The Brady Bunch: Jan’s Aunt Jenny

We all freak out about growing older at some point in our lives. I had a minor freak out when I realized, I’m closer to 30 than 20 these days. I didn’t think it would matter to me, but it sort of freaked me out. And then I remembered that 13 Going on 30 taught me that I will be “thirty, flirty, and thriving” so everything is okay now. It’s going to be just FINE.

Anyway, Jan Brady’s freak out happened a little earlier in life than mine. While cleaning out some old junk, the Brady’s find a picture of Jan that Jan doesn’t remember. But it turns out it’s actually a picture of Carol Brady’s Aunt Jenny (Imogene Coca)–who happened to look exactly like Jan as a child. So Jan writes to her and asks that they exchange current photos of each other. When Jan gets Aunt Jenny’s photo in the mail, she freaks out because she thinks she’ll be ugly in 40 years. Well geez, Jan she doesn’t look that bad. Jan decides she’ll grow up to be a missionary because she’s ugly, and that is all that is left for her in life. But when Aunt Jenny comes to visit, she has to confront her fears face to face.

All of the kids think Aunt Jenny is super cool. She’s a wealthy, world traveler who knows loads of famous people. But Jan treats her like crap. Carol and Mike try to explain away Jan’s behavior as shyness, but Aunt Jenny doesn’t buy it. They finally tell her that Jan thinks she’s ugly and worries she’ll grow up to be ugly to. Aunt Jenny is super cool about it and sits Jan down to talk about how plastic surgery is always an option, but she is just fine with her looks because they make her unique. She also gets loads of marriage proposals that she always turns down, which seems to reassure Jan more than I wish it did.  Then she decides she wants to grow up to be just like Aunt Jenny and her parents try to tell her (once again) that she can’t predict how she’ll turn out as a grown up.

Very Special Lesson: It’s what’s inside that counts–as long as you are fabulous and rich and funny.

5 thoughts on “The Brady Bunch: Jan’s Aunt Jenny

  1. You nailed the special lesson on the head.

    I always wonder, if you’re an actor and they say we need someone ugly and you get the audition, let alone the part, does it mess with your head? Or did EP sorta wonder why the producers decided to make her character the one who was most likely to grow up to be ugly?

    When they were all adults, I remember Jan grew up to be an attorney and was married to one (at least I think that was it–I know they were the successful couple $ wise) but I think they wound up divorced? Too bad she hadn’t put him on the list of “no”s.

    1. I know. It always amazes me if child actors manage to become adults who aren’t totally screwed up. The self esteem issues must be unbearable. I always thought Eve Plumb was very pretty and they just styled her to look a little lame. Hopefully, she was just like “oh well that’s what costumes and makeup does to Jan, but that’s okay.”

  2. I remember when Tracey Gold mentioned she had said something to the producers about how the weight jokes bothered her and they basically told her “that’s just your character”. But the way she saw it, was that they wouldn’t have Carol be considered “chunky” if she (Tracey) wasn’t “chunky”. I think that, especially as teens who are going through so many insecurities anyway, but probably not limited to them, that comments about a character’s physical appearance has to be at the very least, sort of taken to heart–both the good and the bad.

    I remember, even as a kid, in terms of beauty I thought 1st season Jan was better looking than first season Marcia, then in the 2nd season they seemed sort of on par, then it was, IMO the 3rd season that Maureen blossomed while Eve went through her “awkward” phase. But by late season 4 they seemed on par again.

    For the guys I thought Peter was “it” until 4th season Greg. Something about 4th season Greg seemed kinda yummy lol. That hair on both of them the 5th season was a no no though.

    David Cassidy ruled everyone though. Keith Partridge >>> everyone. Except maybe young Davy Jones (before I realized how short he was lol).

    1. Lol was 5th season perm season? That was some scary hair. I thought those fat jokes about Tracey Gold were awful. They never did anything that bad to Eve Plumb. They just gave her glasses and made her wear her hair weird. But you’re right, they stopped doing that near the end of the show and she and Marcia were equally pretty.

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