On December 18, 1988, 39 percent of American televisions in use watched “A Very Brady Christmas.” The holiday special navigated a journey of divorce, deception, unemployment and, with a little help from Christmas magic, bad-fashion and porn-star mustaches, turned it into a feel-good story for the ages. For reasons unknown, the movie has become largely forgotten over the past quarter century. That is, until now. So hit play, and read-along with us as we reintroduce you to one of America’s all-time favorite families. Here’s the story:
0:00-0:50 – Looking suspiciously like a regular episode – same old theme song and pictures.
0:55 – BOOM! A sledgehammer of new images:
- In the upper right square, Greg Brady is rocking a John Oates/Freddy Mercury-styled cookie duster on his upper lip. Greg is all grown up and he wants the world to know. Goodbye Johnny Bravo, hello Porno Greg!
- Peter, Marcia, and Jan are all more or less the same as their former selves.
- Mike and Carol Brady are holding up fairly well in the time since we last saw them. Following his son Greg’s lead, Mike has also added a soup-strainer to his upper lip.
- On the bottom right, it appears they finally stopped putting the black, Jerry Lewis shoe-polish in Bobby’s hair and let him go much lighter.
- Who’s that in the bottom left corner? Why that’s Charles in Charge’s girlfriend, Gwendolyn, playing the role of Cindy Brady. Hello, childhood boners. Major upgrade at child #6.
1:15 – Now that they’re clearly playing the back nine in life, it’s nice to know Carol and Mike are taking their health seriously. Since it’s the late 80s, I’ll give Carol a pass for the space-age looking exercise outfit. The shoulder pads make her look a little broad and the odd fit isn’t doing her many favors but we can just chalk that up to the era but MIKE! Whoa buddy! What is going on here?!? Clearly influenced by Miami Vice, the old architect is going with some pastels in his tracksuit. Fine, we can even let that slide but what’s with the low-cut top? Did he run out of clothes? Good to see Mike B. rocking Richard Simmons’ perm and his wardrobe. Did Carol mistakenly put one of her tops into Mike’s t-shirt drawer? Did Mike accidentally walk into the women’s section of a department store and not realize what he was doing? Does Mike have something he’d like to share with the rest of the class? So many questions. Not even two minutes in and minds (among other things, I’m certain) are blown.
2:00 – Mike and Carol are now walking around the house like zombies for the sole purpose of letting the viewer know they’ve really embraced the 80’s decorating styles. Rose and turquoise for days. God, the 80s were fucked.
3:24 – Did Mike just say he’s sadistic? Between that, the sassy wardrobe and the ultra-femme hip shimmy, I’m starting to think there’s something Mike wants us to know.
3:48 – Carol is once again getting frisky? After seeing Mike’s exercise gear, I have to think she’s going to have to use a slightly different approach to get little Mike out of the garage.
4:05 – “You tempt me. You really do.” – Mike Brady, liar.
4:30 – EVEN MORE sugar from Carol. Someone put out the fire in her loins. This woman is randy.
4:55 – Marcia answers a phone that’s size rivals a ski boot. Ah, the 80s.
5:00 – Carol and Mike blab to their kids about their plans for a Greek cruise (seems like the kinda thing Mike would be into) and a trip to Japan but not one kid could suggest there might be a conflict with their plans? Clearly, this family no longer cares about one and other.
7:35 – Move over, Claire Danes’ cry-face, there’s a new sheriff in ugly town. Alice’s cry-face is scarier than The Shining.
9:30 – Good to see Alice is back in uniform attempting to serve the Bradys. Such a lovely way to treat an old friend, Mike and Carol. “Welcome back, Alice. Sure, you just found out that Sam the Butcher was delivering the meat to someone else, but Mike B. wants his fucking scrambled eggs and he wants them now.”
11:00 – The passive-aggressive holiday backstabbing is already in high gear as Carol makes breakfast only for Mike. Hope you weren’t hungry, Alice.
12:24 – Mike walks by the most inaccurate map of all time.
13:45 – It’s revealed that after the Christmas trip, all the Bradys have in their savings account is $8.17. That seems like a sound decision. I mean, when do older people ever need savings?
15:30 – Here comes the we-didn’t-write-a-long-enough-script-so-lets-just-show-clips-of-old-episodes stage of the game.
18:05 – It has been established that Marcia is married to a sad-sack husband, Wally (played by Killer from Slap Shot). Beyond showing that Wally clearly has out-kicked the coverage with a wife as hot as Marcia, Wally is carrying all his possessions in a box and is complaining about being a loser. On behalf of boys who came of age watching The Brady Bunch, we can firmly say you’re no loser, Wally. A man with no job and an awful haircut? Yes. Loser? No.
