Episode 8: My Brother’s Keeper

Greetings once again readers, friends and family.  Thank you for joining me today to review “My Brother’s Keeper”.  The episode first aired on November 2nd, 1973.  It is one well remembered among fans as it has one of those silly Brady plot lines where something is overpromised and quickly overwhelms the one making the commitment.  The story is light on drama and offers a few chuckles.  This week we have no guest stars to review.  This is a completely “organic” Brady Bunch episode as we have only the main cast involved and everything takes place at the Brady home.  Let us begin our review of “My Brother’s Keeper”!

The story begins in the backyard.  Peter is listlessly digging a hole in the flower bed and slinging dirt on the Astroturf.  Greg stands atop a ladder and is painting a shutter.  Either the Bradys have bought new window adornments or somebody took the time to strip all the old paint off the shutters.  That would be no easy task! Greg gets a phone call and takes a most unsafe shortcut to go to the phone.  That ladder is not a stable enough platform to try to enter a window as Greg does!

Bobby exits the house with trash in tow.  He stops to chat with Peter for a moment.  Somehow, the garden hose is wrapped around one of the legs of the ladder.  Such a twist on a hose would take effort!  That does not happen by accident.  Why it is like that is not made known.  As Peter goes to water the flowers, the precariously twisted hose rocks the ladder.  Bobby valiantly shoves his brother out of harm’s way and is rewarded by being covered in paint.  Peter is shaken up by the incident.  He notices how the ladder smashed some terracotta pots and says that could have been his head.  Readers, help me understand just how Peter was in peril here.  Based on the way the ladder fell, it does not look like it would have landed on the middle Brady son.  It appears to me that Bobby pushed Peter in the direction the ladder was falling.  Bobby was standing in the same place Peter was and only suffered a paint spill. Maybe Pete was just being overly dramatic or maybe the set dresser was not on his or her game that day.

Later that day, Peter sits at the desk in his room and writes out his will.  All of his earthy possessions will be left to his brave and courageous younger brother.  Carol visits Bobby in the bathtub.  She says Alice made a special dinner for the heroic Bobby.  Bobby bathes different than most as his head is under the faucet.  Yes, this was done as it would have been easier to film than if Bobby was sitting the normal way, but it just looked strange to me.

Down at the dinner table, the b-plot is introduced.  The girls room is getting an update a-la new wallpaper.  The trio cannot decide what color they want.  Marcia suggests earth tones add a relaxing ambiance to a room.  Greg cracks a funny joke that earth tones are restful if you are dead.  Peter chastises his sisters for arguing of such petty and minute things when life has so much more to offer.  Bobby’s saving his life that day has Peter contemplating mortality and seeking to live and value life to the fullest.  Carol asks if Peter is taking Bobby’s actions a bit too seriously.  Peter is certain that he is not.

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Alice brings out Bobby’s hero’s dinner.   It is Hungarian Goulash.  She declares the dish all American due to the fact that Zsa Zsa Gabor became an American citizen.  Maybe news of Zsa Zsa doing this was topical back in 1973.  I know who that lady is, but can’t really see her American citizenship being that big of a deal.  Maybe it was bigger news due to the Cold War.  With the main course on the table, Peter announces that his gratitude for Bobby saving him will see that he is now Bobby’s slave for life.  This proclamation is made right in front of Mike and Carol who do nothing to dissuade or discourage such a commitment.  Surely they don’t think this will be sustained or even end well.

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Peter’s lifetime of slavery begins in the next scene.  He walks in on Bobby shining his shoes and will have none of that.  He takes over the polishing duties and encourages Bobby to do something he enjoys.  Bobby seeks enjoyment via listening to a radio, but its static ridden output prevents this.  Peter will fix the radio instead of attending a party being thrown by Barbara.  At this point, Bobby is gracious and humble at his brother’s giving ways.

The b-plot continues in the girls’ room.  The new wallpaper will be a bright yellow floral design across a white background.  This was not necessarily agreed upon, but decided via the flip of a coin.  This will be the first major redesign of a room since the series began.  Well, Greg’s attic digs were a big change, but they were also not commonly seen before he made the room his own.  Check out Mike’s shirt in this scene!  Did he wear his pajama shirt under his suit that day?  I know the seventies had some crazy styles, but that just looks clownish.

