Here's an example of Real Life Writes the Plot as it applies to The Brady Bunch. In 1966, then 10-year-old Hope Sherwood came home from a school with a dilemma she had been cast in a school play (or was performing in the school band, depending on the story) and could only invite either her mother or father to the presentation. That was because her elementary school had a very small auditorium, and because of all the other activities that were going on (several plays and the band/choir performing) the same night, there was no way to seat everyone without violating the fire code and no larger venue available hence, the forced dilemma.
Hope took it with a grain of salt. One of the younger students at the school did not it meant the world to him to invite both his parents to the school, and he was determined to no matter what. It seemed that this youngster's mother had recently remarried and he was starting to bond with his new stepfather. He wanted both of them to share in the joy of seeing him perform ... and for a young boy who was probably no older than 6 or 7, it was too daunting of a decision to make.
Hope's father, Sherwood Schwartz, and older brother Lloyd Schwartz, remembered that story when coming up with scripts for early Brady episodes ... and decided that the perfect one to give the dilemma to was precocious young Cindy. In this case, it was her going ... "Eenie, Meenie, Mommy, Daddy."
Cindy is the star in the Fairy Princess play at school, but because Clinton Avenue Elementary School had such a small auditorium and with all the events going on that night, was limited to one ticket and the option to invite either her mother or her new stepfather. Just like with Hope's real-life schoolmate, Cindy finds the whole thing overwhelming.
Cindy is so upset by it she evades bringing the subject up directly to either of her parents. Eventually, Mike and Carol catch on that something's bothering Cindy, and it is Alice who tells them what was going on. That, plus a phone call from Cindy's teacher that she had faked an injury to get herself out of the lead role leads to a decision to put on a special dress rehearsal for all of the Brady family, plus Alice. Cindy is more than satisfied to allow her family to see her moment in the spotlight.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Playing Injured: Cindy schemes to get herself kicked out of the play because she wants something she can't have to have her entire family watch her in her starring role, despite the school auditorium being way undersized to house several productions and all involved students' families. She does this by claiming that she suffered a knee injury while playing tag with her brothers. Of course, the gig is up when Cindy feigns a limp on her left knee while leaving; she had walked in limping on her right knee.
- School Play: "The Fairy Princess," which was going to share stage time with a concert and another school play.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The inspiration for the plot a young elementary-aged student becoming unusually upset because he can't invite both his mother and stepfather to a school play because the venue's seating and fire code limitations.