Manufactured teen stars have really been the rage since the rise of cable networks as the Disney Channel. But in reality, long before Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and others were even a twinkle in their parents' eyes and long before they raised havoc in the media, teen stars ran rampant on Hollywood. (For instance, late 1970s teen heartthrob Leif Garrett often found himself in trouble.)
A sly commentary on packaged teen idols came some 20 years before Disney began planting the seeds of destruction of teen stars. Luckily in this latest installment of The Brady Bunch, the only thing that's remotely threatened with Greg becoming the latest teen idol is the household harmony between him and his five siblings. But for a moment, he was caught up in the visions of fame, money, girls and wild living ... before he finally said "Adios, Johnny Bravo."
Early in the show, Greg is approached by awesomely beautiful talent scout Tami Cutler, who had been a regular visitor to the "Hal Barton Talent Review." The Brady Kids, it seemed, had a regular gig on the show, and one of their performances opens this episode. Tami approaches the Brady kids and all are excited, but then eyebrows are first raised when Tami says she wants to talk to Greg ... alone.
The conversation is about how she wants to sign Greg to a recording deal ... but as a solo star! She's not really that interested in his siblings at all. Greg is a bit confused at first, but then she introduces Greg to her business partner, Buddy Berkman. He gives Greg the ultimate spiel of what it could mean to be a major star ... girls, money, fame, touring the country, magazine articles, gold records and No. 1 hits ... on it goes, with of course only the good side told. Greg has stars in his eyes for sure.
But there's a price for fame.
Greg announces that he's disbanding the group to his siblings and that he had just signed a solo recording deal. One by one Marcia, then Peter, Bobby, Jan, and finally little Cindy are genuinely pissed and tell him so. Then he announces to his folks that he's not going to college, at least not right away; he has to see if his dream of rock stardom will pan out. Mike and Carol do little to hide their disappointment but do agree he is mature enough to make up his own mind. Alice, at least, can see Greg's side of things and tries to tell the younger kids to at least be supportive of Greg.
Then comes the big afternoon at the recording studio ... where Buddy and Tami work with Greg on all the fine details and finalize the paperwork. They introduce him to his agent, take dozens of photos with lots of hotties, ... and they also record a song. A few hours pass as all the fine details of Greg's first day as a teen rock star seem to be flowing by like a dream.
But is it too good to be true?
The mastering of Greg's first song "High Up on the Mountains" is finished, and Greg, Buddy and Tami listen to the playback to get Greg's approval. They say that this is the sound of America's newest superstar JOHNNY BRAVO!!! Greg, questioning "Johnny Bravo?" gets one listen ... and to his ears, it's garbage. It's terrible. Greg demands to know what happened to his voice (which is barely audible over the loud guitar track), and Buddy says relax, all they did is remaster the track a little bit. Greg hates it and then wants to know why they did it.
"Because YOU fit the suit!"
Greg then realizes that he's been lied to, and that all they wanted was a packaged pop star and some naive person to fill the role. He gives Tami and Buddy another sound to feast their ears on: a guy taking a walk and tearing up a contract. "Adios, Johnny Bravo!" met with yet another sound: that of a door slamming shut.
At home, Greg apologizes to everyone for the way he's been acting, and college is back in the cards. Mike is saved a trip to the record label's offices to check out Buddy and Tami, and in the very least, Greg's head was kept straight and was able to keep things in perspective. No drugs, wild living or X-rated performances, high-profile affairs with girls or National Equirer stories about the latest escapades of "Johnny Bravo." No sir, Bob ... Johnny Bravo may be history, but Greg Brady still has a singing career. And in fact, the show ends with an encore performance of the Brady Kids on the "Hal Barton Talent Review."
Tropes present in this episode:
- Cool Shades: Greg wears a pair as he pulls into the driveway, coming home from his meeting with Buddy and Tami. Tami also wears sunglasses at one point.
- Hilarity Ensues: In the realm of the Bradys, tearing up a multi-million dollar recording contract is met with Buddy and Tami saying, "Aw, well!" and shrugging their shoulders; Buddy makes an off-hand remark that maybe the suit Greg was wearing was maybe a little tight in the shoulders. In the real world, Greg would be sued for breach of contract, be fined by the recording industry and likely ruin the Bradys financially.
- Idiot Ball: Neither Buddy nor Tami are particularly smart when they try to explain why they picked Greg to be their next teen idol. Instead of trying to explain the good side of being a teen pop star (money, fame and girls) and that he wants it and wants it bad, or instead get someone who can "talk some sense" into Greg ... they just simply tell them outright: "Because YOU fit the suit!" Oops!
- Teen Idol: How Tami and her business partner, the hip- and slick-talking Buddy Berkman, plan to market Greg, not telling him that they only want him for his good looks and "because he fit the suit."
- In real life, Barry Williams was the series' first teen idol, earning this distinction almost immediately but especially starting the second season. By the time this episode aired, Maureen McCormick and Chris Knight also obtained teen idol status. Williams' popularity at one point rivaled that of fellow ABC Friday night star David Cassidy (of The Partridge Family).
- Was It All a Lie?: After Greg hears his recording altered and begins asking hard questions (for the first time), Buddy and Tammy's answers allow Greg to come to this realization ... that the promise of guaranteed stardom and all its perks was a lie.