Did Greg do it?
Was he one of the first, if not the first teen-aged character on TV to have sex ... this in his junior year of high school?
Nobody knows for sure — indeed it's never stated outright in any episode — whether Greg had lost his virginity at any point during the original series' run. (Indeed, this was a "family" sitcom, and came in an era where directly addressing teen-aged sex would have been taboo and prompted the Moral Guardians to organize mass boycotts of the show.) But when he becomes mixed up in the web of a completely hot, hot, HOT, (wolf-whistle) HOT but conniving classmate of his, one has to wonder.
Indeed, "Greg's Triangle" drops several hints that something did happen between him and Jennifer Nichols ... and it wasn't just going to a drive-in movie or some brief caressing when they came home.
It all starts at school, when Greg is on his way to class. Cue over to a completely, totally hot babe, who spots Greg talking to Marcia in the courtyard about the upcoming cheerleading tryouts. Jennifer has her eye on her prize and, after summoning her courage, walks over and "accidentally" bumps into Greg. Greg is startled, but is awed at what just walked into him ... the ultimate (for the 1970s) high school chick!
The two introduce each other, and before long, Greg is asking for her phone number. When he realizes he's forgotten his note pad ... well, that's OK, Jennifer just writes the phone number on Greg's hand, before giving him a "love stroke" (maybe where the sun don't shine(?); it happens off-camera). It is clear Greg is lovestruck and wants to see Jennifer again.
Greg can't concentrate the rest of the day at school and when he comes home, he puts his books in the refrigerator. It's clear he is in love, and he immediately begins spending all his time with Jennifer. In fact, things go so quickly that he can't wait to bring her over to introduce her to his parents. After all, she is the love of his life and she is the one!
After a day at the beach where there are obvious signs of foreplay, Greg indeed brings Jennifer home. And indeed, Jennifer gives her shtick, bragging up about how impressed she is with the house, that he comes from a great family and that she can see where Greg gets his good looks from. Mike and Carol seem impressed and wish the two a happy date.
Then the two leave ... and Mike and Carol exchange glances. Were they just given a snow job or what? Yep, and Mike even has a sense of where things might be heading: "Whatever Jennifer wants, Jennifer gets."
The next day, Greg is still starry eyed from last night — indeed, did something happen? It's clear something might have, but whatever did happen viewers never are told outright — and again tells everyone he can't wait to see Jennifer again. Mike takes his son aside, and lays out all out: He's concerned that Greg may be getting himself in a bad predicament, and tells him to be on guard around girls like Jennifer. Greg half-listens then has to be off to Jennifer's house for some more cuddling.
Meantime, there's someone else who has a stake in this: Marcia. She isn't exactly approving of the relationship, either.
Why, you doth ask? Well, as it turns out those cheerleading tryouts referred to earlier are going on at school, including the coveted position of head varsity cheerleader. Both Jennifer and Marcia are among the finalists, and this is a fact that Marcia quickly reminds Greg about. She tells Greg that she expects him to be fair and impartial, and worries that he won't be and will be favoring Jennifer. Greg fires right back: "When I'm judging the contest, Marcia, I will be fair and impartial."
Indeed, it isn't long after that when Greg gets a phone call ... from Jennifer. She "just realizes" that cheerleader tryouts are coming up and she's one of the contestants. And that Greg is head of the cheerleading committee!!! Greg, hearing his words echo in his head, does an Oh, Crap!, and — knowing it's too late to recuse himself — has to figure out a way to focus on his task at hand.
So comes the day of the tryouts, and both Jennifer and Marcia do the school cheer. Jennifer's delivery is totally flat and lifeless, while Marcia's is clearly better. But then ...
... comes a third contestant, Pat Conway, who blows away the competition. But victory isn't assured at this point. The committee, it seems, has four members ... and if there is a tie, Greg gets to break the vote. So then what do you think should happen ... but Jennifer gets one vote, Marcia gets one vote and Pat gets one vote.
A three-way tie! note
Greg realizes he is now being counted on to break the tie!
Cut immediately to home, where Greg comes home, where Carol — in the episode's subplot — had been practicing her golf game for a doubles tournament at the local country club. She had hoped to become Mike's partner during this office outing, but, needless to say, her golf game was, well, quite spectacularly bad. (She even sheepishly shows Mike one of the golf clubs she ruined; Mike just laughs, as it was a spare club anyway, and he'll ask Greg instead, much to Carol's relief.)
Anyway, Greg tells Mike and Carol what happened. He didn't vote for Jennifer, and when Carol concludes that Marcia must have won ... nope, not her either. Greg voted for Pat ... he honestly thought she was the best. Greg is sure that Marcia will rake him over the coals and not speak to him.
Marcia comes home, but she's in a good mood. She immediately tells Greg that she respected his vote and that he showed integrity in voting for the best candidate ... after all, Pat was way better than her and deserved to win.
Greg realizes that, hey, if Marica's in a good mood and understanding about the whole thing ... Jennifer must be too.
So he gives Jennifer a call. Massively turned on at the thoughts of another night in Jennifer's eyes, that perfectly shaped face, her gentle stroke, skin on skin, their embracing each other, the moonlight shining down on them, the laughter they shared, her whispering "Greggy" in his ear with her sweet voice, her gentle, sensuous breath as they rub noses, and those hard, mouth-watering delicious kis ...
... earful of telephone slam.
"Uh, she hung up," Greg announces, Mike and Carol standing right there.
He then realizes something ... you know Jennifer gave Greg something (she hoped at least) he wanted, but she didn't get the payoff (the job as head cheerleader). She was trying to — ahem — "influence" his vote, but when things didn't work out the way she wanted and couldn't handle Greg's integrity, she immediately dumped him.
