Episode 4: A Hat In The Ring

Original Air Date: February 23rd, 1990

Video Link: https://dai.ly/x4jxaaw

Hello again friends and readers.  Thank you for joining me today to review “A Hat In The Ring”.  This fourth installment of The Bradys saw Mike Brady running for a seat on the city council.  He recruits his son and son-in-law to assist with the campaign.  It was another less than interesting story starring our beloved Brady family.  This episode did introduce the laugh track to try to suggest the story and jokes were entertaining.  It was just odd for me. By the fourth episode, I was hoping the show might have hit some kind of groove that made it flow better and more entertaining.  It hadn’t.  Please share your own thoughts and opinions on all things The Bradys.  Let us begin reviewing “A Hat In The Ring”!

The establishing shot of the house is not the house at all.  A model has been constructed as a stand-in to the Brady home of old.  While it is a nicely done model, it is obviously just that.  The model omitted the entire right wing that was part of the original.  Did whoever built it go from memory alone?  The Bradys also have some fast growing shrubs and trees around their house! While I will share again, this is a fine model, it looks like it belongs in an old Godzilla movie, not on The Bradys.

sellmike

The episode kicks off with Mike entering the council political race and Wally losing his latest job.  He walloped his boss on the links and then mishandled the golf cart sending his employer into a pond.  When Wally shares his boss fired him, Carol jokes that he is lucky that is all his boss did.  I know there are some souls out there who can make such light of losing a job, but should I ever suffer such a misfortune, I hope no family member is cracking jokes.  I might be a touch more lighthearted knowing that my in-laws were footing all the bills and providing housing as Mike and Carol are here.   Fortunately, Mike soon employs Wally to work on his campaign and “sell Mike Brady” to the voters.

Mike also employs Peter to work on his campaign. He asks him to do this while having lunch at a restaurant.  Peter has brought along his new girlfriend Teri.  It turns out the girlfriend is the daughter of the incumbent candidate in the upcoming election!  Man, can plot devices get any more lame than this?  How many people live in the greater Los Angeles area?  Peter just happens to be starting a new romance with the daughter of his father’s political opponent?  Teri ends the romance upon learning of the political contest and will even accuse Peter of dating her just to gain intel from her father’s camp.  Teri was played by a very attractive actress named Charlie Spradling.  Her IMDB resume lists nothing notable.  Her last acting credit was in 2002.  The biography on the site says she went into publishing after leaving acting.

click

Mike gives a very snooze worthy election speech.  No effort is made to to jazz it up via a rubber chicken dangling on a string or water and feathers falling from above.  It’s just boring and has to stay that way.  A bank of phones is installed in the Brady house so calls can be made to pitch Mike to area residents.  In a slightly humorous bit, all the calls end with the person on the other end of the line hanging up.

Peter visits Bobby and is served an exotic dish called jambalaya.  I will confess that I had never eaten nor heard of this delicacy prior to 1996.  The Air Force chow hall served it in Biloxi, MS and I had it there for the first time.  I have loved it ever since.   Bobby is unhappy that he was not asked to help with the campaign.  He even compares himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was also wheelchair bound.

Again Cindy’s story is the most uninteresting.  The studio at the radio station she is employed as it is used to record a jingle for Mike’s campaign.  Jan’s voice is found to be cracking under the stress of being a new parent.  This is just worked into the jingle to give it a new and unique sound!  No friends, this does not happen.  My imagination is simply trying to make this show more interesting.

recycling

We see the children of the Bradys out on a recycling drive that also distributes flyers for their grandfather’s campaign.  One of the homes visited is that of Mrs. Hunsaker.  The episode never calls her by this name, but viewers of the original series will remember the actress as the one who played the prospective buyer of the home in “To Move Or Not To Move”.    The IMDB page for her and for this episode do not credit her appearance on The Bradys.

Some semi-cartoonish antics are attempted in the episode.  Some staffers of Mike’s political opponent attempt to bribe Mike Brady.  Mike will have none of this.  He rises to his feet and shakes the wad of bills at the briber and tells him what a scallywag he is.  Mike’s handling of the bills plays well into the no-gooders scheme as they photograph it from outside.  Mike receives a phony newspaper with a headline about him taking a bribe along with the accompanying photo of him holding the bills.  The correspondence accompanying the phony paper says if Mike doesn’t drop out of the race, that will be a genuine headline!  Any reasonable aspiring politician would probably just phone the newspaper himself/herself and make this silly extortion attempt a headline to his/her own benefit.  Instead, Mike calls his opponent, Gene Dickinson, seeking answers.  Gene is none too happy of the actions of his rogue staffers and offers a debate with Mike as consolation.  Had this trickery plot not been resolved with just a phone call it might have made for a tad more interesting episode.  Yes, the story is on the silly side, but it allows for some potentially interesting creative writing.

opponent
Herb Edelman

 

Gene Dickinson was played by Herb Edelman.  While he enjoyed a career in Hollywood that spanned three decades, he is most recognized as Dorothy’s ex-husband, Stan Zbornak, on The Golden Girls.  However, he also had lead roles on Big John, Little John and The Good Guys.  His final acting credit was in 1995.  Herb Edelman died in 1996.

