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Series / The Brady Bunch

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When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange, who you are into what you're gonna be.

"Here's the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls
All of them had hair of gold like their mother, the youngest one in curls
Here's the story of a man named Brady, who was busy with three boys of his own
They were four men living all together, but they were all alone
Until the one day when the lady met this fellow, and they knew it was much more than a hunch
That this group must somehow form a family...
And that's the way they all became the Brady Bunch!
The Brady Bunch, the Brady Bunch, that's the way they became the Brady Bunch!"
The iconic Expository Theme Song

The Brady Bunch is a 1969–74 Dom Com about Mike Brady (Robert Reed), a widowed architect with three sons, who marries Carol (Florence Henderson), an unattached woman with three daughters, and all the conflicts and challenges which result. The blended family includes the star-studded athlete Greg (Barry Williams), the popular and beautiful Marcia (Maureen McCormick), the slightly clumsy Peter (Christopher Knight), the insecure Jan (Eve Plumb), the day-dreaming Bobby (Mike Lookinland), and the snooping Cindy (Susan Olsen). The family is overseen by self-deprecating housekeeper Alice Nelson (Ann B. Davis).

Sherwood Schwartz (previously of Gilligan's Island fame) created and produced the series. He was shopping the show around to networks for a year or so before it was picked up to capitalize on the success of Yours, Mine, and Ours, a 1968 feature film about another large blended family. (This was obliquely acknowledged by the makers of A Very Brady Sequel when they selected one of the stars of Yours, Mine and Ours, Tim Matheson, to play Carol Brady's long-lost first husband...sorta).

Never a huge hit in its initial network run on ABC (with the premiere of the series, ABC began a successful relationship with Paramount Television that lasted until 1992), The Brady Bunch found its audience once it went into daily syndication in 1975, and went on to become a cultural touchstone (and an object of nostalgia and derision in equal measure) for Gen-Xers. Over the years the show spawned several spinoffs, two made-for-TV reunion movies and a couple of short-lived revival series. Moreover, the actors of the children have appeared in specials and game shows numerous times.

In the years since the show's cancellation, various tidbits have come to light regarding the show and its cast: like its sister series Gilligan's Island, the concept grated on several of the cast members (Robert Reed was busy most of the time sending angry memos to the producers about the scripts he had to work with). Also, there were behind-the-scenes romance stories between almost every member of the cast. Oh, and Tiger (the dog) was actually two dogs; the "original" Tiger wandered off the set one day looking for a place to "do his business" and was promptly hit by a truck.

For the 1990s version, see Step by Step. The manga Little House with an Orange Roof also has a very similar premise.

The show has had several continuations and spin offs. Tropes can be found on these pages:

We're gonna keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on tropin' all through the night:

  • Absent Animal Companion: In the first episode, the girls have a cat named Fluffy who is never seen or mentioned again in any other episode.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism and Small Name, Big Ego: Happened to all six kids:
    • First up, it's Peter in "The Hero", after he saves a girl at the local toy store from a being crushed by a shelf, and gets featured in a newspaper, he becomes insufferable, even going as far to throw a party for himself.
    • Next is Greg in "The Dropout", when LA Dodger, Don Drysdale, gives him some pitching tips and he starts believing it makes him ready for the big leagues.
    • Then in "Juliet is the Sun", Marcia turns into a total diva after landing the lead role in the school's production of Romeo and Juliet.
    • They're followed by Bobby in "Law and Disorder", when he is made the safety monitor and school and becomes bit of a Rabid Cop, even going as far to start abusing his jurisdiction and enforcing the law at home.
    • Later on, it's Cindy in "You Can't Win Them All", when she wins a spot on the school's team for "Question the Kids" TV show. She then makes a huge deal out of being on the TV and the other kids' enthusiasm for her wanes.
    • Then Jan when she is elected "Miss Popularity" in the eponymous episode. She campaigned by making a host of promises, but after winning, she just brushes them off and acts as if they don't matter anymore.
    • And finally, Bobby (a second time) in "The Hustler". When the Bradys get a pool table, Bobby quickly proves himself as the pool champ and begins practicing pool the whole time, boasting, forgoing his homework and annoying his older brothers. Unlike the above examples, however, Bobby is never forced to fall back down to earth and eat his humble pie. Why? Firstly, he never makes a boast that he can't actually substantiate with his pool-playing. Secondly, he seems aware that practice is necessary to elevate him from the talented beginner that he is to the pool-master that he dreams about. As a result, this example can pass more as justified self-confidence than exaggerated delusion.
  • Actor Allusion: In part 2 of the Grand Canyon arc, Alice says the Native American word for "hi" will come in handy if she ever runs into Tonto. In part 3, they meet a native boy whose father is played by Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto.
  • Animated Adaptation: The Brady Kids
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Most episodes saw the siblings get along with Bobby and Cindy. There were a few exceptions, and several episodes dealt with the youngest siblings being pure brats, including:
    • "The Tattletale," where an attention-seeking Cindy rats out her siblings. Mike and Carol counsel her on her behavior and warn her to stop ... and Cindy takes the advice too seriously when the very (even for 1970) G-rated "something important" situation arises: the by-now nearly forgotten family dog, Tiger, swiping out a claim voucher that would allow Alice to pick up a stereo won in a jingle contest.
