Episode 9: Career Fever

Greetings once again readers, family and friends.  Today we review “Career Fever”.  This episode first aired on November 17th, 1972.  It is an episode with a believable story.  The story may be a bit too believable as the episode’s pacing is slower than most Brady Bunch stories.  The episode’s b-plot of Peter and Jan seeking to someday work in the medical field might have made for a better a-plot while Greg’s lack of desire to be an architect a good subplot.  Let us begin our review of “Career Fever”.

open

The story opens with Mike arriving home from work while Greg helps Marcia with her geometry homework.  Marcia laments never needing to use what is learned in geometry open2while Greg defends the high school course stating it keeps the mind sharp.  Both make a good point and Marcia’s thoughts on the matter are those that will remain with students as long as algebra and geometry are taught in schools.  Marcia notices a composition Greg wrote and got an A on.  As she looks it over, Mike passes by and hears her commenting on it.  Seeking to know more about it, he enters the room and Marcia shares the composition with him.  In it, Greg has written that he hopes to someday be an architect like his father.  Mike could not be more proud.  He references Greg working at the office during the “last vacation”, but did not know he did so as he was interested in being an architect.  My first thought here was he was referencing Greg working at his office in “Call Me Irresponsible”, but that was not during a vacation.  Mike is so proud of Greg’s ambition that he will not allow him to get an word in as he gushes over Greg’s career choice.  However, we soon learn Mike’s pride is unfounded as Greg really has no interest in being an architect.  He only wrote the composition stating he wanted to be an architect as he lacked any other subject matter for the assignment.

careers

Greg’s career choice has Mike in an excellent mood later that evening.  Greg’s fictional essay has Peter and Jan thinking about their own career goals.   The middle siblings share with Mike and Carol that Peter someday wants to be a doctor and Jan a nurse.  Why Jan did not aspire to be a doctor like Peter is not made known.  Perhaps the episode’s writers were still of that old mindset that limited women to being nurses and men being doctors.  The pair are quite excited to be on this career path.  Jan says they will cure all kinds of terrific diseases.  They set about retrieving Peter’s chemistry set to get to work.  In one of the episode’s weak attempts at humor Carol yells to them as they leave she doesn’t want any green hairy things growing in the refrigerator again.

 

Greg seeks to end Mike’s hopes and dreams by intentionally designing a bad structure.  Upon completing it, he takes it downstairs to Mike in his den.  Mike is perplexed and even more so when Greg asks, “Isn’t that a great house?”  The home Greg has designed has a moat and is both a house and a boat.  One must question what Mike sought to accomplish having Greg left to his own devices to draw up plans for a building.  Why were they even doing this?  Greg is still in high school.  Did Mike say, “Greg, I am so proud you want to be an architect, but you must start designing some buildings right away.”  Mike says Greg’s bad design shows potential and hard work.

poorgreg

Up in their bedroom, Mike explains to Carol he could not destroy Greg’s confidence by telling him how bad his design was.  How good of a design could a teenager with no training in architectural design accomplish?  Mike then realizes Greg was working without the proper tools or instruction.  He will see that Greg has both when he makes his next design.  Again, Greg is in high school!  If he really was interested in being an architect, he would have at least four years of college to learn how to be an architect.  Let the boy finish algebra 2 and calculus first!  In this scene, even Carol realizes what a lousy design Greg has made, so maybe it is really bad even to the layman.  I wish we’d have gotten at least one close up of Greg’s poor effort.

oldcrick

Peter and Jan’s self study medical training continues out on the patio.  They are looking up the names of random ailments and making a list of them.  Among those discovered in the medical books is nasopharyngitis acute “caridohol”.  The spelling of “caridohol” is very likely to be wrong here.  A Google search found nasopharyngitis, but not “caridohol”.  After Jan says having such a disease would be awful, she asks what it is.  Peter says the ailment is a cold with a runny nose and adds the great thing about being a doctor is that he/she can make any illness sound awful.  Attempts at humor like the exchange just mentioned pepper this episode, but never really deliver a good laugh.

