Sunday Special: Brady Faces in Other Places

In today’s Sunday Special, we take a look at the roles the stars of the Brady Bunch took on after the show’s initial run ended. Excluded from this review are those roles where the actors continued playing their Brady Bunch roles in another incarnation of the show or appeared in some sort of parody or spoof of their signature role. This review notes only the things I have seen myself and is not all inclusive. If you remember any cast member in a post Brady role and would like to share your thoughts, please do so! Either share your memories in the comments section for this blog or on the original post in the Facebook group Here’s The Story: Every Episode of the Brady Bunch Reviewed.

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Robert Reed – We might as well start with the actor who found the most work onscreen in his post-Brady years, Robert Reed. He was the ideal choice to play the father of a diseased John Travolta in “The Boy In The Plastic Bubble”. He seemed really out of place in the epic 1970s mini-series “Roots”. It’s hard to imagine Mike Brady as a slave owner, but that’s the role he played in Roots. He continued working through the 1980s and per IMDB.com has a television credit the year he passed away. The last thing I remember seeing him in was a commercial where he was endorsing some product. He even had to deliver the line, “On the Brady Bunch, we had all our problems solved in half an hour.” Despite years of work after the series ended, he would always be Mike Brady to the masses.

carol

Florence Henderson – I swear this woman ages at half the speed of the rest of the population. Every time I see her in a guest appearance of some sort, she looks fantastic. In my own viewing experience though, I’ve never seen her in another acting role post-Brady Bunch. I recall her appearing as herself on The Weakest Link (along with all the other surviving Bradys) and on Dancing With the Stars. There was also a time in the 1980s when she appeared in commercials for Wesson Cooking Oil. She’s stayed active and young the past 40 years, but not acted in anything that I found worth remembering.

alice

Ann B. Davis – Apparently, her busy career was pre-Brady Bunch. She was a regular on a 1950s television program titled “The Bob Cummings Show”. Her post Brady Bunch acting career appears to have been mostly playing “Alice” in spinoffs and spoofs. She passed away in 2014.

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Barry Williams – The post-Brady years have seen Barry Williams’ write a book about his time on the Brady Bunch and play Greg Brady again many times. His most memorable post Brady role for me is when he played, well, Barry Williams. In a half acting/half appearing as himself role, he returned to his singing roots on Full House. Jesse had been booted from his own band and it became Barry and The Rippers. The band finally found success with their new front man. I can’t recall if there were any Brady references on this episode. It would be fitting as it was the original Full House Reviewed blog that helped inspire the current Brady Bunch blog you are reading today!

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Maureen McCormick– Maureen has also written a book about her experiences during her Brady Bunch career and post Brady life. She’s also had at least one country music album post-Brady Bunch. The only thing I remember seeing her in was an episode of “Insight” where she was smoking pot in a van. She also had a short hairdo that looked nice on her. “Insight” was a show that espoused Catholic values. I know very little about it. Per IMDB, Ann B. Davis appeared in an episode. Readers, if you know more about “Insight”, please share some details with us!

peter

Christopher Knight – All I have here is an episode of “CHiPs”. He was John Baker’s never before seen or never seen again nephew. Apparently, despite having an uncle in law enforcement, Chris’s character still found himself heading down the wrong path. Per IMDB, he’s done plenty of other non-Brady things, but I can’t recall seeing any of them.

jan

Eve Plumb – While winning praise and critical acclaim for her role in Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, which I’ve never seen, this did not set her on a new path to stardom. Readers, if any of you have seen this, please share your thoughts. The only post Brady appearances I am familiar with are her appearance as Fudge’s mom on the series “Fudge”. The Fudge series by Judy Blume was a favorite as a kid, but by the time this show was on, I’d outgrown my interest in them. Her other appearance I am familiar with is the only one on this entire list that was a feature film. She played the wife of a black revolutionary in the 1980s comedy “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka”. The entire movie is very funny, her scenes included. In a backdoor reference to her past, her scene in the movie has an off screen television playing The Brady Bunch theme.

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Mike Lookinland – I got nothing here. I’ve only seen him as Bobby Brady on the small screen.

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Susan Olsen – She has suffered the same fate as Mike Lookinland. I never saw her in another show, movie or even a commercial, unless it was as Cindy Brady.

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Allan Melvin – I never saw him exclusively as Sam the Butcher. He’d appeared on The Andy Griffith Show in a variety of different roles. He was a regular on Gomer Pyle, USMC as Sargent Hacker. In his post Brady life, he was a semi-regular on All In The Family and Archie Bunker’s Place. He died in 2008.

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Robbie Rist – You will find when we reach those last five episodes, that unlike so many of my fellow fans, I don’t hate Cousin Oliver. I am not necessarily a fan of him, but I don’t loathe the episodes that include him. I remember seeing him in the years that followed as a kid auditioning for a role on What’s Happening! Like fellow Brady Bunch alumni, Christopher Knight, he was on an episode of “CHiPs”. Actually, he was on three of them. The one I remember seeing him on involved him having a pet snake. Of all the Brady Bunch alumni, he is the only one who had a role on a series I watched regularly after the Brady Bunch ended. He was Wizz on the 1980s cartoon “Kidd Video”. While not very memorable itself, I do remember watching it. I thought his double guitar was really cool.

Well friends, fans and readers, this concludes my own post-Brady viewing history. Please share with us some roles you remember our beloved Bradys and their cohorts taking on after the show ended.

 

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Episode 6: A Clubhouse Is Not A Home

 

Hello again! Thank you for joining me this week as we review “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”. It originally aired on October 31, 1969. As a kid, I remember finding this episode to be aggravating.  Perhaps that was because I was biased toward the boys’ plight of sharing their clubhouse. As an adult, I found it irritating as the entire episode is so full of contention amongst the Bradys and everybody seems to be at their worst. Moving can be stressful and the episode opens with mention of making room for Carol and the girls’ things, so maybe we can attribute the poor attitudes to that. Let us begin our review of “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”.

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Greg and Marcia enjoy a classic game of “throw the ball back and forth”.

 

The episode opens with a shot of the harmonious Brady children. Peter pushes Cindy and Jan pushes Bobby on the swings. Greg and Marcia stand six feet apart and toss a basketball back and forth. This seems like a very simple and lame game for kids their age to be playing. This would have been a good chance to have the checkerboard make its appearance on this episode. Inside, Mike and Carol are enjoying breakfast. Mike pours Alice her own glass of milk and raises a toast to the paradise that has been created. Alice is skeptical of Mike’s proclamation. She knows that dark times lay ahead. Our wise and competent Alice is back.

Upstairs, Alice’s grim prediction begins to materialize. Mike and Carol discuss how Carol and the girls’ things have arrived from storage and their space is shrinking. Their first closetdisagreement is over what defines one-half of the closet. A high heeled shoe is the dividing point. This is quite a childish argument for Mike and Carol. Why not hang up all their clothes and if Carol’s take a bit more space than Mike’s, so be it? If Mike’s clothes take up an inch or two more than Carols, no big deal right? No, they must have a 50/50 split! Enter the boys who are unhappy at being tasked with carrying boxes, or cartons, of the girls’ things upstairs. Mike tells them to suck it up and come back to trash the empty cartons after delivering the girls’ things.

