Greetings friends and readers! Thank you for joining me today to review another episode of The Brady Brides. This one is aptly titled “The Newlywed Game”. It first aired on March 20, 1981. Which is interesting because per Wikipedia and IMDB, the game show, The Newlywed Game, had been cancelled in 1980. I gave this episode its own blog post with high expectations. Oftentimes, a short lived series best remembered episode was when it crossed over with some more established or better known series. We saw this with the Brady Bunch parody on Day By Day. I was hoping the Brady brides on the Newlywed game might be the crème de la crème of the series. Dear readers, I am hoping this is not the case. If it is, the next four episodes are nothing to look forward to. The episode was viewed using Daily Motion. This time, the upload was taken from a Fox Family broadcast. The link is below. Let us begin our review of “The Newlywed Game”!
The episode begins with yet another make out session between Marcia and Wally. The producers of the series wanted to make clear there was a strong physical attraction between the pair. I bet Maureen McCormick insisted Jerry Houser shave his mustache when she found out how many kissing scenes were involved in the series. The smooching is interrupted by a knock at the door.
The celebrity to grace the doorstep of the Covington/Logan home is Bob Eubanks. Of all the celebrities that ever came to the Brady home on the original series, none of them ever showed up by accident like Bob Eubanks. His car has broken down in the neighborhood and he needs to use the phone to summon a tow truck. Since the previous episode was so keen to make it known important work decisions take place at the home, this episode should have had Tyler Toys releasing a new and improved Newlywed Game home version or maybe a Bob Eubanks doll. Either of these could have required Bob Eubanks to visit the house and give his stamp of approval. Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but at this point I think credulity was no longer a factor in the writing room.
As Bob summons a tow truck, he observes Marcia and Wally and invites them to try out for the show. I wonder how many newlyweds approached him in public seeking a spot on the show or actually tried to get on the show and never even got a call back. Here, Marcia and Wally get the invite without lifting a finger. Why not just have them actually go through the normal channels to get on the the show?
Jan and Philip are soon home and happy to learn about Marcia and Wally’s potentially being contestants on a game show. Carol is around too and is just excited. We get some classic Carol Brady antics as she mimics Bob Eubanks in a practice run for Marcia and Wally’s appearance on the dating game. With a “booming” voice and exaggerated gestures she serves as the stand in Bob Eubanks. Well, it is not long before the man himself is back in the house needing to use the phone again. The use of his flashers while his car was disabled/being repaired has killed his battery and made necessary another call to the tow company. Whoever fixed his car (a busted water hose was the problem) didn’t crank it up to make sure the repair was sufficient? Bob could have just asked either Philip or Wally for a jump. So impressed is he with the dining room game play, he wants Philip and Jan to compete on the show too! Did the writers of The Brady Brides think they had such a commodity in having part of the original cast on hand that no effort was needed when penning the scripts? It sure seems that way.
Well, it is not long before the Logans and the Covingtons are on the show competing against two other couples. Friends, I will admit that as of the writing of this blog, I have seen more episodes of The Brady Brides than I have The Newlywed Game. I remember it airing on different networks during my lifetime. As I flipped the channels as a kid, I would pass it and see images like the one above. The set design always struck me as looking quite cheap. Some white lattice and a sign that reads “The Newlywed Game” were the extent of the effort put into dressing the set. Where the contestants sat was equally humdrum. Family Feud had that huge spinning device with the survey results and contestants emerging from behind a big sliding wall with their last name on it. Wheel of Fortune has the giant puzzle board and of course the wheel. We need not even mention the grandiose the Price Is Right gives us. The Newlywed Game set could be replicated with a single trip to Lowes or Home Depot.
The other contestants on the show were played by actors with some interesting credits. The Marine Corps contestant was played by Leonard Lightfoot. He was a regular on She’s The Sheriff and had a recurring role on Silver Spoons. The lady playing his wife, Renee Jones, had a long run on Days of Our Lives. The older couple was played by Harvey Vernon and Edith Fellows. Edith Fellows’ acting resume, while long, listed nothing eye catching for me. Harvey Vernon stayed busy in Hollywood and had a regular role on Carter Country. His IMDB page’s profile photo lists a shot of him as the crotchety liquor store owner in the film “Teen Wolf”.
The games plays out with three of the four couples in a tie at the end. The other young couple bailed as they had better things to do; or maybe better shows to act in. The final question of the show that could win it for Jan and Philip is an obvious one Philip should know, but of course he blows it in the most embarrassing way possible. Earlier in the episode, during the practice round at home, he was too prudish to name breasts and thighs as his favorite part of the chicken; choosing instead to say the face was his favorite part. One of the multiple choice answers for the winning question is “face” and Jan angrily suggests he answer like he did at home. To Philip’s humiliation and a fitting nod to the sad attempt at humor in the episode, Philip stands up and yells “breasts and thighs”, despite it not even being an option to the question asked. This man teaches college? I will admit, the episodes lone smirk on my part was Jan’s angry “suggestion” towards Philip to answer “face”.
Neither of the couples walk away as winners. The grand prize was an aquarium, the biggest one offered to non-commercial owners. It was valued at $1200. In today’s dollars, that is around $3400. I wonder what that elderly couple thought of the prize? Watching shows like The Price Is Right, I used to wonder how underwhelmed some contestants might have been to learn they just won a popcorn cart, a jukebox or new skiing equipment. I later learned that they are offered a cash equivalent in place of a prize. If my game show prowess won me a $3500 fish aquarium or top of the line snow shoes, I’d be going home with cash.
They all sit at home and sulk over losing the Newlywed Game and how they really don’t know each other all that well. Philip suggests that is not bad as getting to know new things about one another makes life grand. They decide it is time to head to their bedrooms for some more exploration. With that, the episode ends.
Thank you readers for reviewing this episode with me. I would love to hear your thoughts. Watching this series is not easy for me. I was not expecting to happen upon some lost comedy gem, but I did expect it to be a bit more entertaining than it has been. If you happened to enjoy the show/series, please do let us know where you found merit and enjoyment in it. As I have stated before, the comments are what fuel this blog and make it great. I’ll be back soon with the review of the remainder of the episodes.