When I found out that my little granddaughter had been watching clips of The Brady Bunch on YouTube, I was pleasantly surprised. I was a mere adolescent when it premiered in 1969, and certainly not thinking about how someday I’d be enjoying this show with grandchildren. But a granny I am, and I knew how much she liked this show, so I got on the Internet and looked into finding some DVD’s. At first I thought I’d buy only one or two seasons, but then decided what the heck, and ended up purchasing the whole bloomin’ Brady set. I mean, how could I narrow it down to just a portion of the show’s five-year run? Would I choose the younger Brady’s when they were all little kids, or the later years with the groovy teenage Marcia and Greg, or somewhere in between? It had to be the entire set or nothing.
Luckily I found a good price, and I don’t regret my purchase. It provides hours of good, wholesome entertainment (and has cute packaging as well!). And it wasn’t until I had grandkids that I realized there just are no shows like that on TV anymore. Some might consider that a GOOD thing, but when you are looking for themes, storylines and characters suitable for preschoolers, the choices are few—other than shows like Sesame Street. ABC’s “The Middle” comes close, and features the kids a lot, but I still don’t think it’s quite age-appropriate for very young children. The parents on that show can be less than good role models sometimes (for example, I have seen the mom come home from a hard day’s work and grab a beer from the fridge—something Carol Brady would NEVER do).
When the Brady Bunch was in prime time, I mirrored oldest girl Marcia, since we are almost the same age in real life. Although I was never as cool and popular as she was, and certainly never dated a guy like Doug Simpson, big man on campus. I never dated ANY guys, for that matter. (And I certainly never became a teen model!)
I even looked a bit like Marcia as an adolescent. Below is the only picture of me that exists from junior high, taken as part of a class photo for the school newspaper when I was 14 (the black and white photo where I’m standing). You can some resemblance to Maureen McCormick as Marcia at the same age in her black and white photo where it looks like she is reading fan mail. I’m also including one of me at age 11 in a plaid jumper, and one of Marcia at around the same age. If I didn’t have those bangs we would have looked even more alike. Also pictured is Maureen from a few years ago, in her early 50s. She still looks great!
Even though my granddaughter is much closer in age to little Cindy, for some reason she identifies more with Marcia as well. I have found myself re-enacting scenes with her where I have to gently hit her face with a ball so that she can say “Oh, my nose!” Other times she has made me portray mom Carol marrying dad Mike (played by a stuffed Garfield the cat, who I even had to kiss), and then she as Marcia accompanies us and the other kids (played by various stuffed animals) on their honeymoon. For awhile there, all we heard was “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” She can even sing the entire theme song to the Brady Bunch.
Recently we watched the “Get Davy Jones” episode, which I must have seen at least 10 times already over the years. But, sandwiched between my grandchildren all snuggled up next to me, I’ll watch it another 10 times just to be with them. And now they know who Davy Jones is (may he R.I.P.). I explained to my granddaughter that the other Monkees were Mike, Mickey and Peter. “Peter??” she exclaimed. “No, not THAT Peter,” I replied.
Christopher Knight, the real man who actually played Peter, said in an interview a few years ago that the Brady Bunch is popular with young kids “because they’re only simple themes that have to do with family.”
“More kids are aware of it since it’s not relegated to TV Land but being syndicated,” he said. “Kids are finding it more easily.”
Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy, agreed that the show depicts “universal problems that happen to kids.”
“I think that all kids relate to the fact that the parents respected the kids, as well as the kids respected the parents.”
Mike Lookinland, who played little Bobby, acknowledged that people are seeking wholesome entertainment. “People say more often than any other thing, ‘There’s nothing to show our children on TV anymore—except for, you know, garbage!’”
And Robbie Rist, or “Cousin Oliver” summed it up nicely when he said, “There’s always a new generation.”
Here are some fun Brady Bunch-related videos. They aren’t the usual clips from the actual TV show, but things you may not have seen before. I hope you enjoy them!