In the girls’ room, Jan and Marcia handle storage space needs in a more adult fashion than Mike and Carol. Closet space is traded for an extra dresser drawer. The boys then enter with the girls’ cartons and have a really lousy attitude about it. The girls’ attitudes are not much better and contention rises yet again. Upon exiting the room, Greg calls the girls “dragon ladies”. What follows is Alice walking into Mike and Carol’s room to retrieve the empty cartons Mike had told the boys to collect. Alice says the boys decided to “walk off the job”.

clubhouse
The clubhouse.

 

The next scene opens with a shot of the boys’ never before seen clubhouse. This ramshackle excuse for construction looks to have been taken right off the set of The Little Rascals or from a homeless camp. I find it hard to believe the sons of an architect constructed this or that he would allow it to be erected in his yard. Inside the clubhouse, Mike gives the boys a good talking to, reminding them how they made clear they wanted him to marry Carol. Peter mentions that the boys said that three months ago. For the first time, some sort of loose timeline has been established. It was either a very hastily planned wedding and they have been living in the new house for three months or they’ve been living in the house a very short time after a month or two of wedding planning, and a whole lot has happened since then.

 

More closet drama opens the next scene. Carol is deceitfully moving the shoe around to distribute the closet space in her favor. Alice enters and announces more trouble brewing amongst the kids. It is now the girls’ who have a lousy attitude. Marcia and Greg argue over bathroom space. It looks like the girls’ products, which they’d naturally have more of, have spilled over the consume the entire bathroom counter. Greg says he can’t even find his toothbrush. Jan has decided the cardboard sign forbidding entry to the boy’s clubhouse would look better hanging on her bedroom door. Peter is rightfully hacked off at this. Downstairs, Cindy has taken to wearing Bobby’s clothes. While she looks cute a button, she still should have asked before donning another person’s clothes. Back in the bathroom, it’s Greg who feels compelled to take something of Marcia’s as he begins spraying her “Woman of Love” perfume and takes off running with it.

dictionaryBack in Mike and Carol’s room, a dictionary has been brought into to help settle the closet situation. I can imagine how this scene would have irked Robert Reed. I can not see any reasonable adult pulling out a dictionary to clearly define the word “share” to another adult. Maybe Mike and Carol should have went to pre-marital counseling if things must go to this extreme between them. The arguments among the children spill into the bedroom with Alice in tow. An awkward line on the part of Mike has him asking Alice “what do you call this?” Alice replies, “Paradise, remember?”

This results in another talking to from Mike, this time for the entire family. He says from now on, everybody will “share and share alike” and the Bradys are “all for one and one for all”. The parents lead by example and settle the absurd issue of the closet. With this issue settled, a new one arises. The girls have taken up residence in the boys clubhouse and chaos is the result. Inside clubhouse, the girls have added curtains to the windows and rugs to the floor. Mike feels the girls should not be allowed in the clubhouse and Carol disagrees. As this disagreement begins, the kids are evacuated from the clubhouse. In this episode’s laugh out loud moment, Cindy tells Alice, “I want to see them fight.” With the kids gone, the disagreement continues. all4oneAfter proclaiming share and share alike, Mike says that doesn’t apply to the clubhouse. He states that men need a place of their own to go to. Carol asks if the situation were reversed and the girls had a dollhouse the boys wanted to play with, she would not object. Mike says if the boys wanted to play with a dollhouse, he’d take them to a psychiatrist. That line would be politically incorrect in today’s world. This was 1969 and times had not yet changed. The disagreement continues and Carol asks Mike to name one thing that men are entitled to that women aren’t. His answer is”beards”, which garners the laugh track to kick in. Carol replies, “That’s not funny”. After this strange bit of editing, she beings to cry and Mike says paradise has sure taken a beating.

In the scenes that follow Carol encourages the girls to compromise and Mike says something similar to the boys. Things seem resolved until Mike and Carol discuss their discussions with the kids and find that nothing has been resolved at all. The things Carol told the girls to tolerate, Mike finds insulting as he doesn’t see those things as problems. This scene was fairly well written when compared with Mike asking Alice “what do you call this?” upon the arguing kids entering the room earlier in the episode.

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“Alice, I need your helmmmmm.”

Alice becomes the “go to” person in the Brady home as the elder members of the family seek resolution. She declines to give both Greg and Marcia her thoughts on the matter. Carol tries to seek the same and as she is giving Carol the same neutral reply, Mike enters the room asking for Alice’s “helmmmmm”. Alice exits the room and Carol calls Mike out for seeking Alice’s advice. Mike says he wasn’t asking for her help, but her helmet, since he is in the National Guard. Well, after one well written scene just a few moments ago, we get this nonsense. Mike has never mentioned, nor will he ever mention again, being in the National Guard. Even if he was, why on earth would Alice have an army helmet of her own? The whole exchange is just dumb on many levels.

 

Alice sheds tears while cutting onions and either listening to or watching a soap opera where Sandra tells Lance that she wants equality in the home. This motivates Alice to intervene after all. She shares this idea with Carol who decides to take action. Alice gives herself kisses while gazing at herself in the mirror to congratulate herself on a job well done.

kiss

 

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Outside, Carol and the girls have taken to building the girls a clubhouse of their own. With

almostcindy
Gasp!

the way it is going, the girls clubhouse will rival the boys in poor looks and poor construction. There is a brief comedic montage where nails are spilled, Carol is struck with a board and ruins a saw. Mike and the boys enjoy this from the family room window. Mike states it will be the first ever building condemned before it was even built. The girls attempt to erect a “wall” and it falls. Alice says in horror, that the board “almost hit Cindy!” Upon seeing this, Mike claims this whole debacle isn’t funny anymore and they all go out to help. I replayed the scene and the peril Cindy suffered was that the falling “wall” almost brushed against her arm; a nasty cut from a nail or splinter could have occurred here.  Upon the boys taking over the construction, Carol admits her and the girls attempting to build a clubhouse was all a scheme. The womenfolk are sent to make lemonade while the menfolk build the clubhouse. The entire episode’s cries for equality are silenced here.

 

girlsclub

What follows is a scene of the Bradys, happy again, gazing upon the girls’ new clubhouse. Compared to the boys’ ramshackle box, the girls have a palace. The new structure is 100 times better looking and constructed. As they all ooh and ahh over the girls’ clubhouse, a loud creaking and clacking is heard as the boys’ clubhouse collapses. Greg asks Bobby where he got more collapsenails to finish building the new clubhouse when tasked to do so. Bobby says he took them out of their clubhouse. This is some of the laziest nonsense I’ve ever seen written. First off, Bobby pulled a bunch of nails out of the old clubhouse unnoticed? Second, nails don’t pull out of boards straight; when he brought the nails to the other boys, I can’t imagine nobody noticed they were bent and even the greatest of carpenters can’t use bent nails. The third absurdity is that Bobby managed to pull out the nails and leave the clubhouse erect. The contention returns as Greg claims ownership and invokes “share and share alike” over the girls’ clubhouse. The final resolution of this must have been to allow no clubhouse at all as we never see either one again in the Brady backyard.

