Christmas Induction: A Very Brady Christmas – A Tale of Secrets and Seasoned Rump Roasts

31 Submitted by on Thu, 17 December 2020, 20:00

1988, Made for TV Movie

Note from RD: We’re nearing the end of December and you know what that means around these parts – time to induct another horrible (non-wrestling!) Christmas movie! It’s been an annual tradition for all these years…you can check out the ghosts of Christmas past here! And without any further adieu, let’s dive right into this Yule log!

This one has been long requested, and in hindsight, not sure why I’ve never done it. It wasn’t like I was a huge Brady Bunch fan, but I saw almost all the episodes on after school re-runs, so I definitely had plenty of familiarity with the show.

Familiarity…you know, there are probably plenty of you younger folks out there that have zero clue what the original show was all about. I guess I should try to explain. Here goes.

It’s the story of a lovely lady.

She was was bringing up three very lovely girls.

All of them had hair of gold, like their mother.

The youngest one, in curls.

It’s the story of a man named Brady.

Who was busy with three boys of his own.

They were four men living altogether.

Yet they were all alone.

Then one day when the lady met this fellow.

They knew it was much more than a hunch.

That this group would somehow come together.

That’s the way the way they all became the Brady Bunch.

They also had a slave named Alice, who they didn’t bother to mention in the theme song.

Up yours, Bradys – Ann B. Davis deserves her just due!

Ok, the background outta the way, this would have been a 1998 TV movie chronicling the whole family reuniting for the holidays. It was a huge hit, so much so that it led to the creation of The Bradys, a drama series that was forgettable at best, horrendous at worst.

I present the theme song as evidence of the latter.

But we’re here to talk about CHRISTMAS. So let’s join up with…

…Mike and Carol in their exercise room, talking about the fantastic Christmas presents they gave each other in the name of a pair of stationary bikes. As they ask each other what they may be getting as presents this year, I have a question of my own: what on EARTH is Carol wearing?

I mean, I know it’s the 80s and all but that legit looks like she’s going to hop off the bike and work at some fast food chain with no sense of color harmony.

That or maybe she was auditioning for Space Mutiny.

Take your pick.

Throughout the show, we get way too much sexy innuendo between the two, including Carol saying they need to “get down to business”. If such talk is unsettling to you, then buckle up kids – we’re just getting started.

Sadly, poor Mike has to go meet up with mean old Ted Roberts, whom Carol (now a real estate agent) sold a plot of land to and he’s being the architect for a building or something, Apparently he’s the villain in today’s story.

With Mike out of the house, Carol is gleaming with the prospect of the present she is getting her husband for Christmas: namely, a trip to Greece. No offense to anyone who lives there, but outside of getting a gyro, that sounds absolutely horrible. Anyway, Carol can’t wait to tell someone so she immediately calls…

…Marcia, who is talking on the biggest phone I think I have ever seen in my life. Holy smokes, that thing is bigger than her head. After telling Marcia to make sure to not tell anyone, Carol hangs up the phone and immediately calls…

…Greg and goes through the same spiel.

Look, I know when I bring this show up to anyone they just go on and on about his amazing stache, but for my money the scene stealer here is his background “library”. I know, for a FACT, that when we had our family photos taken at Olan Mills back in the 70s, we had that exact same background. No joke, they’d have a series of backgrounds they’d offer you and you’d pick if you wanted your family to look smart (library) or sophisticated (something with a chandelier as I recall). Upon making your pick, they’d roll out some crappy vinyl banner behind you.

I cannot be just making that up in my brain. Someone confirm this for me.

Anyway, Greg swears secrecy so Carol then calls…

…Jan who has more scarves on than should be allowed by law. Same story, hangs up and next we get…

…Peter at an office that looks WAY too familiar with one I worked at back in the early 90s…

…then Cindy (the only one of the kids to not be portrayed by the original actors…but if she looks familiar, that’s because she was Peter Venkman’s ESP tester in the original Ghostbusters)…

…and finally, Bobby who I guess is supposed to be the slob of the family, just sitting at his kitchen table eating pizza and…wait, what is that thing to his right?






OH! I think it’s supposed to be GOLDEN POPCORN. Like I guess what you’d get at a movie theater. See, now that I would understand but seriously, let’s go back to the original picture.

What crappy theater would give you a ‘bucket’ of popcorn that tiny? And why is he eating it with pizza? What’s in the foam container? Were there fries in the red and white checkered boat?

Guaranteed when they made this originally, they weren’t thinking some geek on a pro wrestling site would be freeze framing it in 1080p and analyzing this scene in minute, ridiculous detail. Which leads me to once more ask what I am doing with my life.

So Bobby tells Carol that mum’s the word and he ain’t telling dad no thang.

But now we do in fact go to Mike, who is at his office. He comes up with an idea of his own – he’s going to take Carol on a trip to JAPAN! And he can’t wait to tell someone so he calls…

…Greg! Then Marcia! Then the rest!