oldcrick2

Alice comes out on the patio and finds herself in pain as she bends over to sweep.  Peter and Jan jump at the opportunity for some real life medical diagnosing.  Alice describes where the pain is while Jan holds up an anatomy drawing.  Peter says Alice’s source of pain is too high be her liver.  Alice replies that maybe her liver is in the wrong place.  Granted, Peter is nowhere near old enough to have any kind of serious medical knowledge, but this line just sounds like another weak attempt to make this episode funny.  The scene does end with a mild chuckle as Peter says there is a bright side to Alice having a fatal disease;  if she has a fatal disease, she will never get it again.

bobbycindy

Career fever strikes the two youngest Bradys as well.  Bobby and Cindy share with Alice their career dreams.  Bobby seeks to be an astronaut and Cindy a model.  Bobby wants to be the first man on Mars.  Who would have thought in 1972 that over 40 years later, Mars would only have been reached by robotic research machines?  Much like the other Brady kids, preparations for future careers start early.  Bobby wants to eat only powdered food going forward and Cindy a healthy diet to help her maintain her figure.

 

The next scene begins with Marcia helping Cindy with her modeling posture.  Another weak joke is tossed in as Marcia instructs Cindy to walk through the kitchen.  Cindy says that will be hard as she must pass the cookie jar.  Greg then enters the room and has decided it is time to tell Mike he does not want to be an architect.  Mike enters and talks over Greg as he gifts him his first drafting kit.  With such a fine and thoughtful gift, Greg is unable to break his father’s heart.

voiceover2

As Greg puts his new tools to work in Mike’s den, his father’s word echo in his mind.  They are similar to those in the previous scene, but not exact.  This may be the first time a voiceover like this was used since “A Fistful of Reasons” when Mike and Carol’s words came back to haunt them when they spoke to Buddy’s parents.  Cindy enters with a snack for Greg and lets him know she isn’t to disturb him.  In a semi-funny line, she asks if she can ask one more question without disturbing him and questions why he hasn’t drawn anything.  He answers that he has certain problems which prompts Cindy to leave so she won’t disturb him.

spaceman

The next scene is one that likely resurfaced after a few decades of syndication cuts.  Alice goes outside to hang laundry and finds Bobby doing astronaut isolation training in the dog house.  He has a radio and toy space helmet to help him in preparing for an astronaut career.

tools

Back in Mike’s den, Greg laments to Marcia that Mike has given him some “beautiful tools” and now expects a terrific drawing.  It occurs to him to produce an even worse drawing than he did before.  Mike will then know for certain Greg should not be an architect.  If it took Greg this long to think of that plan, maybe he is not cut out for any career involving creative thinking.  What has been Greg doing at the drawing board all of this time?  Pondering what nice drawing he should now do since he has some drafting tools?

dying1

Upstairs, Peter continues to study the medical book and makes a disturbing discovery.  He has found he suffers the symptoms of the disease he is reading about! While he can’t pronounce it, he tells Jan he has the symptoms of shortness of breath, sore fingers and facial discoloration.  He thought the sore fingers were from playing baseball without a mitt.  What?  Unless it is a Wiffle Ball he was playing with, the idea of anybody playing a serious baseball game sans-a-mitt is beyond absurd.  He’d be suffering broken bones, not sore fingers.  The book states Peter has six months to live.  He will break the news to Mike and Carol and tell them to look on the bright side, they will still have five other kids.

book

The book Peter and Jan study appears to be only a prop.  A Google search of “Diagnosis of Disease” by James P. Cabe, MD produced no results.  A scan of the closing credits did not list the name James Cabe.  I was thinking the prop might have been subtle nod to a person working offstage.

dying2

Peter goes downstairs to break the news of his impending death.  He beats around the bush asking about a will and says he doesn’t want his new skateboard to fall into the wrong hands.  He hands over the medical book so Mike and Carol may read the bad news for themselves.  Carol notices that two pages were stuck together; Peter read the symptoms of one disease and the diagnosis of another.  The fatal disease Peter doesn’t have can only be contracted after being bitten by a hyena or a bandicoot after it has eaten the bark of “certain trees” in India and South Africa.  Let’s hope any doctor looking to diagnose the fatal disease knows what trees are among those “certain trees”.  Peter had read the symptoms for Anacardiaceae, aka poison ivy.  Friends, I have never had poison ivy, but have suffered poison oak many times.  Boy does it SUCK.  However, my symptoms never included shortness of breath, sore fingers and facial discoloration.  I can’t imagine poison ivy to be very different or include any of those symptoms.  As I watched this scene, I thought a much better episode/story might have been Peter thinking he was knocking at death’s door instead of Greg not wanting to be an architect.