    • "The Teeter-Totter Caper," where Bobby and Cindy – after annoying their siblings by wanting to help them on various projects, and then complaining about not getting invited to Aunt Gertrude's wedding – set out to set a world's teeter-tottering record.
    • "The Big Bet," where Bobby wins a bet with Greg and, as part of the bargain, demands to tag along on a big date with Greg's sweetie, Rachel. Bobby (of course) makes sure there's no hot and heavy lip action at the drive-in movie ("Hey, I can't see!" complains Bobby when the two try to snuggle up), but he also makes asinine demands such as constant trips to the concession stand, annoying Rachel with stupid questions ... and tearing the convertible roof when he leaves his umbrella up as a frustrated Greg is raising the top (after Bobby remarks that it might rain).
    • "Law and Disorder": Similar to "The Tattletale" episode, only with Bobby finking on his older siblings when he decides to carry over his school Safety Monitor duties to home. (For example, Jan doesn't do her chores because she's studying for a tough test; Greg comes home after curfew because his date's parents hadn't arrived home after a night of their own on the town; and Alice setting out aerosol cans with the rest of the garbage because of new trash collection policies. Each of them try to tell Bobby to go away, but Bobby can't be reasoned with.) Mike and Carol get wind of Bobby's report and set him straight very quickly about his behavior and that he has zero such authority at home.
    • "You Can't Win Them All," after Cindy wins her way on a local "College Bowl" game show called "Quiz the Kids." She gets a huge ego and takes every opportunity she can to remind her older siblings that she's a star in the making ... that is, until she suffers stage fright during the live show.
    • "Never Too Young," where Cindy (again!) sings "I've got a secret! It's for me to know, and you to find out!" to each one of her siblings. The secret: She had witnessed Bobby's first kiss ... actually, a classmate named Millicent (Melissa Sue Anderson, of Little House on the Prairie fame) kiss him on the cheek.
    • And once, it could also be applied to Peter - in "The Private Ear," although he also records the conversations of his three younger siblings (Jan, Bobby and Cindy), these three forgave him more easily, compared to Greg and Marcia, who still want to give him a taste of his own medicine, even though Mike already considered an apology enough punishment.
  • As Himself:
    • Barry Williams and creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz in present day sequences of the TV Movie version of Growing Up Brady.
    • Davy Jones and Desi Arnaz Jr. as Marcia's crushes.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": In "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor", how the Bradys perform on the day of shooting, disgusting Farnum and leading him to fire them.
  • Beautiful All Along: In "My Fair Opponent", Marcia makes her dowdy classmate Molly dress more stylishly in order to show people who nominated Molly for hostess at a banquet as a joke. The result is remarkable.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Ann B. Davis, when Robert Reed got her pissed off enough, or when she was forced to work with Rip Taylor in The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. In the latter instance, no explanation has been offered by Davis, as she has refused to talk about her experiences on the program ... even to longtime friend and co-star Susan Olsen (who wrote a book about the series); it has been speculated that she viewed Taylor's act as profane and contrary to her Christian beliefs. With Reed, Davis let him know her feelings whenever she finally had enough of his complaining about a script he believed was poorly written, that a given scene was unrealistic, and so forth.
    • As far as the original series, Peter, in "A Fistful of Reasons." Peter was generally even-tempered and willing to get others to reason with him, but when he is pushed to the breaking point – as he is when bully Buddy Hinton continually eggs him on for his refusal to fight (and defend Cindy's honor) – he can make others regret it.
  • Bizarrchitecture:
    • In Season 1's "Mike's Horrorscope," requested by Beebee Gallini (she wanted Mike to design a cosmetics factory that looked like a perfume bottle, poo-poohing Mike's advice that such buildings would structurally fail).
    • Fast-forwarding to Season 4's "Career Fever," where Greg drafts a comically bad structure as his way of "breaking the news" that he didn't want to follow in his father's footsteps to become an architect. (He had said that he wanted to be one in a paper he wrote for a composition class.)
    • And let's not overlook the fact that the exterior of the Brady house (which spreads out side-to-side) doesn't jibe with the interior (which spreads out from front to back).
  • Blended Family Drama: The titular family comes together when Mike (a single dad to three sons) marries Carol (a single mom to three daughters), and the show is largely about the new family's shenanigans.
  • Boys Like Creepy Critters: In an early episode Marcia falls for a boy at school who's into insects, so she tries to get into insects too in order to attract him. She decides it's not worth the effort.
  • Brand X: Several examples, most famously with the brand of laundry soap the family uses – Safe, as viewers learn in "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor." This was the episode where a "hip" movie producer hires the Bradys to act in a TV commercial for Safe, but Mike – speaking for the family – will agree to do so only if Safe can beat their current laundry detergent. Before testing Safe against the family's current detergent, Best, Carol rattles off the names of the other soaps she and Alice have used: Champ the Dirt Fighter, Clear & Bright and Help. In a Truth in Television moment, Mike rolls his eyes as Carol explains the family's laundry detergent history. Indeed, Robert Reed, in his scathing memo about the episode, reprinted in Barry Williams' book I Was a Teenaged Greg, said he was annoyed at the scriptwriter's use of one-syllable words for laundry detergent names (an "obvious writer's technique" that was clichéd and made Carol sound like a ninny, Reed contended).
