The Bradys made it to the book "bad TV" by Craig Nelson (no relation to Alice).

First, "The Brady Bunch" was listed in the chapter "The BAD Classics (That's Why We Loved Them) Hall of Fame.

     "The Brady Bunch," 1969.  In the 1970's, while everyone else was watching socially relevant sitcoms like "All in the Family" and Maude, a group of kids was enthralled with one 1950s holdover.  These kids wanted a little more Hugh Beaumont and a little less Carroll O'Connor, and they turned "The Brady Bunch" into one America's cultural sensations.  However, the ever-growing popularity of this show (which, at least in New York City, can now bee seen on three different channels in syndication) should be alarming for anyone who preaches "family values," since "The Brady Bunch" has immense appeal for any child whose home life is turbulent, who feels ignored, and who wants to commit incest--obviously a much bigger niche than anyone ever imagined.

     First off, anyone who's ever been in contact with a family the size of the Bradys understands both the reason for birth control and the fear of real violence: screaming fits, tears, punches thrown, flying toys and furniture, even broken limbs are everyday occurrences in a big family.  Unlike real siblings however, the Brady kids don't hate each other's guts.  They merely have (on rare occasions) mild spats.  Some (including the actress who played her) believe the youngest one in curls is the stupidest child in the history of television- yet no Brady every tried to slap some sense into her.

     Secondly, the Brady adults never seem to ever work, or have any kind of life of their own.  They're parenting twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  That means that, if you're a Brady child, there are mobs of siblings, parents, and a maid just waiting to help with your incredibly trivial problems.  As a Brady you'll never walk alone.  

     Finally, the show's only real tension (since even the Beaver got into more trouble than these kids) is sex.  The Brady creators brilliantly divvied up the half-siblings along gender lines, and evenly paired them off.  For every brunette Brady boy there's an equivalent, not-related-by-blood, blond Brady girl.  It's an entire family of couples (even the seemingly sex-free Alice got her plumber (author's mistake--we all know Sam was a butcher), and the kids' pairings practically hit you over the head with an undertone illicit sex.

     Every fan know the greatest benefit of being a Brady:  never going dateless on a Saturday night.

Then "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour" was listed as the worst variety show ever...

     "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour," 1977.  Even those who loved "The Brady Bunch (a pretty BAD show after all) thought this was beyond belief; if you can imagine the stars of "Roseanne" singing, dancing, and starring in their variety hour, you'll have a bare idea of what's in store for you here.  Produced by Sid and Marty Krofft (a pair who deserve their own special BAD TV award; see also Donny and Marie, Pink Lady & Jeff, The Bugaloos, and Lidsville) with Krofft signature larger-than-life-sized puppets, Lawrence Welk-styled medleys, the worst writing in the history of network television, and the kind of dancing you and your kid sister did late at night in your bedroom when no one else was watching, "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour's" centerpiece was a swimming pool, and the pilot promised "sixty minutes of songs and swimming with America's wettest family!"

     The Bradys were all dressed in the worst excesses of the seventies: necklaces and giant collars for the boys; peach Qiana vests and apricot polyester elephant bells for the kids; white disco suit studded with mirrors for Robert Reed; very tight gold lame and wedgies for Florence Henderson; a maid's uniform for long-suffering Ann B. Davis (whose humiliating musical number involved blond pigtails, rouge dots for freckles, a gingham frock, and a plague of enormous cowboy and farmgirl Krofft puppets).  Who but those wacky Kroffts would have thought up these guest stars:  Donny and Marie (on roller skates), Tony Randall, Rip Taylor, Rick Dees (singing his novelty hit "Disco Duck" and the unsuccessful follow-up "Discorilla"), the child stars of "What's Happening!!" and a midget-all in the first two episodes!

     The canned, hyperenthusiastic audience applause and gales of laughter at every possible moment is so grossly inappropriate, it only makes everything seem worse--as if that were possible.

Taken from "bad TV" by Craig Nelson
Published by Dell Publishing
Copyright 1995

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