Category Archives: partridge family

Family Band: The Cowsills Story

Family Band: The Cowsills Story ~ I would wager most of the folks reading this have zero idea who the Cowsills are, and I also think those that do know, only know the footnote.

The Cowsills did “Hair,” the title track from the Broadway show, the theme to “Love American Style,” and oh yeah, they were the inspiration for the Partridge Family – literally the real thing. Again, just a footnote. That’s pretty much all I knew as well until I watched this great documentary on Showtime.

The doc, done through interviews with the Cowsills, and their contemporaries, as well as footage of the time, tells the tale of the family band’s meteoric rise and eventual fall into oblivion. There’s a tragic side in the form of the manipulative and abusive father. It doesn’t end well, probably why you don’t remember them, but you should.

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The Initiation of Sarah 2006

The Initiation of Sarah ~ The original came at the tail end of the great ABC telemovies of the 1970s. In it, Kay Lenz, who I always mixed up with Susan Dey, plays the Carrie part in this Carrie rip-off. Morgan Fairchild is chief tormentor and Shelley Winters the witchy housemother mentor. There were a few of these Carrie wannabes in the 1970s, The Spell with Susan Meyers from “James at 15” was another, that aped the mousy scapegoat girl, who also happens to have telekinetic powers, flipping out in her tormentors. Sarah took place at a college sorority as opposed to high school.

The 2006 version is a re-imagining of the 1978 movie of the week done for, believe it or not, the ABC Family Channel. Well, at least they’re keeping it in the ‘family.’ Yeah, I know, sorry. Here, Morgan Fairchild returns as the snooty mom of two girls about to enter college, and join her old exclusive sorority. Lindsay, played by a post-“Firefly” Summer Glau and mousey cutter Sarah played by Mika Boorem of Blue Crush, are, as one would expect, polar opposites.

It is essentially the same story, with a decidedly non-fun Jennifer Tilly in the Shelley Winters role, but it has become unnecessarily complicated, almost as if someone was watching nothing but “Buffy” and old soap operas for a couple weeks straight. The warring sororities are the guardians of good and evil, people pretend to be other people to sleep with them, and it gets worse from there.

I wanted to like this one, I really did. It could have been the good old campy fun the original was but just took itself too seriously, and too much ABC Family as well, adding a crapload of teenage melodrama to the mix. Avoid and look for the original.