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Recap / The Brady Bunch S 1 E 20 Brace Yourself

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Marcia has sensitive nerves, and a very sensitive sense of her vanity. Anything that comes close to spoiling her good looks and beauty is sure to be met with a cry of "I'm ugly, ugly, UGLY!"

Such as what happens when she has to ... "Brace Yourself."

Like most girls her age, 12-year-old Marcia gets her first set of braces. They're the modern type, not requiring the orthodontic device that straps over your head, but one that merely helps straighten your teeth. That doesn't matter to Marcia ... she's convinced that they're spoiling her pretty face and that she'll be undesirable to most, if not all the boys in class. In fact, she's become "ugly, ugly, UGLY!" (Cue the crying.)

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It did so happen that a classmate named Alan had asked her to the dance, and he tries to convince her that he asked her because he liked her. Then, he breaks off the date. Perhaps it's deliberately made ambiguous ... but Alan tells her that his parents were unexpectedly called out of town to visit his grandmother and he's being asked to come along, too. Marcia doesn't buy that explanation for a second; she's convinced Alan got one look at her face, saw the braces and is a vain, shallow idiot. Unfounded or justified, Marcia runs up to her room, crying in her pillow because she's "ugly, ugly, UGLY!!!"

Mike, Greg and Alice decide the only way to cheer up Marcia is to set her up with another date. However, it's the comical case of each working independently toward the same goal and not asking each other. As such, three boys show up at the door on dance night, each wanting to take Marcia to the dance. Once one of the boys explains what's going on, Marcia tells them all to leave and she runs out the door in an angry huff.

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Once again, she's crying in her pillow, when another boy – Alan, of all boys(!) – shows up. It turns out that his weekend out-of-town trip got canceled because he had an accident with his bike. He, too, now needs braces, as it turns out. He even opens his mouth to show Marcia ... and all of a sudden, all is right with Marcia.

Marcia decides to go to the dance ... and she oohs and aahs her siblings with her best dress, her hair no longer in its pigtails – yes, first season episodes see Marcia in pigtails, akin to Cindy – and she just looks great. Alan and Marcia have a great time, and that's that.

Oh, and we never did find out whether Alan's explanation of having to go out of town for the weekend was legit or if he truly was vain. Alas, it wouldn't be the first time Marcia dealt with broken relationships after something happened, such as her memorable breakup three years later in "The Subject Was Noses."

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Tropes present in this episode:

  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Marcia's over-reaction regarding her new braces. At worst, they're noticeable but not enough to make her "ugly, ugly, ugly!"
  • Middle School Dance: Sixth-grader Marcia's first date is to the school dance.
  • Prone to Tears: Of the five Brady kids who emotionally cry at one point or another during the series' run, Marcia is by far the most sensitive. And this episode sees her cry more often than any of those episodes ... several times, in fact, as she is convinced that her braces make her "ugly, ugly, ugly!" (cue the crying).
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