Episode 21: You’re Never Too Old

 

Greetings again readers, family and friends.  Thank you for joining me today to review “You’re Never Too Old”.  The episode first aired on March 9th, 1973.  Oh friends, I was hoping the years might have been kind to this episode.  I was hoping that as an adult, I might appreciate it or at least enjoy it a bit more than when I suffered it years ago.  I did not.  If there was an episode I could have skipped, this would be it.  Dear readers, you were promised a review of every episode and that promise will be kept.  If you have a love or affection for this episode, I will let you know in advance, this review will be fair

drz
All my life I’ve awaited your coming and dreaded it.

and balanced, but may seem unkind at times. I know there are many fans of the show who share my own dislike of this episode.  I did see a Facebook comment not too long ago where a fan numbered this episode among his/her favorites.  Please do share your own thoughts on this episode, love it or hate it.  If any of you are familiar with the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, there is a scene towards the end where Dr. Zaius tells George Taylor, “All my life I’ve awaited your coming and dreaded it.”  Those are my sentiments on this episode.  Let us begin our review of “You’re Never Too Old”.

 

The episode opens with the floating head shots advertising two of the show’s stars will be portraying other characters.  It would be interesting to find out how Robert Reed felt about this episode.  I could not help but think this introduction was inserted only to rankle his ire even more if he voiced disapproval with portraying an old man as the script called for him to do.  I cannot recall any other television series making it known like this that regular players were playing other roles for a particular episode.

 

The story begins in the family room as Alice is busy straightening up.  Marcia and Jan arrive home from school and Alice shares a surprise visitor is coming to see them.  It is their great grandma Hutchins.  They are elated at the news as it has been years since they have seen her.  The feisty old lady soon arrives and she is as spunky and spry as Marcia and Jan remember her being.  The agile lady with a shrill voice and hokey southern mannerisms was written to be a fun loving hip old granny, but man, she just grated on my nerves.  The idea that a lady of her age could be so active and full of energy is a nice thought, but the way Grandma Hutchins is played gives the impression she is so high strung it would be a challenge to have a conversation with her.

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Mike and Carol apologize to their out of town visitor that they will not be able to have dinner with her that night as they have a previous engagement.  Is the lady only in Southern California for the night?  The way they apologize suggests they won’t be spending any time with her.  Alice and Grandma exit the room as Alice will be showing her where she will stay.  I was kind of curious about this myself as the Bradys have no guest room, or one that has ever been mentioned.  Of course, neither Mike or Carol have ever mentioned having living grandparents either, so maybe there is an extra room tucked into the Brady abode that has never been seen or mentioned.

 

Mike and Carol briefly discuss that Grandma is a single lady.  Marcia and Jan hear this as they go up the stairs.  This gives Marcia the idea to match up Grandma with another single elderly person they know.  It turns out that Mike’s grandfather is still around too.  Despite, as we will soon see, this man having nothing in common with the spunky old lady from Kentucky, Marcia has the idea to play matchmaker between her great grandparents.  Speaking of Kentucky, Carol introduces Grandma Hutchins as the pride of Owensboro, Kentucky.  This is an actual city in the Bluegrass State.

 

Grandpa Brady arrives in the next scene.  Marcia had called him over using the ruse of needing help with a homework assignment.  The frail old man is as stuffy and scholarly as they come.  He greets Alice and then shares some phrase in Latin that only he knows the meaning of.  When Marcia and Jan encourage him to meet their great grandma who is “with it” and “far out”, he makes it clear he does not approve of such modern day descriptions.

basketball

Out back, the boys are playing basketball and Grandma is refereeing the game.  After calling out Bobby for charging, she joins the game herself.  The refereeing bit might be removed from syndicated cuts as I recall the scene beginning with her playing the game with the boys.  She will show them how Jerry West plays basketball.  Jerry West was a Lakers icon in the NBA.  Per Wikipedia, it was his silhouette that was part of the NBA logo.  His Wikipedia page makes for some interesting reading.  Finding it courtesy of this episode is at least one silver lining to reviewing it.

 

Grandma and Grandpa meet for the first time out on the patio.  The initial reception is frosty.  Grandma’s over the top personality clashes with the reserved stuffiness of Grandpa.  Grandma cracks jokes about his profession that he does not find at all funny.  She then has the gall to ask if judges ever go pantsless on a hot day as their robes would conceal their bare legs.  With this, Grandpa has had enough and assures her he always wore his trousers.

 

The makeup jobs done on Robert Reed and Florence Henderson were quite impressive.  However, why did they make Grandma Hutchins so pale? She looks as though she might be in Southern California because she landed a role in a zombie movie.

