A Very Brady Episode

Hello again dear readers!  Thank you for joining me today to look back on a fun spoof of The Brady Bunch.  On February 5th, 1989, an episode of the sitcom Day By Day aired an episode where one of the characters dreams he is a part of the Brady family.  In case you have not seen it, a Youtube link for the episode is below.  It is here that I viewed it for the first time in nearly 30 years.  I also obtained the screenshots from here, so please excuse the lackluster quality of them.   Let’s begin our review!

Video Link: https://youtu.be/gapSLY5Fxbo

I remember seeing this episode when it aired during prime time.  Other than viewing this one particular episode, I had zero recollection of the series as a whole prior to starting this review.   I had to Google it for more information.  To my surprise, it was associated with the long running series Family Ties.  The fathers on each show were college roommates.  So in the same TV world where Steven and Elyse Keaton worried over the conservative era of Reagan clashing with their flower child pasts, another family ran a day care and enjoyed The Brady Bunch.

DBD1

The premise of Day By Day had a husband and wife with successful careers shucking their high paying jobs to run a day care.  Thrown into the mix was their teenage son Ross, a toddler aged daughter, a pre-Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a neighbor and a pre-Melrose Place Courtney Thorne-Smith as a nanny.  The show starred Douglas Sheehan and Linda Kelsey as the parents and Christopher Daniel Barnes as Ross.  Thora Birch played the daughter.   If any readers are more familiar with this series as a whole, please share your thoughts!

DBD3
Christopher Daniel Barnes as Ross Harper

It is a well known bit of Brady trivia that Christopher Daniel Barnes would later play Greg in the Brady movies from the 1990s.  He did not reprise the role for the third Brady film where Mike Brady is elected president.

DBD4

The episode begins with Ross utilizing some vintage 1980s technology to watch a vintage 1970s show.  I remember those little hand held TVs being quite the novelty at one time.  A friend and his dad were utilizing their own to watch Alf one night at church while waiting to have their photo snapped for the directory.  That was advanced technology at the time!

Ross is soon joined by the neighbor, Eileen, and the nanny, Kristin, and they all sing the Brady Bunch theme song together.  It was a nice nod to the show’s longevity that so many knew the words to the theme song by heart.

Along with some vintage 1980s tech, this episode also treats us to some vintage 80s fashion.  Check out that shirt Ross is wearing.  At the time it was current and stylish.  Later in this episode, we will see him wearing some laughable 1970s duds.  Now, this episode gives a glimpse to the dated fashion of two decades!  Eileen’s business attire would still be considered fashionable today or at least it would not catch my eye like a leisure suit or parachute pants would.  Kristin’s outfit does have a 1980s Gap vibe, but probably would only reveal that under scrutiny.

DBD5

The conflict of this Day By Day episode is that Ross has written a lousy history  paper.  The conflict is revealed with some of those classic 80s sitcoms tropes.  The other characters vow their support and then balk moments later.  The issue at hand is rendered more grave by dialogue of the other characters still unaware of the said issue.  In this case, the parents reflect on the teacher that gave Ross the bad grade and how easy it was to pass his class.  These tropes are predictable and heavy handed, but they sure were fun back then.

ba

Ross blames his bad grade on a recent Brady Bunch marathon.  Part of this crappy paper stated that Benedict Arnold was the pig on Green Acres.  Well Ross, if you were watching a Brady Bunch marathon, you should be well aware Benedict Arnold was not the famous swine from Green Acres.  Your parents are so right to be disappointed in you.  You didn’t pay attention in class or while watching The Brady Bunch.  Ross laments that Mike and Carol Brady would not be angry with one of the kids brought home a bad grade.

opening2

Ross must hit the books as part of his punishment for the F paper.  This is where the fun begins as he dozes off and dreams he is a part of The Brady Brunch.  The opening of the original show is altered in that it excludes Susan Olsen from the opening head shots.  I assume the little girl taking her place was the actress who played Ross’s little sister on Day By Day.  Outside of this shot, the child does not appear elsewhere in the episode.  Susan Olsen is also absent from this mini-reunion.  Sadly, we won’t see Eve Plumb or Barry Williams either outside of these opening credits.

