The Greg Brady Project

Welcome to the official Barry Williams' blog

My friends call me Barry. From time to time I also hear the name Greg. Yeah, as in Greg Brady. The Brady Bunch represents a fun time in my life. But it’s only part of the story. There’s more to say and that’s what The Greg Brady Project is all about – a place to say it. So, I’ve invited some friends to join me and share their perspectives on the Brady’s, the 70′s and just about everything else. Now, I’m inviting you…

06 May
Bob Hunt

The Brady Six

written by Bob Hunt in Blog, The Brady Bunch, greg | 5 comments

The Cincinnati Kids. Hawaii Bound. Pass the Tabu. The Tiki Caves. The Subject Was Noses. You might know the five aforementioned Brady Bunch episodes by the key words King’s Island, Hawaii, and Oh, my nose! Time and again as I interviewed fans who were gathered for a recent personal appearance by Barry, these shows were cited as personal favorites. Although I would agree that each of them is a classic, none of them appears in my Brady Six.

The Brady Six is your personal top-six list of favorite Bunch episodes. There is only one criterion for inclusion: each episode you choose should be one that you never tire of watching, the sort of show that causes you to be delighted as the opening credits conclude and you realize that one of the best Brady Bunchesever is on the air. While compiling my own list, I noticed that five of my six favorites include Greg in a prominent role. I swear on my tiki idol that my list would still be the same if I were blogging for the Cindy Brady Project! Here, then, presented in the order in which they originally aired, is my Brady Six.

“She always said don’t play ball in the house.”

CONFESSIONS, CONFESSIONS

Unlike Mom’s favorite vase, this second season gem has no flaws. From the opening sequence of wastebasket ball gone awry to Peter’s last-minute admittance of guilt, the episode is thoughtfully crafted and thoroughly entertaining. The wonderful tension that builds as the kids wonder if they can successfully conceal Peter’s misdeed is further exaggerated when Carol decides that her new flowers deserve to be displayed on the dining table in the recently reassembled vase. The payoff is the classic dinner scene, in which the kids attempt to innocently stuff their faces while nonchalantly ignoring the extraordinary fountain in their midst. Then the tension builds anew, with Peter’s siblings taking the heat and Mike and Carol wondering just how far their middle boy is willing to take his deceit in order to keep a coveted camping trip. With memorable lines (including Peter’s profession of an interest in flower arranging) and a fantastic nightmare loop of the vase getting smashed ad infinitum, this episode takes its rightful place among my Brady Six.

Losing the big bet.

THE BIG BET

From the third season comes this Brady variation on The Tortoise and the Hare, in which overconfident Greg fails to recognize the real threat of Bobby’s zealous training for their upcoming chin-up competition. Once Greg suffers his humiliating defeat, the real fun begins, since he is honor bound to do whatever Bobby tells him to do for an entire week. Naturally, Bobby is soon corrupted by his newfound power and provides Greg with the fodder to embark on an increasingly hostile series of slow burns. We strike sitcom riches when Greg is forced to take Bobby along on his date with Rachel. Mike Lookinland gives one of his best performances, managing to make Bobby truly obnoxious and yet endearingly entertaining at the same time. And really, what Brady fan can see a convertible these days and not think of umbrellas?

Distance lends enchantment!

CYRANO DE BRADY

My favorite single episode from the entire Brady canon. The golden moment for me is when Jan’s friend Kerry, perplexed by Peter’s fawning appearance outside her window, asks why he is standing so far away. Peter nervously relays the query to Greg, who is hidden in the bushes a la Cyrano de Bergerac. Greg responds with the poetic, “Distance lends enchantment,” which Peter clearly finds incomprehensible. His mindless repetition of Greg’s phrase makes me laugh every time I see it. Add to this highlight the concluding soap opera featuring Greg as a predatory ladies man in his “working threads” and Marcia portraying the tragic other woman, and you have what is arguably the funniest Brady Bunch episode.

Pepperoni Frog Pizza

GREG GETS GROUNDED

This show features what may be the funniest sight and sound gag in the whole series: the guttural splat of a meaty frog upon Greg and Rachel’s drive-in pizza. The circumstances leading up to that improbable moment revolve around Greg’s stubborn refusal to admit that he was unaware that he had done anything wrong when he borrowed a friend’s car during his own grounding from the family car. Mike and Carol find a novel punishment for their loophole-loving son by insisting that he adhere to exact words from that point forward (Mike’s paternal sternness reaches a height we haven’t seen since Bobby ruined the roof of the convertible). Of course, Greg finds that abiding by his own words with a lawyer’s precision is not to his liking. Along the way, we get to enjoy some amphibian fun with the other kids and a classic piece of frog-under-the-hat slapstick from Alice.

There’s a lot of bread in those threads.

