We all know the song: “Here’s the story of a lovely lady…”
“The Brady Bunch” is another show that never achieved much success while it was on the air. It wasn’t ever thought of as more than a bubble-gum family sitcom that was railed on by critics and ignored by viewers upon its release.
The problem started with the fact that “The Brady Bunch” was conceived and existed in a changing world (1969) that was more interested in exploration and expression as opposed to the typical clichés of the portrait of a perfect family. It didn’t fit the times at all and would’ve been better suited a decade before or after its creation.
“The Brady Bunch” was also doomed to reach an audience as it was aired on ABC during a Friday night lineup (a night television ratings have always been at their lowest) and would’ve probably been cancelled if ABC didn’t have such a weak array of television shows at the time and the past success of Sherwood Schwartz (Creator of “The Brady Bunch” and “Gilligan’s Island”).
There were other reoccurring problems that were wrenches in the gears during the run of “The Brady Bunch.” Robert Reed (who played Mike Brady) was reportedly difficult to work with and unhappy in his role as a complete stereotype. Being a trained Shakespearian actor, it was a role he truly didn’t want. He also loathed the writing Schwartz and was very vocal about it. Reed went as far as to write a hand-written letter to Schwartz analyzing why several stories and characters in the show made no sense from a theatrical perspective.
While “The Brady Bunch” had the numbers to barely make it through five seasons (struggling all the way there), the popularity didn’t develop until it spent some time in syndication and was aimed at the right audience (the after school crowd). Once that happened, “The Brady Bunch” slowly but surely became an embodiment for the ideal American family.