 

As Mike and Carol retire for the evening, Greg brings his second completed drawing.  Mike praises it saying it shows “tremendous effort”.   Outside in the hall, Greg sorrowfully repeats Mike’s praise back to Marcia.  She encourages Greg to tell Mike the truth.  Back in the bedroom, Carol asks Mike if Greg is hopeless as an architect.  Mike replies what they have here is “Frank Lloyd Wrong”.  It was a funny line.  Carol then says, “You know Mike, you really haven’t overseen either of Greg’s attempts, you just left him to his own devices from the start.  Maybe if you actually instructed him some, his third attempt might be better.”  No, Carol does not say this, but one must question what they expected from a teenager’s first attempts at architectural design.  Is architecture a two strikes and your out profession?  Greg comes back into the bedroom and confesses to Mike he doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps.  Mike has no problem with it and the episode ends happily.

epilogue

The epilogue has Bobby and Cindy revisiting their career choices.  Instead of a healthy diet for Cindy and powdered food for Bobby, they request Alice obtain sugary and fattening foods from the market.  Bobby now wants to be a professional football player and Cindy a lady wrestler.  Alice gives a chuckle worthy reply to their list of sweets by asking, “What do you want for dessert?”

Thank you friends for reviewing “Career Fever” with me.  This episode was a rough review that I really had to power through.  I could not recall much about this episode before I watched it and now I know why.  For me, it was quite dull.  It seemed to portray a day or two in the life at the Brady house.  Most other Brady plots could begin with a family member years down the road saying, “Do you remember the time when…..”  This one just doesn’t have that.  Greg b-essing a composition about being architect that pleases Mike just doesn’t make for an engaging plot.  Peter and Jan’s medical ambitions, diagnosing family members with this or that, playing with a chemistry set and creating havoc that way would have made for a much more fun episode.  Perhaps your own feelings differ from mine.  Love or it hate it, I’d enjoy your thoughts on this episode.  Next week, we review one of my favorites and what I think is among the best of the series, “Goodbye, Alice, Hello”.  The two episodes that follow are also very good ones.  Thanks again for your loyal readership!  See you next week.

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Author: bradybunchreviewed

I am a lifelong fan of the Brady Bunch. I love it for it's wholesomeness, it's absurdity and how it serves as a time capsule for a time that really never existed, but so many of us wish it did. The show was off the air by the time I was born, but I enjoyed it daily at 4:35 PM for years on Atlanta's Superstation 17, TBS. Through the years I've enjoyed the Brady Bunch spinoffs (however short lived), revivals in pop culture, books, reunions, movies and spoofs. Now, I am excited to be revisiting the show after nearly a decade's hiatus from viewing. I am a parent now, so there may be some new perspectives never before experienced. I hope my fellow fans, lovers and haters alike of the Brady Bunch will join me on this blogging adventure and share your own thoughts and observations.

17 thoughts on “Episode 9: Career Fever”

  1. Thanks for another great review of a so-so episode. BTW, this originally aired November, not October, 17, 1972.

    When I was younger, I loved drawing house plans, especially those of houses that I thought would be more fun than the house where I lived. I remember writing a book report on Frank Lloyd Wright when I was in 7th grade, and in childhood I remember the “Frank Lloyd Wrong” joke from this episode more than anything else about it. However, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t pursue this line of study. I work in IT (a profession that didn’t really exist when I was young, at least not prominently), and much later, in adulthood, I heard from a man who’d been an architect that the profession involves such college studies as Statics & Thermodynamics. I never liked heavy technical subjects. Much later my manager told me he originally pursued studying architecture as a career, but he worked long hours on projects and also saw heavy competition in the field. He switched to IT as a result and has done pretty well with it.