 

Marcia’s matchmaking ways continue as she requests that Alice conjure up a romantic dinner for her great grandparents.  All the kids will bow out of dinner at home that night, leaving the old folks alone.  Alice is on board with the idea.  For reasons unknown, Grandpa hung around the house until dinnertime.   After the icy meeting he had with Grandma earlier, why didn’t he leave?  The two share a drink in the living room.  Grandpa sits and sniffs the booze while Grandma downs two glasses of it.  As the two finish dinner, an argument erupts.  Grandpa accuses Grandma of being the orchestrator of the romantic liaison.   She says she did no such thing.  Insults fly with her calling him an old goat and he calling her no spring chicken.  Alice’s flaming dessert is ignored and Grandpa leaves in a huff.

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I am willing to give credit where credit is due.  Both Robert Reed and Florence Henderson did a great job stepping outside their regular roles and portraying different people.  As the episode progresses, it does seem as though we are not just watching Mike and Carol dressed as old folks.  Grandpa Brady and Grandma Hutchins do seem like totally separate characters.  The problem is all this talent was wasted on two very grating characters.  Perhaps the roles they played would have worked as an annoying background character for a sitcom.  However, to have an entire episode dedicated to their bickering and personality clashes is just annoying.  The idea of sitting in a room with either of them for an extended amount of time is not appealing.  Part of the charm of The Brady Bunch was that many of us as kids liked the idea of living in a home like the Bradys had.  This episode doesn’t offer that.  I have never been a fan of All In The Family on similar grounds.

breakfast

The next morning, while Grandma is off on her morning mile jog, Marcia learns that the date did not go well.  Greg encourages her to leave well enough alone, but Marcia is determined to match them up so they can fall in love.  When Grandma returns from her morning cardio session, she says she will never speak to the judge again.  Not even if he is the last man on earth with the key to the wine cellar.  The conversation about the previous night’s events has her so steamed, she goes to jog some more.

visit

Marcia and Jan visit Grandpa and try to appeal to his fair and reasonable nature and motivate him to make amends with Grandma.  He won’t hear of it and speaks some more Latin.  It seems the kids’ curmudgeonly great grandfather doesn’t live too far away.  It is a shame they don’t visit him more or he doesn’t visit them more.  In the kids’ defense, he doesn’t seem like somebody who enjoys a lot of company.

 

Marcia plans a “coincidental” rendezvous at the park.  Bobby is there just chilling with Grandpa.  Marcia encourages Cindy to visit the park with Grandma.  This meeting between the elderly opposites goes much better.  Apologies are offered to one another.  Grandma accidentally misshapes Grandpa’s hat.  As the two go to mend the smashed hat, their hands touch and sparks begin to fly.  Grandpa invites Grandma to join him in seeing the sights around town and then to attend a stringed ensemble performing of Mozart.  As Grandma raises her eyebrows at this idea, he changes the date to attend a “groovy” rock concert.  It looks like Grandpa will be a tad hip after all.

leaving

That night, Mike and Carol are awakened by something going bump in the night.  It turns out that Grandma is leaving on the sly.  She and Grandpa are eloping to Las Vegas.  Carol offers up a full blown wedding for the pair, but Grandma declines.  At their age, every minute counts!  Grandpa does ask that their elopement be kept a secret as he would get quite a ribbing from the chess club if word leaked out.

book

When Mike and Carol are awakened by the sound of Grandma’s exit, one will notice a book on Carol’s nightstand.  “The Mind Goes Forth” is an actual book.  It was surprising to see a genuine title appear on the show.  The book can be purchased on Amazon.  There are no reviews by any readers/purchasers on the site.

epilogue

The epilogue has Alice sharing a postcard from the newlyweds with Marcia and Jan.  The geriatric couple will be going waterskiing that day.  While one can see Grandma doing such, the way Grandpa lumbered and labored about during the episode, the idea of him water skiing is a stretch.  This is the last we will ever hear of Grandma and Grandpa Brady.  It seems that since Grandpa lived nearby, Grandma would be around a lot more often thereafter.  She wasn’t.  This is one continuity gaff I am more than willing to forgive.  Perhaps Grandpa headed back to Owensboro with Grandma.

Phew.  This one was rough to review friends.  Thank you for sticking it out with me!  Your own thoughts on this episode are most welcome.  As the closing credits rolled, I checked to see if Tam Spiva had input on the script.  He did!  Can you imagine this episode without his contributions?  Yikes!  As far as Brady Bunch episodes go, this one remains my very least favorite.  It is a total strikeout.  However, you can’t win ’em all.  Coincidentally, that is the name of next week’s episode!  Please join me next week as we review “You Can’t Win ‘Em All”!  See you then!

