Hello again! Thank you for joining me this week as we review “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”. It originally aired on October 31, 1969. As a kid, I remember finding this episode to be aggravating. Perhaps that was because I was biased toward the boys’ plight of sharing their clubhouse. As an adult, I found it irritating as the entire episode is so full of contention amongst the Bradys and everybody seems to be at their worst. Moving can be stressful and the episode opens with mention of making room for Carol and the girls’ things, so maybe we can attribute the poor attitudes to that. Let us begin our review of “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”.
The episode opens with a shot of the harmonious Brady children. Peter pushes Cindy and Jan pushes Bobby on the swings. Greg and Marcia stand six feet apart and toss a basketball back and forth. This seems like a very simple and lame game for kids their age to be playing. This would have been a good chance to have the checkerboard make its appearance on this episode. Inside, Mike and Carol are enjoying breakfast. Mike pours Alice her own glass of milk and raises a toast to the paradise that has been created. Alice is skeptical of Mike’s proclamation. She knows that dark times lay ahead. Our wise and competent Alice is back.
Upstairs, Alice’s grim prediction begins to materialize. Mike and Carol discuss how Carol and the girls’ things have arrived from storage and their space is shrinking. Their first disagreement is over what defines one-half of the closet. A high heeled shoe is the dividing point. This is quite a childish argument for Mike and Carol. Why not hang up all their clothes and if Carol’s take a bit more space than Mike’s, so be it? If Mike’s clothes take up an inch or two more than Carols, no big deal right? No, they must have a 50/50 split! Enter the boys who are unhappy at being tasked with carrying boxes, or cartons, of the girls’ things upstairs. Mike tells them to suck it up and come back to trash the empty cartons after delivering the girls’ things.
In the girls’ room, Jan and Marcia handle storage space needs in a more adult fashion than Mike and Carol. Closet space is traded for an extra dresser drawer. The boys then enter with the girls’ cartons and have a really lousy attitude about it. The girls’ attitudes are not much better and contention rises yet again. Upon exiting the room, Greg calls the girls “dragon ladies”. What follows is Alice walking into Mike and Carol’s room to retrieve the empty cartons Mike had told the boys to collect. Alice says the boys decided to “walk off the job”.
The next scene opens with a shot of the boys’ never before seen clubhouse. This ramshackle excuse for construction looks to have been taken right off the set of The Little Rascals or from a homeless camp. I find it hard to believe the sons of an architect constructed this or that he would allow it to be erected in his yard. Inside the clubhouse, Mike gives the boys a good talking to, reminding them how they made clear they wanted him to marry Carol. Peter mentions that the boys said that three months ago. For the first time, some sort of loose timeline has been established. It was either a very hastily planned wedding and they have been living in the new house for three months or they’ve been living in the house a very short time after a month or two of wedding planning, and a whole lot has happened since then.
More closet drama opens the next scene. Carol is deceitfully moving the shoe around to distribute the closet space in her favor. Alice enters and announces more trouble brewing amongst the kids. It is now the girls’ who have a lousy attitude. Marcia and Greg argue over bathroom space. It looks like the girls’ products, which they’d naturally have more of, have spilled over the consume the entire bathroom counter. Greg says he can’t even find his toothbrush. Jan has decided the cardboard sign forbidding entry to the boy’s clubhouse would look better hanging on her bedroom door. Peter is rightfully hacked off at this. Downstairs, Cindy has taken to wearing Bobby’s clothes. While she looks cute a button, she still should have asked before donning another person’s clothes. Back in the bathroom, it’s Greg who feels compelled to take something of Marcia’s as he begins spraying her “Woman of Love” perfume and takes off running with it.
Back in Mike and Carol’s room, a dictionary has been brought into to help settle the closet situation. I can imagine how this scene would have irked Robert Reed. I can not see any reasonable adult pulling out a dictionary to clearly define the word “share” to another adult. Maybe Mike and Carol should have went to pre-marital counseling if things must go to this extreme between them. The arguments among the children spill into the bedroom with Alice in tow. An awkward line on the part of Mike has him asking Alice “what do you call this?” Alice replies, “Paradise, remember?”
