Episode 1: The Brady 500

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.

Susan Olsen

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.

Leah Ayres

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!




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 “Episode 1: The Brady 500”

  1. I read that despite The Bradys being very serious and dramatic, Robert still hated it. And he managed to deliver his complaints to CBS saying “you can’t approve this”. Everyone was also insisting that this show run at 22:00 PM, but CBS insisted that the show run at 20:00 in an attempt to beat Full House in the ratings.

    There was also this funny story in which Robert attempted to improvise his lines saying “if this doesn’t work, we’re in deep shit”, and Ann B Davis shot back saying “I don’t know Mr Brady, how deep is your shit?”.

    But anyway, its a shame that this was the final nail in the coffin for the original Brady Bunch

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The DVD does have quite a bit of scenes that isn’t in the video you posted but that’s okay, some of them aren’t really needed. I don’t think there was a laugh track in the movie portion.

    Did you notice the door at the top of the stairs was open? It was like that during the movie at least and I think the rest of the series.
    Mike doesn’t look like he has the perm anymore unless he had it cut short for another show or something he was on.
    I feel like sounding like Robert Reed at the moment…
    Nice to see Alice OUT OF UNIFORM so far.
    I can’t see a NASCAR driver or any stock car driver waving in the middle of the race. Yes, as soon as Bobby spun out there would have been a yellow flag and in the DVD, subtitles show no mention of a yellow flag.
    If I was Peter’s co workers, I’d be annoyed that he was working and watching the race if watching TV with earphones were not allowed. Valarie didn’t stop him from going to the race though and I didn’t like how he acted afterwards when he left.
    I don’t get why there wasn’t a TV in Jan and Philip’s room so they could watch the race so they didn’t disturb people, I think I’d be annoyed if someone was watching TV like that. Having Jan and Philip leave their cruise to see Bobby I think was just unrealistic as I don’t think they could just do that but I haven’t been on a cruise before so, I don’t know.
    I really don’t think Mike would have been able to bring that camera with him to the track either.
    Mickey does need help if he likes to see his uncle in the car crash again and again, that’s for sure.
    Welcoming Bobby home was a bit annoying and I had to go back and see if they used the peephole. Mickey is an idiot as if he can’t tell who is coming and needs glasses.
    There were times where I thought Carol was a bit pushy but there were scenes with M/C that I really didn’t like in this movie and series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for sharing your racing knowledge about a caution flag. I thought the same about Mike at the track with a camera. Good observation on Mickey looking through the peephole. Surely he can discern a single person coming up the walk versus a man pushing a wheelchair bound person.


  3. UGH!
    I just lost my entire entry,as I was about to post 😠
    Reiterating (in a condensed entry):
    Opening song is terrible.
    Good to see both Eve and Susan back.
    Leah is pretty but no Maureen.
    Wonder if opening shot of home is stock footage?
    Never saw that angle as Carol walks into dining room and past tv, carrying pretzels.

    Ironic that Jan picked a better breadwinner than the popular Marcia.

    Alice using a key to unlock BOTH bolt and doorknob of front door? Never saw that occur before.
    Oddly enough, had Wally tried the door, he’d had found Alice had left it unlocked, upon her entering the house.

    The new Micky, though more bloodthirsty, is not as annoying as the original actor.

    Overall, not as dark as I recalled. Some lighthearted moments filtered in. This was Bobby’s ep, then one on Marcia drinking, Jan adopting, Mike running for office (maybe where they got the parody plot for the 3rd movie), etc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting! My mom’s old house had a locking doorknob and a locking deadbolt. The deadbolt was added years later. For decades, the door had locked only via the knob.

      Great thought on Jan’s choice of husband.

      I agree about the theme song. It’s bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Vincent.. when you lost your comments, after you pressed post comment did you get a blank page? That happens to me so I just go to my browser button and click the arrow to go back. I click the link to change then the G so I can post in my Gmail account.