    I also don’t recall seeing Bobby’s scene in the backyard. I do remember the opening of THE BRADY BUNCH [VARIETY] HOUR including a B&W picture of Bobby as an astronaut in Mike L’s opening montage and figured it was either a publicity picture or yet another Bobby dream sequence that I missed seeing.

    As I remember stating elsewhere before, I thought it strange that Greg went from HS graduate not knowing what he wanted to do or study next to fully-practicing OB-Gyn (in THE BRADY BRIDES) in just 6 1/2 years. He went through this probably as fast as Doogie Houser, MD. Of course, similar to how kids tend to grow up fast over long-term shows like soap operas, Greg got to skip all the years of undergraduate study, med school, internship & residency and go right into practice, delivering a baby (Lloyd Schwartz’s wife played the mother.) at Marcia & Jan’s double wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wrong. You’re thinking of the pilot episode of “The Bradys” in 1990, when Bobby gets married. His bride’s sister goes into labor during the wedding, and Greg delivers her baby. But even in the “Brady Brides, ” it seemed too soon for him to have already been through med school.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, thinking back I remember Barry Williams telling the story about how Robert Reed insulted the acting of the pregnant woman, and Lloyd mentioned that she [the actress] was his wife. I haven’t seen THE BRADYS premiere in a long time but do plan to dub it to DVD soon now that I’ve found its tape. I remember now that Greg thought he could’ve been more useful to his brother, Bobby, if he’d instead pursued a specialty where he could’ve helped w/ Bobby’s injury, but his delivery helps him realize that his OB-Gyn specialty was also useful. As you also mentioned though, he was already practicing at the time of THE BRADY BRIDES, which was too soon for 6 1/2 years out of HS.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just dubbed my tape copy of THE BRADYS premiere to DVD, and I have a lot of observations about it that I may hold off until Michael can give it the definitive review eventually (maybe sometime long after he reviews every episode of the original series). I’m not sure if I’d seen it in the past 28 years & 1 month since CBS originally aired it.
        I can add here that Lloyd’s wife, Barbara Mallory, didn’t play Bobby’s fiancee/wife’s sister but another patient of Dr. Greg’s. I’m not sure if she was actually pregnant at this time, but she did have 2 sons with Lloyd Schwartz, and they’re both grown now.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Greg becomes a doctor in 6 years while Cindy is still in college up to her mid to late 20s. Guess all those “stupid Cindy” moments set her behind! Too funny!

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Thanks for commenting Jon H. I will correct the date in the blog! Thanks for pointing that out. When I was in middle school, I aspired to be an architect. That was mainly because I liked to draw and I heard they made a lot of money. By high school, my ambitions changed many times over. I was never a committed enough student of math to have done very well at it anyway. I remember an episode of M*A*S*H when Trapper says he originally set out to be an architect, but couldn’t handle the math. When I saw this, I could not help but think that medical school’s prerequisites would require some serious math studies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review as usual! I sympathize with you, this is not an easy episode to sit through, let alone write a review for it. Great job though!

    1) Your idea of making Peter and Jan’s story the “A” plot and Greg’s the “B” plot is interesting. When I viewed this episode this week, my initial reactions were: (1) ignoring the 3-part Hawaii episodes, this is probably the first truly “bad” episode in season four. Prior stand-alone episodes had some fun thrown into them, even if just for the cast (e.g. Marcia and Carol performing). My other thought was (2) These “B” plots just might be the worst I’ve seen during the series so far… more on that later.

    2) How did Mike go from a father who listens to anything his kids want to say to a guy who just rambles on and doesn’t let Greg get a word in edgewise? It was completely out of character for Mike to just jump to a conclusion like that and not let Greg talk. I wonder what Robert Reed thought about the sudden change? I’m sure it was supposed to be played for laughs, but that’s not who Mike is.