  • Breakfast in Bed: At the end of the episode "Miss Popularity", Alice surprises Mike and Carol with a breakfast in bed for two.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: A no-no, established very quickly in the series; each set of Brady siblings is calling their step-parent either "Mom" or "Dad" by the second episode. That said, Greg attempts to call Mike and Carol by their first names in the second-season episode "Our Son the Man"; with raised eyebrows, Mike suggests that this may be allowed in some households "but around here, we are 'Mom' and 'Dad'." Greg also refers to Carol as "Carol" at one point in the pilot episode, but not in her presence.
  • Calling Your Shots: In one episode, Mike's boss gives the Bradys a pool table and Bobby becomes a pool hustler, even having an Imagine Spot where he pulls off trick shots on TV, calling each one before he does it.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In The Brady Girls Get Married, The Brady Brides, A Very Brady Christmas, and The Bradys, nobody ever acknowledges the year the family spent as Variety Show stars in The Brady Bunch Hour.
  • Characterization Marches On: Much of Season 1 revolves around the family adjusting to their new blended status: the boys not wanting to share their clubhouse with the girls, Jan seemingly being allergic to the boys' dog, Bobby worrying that Carol will be a Wicked Stepmother after watching Cinderella, etc. After the first season, however, they fully adjust, and the fact that they're a blended family is almost never mentioned; if not for the theme song, viewers could easily assume that the kids were all biological siblings.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper:
    • Reversed with Greg, who has on more than one occasion shown his integrity and desire for honesty in tough situations. For instance, in Season 1's "Vote for Brady," class president hopeful Greg breaks off his friendship with a boy named Rusty after the latter makes a suggestion that they spread an unflattering rumor about Greg's opponent – stepsister Marcia – being seen in the balcony of a movie theater with a seedy boy.
    • Played straight in "Quarterback Sneak," from Season 5, where dishonest quarterback Jerry Rogers tries to steal Greg's playbook by lying to Marcia about his romantic interest in her, then actually stealing the playbook. (Check that, a fake playbook that Greg had created when he learned that his rival is resorting to stealing playbooks.) Greg – who admittedly sometimes twists the rules to suit his own situation – admits what he did to his father, after Mike counsels him that by stooping to Jerry's level, he's actually harming the players of the opposing team who chose to play by the rules. In the end, Jerry is thrown off the opponent's team, and Greg leads his team to a big win.
  • Convenient Photograph: There's an episode with two cases. Greg gets a disputed football play on camera while taking pictures of the cheerleaders, and Bobby, who's trying to be like his big brother, has been taking surprise photos of others in the family. He happens to get the chalkboard with Alice's accidentally erased recipe in the background of the one he took of her, and she's thrilled.
  • Cool Car: Mike's various convertibles, a different one each season.
  • Cousin Oliver: The Trope Namer, Carol's eight-year-old nephew who comes to live with the Bradys for the last six episodes of the series, in an attempt to fill the "cute little kid" role that Bobby and Cindy had outgrown.
  • Cowboy Episode: The Brady Bunch had a dude ranch episode.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: An episode had Peter being mistaken for a lookalike kissing bandit at his school.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Used to explain away injuries Barry Williams (Greg) received in a car accident, late in the show's run.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alice, who always has a witty quip ready even in the most uncomfortable situations.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel.
    • The Real Live Brady Bunch, an early '90s stage show in which original episode scripts were performed word-for-word, but with a self-consciously camp sensibility that anticipated the tone of the films.
  • D.I.Y. Disaster: Greg bought a used car and tried to fix it up, part of the result of which was faulty wiring. The horn made the windshield wipers work, for example. Not that the car was in such great shape when he bought it.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": In the first season, the Bradys have a dog named Tiger. (The dog playing Tiger was sadly hit by a car and killed, and the look-alike dog that briefly replaced him in the role was undertrained and ill-behaved, resulting in the pet being quietly written out of the show.)
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: In the episode "Law and Disorder", Bobby makes a clandestine effort to launder his good suit (after he got it cover in soot from entering a condemned house). But he poured about half a box of detergent into the washing machine, and almost drowned himself when the laundry room filled with suds. To add insult to injury, the ordeal all but ruined his dry-clean-only suit pants, as they were now, in his sister's words, "tighter than his skin".
  • Dropped After the Pilot: In the first episode the girls have a pet cat named Fluffy, who Tiger (the boys' dog) runs after and ruins the wedding reception. Fluffy is never seen again.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first season, the theme song is performed by a sunshine pop singing group called the Peppermint Trolley Company, as opposed to the Brady kids themselves.
  • Enforced Plug: One of the earlier examples of this trope was the Cincinnati Kids episode filmed at Kings Island (which had been open about a year at that time and already featured a visit at that point for The Partridge Family). Paramount was a major shareholder in Kings Island's then-parent company, Taft Entertainment.