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Peter’s servitude to Bobby continues the next day as the elder brother is building a go-kart for the youngest.  Bobby goes inside to enjoy his copy of a “Dr. Stran” comic book.  This is obviously a Dr. Strange comic with the “ge” obscured to avoid any comicbookcopyright concerns.  Bobby receives a phone call asking him to come watch a baseball game.  Bobby can’t make it as he has hedge trimming duty.  During this scene I wondered if maybe the neighborhood association or maybe just Mike and Carol allowed hedge trimming during certain hours only.  I don’t see why Bobby could not have trimmed the hedges after the game or maybe the next day.  He can sit around and read a comic book, so the hedges can’t be too urgent of a task. Bobby really wants to go to the baseball game and gets an idea when he sees Peter coming.

Peter’s indebtedness to Bobby seems to be over before Bobby even seeks Peter’s labor.  Peter’s thumb suffered the fate of a hammer blow as he worked on Bobby’s go-kart.  Peter seems none too happy about it.  Just a few minutes before, he would have said something, “A smashed thumb is nothing in comparison to a life lost” or something like that.  Bobby shames him into taking over the hedge detail and Peter begrudgingly agrees.  Talk about a quick change.  Carol observes the entire exchange between the two boys, but does not stop it.  She could have easily said the chore was Bobby’s and must be done by him.  Instead she questions if Bobby didn’t just take advantage of Peter and states he has been running him ragged.

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Bobby arrives home from the baseball game and shares his friend pitched a two-hitter with a final score of 14-13.  A lot of walks were given up during the game.  Man, this must have been one boring game to watch if that many batters were walked.  Bobby again tries to take advantage of Peter’s pledge.  He suggests in a roundabout way that Peter help him sell magazines so he can win a surfboard.  Peter is none too interested and a fight erupts between the pair.  Peter calls Bobby a selfish creep and emancipates himself from being Bobby’s slave.

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I told my barber I wanted to be a football player, so he gave me a hairdo that looks like a helmet.

Check out Bobby’s hair in this scene!  This is not the first time we’ve seen a Brady boy with a mess of a hairstyle.

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Up in the girls’ room, prep work for the wallpaper has begun by Mike, Greg and the girls.  One can’t help but wonder why Bobby and Peter were not drafted to help with the wallpaper detail.  Bobby enters and asks to speak to Greg.  Before Bobby can even ask, Greg says the answer is no; Bobby cannot move up to his room.  Bobby says there is no respect for heroes.  Maybe Bobby’s bad hair was hiding a swollen head!

Back in the boys’ room the feud continues.  Peter seeks to be extra annoying by using his bedpost to noisily crack nuts.  At one point, he is just tapping the hammer on it, sans a nut, to annoy Bobby.  Bobby tries to return the favor by playing his radio.  Peter escalates things a bit further by turning on a TV.  The Brady boys’ room becomes a room divided as Peter lays down a ribbon of tape.  Bobby points out that the bathroom is on his side of the room.  This statement is followed by the sound of a toilet flushing.

That evening, the entire family has plans except for the feuding brothers.  Alice stayed up too late the night before watching “The Demon That Devoured Detroit”.  Classic TV is full of characters referencing fictitious horror movies that often involve a creature wreaking havoc on some major city. I can think of examples on The Andy Griffith Show and Sanford and Son right off the top of my head.  Greg is leaving for a date.  The girls are sleeping over at a friends house to avoid the odor of fresh wallpaper paste.  As they leave, I could not help but notice they are not carrying any bags.  Maybe the friend was loaning them pajamas or they were just going to sleep in their clothes.  As Mike and Carol leave for the night, they encourage Bobby to apologize to Peter and put the ordeal behind them.

Bobby goes upstairs and gives Peter the “crummiest apology” ever. He apologizes for saving his brother’s life.  Peter of course does not accept the apology.  Things escalate again and Bobby hurls a pillow at Peter.  It is thrown with such force that it breaks the toy plane Peter was holding.  So angered is Peter that he chases Bobby around the bedroom.  Bobby seeks refuge in the closet and Peter angrily leaves.

As Bobby tries to leave his place of safety, he finds he is stuck in the closet!  The door knob falls off when he tries to exit.  Fortunately for Bobby, this is one spacious closet.  Seriously, that closet is almost a room itself.  There is plenty of room for Bobby to stretch out and relax until help comes along.  Instead of taking advantage of the space, Bobby panics and begins pounding on the door.  The only help available to him, his brother Peter, is downstairs chatting it up on the phone.

