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Rated: E · Critique · Comedy · #609213
Find out why the Brady Bunch is the best show on TV!
Title of Show: The Brady Bunch

Mrs. Carol Brady - Florence Henderson
Mr. Mike Brady – Robert Reed
Alice – Ann B. Davis
Marsha Brady - Maureen McCormack
Jan Brady - Eve Plumb
Cindy Brady – Susan Olsen
Greg Brady – Barry Williams
Peter Brady – Christopher Knight
Bobby Brady – Mike Lookinland

The Brady Bunch. In thirty minutes flat, they gave us deliciously vapid, refreshingly innocuous programming in syndication that we can "turn on and tune out" to EVERY DAY.

Nowhere else on earth can you follow such exciting escapades as the entire Brady family, say, searching for Cindy's doll. What other show on television, today or in the past, melds four lovely golden-haired girls and four lonely brunette men together as a family in such a wondrously unrealistic manner?

The cosmos miraculously aligned this show with a time period (1969-74) which showcased the Bradys on the strangely appropriate canvas of olive green carpets, dark wood paneling, pink paisley ties, and polka-dotted mini skirts so short that, at times, one can plainly observe Cindy’s frilly white underwear.

The Brady house itself was a work of art – no doubt because architect Mike Brady had a hand in its design. Strange, though, that such a masterpiece should hold but one bathroom to be shared by all six of the hapless children. No matter; the vaulted ceilings, sprawling staircase, and Astroturf lawn more than make up for this minor defect in planning. Celebrated modern artwork adorns the Brady home’s puce-painted walls, while flowered sofas blend beautifully with vases that exist only to be smashed by Greg, Peter, and Bobby guiltily playing ball in the house.

There is no gender confusion of any sort in the Brady household; Mike plays golf and Carol sews. Marsha and Jan don tutus to practice ballet while Greg and Peter get dirt-smudged playing ball outside. Cindy has her hair ribbons and Bobby has his cowboy hat. Although it is often unclear whether it is Mrs. Brady or Alice cooking, we are assured it is a woman’s job. Mr. Brady brings home the bacon and retires to the living room to read the paper. Mrs. Brady, faithful housewife and mother, runs to greet him each day, hair coiffed perfectly and makeup tastefully applied. All is in its proper place in the universe.

There is, however, conflict in the Brady household from time to time. Consider if you will the plight of Jan: middle child, not as bold (nor as beautiful) as elder sis Marsha --and yet not quite as darling as the curly-haired cherub, younger sis Cindy. A dilemma for the great minds of our time: how to function in a world where you are not special? Enter the wise housekeeper and confidant, Alice, who solves the problem through gentle dialogue with our sullen Jan; Alice was also a middle child, and thus understands and empathizes implicitly with Jan’s misfortune. With just one of Alice's crisp, caring speeches, Jan is once again content as the patron saint of mediocrity.

Many claim that each Brady member is but a plot device, lacking unique personality traits, motivation, or desire. Perhaps on the surface this is indeed the case. A deeper examination, however, not only reveals the screenwriters’ expert characterization, but also highlights the actors’ brilliantly subtle portrayals of those characters.

Marsha really is, after all, a very groovy chick... but also she is a little bit vain, a shade uncaring. Greg's cocksure way with the ladies is unquestionably one-of-a-kind. And Mr. Brady's male chauvinist speeches whisk us back to the magical 70s: the last decade in which any man could even pretend that he was securely positioned as head of household and domain - content with private den and phone, catered to by both housekeeper and wife, and in complete control of the family’s every finance and freedom.

Of course no television show is perfect, and the Brady Bunch is no exception. Even the most forgiving viewer groaned with displeasure when ‘Cousin Oliver’ appeared on the scene, and when the two eldest male Bradys decided to perm their hair, well, let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty sight.

Mistakes and mishaps aside, I still say this: look where you will, gentle viewer; you are unlikely to find such fine fare anywhere else on your television set. The Brady Bunch is a classic, and its popularity will certainly thrive well into the 21st century.

I know this is much more than a hunch.

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