  • Election Day Episode: The episode "Vote for Brady", where Greg and Marcia compete for class president.
  • Everybody Owns a Ford:
    • Or, in this case, a Chrysler; the end credits even included the notation "Chrysler vehicles furnished by Chrysler Corporation".
    • Defied in the last few seasons when, after Chrysler discontinued convertibles, Mike switched to Chevys.
  • Evolving Credits: The video panels featuring each cast member were updated with each new season. In addition:
    • The first two seasons, as was typical of most shows in the late 1960s, had an "IN COLOR" card preceding the opening credits. This was dropped from season 3 onward.
    • The first season was sung by the Peppermint Trolley Company, in the third person; starting in season 2, the Brady Kids would take over singing duties, and accordingly the lyrics would switch to first-person.
    • The famous six-note trumpet fanfare that introduces the theme finally showed up in season 3, as did the practice of the three boys singing about the "lovely lady" and her "three very lovely girls", the three girls then singing about the "man named Brady" and the "three boys of his own", only for them to start singing together about "the one day when the lady met this fellow" to finish the song.
  • Exact Words: To circumvent a severe punishment for insubordination, Greg gets his parents to agree to go by the letter of house rules and pre-stated agreements.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "And that's the way we all became the Brady Bunch!" Also a "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune (sung by the Brady kids) beginning in the second season.
  • Fashion Dissonance: The fifties? Over? Fah! Not in Mike's house!
  • Flirty Stepsiblings:
    • Greg and Marcia in A Very Brady Sequel (playing off real-life attraction between Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick). Averted on the actual show.
    • Teased in "Two Petes in a Pod," where Peter's exact double, Arthur (Christopher Knight in a dual role) helps Jan study. Nobody seems to notice "Peter" sitting unusually close to his stepsister at the kitchen table during said study date, as everyone is completely fooled.
  • Forced Prize Fight: The siblings build a house of cards to determine who gets to use a large collection of trading stamp books to buy their desired prize (after they are unable to compromise on an item everyone can enjoy).
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: In The Brady Brides, Wally proposes to Marcia after knowing her for less than an hour. They are engaged within a week and married by the end of the month.
  • "Friends" Rent Control:
    • A stay-at-home wife, six kids, and a full-time housekeeper, all being supported by one staff architect's salary. Yet the kids all have their own bikes, they take their family along on a business trip to Hawaii, and nobody complains about wearing hand-me-downs except when it serves the plot for money to be tight.
    • This was lampshaded in a comic book version of the show. All six kids, and Carol, required new shoes at the same time. Carol is able to get a discount from the shoe store owner by having each of the family members carry a large bag with the store's name on it, effectively giving the store free advertising.
  • Friendship Song: During one of the show's many Talent Show episodes, Marcia and Carol sing "Together" from Gypsy as a pair of hobos who stick together through thick and thin.
  • Game Show Appearance:
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Not counting Alice, the titular family consists of one father with three boys and one mother with three daughters.
  • "Getting My Own Room" Plot: In the episode "Our Son, the Man", Greg decides he wants his own bedroom, now that he's in high school and is too mature to share one with his 2 little brothers. He manages to take over his father's den, but he is back to the shared bedroom by the end of the episode. Ironically, Greg did get his own room 2 seasons later, in the attic, in the episode "A Room at the Top", though his oldest sister, Marcia (who also shared her room with two younger ones) also tried to claim it. There was an infamous continuity error here, since in the earlier episode, the attic was ruled out as a bedroom for having too low a ceiling. note 
  • Gilligan Cut: Despite Mike, Tiger comes to the Brady wedding. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Cindy's signature hairstyle: initially twin sausage curls, later two braids. She starts wearing her hair down at age 12 in the final season, though. Marcia also wears her hair in pigtails as a 12-year-old in Season 1, but shifts to wearing it down when she becomes a teenager.
  • Glasses-and-Ponytail Coverup: In the episode "My Fair Opponent", Marcia transforms ugly duckling Molly Webber into an attractive girl by doing just this.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Jan is famously envious of "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"
  • Good Stepmother: Carol did such a good job raising the boys, the fact that she was a stepmother was never even mentioned except in one episode (season 1, #10) when Bobby, after watching Cinderella on TV, and being told to clean out the fireplace, convinced himself that Carol was a Wicked Stepmother.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The Brady women, each one of them wholesome and pretty.
  • Happily Adopted: Mike evidently legally adopted the girls, since they go by the name of Brady for the entire series.
  • Happily Married: Mike and Carol, in that it's a second union for the both of them.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Dittmeyers, who lived next door to the Bradys. They were eventually shown in - and played a major role in the plot of - The Brady Bunch Movie. Subverted in one episode (probably in the one where Carol and Cindy have their tonsils taken out postponing the family's trip on Mr. Phillips boat) where Alice is practicing casting a fishing line into a bucket and she overshoots it over the fence and hooks Mr. Dittmeyer. But it was a throwaway gag in the last segment of an episode.