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Eventually, Peter’s evening of phone call socializing ends and he returns to the bedroom battle ground.  He recues a panicked Bobby who is most grateful.  Bobby worries about running out of air or dying as a result of a non-existent fire.  So worked up was his mind that he feared spontaneous combustion could have occurred while he was in the closet.  We have seen Bobby overreact when trapped before.  When he and Greg were stuck in the meat locker, his mind led him to think it was much colder than it actually was among the frozen meat.  With Bobby’s rescue comes a genuine apology.  Peter at first tries to enslave Bobby, but Bobby puts a stop to that saying they are even now.

epilogue

The epilogue shows the completed wallpaper job in the girls’ room.  In my opinion, the bright yellow hues don’t quite match the tan carpet.  The room looks kind of washed out.  This led me to question if such an earthy floor tone also existed when the room was pink.  A check of an older episode confirms it did.  Carol begins to suggest other updates for the room, just as she did when her’s and Mike’s bedroom was painted, but Mike nixes it.

Thank you for reviewing “My Brother’s Keeper” with me.  It is a fun episode and one well remembered among fans.  While many of season five’s plots seemed a bit crazy or over the top, I could easily see this episode playing out in an earlier season.  Your own thoughts on the episode are most welcome!  Next week, we review “Quarterback Sneak”.  See you then!

 

 

 

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.

33 thoughts on “Episode 8: My Brother’s Keeper”

  1. Ah, the old white line down the middle of the room…another classic TV shtick. Last weekend I watched Herman Munster and Grandpa do the same thing. Brady Bunch had a doppelgänger episode, too. Amnesia was perhaps the only shtick that they didn’t try.

    The portable TV was only in the boys’ room in a couple of late episodes. I think this and “sounds great, Greg” were the only times that it was turned on.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I didn’t know or remember that THE MUNSTERS had the room divide gimmick. GILLIGAN’S ISLAND also had at least 3 doppelganger episodes, I think. I still think THE ADDAMS FAMILY did the amnesia plot better than any other show did when Gomez went back & forth between losing & having his memory.

      Bobby seemed to get into more messes than the other Brady kids, whether it was having to eat ice cream without a spoon or being stuck in the laundry room with suds over his head. I hope the green paint came out of his hair easily enough.

      I think the portable tv was also used when Peter watched Humphrey Bogart & tried to take on his personality. “Pork chops & applesauce” sounds like a good dinner to me.

      I think it’s funny that you can hear a toilet flushed here from the Brady kids’ bathroom as it’s been legendary among tv fans for having no toilet. I guess ALL IN THE FAMILY made toilet flushing so acceptable that the Bradys could do it too. At least Peter could get to the bathroom through the hallway door, unless Bobby locked that door.

      I remember being scared watching this, probably for the first time, about what Peter would do to Bobby. I had an older brother, so I related to what was happening to Bobby, though I never “saved” my brother’s life or held that over him. The scene with Peter on the phone talking with his friend (named Ernie I think) scared me a bit too, though i think this scene is often cut from syndication. Also Mike L. always did a great job acting scared, as he did in the Jesse James episode, and I could sense that here, and also he always could pull off Bobby acting melodramatic well.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks to our review blogger, Mike, and to Ernie for figuring out what those comic book titles were (saving me lots of eye strain!)

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  2. Hungarian goulash is all-American because Zsa Zsa Gabor emigrated to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. It was all about assimilating into America back then. These days, there would be a greater emphasis on the person’s heritage; Hungarian goulash would not attain all-American status, even if Zsa Zsa was born in the U.S.

    So Bobby’s friend pitched a two-hitter and walked a lot of batters en route to a 14-13 result. I want to know how many innings they played; if the game went nine innings, was it an extra-inning affair? Kids in the upcoming Little League World Series play six innings in regulation, high schoolers play either seven or nine innings, and softball is usually played to seven innings. But sometimes TV shows ignore these limitations and have one team ahead of the other after seven innings of play.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not at that time. I played one year of Little League ball in the “minors” (which I assume Bobby’s friend was in) and we didn’t have any mercy rules or only allowing a certain number of runs in an inning. We played six inning games I believe, but you had to get three outs to get off the field and back into your dugout.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There you go, Mike (a.k.a. our review blogger). If there were no shortened baseball games, and it ran long due to the walks, Bobby may have gotten home too late, to state a hedge clipping job.
        Perhaps garbage collection for it was the next day.

