‘The Brady Bunch’: Robert Reed’s Growing Nitpicks Led to Major Issues with Show’s Director

by Madison Miller

“The Brady Bunch” is a lighthearted show about a big family getting through life. It was inherently happy, avoiding any overly dark or serious topics.

However, under the surface there was a tirade of issues between a star of the show and the director.

Robert Reed and Sherwood Schwartz Tension

Robert Reed played the patriarch of the show, Mike Brady. He spent the portion of the five-seasons arguing about different aspects of the show. Eventually, things got especially rocky with the show’s creator, Sherwood Schwartz.

According to the Archive of American Television, the bitterness that Reed felt was mostly directed at both Schwartz and his producer son, Lloyd. The bitterness came from Reed believing that his acting prowess is above “The Brady Bunch” and he should instead be starring in major movie roles.

Throughout the show, Reed would insist on making sure that every single fact was 100% accurate. He would stop production and plop down with an encyclopedia just to be able to double-check everything.

“[Reed’s] tirades and his arguments dragged the whole cast down. In fact, in the last episode of the show, he doesn’t even appear. He’s not in it at all, because he objected to the basic story,” Schwartz said.

Written Out of an Episode

It all came to an uncomfortable point when Reed aggressively insisted that he would not be acting in one of the episodes that had been written.

The episode in question was about the youngest Brady kid, Bobby, selling hair tonic to make money. He sold it to his brother Greg and in turn made his hair turn green the day before his high school graduation.

It was the very last episode of the series, but it was apparently the breaking point for Reed who couldn’t even suffer through the show’s final episode.

“Bob Reed called and said, ‘Outlandish story, unbelievable, ridiculous, and I won’t do the show. He didn’t tell me this the week before; the morning of the show, he calls and tells me he won’t do the show,” Schwartz said.

The result was a quickly adapted script that left Mike Brady out of the entire situation.

Drunk on Set

While his behavior on set got him written out of the final episode, it wasn’t his only issue while being a part of “The Brady Bunch.”

In fact, the book “The Way We All Became the Brady Bunch: How the Canceled Sitcom Became the Beloved Pop Culture Icon We Are Still Talking About Today” revealed another side of Reed.

According to the author, Kimberly Potts, Reed was often drunk while he was filming the show. He would also often surprise those who were watching filming with very sudden outbursts.

He would spend his lunch breaks drinking and come back intoxicated, which often left Schwartz to have to cancel filming. This was happening in addition to often demanding to have lines be rewritten if he didn’t like them.

Schwartz once wrote that the house smelled like “strawberry heaven.” However, Reed fact-checked and found that strawberries don’t have a smell when being cooked. The line was changed to “it looks like strawberry heaven in here.”

It seemed like Reed added a bunch of conflict to the set of “The Brady Bunch.”

H/T: Canoe, Showbiz CheatSheet