  • Holiday Episode: The series had all three:
    • Christmas Episode: Season 1's "The Voice of Christmas" — the classic episode where Carol loses her voice just as she's scheduled to be a soloist at a Christmas church service, and Cindy asks Santa for her mother's voice back. A frequent staple of classic TV network rerun packages on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    • Thanksgiving Episode: Season 2's "The Un-Underground Movie," where Greg makes a movie about the First Thanksgiving for a class project. Note that even though the original air date was mid-October 1970, the episode's Thanksgiving theme is clearly evident and as such frequently is shown in reruns on Thanksgiving Day (or thereabouts).
    • Halloween Episode: Season 4's "Fright Night," where the kids scare each other, and then team up to pull an ultimate prank job on Alice. Often re-aired on or about Halloween.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick and Mike Lookinland were the "musical half" of the six child stars. Though when the Variety Hour came along, there was a problem that Mike Lookinland was not a good dancer. Meanwhile, Eve Plumb and Susan Olsen were somewhat passable, but Chris Knight was totally not musical. Though he did record one album with Maureen. In 2001, when the six Brady kids (with Florence Henderson and Robbie Rist, who played Oliver), reunited for a Brady special on The Weakest Link, Knight struggled on the game show with music questions.
  • Hufflepuff House: In one episode, Marcia runs for cheer captain against Greg's Girl of the Week, and Greg is the chairman of the judges. Conflicted over who to vote for, he decides to let the other judges decide, only it ends up being a three-way tie between them and another candidate, and Greg is required to make the deciding vote. There is also a fourth competitor who gets no attention.
  • Hula and Luaus: The show's Beach Episode takes the family to Hawaii for a vacation filled with alohas, hulas, leis, Hawaiian shirts, and surfing. Greg also obtains a cursed Tiki.
  • In-Camera Effects: In "The Ununderground Movie", Greg uses several effects, such as undercranking and overcranking, to make his film more "artsy".
  • Instant Illness: In "Is There a Doctor in the House?" when all the kids (and later Mike and Alice) catch the measles, they simply break out in spots straight away, without the three to five days of cold-like symptoms that precede the rash in Real Life.
  • I Owe You My Life: In "My Brother's Keeper," Peter starts waiting on Bobby after Bobby saves him from being hit by a falling ladder.
  • Identical Stranger: "Two Petes in a Pod" has Peter meet a lookalike named Arthur Owens, also played by Christopher Knight.
  • It's Always Sunny in Miami: There was never once a rainy day depicted on the show. Somewhat justified in that the Bradys live in Southern California, but a more practical Real Life reason is probably that they had a huge backyard set that would be a bitch to dry out.
  • Jerkass: The Bunch ran into quite a few of these throughout the course of the series:
  • Jerkass Ball: The children are very polite and good-natured kids, but if the plot calls for some sort of conflict about guests at their home or something, it isn't uncommon to see them behaving rudely. One episode to note is the Beebee Gallini one where Peter questions why he should apologize for his model plane wrecking her high maintenance hairdo or where Bobby and Cindy run around with water pistols in the living room where the guest is with Mike and Carol.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much any time the kids do a play or a homemade movie.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Jan's invented boyfriend, George Glass. He is proven to exist in A Very Brady Sequel.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Greg and Bobby accidentally lock themselves in Sam the Butcher's freezer in "Big Little Man." But Bobby is small enough to climb out through the window and phone for help to free Greg, which cures him of the Height Angst he'd been suffering from throughout the episode.
  • Lovely Assistant: Peter has magic as a Fleeting Passionate Hobby and does the Disappearing Girl trick with Jan as his lovely assistant, which freaks Cindy out. Even when they try to explain the trick to her she is still terrified. Then on the day of the Talent Show Jan twists her ankle and can't perform with Peter, so Cindy steps up and takes her place. Once she's been in the cabinet and sees how it's done she gets very enthusiastic, even wanting to do the trick again.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: In "The Voice of Xmas", Cindy asks Santa to "give her mommy her voice back" because Carol had laryngitis and was meant to sing in the Christmas choir.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: Alluded to in the theme song where Mike is mentioned having to manage three boys on his own (nevermind Alice is there) while Carol and the girls get their physical appearance mentioned (in the guise of their loveliness and hair of gold).
  • Middle Child Syndrome:
    • While Marcia got all the teen drama and coming-of-age stories, and Cindy got the cute child plots, Jan was the middle child out of the girls. But whereas Marcia was the golden idol while Cindy was The Cutie, Jan's insecure, neurotic personality lent itself to the most relatable storylines on the show. Who doesn't remember being afraid their glasses make them look geeky, or being jealous of an older sibling?
    • Peter had a few of these moments. Bobby may apply to this as well. While he's the youngest boy and had many "cute" moments, he's still older than the adorable youngest child, Cindy, which occasionally led to competitiveness and sibling rivalry.
  • Missing Mom / Disappeared Dad: Which is how Mike and Carol are single in the show's Back Story.
    • Despite the fact that the boys' birth mother and the girls' birth father are both deceased (the description of the pilot specifically notes that Mike and Carol were both widowed), no reference is ever made to the deceased parents, except in the pilot. Bobby offers to put away his framed picture of his real mother so he doesn't hurt Carol's feelings, but Mike tells him it's not necessary.
