Hello again fellow fans and friends. This week’s review is of “Katchoo”. It originally aired on October 24th, 1969. The plot for “Katchoo” is standard fare for family sitcoms of the day. This plot could have easily found its way onto some other 1950s or 1960s family show. What makes this episode more interesting is a bit of trivia surrounding it. So, let us begin our review of “Katchoo”; which should have been titled “AaaaAH-Choo!” because that is what Jan’s sneezes sound like.
The episode begins with five of the Brady children, sans Jan, filing down the staircase on their way out the door to school. Greg must really been happy about going to school that day; check out that big smile on this face. He wears it all the way down the stairs. Each child is handed their lunch bag as they head out the door. The Bradys must have killed a lot of trees using six paper bags a day for the kids’ lunches. Reusable lunchboxes were around at this time. With one bag leftover after the kids have left, Alice and Carol must render a mental accounting of who didn’t come down stairs. Enter Jan who is sneezing repeatedly. Jan is late because she had to fetch some tissues due to being all stuffed up and sneezing repeatedly and violently. Carol suspects Jan has the flu and keeps her home for the day. Alice worries how soon it will be before all the other kids catch it. I’ve had the flu and boy does it suck. However, I don’t recall ever having perpetual sneezes while suffering from it.
In the next scene, Carol and Jan enjoy a game of checkers. Checkers seemed to be the most favored game at the Brady house as the checker board made many appearances on the show through the years. Jan is now feeling just fine, yet Carol still suspects she has the flu. Jan is ordered to rest some more as Carol goes back downstairs. Here, she talks by phone to Mike. He says he is coming home for lunch and she states his favorite dish, herself, is waiting for him. That was about as racy as it ever got for the Bradys. After hanging up the phone, Carol and Alice deduce that an allergy must be causing Jan’s misery. They cite a few occasions over the past few days where Jan was sneezing a lot. Alice suspects flour to be the culprit as it was used in the pancakes she prepared. Had Jan never had flour before Mike and Carol married?
To determine the allergen, Carol and Alice bring a tray of allergy suspects upstairs. After trying a few different flowers, Alice’s chief suspect, flour, is tried. I am surprised some joke wasn’t written in here about Jan misunderstanding flour to be another flower. Upon taking a whiff, Jan says it just smells like flour. Does flour even have a smell? For some reason, Alice’s own big whiff of it a few seconds later gives her quite a reaction.
Back downstairs, Alice and Carol jump to the conclusion that Jan’s woes are the result of being allergic to another person in the household. Apparently some lady they read about turned out to be allergic to her husband and they had to divorce. I think that is the only time the word divorce was ever mentioned on the original Brady Bunch. Mike comes home for lunch and goes upstairs to visit Jan. Carol attempts to dismiss the idea of Jan’s being allergic to another person as being far fetched, but soon finds herself eavesdropping on Mike’s visit to Jan.
In the bedroom, Jan’s sneezing fit has resumed with Mike’s entrance. Carol calls Mike out into the hallway. As he walks out, the camera pans down to Tiger sitting beside the bed. In case you had forgotten, the Bradys have a dog. He hasn’t been seen since the pilot episode and was only mentioned once in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. Mike’s exit of the room is accompanied by Tiger’s which brings an immediate halt Jan’s sneezing and stuffiness. This seems to confirm those awful suspicions about Jan’s being allergic to a new family member. Never mind that it could be Mike’s suit, his cologne or aftershave or some other factor, he and Carol decide it’s him Jan is allergic to. Mike and Carol are very disheartened at this development. Alice chimes in telling them to look at the bright side; they could get Jan a gas mask. What?
With this bit of nonsense on Alice’s part, let us segue into the review of another factor in this ludicrous deduction on the part of Mike, Carol and Alice. Mike had all ready left the house when Jan came down sneezing and stuffy on her way to school. If her allergy is only activated when he is present in the room, as just evidenced, why could they not recall the events of just a few hours before? All the adults jumped to the worst and most unlikely conclusion right away.
As they all stand out in the hall pondering a future apart, Jan’s sneezing resumes and they all rejoice. Upon entering the room, Tiger is found on Jan’s bed as she suffers a sneezing fit. What follows here is the logical experimenting process. Tiger is taken out of the room and brought back in to confirm if he is making Jan sneeze. He is. Apparently he must be very close by to cause Jan’s sneezing because she goes from being just fine to stuffy and sneezy almost instantaneously when he is close by.