    3) I hereby nominate this episode as having the absolute worst “B” plot of any episode. Jan and Peter looked like complete idiots with their doctor/nurse routine. “Come on, let’s go grab my chemistry set so we can do some experiments!” Then later, Jan walks into the boys room to let Peter know that some stuff hasn’t turned color yet… I mean, come on, give me a break.

    4) I thought the same thing about Peter wanting to be a doctor and Jan a nurse. When I was a kid, we did have a pediatrician in our town, and sometimes we would go there when we were sick. That Doctor was a man. But most of the time, my mother would take us to a hospital on an army base that was about 15 miles from our home. There, every doctor that I ever saw was a man…and you could tell the nurses were all women by their outfits and caps they wore (this would have been in the late 1960s). Locally, I knew a handful of kids whose fathers were Doctors but none who had mothers that were Doctors. And I knew a couple of kids whose mothers were nurses or former nurses. Our schools always had a nurse, and the nurse was always a woman. So I’m not even sure when I first saw a female doctor (might have been on the Brady Bunch!). But as a young child, I certainly associated men with being doctors and women with being nurses. That was simply based on personal experience and observation. Another thing I was wrong about was, I used to think Doctors started out as nurses and then got “promoted” (even though that contradicted my Doctor/Male Nurse/Female ideas), rather than the two occupations having totally different educational paths. I guess I had a lot of kooky ideas as a kid! I also remember wanting to be a Doctor at one time (maybe 4th or 5th grade).

    5) Fatal diseases…semi-fatal diseases…and Diseases that can put you in the hospital for at least a year? Really, REALLY lame humor.

    6) This is the second time Alice hurt her back and seems to be still okay in her movements and attitude.

    7) What occasion would Peter have for running a mile? We’ve seen no evidence that he’s on a track team… I don’t even think Jr High’s had track teams, even in those days, although I could be wrong about that. But Peter doesn’t seem to be the mile-run type.

    8) We had Poison Ivy and Poison Oak in the woods behind our house growing up. I think they pretty much did the same thing…if you made contact with the leaves and you were allergic to them, it would make your skin itchy at that spot. You could spread it if you scratched too much. We usually treated it with calamine lotion. We also had poison sumac. But we knew what the leaves looked like so it was easy enough to avoid them.

    9) The violin music playing The Brady Bunch theme when Pete came down the stairs to break the news to Mike and Carol was funny

    10) Peter sure took the fact that he was “dying” in stride, didn’t he? How ridiculous was his reaction? And Jan didn’t seem to be terribly shocked about it, did she?

    11) Lol I thought the same thing when Mike read the description of that disease… “certain trees”…just terrible writing.

    12) The scene with Cindy “disturbing” Greg in Mike’s den was kind of cute, might be the closest thing to a funny scene in this whole episode.

    13) We’re almost through the episode when Mike has an epiphany which he shares with Greg… “just because I’m an architect doesn’t mean you have to be one too” and Greg says “I don’t?” as though they didn’t know that before.

    14) Tag scene with Bobby and Cindy and Alice was also stupid…like Alice is really going to be taking grocery orders from those two! How much grocery money were Bobby and Cindy willing to chip in?

    15) Don’t they have a saying at the Brady house… lay it on the table? Well where was that in this episode? We’ve got Greg, who’s absolutely petrified about telling Mike that he doesn’t want to be an architect; and then we’ve got Mike and Carol, who are terrified of telling Greg that he has no talent for such a career. How about we lay it all on the table folks, as the saying goes?? (Later on this season, we’ll see Greg get quite bold in challenging Mike and Carol during the “exact words” episode, even though he knows he’s wrong)

    16) I never thought about being an architect, but I remember trying to draw a floor plan of our house as a kid…we lived in a two story four bedroom colonial home. The mistake I always made was to draw the outline of the house first, and then try to fit the rooms into it. I could never get that right. I finally figured out that it would work better to draw the rooms and hallways one at a time and connect them properly. That worked a lot better. But it was really stupid of Mike to think that Greg would become a great architect simply because he had a good set of tools. Takes a heck of a lot more than that!

