The United States is currently experiencing an outbreak of measles, but rather than concentrate on efforts to control the disease, some anti-vaccination groups are taking advantage of the attention to spread – pun intended – their own message.
And it’s meant that something as innocent and simple as an episode of The Brady Bunch has become collateral damage.
In the 1969 episode Is There a Doctor in the House?, the entire Brady clan falls ill with measles, and, in typical Brady fashion, the topic is treated lightly – and everyone’s back in good health by the end of the episode.
Mum Carol describes symptoms as “a slight temperature, a lot of dots and a great big smile,” and as the kids succumb one by one, there’s great deal of jolliness – including an attempt by Bobby to colour in Cindy’s measles spots green.
The children are treated with bedrest, and their measles are resolved by the end of the episode. It’s a very Brady measles outbreak indeed; and one that doesn’t reflect the gravity of the reality of the significant risk the disease poses to those who aren’t able to be vaccinated from it.
But apparently, it’s evidence enough for those with an anti-vaccination agenda to demonstrate the world’s taking measles too seriously.
Somewhat unfortunately, eldest sister Marcia (Maureen McCormick), also says at some point in the episode, “If you have to get sick, sure can’t beat the measles.”
She uses a joyful tone – which is the tone the character usually speaks in; but it’s reason enough for anti-vax groups to turn the line into this meme:
The episode has also inspired other anti-vaccination memes which downplay the risk of measles and the need to use the available vaccination: