We all remember the shows and stars of our youth. Though The Brady Bunch was already in reruns by the time I came along, I still felt like I grew up Brady. And thanks to regular reunions, movies, and spoofs, in a way, it feels like I'm still growing up Brady.
Apparently, I'm not the only one, as currently in the news is the show's Marcia Brady. Maureen McCormick's autobiography, Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, has some surprising relevations about the less-than-ideal life and lessons she contended with offstage, which included drug addiction, depression, and family estrangement. We've seen this happen to numerous Hollywood celebrities; it's not uncommon for fame and fortune to go hand-in-hand with struggle and strife. But it's especially sad to see it strike younger actors, whose lives are so full of potential but are not fully in their own control.
Yet what keeps The Brady Bunch timeless is not these new divulgements, but the constant image its alumni maintain. Now in their fifties, the show's teenage actors have weathered and matured yet always remained warm and upbeat to their fans and to each other. Barry Williams (Greg Brady) writes on his blog, The Greg Brady Project, how Ms. McCormick had to contend with "a wholly unrealistic image as America’s perfect teenager" — and though I'm sure that's true, it seems that, given enough time, the entire bunch has grown into well-adjusted adults. It's a heartwarming contrast to other teen stars of then and now, from Dana Plato to Lindsay Lohan.
Though many actors would've been frustrated by failing to break away from their iconic roles, especially ones that caused them such personal grief, the Brady Bunch has rarely shied from opportunities to reunite, whether it's to host a television game show, to shoot a promotional video for Hawaii's board of tourism, or mentoring the actors who have taken on the Brady roles for a new generation. By remaining so open and visible, they do their fans a service.
Both of these internal and external connections come across in this recent CNN interview with Mr. Williams:
An autobiography is often an opportunity to air dirty laundry and sordid scandals — indeed, even CNN labeled their video interview as "Greg Brady Tells All!" — but it's apparent that Ms. McCormick used her book as a catharsis, not as payback, and that whatever secrets did surface, Mr. Williams continues to hold his stage sister in high personal regard. I would expect nothing less from a Brady.