A Very Brady Renovation
September 8, 2019 10:20 PM   Subscribe

“It’s a strange kind of place between fiction and reality..." Brady house is getting redone to its original state - by the Brady kids. This is making me very happy.
posted by thirdring (51 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I used to live by that house (but more importantly to me - the Boy Meets World house) when I lived in Studio City. It's remarkable how much the house did to hide itself. It still looked like the Brady house no matter what they did though. It had a big gate around it last I saw, but there was no way to escape. I can't imagine what'll happen to the neighborhood after this (although I suppose most Brady fans are dying off at this point).
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:36 PM on September 8


So I guess they’ll be ripping out all the toilets.
posted by um at 10:38 PM on September 8 [11 favorites]


They actually got Eve Plumb to participate in this one!
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 PM on September 8 [5 favorites]


I am unabashedly excited about this,
posted by davidmsc at 10:50 PM on September 8


I used to watch the show all the time as a kid, and then later when I was older and babysat for a child that was obsessed with the re-reruns. As a kid, I thought the show depicted a total normal family. More than that, what a normal family should be like. As I got older, I found the show more and more surreal. No family decides to have a potato sack race in the yard for fun. The father was completely insane. None of his decisions made any sense. That show was crazy, and, for better or worse, it kind of infected my sense of what American family was all about. A lot of older shows were like that.
posted by xammerboy at 11:25 PM on September 8 [17 favorites]


The movie is pretty great at pointing out how nuts this all is, but in an affectionate way.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:29 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


I’m so glad you posted this. I kept seeing ads for it and I assumed they were going to try try to “modernize” it and that made me very sad.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 1:28 AM on September 9


And what becomes of the house, once finished? Turning it into a museum won’t work for the neighborhood, which has suffered enough Brady mania. HGTV is giving away a week’s stay at the house as part of a promotional contest, but beyond that, the network’s plans for the property are unknown.

I'm imagining some sort of spectacular, cathartic ritual. Perhaps a Burning Man-style ritual demolition, with the whole cycle (repurchase, renovation, destruction) acting as an exorcism of midcentury America's psyche. They could invite people to fill it with notes on paper of fears/regrets tied to this era (nuclear proliferation, systematic cheap-oil dependency, the failure of the dreams of the 50s/60s/70s/&c., and so on).

Yes, I did recently catch up on BoJack Horseman episodes; why do you ask?
posted by acb at 3:07 AM on September 9 [8 favorites]


So I guess they’ll be ripping out all the toilets.
posted by um at 1:38 AM on September 9
[1 favorite +] [!]


They actually got Eve Plumb to participate in this one!
posted by Chrysostom at 1:46 AM on September 9
[1 favorite +]


Something something Eve Plumbing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:25 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


although I suppose most Brady fans are dying off at this point

I just turned 47, for cryin' out loud! While I was barely alive for the show's original run, it was on television every single day after school for YEARS. Robert Reed was my first inappropriate celebrity crush. Gah those eyes...

I've already set the recording up and I'm hoping beyond hope that the HGTV talent break into "Sunshine Day."

I think I'll go for a walk outside now...the summer sun's callin my name!
posted by kimberussell at 4:04 AM on September 9 [16 favorites]


If using the Brady house as a Viking funeral for the baby-boomer generation/midcentury America/&c. is not an option, they could always dismantle it and move it, brick by brick, to somewhere where keeping it as a Museum of Baby Boomer Television Culture would not be disruptive.
posted by acb at 4:44 AM on September 9 [5 favorites]


I'm imagining some sort of spectacular, cathartic ritual. Perhaps a Burning Man-style ritual demolition...