19:10 – Alice appears to be in her maid uniform and eavesdropping on a rowing machine. Hey Alice, maybe Sam the butcher wouldn’t be glazing the neighbor’s rump roast if you actually used that machine instead of trying to listen to Mrs. B’s phone conversations.
19:15 – Ted Roberts calls Carol and plays hardball. Mike’s playing it too safe at work and Ted doesn’t like it. If we know anything about the Brady Bunch formula, we know that anyone that opposes Mike is a colossal dickbag.
20:30 – Despite all the signs, Marcia just realizes Wally lost his job. I guess she was never considered the smart one. And good job, Wally, on lowering the boom about your unemployment right in front of the kids. It’s never discussed, but cocaine abuse has clearly contributed to Wally’s situation.
22:15 – Behold the wonder of Greg’s mustache.
22:03 – Greg works with his wife. Major blunder there, buddy. Attractive wife. She must dig guys who look like Freddy Mercury. Greg discusses Christmas plans with wife instead of helping his patient deliver a baby. Pretty cool of you to skunk on one of the most important moments of a person’s life. Also, is anyone really buying Greg as a doctor? No mention of where he went to medical school, but I’m guessing it was somewhere near Guadalajara.
24:54 – Carol has gotten gussied up and is rehearsing her sales pitch to maybe seduce her husband into making a catastrophic work decision.
26:04 – “Handjob for your thoughts, Mike?”
26:40 – Carol putting on a bad acting clinic. Go back to acting randy around your not-interested husband, toots.
27:23 – Major actress replacement Cindy is hanging out with her attractive black roommate – a monumental moment in that she very well could be the first non-Caucasian to ever appear on the show. She also might be the first black person to be gung-ho about skiing.
29:50 – Mike pulls up to the work site named “Roberts Plaza” which clearly establishes Mike’s boss Ted Roberts as an egomaniac. Ted is also a man who is trying to sway Mike’s principles. If there’s anything we know about Mike Brady it’s that he will always do the right thing…and that he likes to exercise in women’s blouses.
32:00 – Peter’s banging the boss (despite those 80s bangs) and it bothers him…but not enough to turn off the heat when that sexy sax music plays. And where exactly does he work? His boss’ office seems to overlook the plot of land in Casino where they buried Joe Pesci in his tighty whiteys. She’s got a gaudy modern desk, and if Pete wants that Christmas bonus he’d better get under it.
33:35 – Another black person on the Brady Bunch! And this one is involved with car racing?!? Looks like the writer’s room is still very much white. The black man is talking to Bobby, who is wearing full racecar gear. He looks like an extra from Herbie the Love Bug.
33:45 – Bobby is taking calls at a pay phone! I guess we can add drug dealer to his resume. Bobby tries to explain away the sound of roaring engines by telling Mike he’s “in the library.” Maybe grad school wasn’t the right path for him after all.
33:35 – Now we meet Jan who appears to be kicking her husband out of the house – presumably over who chose that awful couch pattern. Even in the middle of his impending divorce, good ol’ Philip still takes the time to talk to his mother-in-law on the phone. He also agrees to postpone the separation until after staying at the Brady house for Christmas. At this point Jan could sprout wings and the scene couldn’t be more absurd.
38:30 – Doctor Greg’s nurse wife suggests that Greg takes their son to his parents and she goes to her parents’ house for Christmas. Sounds like someone’s playing nurse with another man? What’s the matter, Nurse Brady, is that ‘stache not man enough for you? And what’s with the Brady boys dating coworkers. I guess Mike never sat them on the bed and gave them the “don’t shit where you eat” conversation.
39:30 – Mike and Carol are whipping out the old fold-up mattresses and sleeping bags from storage for the impending house guests. Looks like they’re giving the gift of sciatica and bed bugs this year.
40:10 – Alice is sent to fetch the kids at the airport. Alice, they’re not paying you anymore! Stop being the victim!
44:05 – Before entering the Brady house, Wally instructs everyone not to talk about him getting canned by the toy company. Great job, Wally. First you let your kids worry about you not having a job then you instruct them to lie to their grandparents. Wally might be suffering from cocaine-induced paranoia.
45:15 – Good job leaving the door open, Cindy. Did you grow up in a barn?
46:45 – Sad-sack Alice finally drags in all the luggage. Nice work, Alice. Now go sleep in Tiger’s old doghouse out back.
47:45 – Mickey, Marcia and Wally’s son, just eviscerated Wally in front of his cousin. The hits keep coming for down-and-out dad. If he wasn’t already, Wally’s gonna start hitting the pipe.
48:00 – Impromptu rendition of Deck the Halls breaks out while the men carry the tree and the women bring dishes from the kitchen. Sexists everywhere rejoice. Viewers everywhere shudder with douche chills.