Look, I ain’t going through doing screen grabs of these goobers again. Just rest assured it’s exactly what you think it is – the kids won’t spill the beans that Mom is planning the same thing just to a different place. What would have been really funny is they’d have done this to each of the kids and say, Jan just said, “Yeah, don’t do that – Mom wants to haul you over to Greece for some reason. I don’t know why either, outside of gyros that sounds horrible.”

At this point, we head back to the house as Mike and Carol are greeted at the door by another familiar face:

Alice, who immediately bursts into tears. She explains that her marriage to Sam the Butcher is in shambles, with him having run off with some young floozie. In fact, he left her a note that he wrote on butcher paper from his meat shop. That’s not a joke. Well, at least it’s not a joke I wrote.

For posterity’s sake, I am going to transcribe this note for you. Please keep in mind I am not making up a single word of this:

“Dear Alice-

I lied to you. I wasn’t working nights plucking chickens. I met a younger woman. At first we just traded meatloaf recipes, then one night she asked me over to season her rump roast.”

I suggest everyone uses this line in a romantic manner to their partner this holiday season and reports back to us in the new year.

Out of her home, this means that Alice needs a place to stay, so now she’s back at the house. Despite being their guest, Alice dresses in her maid get up and starts making breakfast. Mike and Carol tell her not to do that like once, then spend the rest of the show seemingly just fine with having their indentured servant back cooking and cleaning the place.

So Mike pulls Alice aside and tells her about the trip to Japan or Greece or whichever one it was he was planning. I don’t even remember. And then of course Carol does the same thing. WE GET IT.

All of this leads to Carol and Mike going to the travel agency…get this…

…at the exact same time!

Ha ha ha! Ho Ho Ho!

Learning of their plans for each other, they decide to kill that immediately and instead take that money and fly all the kids and their families home for Christmas.

Lady, you could have caught some Inoki or Baba.

Or at the very least had a gyro.

But lo and behold, things aren’t great with all the Brady kids. For instance, Marcia’s husband Wally just lost his job at the toy factory.

That’s doubly bad, as that means Marica married a guy named WALLY.

C’mon kid, surely you could have done better than that.

Dr. Greg and his wife actually work together in the labor ward at the local medical facility. While there, they argue about which set of parents they should go to for Christmas…while a poor woman is about to give birth.

That’s the level of the comedy we’re getting here tonight.

Then there’s Cindy, who is just about out of college…and her friends want to go skiing over the break. “The state recognizes you as an adult – why can’t your parents?”asks her roommate Belinda. Cindy agrees and decides that she is going to do what SHE wants to do for a change!

Over to Peter, who we learn is low man on the totem pole in his company…in which his wife is like the CEO or something. This causes him to be very embarrassed or something.

Screw that, Pete – if my wife was pulling down six figures when I was making minimum wage, I ‘d want her to keep making more and more and more to the point that I could retire early and just sit around the house writing about horrible Christmas movies from the 1980s.

Oh wait.

And then there’s Bobby, and by golly, he isn’t in grad school at all – in fact, he’s driving RACE CARS! He of course hasn’t told his parents what he’s doing either, planning to tell them when he has “won the Indy 500.”

Umm, Bob, trust me – they don’t have jalopies like that at the Brickyard.

But all the kids’ woes pale in comparison to Jan, who is going through a divorce with her husband Phillip. Not sure we even find out why. My guess is Jan’s rather grating voice may have something to do with it.

Or maybe it’s the fact they have what may be the most hideous living room ever. Seriously, look at that. It’s never ending beige wallpaper…with a beige lamp…and a framed beige painting.

I bet the couch is beige underneath that ugly brown blanket.

Anyway, despite the upcoming reverse nuptials, they too are going to come home to see Carol and Mike.

With everyone on their way back, Mike comes up with a plan with where everyone is going to sleep at their house.

Now I should remind you, this is the same house where three boys had to share a room…and three girls also had to share a room. His idiotic idea is to rent beds (WUT) and have some people to sleep in the living room and some in the den and others on the back porch or something.

It’s called a hotel, Mike.

Look into it.

I’d be remiss to not bring up the subplot of Mike fighting with his client, Ted Somethingorotheridontrememberandnotgoingbacktocheck. So the story goes that Mike wants extra safety items installed in the building, while Ted wants to cut costs as he’s on a budget so he’s second guessing the guy.

To be fair, maybe he heard Mike’s lodging plans for the family.

If so, I’d question his decision making too.

Regardless, everyone gets home with smiles all around.

And SECRETS all around.

For you see, none of the kids want their parents to know what is actually going on in their lives. Which is kinda dumb to me. I mean, if I lost my job, rest assured I wouldn’t wait until I came home for Christmas for Steve & Cindy to know about it.

I guess that makes me a more honest person than Marcia Brady.

