The Brady Bunch (1969–1974)
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Of course it isn't exactly a likely scenario, the blending of so many children (including teenagers) more probably fraught with major serious challenges. Here the family is both relatively affluent and very functional, with any difficulties quite trivial and always amusingly solved within the half hour. Not only do these six kids have a stay at home mom but also the benefit of the affable & amusing Alice to help sort things out for them. Furthermore, the former spouses prove to be no problem. The boys experience no prolonged grief for their birth mother, Mike's first wife. It isn't clear whether Carol is divorced but in any case, her first husband seems conveniently out of the picture. The kids immediately assume all appropriate parental and fraternal bonds with their step people.
However, the show's essential positive values more than compensate for all these inadequacies, with sitcoms generally not intended to be unduly realistic anyway. True, the Bradys live a prosperous California lifestyle in a Los Angeles suburb, the parents are invariably patient and caring, and the kids sometimes even get to choose their own punishments. Nevertheless, these Brady kids are respectful of their parents, who are assumed to know more than their children (not the reverse). They are disciplined when they go astray, taught concepts of right and wrong, and generally expected to live up to them. All in sharp contrast to prevailing modern TV standards.
I haven't really watched the show in re runs though would still tune in now and then, if given the opportunity. Therefore it's been awhile, so I don't recall many specific episodes. The Bradys are definitely an idealized average American middle class family. However, it's a carefree, innocent, and light hearted program, improbable but with good values.
I laugh when people put this down for being "unrealistic." What about ever-popular shows like "The Andy Griffith Show"? Was THAT realistic?!
I love everything about the glory that was the Brady Bunch: the silly situations, the colorful clothes, everything! I wish they made stuff like this now! I watch the reruns whenever I can, and I've bought two of the books about it, too!
I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN A BRADY BOY!!!
One of the favorite episodes is "Bobby's Hero," in which Bobby idolizes the notorious outlaw Jesse James. It has an interesting theme: you should always be careful who you pick for a hero.
Another favorite of mine is "Fright Night." That's the one where the kids' attempt to scare Alice backfires. In the dark, she smashes Carol's sculpture of Mike, thinking it was an intruder. Carol's important message in this episode: "If you carry a joke too far, someone might get hurt."
I have always associated myself with Peter Brady, because, like him, I'm a middle boy. To me, I'm very much the Peter Brady of my family.
It is obvious "The Brady Bunch" is not based on reality. If a false view of the world turns you off, this show will not entertain you. No family is this perfect, and the problems that came up were usually very trivial 90 percent of the time. Yet any show that portrays family life as this great should be thanked in some way.
The characters and the actors that play them are all great. How can you not like the young Brady brood? How can you not see the greatest aspects of your own parents in Carol and Mike? It just can not be done. The greatest roles for me personally were Bobby, Greg, Alice, Mike, Carol and Marcia.
My personally favorite episode is the one where the family goes to King Cove amusement park in Ohio and Jan loses Mike's plans. I just find the aspect of a California family going to Ohio for a vacation as delicious.
I have been watching reruns of "The Brady Bunch" for almost twenty years. This is in my top ten television shows of all time. Only a few episodes turn me off (less then 5 percent) and most of them actually make me feel very good. I will continue to watch "The Brady Bunch" and consider it one of the greatest products of television, America and Earth.
In true paternal style the man with the three boys named Brady wed the woman whose name I can't recall, but Florence Henderson and her girls became Bradys just like Robert Reed's boys. In fact it was hard to remember that they weren't biological Bradys.
The anti-war movement, Civil Rights, gay rights (Stonewall happened the year of The Brady Bunch Debut) was something that was never mentioned on the show. Sports got into things occasionally, Joe Namath from football and Don Drysdale from baseball got some guest starring roles as themselves.
The Bradys did dress in the latest fashion though. I do remember those bell bottoms that I wish I could get into now. Barry Williams as Greg Brady wore them with style. He was quite the teen heartthrob during the run of the show.
The shows hearkened back to Leave It To Beaver with Robert Reed as the all knowing dad. You did get the feeling unlike Hugh Beaumont and Barbara Billingsley, Reed and Henderson did have a sex life. Some concession to the times.
The shows were positively antiseptic. Barry Williams chasing after this that or the other girl, Cindy not being a tattle tale, Peter's voice changing, and the tag line that the show got known for, middle girl Jan's jealousy of older sister Marcia, with that cry of 'Marcia Marcia Marcia'.
Later on it came out that all American dad Robert Reed was gay after of course he died of AIDS. In the community that was pretty well known, a friend of mine recalls meeting Reed at a gay bar in New York City during the Seventies. The cast and crew of The Brady Bunch knew it too, but as Barry Williams points out in his memoirs, they didn't care, he was accepted as an artist and a human being. That was a concession to Stonewall that we didn't know about until later.
Blended families are still fodder for situation comedies like Step By Step and Life With Derek. Those have a bit more bite to them than the ever loving Bradys. Still those kids still looked real good and I did so like Barry Williams back in the day.