carol

Ross finds himself in the Brady home of old and greeted by Carol.  Florence Henderson adorned the lady mullet for this spoof.  Either the studio audience or a well crafted canned excited audience track erupt upon her entrance.  True to the original show, she enjoys one cup of coffee after another.  Missing was that pea green coffee pot Alice always served from.  In this introduction, we learn that Ross is no longer Ross, but Chuck Brady.  We get the only mention of Cindy and Jan here.  Carol gleefully shares that Cindy is at a bake sale and Jan just ran up to her room and slammed the door.

mike

Soon, Robert Reed comes from Mike’s den sporting a mustache and some classic Mr. Brady attire.  In a funny bit, he chides Chuck about his long hair.  The boy refuses to have it cut, but Mike Brady isn’t asking that at all.  He asked that Chuck get that long hair permed.  Most devout fans of the show now know the curls of the Brady men came naturally, not chemically, but this was still a really funny line.  It was fantastic that Robert Reed took part in this, despite his misgivings about the original series.  Perhaps this opportunity to poke fun at it could not be resisted by him.

ukelele

It is soon revealed that Mike is carrying a ukulele.  He cracks a silly joke about taking it to a roaring 20s party.  He says that’s where “we all get roaring and act like we’re twenty”.  Carol of course finds this hilarious.  Throughout this entire dream bit, Florence Henderson and Robert Reed look to be having a blast spoofing their old characters. It was great to see them together having so much fun.

alice

Soon Ann B. Davis makes her entrance.  She references the boxing gloves she is wearing as being a gift from Sam The Butcher.  It was nice that her old beau was at least referenced.   As of 1989, Miss Davis did not appear to have lost a step.  She dances around throwing jabs and looks as fit as ever.  I’ve shared before that Ann B. Davis was known to be in excellent health right up until the day she passed.  Her death took those who knew her by surprise.  During this scene, Alice also mentions Buddy Hinton giving Chuck trouble at school.  Whoever crafted this spoof seemed to know the show very well.

bobbypeter

The audience is then treated to the arrival of two of the Brady boys. Christopher Knight and Mike Lookinland enter the scene.  It was funny seeing Bobby with a mustache, still dressed like he was 12 years old.  They introduce the mini-conflict of the episode when they share that Chuck is running for student council president.  Chuck refuses saying he does not do extracurricular activities.  Here Mike pulls aside Chuck and the music is queued that accompanied wisdom being shared on the original series.  The “talking to” lasts all of 15 seconds as Mike shares facing new challenges is part of growing up and closing with “I’m glad we had this talk” as the music stops abruptly.  It was a funny well done parody of the original series.

marcia

The next scene has Maureen McCormick entering the dream sequence.  A very pregnant Marcia rushes over to Chuck to share with him some “wonderful news”.  Chuck is taken aback by a pregnant Marcia.  At the time this episode was filmed, Maureen McCormick was pregnant.  I remember when I watched this years ago, Chuck questioned if Mike and Carol knew Marcia was with child, but this is cut from the version posted on Youtube.  It’s a shame too because it made for a really funny exchange.  The wonderful news Marcia has to share is that she is running for Student Council president.

The remainder of the dream sequence treats viewers to more silliness via the spoof of the original series.  At one point Chuck suggests he and his brothers get on their bikes and go someplace, but is rebuked by Peter saying “we never ride our bikes” followed by Bobby saying “we just fix them”.  While us die hard fans of the show know this not to be true, to a casual viewer it makes for continued hilarity.  Eileen and Kristin appear in the dream as two of Marcia’s cheer leading chums and kind of stand in for Jan and Cindy.  The boys and girls march across a the living room, divided by a white line, in support of the candidate of their gender.  Carol intervenes and Marcia states she wishes she was part of the Partridge Family.  Another super quick “lesson” is shared with the music queued.

The dream sequence comes to an end with a laugh.  Mike again shares the roaring 20s joke.  When questioned about this by Chuck, Mike states he knows the joke was shared all ready.  Carol states they are now in a rerun.  Alice reenters throwing jabs and belts Chuck Brady, returning him to reality as Ross.  Well, almost returning him.  Ross awakens from the dream only to find his actual parents dressed like Mike and Carol Brady.  This lasts only a few seconds as he awakens again to his own reality.  The bit concludes with his own parents becoming enraptured with an episode of The Brady Bunch.

