The Brady Bunch Variety Hour

So The Brady Bunch wasn’t a huge hit when it first aired, but almost instantly after it went off the air in 1974, it became a indefatiguable smash in reruns. By 1977, viewers, producers, and even the cast were ready for a revival. Except that Eve Plumb (Jan) wasn’t interested. And in order to get Robert Reed (Mike Brady) to participate, they had to make it a variety show. (He hated being on The Brady Bunch, but jumped at the chance to do something in which he could stretch his theatrical/musical muscles.) The result was The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, cited by many books and websites as the worst TV series ever. Here’s the deal – I love The Brady Bunch. I’ve seen every spin-off and special and got every single obscure inside joke in the campy 1995 movie, and yet I only got halfway through one episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, which is actually available on DVD.

So here’s Greg and Marcia, by then about 28, hanging around with Eve Plumb’s unconvincing stand-in Geri Reischl, singing awkwardly through Glen Campbell’s “Southern Nights” in a graveyard/swamp in clothes so white and crisp that they appear to be about ready to make the perilous journey between Purgatory and Paradise.