The second act opens with all three of the adults lamenting Tiger’s pending relocation. Alice ticks Carol off by sharing that Tiger was around before Bobby was. Carol asks a very logical question of why Alice decided to share such news now. Alice says she “just thought of it”. The wise and competent Alice is gone again. Don’t worry dear readers, she will be back. Mike has gone outside to break the bad news to the boys. Bobby’s line during this exchange garnered a chuckle as he asked, “Where’s Jan gonna live?”
The scene that follows brings with it an interesting bit of Brady trivia. The boys give Tiger a farewell bone as they say their goodbyes to him. However, Tiger pays them no mind as he is enraptured by the gifted bone. Here is where the trivia begins. Barry Williams mentions in “Growing Up Brady” that in this scene, the cast learned that the original dog who played Tiger had ended his earthly life the day before. He had been killed upon being struck by a truck on the set. Somebody involved in the production had found a replacement Tiger at the animal shelter and brought him back for filming the next day. The cast noticed how the dog playing Tiger had become much less cooperative that day and were later informed that the dog was in fact a replacement. In this scene, the animal handler had nailed the dog’s collar to the floor and wrapped it around his neck so he would stay on the floor and portray enjoying the bone. Another tidbit of trivia from Barry Williams was that he and the other boys pulled nose hairs to simulate tears for this scene.
The scenes that follow are a montage of dog bathing. Marcia and Cindy wash Tiger first. Jan was told not to assist so her allergy would not be aggravated. In the next scene, the boys come up with the same idea. Peter does suggest a nose transplant, but Bobby says there is no place they’d find another nose. Greg calls them both “dumb heads”. The insults continue. The boys bathe Tiger in his second bath of the day. In the next scene, Mike and Carol bid the boys goodnight and Bobby asks if Jan quits sneezing the next day, will Tiger be able to stay. Mike and Carol agree, but say it will take a miracle. Carol then tries to take on the role of miracle maker as she and Alice hatch their own bathing plan. Bath number three, administered by Alice, is met with increased resistance. This is the first time we see the service porch in a dedicated scene. By the time Mikes give the poor dog his fourth bath, that dogs skin must have been raw. It seems that either Alice or Mike would have noticed that Tiger had been recently bathed when they scrubbed him down. Poor dog.
With the scene on the service porch, that leaves only one portion of the Brady home used on the show that we have yet to see. Can anybody guess what it is?
The final act commences with all the kids coming down the stairs beaming about how clean Tiger is. Well, those beams are quickly dimmed as Jan comes downstairs and begins sneezing. Tiger’s fate is determined here and they all saunter sadly to the kitchen. Mike will be taking Tiger to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. Suddenly Alice remembers Tiger’s new flea powder should be going with him. I guess the Bradys were hanging on to his dog shampoo, dog toys, brushes, food dish and bag of dog food. However, it was important that the flea powder went. Jan volunteers to take it and finds herself in a new sneezing fit. It’s discovered that the allergy is to Tiger’s flea powder, not Tiger himself! The entire family rushes to stop Mike from leaving with the dog. My question here is this: Had Alice sprinkled that flea powder up and down the staircase and by the front door? Why was Jan sneezing repeatedly with Tiger nowhere around at the episode’s beginning, only later to suffer when Tiger, and the flea powder are present? We will never know I suppose.
The episode’s epilogue is just Jan and Tiger sharing a bed. Mike and Carol state they are allowing it as an exception for that night. Despite the original dog actor’s death, this was not the last time we see Tiger. He will appear in future episodes and even into season 2. I guess they found another well trained dog to play the role a few more times. By the time we reach later seasons, only his dog house remains. The story behind this is the Astroturf on the set was burned and the doghouse was placed there to cover up the damage.
As always, your thoughts, comments and critiques are most welcome! Please share them! Also, if you have not joined the Facebook group, Here’s The Story: Every Episode of the Brady Bunch Reviewed, please do so. Please note there is a webpage and Facebook group. The webpage you can like, but the Facebook group has an option to join. Next week, we review “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”. It’s one of the first “battle of the sexes” plots that would dot the Brady landscape over the years. Have a great weekend everybody!