetition enough to have created a place for such a dwelling in the memories of its viewers. Indeed, the writers of the screen-play for The Brady Bunch Movie, in seamlessly re-presenting and compressing various incidents from several The Brady Bunch episodes which originally spanned a five year period (i.e. Marcias nose being hit by a football before the big date, Bobby as safety monitor, Jan changing her look, Greg as Johnny Bravo, Peters voice changing, the potato sack race, etc.) into one, eighty-five minute movie plays upon such repetition and its temporal compression in viewers memories. The question of authenticity, however, is not just one of the availability of repeat encounters.

Returning to the terror which is present in daily life due to time-space compression, Thomas nearly flawless 1990s reconstruction of the 1970s Brady house and recasting of the seemingly unaging Brady family, can be experienced as an occurrence of the uncanny, that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar. [47] Following Freuds etymological study of the word uncanny, it is particularly interesting to note that its German translation, unheimlich literally means unhomely, but incorporates as well the heimlich or the homelike, belonging to the house or the family [48] for [w]hat is heimlich thus comes to be unheimlich. [49] One wonders then, if it might not to be possible to replace the Bradys with the Zecks in the following anecdotal conversation related by Freud:

The Zecks [a family name] are all heimlich. Heimlich? What do you understand by heimlich? Well, . . . they are like a buried spring or a dried-up pond. One cannot walk over it without always having the feeling that water might come up there again. Oh, we call it unheimlich; you call it heimlich. Well, what makes you think that there is something secret and untrustworthy about this family? [50]
The uncanny element of The Brady Bunch Movie, however, involves more than just the duplication of house and family and the ubiquity of a family which exists on both television and the movie screen as well as on the Internet and in theatre productions. Indeed, Thomas, in inserting cameo appearances of original The Brady Bunch cast members along side performances of the new cast has increased the sense of the uncanny. The cameos are largely unremarkable and brief. This, combined with the twenty additional years of age which the original cast members now posses and the success of the new cast at imitating the original in both appearance and manner, leaves the viewer not quite sure of who has been seen, but with an uncanny feeling nonetheless. This feeling is further heightened when the viewer brings knowledge of the real lives of the original cast to the film, for, example Barry Williams (Greg Bradys) real life tryst with television mom Florence Henderson (Carol Brady) or perhaps more poignantly, the notable absence of a cameo of Robert Reed (Mike Brady), the television dad most viewers wished was their own, who in real life was a homosexual who died of AIDS. Although in juxtaposing rather than layering the 1970s and 1990s Los Angeles in order to reveal the incompatibility of the two and the inability of the Bradys to interact with the world outside their front door, Thomas Los Angeles does not conform to Freuds model of the unconscious as being structured like a city in Civilization and its Discontents, her insistence on the uncanny through her use of doubles nonetheless can be viewed as an illustration of Freuds oceanic.

Indeed, the feeling of the oceanic which Freud theorises in Civilization and its Discontents as resulting from traces of an early phase of ego-feeling, characterised by unfixed boundaries, co-existing with a more mature and defined ego form in human mental life is linked by Freud to the uncanny. Freud writes of the double in his article The Uncanny that:

