We all know and love The Brady Bunch. That almost-annoyingly wholesome family growing together from the late sixties into the early happening seventies with big fros and flared pants.
It starred Florence Henderson as Carol Brady - the ever patient housewife of whom I am never sure what she actually does.
Tragic figure Robert Reed played loving-yet-stern architect father Mike Brady and Ann B. Davies played the frenetic housekeeper Alice who had a thing for butchers.
Then of course there are children - Jan, Cindy, Greg, Peter, Bobby and Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
But did you know the spin offs from the Brady Bunch that occurred from the series end in 1974 all the way to 1990?
Time for a history lesson in some useless pop culture you can use to ruin the next dinner party you are invited to.
Spin Off One
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour
It aired from 1976-1977 and it must have seemed like a very good idea when it was first floated in that smoke-filled TV executive board meeting.
What if all the Brady Bunch cast members were re-united for an hour long, song-filled and laugh-a-minute variety??
Except, for starters, they couldn’t get all the cast back and the role of Jan was played by until then unknown actress and fellow blonde - Geri Reischi.
The show began as a 60-minute special titled The Brady Bunch Variety Hour on November 28, 1976. This special led to eight additional 60-minute episodes produced and aired as The Brady Bunch Hour from January to May 1977.
So here’s the 411. The Bradys move out of their familiar home and into a beach side home somewhere in Southern California, after they were chosen to star in a new variety series for ABC.
Mike Brady also leaves his architectural career, in order to become a full-time musician.
In addition to the variety show are "behind-the-scenes" sketches of the Bradys at home. Some of these sketches connect to the variety show segments, while others are stand-alone. The entire cast took part in sketches and musical numbers.
I really can’t do any more to explain this - you just have to watch it yourself.
Spin Off Two
The Brady Brides.
The Brady Brides or alternatively titled, The Brady Girls Get Married was initially intended as a single made-for-television movie to be shown in 1982. But at the last minute, the network NBC decided to carve up what they had produced into three half-hour long shows shown weekly which later spun off on itself to be 10 episodes in total - all shown in 1981.
The reunion movie featured the entire original cast; this would prove to be the only time the entire cast worked together on a single project following the cancellation of the original series.
The movie shows what the characters had been doing since the original series ended: Mike is still an architect, Carol is a real estate agent, Marcia is a fashion designer, Jan is also an architect, Greg is a doctor, Peter is in the Air Force, Bobby and Cindy are in college, and Alice has married Sam. Eventually they all reunite to see Jan and Marcia both marry in a double wedding.
You just have to love the double wedding - reminds me of some South Korean cult.
So where do you get entertainment from this concept worth 10 episodes? Well.
What could possibly go wrong with a winning formula such as this?
The series begins with Marcia, Jan and their new husbands buying a house and living together. The clashes between Jan's uptight husband, Phillip Covington III (a college professor in science who is several years older than Jan), and Marcia's slovenly husband, Wally Logan (a fun-loving salesman for a large toy company), were the pivot on which many of the stories were based, not unlike The Odd Couple.
A TV show with a similar premise to another show that already succeeded? That doesn’t sound like the TV industry I know.
Spin Off Three - The Best For Last
What would happen if you turned the story of grown up innocent children of the innocent Brady household into a scandal-ridden drama-soap opera?
What you get is forgotten TV Magic.
The Bradys was a six-episode American drama series that aired on CBS in 1990. Yes by this time the Brady franchise had traversed all the major networks in America.
Once again there was one replacement - for Maureen McCormack, who played Marcia, refused to come to the party this time (there is always one isn’t there) and was replaced by Leah Ayers.
Unlike the original thirty-minute sitcom, The Bradys was an hour long and featured far more serious plot lines.
Family patriarch Mike begins a political career.
Bobby's budding car-racing career ends abruptly in the first episode after an accident leaves him a paraplegic. As he recovers, he marries his college girlfriend.
Peter breaks up with his fiancée, to whom he became engaged in A Very Brady Christmas.
Jan and Phillip, unable to conceive children of their own, adopt a Korean girl.
Stay-at-home mother Marcia battles alcoholism while Wally loses yet another in a series of jobs, the latest being Mike's campaign manager. Wally and Marcia, who along with their two children have been forced to move in with Mike and Carol, eventually decide to open their own catering business to support their family.
Radio host Cindy begins a romantic interest with her boss, a widower more than 10 years her senior who has two children.
But get this - even with this hullabaloo of “serious story-telling” - the producers of the show still managed to squeeze in a laugh track at what they thought were appropriate moments.