    I am betting it is the stock footage of the house. I had not noticed that about Alice doing two locks, that is interesting as I went back to the DVD to take a quick peak. I did notice no subtitles for the theme song, it just shows [Theme Song] and of course the person who is deaf might not even realize it isn’t really the original theme song. Maybe that’s for the best as it was a terrible song.

    Theme song for the Bradys is on Youtube and someone commented that maybe FH just said f’get it and sang the best she could. We know she’s a good singer.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It was really nice to see even though I’m not sure why it happened but Mike Brady in a suit to pick up Bobby from the airport… They didn’t wear suits anymore back in the ’90’s right? Peter was wearing a suit, what was up with that too?

    I don’t think he wore jeans at all in the movie or series but that’s a shame, would love to have seen him wear jeans one last time. 😦


  6. Just watched this for the very first time on YouTube, which has both “The Brady 500” segments, “Start Your Engines” and “Here We Grow Again”, combined into one tv film. I’d only seen one or two of the later episodes when the show originally aired in the 1990’s.

    While I love Florence Henderson’s singing, I wasn’t happy about that new theme either!

    Same ol’ Peter! First he’s following sports at work, and during the second half he’s juggling two dates for one night!

    Mickey deserved a stern Brady lecture about his Uncle Bobby’s accident. When I was a little guy, I was into the exploits of Evel Knievel, and had some of his Ideal toy line. When I watched footage of him crashing his cycle on tv, or the failed Snake River Canyon jump, he’d get taken away in an ambulance only to perform another stunt when he eventually recovered. If he had suffered a career-ending injury, or worse, I wouldn’t have wanted to recreate that on the living room floor!

    I’ll save the rest of my comments for the next installment, including whether or not I liked this particular series.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What the heck… the issue Vincent had I had and using google didn’t work but now it does… dang… next time I’m copying what I wrote… 😦 I had to refresh the page though.

    The discs do not have FH singing just instrumental music and maybe in a way that’s for the best. Youtube has the three ‘The Bradys’ theme song and I think the last one with FH was just for syndication.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Andrea. You found the same compilation of openings on YouTube, that I did.
      I watched the first ep when it originally aired and not sure if I even made it to the 2nd one but, I’m in it for the long haul, this time!


    2. When they show Leah Ayres (fake Marcia) in her opening credit, are those pictures of her as a kid sliding on the screen?


  8. Re-watching this movie and something that I noticed.
    Kevin and his stuff animal? Isn’t 7 or 8 old enough to not have a stuffed toy?
    Breaking into the den, that window just looked too low for Wally to boost Mickey in.

    It was strange to see M/C snapping at each other even if it was because Bobby had gotten hurt badly.
    I would have thought that Mike would have made sure not to lose that video tape or get rid of it weeks before Bobby came home.
    When you lie to Mike and Carol, make sure you have your story straight, Marcia should have known that.

    I noticed it in the first viewing but forgot to mention, seems there is a window above the front door.
    Just noticed Wally called Carol, ‘Mom’ Do people really call their in laws Mom or Dad?

    I do not understand Jessica and the story scene. Maybe just filler to see how the kid does? Looked like the back porch was renovated as well.
    J/P and G/N live in the same town?
    I guess its not enough room for Bobby to sleep in Alice’s room.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrea. – my sister-in-law calls my Mom, “Mom” and I call my in-laws “Mom and Dad”, as does my wife’s sister-in-law. My sister casks her husband’s mother, “Mom”, etc.

      Very common occurrence.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s been ages since I’ve seen The Bradys or sometimes known as BradySomething. If I recall correctly, there were scenes that featured a laugh track? That’s kind of strange that they would do that, especially if the show is trying to be dramatic.


    1. BBG,
      A laugh track seems vaguely familiar. But calling it “Brady something” (a spin on the then popular, “thirty-something”), gave me more of a smile than most of The Bradys attempts at humor.

      Liked by 1 person

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