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  3. -I think this is one of 3 “slave” episodes. The first one was Greg being Bobby’s slave after the pullups contest. The third one is coming up in season 5 soon when Greg loses to Marcia in the Best Driver contest.
    -Bobby becomes green in this episode…just like the aliens (is it Kaplutians?) in an episode coming soon
    -Peter is building Bobby a somewhat sophisticated go-cart, but it’s already been demonstrated in the Mr. Martinelli episode that Peter has no mechanical ability..so this is somewhat of a contradiction.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It was never said Peter doesn’t have mechanical ability, it was said he’s really slow. Remember he fixed “one” gear and only “nine more to go.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a decent entry in the series, and it had a few good laughs, although I wouldn’t consider it a classic.

    1) What is Peter even doing in the garden? Planting flowers? Why have Peter do that? That’s just strange. I know he claimed to be great at arranging flowers after he broke Carol’s favorite vase, but why assign him that job?

    2) Is Bobby’s strong enough to push Peter halfway across the yard? Peter really went flying! I guess the crisis gave Bobby super strength.

    3) While Peter is talking about how Bobby saved his life, Mike tells Peter to go his room. What did Peter do? Why is he being sent up to his room?

    4) I guess Bobby had his head under the faucet so he could more easily run some water to keep rinsing his hair. A shower might have been better for that. Of course, you couldn’t show Bobby taking a shower on TV

    5) Carol says Alice is fixing something special for the hero and it’s Hungarian goulash? How long were the writers trying to work that very lame Zsa Zsa Gabor joke into a script?

    6) Bobby’s response was great when Carol asked him “don’t you think you’re overdoing it a little bit” and Bobby says “uh uh, Peters loving every minute of it!”

    7) I don’t think it was realistic for Peter to throw Barbara under the bus just to do stuff for Bobby…at that age, if you have a date with a girl you really like, you do whatever you can to keep it going.

    8) Wonder why the boys kept masking tape in the drawer? Yeah, that “line down the middle of the room” is at least as old as “I Love Lucy”. There was an episode in which Ricky was being a slob so he and Lucy divided the apartment into two halves, Lucy’s “neat” half and Ricky’s “sloppy” half. They had to compromised because the kitchen was on Lucy’s half and the bathroom as on Ricky’s half.

    9) At first Peters talking on the phone to Fred then he’s talking to Ernie. The writers probably wanted to insert a sense of time into how long Bobby’s been locked up.

    10) I love the dramatic music that’s playing when Bobby describes how Peter saved his life from the closet

    11) Good catch by Marty McFly re: Peter’s mechanical ineptness, yet he’s building a go-kart for Bobby, with an engine and everything.

    12) I have never hammered my finger. You’re supposed to hold the nail and tap it gently into the wood until it’s stable enough to be hammered home. You don’t try to pound it while you’re holding it. Lol I learned that when I was a whole lot younger than Peter is here.

    13) Both Peter and Bobby became “heroes” in this series. They both thought it was no big deal when it happened, but praise from others went to their heads in both instances.

    14) LOL Bobby’s hair didn’t grow…that was his head underneath the hair!

    15) It made no sense to have everyone in the family working on painting the master bedroom…it makes even less sense to have everyone working on wallpapering a room.

    16) I’m still very much enjoying the reviews and comments!

    Looking forward to the next entry, “Quarterback Sneak”… that’s a classic episode.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great commentary as always Tweety. I wondered about Mike sending Peter to his room too. Maybe he just wanted him out of the way so he could deal with Bobby’s dilemma. A better line might have been, “Peter, go get some dish soap from Alice. It helps get the paint off.” I laughed at your Zsa Zsa Gabor comment!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I stumbled onto this blog last weekend; four episodes air every Sunday in Seattle on MeTV (which my auto correct keeps changing to “Meth” – actually not a bad comparison). The show is such a great escape, and it’s a dream come true connecting around it; reading the wonderfully detailed reviews, including bios of the guest actors. Also totally fun to read the comments of other fans, including thoughts, feelings, nitpicks, bloopers, flaws in logic etc. It’s like a master class in all things Brady. Plus it’s a great excuse to avoid what I’m supposed to be doing. Hey, it’s research! ;-/ Thanks to all.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. I’ll add one more; Marcia, Jan and Cindy are going to stay the night at Helen’s; three girls aren’t taking anything with them (other than Jan holding a sweater) to spend the night at someone’s house?

