Greetings fellow fans, readers and friends. Thank you for joining me today to review “Love And The Older Man”. This was the first episode aired in 1973. I stated last week that this was one I recalled little of. I now know why. It’s kind of a dull episode. It’s boring factor ranks right up there with “Career Fever”. The subject matter might have been a tad risqué for 1973. If this story aired in today’s sitcoms, every boundary would be pushed and the entire story would be filled with sexual innuendo. So, while this episode is not very entertaining, I do appreciate it as a time capsule to show us the way TV was once upon a time. Let us begin reviewing “Love And The Older Man”.
The story begins with a love struck Marcia arriving home. She is riding a blue beach cruiser complete with a bike horn. Can you imagine Marcia giving that thing a squeeze when she sees friends out and about or to notify some jogger or walker to her presence? I sure can’t. It just seems so out of place on a teenage girl’s bicycle. She enters the kitchen where Carol and Alice are. Marcia shares with them the source of her whimsy. She has just left the office of Dr. Stanley Vogel, a young dentist. Marcia describes him as being “far out”. As she flutters away, Carol says this young dentist may be the greatest thing to happen to dentistry since Novocain.
Up in her bedroom, Marcia stares at her teeth and continues dreaming about Dr. Vogel. Jan is reading a copy of Teentime Romance magazine. Regular readers will recognize this is the same magazine Jan was reading in “Jan, The Only Child”, but it was just titled Teenager then. The cover art is the same as is the ad on the back pitching a free ocean voyage on a palatial ship. Jan shares with Marcia an article titled “Are You An Old Maid At 19?” Can you imagine many 19 year old girls reading such a magazine? It seems this magazine’s readership would be younger teenagers. Perhaps the article was meant to give those teenage girls some advance warning. The article encourages girls to marry a man 10-12 years older as they are more mature, financially stable and understanding. What kind of magazine is this? It’s pitching marriage to teenage girls? It should be pitching dating tips for the malt shop or balancing boys and studies. Instead, it is all ready encouraging teenage girls to seek out an older man to marry! Granted, there was still that mindset in 1973 that limited women to roles as wives and mothers, but still, this magazine’s editing staff was quite reckless in publishing this article. Marcia now finds Dr. Vogel to be her ideal partner as he meets the older man criteria while also being far out.
Mike soon finds himself sitting in the far out dentist’s chair. Mike shares with him how groovy Marcia finds him. Dr. Vogel asks Mike if Marcia does any babysitting. He and his wife have plans for Friday night and need a babysitter. Mike says he will ask Marcia and let him know. From here, the episode could be a comedy of mistakes and errors, if it were only funny.
The episode’s b-plot is introduced in the next scene. Peter and Bobby are building a go-kart using an old lawn mower engine. I remember hearing about kids doing this once upon a time, but never knew any who pulled it off. Greg does make a funny suggestion that when the go-kart is complete, they can mow the street while riding it. Marcia arrives home and Greg tells her his classmate, Eddie Bryant, would like Marcia to be his date at the bowling alley Friday night. Marcia supposes that will be okay, even though Eddie is immature.
The next scene begins with Alice vacuuming the couch and listening for change being sucked up inside the cleaning machine. Mike arrives home and concurs with Marcia about the doctor being “charming and groovy”. He mentions the doctor’s babysitting request. He goes upstairs and asks Marcia about her availability on Friday night. Marcia shares that she has a date, so Mike drops the entire thing, but Marcia persists. Mike shares that Dr. Vogel asked if Marcia was free Friday night, but the matter can be dropped since she isn’t. Marcia immediately surmises the gentlemanly doctor was wanting to ask her on a date via inquiry with her father. Jan shares that in the olden times, men asked for a date through the girl’s father. So, Marcia thinks this hip and groovy doctor ascribes to the manners of olden times.
Out in the driveway, the Brady boys have assembled their go-kart. Man, doesn’t that thing look dangerous? Child Protective Services would likely be called on parents who permitted their children to pilot such a craft today. Before the boys’ lives can be in peril though, Greg realizes Peter forgot to put gas in the mower. Marcia comes outside and is leaving for an important appointment dressed to the nines. She refuses to divulge her destination and leaves the boys to play with their “dumb little toys”. Again, that horn on Marcia’s bike just screams childish!
Marcia is back at the dentist office and says the drilling of her teeth didn’t hurt. She also compliments the doctor on the flavor of his mouthwash. For Dr. Vogel to offer mouthwash instead of water for a rinse does set him apart from other dentists. He inquires about Friday night, but Marcia shares she has a date with a “youth” from school. Upon learning that Dr. Vogel has tickets to the ballet, which she is mad about but never attended, she agrees to break her date. How much of a stretch is it that never once in this conversation was babysitting mentioned? Surely the doctor would ask something like, “What kind of snacks would you like in the fridge?” or “Have you ever sat for a child only three years old?” He might should even discuss what he will be paying her before he hires her on as a babysitter!
