Today, "Katchoo" is known in Brady Bunch lore more for "What happened to Tiger" — or more accurately, what happened to the dog that played Tiger — than the actual story itself, where Jan is thought to be allergic to the pooch and the family goes all out to try to keep the dog around ... only to discover that Jan is simply allergic to his new flea powder.
During an overnight break in filming, Tiger had been let out to relieve himself on the Paramont lot. Some tellings vary on the details, but all agree that the dog was struck and killed instantly by a passing motorist. Tiger's trainer learned what happened and fearing an angry director on the set (and possibly production delays), a scramble to find a reasonable look-alike began. However, when the new dog is brought to the set (nobody apparently could tell the difference at first), it quickly became clear that this dog couldn't act, much less wanted to be at a movie studio. Finally, director John Rich and associate producer Lloyd Schwartz demanded an immediate explanation ... forcing Tiger's trainer to admit the truth.
As a stopgap measure, the directors managed to get a dog collar on the faux-Tiger and nailed his chain to the floor of the boys' bedroom set, allowing the completion of a crucial scene (the boys tearfully bidding the dog farewell).
In a probably unintended nod to art imitating life, Peter tries to say his goodbyes (in the farewell scene) but grows frustrated when "Tiger" appears more interested in gnawing at his bone than hearing the boys say goodbye; Bobby breaks down in tears when it's his turn. Also, there were several scenes where each of the family members — Cindy and Marcia, then the three boys, then Mike and finally Alice — each separately give "Tiger" a bath ... with the pooch becoming less and less cooperative with each subsequent bath, reflecting the real-life untrained dog's disinterest in even becoming a TV star.
It is notable that after this, Tiger was seen far less frequently on-camera until midway through the second season, when Tiger disappears without a trace.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Character Outlives Actor: Tiger ... who in this episode was played by two different dogs. This show includes several scenes completed before the real Tiger's untimely demise (Tiger hiding in the girls' room when Mike comes up to check on Jan while she's having an allergy attack) and the fake Tiger (most notably, the boys' "farewell scene" and the bath scenes). Tiger went on to make scattered appearances throughout the rest of the first season and into Season 2 before finally being retired; until then, per the series bible, he is assumed to still be alive in episodes where he does not appear.
- Crocodile Tears: Greg, in the farewell scene (the one marked by Tiger's collar being nailed to the floor). Of course, Greg and his brothers are genuinely saddened to have to let Tiger go. The different stages of grief can also apply here. Greg seems to be faking it when he tries to "emotionally" break the news to Tiger (denial/acceptance?). Peter tries to show virtually no emotion and is disgusted that the dog keeps gnawing at his bone rather than listen to what he's trying to say (anger). Bobby cries when he tries to make Tiger a speech (depression).
- Plot Allergy: Jan's allergic reaction to Tiger ... or more accurately, his flea powder. Of course, to play up the comedy, Alice makes a silly suggestion that Jan might be allergic to Mike (citing a news story where a newly married couple's annulment resulted from one of the spouses being allergic to the other), and it is seemingly confirmed when Mike visits Jan's bedside and she has a sneezing fit. Later, once Tiger is confirmed as the source, Mike makes the tough decision to send Tiger to Carol's parents to live, but when he forgets Tiger's flea powder, Jan picks it up to take it to him, and her instant sneezing reveals it as the real allergen.
- When Mike breaks the news to the boys, he first mentions that they thought Jan had a cold but that she had an allergy; Peter remarks which in some syndication prints are cut that Jan's "allergy" was to school, i.e. that she was faking it to star home. "I've got an allergy too," he says. "Arithmetic."
- Tearjerker: Bobby, saying his farewells to Tiger. Earlier, Alice tells Carol that Tiger is older than Bobby, establishing the clear emotional connection. note