And so Greg realizes the cold, hard truth ... holding his bravado in as he proclaims that she was just using him and attempting to use her charms to influence him ... and that if there's anything he understands, it's women. Fade out as he's walking upstairs, presumably to take stock in the situation and grieve the end of his relationship with Jennifer.
But not for long.
In the tag scene, Mike and Greg are just coming home from the golf tournament. Greg says he had the best day ever ... even though he and Mike came in in last place! Turns out he met another totally white-hot hottie — the country club manager's daughter, and he's starry-eyed. So much so he puts his golf visor in the refrigerator!
Tropes present in this episode:
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Jennifer Nichols knows exactly how to play Greg's sweet spot and weakness for hot-looking chicks, especially when she is so wanting that head cheerleader spot.
- Alpha Bitch: Jennifer has that air about her in spades.
- Beach Scene: Greg and Jennifer go to the beach on one of their dates, with Jennifer warming up Greg in a very hot-looking (for 1972) bikini. The beach scene also includes Greg's closest by a mile embrace of a girl in any episode of the series, as the two are about to get it on in front of the concession stand.
- Bitch Alert: OK, Mike and Carol don't say exactly that ... but they sense exactly this that she's got an ulterior motive and is the kind of girl who often gets what she wants about Jennifer when she comes over to meet them and does a grand snow job before her hot date with Greg. After Greg and Jennifer leave, Mike and Carol share their mutual concerns and impressions ... and then Mike takes Greg aside the next day to talk about Jennifer.
- The Cheerleader: Greg's hottie for the episode the conniving but babelicious Jennifer Nichols and his sister, Marcia are established as cheerleaders ... but they want to be the head cheerleader, and both think Greg will be their ticket to winning that coveted spot.
- Conflicting Loyalty: A main driver of the episode plot. Will Greg, head of the head cheerleader selection committee, pick his sister, Marcia, or the class slut and his current girlfriend, Jennifer Nichols, both whom he has loyalties expected of him? Or, might he pick someone else ... because Tom Hanks' future wife is also in the mix.
- Decided by One Vote: There is a four-man committee to select the head cheerleader, with the committee head Greg, incidentally enough abstaining unless called upon in the unlikely event a tie-breaking vote is needed. Guess what Jennifer, Marcia and Tom Hanks' future wife all tie with one vote each ... and guess who gets to break the tie?
- Did They or Didn't They?: It is clear to viewers something happened on Greg's big date night with Jennifer ... although it is all but stated outright. Subtle hints were dropped, however, that Greg and Jennifer did it: Greg starry-eyed as he asks Mike and Carol if it's OK to bring Jennifer over, their intimate (by Brady standards) embrace at the beach and Mike's talk with Greg the next day, counseling him about being careful and to keep his guard up when it comes to girls like Jennifer. There's also Mike's remark to Carol about their impressions of Jennifer: "Whatever Jennifer wants, Jennifer gets." And then the call — the morning after their date — where Jennifer "just realizes" that Greg is the head of the cheerleading committee, and she's vying for head cheerleader!
- Distracted by the Sexy: In spades, Greg, once he is approached by Jennifer.
- Girl of the Week: In spades with the most desirable, easiest girl in class ... Jennifer Nichols.
- Here We Go Again!: The opening gag saw Greg put his calculus textbook in the refrigerator, his mind and hormones racing overtime thinking about Jennifer Nichols. The trope comes in at the tag scene (set after a father-son outing at the golf course), which sees Greg put his visor in the refrigerator. Mike remarks to Carol and Alice that Greg had just gotten it on with a shockingly beautiful girl at the golf course and he was still turned on with thoughts of her racing in his mind.
- Love Triangle and Sibling Triangle: Combined to form the backbone of the plot Greg having to pick between his sister and his girlfriend (don't forget Tom Hanks' future wife) for head cheerleader.
- Nepotism: While there are occasional mentions about Greg judging a contest where Marcia is a contestant ... it takes a back seat to Greg getting it on with Jennifer, who is also a contestant in the competition.
- Office Golf: A variant, called Household Golf, which is what (in the subplot) Carol practices so she can accompany Mike on an office golf outing. Carol is not too good at it, needless to say, and it isn't long before Greg is invited to accompany his father and form a father-son golf team.
- Retcon: Concerning Carol's golf game (in the subplot). In "Vote For Brady" — incidentally, another episode where Greg's integrity took center stage and was tested — it was explained Carol owned a set of golf clubs and played regularly. Here, she is a hopeless novice who performs so badly she winds up twisting one of Mike's clubs (literally) into a pretzel. This fact was overlooked even though the series' writers were faithfully following a series bible at this point.
- Sleeping Their Way to the Top: When discussing their impressions of Jennifer with Carol, Mike suspects that she (Jennifer) has that air about her, commenting, "Whatever Jennifer wants, Jennifer gets." (Perhaps hoping that Greg doesn't end up doing this, even if the head cheerleading job at Westdale High isn't up for grabs.)
- Small Name, Big Ego: Ultimately, Jennifer Nichols' audition for head cheerleader is lifeless and well short of what is expected of a head cheerleader, let alone any varsity-level cheerleader ... yet, she expects to be head cheerleader. The winner is clearly the best of the four finalists for the job; only the auditions of the winner, Jennifer and Marcia are seen. (The fourth had just ended before the scene starts.)
- Take a Third Option: When he's forced to choose between Marcia and Jennifer for head cheerleader, he ends up choosing based on skill and talent and picks a different girl entirely.
- Temporary Love Interest: Greg, with Jennifer, as he finally realizes the truth.
- Was It All a Lie?: Greg's initial reaction after Jennifer hangs up on him when he calls to explain his vote.