 

 

 

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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.

23 thoughts on “Episode 21: You’re Never Too Old”

  1. I hope no one will be angry with me for not hating this episode. I think it’s a cute diversion from the normal sibling vs. sibling conflicts on this show, and I tend to appreciate any episode where no one cries or has a swelled ego. (Obviously the second of these qualifications will be broken with the next episode.) It also seems to be one of the few episodes with no “B” plot, so the antics of the kids’ great-grandparents are enough by themselves to fill this episode.

    Though I don’t recall ever being in Owensboro, KY, myself, I’m very familiar with it, as when my family lived near Nashville, TN, my dad often made day business trips there. It’s on the Ohio River not far from Evansville, IN, and Evansville is close to Florence Henderson’s native town of Dale, IN, so it makes sense to me that Grandma Hutchins would be from there. This episode helps fill out the Brady family tree a bit, as people who pay attention to such things remember that Carol’s maiden name is Tyler. This makes it likely that Grandma is Carol’s maternal grandmother. It would have been nice but maybe distracting to bring back Joan Tompkins as Carol’s mom, allowing her to see her own mother while in town, assuming Carol’s parents still lived in that house just 20 minutes or so from the Brady house. Maybe that mystery room where Grandma stayed had a secret underground passage to Carol’s parents’ house. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jon! You will certainly experience no anger from me for liking this episode. I enjoyed reading the perspective of one who does. I just found the characters of Great Grandma Hutchins and Great Grandpa Brady annoying. Had they been played differently, this episode might have been much more enjoyable. I too wondered about the grandparents we saw in the pilot factoring into the Grandma Hutchins’ visit. If anybody could travel between residences via a tunnel, it’d be the ever spry and energy filled Grandma Hutchins.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I, too, have always enjoyed this episode, even though it is difficult to fit the grandparents, especially nearby-living Grandpa, into the continuity of the show. The lack of any reference to them in outside of this episode always bothered me as a kid, but I did enjoy seeing our stars portray different characters in the show.

    I used to think that the mysterious door at the top of the stairs was the guest room, since we never saw it. So perhaps this is where Connie Hutchins stayed.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’m going with the traditional Brady Fandom on this episode. This is one that will make you appreciate the eject button on your DVD player or delete button on your DVR. I think I have watched this episode less than five times in my life. In contrast, I have seen the other Brady Bunch episodes hundreds of times. That tells you how much I like “Your Never Too Old.” LOL!

    Jack

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, this isn’t my least favorite episode; that honor goes to “Love and the Older Man”. I’ll admit, I don’t revisit this one too much on DVD. I always though it was fun seeing the two actors play dual roles, like the Sanford and Son episode where Fred enters a Redd Foxx lookalike contest.

    I guess no one thought earlier to also credit Ann B. Davis for her role as Cousin Emma, since Christopher Knight is even listed as playing Arthur next season. It would have been funny if Grandma Hutchins and Grandpa Brady were credited to Florence Bernstein and John Rietz!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Once when Jean Stapleton played a love interest of a local butcher in the last season of ALL IN THE FAMILY, she was credited as Giovanna [Jean] Pucci [Italian form of her married surname, Putch]. The show had switched from being performed in front of an audience to being played back to an audience (for live responses) by then, so she could play both parts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review, man, you are DEDICATED!!!

    1) OMG, when I saw the pic of Dr. Zaius and the caption, I couldn’t stop laughing! Of all the movies in the history of Hollywood, you found the perfect line to describe my feelings about this episode as well.

    2) You mentioned the opening credits with the floating shots of Florence and Robert… I’m not sure about this, but I know that on the show “My Three Sons”, Fred MacMurray at one time played his “identical cousin” from Scotland… it’s possible that the show might have shown MacMurray in the same way, but I’m not 100% positive about that.

    3) It sounded like Alice’s voice was dubbed when she says “here girls take your books I’ll show Mrs. Hutchins where she’s going to stay”

    4) Did Marcia and Jan think that Great Grandma Hutchins had remarried and they didn’t know about it? They seemed genuinely surprised when Mike mentioned that she never got married again.

    5) ”Grandpa can you help me with my homework? No, you have to do it in person. Yeah, just drop everything and come on over!!.” Oh brother!! What a corny way to introduce a great-grandparent we never knew about.

    6) Where was Great Grandpa Brady when the kids needed $56.23 for the silver platter? Seems like he would have been a logical choice to ask, especially since the kids can apparently get to his house without even needing to drive.