Cindy’s morning radio show hosts the political debate between Mike and Gene.  It is one of the friendliest political debates one could ever expect to experience.  It took me back to a Vice Presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Joseph Lieberman that ended with Cheney calling it a “love fest”.  Speaking of love, Cindy’s boss lets Carol know he likes her daughter in many ways.

conclusion

The episode continues to plod through the election with Mike Brady the victor.  Or is he?  Just as he is delivering his victory speech, there are whispers among the crowd and bad news is soon shared.  Mike no longer lives in the district he was just elected to! Apparently, when the Brady house was moved 11 blocks due to a freeway expansion it was moved out of the district.  So, Mike is not the new councilman, or is he?  Gene takes the stage and announces a measure he pushed that allowed for some residency leniency went into effect that very day.  Mike IS the new councilman.  Did the writers of the show realize after the fact that they needed some extra dialogue to meet the time requirement?

A fun goof that has been noted before is that when announced the victor, Mike is announced as Michael Thomas Brady, when the original series gave the character’s full name as Michael Paul Brady.

Thanks again for reviewing another episode of The Bradys with me.  I thought reviewing The Brady Brides was rough, but The Bradys episodes have not been easy either.  The Bradys are longer in run time and just dull.  I tried think of similar shows from the past that were of the same ilk as the Bradys that I also enjoyed.  7th Heaven was an hour long drama with some laughs included here and there that I enjoyed.  Other hit shows employing the format included the likes of Eight Is Enough, Life Goes On and Thirtysomething.    So, if The Bradys had better scripts, the show may not have been the flop it was.  Please share your own thoughts!

ohno

 

OH NO!

 

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.

12 thoughts on “Episode 4: A Hat In The Ring”

  1. I can’t imagine how frustrated RR had been with some of the plots, in some of these episodes especially election night, I could see him suggesting that Mike would know if he is in the right district or not and the election committee would have known if he could run at all. i wonder if he noticed the goof or if he said something and they didn’t care.

    Carol seemed annoying in this episode but then in the original series, she did interrupt Mike on the phone a few times. Nice to see Alice out of her housekeeper outfit but I’m trying to catch her call M/C either M/C or Mr./Mrs. Brady. Think she called Carol Mrs. Brady in the next episode. I thought Wally called Carol Mom at first or someone did that is really an in law.
    I thought it was so cute to see Kevin sleeping on Greg’s lap, Jessica on Marcia’s lap, Wally has Mickey on his shoulder and Patty sleeping on Philip’s lap.

    It was funny that Teri acted like a jerk but perhaps she wasn’t someone Peter would want to date anyways.

    I noticed, Mickey seems to be taking most of the lines in this episode and I wonder if he was just more outgoing of the four or something.

    I thought it was cute you see three kids asleep but Patty is playing with the noisemaker. 😂

    I just figure out how to do an emoji here. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had this written up yesterday and did the cut N paste, so now, after reading your comments, I’ll just add:
    I’ll defer to your judgement about the house; it looked the same to me.
    Didn’t find Pete’s girl as attractive as Greg’s wife; did you ever spotlight the actress playing Nora? I tried posting a photo but can’t figure out how to upload into comments any image; anyone know how?

    I respectfully disagree that Cindy has the most boring plotline: I think it’s a tie between Philip and Jan, whose adoption couldn’t be smoother, and Greg and Nora barely upset over the closing of the trauma center (that Greg just moved back to town, to take a position at).

    The LOL moment was seeing Godzilla attack the house!

    Thanks for pointing out the grandkids dealt with a neighbor from the original series. I thought she handled them, expertly, probably the best acting piece of the episode.

    Now, my original thoughts:
    For a house that moved 11 blocks, that sure looks like the same sidewalk leading up to the front door. It just looks like the static shot of the home, but from an angle, rather than dead on.

    At least one month has passed, as they are no longer in the interim, small home.

    The laugh track is having WAY more fun than I am, with these flat jokes.

    The Brady grandkids expound an awful lot of time and energy for 1 vote. If this is their plan for the whole constituency, they should finish up by Super Tuesday, 1994.