Thank you for reviewing this episode of Day By Day with me.  I chose to review it as it is a testament to that lasting legacy in pop culture the Bradys left us.  At the time this episode aired, the original show had been off the air almost 15 years.  This episode is but one of many examples of how the Bradys have remained such a powerful mainstay in pop culture.  We just saw the original house used only in establishing shots undergo a major renovation as the nostalgia associated with it was so great, so many did not want to see it razed.  There a few classic TV shows with such staying power.  Please share your own thoughts with us on this episode/spoof.  The plan for the next review is The Brady Brides.  See you soon.

 

 

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.

18 thoughts on “A Very Brady Episode”

  1. Hey Mike,
    As always, great review.
    I learned two things from reading it: there was a kid sister on the show, which explained why some doppleganger was in the beloved Cindy’s square. Watching the same YouTube episode, I was thinking, “Maybe Susan didn’t give the rights to her image and they stuck in some producer’s kid?”
    The second thing I learned is that they cut a line about Marcia being pregnant. *Grrrr* I thought they just didn’t acknowledge it as an inside joke about the wholesomeness of the show not allowing the reality of the real world, to filter in.
    Mike, if you recall what the exchange was between Chuck, Carol and Mike, would you please share it?

    I wonder why they closed off the kitchen portion of the set?

    This is the only time I watched this show. Judging by the non Brady scenes, I can see why. One of those “best of” episodes of an otherwise typical ’80s sitcom.

    Thanks for continuing the fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Vincent! The exchange as I recall it was between Chuck and Marcia. Chuck notices a very pregnant Marcia and says, “Do mom and dad know?!” And she replies “That I am running for Student Council President?” or something like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gee, that seems so tame that I can’t fathom why they’d feel the need to cut it.
        Amusing, but gentle and in keeping with the spirit of the warmth of the spoof.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. My guess as to why they cut off the kitchen set is that it simply wasn’t needed. It was probably a hassle building the living room set to reflect the original, and I’m sure it wasn’t in the episode’s budget to build the kitchen as well.

      I do wish that all the Brady kids would have been able to participate in this episode. Though I did find Carol’s comment about Jan running up to her room and slamming the door to be hilarious. Poor Jan.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think it was cut for length, not content. If the video on YouTube is a copy of a syndicated rerun, it might just be a shortened airing to allow for one more Life Insurance ad. Of course depending on the network, it could have been for content. I’ve seen Hallmark make some very prudish edits on The Golden Girls reruns.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A few observations of mine, that I’ll number, copying Tweety’s convention here:

    1) I love how the Brady font (Does anyone know its name, if it has one?) was used in the opening credits here. When I first looked up this episode in the early days of the Internet, I thought I read that the episode name was “Bradyvision”, as is seen in the opening. The episode title followed a convention set by the Christmas movie and continuing through the movie sequel to the HGTV series.

    2) His long hair makes Ross look more like a kid of the ’70s or maybe early ’80s than a kid of the late ’80s to me, but some kids were slow to change.

    3) Courtney Thorne-Smith is beautiful & funny, but she’s never going to star in a musical w/ her singing voice.

    4) Thanks for bringing up the Benedict Arnold mention here, which I’d forgotten, at least in relation to how many times he & traitor were mentioned together on TBB. His picture was a great addition here too.

    5) I thought replacement Cindy had something to do w/ how Susan Olsen had just recently been left out of “A Very Brady Christmas” a couple months earlier. I don’t recall ever seeing the Harpers’ daughter, but then I haven’t seen many episodes of DAY-BY-DAY outside of this one. I wish when it made good Award Shows that TV Land had brought together Leah Ayers, Geri Reischl, and Jennifer Runyon to present a TV Land Award in a category like “Best Replacement Character”.

    6) I think my mom drank as much coffer as Carol Brady, so I never noticed how much Carol drank. 🙂

    7) Having the table over to the side was probably a good move on the part of this show. Not only was it probably lacking the budget to show more than 1 room of the Brady house, the stage also probably lacked the space. From what I remember, DAY-BY-DAY, like FAMILY TIES, was taped in front of a studio audience, so I’m sure space was limited for “swing sets” that weren’t regularly used on the show. I don’t think this episode would’ve been possible at any studio but Paramount, which produced all 3 of these sitcoms here.