Cousin Oliver screams and pounds fruitlessly on the windows inside the burning house as the original cast look on stone-faced
posted by um at 4:49 AM on September 9 [30 favorites]


Eh, they’ll probably just turn it into an expensive airB&B.
posted by rikschell at 4:59 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


This seems like a good opportunity to re-link Pork Chops and Applesauce: Appraising the Brady Bunch's Art Collection.
posted by xingcat at 5:38 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


I saw a lot of Brady-themed TV during my last hotel stay, including an episode of Chopped with the original cast. Does this portend another Brady movie? What are Gary Cole and Shelley Long up to?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:24 AM on September 9


while split-level suburban ramblers are sold as teardowns and thrift stores bulge with unwanted yet meaningfully meaningless mid-century bric-a-brac

At least here in Minneapolis, prices for mid-century houses and bric-a-brac are still rising. Back in the late 90s/early 2000s I sort of accidentally started collecting thrift store fifties-iana and I stopped a few years later because it all started to cost a million dollars. Not two miles from me is a vintage shop specialising in mid-century Pyrex, and let me tell you, it's a going concern.
posted by Frowner at 6:25 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Not two miles from me is a vintage shop specialising in mid-century Pyrex,

When I was working the counter at the antique mall this weekend, a couple from the Mpls area came in, because they were collectors of vintage Tupperware and were hoping they could get it cheap, out here in the boonies, where we haven't yet realized how faded, stained forty-year-old plastic was worth a mint now.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:42 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


I am super excited to watch this but no one in my family is so I'm probably going to have to find a way to sneak-watch it.

Since this is clearly a thread filled by my people, if you haven't seen the Very Brady Episode of Day by Day, it's also worth a watch.
posted by Mchelly at 6:42 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


My favorite Brady trivia... Robert Reed considered himself a serious actor and had no interest in tv. He had friends who made quick cash starting in terrible, unaired pilots. So, he picked the absolute worst script he came across, figuring there was no way it would make it to air. This show was The Brady Bunch.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:04 AM on September 9 [17 favorites]


although I suppose most Brady fans are dying off at this point

Hey, I saw them first run on Friday nights but at 55 probably won't be dying off too soon. Friday nights we had The Brady Bunch and Partridge Family at 8 and the The Odd Couple and Room 222 at 9 but weren't allowed to stay up for Love American Style at 10.
posted by octothorpe at 7:09 AM on September 9 [11 favorites]


Although when I think about it, we are as far from the premier of The Brady Bunch as we were at the time from, for example, D. W. Griffith and Lillian Gish's yellow-face thriller Broken Blossoms or Lubitsch's The Oyster Princess.
posted by octothorpe at 7:25 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Her friend, the songwriter and artist Allee Willis, called Olsen and said, “I’ve got the Wienermobile tomorrow,”

It was at this moment I realized I have shitty friends.

And yes, this hardcore Brady fan is still very much alive.
posted by bondcliff at 7:35 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


One other thing about the Brady Bunch is that it's a startling reminder of the baby boomers' lifestyle and expectations. One working parent as a architect affords a large home, a car, supports six kids, has a maid, and, for the most part, doesn't sweat it financially. It's clear all the kids will go to college or whatever. All of this treated as normal, and I don't think it was a tv trope fantasy. When people wonder what the world will look like when the top 1% don't have all the money, it's the Brady Bunch.
posted by xammerboy at 7:56 AM on September 9 [13 favorites]


This seems like a good opportunity to re-link Pork Chops and Applesauce: Appraising the Brady Bunch's Art Collection.
During the first season, the family room walls are dominated by imposing scenes of duck-filled marshlands, one of them featured in the hotel in the pilot episode, which seems to suggest that the Bradys stole it.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Metafilter?
posted by Melismata at 7:58 AM on September 9 [10 favorites]


All of this treated as normal, and I don't think it was a tv trope fantasy.

I don't know the statistics but at the time for this working class boomer, the land the Brady Bunch lived in might as well have been Mars for how it reflected any live style I knew.
posted by octothorpe at 8:07 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


although I suppose most Brady fans are dying off at this point

Those of us who actually watched the Bradys first run as kids are in their mid 50s to mid 60s . I sure as Hell hope I have more than a few years left before I kick off this mortal coil. Don't forget, The Brady Bunch ran daily in syndication for freaking decades, so there's several generations who grew up on the show.

