Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Fridays, I will be reviewing The Brady Bunch Hour, which ran on ABC from 1976 to 1977. All nine episodes can be found on YouTube!
Oh, we’re doing this again.
(Dir by Jack Regas, Originally aired on March 28th, 1977)
As always, we open with the Kroftettes doing a kick line and then jumping into the pool as the announcer warns us all that we’re about the spend an hour with The Brady Bunch, Rip Taylor, Rich Little, and Edgar Bergen.
The audience goes crazy as the Bradys run out on to perform their opening number and why shouldn’t the audience be excited? For once, the Bunch is performing a song that was written after the Great Depression. In fact, I’ve Got The Music In Me was only 3 years old when the Brady Bunch performed it. Wisely, Fake Jan gets to sing the majority of the song while the rest of the Bradys just focus on the chorus. While the other members of the cast stare directly at the camera and struggle to remember one of the simplest choruses ever written, Geri Reischl shows off why she was the only Brady kid to have a truly successful musical career after this show ended.
The Kroftettes smile as they perform this week’s water ballet. The pool is full of balloons. Somehow, the underwater Krotettes manage to smile and hold their breath at the same time. Still, as the song ends, we get one of the show’s trademark close-ups of all of the Bradys gasping for breath, just so we know who really had to work hard on this show.
It’s time for the opening banter! Greg thinks that the Bradys should make a movie. Carol suggests that they make a movie called Greg Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Uhmm, Carol, you tried that a few weeks ago. Remember? Greg moved out for 16 hours and everyone had a nervous breakdown.
We then cut to a production number so hideous that I can’t even get a decent screenshot of it.
The Bradys are all dressed up as scarecrows and, along with someone dressed up like a crow, they do a square dance while singing Consider Yourself. Consider Yourself is a song from Oliver!, which is a music that is based on Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist. How exactly one associates Oliver! with a bunch of scarecrows dancing with a crow, I’m not sure. Cocaine was very popular in the 70s and that sun in the sky looks like it probably just took a snort from the moon’s coke spoon.
As the song ends, Bobby, Cindy, and Fake Jan announce that their next guest will be ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. They then argue about whether or not Bobby should have introduced Bergen’s dummy, Charlie McCarthy, as well. Edgar comes out and tells the Brady kids about how ventriloquism works. He says that his job involves using a dummy. “In our house, our dummy is Bobby,” Cindy says. That’s kind of mean, especially coming from Cindy who isn’t exactly going to be joining the Honor Society anytime soon.
Finally, Edgar brings out his dummy and they discuss pizza. “I don’t like those EYE-talian dishes,” the dummy says.
Speaking of dummies, we then cut to Rip Taylor who says that he was was supposed to introduce impressionist Rich Little but he can’t because there was an accident at rehearsals yesterday. We then get a flashback of Rich Little attempting to impersonate a swimmer by jumping into the pool. Underwater, Rich Little’s stunt double collides with Cindy and — oh no! — Rich Little has amnesia.
(In the 70s, Rich Little was one of the original cast members of Orson Welles’s The Other Side of The Wind. Despite having a key supporting role, Little reportedly left the production rather abruptly. I sincerely hope that he didn’t leave because he got offered The Brady Bunch Hour. That said, Peter Bogdonavich replaced Little on Welles’s film and gave an excellent performance as Brooks Otterlake.)
At the Brady Compound, Cindy feels bad for giving Rich Little amnesia and really, she should. STUPID CINDY! Things get even more awkward with Rich Little’s wife calls and asks how her husband is doing and Carol just can’t bring herself to admit that Rich has amnesia. Rich eventually shows up in the living room and tries to remember who he is by doing a series of imitations of people who he claims not to remember.
“What are we going to do!?” Carol wails.
“Frankly my dear,” Rich replies, “I don’t give a damn.”
Cut to Edgar Bergen and a dummy welcoming us to the second half of the Brady Bunch Hour. “These people don’t care about our problems,” Edgar says, “They want to know what happened to Rich Little.” Damn straight, Edgar.