ADIOS, JOHNNY BRAVO

The definitive Greg episode, wrapped by bonus performances by the kids of the unreleased tunes You’ve Got to Be in Love to Love a Love Song and Good Time Music. In between is a tale of hubris and disillusionment in which a flattered and unsuspecting Greg nearly becomes a mere moneymaking cog in the pop music industry machine. Ironic, too, since the real-life Brady Kids had by then already suffered the inanity of crass commercial decisions (viz, American Pie from Meet the Brady Bunch). Once again, Greg’s voyage beyond reason ends when he comes back down to Earth and understands what Mike and Carol have been telling him all along. From the music to the plot to satisfaction of another Brady life lesson learned, this episode has it all. And if we could all agree on a handful of iconic images from all five seasons, surely the sight of Greg wearing the absurd Johnny Bravo matador vest would be one of them.

What’s that wild scent you’re wearing?

PETER AND THE WOLF

If anyone ever claims that The Brady Bunch was not a funny show, I submit this episode as evidence to the contrary. The transformation of eager and inexperienced Peter into eager and inexperienced Phil Packer (Pete + mustache = Phil) is hysterical. Greg’s “Casanova of Clinton Avenue” coolness is the perfect foil for Peter’s hyperventilating enthusiasm, and another classic drive-in moment makes my Brady Six as Peter attempts to duplicate Greg’s smooth moves without success. Topping this is the revenge of Sandra and her cousin Linda, who fawn over Peter at the pizza parlor as Greg looks on helplessly. With the arrival of Mike and Carol on the scene (entertaining Mike’s clients, no less!) heightening the farce, Peter and the Wolf is one for the Brady Hall of Fame.

 

5 Comments

    Eric Greenberg
    on May. 6th, 2008

    I’m sure I’ll change my mind later, but here goes:

    “Where There’s Smoke”
    (Banana Convention)

    “Double Parked ”
    (Save Woodland Park)

    “Getting Davy Jones”

    “Adios, Johnny Bravo”

    “Mail Order Hero”
    (Joe Namath)

    “Getting Greg’s Goat”

    Brian
    on May. 6th, 2008

    Picking a top six is difficult, because there are so many great episodes. After much thought, here’s my top six.

    My Sister, Benedict Arnold
    “Filmore Junior High!”

    Getting Davy Jones
    How can you argue with an episode that includes DJ singing “Girl”?

    Today, I am a Freshman
    ” I’m looking forward to the intellectual stimulation.”

    Cyrano de Brady

    Greg Gets Grounded

    Peter and the Wolf

    I share three of my favorites with Bob, including my favorite, and his, Cyrano de Brady. Of course, I’m not surprised, as we spent a lot of time watching these episodes together.

    Bob Hunt
    on May. 7th, 2008

    Yes, narrowing it down to a mere six favorites can be a painful process, as some truly great episodes must be left out. “Where There’s Smoke,” for example, has not only the Banana Convention and the mysterious pack of cigarettes in Greg’s jacket but also the great L.Schwartz / B. Williams composition “Til I Met You.” Likewise, Davy Jones holding onto his headphones and warbling “Girl” is a moment for the National TV Archives. And the great “F-F-F-I-L” cheer from “My Sister, Benedict Arnold”? Classic. Plus, I’ve always loved “Getting Greg’s Goat” for its skillfully executed farce and its revelation of another (rather mischievous) side of Mike – and no wonder, as Robert Reed directed.
    It’s true that brother Brian and I have enjoyed quite a few Bunch episodes together. In the interest of full disclosure, I believe he prefers “The Partridge Family” (no hate mail, please). Recently, Brian and I sat through the entire pilot episode of “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour” and enjoyed every minute of it.

    [...] while back we asked you to name your Brady Six, the sextet of classic episodes that you consider to be the best of the Bunch.  Now it’s [...]

    David H.
    on Jan. 12th, 2009

    I love this idea of choosing six shows, though as a lifelong Brady fan I knew it would be a challenge. After more careful consideration than I gave to my last tax return, here are my Brady 6:

    1. Amateur Night
    The Silver Platters’ performance of “Sunshine Day” is my single favorite moment on the show. I also love the blooper when the kids are rehearsing in the garage, when Maureen says “Chris” instead of “Peter” and then laughs at her mistake.

    2. Father of the Year
    The moment when Mike realizes why Marcia has been misbehaving (to make sure she mailed the Father of the Year entry from in time) is the only time I get a little choked up watch The Brady Bunch. Her smile just beams as she looks at her new father. *sniff*

    3. The Private Ear
    Pete’s line to Greg, “Read any good books lately?” always makes me laugh. I’ve always thought the Peter episodes were underrated.

    4. Confessions, Confessions.
    As an only child I always liked the scenes where the Brady kids all worked together to solve a problem, without the knowledge of their parents. I missed that kind of camaraderie growing up (then again, the bathroom was always free in my house), so I enjoyed this episode very much.

    5. Love and the Older Man
    Marcia at her most beautiful, a very funny dream sequence, and a great central misunderstanding that pays off in a laugh-filled yet also touching scene.

    6. The Show Must Go On?
    Mostly for Robert Reed’s comic recitation at the Family Night Frolics, but also for the great line when Mike protests being volunteered, and Greg tells him the teacher already he knows he “doesn’t have any talent.” The reactions of Florence and Maureen almost seem spontaneous.

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