Here's the story -- of Greg and Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Today's TV

May 20, 2000

About eight years ago, Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady, wrote a book about what it was like, being a kid actor on "The Brady Bunch," that early-1970s sitcom that somehow has become a cultural touchstone for anyone who grew up around that time. Light and airy as they come, the book's biggest revelation was that Barry was no different than every other male pre-teen alive at the time: he, too, had a crush on Maureen McCormick. But unlike the rest of us, he had the pleasure of working alongside her everyday, since she was playing his sister, Marcia.

And yes, the book dutifuly reported, he took full advantage of the situation. At least as full an advantage as McCormick would allow ...

Tomorrow on NBC, "Growing Up Brady" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) comes to your TV screen, and the result is a lighthearted hoot. It's not revelatory, it (thankfully) doesn't try to pick apart the "Brady" phenomenon, it says nothing about the decade of the '70s, and it doesn't promise an undercover look at "The Brady Bunch," warts and all.

But it does illustrate that hormones rage just as wildly on a TV set as in real life, and as long as "Growing Up Brady" sticks with Greg and Marcia, there's plenty of fun to be had. It's on shakier footing when it deals with Robert Reed's homosexuality or the Brady kids' attempts at cornering the music scene. Any group that aspired only to be as good as the Partridge Family was probably doomed from the start. But fortunately, those segments pass quickly.

True, neither Adam Brody, who plays Williams, nor Kaley Cuoco, who plays McCormick, looks much like their real-life counterparts. But that soon stops making any difference. "Growing Up Brady" is smart enough not to take itself too seriously (unlike the awful "Patridge Family" movie from earlier this year). Viewers should be smart enough to follow suit. -- Chris Kaltenbach

At a glance

"The Rainmaker" (8 p.m.-11 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Matt Damon stars in Francis Ford Coppola's appealing 1997 adaptation of John Grisham's bestseller about an underdog attorney. NBC.

"Cops" (8: 30 pm.-9 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh rides along with officers in Jacksonville, Fla., on a crossover episode. Then at 9 p.m., Walsh profiles criminals wanted by Jacksonville authorities. Fox.

"Walker, Texas Ranger" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- Walker (Chuck Norris) and Alex (Sheree J. Wilson) finally tie the knot on a two-hour season finale. CBS.

"Mad TV" (11 p.m.-midnight, WBFF, Channel 45) -- Tyra Banks and "Stark Raving Mad's" Tony Shalhoub guest on the season finale. Fox.

"Saturday Night Live" (11: 30 p.m.-1 a.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- Action star Jackie Chan hosts the season finale, with Kid Rock as musical guest. NBC.

Cable

"Heroes for the Planet" (7 p.m.-8 .m., A&E) -- Golden-voiced Charlotte Church performs during this tribute to environmental causes.

"Cheaters" (9 p.m.-11 p.m., HBO) -- Jeff Daniels, Jena Malone and Paul Sorvino star in this drama based on a real-life 1995 scandal at a public school's academic decathlon. -- FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

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