10 Crazy Things About A Very Brady Christmas That Make No Sense
Not Really A Reunion
What's odd about this much-hyped Brady Bunch reunion is that it's not a true reunion, because Ghostbusters' Jennifer Runyon replaces Susan Olsen, who originally portrayed Cindy on the television series. According to Susan Olsen, her honeymoon conflicted with the shoot and wasn't enticed to postpone it after discovering Paramount only had to deliver five of the six kids to get the special produced. So, she technically wasn't needed, and, since she was the youngest, would be paid the least.
Ironically, when the short-lived, and strangely dramatic follow-up, The Bradys, aired, Olsen returned, but Maureen McCormick didn't due to her daughter's recent birth, so another actress replaced her.
No Laugh Track
While today's television shows are beginning to move away from the laugh track format, it's imperative for shows like The Brady Bunch. A lot of the original show's humor routinely felt forced and the laugh track always provided a marker signaling to the audience what was supposed to be funny.
However, since this is a movie, it has no laugh track, but it's still written like a sitcom, making the humor often awkward and uncomfortable.
The movie's plot begins when Mike & Carol both secretly plan different Christmas trips for each other. Mike wants to take Carol to Japan and Carol wants to take Mike to Greece. They excitedly tell the kids this separately, and, instead of interfering, decide not to tell their parents they're planning different trips for each other, preferring to let them find out with hilarious results.
Despite the fact that the kids initially take the secrecy of the trips seriously, several of the kids then reveal the secret to their parents right before being told the plans have changed. Unfortunately, it would have made more sense to notify them of the problem earlier.
Mike & Carol decide to press forward with their Christmas vacation plans, and, in true sitcom fashion, decide to go to the exact same travel agency at the exact same time with the exact same money they've just withdrawn from the bank.
What's very unusual is that Carol's travel agent asks to see the money she's using before a trip is even discussed. Of course, embarrassingly, this leads to the discovery that Mike has already withdrawn the money for his trip.
Alice takes refuge with the Brady's when she discovers her husband, Sam the butcher, is having an affair after being invited over another woman's house to, in a very risque double entendre, help "season her rump roast."
While back with The Brady's, Alice can't help but assume her old role of housekeeper, and, despite being told her stay will not include her old services, insists on wearing her maid outfit in most of her scenes.
Mike & Carol are excited about the Christmas reunion, however, not all is right with the world. Greg's wife, Nora, unreasonably insists they must go to her family's for Christmas because it's tradition. Honestly, this easily compromisable problem might not bode well for their marriage.
In the end, Nora lets Greg and their son go to the Brady's for Christmas and she goes to her family's. While the distance between households is never stated, Nora ultimately decides to come to the Brady Christmas later, which implies they're not too far from each other. Yet, if that's the case, why couldn't they have just spent time with both families on Christmas?
Marcia Has No Story/Peter's Intimidated By A Woman
Oddly, Marcia's problem is that her husband, Wally, is very stressed over the recent loss of his toy salesman job. A Very Brady Christmas really focuses on Wally's problems, and Marcia, curiously, takes a backseat. However, this does reinforce the myth she's perfect. What's weird is that Maureen McCormick's Marcia basically has no storyline besides listening to her husband whine, but Cindy, who's played by a new actress, does.
Peter's problem is that he's hesitant to marry his girlfriend because she's his boss. She even has a Matt Lauer-style office door lock she controls from her desk. Peter's ashamed she makes more money than him, and Bobby consoles him by reassuring him "who's to say you'll always make less?" While this 1980s-era Bradys showcases working women, sexist Peter's reluctance to marry one is problematic.
Everyone's Problems Are Easily Solved
Despite all the kids having these problems, they are easily solved in true sitcom fashion. Wally gets another job working for a toy company CEO who happens to live next door to the Brady's. College student Cindy, upset she's not treated like an adult, gets her parent's recognition, though decides to remain seated at the kid's table she's been cruelly placed at with her small nephews and niece.