The epilogue for this episode is the three adults in the kitchen commenting how the kids are getting along again. They are all in the family room watching TV together and Mike declares it will be smooth sailing from here on out. A fight over what to watch erupts off camera and he says the smooth sailing has sprung a leak. I know I have seen the family watch TV in the living room before and my first thought was why didn’t the girls just go into the other room. Then I recalled this was 1969 and it’s possible the TV was rolled back and forth between the rooms. I hope you will share your thoughts on “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”. I am glad to have this review out of the way as this one numbers among my least favorite episodes. Next week, we review “Kitty Karry-All Is Missing”. Have a great weekend!

Episode 5: Katchoo

Hello again fellow fans and friends. This week’s review is of “Katchoo”. It originally aired on October 24th, 1969. The plot for “Katchoo” is standard fare for family sitcoms of the day. This plot could have easily found its way onto some other 1950s or 1960s family show. What makes this episode more interesting is a bit of trivia surrounding it. So, let us begin our review of “Katchoo”; which should have been titled “AaaaAH-Choo!” because that is what Jan’s sneezes sound like.

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The episode begins with five of the Brady children, sans Jan, filing down the staircase on their way out the door to school. Greg must really been happy about going to school that day; check out that big smile on this face. He wears it all the way down the stairs. Each child is handed their lunch bag as they head out the door. The Bradys must have killed a lot of trees using six paper bags a day for the kids’ lunches. Reusable lunchboxes were around at this time. With one bag leftover after the kids have left, Alice and Carol must render a mental accounting of who didn’t come down stairs. Enter Jan who is sneezing repeatedly. Jan is late because she had to fetch some tissues due to being all stuffed up and sneezing tonguerepeatedly and violently. Carol suspects Jan has the flu and keeps her home for the day. Alice worries how soon it will be before all the other kids catch it. I’ve had the flu and boy does it suck. However, I don’t recall ever having perpetual sneezes while suffering from it.

tongue2In the next scene, Carol and Jan enjoy a game of checkers. Checkers seemed to be the most favored game at the Brady house as the checker board made many appearances on the show through the years. Jan is now feeling just fine, yet Carol still suspects she has the flu. Jan is ordered to rest some more as Carol goes back downstairs. Here, she talks by phone to Mike. He says he is coming home for lunch and she states his favorite dish, herself, is waiting for him. That was about as racy as it ever got for the Bradys. After hanging up the phone, Carol and Alice deduce that an allergy must be causing Jan’s misery. They cite a few occasions over the past few days where Jan was sneezing a lot. Alice suspects flour to be the culprit as it was used in the pancakes she prepared. Had Jan never had flour before Mike and Carol married?

tray

To determine the allergen, Carol and Alice bring a tray of allergy suspects upstairs. After trying a few different flowers, Alice’s chief suspect, flour, is tried. I am surprised some joke wasn’t written in here about Jan misunderstanding flour to be another flower. Upon taking a whiff, Jan says it just smells like flour. Does flour even have a smell? For some reason, Alice’s own big whiff of it a few seconds later gives her quite a reaction.

 

Back downstairs, Alice and Carol jump to the conclusion that Jan’s woes are the result of being allergic to another person in the household. Apparently some lady they read about turned out to be allergic to her husband and they had to divorce. I think that is the only time the word divorce was ever mentioned on the original Brady Bunch. Mike comes home for lunch and goes upstairs to visit Jan. Carol attempts to dismiss the idea of Jan’s being allergic to another person as being far fetched, but soon finds herself eavesdropping on Mike’s visit to Jan.

In the bedroom, Jan’s sneezing fit has resumed with Mike’s entrance. Carol calls Mike out into the hallway. As he walks out, the camera pans down to Tiger sitting beside the bed. In case you had forgotten, the Bradys have a dog. He hasn’t been seen since the pilot episode and was only mentioned once in “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. Mike’s exit of the tigerroom is accompanied by Tiger’s which brings an immediate halt Jan’s sneezing and stuffiness. This seems to confirm those awful suspicions about Jan’s being allergic to a new family member. Never mind that it could be Mike’s suit, his cologne or aftershave or some other factor, he and Carol decide it’s him Jan is allergic to. Mike and Carol are very disheartened at this development. Alice chimes in telling them to look at the bright side; they could get Jan a gas mask. What?

With this bit of nonsense on Alice’s part, let us segue into the review of another factor in this ludicrous deduction on the part of Mike, Carol and Alice. Mike had all ready left the house when Jan came down sneezing and stuffy on her way to school. If her allergy is only hallactivated when he is present in the room, as just evidenced, why could they not recall the events of just a few hours before? All the adults jumped to the worst and most unlikely conclusion right away.

As they all stand out in the hall pondering a future apart, Jan’s sneezing resumes and they all rejoice. Upon entering the room, Tiger is found on Jan’s bed as she suffers a sneezing fit. What follows here is the logical experimenting process. Tiger is taken out of the room and brought back in to confirm if he is making Jan sneeze. He is. Apparently he must be very close by to cause Jan’s sneezing because she goes from being just fine to stuffy and sneezy almost instantaneously when he is close by.

The second act opens with all three of the adults lamenting Tiger’s pending relocation. Alice ticks Carol off by sharing that Tiger was around before Bobby was. Carol asks a very logical question of why Alice decided to share such news now. Alice says she “just thought of it”. The wise and competent Alice is gone again. Don’t worry dear readers, she will be back. Mike has gone outside to break the bad news to the boys. Bobby’s line during this exchange garnered a chuckle as he asked, “Where’s Jan gonna live?”

 

The scene that follows brings with it an interesting bit of Brady trivia. The boys give Tiger a farewell bone as they say their goodbyes to him. However, Tiger pays them no mind as he is enraptured by the gifted bone. Here is where the trivia begins. Barry Williams mentions in “Growing Up Brady” that in this scene, the cast learned that the original dog who played Tiger had ended his earthly life the day before. He had been killed upon being struck by a truck on the set. Somebody involved in the production had found a replacement Tiger at the animal shelter and brought him back for filming the next day. The cast noticed how the dog playing Tiger had become much less cooperative that day and were later informed that the dog was in fact a replacement. In this scene, the animal handler had nailed the dog’s collar to the floor and wrapped it around his neck so he would stay on the floor and portray enjoying the bone. Another tidbit of trivia from Barry Williams was that he and the other boys pulled nose hairs to simulate tears for this scene.

The scenes that follow are a montage of dog bathing. Marcia and Cindy wash Tiger first. Jan was told not to assist so her allergy would not be aggravated. In the next scene, the boys come up with the same idea. Peter does suggest a nose transplant, but Bobby says there is no place they’d find another nose. Greg calls them both “dumb heads”. The insults continue. The boys bathe Tiger in his second bath of the day. In the next scene, Mike and Carol bid the boys goodnight and Bobby asks if Jan quits sneezing the next day, will Tiger be able to stay. Mike and Carol agree, but say it will take a miracle. Carol then tries to take on the role of miracle maker as she and Alice hatch their own bathing plan. Bath number three, administered by Alice, is met with increased resistance. This is the first time we see the service porch in a dedicated scene. By the time Mikes give the poor dog his fourth bath, that dogs skin must have been raw. It seems that either Alice or Mike would have noticed that Tiger had been recently bathed when they scrubbed him down. Poor dog.

