Greetings fellow fans and readers. This week we review “Cindy Brady, Lady”. The episode first aired February 18th, 1972. It is strange that it was not aired a week sooner, as the plot could easily be associated with Valentine’s Day. The episode centers on Cindy’s crisis of youth and does not offer a b-plot. The episode could have easily been consumed with Cindy’s angst at not yet being a teenager, but it quickly moves to another more entertaining direction. The episode includes only one guest star. Let us begin reviewing “Cindy Brady, Lady”.
The episode opens with Cindy and Jan in the bathroom. Jan has her hair done up in a different style she refers to as Exotic Miss. Cindy attempts to mimic the hairdo by pulling up her pony tails. Jan says such a look is silly for Cindy as she is just a child. This chaps Cindy and she angrily exits the bathroom. Jan only shrugs at Cindy’s reaction. The next scene has Marcia downstairs in the family room on the phone with a boy as Cindy listens. She is giving her regrets to the boy on the phone that she can not accompany him to the school dance; she has promised her company to another boy. The boy on the phone is persistent and suggests if he can’t have her as his date for the dance, she will join him for a soda. Marcia, to Cindy’s delight, feigns checking her schedule and agrees to see the boy. Cindy, watching her player of a sister in action, seeks advice on having boys ask her out for sodas. Marcia tells Cindy she is too young for dates and rubs some salt into her jab by calling Cindy a baby. This infuriates Cindy and she throws down her coloring book and storms out of the family room. Cindy angrily enters her bedroom. The scene has an aerial view I don’t recall ever seeing used for the girls’ room before. The new and now more mature Cindy tells her doll that from now on she is going to be an older woman.
The next scene has Cindy in Mike and Carol’s room, adorned in one of Carol’s dresses and with her hair done up completely different. If Cindy managed to get her hair looking like this with no help, that is quite an impressive feat. Maybe she is more grown up than everybody realizes. Mike and Carol enter the room and give the episode’s “talking to”. They encourage Cindy to act her age and enjoy this time of her life for what it is. She is assured her teenage years will arrive in no time. She is not happy with this encouragement. Carol has her take off the dress and Mike reminds her to take off Carol’s shoes. Surprisingly Cindy was not chided for being in her parents’ room or putting on her mother’s clothes. Perhaps she had permission, but Mike and Carol’s reaction upon entering the room doesn’t suggest such.
That evening, with Mike and Carol away, Cindy seeks Alice’s counsel. In a funny moment, Alice says she needs a mirror that “lies a little”. Alice shares how she wants to look younger and Cindy wants to look older. In another funny line, Alice says one can’t fight mother nature and she has bought enough ammo to try. She then goes over the list of creams and a device that make up her nightly beauty regimen. Do any readers know if that “chin hammock” she puts on is a real thing used by women? Granted, my knowledge of ladies cosmetics is very limited, but I’ve never seen nor heard of something like this before. Was this really something used by Hollywood makeup artists when putting a mask on an actor or if some other face alteration was needed? Something I noticed even as a kid in this scene is Alice’s pronunciation of forehead as “far-ed”. I suppose this is how it is said in some parts of the country, but I found it unintentionally funny as a kid.
It is a new day and Mike and Greg are outside doing some car repair/maintenance. Cindy approaches them needing assistance with the word idiosyncrasy’s definition. After helping Cindy, it is questioned what book she is reading. Greg questions the word being in a kid’s book. Cindy shares she is reading “A Farewell To Arms” by Ernest Hemingway. Check out where she finds the word in the book. Had Cindy read that far into the book? Greg suggests she should stick reading things more suited for her age like “Alice In Wonderland” and “The Wizard Of Oz”. Cindy again feels dejected as she is labeled a child and walks off. Mike explains to Greg Cindy’s ire at being younger and unable to live the lives her older sister’s enjoy. Greg does something really cool and thoughtful thereafter and invites Cindy to attend a track meet with him. Cindy declines as she doesn’t want to date her brother. Peter comes in right after with an offer to join him on a hike. Greg lets him know Cindy doesn’t date her own brothers. I could not help but wonder why Cindy would not want to go to the track meet with Greg so she could at least hang around older kids and socialize with them.
