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'Documentary Now!' season premiere fan recap: Hello, Little Vivvy!

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Sandy Passage” | Aired Aug 20, 2015

The new IFC mockumentay/doc parody series, Documentary Now!, acts as an series with in a series, including built-in commercials in the style of Saturday Night Live and Portlandia. The brilliant and beautiful Dame Helen Mirren hosts the six-part comedy series, starring Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. The series spoofs a different classic documentary or style of documentaries each week. If you are a film nerd, get ready to have a full on geek-gasm, because Documentary Now! is wickedly funny, intelligent, and a treat to watch.

The premiere episode of Documentary Now! spoofs the infamous 1975 documentary Grey Gardens, filmed by the Maysles Brothers. In the original doc, the Maysles Brothers follow a mother and daughter—once beautiful and rich New York City socialites who now live in a decaying home in the country. In the Documentary Now! parody, the Fein Brothers film Little Vivvy (Bill Hader) and Big Vivvy (Fred Armisen), a mother and daughter who were once New York City socialites, and document their strange lives in a decaying home in the country.

The Fein Brothers follow Little Vivvy around the home, while Big Vivvy is ever so present in the background complaining. The brothers learn about Little Vivvy’s fashion sense.


Little Vivvy discusses her ex-lovers and her dreams of being a chorus girl—although she talked way too much to be a chorus girl. Little Vivvy could have really made something of herself if she didn’t have to leave the city to take care of Big Vivvy. Now Little Vivvy is husbandless, lonely, and lacking a career in show business. None of this seems to bother Big Vivvy, who spends most of her time either lying in bed or sitting in a chair petting cats or swatting flies.

In a moment almost ripped right from Grey Gardens, Little Vivvy shows the brothers her dance moves. Little Vivvy performs some kind of dance in the house’s foyer while waving an American flag.


It was beautiful, and Bill Hader has a nice pair of legs!

Things get interesting for the Fein Brothers when the police show up at the decaying house to question Little and Big Vivvy about Anthony—their previous grocery boy, who is now missing. The Vivvys wave off the policemen and go about their business, feeding a bunch of cats, swatting files, and dancing with American flags. The brothers become more and more suspicious of the mother and daughter when the police seem to be staking out the house. Also during this time, Barry—the current grocery boy—goes missing.

The brothers decide to take it upon themselves to investigate Little and Big Vivvy, because, hey, wouldn’t this make an even better documentary? While snooping in the middle of the night, the brothers find some pretty strong evidence not only linking the Vivvys to the disappearance of Anthony, but also to all of Little Vivvy’s past lovers!

The documentary quickly turns into a horror film when Little Vivvy finds the two brothers snooping around. She takes them down to the basement where, while Little Vivvy looks for a photo, the brothers unlock a door and find Barry and a bunch of dead bodies. The brothers try to make a run for it, but Big Vivvy stops them. The mother and daughter murder both brothers.

The documentary ends by stating that the Fein Brothers were never found; this film was actually purchase at a yard sale.

A deadpan Dame Helen Mirren thanks us for watching and reminds us to tune in next week to celebrate Documentary Now!

Next week, the doc-parody series will take on the documentary style of Vice.

Documentary Now! airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on IFC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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