Such ideas . . . have sprung . . . from the primary narcissism which holds sway in the mind of the child as in that of primitive man; and when this stage has been left behind the double takes on a different aspect. From having been an assurance of immortality, he becomes the ghastly harbinger of death. The idea of the double does not necessarily disappear with the passing of the primary narcissism, for it can receive fresh meaning from the later stages of development of the ego, with the function of observing and criticizing the self and exercising a censorship within the mind, and this we become aware of as our conscience. [51]
The quality of uncanniness can only come from the circumstance of the double being a creation dating back to a very early mental stage, long since left behind, and one . . . in which it wore a more friendly aspect. The double has become a vision of terror . . . [52]
In light of both the terror of the uncanny and the terror of time-space compression illustrated in Thomas The Brady Bunch Movie, the Bradys hardly can serve as an authentic example of Heideggers notion of dwelling. There is something suspicious about them, their omnipresence, and their house, which as has been discussed, was a happy facade of outdated family values which refused to speak of the true social and political conditions of the 1970s. Furthermore, looking at this family and their house in the 1990s, when authenticity is often constructed through invented traditions and a commercialised cultural history, [53] one becomes even more suspicious when one takes into account the fact that Los Angeles is a city which has lost its own historical centre and thus is in particular need of a fabricated history. The Bradys and their home thus are an important phenomenon in the history of Los Angeles where, following Leon van Schaik argument in his Design for Dreaming and noting its particular applicability to the City of Angels, [m]edia has displaced the monument as the key referent of society, while architects vie with filmmakers to win back this role for their buildings. [54] The Brady house as a media monument of Los Angeles has had many histories, each with its own agenda, conflicts, and complexities. Indeed, it has and can serve as an uncanny gauge of the unconscious of that bright, guilty place called Los Angeles that stand-in for capitalism in general, [55] in both its utopian and dystopian guises and, in particular, of its dream of the single family home and all of its ideological connotations. NOTES

1 Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (London and New York: Verso, 1990), p. 18.
3 Jean-Paul Leonard, Home and the Sitcom Ideal: A Strategy for Living in the Middle, Masters Research Project Presented tot he Department of Architecture and the Graduate School of the University of Florida, FIND OUT DATE,
6 B. Marchand, The Emergence of Los Angeles: Population and Housing in the City of Dreams 1940-1970 (London: Pion Limited, 1986), p. 121.
7 Leonard,
8 Marchand, pp. 121-122.
9 Marchand, pp. 122.
10 Marchand, p. 122.
11 Marchand, pp. 122-123.
12 Marchand, pp. 89-90.
13 Marchand, p. 51.
14 Leonard,
15 Reyner Banham, Los Angeles: The Architecture of the Four Ecologies (London: The Penguin Press, 1971), p. 201.
16 Banham, p. 201.
17 Banham, p. 23.
18 Davis, p.73.
19 Davis, p. 73.
20 Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, p. 258.
21 Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, p. 259.
22 Banham, p. 21.
23 Davis, p. 74.
24 Davis, p. 22.
25 Davis, p. 74.
26 Davis, p. 23.
27 Banham, p. 238.
28 Banham, pp. 38-39.
29 Marchand, p. 48.
30 Davis, p. 268.
31 Davis, p. 6.
32 Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), p. 165; cited in David Harvey, From space to place and back again: Reflections on the condition of postmodernity, in Mapping the Futures: Local cultures, global change, eds. Jon Bird et al., (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 9-10.
33 Micha Bandini, Postmodernity, architecture and critical practice, in Mapping the Futures: Local cultures, global change, eds. Jon Bird et al., (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 238.
34 Bandini, p. 237.
35 Harvey, p. 10.
36 Harvey, p. 10.
37 Davis, p. 224.
38 Davis, p. 226.
39 Davis, p. 231.
40 Davis, p. 226.
41 Heidegger, p. 156; cited in Harvey, p. 11.
42 It is worth noting, however, that assessment is for the actual McCallister residence which is in reality only a two bedroom split-level and not the four bedroom multi-story that exists only as set design.
43 Heidegger, p. 156; cited in Harvey, p. 11.
44 Harvey, p. 11.
45 E Relph, Geographical experiences and being-in-the-world: the phenomenological origins of geography, in Dwelling, Place and Environment: Towards a Phenomenology of Person and World eds. D Seamon and R Mugerauer (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), p. 26; cited in Harvey, p. 11.
46 Relph, p. 27; cited in Harvey p. 11.
47 Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, in Studies in Parapsychology, ed. Philip Rieff (New York: Collins, 1963), p. 20.
48 Freud, The Uncanny, p. 23.
49 Freud, The Uncanny, p. 28.
50 Freud, The Uncanny, p. 25.
51 Freud, The Uncanny, p. 40.
52 Freud, The Uncanny, p. 41.
53 Harvey, p. 12.
54 Leon van Schaik, Design for Dreaming, p. 28.
55 Davis, p. 18.