Dr. Vogel was played by Don Brit Reid. This episode of The Brady Bunch is his first acting credit listed on IMBD. His only recurring role for a TV series was on Dynasty. He appeared on other popular shows like Police Woman and CHiPs. His last credited appearance was in 1989 on General Hospital. A Google search produced no recent information about him.
Back at the house, the boys are painting the go-kart. Some humor is attempted when they try to decide what number to paint on it. Marcia arrives home and breaks the Friday night date with Greg’s pal. Marcia states she has more mature things to do. Inside, Marcia asks if Mike spoke to her about she and Dr. Vogel. Carol says he did and she has no problem with it. She thinks it will be a good experience for Marcia. Marcia is ecstatic and thanks her mom profusely. Again, how did babysitting not come into the conversation?
Upstairs, Marcia shares Carol’s approval with Jan and she envisions a long and romantic future with Dr. Vogel. We then see the first dream sequence of the episode. However, this dream sequence does not occur while Marcia sleeps, like so many other Brady dream sequences did. Here, Marcia is becoming “Mrs. Marcia Dentist”. The minister asks all kinds of dental questions in place of those asked during a wedding ceremony. Instead of kissing the bride, Dr. Vogel inspects her teeth with a mirror. Friends, I do hope there are some of you out there who enjoy this dream sequence.
The minister in the dream sequence was played by Allen Joseph. In addition to acting, he also wrote plays. He had a long and busy career with appearances in films like “Eraserhead” and “Raging Bull”. On television, he appeared on Quincy, M.E., Mission Impossible and Mannix (among many others). His final appearance was in a 1985 episode of Airwolf. He died in 2012.
Downstairs as dinner preparations are finished, we must endure a second dream sequence. This one doesn’t even involve Dr. Vogel! Marcia imagines herself the mother of Bobby and Cindy. For some reason, they are dressed like they are living in the 1800s and speak with European accents. To add to the bizarre nature of this scene, Alice enters dressed like a French maid, complete with a French accent. It is truly the most useless scene we have experienced on The Brady Bunch thus far. We know Marcia dreams of marrying Dr. Vogel, but is she so distracted and distraught she is imagining strange domestic scenes?
The third dream sequence we are subjected to is a bit less painful and makes more sense. Carol seeks to ease Mike’s mind and muscles after a hard day at work. Marcia envisions the same with Dr. Vogel as her husband. A dental chair is set up in the Brady living room which Dr. Vogel kicks back in. Marcia has him rinse and plays the part of the wife existing to make his life easier. Last week I stated this was an episode I did not remember well. This scene was really the only one I recalled some three decades after last seeing this episode.
The next day, Marcia gets some bad news. Jan informs Marcia that Dr. Vogel is a married man with a family! Marcia is distraught at the news. She seeks the counsel of Alice and asks what she’d do if she were to learn Sam is married. Alice is initially concerned the man she’s been seeing since season one might be married. After Marcia confirms this is not the case, Alice delivers one of the few chuckles of the episode. She states that stopping a romance has never been a problem for her, it was always starting them. Alice says the romance should end right away.
The next day, Marcia visits Dr. Vogel at his office. He originally thinks her being there is due to a problem with the filling he gave her. Marcia lets him know their romance cannot continue. He plays along with her fantasy and agrees not to date her. As Marcia leaves, she shares she will be back on Wednesday for a teeth cleaning. Can you imagine if Marcia let it get around that this dentist wanted to date her? His playing along with her misguided notion might have seen him in some serious trouble!
Marcia arrives home and lets Greg know she will keep the Friday night date with his school chum. She realizes a younger fellow offers the opportunity to grow old together. The next scene has Marcia and Greg leaving en route to the bowling alley. Jan is going to explain Marcia’s change of heart to Mike and Carol, but stops herself. She claims Mike and Carol are not young enough to understand. It was a mildly funny end to a fairly boring episode.
This episode does not have the “closing squares” that appear in almost every episode between the story itself and the epilogue. The epilogue begins right after the previous scene. Any saving grace that was earned by Jan’s final line of the episode is lost with the absurdity of the story’s conclusion. While Alice is out in the driveway cleaning the screens, the boys’ go-kart refuses to start. Greg kicks it in frustration and the trio of brothers walks away. Somebody with zero knowledge of the internal combustion engine wrote this scene. As the boys are about to enter the house, the go-kart miraculously starts. It begins puttering down the driveway to Alice’s horror.
While this episode is not as boring as “Career Fever” it is not far behind on the dullness scale. There isn’t much aside from the dream sequences that makes this episode memorable and those are not very entertaining. It would be hard to make this episode anymore entertaining without crossing some boundaries. Please share your own thoughts for “Love And The Older Man”! Next week, the episode we will review is “Law and Disorder”. See you then!