With the scene on the service porch, that leaves only one portion of the Brady home used on the show that we have yet to see. Can anybody guess what it is?

farewell

The final act commences with all the kids coming down the stairs beaming about how clean Tiger is. Well, those beams are quickly dimmed as Jan comes downstairs and begins sneezing. Tiger’s fate is determined here and they all saunter sadly to the kitchen. Mike will be taking Tiger to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. Suddenly Alice remembers Tiger’s new flea powder should be going with him. I guess the Bradys were hanging on to his dog shampoo, dog toys, brushes, food dish and bag of dog food. fleapowderHowever, it was important that the flea powder went. Jan volunteers to take it and finds herself in a new sneezing fit. It’s discovered that the allergy is to Tiger’s flea powder, not Tiger himself! The entire family rushes to stop Mike from leaving with the dog. My question here is this: Had Alice sprinkled that flea powder up and down the staircase and by the front door? Why was Jan sneezing repeatedly with Tiger nowhere around at the episode’s beginning, only later to suffer when Tiger, and the flea powder are present? We will never know I suppose.

 

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Carol would be leaving on a safari later that day.

 

 

The episode’s epilogue is just Jan and Tiger sharing a bed. Mike and Carol state they are allowing it as an exception for that night. Despite the original dog actor’s death, this was not the last time we see Tiger. He will appear in future episodes and even into season 2. I guess they found another well trained dog to play the role a few more times. By the time we reach later seasons, only his dog house remains. The story behind this is the Astroturf on the set was burned and the doghouse was placed there to cover up the damage.

epilogue

As always, your thoughts, comments and critiques are most welcome! Please share them! Also, if you have not joined the Facebook group, Here’s The Story: Every Episode of the Brady Bunch Reviewed, please do so. Please note there is a webpage and Facebook group. The webpage you can like, but the Facebook group has an option to join. Next week, we review “A Clubhouse Is Not A Home”. It’s one of the first “battle of the sexes” plots that would dot the Brady landscape over the years. Have a great weekend everybody!

Episode 4: Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

 

Hello again! This week we review “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. The original air date was October 17, 1969. This is one of two episodes that center around Alice leaving the Brady Home. After viewing it, I realized this is one of the more solid and less non-sensical episodes of the series. Had there been more Brady Bunch episodes like this, the series would not have been nearly as memorable as it was. How many people can cite multiple plots, quotes and characters from shows like The Partridge Family or Eight is Enough?  Those shows needed more orange haired accidents, exact look-like classmates and ghost town adventures to be iconic like the Bradys.  Even though this episode offers less fodder at which to poke fun and question, let us begin our review.

housecar
Is that a Ford Maverick or an AMC Javelin, or something else?

 

We open with a shot of the Brady home that would be used many times over to transition scenes or open the show. That same car, which appears to be either a Ford Maverick or AMC Javelin, cruises past the home many times during the series run. Perhaps this driver is responsible for Bobby’s banged up knee and bicycle that he complains to Alice about. The episode starts with Bobby entering the home yelling for Alice. Carol comes to render aid, but Bobby insists Alice help him. A tad dejected, Carol walks off. Alice then encourages Bobby to seek his new mother’s assistance instead of her own. Bobby reluctantly agrees.

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What is in those red cans?  Whatever it was, the Bradys must have used a lot of it to need two cans!

Carol tends to Bobby’s wound upstairs and we see the bathroom for the first time. Haters of the show like to point out that the Brady home had only one bathroom for nine people living there. If one can imagine some unseen corners of the Brady home, it is obvious this would not be the case. Behind that frosted glass wall in Mike and Carol’s bedroom, there is very likely another bathroom. Downstairs, off the kitchen, is the yet to be seen service porch and Alice’s room where another unseen bathroom is very likely. Additionally, there is that never seen section of the home behind the living room staircase, where there is probably a third bathroom. Had a plotline ever called for a character to make use of another bathroom in the home, I am sure we’d have seen them.  However, we never see Alice or one of the Bradys with the runs, doing the peepee dance or about to vomit and in need of a bathroom quickly

Alice’s desire to make Carol feel useful and needed continues with her deflecting a request to sew a button on Mike’s shirt and declining to mediate a very vocal argument between Greg and Peter. Peter used Greg’s baseball glove and messed up the pocket.fight Such baseball gloves were before my time, so I have no idea what that could mean. Peter accuses Greg of taking his baseball glove. Upon being sent to Carol to mediate the argument, it is discovered that she had put Peter’s glove away and made necessary his using Greg’s without asking first.

While I love the Brady Bunch, I must say the show did not have many laugh out loud moments. Well, here was one, at least for me.

apology
You call that an apology?

Carol (to Peter): Don’t you owe Greg an apology?

 

Peter: Yeah, Greg, I owe you an apology.

What follows is a look of shock and dismay on Greg’s face at Peter’s pseudo apology.  A real apology soon follows and the boys are pleased with Carol’s handling of their argument.

 

 

We go back the kitchen where Mike comes home and asks “Is Mrs. Brady upstairs?” I’ve never referenced my wife in such a way, nor have I ever heard anybody else do that; especially not to another member of the household. Before he can go upstairs, Mrs. Brady comes downstairs and shares her delight at the boys coming to her with problems and issues and how she feels like a mother to them now. Alice relishes in her success, but oh friends, it is to be a short lived victory.

dejectedIn the scenes that follow, Alice must deal with the monster she created. Following a mud fight, Peter and Bobby bypass Alice and go straight to Carol. Poor Alice is disappointed and depressingly polishes the frame of the sliding glass door. More disappointment follows as Greg declines her help with his math homework. But the final blow is when a much anticipated telescope is delivered for the Brady boys and they have no interest in sharing it with Alice, but eagerly take it to Carol to show her. The mailman delivering the telescope, Mr. Stokey, was played by Fred Pinkard. Per IMDB, this was his first ever acting credit. The part of “lawyer” in Rocky II appears to be his greatest acting gig. He died in 2004.

mrstokey
Fred Pinkard as Mr. Stokey

 

In the next scene, we are reminded of Marcia, Jan and Cindy’s presence in the home as they have called a special meeting with Carol. The girls are concerned that their mother loves them less as she has been spending much more time with the boys than with them. They question if the boys have become more important to Carol. She assures them that is not the case and apologizes for the extra attention she has been paying them. They all then fall on the floor while hugging.

girls
Awwww.

 

The second act opens with Alice telling Mike she needs to speak to he and Carol. In the scene that follows, Alice tenders her resignation as the Brady housekeeper. She assures them that some of the happiest moments of her life were spent in that house. Seeing how they have only lived in that house a short time, it must have been one exuberant month or two. To accompany her resignation, she stammers out a lie about a dying aunt in Seattle

resigns
I like vintage things, but that lamp is hideous.  It looks like an outdoor space heater.

that she must go be with. Mike suggests she only take a few weeks off and come back, but she says no, she must go for good and end her time with the Bradys. She ends the conversation saying she must “take the plane south” the next day. This immediately raises suspicion among Mike and Carol as Seattle is to the north. I know most anytime I discuss travel plans with friends and family, I make sure to tell them the direction I am heading upon leaving. It looks like Alice does too, but subconsciously got it wrong.

