‘The Brady Bunch’: Why the Series Was Once Compared to a Math Problem

by Amy Myers

It wasn’t an episode of The Brady Bunch unless the family solved the kids’ problems and wrapped up the final scene with a hearty laugh and genuine lesson for the children. As the seasons continued, fans knew the formula of each episode. One or a few of the kids would have to face a fairly easy-to-solve problem, they would get themselves deeper in trouble before reaching out for help and would learn a valuable life lesson at the end.

While it may sound repetitive, the basic plotline of The Brady Bunch commonly appears in family sitcoms today. Knowing that the family’s situation would resolve no matter what gives the viewers peace of mind. Not to mention, it also made their own problems seem conquerable.

‘The Brady Bunch’ Formula Explained

As the show grew in popularity, producers found the show most resonated with younger audiences. So, they made their show more available to kids by airing it on Friday nights. According to the documentary, The Brady Bunch: Exposed, by the show’s second season, the cast and crew remained dedicated to solving kids’ everyday problems in a half-hour or less with a happy ending.

“Unless you have a two-parter,” aid actress Ann B. Davis, who portrayed the Bradys’ housekeeper, Alice added. “And then you gotta leave a little hook at the end for that.”

However, sometimes this forces kids to have unrealistic expectations about their problems in real life.

“My daughter, when having turned 14 asked me, ‘Dad, why aren’t you like that at home?'” Robert Reed, who played Brady father Mike, shared. “And I say, ‘You don’t give me a 28-minute problem.”

Despite its time restrictions, The Brady Bunch tried its best to demonstrate realistic resolutions to common problems that kids of all ages faced.

Mike and Carol’s Marriage Was Another Iconic Element of the Show

Besides teaching the Brady children valuable lessons, another classic element of every ending to The Brady Bunch episodes was the affection between the mother and father, Mike and Carol Brady. Frequently, the show would end with the married couple sharing a kiss or an intimate moment, which at the time was quite new and verging on risqué.

However, the show felt it was important to show a loving relationship between the parents in the household. In reality, though, this posed some difficulty for the actors, especially Robert Reed. Reed, who at the time struggled to keep his sexuality a secret, was nervous nearly every time there was a “love scene,” as Florence Henderson, the actress behind Carol Brady, put it.

“Sometimes I would see Bob’s heart actually beating through his pajamas,” Henderson remembered. “My concern was that he was a nice human being for the most part on the set. He was a good friend, and he was a great actor.”