This is the story of a lovely lady, a man named Brady, and 18 other characters from The Brady Bunch‘s 1969-1974 ABC run.
Because while you may remember the iconic blended family as being sitcom-perfect in many a way, the fact is that, yes, some Bradys were better than others. (For heaven’s sake, one of the rugrats was singularly responsible for bungling at least two important family gifts!)
And then you have the people who cycled in and out of the Bradys’ lives, either by passing through 4222 Clinton Way or bumping up against them on an on-location vacation. Such encounters included no fewer than two demented (and kidnap-py) codgers, a pair of twins who weren’t, and one of the most despicable Plain Janes to ever be a Brady’s gal pal.
Who tops our ranking of 20 very Brady family members, friends and frenemies? Review the list below, then chime in with your own favorites.
Boy, this one was a real piece of work. A diamond in the rough that Marcia polished into a gleaming gem — so as to thwart a class prank and make the mousy wallflower a viable candidate for Senior Banquet Night hostess — Molly wound up so full of herself that she dissed her mentor and even stole her speech! Sure, Molly eventually came around, ‘fessed up to the plagiarism and invited Marcia to join her and her Senior Banquet Night escort (a real, live astronaut!). But this makeover subject’s ugly moments still leave a bad taste in our mouth.
There’s a reason TV has a “Cousin Oliver Syndrome” named after you. And yes, you probably were a jinx. (After all, who knows what voodoo your conveeeniently MIA parents dug up on one of their archaeological digs?)
Do we remember this right, Hubert…? You tied up and held captive, inside a Hawaiian cave, three young strangers you feared were out to “steal” your archaeological find? Only the fact that the great Vincent Price played you kept you from landing lower on the list, you creepy loon.
Yes, you gave Bobby his first kiss. But you also gave him the mumps! Damn, the mumps were probably fatal back in Walnut Grove. (Or maybe we’re confusing it with scarlet fever.)
It was the 1970s, sure, but did you really think that engraving all six kids’ names on a silver platter would cost a total of 85 cents? We of course must also talk about the fact that your own vanity wound up destroying the siblings portrait that Dad was going to surprise Mom with. It’s a small miracle your parents enjoyed any anniversary gifts at all! And don’t get us started on “George Glass.” Marcia, Marcia, Marcia… didn’t bungle things nearly as often as you did.
A Master Sergeant with the Women’s Army Corps, Emma sure cracked the whip with the kids (and eventually Mike and Carol as well!) when enlisted to cover for Alice, her vacationing twin cousin. She was a pill, for sure, though her visit did set the stage for this closing scene (embedded above), in which Mike at least appeared to grumble to Alice “it’s six o’clock in the [audio drops out] morning!”
Yes, you did Marcia a solid by helping your local fan club’s president fulfill her (over)promise to book you for the junior prom, but asking her for a second “thank you” kiss “on the flipside” — at age 26 or so to her 16 — hasn’t aged entirely well in these #MeToo times.
Two words for you: Baton, and Rouge.
Arthur Owens, you if nothing intrigue us. A transfer student from “out of town,” you were Peter’s dead ringer (save for some spectacles). What’s your story, man? Did architect Mike Brady once show your mom his (ahem) “blueprints”? Lookalikes don’t just happen. Whatever the case, thanks for helping Peter juggle two dates.
ZACCARIAH T. BROWN
Before Professor Whitehead imprisoned Bradys who he thought were out to steal an archaeological find, this addled Grand Canyon prospector imprisoned Bradys who he thought were out to steal his gold. Bygones…? Fun fact: Onetime Gilligan’s Island castaway Jim Backus resurfaced almost three seasons later, sans beard as Mike’s pool table-gifting boss, Mr. Matthews.
SAM THE BUTCHER
Though there was that near-fail involving Alice’s sprained ankle and the Meat Cutter’s Ball (you were going to take who?!), when all was said and done, Sam courted the Bradys’ housekeeper darn nicely over the years. It almost makes up for the fact that Greg and Bobby nearly froze to death trapped inside his butcher shop’s walk-in freezer.
Hey, Tiger, ‘member how you and Fluffy (the girls’ cat) made an epic — though comedic! — mess of Mike and Carol’s wedding day? And have you ever stopped to think about how much tsuris could have been avoided if you hadn’t hoarded Kitty Karry-All, Bobby’s kazoo et al? And this was all in the course of your barely season-and-a-half existence! Who’s a good boy? Not you, so much.
The middle brother has been through a lot — throwing himself a “town hero” party that no one attended, desperately scrambling for a personality after being told he had none, masquerading in a mustache to join Greg for a double date, and the whole, mortifying “When It’s Time to Change” thing (#ShaNaNaNaPuberty). And yet Peter was largely affable, the brother you could rely on — especially when it comes to drenching Marcia’s squad in volcanic mud!
Skip was totally outta sight — and had the patience of a saint! — as the hippie who directed “Pops” Mike, “Pussycat” Carol and the rest of the bunch in their in-home TV commercial for Safe detergent. We were absolutely picking up what this cool cat was laying down.
Bobby was mostly a goof, but A) that was a pretty sick move, tricking the Joe Namath into visiting your home, and B) didn’t he grow up to be a cool race car driver? Oh, wait.
How do we love thee, Marcia? Let us count the ways. (Earmuffs, Jan!) You taught us to brush our hair 100 times a day; you managed to meet not only Davy Jones but also Desi Arnaz Jr.; you did right by an unappreciative Molly Webber and got Cindy good by duping her into playing Shirley Temple for Dad’s snobby client. But most of all, you benched BMOC Doug Simpson after he sidelined you and your busted beak, to instead salvage your date with Charlie. (Hey, sometimes things just suddenly come up!)
We coveted his attic bedroom/”bachelor pad”… felt for him when his turn as Johnny Bravo flamed out (and even more so when some bargain hair tonic turned his perm orange!)… and cheered him on when he was simply a good guy, such as when he tipped off the rival football team that they stole a bogus playbook. Inappropriate chemistry with sister Marcia aside, Greg was the man.
At least one Wiki page notes that Carol was “a freelance writer, a sculptor, a political activist, and a singer” — though we don’t remember much about any of those hobbies, save for the time a Christmas miracle restored her voice in time to sing at church. All we remember is that Mrs. Brady was one of TV’s great moms, one who gladly contorted herself to teach the boys baseball (watch video above), and all told had a certain… what’s the word… “Wessonality”!
Mr. Brady was always quick with a pearl of wisdom to underscore a lesson learned. And when he was disappointed in one of the kids, you felt his disapproval at home through the TV screen. Was he the sharpest tool in the Craftsman-style shed? Perhaps not; lord knows it was ill-advised to put Jan’s cartoon poster in a tube identical to his VIP blueprints. And to this day we marvel at the architect’s home having a singular Jack-and-Jill bathroom for six (!) kids. But brain farts notwithstanding, Mike was the best dad a kid could want.
Alice was the glue that kept the Bradys’ house of cards from tumbling down like… well, the house of cards that came tumbling down in that Season 1 contest between the kids. Heck, even her drill sergeant twin cousin could barely keep things order when Alice went off the clock! Alice did it all, including (mostly) juggle multiple roles in the backyard play about the pilgrims, before retreating every night to her Harry Potter-like nook next to the laundry room.