 

What comes next is a scene of the boys expressing their sadness at Alice’s departure, followed by a rather pointless entrance by the girls into the bedroom. They too are sad that Alice is leaving and wish to provide their own thoughts on the matter. Greg angrily tells them to vacate the bedroom. Perhaps this was shown to reveal just how bad Greg is taking the news of Alice leaving. His sadness has turned him into a rude jerk.

boysroom

Mike and Carol also discuss their sadness at Alice’s leaving. Mike says they can’t make her stay as “Abraham Lincoln put a stop to that.” That line just seems weird. I can see one of the kids maybe delivering it, but it just seems awkward here. Both share how they don’t believe Alice’s story and Mike suggests she might be leaving because she is underpaid. The next scene is of Alice and Mike in the kitchen where she assures him it is not low pay causing her to go, but her dying aunt in Sacramento. Mike notices right away that the aunt was previously dying in Seattle.

aliceroomIn the next shot, we see Alice’s bedroom for the first time. The boys and Cindy are watching her pack and Cindy states that she and her sisters were just starting to love Alice. In the typical cuteness of Season 1 Cindy, she asks if Alice likes “Addle” better than them. After a brief bit of confusion, Cindy shares her understanding that Alice is going to see somebody named Addle, since she is going to Seattle. Greg tries to explain Seattle is a place like Mississippi, but Cindy questions “Mrs. who?”. Geography must have been limited to the upper grades in 1969.

Alice is called away from her packing to take a phone call from Myrtle. Marcia and Jan overhear her tell Myrtle that she has no plans upon leaving the Brady home. There is no mention of staying with a friend or relative, finding a hotel or another job. Apparently Alice will just be roaming the streets with her suitcase in hand. Marcia shares this with her mother which brings us our first classic sitcom cliché for this episode. Mike and Carol call the entire family into their bedroom where they will hatch plan to make sure Alice knows she is still needed and will stay.  Something similar was done for Aunt Bea on The Andy Griffith Show. I

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Mike and Carol lay out the plans to make Alice feel needed.  Kudos to the set dressers for hanging that wedding picture from episode one on the wall.

don’t know if this was ever done for Hazel, Mr. Belvedere or Lerch; readers, feel free to enlighten us!

 

The scenes that follow give us that typical Brady zaniness. Mike and Carol feign having to attend a formal dinner, while Marcia needs a ride to her “club” meeting, Greg needs picking up from Gordy’s house, Bobby and Cindy argue, Peter has let Tiger loose in the neighborhood and claims he ran off, Mike can’t find his clothes and Carol must chauffer kids around and set the table in her formal dress. During all this chaos, it is mentioned that Alice will be dropped off at the airport at seven. Had she bought a plane ticket to nowhere? If Mike and Carol decided to see her all the way to the gate, was she really going to fly to Seattle or Sacramento to keep up this ruse? We will never know, because moments later, Peter and Bobby run into the kitchen covered in mud and smear it on Mike’s tuxedo. Ruining some mudformal wear was the zenith of this zany plan. Well, this is what let Alice know it was all a scheme on the part of the Bradys to make her feel needed.  In another laugh out loud moment, she asks if Mike and Carol are still going out that night to “make this look legitimate”. Here is the crazy but wise Alice that we would come to know on the series. Alice appreciates the scheming ways of the Bradys and realizes she is needed after all and will be staying. The family erupts in celebration and it will be a few seasons before this particular dilemma is faced again.

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That is one strange looking tuxedo shirt.

 

In the epilogue, we see Mike and Carol cracking the whip as they give out a long list of chores for Alice to handle that day. They all have a chuckle as Alice reminds them there is a limit to one’s desire to be needed. I wonder if Alice still got the raise Mr. Brady offered?

This concludes episode 4. Aside from Alice’s lack of long range planning and the idea that Mike would allow a tuxedo to be ruined, it was a pretty solid story. Next Friday, another more bland Brady episode will be blogged as we review “Katchoo”. Has Jan developed an allergy to Mike Brady? Tune in and find out! As always, your comments, thoughts and critiques are most welcome!

 

Episode 3: Eenie, Meenie, Mommy, Daddy

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This blog is being posted as a Sunday Special.  Look for the next blog to be up on Friday, September 23rd!

This week we review “Eenie, Meenie, Mommy Daddy” which originally aired October 10th, 1969. While memorable for the dilemma Cindy faces, I doubt this episode numbers among many fans’ favorites. It is the first episode centered primarily around a single character. It opens with Cindy celebrating winning the lead role of The Fairy Princess in the school play. Her joy is only increased with her knowledge that her performance will garner the most applause because she will have “the most family” in the audience.

Next, we see that Cindy has studied her lines to exhaustion. The entire family comes in to the bedroom to observe the sleeping Cindy.  Check out that hippopotamus on the wall of the girls’ room.

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Anybody know the purpose for the hippo on the wall?

It is a new day and down in the family room, the studying of lines continues. Carol is helping out Cindy this time and crows like a rooster. Mike is present too and anxious to take part in rehearsing a children’s play. After lobbying for a rehearsal role, he is reduced to hopping around the family room like a frog.

 

 

The play has consumed the Brady home as we see yet another rehearsal scene. This time it is Marcia and Jan helping Cindy. Jan suggests Cindy utilize the Stanislavski method, but mispronounces the famed Russian director’s last name. Marcia calls Jan a “dumbbell” for Jan’s lack of mastery of the Russian language. Jan should’ve shared her knowledge of alternate names for female canis familiaris with Marcia. However, this was a more simple time and such phrases had not made it to prime time TV yet. The scene ends with the boys entering the girls’ bedroom and enjoying watching Jan pretend to die.

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This time the drama is only fake.

 

The scene transitions with an outdoor scene of the Brady home, from a different angle. Check out that weirdly placed window/door on the side of the house. Was a porch planned there that just never came to be?

 

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Imagine one of the Bradys falling out that door.

 

 

 

Bobby is in the backyard removing a turtle from a box. This seems to serve the sole purpose of having the big wooden boxes on hand for the events that follow. This was the scene that always first comes to mind when “the Fairy Princess episode” is mentioned. The boys string Cindy up on a clothesline so she may practice flying during her performance.

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The scene cuts to Cindy’s school where Mrs. Engstrom and Miss Marlow discuss the upcoming play. It is shared here that a band concert where sixty kids will perform will be done on the same night as Cindy’s play, which has twenty-six speaking parts. The auditorium’s limited capacity means each child can invite only one parent to the performance. Mrs. Engstrom says this is how the children will “solve democratically” the dilemma. Democratic is not how I would describe placing the burden of a choosing which parent will attend on small children.