    7) Great Grandpa Brady complains about modern slang such as “with it” and “far out” but then tells a bunch of stupid Latin jokes

    8) Gee, the way Great Grandma’s dribbling nobody would EVER be able to steal the basketball from her LOL. By the way Grandma, Jerry West didn’t have to look down at the basketball when he dribbled it; when you dribble, you keep your eyes up so you can see the court and what the other players are doing.

    9) GG Hutchins traveled before she hit that shot… no basket, steps!!! Good shot by Florence Henderson though!

    10) GG Hutchins did have a couple of decent lines while she and GG Brady were having drinks

    11) Alice making crepe Suzette?? and flaming yet?? Oh, please…just a tad ridiculous

    12) The morning after the disastrous dinner Marcia enters the kitchen, looks into the family room and asks Alice where GG Hutchins is… so maybe GGH was sleeping in the family room?

    13) GG Brady is a retired judge and he sits around with a gavel on his desk. He FINALLY gets to use it at the conclusion of his conversation with Jan and Marcia. Wonder how long he waited for that chance? I imagine he doesn’t get a lot of visitors.

    14) Also re: where GGH was sleeping…when Mike and Carol hear the noise, we see GGH trying to sneak out…she was on the platform at the bottom of the stairs, as though she came from either Mike’s den or from upstairs? So who knows where she slept?? Maybe it WAS the secret room at the top of the stairs!

    15) Water skiing?? Once again, oh please!! Btw, who’s going to agree to drive the boat with those two trying to water ski?? Can you imagine having a boat when a guy like GGB comes up and says he wants to water ski?

    This is pretty much my least favorite episode of the series…and I agree with the reviewer, it’s because to me, GGH and GGB were just so annoying. And, as ClassicTVLover pointed out, huge continuity problem having GGB apparently living within walking/biking distance and yet we’ve never heard of him.

    Having said that, I am glad we got some comments from friends who did enjoy the episode. Interesting to get their perspectives!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great thoughts as always Tweety! GG Brady would have been a good person for the kids to hit up for the silver platter money. There’d probably have been some kind of lecture with Latin in phrases included, but it would have gotten them out of a jam.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with Tweety where was great-grandpa when the silver platter 56.23 was due? And for that matter he didn’t get his son and daughter in law a present, or even show up? I really like episodes that have characters doing different parts. Like the bones episode with booth as the great jewel thief, or the one when they owned a bar (called the lab if I remember correctly). It gives the actors a chance to play roles that they normally don’t get to play in their currently typecast roles. Like when Emma Watson did the movie Ballet Shoes, completely different role and allows the movie/tvshow makers to see that they can do more variation. Tom Hanks was much different in Bosom Buddies than in Big. I do agree much of this episode (my first time watching this episode) is kind of weird and unexplained, and the great-grandparents are just showing up for the first time and never again is also strange.
      Really I was searching for how they had great-grandma and mom on the screen at the same time, I wasn’t sure that that was yet possible, but it had to be.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The split-screen effect was used in movies going back to “The Parent Trap” at least and probably a lot before then, and it was used throughout THE PATTY DUKE SHOW. I think the effect is created by exposing half the film on one side, then exposing the film on the other side. There’s usually some type of line between the characters, usually real but sometimes imaginary. There was a bit of a blooper in “The Parent Trap” when Sharon & Susan are singing & dancing for their parents. Sharon moves her hand on Susan’s side a bit too far, and the hand disappears for a moment.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m a Brady Bunch fanatic who will defend any and every episode…no matter how unbelievable the plot is…except this one! I’ve always hated this episode but I really don’t know why. I tried watching it after reading this episode’s blog so I could put in my two-cents worth…but I only lasted 4 minutes and 34 seconds before I had to turn it off. The grandparents are SO annoying and this episode is SO boring! This is one episode I can do without! That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say…LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I also thought it would have been better if suppose they set Grandma Hutchins up with Mr. Phillips’ father. Say his mother died shortly before and his father was very lonely and they thought he and Grandma would hit it off. I mean, marrying into the other side of the family sounds a bit too creepy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The problem is Robert Reed, played the judge like he was constipated and one or two breaths away from death. Connie was portrayed as way too active.

    Carol Brady was Carol Martin before. The Tylers are the two people she lives with in the pilot which are assumed to be her parents, but could plausibly be the inlaws of Mr Martin who she married and after he died or ran off, she lived with.

    And now the Bradys are even more inbred than ever. Anyone ever figure out how after the two oldies are married the family tree goes?

    Liked by 1 person

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