    8) Mike’s line “I’m g0nna be the cat’s me-ow at that Roaring ’20s party.” was copied directly from “Never Too Young”, but his statement about what the Roaring ’20s were was added just as a joke here. I personally doubt our upcoming 2020s will be as much fun as the 1920s were, or at least how they’re remembered now.

    9) I loved Alice’s reference to Buddy Hinton, as I remembered him immediately. I’d forgotten until recently rewatching “A Fistful of Reasons” that Alice brought out the boxing gloves there too.

    10) I don’t recall the line referencing Maureen McCormick’s pregnancy, but it looks like a good one. I taped this episode off NBC on Feb. 5, 1989, so if I ever get my tape-to-disc system working again, I’ll be sure to watch for it.

    11) Barry Williams stated, I think on his blog, that he was unavailable for this episode due to a stage commitment he had at the time. I think it would’ve been hard to feature all 9 members of the original cast here, not to mention too expensive.

    12) I don’t recall noticing the white line down the center of the living room, but it’s another great Brady reference, as was Marcia’s line about the Partridges.

    13) Having Ross’ parents show up as Mike & Carol in a dream outside the dream was a great touch, and they looked a lot like how Mike & Carol were portrayed here.

    14) I read this review of the episode a few months ago, and I think the readers here will like it too:

    http://greginhollywood.com/throwback-thursday-when-the-brady-bunch-took-over-an-episode-of-late-80s-sitcom-day-by-day-168523

    He’s right that DAY-BY-DAY is probably remembered mostly if not entirely for this episode.

    I’m looking forward to your review or reviews of THE BRADY BRIDES. Other than the lead-in movie, I don’t think I’ve seen any of them in the 38 years they’ve been off the air, and some I’ve never seen at all. I’d especially love to look back at the Brides on THE NEWLYWED GAME, which is for me the most memorable episode of the series outside of the wedding episodes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jon,
      Re: #5) I’d nominate Sarah Chalke as “Best Replacement Character”, for her replacing of Laci Gorenson as Becky on ROSEANNE.

      7) Those who stated budget constraints and lack of room on the set (for no kitchen in the dream) makes total sense.

      8) I did recall Mike saying he’ll be “The cat’s meow,” when he originally found the ukulele in the attic.

      Thanks for the link. I didn’t even know The Brady Brides did an ep on the Newlywed Game (or at least, I’ve forgotten), so I too look forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing the link! I’m having to rely on Dailymotion and YouTube to view the later series. I’ll post the links I use to view them on each blog. They may be severely hacked up/edited down. Still hoping some well meaning family member might get me that new boxed set.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks to Jon’s link, I just rewatched it and two things stuck out.
    The one non Brady gag that was funny had JLD and CTS as Marcia’s cheerleading friends, doing a practice cheer. As they did each chant, they both grew more tired, panting heavier and bending over from the exertion of leaping.

    The other moment was when Chuck was surprised that all the Brady Kids had received bad grades and Bobby adds, “Sure. Why do you think we all still live at home?” His delivery still cracked me up, even on the second go around.

    The studio audience seemed to really love it. I would too if I thought I was just sitting in the audience of a short lived sitcom, when to my delight, it guest stars a classic family and devotes most of it time to them.

    I rewatched from Marcia’s entrance on and have to say, the edit of Chuck’s comment about her pregnancy is very smooth. I can’t figure out where it may have occurred.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. To date, this is the only Day By Day episode I’ve ever seen. If memory serves, I timer recorded it while at work, but my VHS cassette is either lost to the ages or taped over with a different program. Along those lines, I’d stopped watching The Facts of Life for quite some time, but made sure to record the episode where three of the girls from the first season reappeared. I loved that initial season with the larger cast!

    Day By Day was also a Paramount produced program, and it would have been cool to toss this outing onto one of the Brady dvds as an extra feature. Also, according to a podcast interview with Christopher Daniel Barnes, Robert Reed would comment, “I know we’re making fun, but…” during the script reading of this parody!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I remember one of the boys said,”We don’t ride our bikes; we just fix ’em” but that’s not entirely true. I remember the show when the whole family rode their bikes home from the bike shop at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s