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YMMV / The Brady Bunch

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YMMVs for the series

  • Critical Research Failure:
    • In his retrospective about The Brady Bunch, Lloyd Schwartz recalled a dispute he had with Robert Reed over a line in the script for "Jan, the Only Child" where Mike walks into the kitchen, sees Carol and Alice cooking strawberry preserves for the Charity Hoedown, takes a whiff and remarks, "This smells like strawberry heaven!" Reed contended that, per various encyclopedia articles, strawberries don't have scents and got into a huge argument with the writers. After several days of fighting and not wanting production delays over a minor point in the script, the writers conceded and changed Reed's line to "This looks like strawberry heaven." Strawberries, do in fact, have a very chemically complex scent.
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    • The Schwartzes (both Sherwood and Lloyd) and Barry Williams (in his own autobiography) note that disputes such as the above were commonplace, and Lloyd further added that in Reed's previous series, The Defenders (where he played an a young attorney), this was also a regular occurrence.
    • In "Kitty Karry-All Is Missing," Mike (much like many individuals you'll meet in real life) gives an incorrect and unfair definition of circumstantial evidence. While circumstantial evidence is simply evidence not predicated on an eyewitness account of the alleged crime in question, Mr. Brady takes the common "circumstantial evidence is always spurious" route by defining it as the difference between the truth and the appearances. For reference, Mike's conclusion later in the same episode (that Tiger stole the original Kitty Karry-All doll as well as Bobby's kazoo) is based entirely on circumstantial evidence, and is nevertheless entirely reasonable.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • During Oliver's official introduction, his clumsiness causes so many accidents around the house that he's convinced he's a jinx. It was played for comic relief and mild angst, but it's not so funny when you remember the series was cancelled shortly after the addition of the character (although not necessarily and solely because of the addition of Oliver).
    • Straight example of Reality Subtext: In "Tiger! Tiger!", Bobby worries the titular pooch may have been hit by a car...which was exactly the fate of the original Tiger's actor much earlier in the season.
    • In Season 4's "Greg Gets Grounded," Greg is prohibited from driving after his distracted driving nearly causes an accident on the freeway. Ironically enough, nearly a year after that episode aired, Barry Williams was involved in an accident caused by distracted driving (although it was the other driver who was to blame).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Greg's stage name in the first movie, Johnny Bravo.
    • In one episode Greg makes reference to the Indy 500. Starting in the 1990s and until her death, native Hoosier Florence Henderson sang "God Bless America" before the start of the race.
  • Hollywood Homely: Jan and occasionally Peter, but it's almost always all in their heads.
  • Les Yay: Maureen McCormick's autobiography also says/claims/admits that there was some attraction between Maureen and Eve Plumb.
  • Memetic Loser: Jan's Middle Child Syndrome gets exaggerated into her being a whiny loser who's always in Marcia's shadow. The 1990s films went with this and rolled with it.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Jan's "Marcia Marcia Marcia!" quote. She only uses it once but it's often mistaken for her catchphrase. It has also been morphed into a "Russia Russia Russia!" meme against the Democrats' theory that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election because of Russian hackers.
    • Jokes about the character's being Flirty Stepsiblings are common in parodies.
  • Misaimed Fandom: An episode where the kids get measles and the disease's seriousness is severely underplayed has been co-opted by the anti-vax movement, much to the dismay of several of the show's actors and crew.
  • Narm Charm: Pretty much the shows' defining characteristic.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • "Marcia, Marcia, MARCIA!"
    • What about "Porkchopsh, and appleshaush."
    • "OW, MY NOSE!"
    • "She always says, 'don't play ball in the house.'" A Nick at Nite/TV Land promo actually referenced that Carol never said this, and even crudely stitched together sound bites of her saying each individual word to give some idea of what it might sound like.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The tarantula in the Hawaii episodes, as well as the music that plays during Bobby's dream when he sees the UFO.
    • The nightmare in "Bobby's Hero" where Jesse James shoots the Bradys as Bobby pleads with him to stop. This doubles as an in-universe example.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Terry Becker directed an episode. Becker is best known for playing Chief Petty Officer Francis Ethelbert Sharkey in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
    • Al Schwartz also directed an episode. Schwartz is best known for co-creating Dotto.