Mrs. Engstrom was played by Marjorie Stapp. She had a long, but not very memorable career as an actress. She died in 2014. Miss Marlow was played by Tracy Reed and appeared in the Richard Pryor classic Car Wash, but nothing else as memorable. Her last acting credit on IMDB.com was in 1991 on Knot’s Landing.  We return to Cindy hanging from the

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Mrs. Engstrom and Miss Marlow

clothesline when the phone rings at the Brady home. Alice answers and it is Mrs. Engstrom. She asks to speak to Mrs. Brady, who isn’t home, but Alice takes the message. She is the first to know about the one-parent rule for the performance. Apparently Mrs. Engstrom is calling all the parents to let them know. By my count, she will be making at least eighty-six phone calls!

 

Alice goes outside and breaks the bad news to Cindy. Being the only adult around, Cindy seeks her advice on which parent to ask to attend the play. Alice says they will “leave it to luck”. This entails Cindy determining who stays and who goes in the most ridiculous manner possible. Instead of flipping a coin, picking a card or reaching into a hat, Alice sets up pin the tail on the donkey on a world map. Cards with each parent listed are spaced a good distance from one another, leaving plenty of room for ambiguity. Cindy places the tail on the map, closer to the Dad card, but determines she chose Brazil and sulks out of the room.

The next scene is of the boys working on a prop for the play. They have created a magic wand for The Fairy Princess to carry around. Bobby is chided for not putting newspaper on the floor to catch falling glitter. Peter even goes as far as to call Bobby stupid for failing to do so. With Marcia’s “dumbbell” comment and Peter’s “stupid” remark, I came to notice that I never recalled the Brady kids being so harsh. And for Peter to call Bobby stupid for not putting down newspapers, it almost seems like the pot calling the kettle black. Both Peter and Greg had worked on the magic wand all that time and not noticed the lack of newspaper on the floor?

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Marcia and Jan enter the boys’ room seeking their opinion on the wings each of them created for Cindy’s costume. This leads to a conversation about how excited all of them are to see the play. From the hallway, Cindy hears this discussion and is even more disheartened at knowing not only is a parent going to be bummed about missing the show, but so will all of her siblings. This would be a very difficult predicament for a small child.

Cindy goes to each parent and subtly suggests they not attend the performance. Each assure her they very much want to attend. She tries consulting her eldest siblings. Marcia is playing with her nose and tells her she must ask Mike as he is still adjusting to the new family and being excluded will mess up his adjustment. Greg is lifting a dumbbell when consulted by Cindy. He tells her to ask Carol, because Mike will be upset if she upsets Carol.

Downstairs in the kitchen, the mystery is unraveled. Alice states she had told Cindy she’d keep the parental attendance restriction a secret so that Cindy could make up her own mind. A great question from Carol in this scene would have been, “Alice, did you not realize that Mrs. Engstrom called to speak to me, her parent, and not you? Why didn’t you give me that message?” In retrospect of the series as a whole, I remember Alice being that extra moving part of the Brady machine that kept the family running. In this episode and the previous Dear Libby one, she seems a bit dim and unable to reason very well. Perhaps this will change as the series progresses. This scene closes with Cindy outside destroying a flower and quoting the episode’s namesake of “Eenie, Meenie, Mommy, Daddy”.

The next shot takes us to Cindy’s school, where it’s time for a classic sitcom cliché. Cindy hobbles onstage with a feigned ankle injury, stating she can’t play the lead role now. Peter would use this same trick years later to try to escape playing a part in a play. Rerun did

ankle
Is that a really short dress on Cindy or a really long shirt?

something similar on “What’s Happening!” as did Gomer on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Sometimes old clichés, are like old friends. Mrs. Engstrom immediately notices a change in the injured ankle that rankles her suspicion. This leads to her calling the Brady home that evening and ratting Cindy out for lying. Mike decides to do the adult thing and voluntarily bows out of attending the play, citing a bogus business meeting. Until this time, had he and Carol been secretly hoping that Cindy would pick one of them? It seems they could have decided for Cindy much earlier and followed Mike’s course of action. Nope, instead the poor child had to suffer her own decision all this time. Well, Cindy is thrilled that the decision has been made for her and rushes to call Mrs. Engstrom and remain in the play. As she leaves, Mike has a pondering look on his face.

 

The next scene opens with an elf played by Brian Fischer walking around asking a tree, a rock and a bird if they have seen the Fairy Princess. Fans of other classic 1970s TV will recognize the elf as Chris Partridge; the drummer brother on the Partridge Family. This must have been one really long play for there to be twenty-six speaking parts. The elf is the only kid talking here. I guess those other child actors would not have gotten more than an extra’s pay that day if they were allowed to speak and not limited to just shaking their heads. With Cindy’s entrance, we find that the entire family is attending the show! Mrs. Engstrom and Miss Marlow discuss the Brady’s unique situation and how it was okay to “bend the rules a bit” to allow the children to do a special performance. A commenter on a

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Look at all those empty seats!

message board years ago asked a very good question; why just a special performance for the Bradys? Look at all those empty seats! If they were going to do more than one performance anyway, why do it for just one family? I can imagine some irate parents finding out later that a second performance was given, but just for the Bradys. Maybe Mike’s phone call also included a suggestion that the teachers’ lounge needed a new cigarette machine, Miss Marlow needed a new overhead projector or Mrs. Engstrom could use a top of the line electric typewriter. I guess we will never know, but maybe that’s what Mrs. Engstrom meant by “bending the rules a bit”.

 

The episode’s conclusion sees Cindy being put to bed after her long day. She’s has started worrying all ready about who she will choose for the next play. Mike and Carol just brush off her concern and wish her a good night.

And with that readers, I wish you a good day. I welcome your own thoughts, critiques and observations. A reader of last week’s blog brought to my attention that I had been spelling Marcia Brady’s name incorrectly. Thank you! Join us again this Friday when we review together, “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. This is the one where Alice thinks she isn’t needed anymore, not the one where she thinks she isn’t liked anymore.

Episode 2: Dear Libby

Episode 2: Dear Libby

Episode 2 of The Brady Bunch originally aired on October 3rd, 1969. It would introduce all those locations that would become part of the Brady lore in the decades to follow. Dear Libby begins with a decent premise that evolves into an incoherent mess by the episode’s end.

1st

The story begins in the girls’ bedroom. Included in this shot is Cindy’s doll, Kitty Carry-All, who will appear in future episodes. Marsha is reading aloud the letters written to an advice columnist named Dear Libby. A quick internet search reveals that Dear Libby is just a lazy melding of Dear Abby and Ann Landers, not an actual advice column. Marsha finds that a letter written to Dear Libby mirrors her own family’s situation a great deal. “Harried and Hopeless” has written a letter bemoaning a marriage that brought three new children into the home, in addition to the three others of his or her own. Marsha is immediately concerned that this letter was written by Mike or Carol.

2nd

The next scene opens with a shot of the Brady home we all know and love. A fun fact here is that the window on the left side of the house was added by producers for mere ornamentation purposes; the home really didn’t have one there. Perhaps on another day we can explore how the home’s interior and exterior really don’t match up that well.

