The Brady Brides: The Mom Who Came to Dinner

As the poll from last week’s Friday Face-Off proves, this crowd is more of a “Come on, Get Happy” than a “Sunshine Day” group. That’s right, The Partridges won the Friday Face-Off, but I’m going to throw you Brady fans a bone today. As I said when I started the Reboot-O-Rama series, I’m not just attempting to complain about television and kids these days, but it’s really all been an elaborate ploy to write a post about The Brady Brides.

The Brady Brides is a terrible series that I somehow caught in reruns as a kid and determined to be the best thing ever and potentially “better than The Brady Bunch.” In hindsight, this was patently false. This show is bad. The jokes are flat. It’s weird that Maria and Jan live together with their husbands after their infamous double wedding. And all of the other, more interesting, Brady children are absent except for in the pilot movie.

But so rarely do we get a piece of kitsch quite to this level, that I think it’s high time we all stood back and appreciated The Brady Brides in all of it’s glory. Take for example today’s episode, in which Marcia and Jan decide that their adult mother cannot spend the night alone in her ranch house while their dad is on a business trip. So against their husbands’ better judgement, they invite Carol to stay over.

As Marcia says to the husbands “Mom’s not a mother in law. She’s mom.” That’s an stupid and illogical sentence, which leads them to each bet their respective wives $5 that the evening will be a disaster. I feel like these dudes are intentionally sabotaging in order to win this bet, but no…that would be a much better plot. In an effort to be genuinely helpful, Jan’s husband Philip rewires a light switch to be on an automatic timer and also know (somehow) to contact the police and fire department in the event of an emergency.

Then Carol comes over and they all sit around discussing the girls failures–Jan when she felt sorry for Marcia’s goldfish as a kid because they were cold and wet, so she dried them off and let them “sleep” in her bed–and Marcia who didn’t realize she needed to unbox the TV Dinner she had tried to make the night before. Then her husband Wally says, “Marcia’s best cooking is never done in the kitchen.” And they make out in front of Marcia’s sister and mother. Carol stares at them (nonplussed) and Marcia giggles and tells Wally to cut it out because Carol is watching–to which Wally replies, “Well, she’ll just have to wait her turn.” …

Philip volunteers to sleep on a cot in the living room, so that Carol can sleep in the bed with Jan. This is because they’re clearly the non-sexual couple. Jan kisses Wally goodnight and then we jump-shot to a post-coital Marica and Wally. Marcia asks Wally to put on pajamas because her mom is visiting. Wally insist that he doesn’t own pajamas. Then Marcia calls him out for letting Phillip sleep on the cot and not even volunteering to take the cot. Um, hello WE HAVE JUST ESTABLISHED THAT THIS MAN SLEEPS NAKED AND HAS NO PAJAMAS.

Anyway, she insists that he sleep on the cot instead of Philip and he has to sleep in a terry cloth robe in place of pajamas. But then Wally has a nightmare and falls off the cot, so Carol insists she sleep on the cot. Then they all argue about who sleeps on the cot. Then Jan says that she owns the cot and will thus sleep on it, leaving Philip and Wally to sleep together. This is entertainment. Ha-ha.

Then a cop brings a neighborhood boy over to the house because his mother isn’t home. And then the cop gets caught up in a game of “who’s on first” with who is married to whom and who is the mother-in-law. Ugh. Then all of these white people tell this black child that they don’t like him out on the streets at night (ugh the poor child with the absentee mother–social commentary!) and all of the white people care for the minority child. So they put the child in the bed with the two men even though Wally definitely isn’t wearing anything under that robe.

I’d like to point out that I have noticed a couch and a love seat in addition to the cot in the living room. The small child could easily sleep on the love seat and Carol Brady could sleep on the couch which looks way more comfortable than the cot. BAM solved your problem Bradys. But no, they want to make this episode into a particularly awful rip-off of Three’s Company. 

Carol, who is now on the cot, cannot sleep. She’s totally annoyed by the fish in the tank she’s next to. She wants them to blink. It’s very disturbing to her that the fish don’t blink. **Trigger Warning: Fish that Don’t Blink**

Then Alice shows up at the door because she’s gotten locked out of her apartment. The obvious next step is to spend the night with Marcia and Jan. They try to turn on the light, but the trigger Philip’s emergency alert system. Then that same cop from earlier shows up and takes Alice home. I guess he plans on breaking into her apartment for her. After some paramedics show up and try to carry Carol out on the cot (which they mistake for a stretcher I guess…) they all decide it’s better just to stay up all night playing Scrabble than to figure out where everyone sleeps.

Very Special Lesson: Let your mom sleep on the cot when she says she wants to sleep on the cot. But don’t put her next to the fish tank.

8 thoughts on “The Brady Brides: The Mom Who Came to Dinner

  1. I am a Brady fan but not of the Brady Brides. You make many good points which had me laughing something that the Brady Brides couldn’t do. Favorite section: “Then Marcia calls him out for letting Phillip sleep on the cot and not even volunteering to take the cot. Um, hello WE HAVE JUST ESTABLISHED THAT THIS MAN SLEEPS NAKED AND HAS NO PAJAMAS.”

    Love the special lesson!

  2. Fun write-up. I actually sat through the series last year, it’s bad, but definitely in a good/bad way. Lots, and I mean LOTS of sexual innuendo. You’ll never watch it more than once, but it’s definitely worth the once.

  3. I just saw this episode today on Decades, where they’re doing a marathon of all the Brady series. I forgot how bad this was. I actually find this series more jarring than the variety show, because you expect the variety format to feel different, but a spinoff sitcom usually has a similar tone to the original. This feels like a different type of sitcom — I think it’s partly due to the difference between the feel of the one-camera original series and what I assume is a multi-camera setup on the Brides series. The lighting feels wrong, and the laugh track is more intrusive than the original. Here it’s almost nonstop, which is distracting and just draws attention to the fact that the jokes aren’t funny. Also, Marcia’s and Jan’s characters are different from how they were portrayed in the original series — when did Jan become so uptight and Marcia such a free spirit? That was never their conflict; it was that Jan felt she was in Marcia’s shadow and wasn’t as popular.

    On another note, I LOVE your blog! I need to visit more often.

    1. I think it could make sense that the sibling rivalry conflict has dissipated by this point in their lives, but I agree that the whole free-spirit/up-tight thing feels pretty contrived. Jan might have been a little neurotic about being in Marcia’s shadow, but I always thought she was a pretty easy-going person otherwise. And I didn’t notice the camera thing but now that you point it out, that totally makes sense.

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