    • Ben Starr wrote three episodes. Starr is best known for co-creating Silver Spoons and co-developing The Facts of Life.
    • Alan Dinehart wrote an episode. Dinehart is best known for voicing Tiny Harper and Chief Anderson in Battle of the Planets.
    • Howard Leeds also wrote an episode and served as producer. Leeds is best known as creator and executive producer of Small Wonder and also co-created Silver Spoons and co-developed The Facts of Life.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Cousin Oliver. Probably one of the most well-known scrappies ever. In fact, he was a Scrappy before the Trope Namer was conceived.
    • Cindy abruptly got put in the doghouse after Susan Olsen's racist and homophobic rants on social media.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The entire premise of the show, about a mixed marriage family, has fallen victim to this since non-traditional families have become far more common. Also, how the Schwartzes — in their autobiography — view Robert Reed's vision of the show ... mindless "lectures" rather than just letting the scriptwriters do their work and taking reasonable input into consideration for script changes.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Robert Reed, by all accounts.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Middle child Jan has to wait to get married because Marcia's still single, and needs her parents' approval despite being a grown woman.
    • The Liberation of Marcia Brady and A Fistful of Reasons had very anxious female characters tell a Brady woman (Marcia and Carol, respectively) that they fear verbally disagreeing with male members of the family (Mrs. Hinton's case is her husband) would lead to something horrible. Most sitcoms today wouldn't be so blithe about Domestic Abuse and many people would see these as a cry for help.
    • Goodbye Alice, Hello had Alice make some corny jokes and order the youngest Brady children to cover their birthday suits before going to a next-door neighbor's pool where the husband swims in the nude; it was impossible to figure out how a family sitcom in the 1970s could get away with that line and now it would be widely regarded as a red flag for child sexual abuse.
    • In the premiere episode:
      • Carol tells Mike to take a tranquilizer for his anxiety over their wedding. When he tells her he already has, she nonchalantly tells him to take another one. This would probably be a rehab trigger today, but it goes a long way toward explaining The '60s.
      • The boys bring the dog to the wedding in the pilot, and then leave the dog LOCKED IN THE CAR!
    • In Season 3's "My Sister Benedict Arnold," Marcia (who at this point is in eighth grade) announces she's been asked out by a high school sophomore, Warren Mullaney (who is Greg's age). Carol — with Alice smiling and nodding her approval as she remarks that "next, it will be college guys!" — gives her permission to go on the date. The thought of Warren coming on to Marcia — who possibly hadn't even turned 14 yet — never crosses their minds, but today, the Brady parents would put a stop to the date ... and perhaps Mike would even tell Warren (and not-so-nicely at that) to stay the eff away from his family ... or else.
    • Another Season 4 episode "Bobby's Hero" is set off when Bobby, pretending to be Jesse James, brings a cap-gun to school and pretends to hold all the other students hostage during recess. Mike and Carol are called up to the school and everyone becomes more concerned with Bobby's idolization of a villain than anything and Bobby gets off with little more than a stern talking to about Jesse James later on. This was reportedly commonplace prior to 1999 and Columbine; today, Bobby would likely be expelled.
    • In "A Clubhouse is Not a Home", Mike is asked what he would do if his sons wanted to play with a dollhouse. Mike answers that he would take them to a psychiatrist which was standard parenting for 1969. If the show aired these days, gender rights advocates would demand that Mike be the one to see the psychiatrist for making a comment like that.
    • The Season 1 episode "Is There a Doctor in the House?" treats the potentially fatal disease of measles as sitcom tomfoolery. Come The New '10s and the anti-vaxxer movement defending this episode's portrayal of measles, much to the horror of Maureen McCormick and Lloyd Schwartz.
  • Vindicated by Reruns: Was Only Barely Renewed several times until its cancellation in 1974. Afterward, syndication markets aired the series in the afternoon hours, and it become a hit among younger audiences.