49:14 – Comment from Mike about working for a toy manufacturer twists the knife even further into Wounded Wally.
49:45 – Bobby’s house-of-cards appears to be crumbling as well. At least his mom is giving him a sensual shoulder rub. Mike’s jealous.
51:30 – Jan’s soon-to-be-ex-husband Philip insists Bobby not call him Phil. Looks like we’re getting a peak into the Sleeping With the Enemy existence Jan has been living. Phil might be the BTK killer.
52:05 – Wally unloads more whoa-is-me-because-I-lost-my-job bullshit on his daughter just before bed. I haven’t checked the records but I don’t think it’s any question who won 1988 Father of the Year.
53:37 – What do my wondering eyes should appear but A GROWN MAN IN A FUCKING NIGHTGOWN! WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON, PETER BRADY?!? If this nightgown wasn’t so distracting, I’d have more to say about Bobby’s scary ability to whip out random racecar facts. Average miles per hour? When did Bobby turn into Raymond Babbitt?
54:24 – “Peter, can I talk to you?” Finally! Bobby is going to address this nightgown situation!
54:45 – Oh, it’s more bullshit about cars. You missed a big opportunity, Bobby. Now he wants life advice from a man who wears a nightgown. This whole family is fucked. And Peter is still hung-up on the fact that his girlfriend makes more money than him? Any pimp will tell you a top earner is hard to find.
57:47 – Despite every guy’s desire here, it appears Upgrade Cindy and Valerie are not going to have a pillow fight. Big miss by the producers. I wonder if Valerie realizes the man that she talks about marrying is downstairs wearing a nightgown.
59:50 – All the guys are having a late-night pie session. Someone step-up to the plate and address this nightgown situation. Do it for yourself. Do it for Peter. Do it for America.
1:00:45 – She looks great for her age and all but why is Carol Brady wearing the least clothing in this movie? Everyone else dresses for bed like they’re camping in the Pacific Northwest.
1:01:10 – Is everyone in a food coma or just searching for the words to ask Peter about that nightgown?
1:03:50 – Beautiful moment where Jan and Philip make-up and stave off divorce for possibly three or four whole months. No way these two miserable assholes are still married by Christmas 1989. It’s only a matter of time until Jan finds Phil’s crawlspace full of pre-pubescent boys anyway.
1:04:32 – You can keep Mike Brady from wearing women’s blouses for only so long. He’s back, baby! And what better way to break out the blouse than a run with his son-in-law and grandson? Be free, Mike.
1:05:28 – Leonard Prescott of Prescott Toys seems to have very strict hiring practices. Prescott is ready to hire a complete stranger based on the fact that Wally: a) is his neighbor’s son-in-law; b) has a bad haircut; c) has a rotten, back-talking son. Explore your options before accepting, Wally. Me thinks thou Prescott Toys shan’t be long for this world.
1:07:34 – Quit filibustering, Mike. Everyone just wants to eat and move on with their lives.
1:08:27 – Great work, Wally. You finally land a job so your kids can feel proud again and immediately try to bone their mother at the dinner table.
1:08:47 – Looks like Gwendolyn from Charles in Charge is about to reveal she’s not really Cindy. Nope, just revealing that the writers ran out of ideas before they got to Cindy’s conflict. Go back to the kids’ table, Cin.
1:11:45 – If racing doesn’t work out, Bobby, you’ll be hanging out with Dale Earnhardt at the big pit stop in the sky.
1:12:40 – Pipe down with all that man talk, Peter. We’ve seen your sleeping attire.
1:13:50 – Looks like Greg’s wife, Nora, couldn’t resist that push broom for another minute. Either that or her man on the side found a better option.
1:16:03 – Not one to resist flamboyance, Mike’s still talking about finishing his speech. Maybe his Christmas wish was to prevent everyone from eating dinner.
1:17:38 – Well, it’s obvious why the construction site ran into problems. One of the workers is wearing white jeans. Mike approves.
1:20:16 – Since it’s looking pretty grim for Mike, maybe now would be a good time for Wally to remind his kids what happens to your organs when pinned under thousands of pounds of steel.
1:21:21 – Religious flashback alert.
1:22:20 – C’mon. There’s no way this many people know the words to “O Come All Ye Faithful.” There’s no way any people know the words to this song. “Auld Lang Syne” is shaking it’s head at this sing-a-long. Rudolph or Frosty? Sure. But not this one.
1:22:55 – “If I get out of here, maybe they’ll stop singing.”
1:25:25 – Looks like the young chippie got tired of Sam’s meat-related colloquialisms. Now he’s running back to his aged pig’s feet.
1:25:55 – It’s a Christmas miracle! You Just read over 2300 words about A Very Brady Christmas!