Who wouldn't have wanted to have owned all those Groovy clothes that somehow always were up to date and never got handed down from one kid to the younger sibling?
Who wouldn't have wanted to have had no problem that could not be resolved completely within a week AND that never seemed to be worse than something as trivial as whether a boy would like a girl who wears braces?
Who wouldn't have wanted to have had all those Groovy celebrities just drop in anytime you became president of their local fan club or foolishly swore you could get them to perform for your school dance?
Who wouldn't have wanted to have been part of a Mod, Groovy singing group made of your siblings while somehow having time for all the other extracurricular activities of your school?
Who wouldn't have wanted to be a Brady? What a great, Groovy time this show was!
Mike Brady(Robert Reed)is an Architect and Carol(Florence Henderson) is a homemaker, and Ann B. Davis plays Alice-the Bradys housekeeper. These are the 3 adults who are in charge of brining up the 6 kids listed below: The boys- Greg(Barry Williams) Peter(Christopher Knight) Bobby(Mike Lookinland) The girls- Marcia(Maureen McCormick) Jan(Eve Plumb) Cindy(Susan Olsen)
Each one of the kids in this show takes turns as lead in an episode. I will be writing reviews for several individual episodes within the coming weeks-but for now I have General thoughts on the whole series.
1. I gave this show a 10 rating because of it's positive outlook on life. The values that this show puts forth is a wonderful thing because they are lacking in todays shows. Some of these include: -Discipline-when one of the kids do something wrong-they are taught that it's wrong. -Work-the kids are taught that "Your allowance is only earned-not a hand out. -Respect-the kids are taught to respect their parents and each other. This is one of the few shows that has parents knowing more than the kids-not the other way around. These are a few of the things that I like about this show.
2. This is not a perfect show. It is not 100% realistic. Here are some things about the Brady bunch that is not Realistic: A. The rosy view it paints of a blended family. The reality is that Blending a family is often fraught with challenges. B. In a blended family, The kids of the mother Do not call the father Daddy and the kids of the father do not call the mother Mom. They usually refer to them by their first names. C. No family who has a stay at home Mother has a live in maid. If Carol was a working mom, then that would be different.
Conclusion: This is TV. And no TV show is ever going to be 100% realistic. This is something that always needs to be remembered. I also feel that some of the user comments are unfair to the Brady Bunch. I think That they criticize this show because they don't like the family values that are well represented in the Brady Bunch. They hate to be told the difference between right and wrong. They don't want to be told the truth such as "There's such a thing called the power of the press-and with the use of that power comes responsibility" (this is only 1 example)
This show went on for 5 seasons-and I AM SO GLAD that they are all on DVD for years of enjoyment. While it is still on TV, On DVD-you get the whole uncut episodes.
PS: You can access my reviews on individual episodes by clicking on the season links on the main page of the Brady Bunch at IMDb.
that staircase in the morning to be handed my school lunch in a
brown paper bag by Florence Henderson. I thought the house
could manage 7 kids as easily as 6. That was my dream and my
aspiration. The thing was, I identified very strongly with
that show. I knew it was lame brained, even when I was the
same age as the youngest of the Brady kids. I also knew that
its heart was in the right place and it represented to me,
everything that I did not have. Of course, I was living in the
REAL world, and that is not always easy to take. Nearly 30
years later, I have fond feelings towards this series and
occasionally can be seen watching the inevitable reruns. Many
people feel the same as I do, I'm sure, so they must have done
My father was actually quite a bit like Mike Brady, in mannerisms and in his (usual) patience dealing with me and my brother growing up. Robert Reed may have hated the role with every fiber of his being, but he played Mike with total professionalism while the cameras were running. The problems he had with the show were many, but he kept them all behind the scenes. Why else would America have been so shocked around 1991 when he admitted he couldn't stand the show or his part in it? I wanted Cindy for a sister and I wanted my hair to look like Marcia's. Maureen McCormick and Susan Olsen are my two favorite players in the series. And there were plenty of occasions when I'd have gladly traded my brother for any one of the three Brady boys, especially either Greg or Peter. I myself was probably most like Jan, feeling invisible and confused about her place within the family and, maybe, in life.
For every fan of the Bunch, there are 20 people who like to sneer and make fun of them. That merely goes to prove they just don't get it. These are probably the same people who hang breathlessly on every second of "Fear Factor" and anything Ashton Kutcher was in. (The only thing truly 70s about "That 70s Show" was the set decor -- take it from someone who grew up in the 70s.) Contrary to one comment, there are indeed laughs to be had in this series. In "A Clubhouse is Not a Home", the six kids act exactly the way real-life siblings would act, and that very realism is the source of those laughs -- "Hey, we acted like that too!" And there are hilarious moments in "Peter and the Wolf", where Peter tries to act older than he is and is trying out a fake mustache in the bathroom. He finally lets Jan and Cindy in, informing them he was shaving. Jan's response: "What, your legs??" A great line.