The next scene is a funny one. A boy calls for Marcia and Cindy answers the phone. Instead of just taking the message, Cindy begins to suggest that if he has any available friends, they could all go on a double date. Upon seeing Carol over her shoulder, Cindy abruptly ends the call. It was a cute scene that was funny at the same time.
The episode switches gears with the delivery of a package for Cindy. It is a candy bar wrapped in a note from a secret admirer. Alice comments what a big spender the Romeo-incognito is as he laid out ten cents for a candy bar. That would be about sixty cents in 2017 dollars. Any sweet tooth today knows that candy bars cost more than that nowadays. At this point, no longer is this a story of Cindy being down about being young. The story is now about her reacting to a secret love interest. The scenes that follow show further deliveries from Cindy’s secret admirer. Some droopy flowers are found on the doorstep. Bobby is quite excited to share with Greg the secret admirer has left Cindy a hair ribbon. Bobby seems really jazzed up by this. We will soon learn that not only was Mike Lookinland a fine actor, so was Bobby Brady! Peter finds a ring left outside for Cindy. As he and Carol marvel over it, he questions if it is really a diamond. Would Peter really ponder such? One can imagine he would immediately call one of his siblings a “dumb-dumb” or something like that if they asked the same question. In the next scene Marcia and Jan enter with another delivery from Cindy’s secret admirer. All this secret attention has matured her to the point that she will be keeping the correspondence private and not sharing it with her sisters, despite their wanting details.
The secret admirer is revealed in the next scene. Cindy gets a phone call from him. When asked when they can meet, he tries to prevent this from happening by saying he could only do it when Cindy is busy with her ballet lesson. Unbeknownst to him, the ballet teacher is sick and Cindy is available to meet at 3pm the following day. As this scene plays out, the camera slowly zooms out and it is revealed that the secret admirer is none other than Bobby, trying to do Cindy a good turn. In a funny line, Bobby says, “All the trouble I went through just to get myself in trouble.” As mentioned earlier, Bobby Brady is quite a good actor himself. His faux excitement over the delivery of the hair ribbon when showing it to Greg seemed 100% genuine, especially as it was shared with somebody other than Cindy.
I can think of only two other TV shows where a fake secret admirer was part of the plot: The Simpsons and Saved By The Bell. Readers, if you recall another, please share. Bobby attempts to pull the same maneuver used on the Simpsons, but his actions do not end well. He writes Cindy one final note saying he is moving to Europe. He is kind enough to lay out a final dime and include one more candy bar. As he goes outside to put the farewell note in the mailbox, the door shuts itself, locking him out. Mike and Carol hear the noise and Mike goes down to investigate. Bobby is caught. Upon being interrupted, we see Mike was reading New Feature magazine. A Google search of this title produced no results. As I think about this scene, it saddens me to think how Mike and Carol being disturbed in the bedroom would likely not be so innocent as their reading was interrupted on a prime-time sitcom today. Even some sitcoms that include children of all ages in the cast are full of innuendo and lewd commentary. This subject could be an entire blog in itself though.
Mike and Carol sit Bobby down for the whole truth. Carol appreciates what Bobby was trying to do for Cindy. However, she also explains how giving Cindy and imaginary beau was only setting her up for a major letdown. Bobby must tell Cindy the truth in the morning. He asks if he may write her a note and slip under the door. Carol’s reaction to Bobby’s humorous question is funny too.
The next morning, Bobby asks his brothers how to share bad news. They suggest it be done as quickly as possible. Over in the girls’ room, Marcia and Jan build up Cindy meeting her secret admirer. Bobby enters and makes an effort to share with Cindy he is the secret beau, but can’t do it.
