Every time I see this show it brings me back to my childhood. A happy time in my life, being the youngest of five, I sometimes caught a similarity to the Brady's life and the one that I was living. I could relate, which is probably why it was one of my favorites. I would be the Cindy in my family, and I can compare almost every Brady to one of our family. They had one more than we did, but we were nonetheless every bit as super goofy and fun as the Brady's.
Dare I say, we were a bit more sinister.
My older brother and sisters were more daring than Marcia, Greg and Jan. They used to steal mom and dad's cars, have rousting parties when they weren't home and smoke cigarettes and drink beer with their friends in the pool area after dark. The Brady's would never do that. Or the Brady's would never do that on TV. My brothers used to fight till someone drew blood, yet you know that Peter absolutely idolized Greg and would never come to blows with him.
Yes, my sisters fought over clothes and boys, and I remember the vicious battles over the sweaters, but Jan and Marsha always shared their stuff peacefully. Or so it seemed. In my family those "sharing" issues between sibling still remain today. In the TV world of the Brady's family issues were dealt with in 30 minutes or less. Is there a Brady playbook for handling teenage angst in 30 minutes or less? It would be no less than literary gold.
So what did we learn from Mike, Carol, Alice and the clan, and why were we so mesmerized by this pseudo TV family? The answer lies in our idealization of the American family. The Brady's epitomize the traditional American family, because they are were not traditional at all. They were a blended family yet never was the word "step" used to describe a Brady. In fact, after the beginning theme song was over, you forgot that "this group must somehow form a family" and you bought into their world. Part of every kid who watched and worshiped them, wanted to be one of them.
And so, in our own way, we too were like the Brady's. My family posed for a secret anniversary picture for mom and dad, we wrote letters to our favorite football heroes to help out a sibling, we got our noses broke by an errant ball here and there, and we may have used the words, "far out" and "groovy" to describe life. But most of all I think that in the archives of our lives, deep down, the Brady's gave us the validation that family was what mattered. Their tales and antics made ours seem special. That we too, were sort of like them.
And every time I catch it on TV Land, I have to watch it. It brings me an unexplained peace that I never knew existed. It's a peace that only a child feels when they know they are loved and that they are safe.