"Six kids, two children's bedrooms connected by a bathroom.
"Many critics of The Brady Bunch have through the years asked why in the world did Mike Brady, a talented architect, design a house for his newly expanded family when he knew that he needed enough bedrooms for six kids. At least four bedrooms, so that Marcia and Greg the oldest kids, who were or were approaching their teen-aged years would have their own rooms, but just two?"
OK, you've read this intro before, back at the episode description for "To Move or Not to Move," where the Bradys were actually considering moving to a larger house to give at least some of the kids their own rooms. But there was room to renovate at least one of the rooms in the Brady house, as it turned out.
It was the previously infrequently seen attic, seen in "Jan's Aunt Jenny" and — way back early in the season — "Fright Night." Realizing that perhaps the Bradys could give away most of the junk stored in the attic and stash the rest away somewhere, they decide to begin cleaning out the attic and offer one of the two oldest kids — Greg or Marcia — ... "A Room at the Top."
It all comes about when Greg is approached by one of his buddies who's now a sophomore in college, Hank Carter (possibly the same kid seen in "Our Son the Man," as it was Chris Beaumont who played both that episode's unnamed senior and this episode's Hank), approaches him about staying in his apartment. Greg is nearing the end of his junior year in high school and needs space away from his brothers, and tenatively accepts. However, when Greg talks to his father, Mike (predictably) says no, but since they're cleaning out the attic ... .
Meanwhile, Marcia is just a freshman, but still wants to have her privacy away from Jan and Cindy. So she approaches her mom to ask for the room. Carol, without thinking to ask Mike, says sure.
Two teenaged kids of the opposite sex, not blood related ... one room ... one big dilemma.
Especially when both of them start moving their things to the attic room. Greg's humored to find Marcia's things sitting in his space, and Marcia thinks Greg's kidding when he says it's his room. No, it's her room, she says ... and she's not budging. Greg is now annoyed and says it's his room ... and he ain't budging. Neither one will give in.
Mike and Carol admit they should have discussed things first before giving their approval. With the plausible solution of simply dividing the attic in half to let both of them have the attic out of the question — apparently, Mike and Carol knew in the back of the minds the uncomfortable possibility of Greg and Marcia getting it on, and besides, only one side of the attic had a window, meaning the fire marshal would frown on one of the bedrooms not having a possible escape route — they come to a consensus that, since Greg is the oldest and will be headed to college in about a year and a half, he should get the attic room. Marcia, who was finally looking forward to some peace and getting away from her younger sisters, is really hurt. Eventually, she (literally) cries on Greg's shoulder — yes, this is the "steamy" scene that would require 50 takes to get a good take in the can — begging him to let her have the room. Greg agrees, and it's Marcia's room.
Peter and Bobby, as it turned out, were looking forward to having their own space and not having Greg always there. When they learn Greg had given in to Marcia, they're upset ... and concoct a scheme to annoy Marcia out of the attic room.
They do this by Peter having several of his buddies make crank calls to the house, and Marcia always having to come downstairs to get the phone, only to find no one there. Of course, karma always comes into play and when the phone rings again before Marcia is halfway out of the living room, the phone rings again. Marcia gets it ... and it's one of her friends whom Peter claimed had called later but hung up. The friend doesn't know what's going on, but Marcia does!
She then demands an answer ... from Greg! He's been studying all night and claims to have no idea what's going on. He doesn't. But Peter and Bobby are a bit too anxious to leave, and Greg immediately deduces what's happened. Peter admits he and Bobby were rigging the phone calls.
And then an amazing thing happens — Marcia sees that maybe Greg should get the attic room after all, and that her parents were right. Greg gets the room, and over the spring and summer rerun season of 1973 it's extensively renovated and he will eventually turn it into a very groovy (for 1973) bachelor pad.
It is implied that, had the series been renewed for 1974-1975, Marcia would have gotten the room for that season, with Greg off to college.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Cast Incest: According to Barry Williams' biography "I Was a Teenaged Greg," his relationship with Maureen McCormick had reached its peak around the time this episode was filmed (in early 1973). Reportedly, production delays and numerous takes were required during a crucial scene — Marcia tearfully pleading with Greg to allow her to have the attic room — because when the two sit next to each other on the bed, they'd invariably get it on ... and more than once, big time! Eventually, associate producer Lloyd Schwartz reportedly had Williams form a fist, place it over McCormick's fisted hand, and place it between them, and it wasn't long before a workable take was in the can.
- Averted in-universe ... the reason why Mike and Carol did not simply divide the attic in half to give both Greg and Marcia their own rooms. Too much temptation, particularly with step-sibling (i.e., non-blood related) teenagers living under the same house.
- Here We Go Again!: Twice:
- Prior to the Zany Scheme scenes (see below), Alice sees a frustrated Peter and Bobby move Greg's mattress from the attic back to the boys' room and move Marcia's things upstairs. Later, after Marcia has finally given her blessing to Greg living in the attic, Alice then sees Peter and Bobby moving Greg's things upstairs and then asking for an explanation.
- In the tag scene, Cindy is seen at the blackboard trying to figure out when it will be her turn to have the attic room. She moans finally that it won't be until the year 2000!
- Retcon: Way, way back in Season 2's "Our Son the Man," the first time Greg expressed interest in his own room and suggested the attic, Mike claimed the attic was only suitable for people only 2 feet tall! The two possible explanations are that the writers didn't consistently follow a series bible (the official explanation is that the attic was always walk-in and habitable or simply an unfinished room that could eventually be renovated) or that Mike modified the house sometime late in the second season.
- Zany Scheme: Peter and Bobby's effort to annoy Marcia with fake phone calls, making her constantly have to walk up and down the steps. (Although this problem could have been averted by Mike installing a separate line upstairs, as he seems to have done for Greg.)