    This was just a flat out bad episode in my opinion. Terrible writing, and I think the acting was only as good as the writing. None of it was natural for any of the actors involved. Definitely a series low point imo. But you’re right, there are some good episodes coming up. I liked season 4 overall, this episode was just poorly written and poorly executed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that this is one of the more boring episodes,

    Not necessarily bad. But it never held my interest for the reasons which others have already commented. Excellent point that Mike made about Greg who would have poor drawings with no architectural experiences with training or classes.

    The other kids looking for career choices was a complete time-waster. It seems that the writers could not find anything better to maintain continuity, so we will have the other kids thinking about careers. Great call that I have overlooked for years about Peter’s reference book about his thought of disease saying it comes from “Certain types” of trees. They would always list the exact trees in a reference book.

    The one funny line is from Alice that has a strong impact today. I am paraphrasing here. She says something like, “There’s a good way for people to stay well. Tell them how much it will cost to be sick.” What is her exactly line and the circumstances where she says this? I am bad at recalling the details of this particular episode, because I never cared about it at all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This takes place in the kitchen, Jan and Peter have just returned from the library with their arms full of medical books:

      Peter: A doctor has to know every disease in these books…IF he wants to make people well

      Alice: I’ll tell you an easier way to make them well…tell them how much it’ll cost to be sick!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pretty ironic considering Peter wanted to be a doctor, that Greg ended up becoming one. Quite an accomplishment for a 17 year old kid who didn’t know what he wanted to do. BTW, did anyone notice that Marcia didn’t have a career goal? is it possible she just wanted to be a mother and wife?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like some others here. I couldn’t stop thinking about the careers that they do wind up getting in the later spin off series.

    Greg becomes a doctor, OB GYN none the less, in what seems like the fastest trip through medical school as when we see him again in 1981 during the Brady Girls get married he is a successful doctor already. Far fetched to believe that someone that young would A) Get through Med School that fast and easily, B) Be in an important position at a hospital that quickly (don’t you have to work your way up to a major doctor position at a hospital? I sure hope so when I visit a hospital) and C) Have no desire what so ever shown to want to be a doctor but just sorta fall into it eventually. I wish the show lasted longer so we can see how that all came to be. Greg going to college and unable to decide what he wants to be so he goes into the medical field? Just not buying it.

    And yes Jan is the one who actually became an architect which is another out of left field decision. When has she ever shown any desire to do that? She had artistic talent and was creative but she never really showed desire to go that path.

    The best is Bobby becoming a race car driver (and not a good one at that.. ouch), at least with that career choice they had some fun with things. Oh well.

    Funny watching an episode like this when you know what they do all actually get as jobs as adults. Makes you think as a kid you have all these dreams and visions of what you want to be and some how it never turns out the way you wanted. I think many of us can relate to that happening.

    But I digress. Yeah this episode was weak. This was one of those episodes that was a “bottle show”. All took place on the house based set and no extra characters were used. Just main characters on the set and that’s it with lots of props like books and the architects kit, a space helmet for Bobby to wear and chemist set used here and there being the only new elements introduced. Cheaply done and made. Lots of shows did Bottle Shows to try and save money without having to have guests or have the set changed. But some shows did it better than others. Lets just say this is not one of the better ones on the list of memorable bottle show episodes.

    Had a lot of poor story elements like Mike not helping out Greg to show him how to design in the first place was kind of weird as you mentioned. Mike being so happy at first and not really caring about it by the end of the show was strange too. Peter really being that stupid to think he had this deadly disease. And yes like you said those are NOT the symptoms of poison ivy so I don’t get why they mentioned that was what it really was. Peter didn’t have that anyway as he mentioned it was awhile ago he felt those things. Alice just seemed there this episode but really had no part or purpose this time around. And Marcia was just like there too when Greg needed to complain to her. Seemed weird that Mike expected Greg to be a natural talent at it without having any idea how to draw any blueprints. The whole thing seems kinda dumb when you think about the way the characters acted in this episode.

    It all just screamed of “We need a cost-saving episode that keeps them confined to the house for 20 minutes and won’t have them doing much. Any ideas? We will accept anything that is decent.” And that’s basically what this episode is.

    Liked by 1 person

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