If You Think You Know Everything About the Bradys, Check Out ‘The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch’
There are many entertainment brands out there in danger of overexposure, but The Brady Bunch obviously isn’t one of them. Even after starring in their original Classic TV series 50 years ago, a Saturday morning cartoon version of themselves, their own variety show and even the recent reality series A Very Brady Renovation, there is still more to know about this bunch — as revealed by author Kimberly Potts in her new book, The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch.
Kim, who serves as co-host of the podcast Pop Literacy, admits she did have to carefully consider the idea of giving the world what would be yet another book on the subject, especially since she feels that Barry Williams’ autobiography Growing Up Brady stands a true biography of the show itself.
“For me,” she says, “the statistic that made me most interested in doing a book on The Brady Bunch was that the show had never finished a season higher than 31 in the ratings, and the reason that was such a surprise is just how enduring it is and how influential it continues to be in pop culture. I would say half the book is the history of the show, but just as important is that it’s a history of of how influential it has been on all these other shows, and not just the spinoffs of the show itself, but other pop culture properties that have been impacted by it. Just how many times that opening credit sequence has been paid homage to. So that was really why I thought there needed to be a book that paid tribute to its place in TV history, which it’s earned.”
Kimberly points out that writer/producer Vince Gilligan did an X-Files episode with a Brady Bunch theme, there have been no fewer than five XXX-rated Brady movies, TV sitcoms have done Brady-inspired episodes and, of course, there are all of those spin-offs from the classic series featuring the original cast. The real question is why the show connects the way that it does, because, if one was to be honest, many of those episodes are …. dopey, at best.
“In terms of the episodes themselves,” Kim suggests, “I think, beyond any silliness, it’s the simplicity. People remember them fondly. I know when I was in college, and the episodes were airing, I believe on TBS, we would turn it on and kind of play a game to see who could most quickly remember which episode or what the plotline was. It’s just something that people bond over as comfort food TV. They were simple plotlines where there were two parents and a bonus mom in the form of Alice, who were waiting there for them every single day when they got home from school and whatever their little problem was in the scheme of things, it was the most important thing that was gong on in that household.”
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