So The Brady Bunch went off the air in 1974 after five season, to live forever in re-runs. You would think that would be the end, right?

Nope

 

The Brady Kids

I guess I can see how this seemed like a good idea. I mean the Brady Kids were a popular singing group with live tours and record albums. But whenever I watched this all it did was make me wish I were watching an episode of The Brady Bunch. I mean, where were the parents anyway? At least It’s Punky Brewster still had Henry involved. And it is neat to have the voices of  the kids on the show. I just hate this cartoons that are spun off from sitcoms, but I already said enough about that. It was harmless though.

The Brady Bunch Hour

 

What in the world made poeple think this would work? I have seen some clips online, and it was bad. The worst thing wasn’t the awful songs and terrible dancing. It was what the show did to the characters. Making Mike a wimp and an idiot, Bobby a tool, an so on. There is so much to make fun of here, I could be here for hours. One clip I saw was a music number where the Brady’s dressed up like the characters from The Wizard of Oz, and were singing “Carwash”. That is three things that should never be combined! I guess I will be fair and give the show credit for once thing, it’s clear that everyone worked hard on it. To bad it was god awful. Even the family stuff was lame, it just didn’t feel like the old show..at all. I am so glad that this series is not part of Brady canon. In fact I would have loved if in one of the reunion movies Bobby or someone walked in and says “Hey guy, you wouldn’t believe this crazy dream I had last night! We were doing variety show!!” It was just weird.

The Brady Girls Get Married/The Brady Brides

 

This was the only time the entire cast would work together on a project after the series ended. I finally got to see this several years ago, and it wasn’t bad. Seeing how Marcia and Jan meet and then marry their respective husbands was interesting.The movie really does feel like a continuation of the series, which is nice. I could gripe that it would have been nice to see more of the whole family together, but it was Marcia and Jan’s story so it make sense. They even give Carol some character development, she becomes a real estate agent.

The network decided to make the movie into a pilot, and so The Brady Brides ended up coming out of this. A few years ago some cable station decided to re-air all the episode of this series. So I got to watch them, and they were really bad. The Brady Bunch was light because the problems were focused on the kids. That’s great, but when Marcia and Jan are adults you have to give them more realistic problems. It just doesn’t work, and the series was lame. The conflict between the two husbands was forced, and the stories were dumb including one episode where the two couples appear on The Newlywed Game. In case your wondering, the premise behind the series is that Jan and Marcia are forced to live in the same house. Of course their husbands are very different people so, naturally, hijinks ensue!

A Very Brady Christmas

 

I did a whole article on this a few months ago. So, rather than repeat myself I will share the link below. Suffice to say, I love this movie and still watch it every Christmas.
https://www.manic-expression.com/apps/blog/show/21051169-a-look-at-a-very-brady-christmas-

Day By Day

 

This was a short lived NBC sitcom, and on one particular episode the character Russ (played by Christopher Daniel Barnes, ironic) dreams that he is in an episode of The Brady Bunch. They recreated the living room and got Ann B. Davis, Florence Henderson, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, Maureen McCormick and Robert Reed tp appear. At the time I loved it. Now, I hate it. The episode seems to be saying that you are foolish for watching the show in re-runs. I know, they got half the cast to be in it so it had to be decent. But to me it just feels more mean spirited than a loving tribute.

The Brady’s

 

I hated this. Can we move on? No? Ok let’s talk about it. After the success of A Very Brady Christmas CBS decided to do two more movies. This idea morphed into a new dramatic series. The problem? It was a DRAMATIC series!! What in the world made the network think this would work? Bobby paralyzed? Marcia an alcoholic? And that’s just for starters. Then they did an even worst thing, placing this on Friday nights opposite Full House! What the heck??  I tried to watch it but was really disapointed. I mean, The Brady Bunch back on TV and instead it’s Thirtysomething! The show also suffered from having way to many people in the cast. It was just a mess and the worst part it is the last project like this involving the original cast. Of course Robert Reed passed away soon after and the original cast has never come back except for the occasional retrospective.

The Brady Bunch Movie

 

So what did I think of this movie? I really liked it. I look at it like a parody, as if I were watching a sketch on Saturday Night Live. And as much as I love the show I freely admit there is plenty to make fun of. All the gags and in-jokes were great, the subtle and the obvious. The cameos work mostly, I loved that Davy Jones was in it and having the grown up women drool over him was cute, and the actors do a decent job capturing the essence of the characters. Mike and Carol are well done, especially Gary Cole who really analyzes Mike. You may wonder what I thought pf Jan, and to be honest she was ok. The actress did a good job of keeping it closer to the character than the parody, though there is some of that there which I would have expected since the whole movie is a parody. I like that while they made fun of her odd quirks it is also taken seriously in the script, becoming a plot point rather than just a mean spirited gag (like Cindy and her lisping).