    • For years, it had been claimed that Sherwood Schwartz had intended for Carol to be a divorcee (with her ex-husband and the girls' father apparently no longer having any involvement in their lives), but network executives with ABC were uncomfortable with the idea and requested a script change. Although the pilot supposedly stated that Carol was widowed, the fate of her first husband was never explicitly mentioned, leaving his absence ambiguous.
      • In fact, in A Very Brady Sequel he seems to show up, after seemingly swept overboard in a boating mishap, although he's really an imposter, and the real Mr. Martin's fate never is resolved. It's heavily implied that he's The Professor from Gilligan's Island, although that wouldn't be canon to the TV version, since the Professor's surname was actually "Hinkley," not "Martin."
  • Morality Pet: Robert Reed hated working on the show and took several levels in jerkass throughout its run, and during the subsequent sequels and revivals. However, he loved his castmates like family and treated them very kindly, even taking the kids on trips.
  • Musical Squares: During the opening theme song, the screen is divided into 9 squares, with the faces of the 8 family members in the outer ones and that of the housekeeper, Alice who's like family to them, showing up lastly in the center.
  • Never Trust a Hair Tonic: Bobby gets some mail-order hair tonic to sell, which turns Greg's hair orange.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction:
    • "The Winner," from the second season, where Bobby is all bent out of shape that he's the only one in the family without a trophy. He tries selling magazine subscriptions, since there's a trophy for the one who sells the most, and seems to be doing quite well. But Cindy accidentally comments that their parents put their friends up to buying most of the subscriptions, so Bobby cancels those orders, tearfully pouting that a trophy not won from his own efforts isn't worth anything to him.
    • "Try, Try Again," from Season 5. When Jan is let go from a dance recital and continues to dance with two left feet in other classes at the dance school, she falls into a "woe as me, I have no talent at anything" depression. Her well-meaning siblings go along with Greg's idea to throw games of skill and chance to help boost her self confidence (e.g., Greg throws games of pingpong, Marcia and Cindy lose at successive games of Monopoly, and Peter and Bobby lose at darts. Cindy accidentally spills the beans to their parents though, and Mike pulls Greg aside to tell him that losing on purpose doesn't really help Jan. Greg realizes his mistake and apologizes to her on behalf of the group and of course they're Easily Forgiven.
  • No Full Name Given: During the first 1½ years of the series' run, for:
    • Alice, until the Season 2 episode "The Tattletale". The actor that played the mailman in that episode pointed out that it would make no sense to say just, "I have a letter for Alice." And so, someone thought "Nelson" might make a good last name for the beloved housekeeper. (To this day, some fans believe her last name is "Brady".)
    • Sam, Alice's boyfriend. Some time after his introduction, the writers decided that "Franklin" was a suitable last name, and like Alice, the name was given only after it became somewhat essential to the script.
  • Nominated as a Prank: Marcia's classmates nominate a nerdy,unpopular girl for host of the senior banquet as a prank. Marcia tries to do a My Fair Lady plot and give her a real chance but the girl lets her new popularity go to her head. Worse, the original other candidate can't continue to run and Marcia is now the girl's opponent. She ultimately comes around though and she and Marcia end up co-hosting the banquet.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: They had Cindy toting curly pigtails, wearing gingham dresses, and lisping cute phrases until she was older than Marcia was at the beginning of the show. Looking back at the series, Susan Olsen stated in interviews that she found the "Shirley Temple" episode, made when she was 12, particularly embarrassing to film as she was way too old to be dressing and acting like a six-year-old Shirley Temple. In A Very Brady Christmas, Cindy complains that she's a college student and still seated at the children's table for Christmas dinner.
  • Nuclear Family: Of the blended variety. Although after the first few episodes the fact that they're stepsiblings becomes rarely mentioned, if at all, to the point where the opening credits become the only indicator that they're not related.
  • Obfuscating Disability: One episode had a plot where a man claimed to have been grievously injured after only a minor car accident with Carol. Mike proved the man was lying by throwing his briefcase on the floor while the man's back was turned; after the sudden slamming noise, the man rapidly turned in fright, and the judge immediately ruled in favor of the Bradys.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Mike (short for Michael), Greg (Gregory), Jan (Janet), Bobby (Robert), and Cindy (Cynthia).
    • The series was also responsible for a Real Life example. Have you ever heard of Piyush Jindal? Probably not... but there's a much better chance you've heard of Bobby Jindal, a former U.S. Representative and two-term governor of Louisiana. When he was growing up in Baton Rouge, he regularly watched Brady Bunch reruns and so strongly identified with Bobby that he started insisting on being called by that name.
  • Parental Substitute: Season 1 makes it clear that Alice has been the boys' unofficial mother figure since they lost their Missing Mom. After they gain a Good Stepmother in Carol, Alice feels unneeded and almost quits in the episode "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," but in the end she realizes she is still needed and stays on as a third caregiver for all the kids.
  • Parental Title Characterization: Despite their lack of blood relation, the boys address Carol as "Mom" and the girls call Mike "Dad," just as each parent's biological children do. At the beginning of the series, Cindy calls them "Mommy and Daddy," and Jan also calls Mike "Daddy" sometimes, but they switch to "Mom and Dad" like the others as they get older.