Inside the mismatched home, Mike and Carol sit in the living room reading the newspaper. Both take notice of the paper’s missing section as each had stories they were reading continued on it. Marsha is eavesdropping from the kitchen and doesn’t want Mike or Carol to find the missing section and read what could have been the letter written by one of them to Dear Libby. She volunteers to go purchase a second newspaper, but Mike sends Greg to accompany her. As they walk to the closet to get their coats, Marsha and Greg engage in what is supposed to be a secret conversation, but their voices are just as loud as when they were speaking to Mike and Carol moments before and who remain only a few feet away. One might be able to cite creative license here as the conversation was needed to continue moving the story, but any credibility this has is shot as Mike says, in the same conversational voice from a few feet away , “Don’t forget to close the closet door.” How Mike and Carol could not have heard Greg and Marsha’s conversation is beyond comprehension. Perhaps Robert Reed ad-libbed the closet door instruction to point out this absurdity.

3rd
Look at my wig!

Greg and Marsha return and provide the paper to Mike and Carol. On the previously missing section of the newspaper, Carol finds a huge ink blot obliterating the Dear Libby column. How and where the kids managed to find the ink, apply it to the page, let it dry and get it back to Mike and Carol in an amount of time that did not arouse suspicion calls into the question the effort put in by the writing staff. A fun fact to note with this shot is that Florence Henderson wore a wig in Season 1 of the show. She sported a really short hairdo for a stage production she had recently performed in and the producers wanted her to look more motherly.

 

Upstairs, the kids all have a family confab to discuss the letter. The younger kids are briefed on the letter and we finally find out Dear Libby’s reply. Dear Libby had advised, “Give it some time. It might just work out.” That’s all. I don’t understand why the kids didn’t want Mike or Carol to see that reply. She didn’t tell “Harried and Hopeless” to drop that new family like a hot potato, call the divorce attorney or head out for that pack of cigarettes. She advised the writer to wait it out a bit longer. So, Marsha and Greg instruct the rest of the Brady kids to be on their best behavior in hopes of saving their parents’ marriage.

4th

The next scene opens with Peter being a total ass as he walks into the family room and changes the channel in the middle of Jan’s television viewing. An argument ensues and Greg quickly mediates, before Carol enters. The next scene is basically the same scene played again with the remaining Brady family members. Marsha mediates an argument between Bobby and Cindy, only to assure Mike that all is well when he enters.  The almost identical scene/scenario even takes place in the same room.

That night, none of the adults in the house can sleep and all find themselves in the kitchen enjoying a midnight snack. The kids’ well behaved ways have them all concerned and worried. Alice says, “If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a perfect kid; much less six of them.” This is funny as I recall reading in either Bradymania or Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg that the actress playing Alice, Ann B. Davis, didn’t care for children. You’d have never guessed it seeing her onscreen.

yard

The second act opens with Greg and Marsha working out in the yard. Greg is scraping the rake around on the ground to simulate raking leaves.   Poor Marsha had reduced herself to cutting the lawn with a pair of garden shears. Keep in mind I am ignoring the fact that this is obviously an Astroturf yard, but was lawn trimming such as this  done before the invention of the weed eater?shear Trimming a lawn this way looks like something that a fraternity pledge might be forced to do or maybe some punishment detail in the military. What follows is a threat by Alice to tell Greg and Marsha’s classmates how well they have been having if they don’t spill the beans about why they have been on their best behavior. The threat moves them to talk to their parents, separately, about the Dear Libby column.  Each child is assured by each respective parent that the letter was not written by him/her. Each kid reminds each respective parent that the letter writer’s gender was not made clear; meaning it could have come from either parent’s better half.  Here begins that classic sitcom situation that could easily be resolved by just asking a simple question of the other character, but instead all kinds of suspicion and worry ensues. We also see the boy’s room for the first time in the exchange between Mike and Greg.

5th
The room is a mess, despite Greg giving orders earlier that clean rooms were part of “best behavior”.

 

In the scene that follows, Carol asks Alice if she thinks Mike might have written the letter. Alice unconvincingly assures her that it couldn’t have been Mike that wrote the letter, leaving Carol to continue worrying about it.  Shortly thereafter, we see Mike’s office for the first time and an almost identical exchange between he and Alice.  Here, he asks her if Carol could have written the letter. Here is where the episode has finally crumbled into an incoherent mess. Alice could have solved the entire thing at this very moment. Carol had all ready asked if Alice thought Mike wrote the letter. Here Mike is asking Alice the same thing. At this point, Alice should know for certain it wasn’t Carol who wrote the letter, but yet she

6th
Mike’s Office

 

stammers her unconvincing assurance that Carol could not have written it. At this point, she remains concerned that one of them wrote the letter! Did she suspect either Mike or Carol had secretly written it and was now acting concerned and asking about the other writing it for some reason? She could have come right out and said, “Oh Mr. Brady, Mrs. Brady was worried it was you who wrote it!” or with a sigh of relief, “I am certain if you speak to Mrs. Brady, you will know for sure it wasn’t her.” But, no, the suspicion by everybody in the house continues.

 

In the next scene, Mike and Carol rearrange the living room furniture and assure one another how happy they are, but neither mention the letter that now weighs so heavily upon everyone’s mind. Finally, in the next scene, the adult and sensible thing takes place. Mike and Carol talk again, this time in Mike’s office, and have a “happiness confessional” and mutually assure one another that neither wrote the letter. Finally, things make a little bit of sense, but not for long. Carol asks Mike how they will convince the kids that neither10th of them wrote the letter and they are both happy. Uh, the first thing that came to my mind is to simply sit them down and tell them. “Your mother and I are very happy.  Neither of us wrote that letter to Dear Libby.” Maybe they could even follow that up with a PG rated kiss. Here, all the kids would whoop and cheer and the closing credits could roll. Instead, Mike tells Carol the kids are watching a TV show right now and they will tell them as soon as it is over.

7thWe then transition to a scene of the living room. This must have been one really long TV show as Mike and Carol have changed clothes since their talk in the office. Mike was previously sporting a sweatshirt and jeans and is now wearing slacks, a dress shirt and tie. The doorbell rings and Mike and Carol race to the door. Upon answering it, they find their evening caller is none other than Elizabeth Carter, aka Dear Libby! Many celebrities would grace the Brady door through the years. The fictitious Dear Libby was the first! She was played by Jo DeWinter who maintained a busy acting career through the decades that followed. She only passed away recently in 2016 and even has a 2016 acting credit. This nonsense episode didn’t end her career.

8th
Jo DeWinter as Elizabeth “Dear Libby” Carter

 

Upon Dear Libby entering, the remainder of the household has vanished and gone into hiding. Dear Libby explains she received multiple letters urging her to confirm the true identity of “Harried and Hopeless”. It turns out that all six children and Alice had written her requesting this. She reveals that the real letter came from Kingsford, Illinois! All the kids erupt in celebration at the news that some family miles away is crumbling, but not their own! Had Mike and Carol not bothered to tell them that they did not write the letter?! Had all the kids been self-punishingly well behaved, somber and depressed all this time? Or did Mike and Carol somehow find out Dear Libby was coming to visit, change their clothes and act surprised upon answering the door? The script and continuity supervisor must have called in sick for this episode because none of it makes sense in the second half.

