THE BRADY BUNCH – THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON tells the story of Carol, a single mother of three girls – Marcia, Jan and Cindy and architect Mike Brady, a single father of three boys – Greg, Peter and Bobby who get married and blend the two families into one. Added to the mix are housekeeper Alice and dog Tiger. The Bradys’ experience the same obstacles as any family, from adjusting to their new extended family, to sibling rivalry. The comedy series famous for its catchy theme song truly has become a pop culture icon and is still enjoyed by viewers of all ages.
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If the phrase "Marcia Marcia Marcia!" sends you into a giddy childhood reverie, then you'd better run out and get The Brady Bunch - The Complete Third Season. Not only does this season feature that definitive episode--in which middle sister Jan fights to get out from under the shadow of her older sister Marcia--but several other all-time favorite episodes, including the one in which Peter's voice starts to change, threatening to wreck the potentially blazing career of the Brady Six musical group (presumably launched by producers feeling the heat from The Partridge Family). The show had found its tone and its creators crafted 23 perfectly calibrated visions of a domestic fantasyland, decked out in mini-skirts and bell-bottoms (check out Mrs. Brady's recurring paisley pantsuit, made of some fabric offensive to nature). Marcia turns into a diva when cast as Juliet in the school play; Greg loses a bet with Bobby and has to obey the little boy's every whim for a week; Jan has to wear glasses; Cindy yearns for a boyfriend--simple problems cheerfully solved by pithy moral lectures delivered by stern but loving parents. Despite adolescent hormones, snug pants, and the occasional ungodly short-shorts, sex never rears its complicated head.
Though ratings were modest during the series' five-year run, in syndication the show became a phenomenon. As divorce became increasingly common in the 1970s, perhaps this smoothly blended and impossibly functional family had an irresistible appeal to kids from broken homes. Though the Brady siblings--played by Barry Williams, Maureen McCormack, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland, and Susan Olsen--were a charismatic sextet, it's Florence Henderson and especially Robert Reed as Carol and Mike Brady, uber-parents, who give The Brady Bunch its familial glow. But everyone was the center of one episode or another; even Ann B. Davis dominated one episode as maid Alice's lookalike cousin, a WAC Master Sergeant who imposed military discipline on these lazy suburbanites. No matter how corny the jokes or how daffy the stories, The Brady Bunch continues to cast its hypnotic spell. --Bret Fetzer
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