Here’s the story, of a lovely lady,
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls…”
If you have been around a television set within the last 30 years, you likely know the rest of the words to this catchy little ditty that started the show each week on one of the most endearing and enduring (at least in syndication) sitcoms to ever grace the airwaves – The Brady Bunch. Join us as we take a look back at this beloved series that greeted many of us after a long day of school – exposing us to a family unlike any we had ever encountered before.
First airing in 1969 and running for five seasons, The Brady Bunch followed the comical and occasionally adventurous life of a stereotypical suburban family. Mike, an architect, and Carol, his new bride, are two recently widowed adults who each bring a little baggage to their new marriage in the form of six kids. Mike has three boys, Greg, Peter and Bobby, and Carol has three golden haired girls, Marcia, Jan and Cindy. Helping the couple manage their herd of precocious tykes is faithful and fearless housekeeper, Alice. In the early years, the family mascot was their pet dog, Tiger. At the end of the series, it would be the lovable, but shark-jumping, cousin Oliver.
While the show was completely panned by critics for being too juvenile, too unrealistic, and more than a tad on the corny side, this Sherwood Schwartz-created comedy has reached legendary status over the years, thanks to a seemingly endless run in syndication. Generations of fans have followed the Brady family’s every silly crisis, every strange adventure – from the Grand Canyon (complete with Native Americans and eating beans from a flashlight) to Hawaii (complete with surfing misfortunes and menacing tiki idols), from Marcia’s nose meeting the force of a football in flight to Bobby’s trials and tribulations as the school safety monitor. Whether engaged in potato sack races in artificial turf backyards or building card houses, whether trying to win a talent competition or simply getting Davy Jones to appear at the prom, Americans have been with the Brady family every step of the way, catapulting the campy series into iconic status.
After the series ended in 1974, the clan toured the country with their special brand of “musical entertainment” as “The Kids from the Brady Bunch” The whole group reunited in 1981 for The Brady Girls Get Married, followed by an ill-fated sitcom, The Brady Brides. The cast would get together again, sans Cindy, for A Very Brady Christmas in 1988. They even took a stab at a dramatic series called The Bradys in 1990, which, suffice to say, didn’t last very long. Brady fever would re-ignite in the 90s, with two successful movies that recast the entire family and lovingly parodied (or skewered, if you prefer) the original series – The Brady Bunch Movie in 1995, and A Very Brady Sequel the following year.
People love to make fun of The Brady Bunch, they love to insist that they hate the show, and yet it endures unfazed. They will never admit that they remember when Greg’s hair turned orange or when he turned the attic into his groovy psychedelic love nest. They will pretend not to be aware of Jan’s hatred of her glasses or of being the middle child. They will feign ignorance of Peter’s volcano or Alice’s affair with Sam the Butcher. But, deep down, they all watched. We all watched, and laughed at the adventures of perhaps the best-known, best-loved family to ever hit television airwaves.
Did you grow up watching this beloved show? Are you pretty certain you’ve seen all the episodes (even the Christmas one that they hardly ever shown in syndication)? Do you have a particular favorite you’d like to share with us. We want to hear all of your Brady Bunch memories in our comments section as we unabashedly admit our love for this timeless show.