‘The Brady Bunch’: Florence Henderson Said People ‘Failed to Realize’ What Show Was About

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Fans can slice up The Brady Bunch and dissect details for its pop culture impact. But the actress who portrayed the show’s mother said the series always had a basic concept.

And that basic concept was about a family. Granted, there was nothing basic about a blended family with six children, a couple of parents, a live-in, wise-cracking housekeeper, and an occasional dog.

The late Florence Henderson said people often missed what the show was about. She chatted about this and other Brady Bunch thoughts and details during an interview with the Archive of American Television 10 years ago.

Take it away Carol Brady:

“It was about the blending of two families,” Henderson said of the show. “I don’t think it had ever been done before. That’s what I think the show is about. How they all got along. How they all had to use one bathroom. I had to learn to do that, too, being one of 10 children.

“It was about sharing. There’s always a little moral. We solved a problem in 26 minutes. I remember once in a show, in the second year, a critic wrote to me, saying ‘I don’t know why anyone picks on this little show. I like it, my kids like it. What is wrong with teaching kids to tell the truth, to honor their parents.”

“‘They fight with their brothers and sisters to make up.’ And he just listed all the things the show was about,” she continued. “And I think a lot of people failed to realize what the show was about.”

Florence Henderson Dropped Other ‘Brady Bunch’ Details

But then again, Florence Henderson wasn’t sure herself about how to perfectly describe The Brady Bunch.

“It’s not your average sitcom, not a farce, not a drama,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what you would call it. Something that strikes a chord in people’s hearts.”

The Brady Bunch ran from 1969-74. But it’s kept alive every day on cable network and streaming services. For context, Susan Olsen, the youngest actor of the Brady kids, turns 60 this summer. People still are watching Cindy Brady when she still was “in curls.”

Henderson also revealed some show details. Pre Brady Bunch, Mike was a widower and Carol was a widow. There’s always speculation about whether Carol was divorced before she met Mike. Their previous relationships weren’t a Brady Bunch plotline.

And all that curly hair on the Brady Bunch, primarily on the male side, save for Cindy, was real, not permed.

During this interview, Florence Henderson came across as maternal and protective of her TV family. That apparently was the case in real life, too. The Brady Bunch kids might as well have been her blood.

Brady Kids Said They Never Wanted to Disappoint TV Mom

Christopher Knight, who played middle-son Peter, once said he would never embarrass Henderson or Robert Reed, who portrayed Mike Brady. He made the comments in 2019, during an appearance on Australian television.

“With Florence and Bob (Robert Reed), these are people you didn’t want to disappoint,” Knight said of his Brady Bunch parents. “And as my wife out in the audience can attest, Florence, bless her soul, was not a person, even right before she passed away, was not a person I wanted to disappoint.”

He then mentioned a project Barry Williams, aka Greg, accepted. It involved a boxing match with a member of the Partridge Family.

“Barry said yes to something I said no to, and that was boxing,” Knight recalled. “She thought it was embarrassing, just embarrassed himself, he embarrassed us Bradys. (Henderson) had her own family and we were hers. She was like that.”

Henderson died in 2016. She was 82. Henderson had four children of her own and six via a TV career.

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