  • What an Idiot!: Robert Reed, in his scathing critiques of various episodes, often suggested that the characters were not written as reasonably intelligent adults (or children/teenagers in the case of the kids) but as complete idiots. Some of those examples follow below, and were published in Barry Williams' book "Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenaged Greg":
    • "The Practical Joker," with particular emphasis on the tag scene, wherein Alice is fooled into thinking a legitimate ink stain on one of her uniforms is a gag stain placed there by Jan; as Alice is pulling what she thinks is the gag stain off, she tears the uniform. Reed suggests that Alice, as reasonably intelligent, should have been able to tell whether the stain was real and that perhaps a pen (with its cap left off) would have been noticed before placing the uniform in the washing machine.
    • "And Now a Word From Our Sponsor": Various aspects, including:
      • The scene where two competing laundry detergents are tested – to decide whether the Bradys will agree to accept the TV commercial offer – which ends with Alice forgetting to write down on a sheet of paper which pile corresponds with which soap (in the sealed envelope). Reed was also irritated by the parents allowing the kids to splash each other with paint, motor oil and so forth, to make their clothes dirty.
      • Mike's inability to make sense of the contract with Skip Farnum Enterprises. Although one could argue that the idea of the line was, "consult your attorney" (to make sure everything is legal), Reed called Mike's comment "nonsense," as "he is an adult in business and therefore capable of understanding contracts."
      • Carol's "We'll have to wait until Mr. Brady gets home" comment after a delivery truck brings dozens of crates of laundry detergent, the thank you gift for starring in the commercial (Reed suggests she could have called a number printed on the delivery receipt).
    • In "The Not-So-Rose-Colored Glasses", Jan decides against wearing her glasses when she rides her bicycle to the library. She escapes serious injury when she crashes into the garage.
    • Reed refers to several late Season 5 episodes in his infamous critique of "The Hair-Brained Scheme," including "Two Petes in a Pod." Here, Peter meets Arthur (Christopher Knight in a dual role) at school, and decide to see if they can fool their parents. Reed was irked that even Mike and Carol are fooled by the "faux Peter" due to his exact resemblance, suggesting that even with Peter and Arthur being so identical his parents surely would be able to tell who's who. Not mentioned in the critique, but noticeable to fans: Arthur cozies up very closely to Jan when helping her with her homework at the kitchen table, and nobody – neither Jan nor Mike or Carol – even bats an eye about "Peter" showing unusual affection for his stepsister. Also, only Alice comes remotely close to sensing something is amiss when she notices Arthur's shirt ("Did you change your shirt at school today, Peter?").
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Why a climactic scene featuring Robert Reed and Barry Williams was shot a day after production was to have ended. Reed – already disgusted with the script as a whole – was particularly annoyed at a scene where Mike and Greg talk to Greg's pet mouse to get it to run through a maze. When Reed lost his argument with Sherwood Schwartz over the script and was told he wasn't being written out, Reed promptly went out, got very drunk and returned to film his scene with Williams. Lloyd Schwartz, who was also on the set, realized that if the scene was filmed, someone – most likely, at ABC or in the very least Paramount Studios – would easily figure out that Reed was highly intoxicated, a media frenzy would ensue and it would ruin the integrity of the show ... prompting Lloyd to knock over a flood light onto the set and cause an overnight stopdown ... and time for Reed to sober up. To the Schwartzes, a day late with production and related costs were worth the price of saving the show. Both Williams and the Schwartzes have related this incident in their respective autobiographies. Of course, Barry Williams did famously shoot a scene of the episode "Law and Disorder" while visibly high.

YMMVs for the movies

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Brady Kids performing "Good Time Music" while flying a plane to Hawaii in A Very Brady Sequel.
  • Critical Dissonance: The first film got some downright nasty reviews from critics who didn't really know what to make of its Affectionate Parody tone. The expectation was that it would be a Box Office Bomb as a result, but positive word-of-mouth made it one of the bigger hits of the Dump Months of early 1995.