  • Perplexing Plurals: The B-plot of the episode "The Personality Kid" concerns Bobby and Cindy going ape-shit over safety. The following concerns some electrical outlets in the kitchen, which have so many extensions & multi-prongs plugged in that one is referred to as an "octopus."
    Bobby hands Carol a new plug.
    Carol: Now I hope these are the right plugs.
    Bobby: Just the kind the teacher said to get instead of that old octopus.
    Alice: Do you know that all last night I dreamed about octopuses?...Octopussys?...Octopi?
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: In one episode, Mr. Brady gets fed up with his kids hogging the phone and running up a huge bill, so he has a payphone installed for them to use.
    Mike: We have a wonderful bunch of kids, I mean, really marvelous, they don’t play hooky, they don’t lie, they’re not fresh... but, boy, they won’t stay off of that phone!
  • Pie in the Face: The first Cousin Oliver episode, "Welcome Aboard".
    • Robert Reed sat that scene out, but had been hit with the wedding cake in the premiere episode.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: "Kelly's Kids", a season 5 episode which featured Ken Berry as a friend of Mike and Carol's with three adopted sons of different races. Oddly enough, the show would be picked up... in 1986, as the short-lived CBS sitcom Together We Stand (a.k.a. Nothing is Easy) with Elliott Gould in the Ken Berry role.
  • Popular Is Evil: In “Miss Popularity”, Jan makes false promises to her classmates to be voted Most Popular Girl in the yearbook. When she actually wins, she gets a big head.
  • The Primadonna: Marcia, when playing Juliet in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, is such a diva that she actually gets kicked out of the show ... by Carol.
  • Recycled Premise: The plot of The Brady Bunch Movie is similar to The Bradys episode "A Moving Experience," which involves them having to move so a freeway can be built.
  • Reunion Show: The made-for-TV movies The Brady Girls Get Married (1981) and A Very Brady Christmas (1988).
  • Revival: The Brady Bunch Hour (1977), a Variety Show produced by Sid and Marty Krofft Productions; The Brady Brides (1981), a sitcom following Marcia and Jan in their post-marital lives; and The Bradys (1990), which rather drastically reworked the show's premise as a heavy drama. Making the variety show variant funnier is that it was reportedly the ONLY version Robert Reed actually liked, probably because Sherwood Schwartz had no part in that version whatsoever.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Greg has become the photographer for the high school football team (after his injury makes him ineligible to play). During a crucial, contested touchdown he was taking pictures of his girlfriend, a cheerleader. But he manages to catch the foot of the player as he was making the catch in the endzone, so he and his father spend the day blowing the frame up and up and up until they can see whether his foot was inbounds or not. (It was.)
  • Running Gag: Alice throwing her back out while doing tasks.
  • Sentimental Music Cue: The Brady Bunch made liberal use of mellow or dramatic music cues, often at a dramatic point or (even more often) as Mike or Carol offered the moral for that particular episode.
  • Shaped Like What It Sells: A client, Beebee Gallini, freaks Mike out when she asks him to design her makeup factory first in the shape of a powder puff, then a lipstick, and finally a compact, complete with hinged roof.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Frequently the source of the shows conflict, among all the kids at various times, but most famously with Jan's jealousy of Marcia.
  • Sick Episode:
    • Subverted in "Katchoo": At first, Carol and Alice think Jan's sneezing means she has a cold and put her to bed, but it turns out to be a Plot Allergy.
    • "The Voice of Christmas": Carol develops laryngitis just before she's supposed to sing at church on Christmas Day.
    • "Is There a Doctor in the House?": All six kids come down with the measles and the parents need to decide which doctor to use, the girls' female doctor or the boys' male one. Toward the end, Mike also catches the measles, and in the epilogue, just when Mike and the kids are all well, Alice catches them too.
    • "Coming-Out Party": Both Carol and Cindy come down with tonsillitis just as the family is about to go on a boat trip.
  • Sleeping Single: Although not the first, one of the earliest complete aversions, as Mike and Carol were always depicted sleeping together. They are considered the Trope Codifier, however; the Ur-Example was an earlier show called Mary Kay and Johnny, but since almost no footage of that show survives, for most people, Mike and Carol are the earliest couple who avert Sleeping Single they remember (others are debated in odd says with various versions of the Weirdness Coupon, such as Fred and Wilma Flintstone being animated, Samantha Stephens being a witch, and Herman and Lily Munster technically not being considered human.)
  • Somethingitis: In the episode "You Can't Win 'Em All", Cindy passes a school test to become a contestant on a televised children's quiz show. Of course, she acts all stuck up about how smart she is. But when she she is actually on the show, she freezes up, staring catatonically at the TV camera for the duration of the (live) broadcast. Carol thinks that Cindy has "Television-itis".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: While the show itself is lighthearted, the Paramount Television logos used during the run of the series had music that many considered scary. The first season especially, as the Paramount jingle used that season sounded like something out of a horror film, leading to its nickname "Closet Killer".