This show is classic Americana. I refuse to watch any of the annoying junk on today's prime-time schedule. The shows I grew up with are much more appealing to me.
The shortcoming of the entire show was that the writer-producers did not seem to base any of the episodes upon real-life incidences, which is where the real human drama resides, and where some of the funniest material comes from. I have always believed the best story material can't be made up; it comes from seeing real people doing ridiculous things you could never imagine. That's why shows like the Dick Van Dyke Show are so well-written and ultimately hilarious because it was based on the writers' experiences. Even the Partridge Family was based on a real-life singing family. Not the Brady Bunch whose scripts were strictly drummed out of thin air, which is always the least effective way to write if the intention is to be "realistic".
The contrived situations seemed at odds with the issues with which young people were facing in the late 1960's and early 1970's. For a time resplendent with social issues and social change, the Brady Bunch relied on the banal. (In fact, the father of the show played by Robert Reed was an in-closet gay man. Wouldn't that have made the show interesting?) But no, the Brady's situations were mainly trivial. Playing ball in the house. Bobby is falsely accused of doll-napping. Cindy makes it a habit to tattle-tale. Rather silly stuff. They never dealt with death, prejudice, love, hate, race relations, or politics.
I was slightly younger than the Brady Bunch kids (I grew up in the SF Bay Area suburbs in the 1970's and 1980's), and yet I never knew anyone who had the kinds of "situations" that the Brady's did. I'll confess that I did watch the show in reruns, but there were a lot of episodes that, even as a kid, I thought were rather stupid. One of the kids having an "identity crisis" was a recurring theme throughout the show. I never knew anyone, among my family or my friends, who engaged in this kind of behavior. In one episode, Peter Brady adopts the personality of Humphrey Bogart. In another Jan Brady wears a wig. In yet another, Bobby tries to make himself tall by hanging from a swing set. Or when Marcia becomes stuck on herself as a "star".
Maybe one of the few episodes that had a spark of realism was when Jan was jealous over Marcia's success at school. Of course, Marcia wins every award you could imagine. And when Marcia enters an essay contest in which she describes her relationship with her father, of course she wins first prize. It would have been far more interesting and real if she hadn't won but still felt the same way about her father. The fact that she wins somehow loses any modicum of interest the episode might of had. But of course, this is American television, 1970's style. She HAS to win.
Probably the stand-out of the show was Eve Aline Plumb as Jan. Despite a lot of the mediocre writing, Plumb brought a sensibility to her character that was lacking in a lot of the rest of the cast, including the parents, who were probably the least-interesting of the whole family. The parents, Mike and Carol seemed like know-it-all busy bodies who were near-perfect but lacked any real emotions, not to mention any shortcomings. I would have like to have seen a little more blood-feuding between them. That's what happens in real families. But again, not the Brady Bunch. Even the cook-housekeeper Alice was a bit more interesting than the parents.
Overall, a mediocre show at best and a contrived somewhat intelligence-insulting program at worst. I think the Brady Bunch tells us more about perceived sensibilities and prescriptive norms of Americans in the 1970's than being a realistic portrayal of the 1970's, much the same as "Leave It to Beaver" in the late 1950's to early 1960's. And maybe that's the problem. The Brady Bunch never showed what it was really like but instead tried to show us what we were supposed to be like.
I would watch Little House on the Prairie any day of the week over this dreck.
Alice, you were the best part of the show.
Criticizing the Brady Bunch for being unrealistic makes no more sense than criticizing candy for being sweet. It was a show for kids and why on Earth would anyone think children need to be exposed to the harsher realities of life in a freaking sitcom. I think that criticism is motivated by envy and being envious of make-believe characters is not healthy. Relax.
I Cannnot Think Of A Show Worse. This Is Me Being As Honest As I Can Be (Because I Can't Swear) For This Review. My Mother Loves This Show And I Was Subjected To It Then. Say What Anyone Else Can Say But This Show Is Cheezy & Pointless As It Is Famous. Some Jokes Can Go Like This: One Of The Girls Is Juliet In The School Play & The Role Has Gone To Her Head & After The Parents Find Out & She Leaves The Mother Says "If An Actress Can Be Judged By Her Temper Then She's Ready For An Oscar". *I Split My Sides Guys In The Writing Chair, No Keep Making These Scripts As Long As You Want, No Seriously You Are The Greatest Comedy Writers Ever*.
If you thought I was being sarcastic then you are absolutely right and I think that those laughs you hear would be the studio showing them something that is worthwhile and recording the laugh there while The Brady Bunch was playing (I think the same thing about the show Full Frontal). The rating 6.9 overrates it by far, it should be in the 4 point something section (I am so generous).
Overall I Think I've Said It: Weak Jokes, Terrible Acting & At The End Of Every Episode Everything Is Back To Normal, I Don't Mind Shows Like That But It Gives The Audience No Character Development For Anyone.