    As I watched, I thought it was dumb of Mike to pick up and shake that bundle of cash in the briber’s face; guess Mike couldn’t smell the rat for the green cheese.

    Cindy wears another garish sweater.

    Except for the Peter/Bobby exchange, there are no scenes between the Brady kids; they are only shown interacting with either their spouses or parents. This may be the one thing that, to me, makes this not feel like a genuine BB continuation. The fact that Sherwood & Son are writing the scripts makes it all the odder. You’d think they of all people, would know the success of the show lay in the interaction between the siblings.

    As per usual, Greg and Nora have next to nothing going on, except to watch Greg’s moustache take over his entire face. Nora was played by Caryn Richman, who also played the “new Gidget”. For a woman in her 60s (looking at a recent image that I can’t figure how to post), she appears to have the Sally Fields gene for youth.

    Carol does a lariat twirl while saying the debate would really be “rock n’ roll”. Wouldn’t Carol doing “air guitar” have been more apropos?

    Carol plays off Cindy’s older boss’ remarks about being “very pleased about everything of Cindy”, when her Mom radar should have been going off. THAT was the time for her to do the lariat motion and rope a profession of love outta him!

    Michael Thomas Brady wins and goes on to become President (in the 3rd parody film).

    If only all politicians were as gracious at losing as Councilman Gene Dickenson.

    Alice Franklin is introduced as part of the family but again, no Sam. Mike – do you know if Sam appears in the final 2 eps? Perhaps Sam retired and just was a homebody, when he wasn’t bowling. I knew of several women who I thought were single/widowed, and it turned out their husbands never left the house, and they’d go on trips and or socialize, with their girlfriends/sister/daughter.

    A twist that untwists itself? What a clunker ending.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for commenting Vinnie! The house seen in this episode is a fantastic model of the original Brady house. But the one pictured in the opening of the episode looks to be missing the far right section seen previously. Perhaps that tree is concealing it, but to me it appears to be missing altogether.

      All the plot lines were boring, Cindy’s was just more fleshed out, yet still boring. It was most boring by volume! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Sam never appeared on THE BRADYS. When Sam did appear at the end of the Christmas movie, Lewis Arquette (Charlie Weaver’s son) played him. I think Allan Melvin was retired in Minnesota by this time.

      Like

  3. I remember being so annoyed at Peter botching Mike’s middle name over and over again when I first saw this, I think I was yelling at the tv set. I wish Robert Reed had fought this mistake as hard as he fought such obscurities as whether or not strawberries had any odor while being cooked. Also maybe Mike Lookinland should’ve noticed the mistake, as Michael Paul Brady may have gotten his middle name from the boy whose full name was Michael Paul Lookinland. I don’t like what happened to Peter’s character in this series as a playboy, and I’m glad the Bradys were never seen in character in a regular series again after this flop of a series.

    Like

    1. Jon,
      I agree; watching Peter becoming a playboy was not to my liking, when it originally aired. However, if you look at the original series and, how caught up he was about looks and girls, it’s not a far stretch to think that he came out from under his eldest brother’s shadow, by being far more of a ladies’ man, than Groovy Greg ever turned out to be.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You’d think the Schwartzes would have at least double checked but I think this also shows that they were just in a rush as CBS made them change their plans and wanted the series done now instead of a movie in May, another one in November and I think there was supposed to be another one the following year according to Barry’s book.

      RR could have just brought out one of his old scripts from back then and showed Sherwood what Mike’s middle name was but I think maybe the Schwartzes just got tired of RR and ignored him. I’ll watch the series again but other than this episode, you didn’t see too much of him but it did feel different as it didn’t seem like the Bradys.

      Wait til the last episode and you will really hate what they did to Peter.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Andrea, I know I didn’t last until the very end, when they originally aired, despite how much I loved the Brady clan.

        Ominous words you’ve written. 😳

        Like

  4. Rewatching this….

    I remember reading a comment on IMDB about this show concerning the ‘bribe’ issue and they worked with someone who was an architect and they suggested that career is closely related to politics. But that would make sense as there was that ‘Woodland Park’ episode where Mr. Philips made a deal with the city.

    I was thinking, it’d make more sense that Teri would try to get Mike to quit to get back at Peter instead of Leo.
    Btw, who does a debate in the morning? It’d make more sense if it was during the evening.
    It’s amazing, move across country because a hospital wants you there then they close it and you don’t even seem upset by it.

    Still funny that Patty is playing with the noisemaker and she should be asleep like her cousins. 😂

    Like

    1. Andrea – guess that’s just some of that leftover Johnny Bravo charm, that makes Greg take these things in stride.

      Like

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