Original Air Date: February 9th, 1990
Video Link: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4jvubk
Greetings once again readers, family and friends. Today we begin our journey on the last adventure we have shared with the original Brady cast. Who knows? There could be another one someday. Yes, there have been reunions and HGTV specials, but those were more about the actors who played the characters, not the characters themselves. The Bradys was an attempt to bring the family back in a 1990s kind of world, sans the silly antics of the Brady kids, with a mostly dramatic flare. Like The Brady Brides, I am viewing these episodes via the Daily Motion website, so please forgive the low quality screen grabs.
The story opens with all of the Bradys and their families watching Bobby drive in a stock car race. Most of the family is delighted to see Bobby doing so well. Carol is happy, but can’t bear to watch the race for fear of Bobby getting hurt. I would say I would find it annoying if another person in the room kept disrupting my own viewing of a family member taking part in such a monumental event. Sitting right beside him, Carol will ask Mike to tell her what happened instead of just looking at the TV herself.
While Susan Olsen was absent for “A Very Brady Christmas” she returned for The Bradys. It was great to see her again. Cindy’s adult occupation is DJing a radio show called Cindy At Sunrise. Bobby’s race has to be an early one on the east coast because Cindy announces he has won on Cindy At Sunrise. I’ve never known a stock car race to begin early enough to be announced complete on a morning radio show.
While it was great to see Susan Olsen back, it was disappointing to find that Maureen McCormick had bowed out of The Bradys. Her replacement was an actress named Leah Ayres. A review of her IMDB credits revealed mostly guest spots on several well known TV shows. She was in the feature films “Eddie Macon’s Run” and “Bloodsport”. Per IMDB she retired from acting and now teaches and produces creativity and imagination building materials for children.
I found the above image while researching Leah Ayres. Despite looking grubby, I thought she looked especially fine in this shot from “The Burning” in 1981.
Bobby’s family watches him fly past the checkered flag! His next stop is the Indianapolis, er, Nashville 500! Check out that trophy! Seriously, it looks to be more appropriate for the winning team of a bowling league or best ride at the local car show; not a nationally televised stock car race.
With Bobby going to the Nashville 500, his family wants to be there to cheer him on. However, only Mike, Carol and Cindy will be able to make it. Cindy convinces her boss to let her do a live remote of her show from the race. Greg has babies to deliver, Peter’s fiance says their work lives don’t allow for traveling and Jan is going on a cruise with Philip. Marcia and Wally have bigger concerns than Bobby’s race, they have to find a roof to put over their heads. Wally’s job at the local toy company has ended. They show up with with their children in tow seeking to lodge with Mike and Carol.
The day of the race arrives and like all radio remotes, Cindy does her along side all the fans in the audience. Apparently the Nashville 500 doesn’t have a press box or some more reasonable place for Cindy to broadcast her show. I googled Nashville 500 to see if it was an actual race in any stock car league. I could only find reference to a Nashville 500 in relation to a NASCAR race in 1962. As Bobby speeds along, he loses control of his car and comes to a stop. Despite there being a disabled car on the track, no mention is made of a caution flag. Friends, I know little about NASCAR/stock car racing, so if this situation does not warrant a flag, please let me know. If it did, I would think the most annoying announcer in sports history would have shared that one was out. The announcer at this race, and the other one in which we see Bobby compete, announces every action by the lead drivers. I know TV and radio announcers give this level of play by play, but I have attended only one sporting event where an announcer did this. A local high school football game announcer was doing this at the last game I attended years ago. I found it annoying then and in “The Brady 500”. When I attended games regularly as a student, this certainly wasn’t done. The stands were a lot more crowded back then too.
Bobby’s disabled car is broadsided by another racer. Tragedy has struck the family Brady. Bobby has lost his ability to walk and it is not known if it will be permanent or not. Bobby’s crew chief and the entire Brady family are by his side at the hospital. There is a quick flashback to the episode “The Winner” when Bobby dreamed of someday racing speed boats. I found this kind of an odd flashback. However, I guess we can take some comfort that in that earlier in “The Brady 500”, Bobby finally has an actual trophy he earned. The hospital scene gives Florence Henderson an opportunity to show her dramatic acting skills. She does an amazing job here. I was very impressed to see her take Carol Brady to a level this deep.
Greg entertains the idea of becoming an orthopedic doctor in place of being an obstetrician. He knows it will be a sacrifice and burden, but Bobby’s injury has him thinking about it. While he considers it, his son pokes his head in the bedroom. The kid is Jonathan Taylor Thomas. He would later become famous on Home Improvement and enjoy a few years of being a teen heartthrob.
After a few weeks of hospitalization in Nashville, Bobby is on his way home to the Brady house. Marcia and Wally lie about finding a new house to live in. They are planning to obtain a home by borrowing against Wally’s life insurance. They must be in search of a shack or some lean to as I can’t imagine borrowing against life insurance would garner enough to buy a home and no mortgage company would give a loan to a man with no job. Of course, Wally might have some mega policy that has Marcia’s children’s children set for life should he die. They could also be renting a place and an insurance loan might cover the first month or two. Mike and Carol see through this and won’t have Marcia and Wally leave their home. Marcia and Wally’s son enjoys watching Bobby’s crash over and over and reenacting it with his toy cars. I hope when Wally gets back to work, he gets an insurance plan that will cover visits to a child psychologist. This kid is old enough to know that is not something you play. He’s not reenacting an outlaw who lived almost 100 years prior, he’s reenacting an event that still has members of his household grieving!
A surprise party is planned for Bobby’s arrival home, but a series of unexpected arrivals complicates matters as each arrival is mistook for Bobby and Mike. Peter and Alice come in and we learn that Valerie and Peter are no more. She could not be bothered to go visit Bobby in Nashville. Carol and Peter have a heart to heart about a man Carol parted ways with before meeting Mike. The next non-Bobby arrival is Joe Fletcher. He has dropped by to offer Wally a job selling life insurance. The people at his company were so impressed with Wally’s pitch to take a loan on his policy that they want to hire him. While it is nice that a job came and found Wally, it just seemed like a rushed way to get Wally working again. I hope he didn’t show up on his first day and learn that he needs only to pay $1500 for his licensing, training and certification courses. I once had somebody tell me that his company was looking for people like me and was invited to the next business meeting. When I went to the “business meeting” it was a circus of high-fives, questions about how rich I wanted to be and a request to invest $150 in myself. It was fun and gave me something to do while unemployed, but I did not sign on.
The episode ends on another well done dramatic note. When Bobby does arrive home, Carol cannot contain her sadness at seeing him in a wheelchair.
Thank you for reviewing “The Brady 500” with me. I’ve heard a laugh track was eventually added to episodes of The Bradys. I don’t know if this one excluded it altogether or I just happened to view a copy of the episode without it. A laugh track would have been as inappropriate as Wally and Marcia’s son’s actions. Please share with me your own thoughts! My goal is to review another episode each Friday. However, episodes of The Bradys are a bit longer and require a little more time to take in. This may see some Fridays pass without a review. See you again soon!