  • Status Quo Is God: Despite Bobby being quite the pool prodigy in "The Hustler", Mike gives the pool table away to charity at the end of the episode, since a pool table in the garage would be rather intrusive in future episodes where it would never contribute to the plot.
  • Sudden Humility: A bully is teasing Cindy for having a lisp, so Peter knocks his front teeth out. Now he has a lisp.
  • Superstition Episode:
    • When the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii, they found this cursed tiki necklace that caused things to go wrong.
    • In one of the last episodes all the kids suddenly think that Cousin Oliver is a jinx — bad stuff happens when he's around. They get de-convinced of that when they take a tour of a movie studio and Oliver is the Umpteenth Customer, so they get to make a real movie.
  • Tear Up the Contract: In Season 5's "Adios Johnny Bravo" when Greg finds out he was only scouted to be the record company's next teen idol because he fit the wardrobe suit, he rips his recording contract in half and walks out. (In one Nick @ Nite airing that featured on-screen "pop-up" trivia throughout the episode, it mentioned that just ripping up the contract wouldn't get him out of the deal)
  • Teen Idol:
    • Barry Williams was one throughout the entire series, but especially from the second season onward. Maureen McCormick and Chris Knight later became ones as their characters entered high school in the fourth and fifth seasons, respectively.
    • The fifth season episode, "Adios, Johnny Bravo," briefly pokes fun at the teen pop star phenomenon — ironic, as the kids were all (occasionally) performers from the third season onward, and had a real-life touring act during off-production times.
  • That Poor Cat: Variant in the first Season 1 episode "The Honeymoon" where Tiger was chasing Fluffy during Mike and Carol's wedding which causes a really big mess.
  • Token Houseguest: The titular Brady family is joined by their live-in maid Alice. In addition to being the housekeeper, she acts as the Team Mom when Carol isn't around.
  • Treehouse of Fun:
    • The kids briefly had a treehouse, just long enough for Bobby to sprain his ankle climbing up and develop a (temporary) fear of heights.
    • The entire series of The Brady Kids took place in the treehouse, since that conveniently kept them from having to show Mike, Carol, and Alice (although Superman did show up once.)(Most likely a Filmation-verse cross-over).
  • Train Job: In "Bobby's Hero", Bobby starts idolizing Western Outlaw Jesse James. After meeting with a relative of one Jesse James's victims, he has a dream in which Jesse James kills the Bradys during a train robbery.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance:
    • Alice's cousin Emma in "Sergeant Emma".
    • Connie Hutchins and Judge Hank Brady, Carol's grandmother and Mike's grandfather in "You're Never Too Old".
    • Cleaning out the attic they discover an old photograph of a great-aunt who looked exactly like Jan when she was her age. They invite the aunt for a visit to see what Jan will look like in 60 years - it's Imogene Coca.
  • Unexpected Positive: Carol lets the doctor check her tonsils to show Cindy that it won't hurt. Turns out Carol and Cindy both need their tonsils out.
  • Vacation Episode: Season 3 started with a three-episode trip to the Grand Canyon, while season 4 had a similar arc in Hawaii. A season 5 episode takes them to King's Island in Cincinnati, which production company Paramount gained ownership of in 1992 (the former Paramount Parks, formerly owned by Taft Broadcasting as KECO Entertainment, are now part of Cedar Fair).
  • Very Special Episode: There was an aesop in every episode to be sure. But the episodes involving Peter's one week long voice change, and Greg's one day long smoking habit were both treated fairly seriously.
  • Vocal Evolution: All of the kids' voices would gradually mature as the series progresses, the most noticeable being Greg, Peter and Jan (the latter two especially in the final season). There's even a season three episode ("Dough Re Mi") and song ("Time to Change") based around Peter's change.
  • Wedlock Block: In one of the movies, the parents are reluctant to officially approve Jan's marriage plans because Marcia is single. Marcia explains this problem to a random male stranger she meets...resulting in a Fourth Date Double Marriage with Jan and her beau.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • A double example. The pilot introduced the boys' dog Tiger and the girls' cat Fluffy. Fluffy disappeared immediately afterward, but Tiger stuck around for a few more episodes; it was later revealed that the original canine performer who played Tiger (even having the same name) was hit by a car and killed during production of Episode 4, and they had to replace him with a lookalike for the remainder. Tiger #2 however was not nearly as trained as the original and they opted to write the dog out of the show halfway through it's second season. They did, however, keep the doghouse in the Bradys' yard for the rest of the series because a stage light fell down and damaged the astroturf at that point in the yard and the producers had to cover it up. Lampshaded in the movie, when Carol calls Mike "tiger" and then wonders what happened to the dog.
    • The family literally wonders what happened to the mouse in an episode about practical joking.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Humorously played in "Bobby's Hero," where Bobby realizes — through a dream sequence where Jesse James shoots and kills his entire family, including his 11-year-old sister Cindy — that the famed outlaw he was trying to worship as a hero was nothing but a "mean, dirty killer."


Video Example(s):


Ooh, My Nose!

The Brady boys play a game of football when Peter makes an inaccurate throw which hits Marcia right in the nose.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / NasalTrauma

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