The Brady Bunch and The Bradys

The Brady Bunch (1969-1974)
The Bradys (1990)
Type: Spin Off
Group 6

   As with so many things Brady, I must again ask why, oh why? After the success of the Brady reunion TV movie A Very Brady Christmas, another attempt was made to bring back everyone's favorite sitcom family but this time in a new dramatic series: The Bradys.

   The Brady Bunch was of course the sitcom classic that told the story of a single father with three boys marrying a single mother with three girls. These great parents could solve any of their children's problems within the course of a half hour.

   The drama The Bradys brought the Brady family into the 90's and revealed maybe Mike and Carol hadn't brought those kids up as right as they thought. Maybe quick half hour fixes didn't work so well after all. Much as the earlier The Brady Hour had tried to put the Bradys into the then popular variety show format, The Bradys tried to put them into the then popular Thirtysomething yuppie drama format. In fact it was even nicknamed Bradysomething. Seeing this come to the airwaves, I smelled fiasco and tried to watch as much as I could knowing it to be a historic TV disaster that would soon go the way of Cop Rock.

   Getting back to Mike and Carol's parenting abilities, their children seemed to have some issues as adults, which is of course in total keeping with the yuppie drama format. Greg was married but was having marital problems. Peter couldn't commit to a relationship and so was out banging around in the single scene where AIDs was a concern. Bobby had turned race car driver and ended up in an accident which left him a paraplegic. Marcia was still married to dorky Wally (see The Brady Brides) and was an alcoholic. Jan and her husband Phillip (again see The Brady Brides) were infertile and adopted a foreign child. And the man Cindy was dating was not only a much older man, he was her boss. Good choice Cindy.

   Now here's the kicker. We have already put TV's happiest family in a number of very depressing and troubling situations. Apparently someone at CBS, which aired the show, felt the same way. How to lighten the show up? How about a LAUGH TRACK. That's right. In a drama with no jokes and deadly serious plots they smacked on a laugh track. Here's my favorite moment. Carol Brady is taking her grandchildren out for the day, leaving admitted alcoholic Marcia with some well needed free time at Carol and Mike's house. The minute Carol and the kids are out of the door, Marcia runs to the liquor cabinet and grabs some booze. Only Carol forgot something and comes back in the house. Marcia quickly hides the bottle behind her back. Carol sees something is up and says, "Marcia, what are you hiding behind your back?" Big laugh on the laugh track! That's not funny! She's a damn alcoholic about to fall off the wagon! That's horrible! It was so inappropriate though I would have laughed if not for being shocked into silence. By the way, if you had a rampant alcoholic for a daughter, would you keep a stocked liquor cabinet AND leave her alone with it?

   By the way, in nearly every Brady reunion show or movie there is almost always one cast member who is smart enough to say no and gets replaced by a new actor. Eve Plumb passed on playing Jan Brady on The Brady Hour. For A Very Brady Christmas it was Susan Olsen who decided not to return to play Cindy. With Maureen McCormick declining to play Marcia on The Brady's we now have a full set of alternates for all the Brady sisters.

Other Brady Bunch Crossover Links
The Brady Bunch and The Brady Hour
The Brady Bunch and The Bradys
The Brady Bunch and The Love Boat

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