How’s this for crazy, five years ago I did a series of Brady articles and included my list of the worst episodes. Would you believe I never did my list of the best? That’s awful and needs to fixed.
I talked a couple weeks ago about how I adored He-Man growing up. Well that doesn’t even describe how much I loved The Brady Bunch. It was on every single day at dinner time and I adored it. Well, most of it. It was simple, it was sweet, and it didn’t talk down to kids. Ok it could be corny, though some people are a little to hard on that (something I discussed before).
This is one of those shows where, with a few exceptions, different people can have very different lists. It’s all about what appeals to you about the series. So here are my ten favorite episodes, in broadcast order. It was supposed to be five but became ten, anyone surprised?
I needed one from Season One. Why did I pick this one? I don’t know, it’s better than most that season I guess. There is another Tiger episode involving Jan thinking she’s allergic, but that one is mostly filler. This one has some real heart in it when Tiger runs away. And I love how the family canvass the neighborhood to find him. It’s a well done moment, leading to the conclusion when we found why Tiger ran away. It’s stupid, but at least there’s a reason unlike other shows which don’t even give that. By the way I liked the episode where the kids get measles, but the sexism of the time hurt it foe me. A female doctor treating men? How could they know anything about men problems???? I know it made sense in 1968 but….please.
“A Fistful of Reasons”
This episode is a pure classic. It starts with Cindy coming home crying, that’s not a good sign. Turns out she has been picked on by the local bully. I think anyone who remotely knows this show knows the name Buddy Hinton. When Peter gets a black eye for defending his sister, he decides to learn fighting while Cindy practices her grammar. It’s nice to see Peter and Cindy interact, that actually happens seldom, and the ending pays off when Peter wallops good old Buddy. The best part is when the passive parents get infuriated by Buddy’s parents, and I could do a whole article on those fools.
Yeah another Peter episode, I’m kind of surprised too. But this is a classic. When Peter accidentally breaks his mothers favorite vase the kids help him cover it up. And then cover for him when the vase is revealed broken. Mike and Carol deduce Peter really did it, because they’re not idiots, but want Peter to confess…which he finally does. You can’t help but wonder the kids didn’t just admit what happened immediately, it was an accident after all, but the episode is still clever with a simple morale in the end.
“Her Sister’s Shadow”
The Jan episodes are usually classic middle child angst stories. It’s not that shocking Jan us often portrayed as the one loon of the family. And this episode doesn’t help, in fact this whole episode is basically Jan’s story arc in the first Brady Bunch movie. And I will spare you the rant about how much that parody pisses me off, and say that two things make this a good episode. We can relate to how Jan feels when Marcia’s old teacher wont stop gushing. Enough already! And long story short Jan does the right thing in the end (in spite of the voices in her head). Most Jan episode’s don’t stand out, like the wig episode or the George Glass episode or the one where she wants to be an only child. They’re mostly just Jan whining until the problem goes away. The one where she gets glasses isn’t bad but this episode is the exception. She has a chance for redemption in the end. And no I won’t say that line which SNL made infamous!
“Where There’s Smoke”
I actually enjoyed Greg more in the early days, before puberty made him look like one of the adults rather than one of the kids. This is another classic, in fact I did a whole review of it already, as Greg is caught…SMOKING! Dear god, no!!! I joke but the episode handles the subject really well. I like the nice pace and there are some great scenes between the characters. I like the it’s Alice who saves the day in the end. For more on this one check out my “Sitcom Episode Face-Off” where I paired this episode with a very similar Cosby Show episode. Some may say “My Son, The Man” should be on here but I think Greg comes off a little to stupid and immature in this one. At least here it’s peer pressure. And the funny thing is Barry Williams would be stoned during the opening of another episode, but that’s another story.