      Liked by 2 people

    4. Hey Tweety,
      If you’re still around, I’d like to hear your comments (numbered, naturally) on the post BB spinoffs that our resident reviewer, Mike, has been kind enough to indulge us with, in our tastes on all things Brady.

      Like

  5. As serious as M*A*S*H was in its later seasons, I was surprised to see it rip off the main plot here, with Klinger taking Bobby’s place & Winchester taking Peter’s. “Operation Friendship”, from Season 9, had Klinger suffering damage to his (sizable) nose in an OR explosion to save Winchester from injury, and Winchester declares himself eternally grateful to Klinger, offering to do whatever Klinger wants him to do for the rest of his life. Klinger at first says that’s not necessary, but eventually, like Bobby, he takes advantage of Winchester’s gratitude. This plot ends on a sillier note than the Bradys’ plot, as Winchester shreds Klinger’s favorite paperback, which he’d asked to have brought to him, into tiny pieces. I remember thinking when I first saw it, “Wow! M*A*S*H ripped off THE BRADY BUNCH!”.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I remembered something else that “bugged” me about this episode… Greg is painting the upstairs shutter using a ladder that appears to be leaning against the house. When he goes inside to take the phone call (as opposed to saying “Alice, I’ll call them back later after I’m done with this death-defying paint job”), he climbs up the last couple of steps on the ladder and then when he’s on the very top step of the ladder, he’s able to step off of it and into the room without the ladder even moving. A person would be crazy to use the top step of a ladder that way. You try that in real life and the ladder WOULD go flying, as would you!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This episode should have been about slavery. Right after Peter’s announcement, Mike should have said, “We don’t trivialize slavery in this house. It was a cruel practice that stole people, abused them, separated their families, and led to war.” Since actress Florence Henderson was southern, her character Carol could’ve added, “I don’t know about what led to the war, but this family does not enslave people–anymore.” Either parent could have then noted, “Besides, slavery’s illegal.”
    That said, there was one woke-ish moment that slipped in. Greg warns Bobby for going overboard with his demands on Peter, but, in a jab at the “slaves were happy” myth, Bobby dismisses the warning: “Peter’s loving every minute of it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok I’m doing this mainly from memory (sorry if it’s not entirely accurate!), but didn’t Bobby mention in The Big Bet episode (along with his “most important lesson”) that if he ever had the chance to boss anyone around again, he wouldn’t be mean? He apparently forgot that lesson when Peter became his “slave for life”.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I see Pete’s work ethic hasn’t changed much, since getting sacked from that sweet ice cream parlor position, last show.

    Did he flip a coin with Greg over who got to stand on the ladder, and Peter lost? He sure seems miserable. Maybe he’d enjoy that job more if he had a happenin’ set of stereo speakers to listen to some groovin’ tunes…*sigh* too bad he doesn’t have enough dough from his pizza job, to afford them. Looks like he was eating all the deliveries, based on that 1/2 pizza he brought home at the end of the last episode. What a dum-dum.

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  10. Last time Greg was on the ladder and got a call, he came down and Bobby went up, but somehow Greg reappeared upstairs in time to rescue Bobby. This time he clambered through the window to take that call.

    No shower head and no curtain! I guess without one, you don’t need the other, in the Brady home.

    Yes, Peter was being overly dramatic. It seems all he’d have gotten was the same green paint dousing that hero Bobby received. And didn’t that look like more green paint than the bucket could hold, fell on that little leprechaun? I didn’t realize in Season 5 to what lengths Bobby would go to perfect his budding impersonation repertoire.

    Question to MIKE aka Our Review Blogger: you wrote that the new wallpaper in the girls’ room was the first time there was a change to one of the rooms. But the boys have new wallpaper this season (no longer nautically themed) and I recall of the earlier seasons that the girls had a pattern on their walls, not the solid color that the yellow floral design was to cover up.
    Am I imagining things?

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    1. You’re right about the original white wallpaper with the multicolor pattern that was in the girls’ bedroom. Sometime during the second or third season, we then had the solid pink walls (not to mention that groovy “Butterfly of Love” poster!).

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Mike in his jeans….. uh.. wished he was in jeans a bit more. lol
    Where was Mike when the ladder fell? In the garage too? Did he go upstairs to change then heard the commotion?
    Btw, where were Mike and Carol going? To the movies?

    I thought this was an okay episode but there are somethings that were nice to see like the family at the table, think its been awhile since we’ve seen that.

    Liked by 1 person

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