Hey, I saw them first run on Friday nights but at 55 probably won't be dying off too soon. Friday nights we had The Brady Bunch and Partridge Family at 8 and the The Odd Couple and Room 222 at 9 but weren't allowed to stay up for Love American Style at 10.

Ah, yes. Back in the day when broadcast networks actually scheduled scripted shows on Friday and Saturday nights and received massive ratings. CBS's killer Saturday night lineup (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett) would never happen today.
posted by bawanaal at 8:23 AM on September 9 [6 favorites]


I was born in 1959 (sixty today) and thus pretty much a contemporary of the Bradys (Bobby would've been maybe a year younger than me, Peter a little older). And the fans generally skewed a little younger than actors themselves, so I'd say a typical first-gen Brady Bunch fan would be somewhere between 55-58 today. Not exactly dying off yet, not even retiring unless they've somehow pulled off a Freedom 55.

As a kid, I thought the show depicted a total normal family. More than that, what a normal family should be like. As I got older, I found the show more and more surreal

My first experience of the Bradys would've been around 1970 (age ten or eleven), showing up at school one day and all the other kids were talking excitedly about last night's various shenanigans. I don't think any of us were exactly buying into it as being real or realistic. We all had families. We knew what real was, older siblings who were brutal bullies, dads who got violent, moms who were dying of boredom and meaninglessness, kids our own age who smoked and even drank. Hell, I was doing that by the time I was twelve. But what the Bradys offered, I think, was ...

A. a show in which kids our age were among the lead characters, which was an extreme rarity. We had no Disney Channel, no Nickelodeon etc. Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color came on once a week, for an hour. That was it. Other than that, you had Saturday morning cartoons and the Flintstones (available in prime time), and nothing else comes to mind, except the Partridge Family but they came a little later.

B. The Brady Bunch, for all of its unreality, got one thing right. Families are complicated, even if you're just skimming along the shiny happy surface of things. Living in a house with a complexity of other kids of varying ages and sexes, plus parents (and Alice), all of whom had lives of their own, adventures of their own -- well, there was nothing else like that on TV, had never been, I'm pretty sure. Although I guess Leave It To Beaver hinted at it, but that was just two boys, and mostly the Beave. The Bradys were six kids, three adults. In my immediate neighborhood, I can think of three families like that. And I was one of four kids (blame Catholicism). There were three next door. And so on.
posted by philip-random at 8:25 AM on September 9 [9 favorites]


In re dying-off Brady Bunch fans: The show aired from 1969 to 1974. Figure this means that the core demographic of viewers for the original run was born between, say, 1956 and 1966. We're talking about people ranging from their early 50s to early 60s. A strong concentration of fans of the show in syndication probably goes back to those in their early 40s.
posted by slkinsey at 8:30 AM on September 9


I posted this on FB and someone suggested they should do this with the Little House on the Prairie house. I know they blew up the original, but OMG, I *SO* want them to build a replica now. That would be so amazing. ANd if they made it an AIRBNB I would totally stay there, even if I had to use an outhouse. I would sleep in the loft.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:34 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


The thing that always confused me about the Brady house... How are you gonna make six kids share two tiny bedrooms while maintaining a maid's quarters, two service porches, and a home office that's bigger than my first apartment?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:31 AM on September 9 [7 favorites]


Take a memo: reboot of Brady Bunch, but they live in the Unabomber cabin
posted by thelonius at 9:38 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


My impression is that The Brady Bunch was far more popular in syndication than in its original run (where it never cracked the Nielsen top 30 and was cancelled shortly after reaching the minimum number of episodes to sell it into syndication).

As a syndicated show, it ran weekday afternoons on TBS from 1980 to 1997 (I, a person on the younger side of Gen-X, watched it fairly regularly for some of those years (my favorite episode is 'Bobby's Hero'), on Nick at Nite from 1998 to 2003, etc., etc.