“The Private Ear”
Three Peter episodes, and I was never that fond of Peter. Go figure. So this is the episode where Peter is secretly taping the other kids, and then using the knowledge he hears to make them all mad at each other. It’s really little things that make me like this one. For instance, the very beginning looks like a Marcia episode, until we see Peter with the tape recorder. I like how we get sinppets of the others, we see that they have their own stories going even if we aren’t watching them. Then Greg and Marcia decide to get their revenge, but I never understood wht they were surprised when Peter for fell for it. What were the expecting to happen? And the ending is typical Brady corniness, but it works.
“Getting Davy Jones”‘
Once again, I did a whole “Sitcom Episode Face-Off” on this one. But what can I say, this is a quintessential Brady episode. It almost always ranks at the top of best Brady episode lists, if not best TV episodes period! This was my first exposure to Davy Jones and while it’s not perfect (it’s way to Marcia centered) the episode still holds up. Check out my review for me info.
“The Teeter-Totter Caper”
I wanted to get every Brady kid represented here at least once, but this as close to a Cindy episode as you’ll find. Mostly because Cindy was annoying, her biggest episode was probably the Tattletale one and that one is kind of lame. Don’t get me started on the idiotic quiz show and Shirley Temple episodes. So why do I love this episode? It really feels like a slice of life, as if we’re spending an ordinary Saturday with the Brady’s. I love it, and the message is rare to. Just because little kids are little doesn’t mean they can’t do thing. That is what Bobby and Cindy set out to prove by setting a new teeter totter record.
“The Subject Was Noses”
As we get into the last two seasons it gets harder and harder to find really solid episodes. Because the stories got sillier and sillier. As the next episode will prove. But this one isn’t all bad, mostly because of Maureen McCormick’s acting. This is the one where she blows off a date for a date with a jock..only to have a ball get tossed into her face! That “Ow my nose!” scene is one the more iconic one’s of the series. If you’ve never seen it, I’ll include it. This was of course parodied in the movie and was done pretty well. That smack still hurts when I watch it! And unlike the braces episode, where Maureen was seriously overacting, Marcia’s pain feels real here. This is also the classic “Something suddenly came up” episode.
“Getting Greg’s Goat”
So as I said, selecting an epispde from Season 5 was real hard. Hard to believe this is teh same Greg that tried a cigarette way back when. But here he steals the opposing team’s mascot, because they did that in those days I guess, and has to hide it in the house. Hijinks ensues. It’s pretty memorable even if it isn’t “good” per se. By the way there was another episode anout Greg’s playbook that could have made this list, but I took it off for the awfil B story in that one.
Five honorable Mention :
“The Personality Kid”
The episode is famous for the catchphrase “Pork Chops, and Applesauce” that Peter says in a Bogart voice. While that is cute and memorable, one line does not a good episode make. The story about Peter thinking he has no personality is only ok and it’s another time time the solution to the problem was throwing a party. The second time for Peter! Yeah that’s kind of pushing it.
“The Slumber Caper”
This was a tough one and just missed the list. This as you may have guessed is Marcia’s first slumber party. The problem? The plot of this episode involves Macia getting falsley accused of something at school and almost losing her party. Why? Why not just have it be the slumber party with the boys playing pranks? I guess we did a little more but that conflict here feels tacked on, and spoils the episode for me.
“Lost Locket, Found Locket”
The other good season one episode, as Jan loses her locket and the family’s reenactment to figure out what happened is clever. But what makes it a cut above is that fantastic last scene between Alice and Jan.
Where are these? Well the truth is while the songs are very memorable and all, the episodes surrounding them never worked for me and that includes “Adios, Johnny Bravo” which is iconic only for that silly name Greg had. But don’t get me wrong, Sunshine Day is often running in my head!!!
Yeah some may wonder why the trips to Hawaii and Grand Canyon aren’t here. As I’ve discussed before, I never liked vacation episodes on TV shows. It just doesn’t feel the same. I get why the cast and crew like the getaway, but for me I wanted my regular episodes back whenever these rolled around.
I love this show and always will. Did I forget your favorite? Comment and let me know.