This results in another talking to from Mike, this time for the entire family. He says from now on, everybody will “share and share alike” and the Bradys are “all for one and one for all”. The parents lead by example and settle the absurd issue of the closet. With this issue settled, a new one arises. The girls have taken up residence in the boys clubhouse and chaos is the result. Inside clubhouse, the girls have added curtains to the windows and rugs to the floor. Mike feels the girls should not be allowed in the clubhouse and Carol disagrees. As this disagreement begins, the kids are evacuated from the clubhouse. In this episode’s laugh out loud moment, Cindy tells Alice, “I want to see them fight.” With the kids gone, the disagreement continues. After proclaiming share and share alike, Mike says that doesn’t apply to the clubhouse. He states that men need a place of their own to go to. Carol asks if the situation were reversed and the girls had a dollhouse the boys wanted to play with, she would not object. Mike says if the boys wanted to play with a dollhouse, he’d take them to a psychiatrist. That line would be politically incorrect in today’s world. This was 1969 and times had not yet changed. The disagreement continues and Carol asks Mike to name one thing that men are entitled to that women aren’t. His answer is”beards”, which garners the laugh track to kick in. Carol replies, “That’s not funny”. After this strange bit of editing, she beings to cry and Mike says paradise has sure taken a beating.
In the scenes that follow Carol encourages the girls to compromise and Mike says something similar to the boys. Things seem resolved until Mike and Carol discuss their discussions with the kids and find that nothing has been resolved at all. The things Carol told the girls to tolerate, Mike finds insulting as he doesn’t see those things as problems. This scene was fairly well written when compared with Mike asking Alice “what do you call this?” upon the arguing kids entering the room earlier in the episode.
Alice becomes the “go to” person in the Brady home as the elder members of the family seek resolution. She declines to give both Greg and Marcia her thoughts on the matter. Carol tries to seek the same and as she is giving Carol the same neutral reply, Mike enters the room asking for Alice’s “helmmmmm”. Alice exits the room and Carol calls Mike out for seeking Alice’s advice. Mike says he wasn’t asking for her help, but her helmet, since he is in the National Guard. Well, after one well written scene just a few moments ago, we get this nonsense. Mike has never mentioned, nor will he ever mention again, being in the National Guard. Even if he was, why on earth would Alice have an army helmet of her own? The whole exchange is just dumb on many levels.
Alice sheds tears while cutting onions and either listening to or watching a soap opera where Sandra tells Lance that she wants equality in the home. This motivates Alice to intervene after all. She shares this idea with Carol who decides to take action. Alice gives herself kisses while gazing at herself in the mirror to congratulate herself on a job well done.
Outside, Carol and the girls have taken to building the girls a clubhouse of their own. With
the way it is going, the girls clubhouse will rival the boys in poor looks and poor construction. There is a brief comedic montage where nails are spilled, Carol is struck with a board and ruins a saw. Mike and the boys enjoy this from the family room window. Mike states it will be the first ever building condemned before it was even built. The girls attempt to erect a “wall” and it falls. Alice says in horror, that the board “almost hit Cindy!” Upon seeing this, Mike claims this whole debacle isn’t funny anymore and they all go out to help. I replayed the scene and the peril Cindy suffered was that the falling “wall” almost brushed against her arm; a nasty cut from a nail or splinter could have occurred here. Upon the boys taking over the construction, Carol admits her and the girls attempting to build a clubhouse was all a scheme. The womenfolk are sent to make lemonade while the menfolk build the clubhouse. The entire episode’s cries for equality are silenced here.
What follows is a scene of the Bradys, happy again, gazing upon the girls’ new clubhouse. Compared to the boys’ ramshackle box, the girls have a palace. The new structure is 100 times better looking and constructed. As they all ooh and ahh over the girls’ clubhouse, a loud creaking and clacking is heard as the boys’ clubhouse collapses. Greg asks Bobby where he got more nails to finish building the new clubhouse when tasked to do so. Bobby says he took them out of their clubhouse. This is some of the laziest nonsense I’ve ever seen written. First off, Bobby pulled a bunch of nails out of the old clubhouse unnoticed? Second, nails don’t pull out of boards straight; when he brought the nails to the other boys, I can’t imagine nobody noticed they were bent and even the greatest of carpenters can’t use bent nails. The third absurdity is that Bobby managed to pull out the nails and leave the clubhouse erect. The contention returns as Greg claims ownership and invokes “share and share alike” over the girls’ clubhouse. The final resolution of this must have been to allow no clubhouse at all as we never see either one again in the Brady backyard.
The epilogue for this episode is the three adults in the kitchen commenting how the kids are getting along again. They are all in the family room watching TV together and Mike declares it will be smooth sailing from here on out. A fight over what to watch erupts off camera and he says the smooth sailing has sprung a leak. I know I have seen the family watch TV in the living room before and my first thought was why didn’t the girls just go into the other room. Then I recalled this was 1969 and it’s possible the TV was rolled back and forth between the rooms. I hope you will share your thoughts on “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”. I am glad to have this review out of the way as this one numbers among my least favorite episodes. Next week, we review “Kitty Karry-All Is Missing”. Have a great weekend!