It’s Musical Week at What Else is On! Let all the singing and all the dancing begin with Broadway’s Seth Rudetsky deconstructing a baffling example of televised musical performance.
The Brady Bunch ended its run in 1974. The show was never a major hit, and even at its time was recognized as a sub-par show.1 In 1976, ABC had a hit with Donny and Marie, one of many variety shows that populated the mid-70s television landscape.
Also populating the landscape: time-share opportunities known as wheel series. NBC had a mystery movie rotation of Columbo and McMillan & Wife. ABC tried the same with shows based on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and decided to complement the rotation with a variety show. Sure, why not? Also why not: have that show star the Brady Bunch. Uhhhhh….
For six ill-conceived installments, the cast of the Brady Bunch (except for Eve Plumb) were in a musical revue with synchronized swimmers, disco medleys, and an alarming amount of Rip Taylor. I could go into a deep analysis of this, but that would be duplicating the efforts of Broadway’s Seth Rudetsky. There are two fantastic videos of his analysis of the fabulous awfulness of the series:
First, a description of baffling choreography:
Over at Broadyway World, he offers a fuller deconstruction of the series as a whole. Thank you, Seth Rudetsky. You are doing the Lord’s work.
- My favorite example of shade thrown the Bradys’ way: an episode of Mary Tyler Moore referencing an insipid show known as “The Clancy Clan.” ↵