At the Brady Compound, Alice tells Carol and Mike that Rich is asleep and they both hope that he’ll wake up as Rich. Cindy then comes in, still whining about how she’s responsible for Rich losing his memory. Carol tells her that, “This could have happened to anyone.” Stop lying, Carol. This literally could not have happened to anyone.
Rich wakes up and announces that he now remembers that he’s one of the Brady kids. Unfortunately, it turns out that he thinks that he’s the youngest and therefore most immature of all the Bradys. Of course, Rip Taylor shows up and explains that he’s also a psychologist and he can help Rich gets his memory back. What’s odd is that Rip is playing his character, Jackie Merrill, in this scene but he previously appeared as himself when he told us that Rich got amnesia at rehearsals. Seriously, not even the show could keep straight what was going on.
Anyway, Rich jumps into the ocean and bumps into Rip Taylor and he gets his memory back. Gee, I’m glad that worked out.
We then cut to Peter begging Greg not to toss him into the pool this week because he has a crush on this week’s musical guest. Mike shows up and says the weekly pool thing is getting boring and if there’s anything Mike knows, it’s how to be boring. Greg and Peter work together to throw Mike in the pool. Mike looks pretty mad so I guess we know which two sons are going to end up getting beaten once filming on the episode is wrapped.
A folk singer named Melanie comes out and sings a song in front of the pool.
Carol comes out and sings a song called Beautiful Noise. Beautiful Noise was only a year old when it appeared on The Brady Bunch Hour. Did someone at the show finally get the memo that trying to make The Brady Bunch look cool by having them sing showtunes from 1920s wasn’t working? As for the song itself, Florence Henderson has a good voice but she still oversings it. In all fairness, it’s hard to blame her for that. That was just her style of singing and it’s not her fault that she was often given songs that really weren’t right for her.
Next up is a weird skit where Ann B. Davis plays Apple Annie, a woman in the 40s who, one day, is given a wooden puppet named Pinocchio who dreams of being a real boy. Christopher Knight plays the puppet while Florence Henderson provides the voice of the fairy godmother who promises that he will someday become a real boy. Then Rip Taylor shows up as a director who wants to turn Pinocchio into a star. Maureen McCormick and and Barry Williams play Pinocchio’s co-stars and somehow, it all ends with everyone singing Ease On Down The Road from The Wiz. This skit goes on forever and it’s painfully unfunny. Cocaine was very popular in the 70s.
We then cut Greg, Peter, and Marcia talking about how Peter never knows what the finale is going to be. This time, Peter swears he knows what the finale is but then he admits that he doesn’t know what the finale is. Greg says, “You never what the finale is,” and OH MY GOD, MAKE IT STOP!
Carol and Mike come out. “Hi, kids are you ready for the finale?”
“I don’t know what the finale is,” Peter replies.
“You never what the finale is,” Mike says….
Anyway, Carol says that the finale is songs about the movies and then everyone scurries off stage. I will never understand why this show always thought it was a good idea to start every finale with everyone running off stage in a panic.
Mike and Carol get things started by singing That’s Entertainment! There’s nothing more hip than that, right?
Speaking of hip, here comes Greg to sing Pinball Wizard! Greg pays homage to Elton John by wearing big sunglasses.
Carol oversings For All We Know, from the 1970 films Lovers and Other Strangers.
The Kroftettes stand around while The Pink Panther theme plays.
The Brady Kids sing Live and Let Die with all of the wholesome enthusiasm of a church youth group.
Rip Taylor sings that annoying Superblahblahblah song from Mary Poppins.
Melanie, looking as if she realizes her career will never recover, sings Over The Rainbow.
And then the entire cast comes out to reprise That’s Entertainment!
And that’s it! This episode actually had potential. Rich Little thinking that he was a Brady Kid could have actually been funny but, in the end, the show didn’t really do much with it. The show tried to liven things up with some songs that had been written after the 20s but the Bradys were so naturally square that it didn’t really make much difference.
Next week: Marcia gets engaged! Awwwwwww!
I swear you are making these plots up! 🙂
Excellent and fun review as always
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