After watching "Cinderella," Bobby is convinced that his new mom is an "evil stepmother" and that nobody in his family loves him, so he decides that he will run away from home.

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After Bobby and Cindy watch Cinderella on television, Bobby initially believes Cindy in that Bobby's stepmother - Carol - is a loving mother, period, unlike Cinderella's. But Carol asking Bobby to clean out the fireplace, just like Cinderella's stepmother did, makes him start to think otherwise. Carol altering some hand me down clothes for him - which Greg and Peter don't get - and all the older kids taking off for the evening either without saying goodbye or telling him straight to his face that he can't go along makes Bobby not only feel like the brunt of the evil stepmother's actions, but unloved by everyone in the house. When Alice learns why Bobby is in such a down mood and passes the information along to Carol and Mike, Bobby's parents think the way to make Bobby feel loved is to get him an early birthday present of a bicycle. Words from the bicycle salesman along with further learning that Bobby is planning on running away make Carol and Mike come to a decision on what they ... Written by Huggo

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Comedy | Family

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5 December 1969 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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One of the Show's Best Episodes
15 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am a huge Brady Bunch fan. While I love to laugh at the show as much as to laugh with it, I never fail to be entertained by the charm, corniness and nostalgic feelings I get while watching an episode. One of my all-time favorite Brady Bunch episodes is the one titled, "Every Boy Does It Once" – better known as the one where Bobby runs away. I loved it as a kid and I appreciate even more as an adult. Writers Lois and Arnold Peyer provide a wonderful little story. It is possibly the best episode in the show's run.

The plot (as any Brady fan knows) is that Bobby watches "Cinderella" and get worried about "evil stepmothers". Since he himself has a new step mom (Carol), he starts to wonder whether she really loves him as much as she loves her biological children (Marcia, Jan, and Cindy). Bobby begins to believe his fears are correct when Carol makes an ill-timed request for Bobby to sweep out the fireplace. This, followed by her giving Bobby his older brothers' hand-me-downs to wear, convinces Bobby that Carol doesn't really love him. On top of all this, he is excluded from the activities of the older kids and now feels neglected and unloved by the whole family. He decides to run away.

While the "runaway kid" is a classic plot in many family sitcoms, the Brady take on it is top notch. Other sitcoms usually have a plot along the lines of: kid does something wrong; parents punish kid; kid runs away to get even with parents. While this is probably the true reason most kids run away (or at least think about doing it), it's a tired plot line that we've seen time and time again. The Brady plot is much more complex.

The issue of blended families was not a common theme on TV shows in the late 1960's. Even though the Bradys are such a family, you can watch almost any episode of the show and never know it. It is rarely discussed or even alluded to but this episode deals with it wonderfully.

There are a lot of things I like about this episode. Mike Lookinland does a great job with the character Bobby. He really conveys the sad and worried feelings of a kid who thinks his family may not love him. Mr. and Mrs. Brady go through a realistic sequence in how they deal with Bobby. First they don't really worry too much about it. Then they think that maybe they can cheer him up by getting him an early birthday present. Finally, they realize that they need to deal with the root of the problem.

I like the father-son talk Bobby gets from Mr. Brady. Yes, it's the same reverse psychology that other sitcoms have used in this setting but it plays out much better. Mr. Brady's lecture to Bobby is not sarcastic or patronizing. The humor is gentle and kept to a minimum. He tells Bobby that he deserves to find a place where he can be happy and laments that the family didn't recognize Bobby's unhappiness sooner. I love the exchange where Mr. Brady says to Bobby something like, "You wouldn't want me to stay if I wasn't happy would you?" to which Bobby responds, "You have to stay. You're the father". The show's moral suddenly becomes that running away at any age is a bad idea.

The very best part of the show is as Bobby is leaving, he encounters Carol who has already packed her suitcase and is ready to go off with him. It is the perfect resolution to the story. This one action convinces Bobby better than any lecture ever could that Carol does love him and that his fears were all unfounded. Mr. Brady then tells Bobby that the only "steps" in their home are the ones leading up to his bedroom and suggests that Bobby march back up them. After this episode, I don't think the blended family issue is every brought up again.

Although there are many more famous, more popular, and better remembered episodes in this classic TV show's run, "Every Boy Does It Once" deserves recognition as one of the best examples of why this TV family is so dear in many of our hearts. It's a show with characters we care about and who care about one another.


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