The Brady Bunch was all about bringing together two families and making one. Over the course of the show, there is plenty of conflict, as you would expect. However, the conflicts were always mild and were wrapped up quickly. The show ran for five seasons. During that time, things didn’t change much. The kids grew up and the parents got older. However, the scripts remained saccharine and somewhat plastic.
At the same time, America was in turmoil. Social tensions and the Vietnam War were driving a wedge through the middle of the population. All the while, The Brady Bunch remained out of touch with anything current. Other shows did this as well. For instance, The Andy Griffith Show never touched on topical issues. However, there was still a feeling of realism in the show. More importantly, the cast and crew enjoyed the stories they were telling.
By the time the fifth and final season rolled around, the cast of The Brady Bunch was ready for a divorce. It all started when they asked for a raise. Sherwood Schwartz, the show’s creator, was having none of that. Things only went downhill from there. You know how it goes. First come the fights over money, then come the fights over everything else.
The downfall of the series was chronicled in the documentary The Brady Bunch Exposed.
The Brady Bunch: A Story About Division and Strife
After the Brady Bunch cast was told that there would be no pay raise, despite good ratings and their successful musical group, things got rough. Because Schwartz wouldn’t budge on a raise, the musical group dissolved.
Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady, was surprised by the change in dynamic. “That’s the kind of stuff that you usually see immediately,” she said about the division between the cast and Schwartz. However, it took five years for it to arise on The Brady Bunch.
Olsen went on to talk about the filming of the first episode of the final season of The Brady Bunch. They shot the episode in an amusement park. There was no security. So, the cast was mobbed by fans while trying to work. Then, people came to their hotel to try to get a peek at them behind the scenes.
Then, the cast started looking at scripts with a critical eye. The Brady Bunch kids were growing up. However, their characters weren’t. At the same time, the parents weren’t allowed to act like real parents. They had to be sweet and never raise their voices. The lack or realism in the show bothered most of the cast.
Tensions continued to build. Finally, The Brady Bunch was cancelled after its fifth season ended.