This is the first episode with an epilogue. It’s also the first glimpse we get of Mike and Carol’s bedroom. Here it is revealed that they too had written, but not sent, letters to Dear Libby asking her to reveal the true writer of the letter. How about you freaking ask your partner and not write some stranger asking that?

9th

I looked it up and Kingsford, Illinois is not a real place; at least not on today’s maps. So, this debacle was not repeated by some newly merged family in that state upon this episode airing.

This concludes Episode 2 of the Brady Bunch.  I hope you enjoyed reviewing it together and will share your thoughts and comments.  See you next Friday when we review “Eenie, Meenie, Mommy, Daddy”.

Episode 1 – The Honeymoon

 

 

Greetings friends and fans! This is the blog where we embark on our reviewing adventure! Every episode of the Brady Bunch will be reviewed, one episode at a time, in order. Before we start the fun, I want you all to know that first and foremost, I am a fan of the show, but love to poke fun, pick apart and overthink that iconic 70s family. Your own comments and thoughts are most welcome! Let us begin!color

 

I am revisiting The Brady Bunch via DVD. Before episode 1 began, the above image displayed on the screen. Seeing how this episode’s original air date was September 26th, 1969, it was suprising to see The Bradys being touted as “In Color”. It seems that by this time, most every regular network show was in color, some since the 1950s! Speaking of the 1950s, at this point, and for most of the first season, the show maintained that 1950s sitcom auora. The haircuts were neat and trim, the boys’ shirts tucked in, the girls always wore dresses and everybody’s manners were straight out of an etiquette book. It reminds me of shows like Leave It To Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best. Rest assured dear reader, those classic episodes riddled with phrases like “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!”, “Oh my nose!” and “Pork chops and applesauce” are on their way, but we must first navigate these initial squeaky clean, super wholesome waters.

The show starts out with the well known opening credits that consist of miniature driver’s licenses images of each family member, staring at one another from their own black box. The well known theme song is here too. It was written and sung by a guy named Frank DeVol, who is listed in the credits simply as DeVol. He was quite the trendsetter as later famous singers would identify by single names as well. I doubt Prince, Madonna, Cher or Fantasia credit DeVol, but they do have him to thank.

pissedSpeaking of the opening credits, it was not until the most recent viewing I noticed how royally pissed off Robert Reed looks in these opening shots. He is looking around smiling and suddenly has this angry look on his face and shakes his head. Perhaps this was a sign of things to come as it would be revealed in later years that Robert Reed grew to hate playing Mike Brady and would often feud with the show’s creator Sherwood Schwartz over scripts.

houseThe episode’s first act opens with a shot of the first place Mike, Greg, Peter, Bobby and Alice called home. Keeping with that 1950s feel, this “house” definitely has it. It looks more like an office or motel to me. The scenes that follow are typical of those introducing the situation. Mike and his bride to be, Carol Martin, have wedding day jitters. They even discuss them by phone. Before leaving for the wedding, we get the only mention of the first Mrs. Brady. Bobby has put away his mother’s picture. In case you ever wondered what the Brady boys biological mother looked like, her photo is to the right. She will never be seen or mentioned again!

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The only photo Bobby has of his mom was taken in a photo booth.

 

In these scenes that follow we meet Carol’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tyler. So, in case you ever pondered it, Carol’s full name is Carol Tyler Martin Brady; assuming Mike was only her second husband. Regarding Carol’s parents, it is rest assured they will remain a part of their granddaughters’ lives as they only live 20 minutes away. However, after this episode, they are never seen again! To be fair, they are mentioned a time or two more this season. And yes, there is that horrible, horrible episode to come where Robert Reed and Florence Henderson play another set of grandparents to the Brady kids. Had this wedding episode been further down the line, Florence Henderson might have played herself and her mother! I could definitely see that happening.

In the second act, the wedding commences and the nuptials are performed by Walnut Grove’s town minister. Dabs Greer, a familiar face in 1950s and 1960s television, would later go on to play Reverend Alden on Little House on the Prairie. Here, he is marrying Mike and Carol. As soon as the “I do’s” are through and Mike kisses the bride after saying, “You betcha”, the mayhem that would come to define the Brady Bunch begins. The girls’ cat Fluffy, who we’ll also never see again after this episode, is spotted by the boys’ dog Tiger as she exits her cathouse. Tiger had been left in the car, a huge no-no in today’s times, and rolls down the elecric window to escape. Carol had told the girls to put Fluffy upstairs before the ceremony started.  A better scene of Fluffy being spotted would have been to have her on the serving table lapping up some wedding edible. Tiger chases Fluffy through the yard, over the guests’ laps and across the serving table. After all that preparation is ruined, so is the wedding cake. After initially saving it from destruction, Mike maintains an awkward squat stance holding it. Instead of him immediately setting it down, he maintains this stance long enough for Carol to run over and offer no assistance and give him this wierd nudge, toppling Mike and the cake onto the ground. So, here we have a ruined cake that would have taken hours to make along with set up time, cost and preparation all for naught. Everybody’s recation? A good laugh!

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This would have been my reaction.

pissed

 

The third act opens with Mike and Carol checking into the hotel for their honeymoon. Another familiar face from classic television is seen here playing the role of the front desk clerk Mr. Pringle. Having never secured a recurring role (that I know of), I had to look him up. Mr. Pringle was played by James Millhollin. He died in 1993.

thatguy
James Millhollin

Another sign of the times is seen in just how shocked Mr. Pringle is that Mike and Carol have six children. After some disapproving looks, he checks them into the biggest hotel room I’ve ever seen where the new Mr. and Mrs. Brady will enjoy their honeymoon.

 

Well, things aren’t being enjoyed elsewhere. The Brady Bunch was full of sappy drama that included crying or sulking children. The first episode wastes no time showing it! tearsOur first crier of the series is Cindy. Despite failing to put Fluffy upstairs like Carol said, the girls are hurt that they were yelled at for ignoring instruction. Back at that motel/office/house, the boys are sulking because they were yelled at too. At least they followed instructions. It really wasn’t their fault that Tiger is some super genius dog that knows how to operate an electric car window. Those sulks and cries have a long echo that is heard by both Mike and Carol. They both decide to go fetch the children and bring them on the honeymoon too. As they fetch the boys, it becomes more evident that this place they called home did serve some other capacity than as a home. The wall of Bobby and Peter’s room is made of pegboard! The same stuff used in retail stores, workshops and garages to hang pegs from. This must have been the shop or garage in the structure’s previous incarnation. Peter did make the best of it and hung his fedora from the pegboard wall. pegboard

Well, the honeymoon resumes with six children in tow, along with Tiger, Fluffy and Alice. Upon Alice entering, that poor desk clerk probably had to go lie down. Not only does this couple have children prior to being married, they also live with another adult female. Mr. Brady is starting look like a cult leader and I am sure Mr. Pringle drew some similarly very incorrect conclusions. Had this been a later episode, I am sure Alice’s yet to be seen boyfriend Sam would have joined them too. The whole family noisly clomps up the stairs to the very spacious honeymoon suite, concluding the pilot episode of The Brady Bunch.

Most anything you found ridiculous or silly about this entire episode will only be magnified in the episodes to come! So please stay tuned and tune in every Friday for another episode of the The Brady Bunch Reviewed!