Marcia is eerie! Chrstine Taylor did such an amazing job. The only problem I have is with Greg, who goes from being a ladies man in the series to a huge dork in the movie. Nothing against Chris Barnes, but the role was not played right. He did a better job in the sequel. And Alice was pretty solid though I find it amusing that Ann B. Davis herself had to show the senistive side of Alice (even though she technically wasn’t playing her), all the actress who did play Alice in the movie could pull off was the sarcastic side, and there was more to Alice than wisecracks. Bobby has little to do here, they drop a reference to his safety monitor role but go nowhere with it. Cindy is pretty well played. Peter is made to be to much of a wimp, in the series he was the one who stood up for Cindy when she was picked on. Here he needs people to stand up for him!  And the reprisals of the Brady songs were fantastic!

What I didn’t like? The jokes about Mike’s job were dumb. One thing you can’t take away from him was that he was one heck of an architect, and could do more than design the same house over and over. Also the stuff with Mike and Carol acting like horny toads was a bit much. The plot was kind of weak, but I did like how we finally met the Ditmeyer’s who were the much mentioned but hardly ever seen neighbors on the show. Of course somethings are ridicukous like Greg not realzing what a carjacking is and by the way the family did the sack races and square dancing because there were events coming up not just for the fun of it. Finally, the one cameo that didn’t work believe it or not was Florence Henderson’s. It was obvious that cameo was there,,,to be there. It served no purpose to the story aside from a fan moment. Now there is nothing wrong with that, it just felt to obvious. And why in the world were the cameos by Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen cut??????

All in all I enjoyed it and of course it was a big hit.

A Very Brady Sequel

 

So there was a follow up. And, to be honest, in some ways I actually like this film better. Now don’t get me wrong, it has problems. The Greg/Marcia stuff is gross, the Rosie O’Donnell/Zsa Zsa Gabor cameo is idiotic, Alice comes off to stupid, and there is a Gilligan’s Island gag at the end which I saw coming from the opening credits! So why do I think it’s superior to the first movie? In the first movie the Brady’s were the joke. Everything that happened reflected how out of touch they were, with much of the story being in the point of view of others who observe the Brady’s odd behavior. They didn’t even feel like real people. In this movie, yeah it’s still there but since there wasn’t as much emphasis on it and the movie is focused squarely on them the characters are allowed to act more like people. Mike Brady uses common sense, the kids have problems like they did on the show and even come off smart in parts, Jan and Peter get story arc’s while Cindy and Bobby get something to do besides, well, being there, there is a good resolution this time, and it has a plot. Or at least a better attempt at one. Besides that gag with The Brady Kids cartoon was hilarious!

As I said there are lots of things bad. For instance, was Bobby so boring a character that he has to take a leftover Peter story in the movie? Maybe it was just a plot device since that is how they figure out the truth about Roy. And as I said the whole Greg/Marcia stuff was really a bad idea. Yeah in real life Barry Williams and Maureen McCormack were hot for each other but this is the characters not the actors, and Greg and Marcia almost making out was just…eewwww!  Also one could argue it was a mistake making the focus on the parents, as I discussed the series was from a child’s point of you which accounts for the soft tone. But problems aside It feels more like it could have been an episode of the series, unlike the first movie which just felt like a parody of the series.

The Brady Bunch in the White House

 

Uh, yeah…………….This never happened

I decided not to include the clip shows that they have done, which I have also liked. Of course there have been countless reunions in talk shows, game shows, and various other forms of media. This show recently passed its 40th anniversary, and I hope that it will be around forever! In today’s world the shows portrayal of a wholesome, happy family is something we seem to need now more than ever. How many shows unite people the way this one does, I mean EVERYONE knows the theme song!

 

As a child it’s a nice show which teaches us important lessons. I had braces, wore glasses, and other things that happen in the show. So I can relate to it when Marcia freaks out about it or Jan is worried about being teased. As an adult, when things are crazy in the world, this show makes me smile and even gives a little hope that everything will be ok. It also brings back some great memories from when I was a kid. And that’s why I love it.

 

I hope you liked this tribute, it’s been a lot of fun putting it together.

“And that’s the way they became The Brady Bunch!”

 

By richb

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