Original Air Date: March 2nd, 1990
Video Link: https://dai.ly/x4jx9x1
Greetings once again readers, family and friends. Thank you for joining me today to review “Bottoms Up”. This was the fifth episode of the short lived The Bradys series. This time the story focuses on Marcia. I found this interesting. As we all know, the role of Marcia had been assumed by a new actress, Leah Ayres. Seeing how the show was still in its infancy, I would have thought that the writers would still be trying to have the actors viewers felt more connected to in front of the camera as much as possible. On that same note, based on the mediocre quality of the previous episodes, maybe this was a gamble that Leah Ayres might add some spark to the program. I will say that I found this episode a notch better than the previous ones. It is being reviewed out of sequence, so please don’t get confused and think I watched some mystery print. This was reviewed via Daily Motion. Let us begin our review of “Bottoms Up”!
The episode kicks off with a busy morning a the Brady house. Carol has fixed Mickey’s and Jessica’s lunches and will get them off to school. Wally is busting his hump working for Mike. Mike has a city district to run. I wonder if Mike was also continuing work as an architect. I live in a city with a population of approximately 180,000. Those on the city council earn a salary that would be considered full time. With all other members of the household gainfully employed, Marcia feels lacking in the contributory role she plays. She does try to horn in on Jan’s new family, offering to help Philip out with a cold stricken daughter, but her help is declined.
Marcia tries to be proactive and go out in search of a job. Why she didn’t do this on one of the many occasions Wally lost a job is not known. The interview does not go well at all. The man speaking with her is quite condescending while looking over her portfolio. He says her designs are “pre-nostalgia”. Marcia tries to pitch she is a hard worker and a fast learner, but the man says he needs a designer in touch with today’s styles. He was also an ass about it. Ouch. It was a sign of another era that Marcia saw the ad for a fashion designer in the newspaper classified section. I remember a time when the employment classified section spanned several pages of the newspaper. Today it is but a small snippet tucked between the yard sale section and legal notices. A closer look at the above screenshot shows another place was seeking a dentist via the newspaper. Maybe Marcia should have applied for that Office Manager job.
The fashion company owner was played by William Cort. His IMDB resume lists a busy career, but with no really notable roles. He had a single appearance on several series through the 1970s and 1980s with a few recurring ones tossed in. His swan song would be playing the role of Headmaster Wallace Thorvald a few times on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He left at us the relatively young age of 57 in 1993.
Things seem to be going so well for those around Marcia. Wally beams about all the success he is having working with Mike while ignoring Marcia’s sharing of her own lousy day. Cindy pays her a visit seeking advice on a new job offer. Marcia has little counsel to offer and is extra harsh with the kids. Cindy questions this but gets more ire from Marcia. Marcia then gets extra bitchy when she chides her younger sister stating Cindy’s problems aren’t problems at all.
The other plot line in “Bottoms Up” involves Mike’s role on the City Council. A big money developer, Jordan Armstrong, is seeking variances that will allow him to build condos. Mike is above any kind of backdoor dealings and makes this known. Mike should have shared how the town’s existing building codes are so lousy that he was inside a building, that was built to code, when it collapsed on Christmas Eve. Wally, who seems to have a grasp for the darker side of politics, continues to court the developer and thinks he can get Mike to budge on the variances.
For reasons unknown, IMDB does not credit the actor playing Jordan Armstrong among the episode’s or series’ credits. The closing credits for the episode list him as John Terrence. An IMDB search of the name gives two listings with very short resumes of each. Say, this guy looks a lot like John Kerry. Maybe the former presidential candidate gave acting a go in the early 90s and it didn’t work out and his credits were expunged.
The subplot with Jordan Armstrong continues as Wally seeks a private donation from him to fund a trauma center. Earlier in the episode, Peter had discouraged private money for government causes as it can create conflicts. Wally ignores the sage advice and has Jordan pony up the funds to get things moving. Upon the big announcement being made, he hints to Mike and Peter that he expects something in return. He adds the two way street he expects to travel was paved by Wally. This is followed by a comical “whop waah” type sound effect and a laugh track that just seemed out of place. It was more fitting of a vase being broken or a frog landing in a pizza.
Wally’s below the board dealings see that he loses yet another job. Man, I really feel for Wally. His self esteem must be in tatters with the revolving door of jobs we have seen him go through. Since a Very Brady Christmas, he has lost four jobs. In an attempt at humor, he thinks it is Peter who is about to be canned, only to learn he has been given his walking papers. I half way expected to learn that Wally would find a new job working for Jordan Armstrong, but that doesn’t happen, at least not in this episode. This episode might give us a good lesson in the risk of hiring family members.
The episode’s main plot is fueled by the motherly role Carol assumes with Mickey and Jessica. She is taking the pair to an art store and Marcia attempts to intervene and do the task herself and even prevent the kids from going due to chores undone. Carol shuts this down and has a semi-showdown with Marcia when she raises her voice at her mom. In a “Are you talking to me type moment”, Marcia backs down. After being stared down by her mom, Marcia opens the china cabinet where the liquor is stored.
Marcia’s newfound love of the bottle causes her to miss an important tennis date with her mom. She is too tipsy to play tennis or answer the phone when Carol calls. Wally arrives home and is about to take the kids out to buy some new shoes when Marcia finds herself doing it instead. She staggers to the car with the kids in tow. As she drunkenly fumbles with the keys, she bursts into tears prompting the kids to summon Wally. Wally and Marcia have a good cry about the peril she almost put the kids in. I will admit to viewing this scene with some anticipation as to whether or not Marcia was going to drive the kids around while drunk.
Marcia’s booze problem is made known to her family and the world at the groundbreaking ceremony for the medical center. Marcia shows up plastered and causes a scene as she drunkenly cheers for her family. Did Marcia get behind the wheel minus the kids and drive there? I certainly hope not. Back at the Brady house, an intervention of sorts takes place. Wally and Carol speak to Marcia about her problem and encourage to seek help on her own volition. Hugs and kisses are shared and we know Marcia will be okay.
The episode ends at the radio station. Instead of taking a new job on a talk show, Cindy At Sunrise will now be a mix of hit tunes and a talk show. Can’t you just see the masses of listeners changing the station in droves? The morning commute that listeners tune in for involved Cindy’s banter and a certain style of music. I doubt the random insertion of talk show topics would be readily accepted. Cindy’s first topic? Her sister’s drinking problem! I’d be scanning the dial in search of John Boy and Billy at this point. Marcia explains her drinking problem and how it is important to seek help. A true and powerful message for sure, but it doesn’t seem fitting for the morning drive to work.
Thank you for reviewing “Bottoms Up” with me. I recall reading that one of the complaints Robert Reed had with this show was the speedy resolution. In the course of one episode, Marcia has a drinking problem and is seeking help by the end. As stated in the opening, I found this episode a bit more enjoyable than those before it. However, I viewed this episode in a slightly altered light. The pacing and story seems more fitting of a show of the era that aired on Sunday nights between the 6 o’clock news and prime time. I could see this show airing against 60 Minutes or against Our House and performing decently. Friday nights at 9pm was not the place for The Bradys. Please share your own thoughts! We have only one more episode of The Bradys to review and the journey of our beloved Brady family ends. Before we wrap it up, we will be reviewing Florence Henderson’s autobiography, “Life Is Not a Stage” on Sunday. Please join us then!