The average Brady Bunch fan is probably a good bit younger than boomer-aged.
posted by box at 9:54 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


I, a person who grew up watching The Brady Bunch in re-runs, viewed the show's set-up as "maybe realistic for some people". My grade school best friend had a part-time housekeeper (her parents were a psychiatrist and an early tech guy). There were large houses in my town, even though we lived in a small one. My family was economically stable and able to take vacations, even though not the kind where you went surfing. I was watching it in the late eighties, and it had a sense of pastness to it, also.

What really struck me as weird was having six kids. Families with three kids were unusual where I grew up - lower middle class and middle-middle class, so a lot of family planning was the norm, taking into consideration how much money you'd need to raise more than one or two children. Six kids was just bizarre, and I had a sort of underlying sense that the adult Bradys were a bit reckless and bad at planning. [in that each of them had elected in previous marriages to have three kids very close together]
posted by Frowner at 10:08 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


The number of Brady kids was the only thing that seemed normal to me in the '70s. I knew tons of families growing up that had more than six kids, at least one with as many as eleven. My best friend had six brothers and sisters in a tiny cape-cod style house; I never quite figured out where they all slept.
posted by octothorpe at 10:13 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


How are you gonna make six kids share two tiny bedrooms while maintaining a maid's quarters, two service porches, and a home office that's bigger than my first apartment?

I was born in 1971 and not only was room sharing much more common, I don't think kids even in my generation were encouraged to air their thoughts on whether the room arrangement in the home was acceptable or not. However, Greg's solution to move to the attic is a pretty realistic response. There's one in every family. :)
posted by warriorqueen at 10:14 AM on September 9 [9 favorites]


Sure, Mike Seaver moved over the garage.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:24 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


The number of Brady kids was the only thing that seemed normal to me in the '70s. I knew tons of families growing up that had more than six kids, at least one with as many as eleven. My best friend had six brothers and sisters in a tiny cape-cod style house; I never quite figured out where they all slept.

This made me very curious, so TIL: In 1976, 40% of mothers aged 40-44 (so presumably at the end of childbearing) had four or more children, but by the time my mother was in her mid-forties, that percentage had dropped to 13%. That is quite a thing.
posted by Frowner at 10:27 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


[in that each of them had elected in previous marriages to have three kids very close together]

I wasted several minutes on this, and it looks like canonically, their birth years are:

Greg 1955
Peter 1957
Bobby 1962

Marcia 1956
Jan 1959
Cindy 1962

So, I wouldn't call those very close together? I mean, if you're going to have three kids, a 2 then 5 year gap, or a 3 and then 3 year gap seems pretty reasonable.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 AM on September 9 [2 favorites]


The decline in size of families has, much like the shift from single income to dual income households, been used to mask the decline in real wages for the middle and working class.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:31 AM on September 9 [4 favorites]


That house is hideous from the front - the overwhelming window-less top part (with a fake window added for the show -tv designers have better taste) and the low slung windows along the single story side. Then look at the backyard - the house is 10X more attractive. Very Baby Boomer in design.

Also apparently their house was 2400 sq feet. The median new single-family home in the US is 200 sq ft larger.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:10 PM on September 9


I have a sort of hate-hate relationship with The Brady Bunch stemming from first grade, thanks to the daughter of a neighborhood woman who did after-school child care for me and several other kids. Her daughter, a year younger than me, was the Absolute Ruler of the television and thus we all watched what SHE wanted to watch, so every single day after school was two hours of The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley until Mom came to pick me up.
posted by telophase at 1:12 PM on September 9


(although I suppose most Brady fans are dying off at this point).

I know everyone has already quibbled this comment, but I love it and intend to start casually dropping it into conversations about any relics of pop culture that predate me even slightly (I suppose most Simpsons fans are dying off at this point, etc).
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:44 PM on September 9 [8 favorites]


I was 6 when they went off the air and have a fuzzy memory of The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family on at night. I think maybe The Flintstones, too? Being 6 I probably was going to bed at 9. I saw all of them over and over in syndication, for sure.