Bobby conjures up yet another ruse to resolve the ruse he already created. It appears he and his friend Tommy trade goods regularly. They start out the current day’s dickering with a swap of a rabbit’s foot for a pencil sharpener. Bobby then works in services to trade for cold hard cash, or coinage. Tommy is offered fifty cents, a la a Kennedy half-dollar, to be Cindy’s date that afternoon. These coins have been largely out of use in my lifetime. In 1972, that coin had the buying power of about $3.00 in today’s money.
The fifty cent coin has Tommy, with more droopy flowers in hand, knocking on the Bradys’ door proclaiming to be Cindy’s secret admirer. Cindy meets him wearing a nice dress and with her hair done up. In an overly formal tone, she tells him, “At last I have the pleasure of making your acquaintance.” Cindy points out she is wearing the ribbon he gave her. Tommy is initially confused but then “recognizes” it. She then suggests a breath of fresh air will do them good. While passing through the kitchen she hands Alice the flowers and lets her know they will be wanting some refreshments soon.
Outside, Cindy gives Tommy a tour of the backyard. She states this is where she used to play when she was a little girl. She then asks for Tommy’s thoughts on Ernest Hemingway. He asks if that is a kid who goes to their school. This made me chuckle out loud. Upon Cindy sharing she is too grown up and mature for the likes of swings and a teeter-totter, Tommy declares the date over. Cindy is too grown up for him. At the prospect of losing her gentleman caller, Cindy reveals her true self. She reveals her love of swings, tree climbing and the teeter-totter. The two find common ground in that they both collect lizards. With the dynamic of their meeting changed, they both begin enjoying themselves. Tommy declares this the best date he’s ever had. It’s also the only date he has ever had. Alice brings out banana splits for the pair to enjoy. In another funny bit, Tommy declares he loves banana splits almost as much as he does lizards. Alice says no lizard splits will be served.
Tommy Jamison was played by Eric Shea. He has a busy acting career as a youth, but his final IMDB credit is dated 1978. He appeared in the feature film “Your’s, Mine and Ours” which has been suggested as the inspiration for The Brady Bunch. He was also in the 70’s disaster flick, “The Poseidon Adventure”. He was a regular on the series Anna and the King and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. IMDB states he was an electrical contractor as of 2006. No other updated information could be found about him.
As Cindy’s date takes a successful turn, Mike and Carol arrive home and question the boy outside with Cindy. Alice shares he is the mystery man. Mike and Carol find Bobby in the family room, observing his successful ruse in action. Bobby is satisfied that it only cost him fifty cents to avoid breaking the bad news to Cindy. Mike and Carol are not happy with Bobby’s actions. Tommy then comes to the door and says he is returning Bobby’s money. Bobby initially thinks he is backing out of the deal, but he is not. He says Cindy is real neat and he will play with her without being paid. With Bobby’s money returned, he shares with Mike and Carol how it was a happy ending for all concerned. Carol says she is not so sure that Bobby’s ending will be happy. With this the episode closes, leaving unknown the punishment (if any) of Bobby’s continued deception and whether or not Cindy learned the truth.
The epilogue is brief. Cindy, content with being a kid again, comes running into the kitchen. She is distressed because she has lost the lizard Tommy gave her. She finds Alice distressed too. Alice is not distressed over the lost lizard, but because she has found the lizard. She is standing on the bar between the kitchen and family room and directs Cindy toward the lost reptile.
“Cindy Brady, Lady” is one of the better episodes that focus on the two youngest Bradys. I have shared before how I found some of the episodes that centered on Bobby and Cindy less entertaining than those focusing on the older kids. As the two youngest got older, their ages allowed for stories with more depth. Other than Bobby’s ambiguous fate for not obeying Mike and Carol, it is a solid episode with some funny moments. Next week we will review “My Fair Opponent”. Have a great weekend!