America loves reunions of The Brady Bunch, whether it’s in the form of the animated The Brady Kids Saturday morning cartoon, the oh-so-strange The Brady Bunch Variety Hour or HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovationamong numerous others). Needless to say, the audience is hungry for more, and will be getting it in HGTV’s forthcoming A Very Brady Christmas Special (not, it should be pointed out, the official title) with the possibility of more on the way. But anyone expecting more scripted adventures of Greg, Marcia, Jan, Peter, Bobby and Cindy are in for quite the disappointment.

“We’ll never play our characters again,” proclaimed Susan Olsen, who played Cindy, exclusively to Closer Weekly at the Hollywood Museum’s tribute to Gilligan’s Island for that show’s 55th anniversary. “It was wonderful working together again on A Very Brady Renovation and not playing the characters. That was the best part about it and why I think we had so much fun.”

For Susan, it became clear that it was far more enjoyable being themselves rather than acting their most famous roles beginning in 1995 when Brady Bunch Home Movies was released. The origin of that special came about due to the fact that during production of the original 1969-1974 series, the late Robert Reed (subject of an in-depth profile by Closer) gave each of his young co-stars their own personal movie cameras to shoot home movies, which they did. A lot. Wonderfully, they held on to those movies and they were all compiled into the special.

“I wanted people to meet the people behind the characters,” Susan said, “because I think they’re far better. But HGTV has really succeeded in showing the people that created the characters. They did everything so well and the show is really good. I’ve never had such a pleasant and professional and kind and giving working experience. HGTV is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, so they’re not like the Hollywood types. They’re super nice.”

Not as nice, as far as she’s concerned, would be the notion of playing Cindy again. “I can guarantee you that we won’t be playing the Bradys,” she laughs. “I know I won’t. Once we were allowed to be ourselves, there’s no going back. Every time we go back to play those characters, it stinks!”

Wait … what are you saying, Susan? What about The Brady Girls Get Married, The Brady Brides, A Very Brady Christmas or The Bradys? “I’m sorry,” she replied, not sounding like she really is, “but people watch because it’s just like a car accident: Everyone slows down to see how bad it is, but none of us have the desire to play those characters.”

When pressed about the Christmas special, Susan seemed to recognize the real role that she and her “siblings” play in it: “It’s all about the house. The house is the star and HGTV knows how to show their star. We are the supporting characters. But it’s so easy to trust them in anything they want to do. I completely trust HGTV.”

By keeping The Brady Bunch alive in the way they’re doing, we trust HGTV too.

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