The house itself was not unreal. There weren't a lot of open staircases in my neighborhood, but I could imagine them in Sacramento, where my grandma lived and had houses more of the Brady's vintage.

The Brady Bunch Movie is the best TV-to-Movie conversion so far, period. It's 99% perfect, dinged only because Mike is written a little too dumb.
posted by rhizome at 5:53 PM on September 9 [1 favorite]


Wait, I assumed that they were doing the INSIDE of the house to look like the old house. And I thought "huh, I would have guessed they used a fake interior in a studio, but I guess if they're doing the house it was an actual house." I was also surprised because that house looks backwards to me -- based on where the staircase and front of the house are, I expected the two-story portion of the house to be on the right. Anyway, if this is just the house they used for exterior shots and they're not redoing it into some 1970s time capsule, then I don't see the point.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:49 PM on September 9


I watched the first episode tonight.

They are taking the old house used for exterior shots of the front of the "Brady House" in the show and renovating its exterior back to how it looked when the show was made, and the interior to look as much like the sets from the show as possible.

To do this, they are adding a big addition in the back that is two stories. Their work is being done so that from the street, the house will maintain its original TV show look when everything is completed. The interior rooms, while matching up with the sets as much as possible, with not all match the house's TV show layout. For instance, Greg's attic room will be in the basement.
posted by Fukiyama at 8:28 PM on September 9 [2 favorites]


Not much is ever made of the Brady Bunch Curse, either here or on other internet outlets.

The Brady Bunch Curse is simply that anyone who watches the Brady Bunch either on its first run or through syndication, eventually dies.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:01 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I watched as much of the first episode as I could and holy shit, Bobby looks like Homer Simpson and nobody was chill.
posted by rhizome at 8:52 AM on September 10


Did you all see the clip of Greg painting and Alice opening the door and having her face painted? Does this answer the age old MeFi question of what show that painting scene was from or am I thinking of another question?
posted by kimberussell at 5:23 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I didn’t watch this, but I did see some cross-promotion on “Worst Cooks in America”. They had Brady trivia and asked the cooktestants which Brady got hit in the face with a football, to which 2 members of one of the teams both answered “Tom!”
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:14 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I don't have cable, so I guess I won't be seeing this new show. I had thought for years that the house was on a backlot of some studio, like Universal, not in a real neighborhood. I'm sure all the neighbors are thinking, "Yeah, thanks a lot." Aside from Marcia's "OH! MY NOSE!", I need to be reminded of any of the show's stories, though it was on every weekday afternoon when I got home from school that I can remember, from my mid-70s kindergarten to my senior year of college in the early 90s. I was too young to have seen it during its original network run.

Absolutely tangentially, I scratched a nostalgia itch on YouTube the other day, and watched a clip from Kidd Video where the guy who played Cousin Oliver sang lead. I hadn't realized that he'd sung at all! He had a pretty good voice.

They actually got Eve Plumb to participate in this one!
posted by Chrysostom at 1:46 AM on September 9 [5 favorites +] [!]

I just found out one of my friends is, at least, Facebook friends with her, and most likely real friends with her. She had some back and forth in the comments of a post my friend made, and I thought, "Hey, she looks fa-oh my god, that's Jan Brady!"

posted by droplet at 6:47 PM on September 10


Episode two was the kids' rooms and the bathroom along with Mike's den. Cindy and Peter were involved with the bedrooms and Greg was involved with the den since he spent so much time there in the show with Mike learning life lessons.

They've done a nice job so far not only making the rooms look authentic with period furnishings, carpeting, wallpaper, etc., but also showing what they've had to do where there wasn't anything to work off of, namely the fourth wall where the cameras were.

One of the highlights of each episode so far is they show where they were able to crowdsource a particular object. Last night it was the giraffe from the girls' room that someone had bought fifty years ago for a child and had been passed down.
posted by Fukiyama at 8:01 AM on September 17 [2 favorites]


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