The Brady Bunch
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although The Brady Bunch is one of TV's most iconic shows, modern kids may find it slow-moving or a little dull. Teens and tweens in particular may find it a bit hokey, with its portraits of ultra-squeaky-clean kids who go to pom-pom girl auditions and hope to win essay contests. But viewers who don't mind the wholesome tone and slow pace will find much to like, in particular the sweetness of the Brady family bonds. There's little to worry parents on The Brady Bunch; even the teen Bradys don't drink, smoke, swear, sneak off to have sex, or sass their parents. Modern viewers will, however, notice some vintage sexism: the Brady boys often tease each other for acting "like a girl." The racial politics of the 1970s are also on display, with characters of color popping up only infrequently, like at a party, where they seem like tokens and not really characters at all.
What's the story?
In the iconic '70s sitcom THE BRADY BUNCH, a blended family tackles all sorts of life challenges together. When widowed architect Mike Brady (Robert Reed) met Carol (Florence Henderson), he knew immediately that she and her three girls -- Marcia (Maureen McCormick), Jan (Eve Plumb), and Cindy (Susan Olsen) -- were a perfect fit for him and his three sons, Greg (Barry Williams), Peter (Christopher Knight), and Bobby (Mike Lookinland). Also along for the ride is chipper housekeeper Alice (Ann B. Davis). Early in the series, the Bradys learn to deal with their new living arrangements, with the boys and girls fighting over bathroom time and chores. In later seasons (the show ran for five years, from 1969 to 1974), the kids deal with personal issues revolving around dating, cliques, and identity.
Is it any good?
Adults will no doubt watch The Brady Bunch with nostalgic fondness, remembering when they first watched the Bradys build a card house, go to Hawaii, or camp in the Grand Canyon. Parents eager for some quality TV may have fun revisiting their favorite episodes with younger viewers, but kids past the tween stage may not see the appeal quite as much.
However, this show is still winningly sweet and may even be refreshing for viewers fed up with the motor-mouthed, sardonic kids on today's television shows. Even though the Brady kids sometimes argue, they're always down for each other in the clinch. They're supportive when things are going right, too: A Brady kid who wins an honor will be treated to backslaps and cheering from his or her sibs. And Mom and Dad are always there to help out when things go wrong, never distracted by email or Facebook. Each show tries to impart a lesson: cheating is bad, you shouldn't accuse someone of a misdeed if you don't know what really happened. The Brady values are timeless, even if some of the hairstyles and outfits have aged badly.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what (and who) should define a family. Parents and stepparents can also discuss the challenges of combining two families. How can new family members find ways to relate to one another? Why is it sometimes hard for kids to accept a stepparent? Do you think the Bradys' family harmony is realistic?
Is the Brady family wealthy or poor? What makes you think that? What kinds of things do the Brady kids have that a poor person wouldn't? What kinds of things do you have that the Brady kids don't?
The Brady Bunch is set in a time before the Internet or do-it-all phones and the family entertains itself in different ways than most modern families. What kinds of things do the Bradys do that your family doesn't? Would you like to try activities like putting on plays in the backyard?