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Recap / The Brady Bunch S 2 E 16 The Drummer Boy

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The Brady Kids wouldn't be a full-fledged musical group – either in real life as a studio and touring act, or in the fictional world of the Bradys – for another year. Yes, they had already recorded a Christmas album, released in time for the Christmas 1970 season, but the real meat of their music act didn't come until after "Dough Re Mi" aired in January 1972. But the 1970-1971 season provided the foundation for the Bradys' musical act, and this was the second of those episodes – Barry Williams' solo of "Till There Was You" coming a few weeks earlier in "Where There's Smoke."


Here, the younger Brady kids get bitten by the musical bug in "Dough Re Mi," and one of the NFL's most intimidating stars of the early 1970s would help Peter's football buddies realize that there are plenty of gridiron stars who enjoy singing and aren't sissies in the very least.

Peter, Jan and Cindy join Clinton Avenue Elementary's glee club (yes, the traditional type, not the one seen on Fox 40 years later), and serenade viewers – and make their ears bleed in the process, no doubt – with the old Scottish song "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond" ("I'll take the high road and you take the low road.") Meanwhile, Bobby puts them to shame with his – ahem – talents in playing the drums.

While Bobby's drumming annoys the whole family – Mike temporarily moves him outdoors, but the neighbors call at 7 p.m. at night to complain of the noise – there's another crisis on the family's hands: Peter, who is also a member of Clinton Elementary's pee-wee football team, is ridiculed for his decision to join the glee club. In an inversion of real life, it's not because he's a horribly bad singer (as Chris Knight is), but it's because the jocks on the team are of the stereotypical mindset that singers are "sissies." Peter can usually take a lot but there's even so much he can take and he eventually walks off, hurt and humiliated.


While Mike gives Peter a pep talk, it's someone else who rides to Peter's rescue and helps put a stop to the narrow-minded teasing.

The football coach – the unnamed high school coach at Westdale High who'd later be Greg's coach – is running the program and has invited Los Angeles Rams defensive end Deacon Jones to help give the boys a few pointers. During a tackling-and-blocking drill, Peter is asked to help demonstrate a tackling play, and one of the kids he's trying to stop is one of those kids who helped instigate the teasing. The kid lets slip that a "canary" can't stop him ... and then Jones steps in. He tells the kids, gently (of course) that he sings and he knows of few people who would dare call him a sissy and a canary; he then mentions other fearsome linemen who also are richly talented vocally (one-time teammate Rosey Grier, among others, are named). The kids are enlightened, and Peter gets his respect when he's able to stop him.


So Peter's spirits are lifted ... his voice hasn't improved any, but he's eager to continue with glee club. And he's got a few recruits – some of his football buddies – to join the club.

Oh, and Bobby? Well, Mike finally decides to try to talk him out of drumming ... but Bobby beats his dad to the punch – he just doesn't like drumming all that much. So he'll try the trumpet.

Which he does ...


Tropes present in this episode:

  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: Two of the Brady children, including one in real life:
    • Bobby, regarding his drum-playing abilities. Despite his ineptitude being so great that it reaches comic proportions, he's so enthused that he practices for hours on end, blissfully ignorant of how he's annoying his family and neighbors.
    • In real life, Christopher Knight, who has said repeatedly that he has zilch singing talent. His character, Peter, has a similar lack of talent but at least has high hopes. (This is despite in the mid-1970s Knight releasing a cover of the Carpenters' "Sing" as a single and recording an album with co-star Maureen McCormick.)
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Peter, Jan and Cindy practice – and do a horrendously, comically bad job at singing – "I'll Take the High Road and You Take the Low Road" for glee club. Rumor has it that Bobby won the family musical duel between these groups.
    • Offstage, Eve Plumb and Susan Olsen were somewhat talented, and a couple of years later – along with Mike Lookinland – would have solos on "It's a Sunshine Day" ... this during the height of the Brady Kids singing act (where the genuinely talented Barry Williams usually had the lead vocals). Of course, there's a reason Peter's football buddies teased him about his singing, and it wasn't because he was a canary ... but because of Chris Knight's lack of singing ability. (Although this is inverted in universe.)
    • Contrary to this episode, in real life Mike Lookinland was actually a very good vocalist, could play piano and guitar extremely well, and, as Barry Williams said, was the most musical of the six kids.
  • Special Guest: Deacon Jones, the fearsome defensive end who at the time was with the Los Angeles Rams.

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