‘The Brady Bunch’: Barry Williams Spoke Out on Show’s ‘Cocoon of Idealism’ During 1970s

by Jennifer Shea

“The Brady Bunch” aired at an eventful time in U.S. history, from 1969 to 1974. And “The Brady Bunch” cast became pop culture icons. But the show stayed tightly focused on its sitcom subject matter, never really veering into social commentary like other shows of the time, such as “M*A*S*H.”

Several of the “Brady Bunch” stars spoke to HollywoodChicago.com at a fan convention in 2012. And Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady, talked a bit about the role of the show in the pop culture of its time.

Williams said “The Brady Bunch” was a charming anachronism set amid the tumult of the 1960s and ’70s.

‘The Brady Bunch’ Was a ‘Cocoon of Idealism’

“I was always intrigued by the anachronism our show portrayed,” Williams said. “Because there was so many real problems coming out of the world, especially after the 1960s, when we started, and even through the 1970s and the wind down to Vietnam and the beginnings of Watergate.”

However, Williams said the show floated above the politics of the day. It offered family values and good cheer as the country was falling apart around them.

“We created a little cocoon of idealism, positivism, morality, values and communicated all those things,” he added. “I was and have always been proud of that.”

The Show Coincided With Epic Events

“The Brady Bunch” ended right before the final year of the Vietnam War and the peak of the Watergate scandal.

In 1974, as the show was reaching its end, indictments came down for the Watergate Seven, with then-President Nixon named as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” The House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against Nixon. That August, Nixon resigned, per History.com.

The following April, Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Communist forces. The Americans evacuated and the Vietnam War drew to a close. Ultimately, nearly 60,000 Americans lost their lives in the war. Meanwhile, American soldiers returned to a country bitterly divided.

Some criticized “The Brady Bunch” for glossing over the difficult sociopolitical realities of life in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For example, the show never dealt with the possibility that Greg would get drafted.

But “Brady Bunch” stars such as Williams and Christopher Knight praise the show for providing a bit of decent escapism in a world gone haywire. And they believe the show has stood the test of time.