  • Ham and Cheese: Shelley Long and especially Gary Cole both take the cheesy, hyper-earnest characterizations of Carol and Mike from the show Up to Eleven, and are clearly having a blast doing it. Since Cole hadn't done much comedy up to that point, his performance was a pleasant surprise.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Christopher Daniel Barnes, the actor who plays Greg, was on a sitcom in the The '80s called Day by Day, and his character was obsessed with The Brady Bunch. In one episode, he even dreams he's a seventh Brady sibling named Chuck. Florence Henderson, Ann B. Davis, Robert Reed, Christopher Knight, and Mike Lookinland all made appearances as their old characters. Good thing it was All Just a Dream, because "Chuck" soon realizes he's doomed to live the same wacky situations over and over again in reruns.
    • At the end of the first movie, Cindy is shown being jealous of her sister Jan's attention. Fast-forward a few years and find her actress, Olivia Hack, voicing a certain girl with 'six identical sisters' and her rant that sometimes she felt like she didn't even have her own name.
    • Both Peter Tork and Michael McKean appear in this film. Both actors would play the part of Topanga's dad on Boy Meets World.
    • The first film shows the family going to a Sears department store and singing "Sunshine Day". At the time of the film's release (1995), Sears could be reasonably said to be one of the biggest department store chains in North America. Two decades later, the company went bankrupt in the face of mounting online pressure and competition from other retail chains. Ironically, the sequence (which appears to have been shot as a way to modernize the family after the "Mister Sandman" Sequence introducing them to The '90s) comes off as just as dated, albeit even more hilarious in retrospect.
  • Hollywood Homely: Jan and occasionally Peter.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Somehow, 19 years after release, the scene when Jan came up with her fake boyfriend George Glass became a meme on Tumblr in 2015.
    I've never heard of a George Glass at our sküle.
    • "Sure, Jan." is used as a reaction gif to express doubt at a statement.
  • Older Than They Think: George Glass actually comes from the original series. Many assume it was a joke made for the film.
  • Sequelitis: The Brady Bunch in the White House is unanimously considered less funny than The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In A Very Brady Sequel, after Bobby unsuccessfuly stops Cousin Oliver from running out into the street after Tiger, he and Cindy hear a car screech. Instead of checking for an accident, Bobby and Cindy just shrug their shoulders and continue eating. For those who aren't kosher with the idea of a PG-13 comedy movie offing a dog and a child for laughs, take heart that if the producers really wanted to drive that joke home (no pun intended), you would've heard a screech AND a thump.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The premise of the movie was to bring the Brady's into the current world of the 1990s, including alternative music and Seattle as the center of the music world, carjackings, Sears, "her"story, red meat being bad for you, etc. Were it set a few years later, the Bradys would have been introduced to email. "A Very Brady Sequel" has Mike dismissing cable TV as a hoax. Much less so for the 1970s, except for Davey Jones and some of the kitschiest elements of the decade.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • For both movies, generally, the Bradys being completely clueless that they are being perceived not as an all-American family but outdated idiots who don't fit in to the 1990s culture. For instance, a classmate Flipping the Bird at Greg, who takes it as a friendly hello.
    • In The Brady Bunch Movie, Mike being unable to differentiate Cindy's tattling on her siblings with her reporting Larry Dettemeyer was stealing the family's mail – a federal offense – that could potentially cause the family to lose their home (since Mr. Dettemeyer had stolen the Bradys' past-due tax notices). In the original series, Mike would have immediately reported it to the police and then explained to Cindy the difference between tattling and reporting wrongdoing.
    • In A Very Brady Sequel, con man Trevor Thomas is easily able to maneuver his way into the Brady household by the Bradys' unquestioningly accepting his claim that he is indeed Roy Martin, Carol's first husband. For instance, Mike would know who Carol's first husband was and know about what he looked like, but is too addle-brained and preoccupied with his family's minor problems to recognize a genuine threat to his family. Carol would also be able to recognize that "Roy" is an imposter, as even with careful research there are personality quirks, mannerisms, etc., that Thomas would not be able to replicate (even with any reasonable explanation). Carol's daughters also would be able to tell quickly whether "Roy" was who he claimed to be, but yet they all accept him as their biological father. Of course, Thomas easily being able to fool the Bradys provides much of the humor during the first part of the movie. (Incidentally, the only one who does seem to come close to sensing that "Roy" is a con artist is Alice.)


Example of: