Baby boomers loved the original show and Gen Xers loved the reruns as children and teens. Adults not so much. For a relatively low-rated show, how does everyone still remember every characters’ name? How We All Became the Brady Bunch attempts to explain the show’s enduring popularity.
Every American has perfected the middle girl Jan’s jealous whine of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Who doesn’t remember Marcia’s football to the nose, Bobby’s experience with laundry soap, and Peter’s cracking voice? The moments all seem iconic to me as a watcher at the same age as the youngest son, Bobby during the show’s original run.
The Brady Bunch is still relevant today through memes, SNL skits, and the recent HGTV rehab of the home used for the exterior shots of the Brady house. In addition, all five seasons of the show are on Hulu and all but season five are on Amazon Prime.
How We All Became the Brady Bunch is an excellent outsider look into the Brady enterprise. Secrets I haven’t heard before are included. For example, the show’s producer originally wanted Gene Hackman to play the father but the studio rejected him as being too inexperienced. Gene would go on to win two Best Actor Academy Award for The French Connection and Unforgiven. Instead, Robert Reed was hired. A closeted Shakespearean actor seems like a strange choice for a father on a goofy sitcom. Indeed, Reed himself often battled unsuccessfully over the scripts with the showrunners.
Overall, if you are a fan, you should pick up How We All Became the Brady Bunch. Due to its outsider perspective, it doesn’t have an agenda to push like some of the actor’s memoirs. However, I am taking one star off for the complete absence of photographs. A televised show is by its nature visual. It seems strange to have a book about one not be visual too. 4 stars!
Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.