Wow, that’s gotta be one of the most bizarre sentences I’ve ever written in the 20+ years of running

I suppose for completeness sake I should also mention there are three Brady grandkids running around. There’s really not much more to add there – these are the most boring children I recall on any television show. One kid calls another kid a slug. That’s it.

Cousin Oliver was more interesting than these children.

So on Christmas Eve or maybe the day before or the Tuesday after (the show is very loosey goosey with time), the kids all sit at the kitchen table having a sad sack confessional of all their issues. But again, they can’t let mom or dad (or even Alice) find out.

So Bobby being a race car driver isn’t ok for Mike, but Jan’s soon to be thrown out husband Phillip?

He’s alrighta.

SPEAKING OF Phillip, he probably has it the worst of anyone. I mean, he has to listen to Jan, and that hag won’t even let him sleep in the bed with her at the house. I mean he just wants to get some sleep, not some nookie. But no go, and she legit makes the poor guy sleep in a drawer.

But hey, it’s Christmas and that means it’s time for a miracle or two six.

Carol gives sage advice to Jan and Phillip which is so powerful, they nearly start humping in front of her. No really. If that’s not creepy enough, Mom smiles at them both and with a gleam in her eye says, “You can be late for breakfast.”


Then Mike introduces Wally to his neighbor who just so happens to own…yes…a TOY FACTORY. So now he is once more gainfully employed.

Unfortunately, he is also still named WALLY…so it’s not the best of miracles.

Everyone goes to sit at the giant table for dinner…

…except Cindy, who has to sit at the kids’ table. No wonder she was so chaffed. She really should have gone skiing with her friends.

But of course at this point we get the big confessional of ALL the kids telling the parents their issues. The only one the parents have any issues with is Bobby’s race car career. “Driving is what makes me happy,” he weeps. Unfortunately “you could drive a cab” is left unsaid.

This is followed up with Peter and his boss fiancé asking each other to marry them at the exact same time.

“THAT’S THE DUMBEST PROPOSAL I EVER HEARD!” bellows Mike in the most truthful line in this whole show.

But hey, everyone confesses and they all hug. You’d think that would be the end, but no!

Remember that guy Mike was working for that wanted to go cheap on his building? His megatower is in a complete free fall collapse rightchere on Christmas Day.

There’s only one guy who can save things, and that’s Mike.

That’s right – not an emergency crew, not the police, not the fire department.. Instead, they call the ARCHITECT.

So he goes into the building in an attempt to rescue others who have been buried under the rubble. They get out, but sadly Mike does not. So if you’re like me, you think, ok NOW we call in the fire department, right?


Instead, we get a flashback to an early Brady Bunch episode where Carol loses her voice right before Christmas, so Cindy asks Santa for him to bring it back. In the most minor of miracles, she gets over her cold in time to sing on Christmas Eve and everyone is oh so happy.

Upon this recollection, Carol comes up with the best way to save her husband – she opens up her pipes once more and starts bellowing out Oh Come All Ye Faithful at the top of her lungs.

Somehow, Mike hears this (?) and it gives him the strength to lift tons of debris off his carcass (???). I’d chastise the absurdity of this, but let’s face it – if it gets us closer to the end of this thing, I’m all for it.

There’s one last surprise though, as Santa shows up…unmasking himself to be Sam the Butcher. He asks Alice for forgiveness, which she gives. It’s at this precise moment Mrs. Deal looked at me and says, and I quote:

“I hate all these people.”

Well said, young lady. So from our family to yours, Hee haw and Merry Christmas!

With this I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us all these years! We will be returning with new inductions in 2021. Until such time, please be safe and have a great Christmas season!

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31 Responses to "Christmas Induction: A Very Brady Christmas – A Tale of Secrets and Seasoned Rump Roasts"
  1. Frank Gannucci says:

    Mike looks like a younger Alex Trebek.

  2. Unknown says:

    The funny thing is that Robert Reed, who played Mike Brady, did not get along with the creators of the show, and HATED how his character was written. He did love the kids who played the Brady Bunch, though, and treated the kids like his own…

    • CP says:

      I guess at some point he sucked it up and accepted Mike Brady was to be his lot in life; don’t forget there was also that variety show they (minus Jan) did in the 1970s and the spin-off in the early 1980s where we first met Wally and Phillip.

    • Jay says:

      That had to drive him crazy. Robert Reed was a classically trained actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Then he got typecast as Mike Brady.

      At least Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) seems to have had fun with it and made quite the career out of it.

    • Larry says:

      The disagreements between Robert Reed, (who was a classically trained Shakespearean actor – go figure), and Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of The Brady Bunch got so bad that he was written out of the series finale, where Greg graduated college, (the “excuse” was that Mike Brady was on a business trip during that time and wouldn’t make it back to see his first born son graduate – yes, THAT was the rationale). Reed was even barred from the studio during the filming but somehow snuck in & watched. Security was going to throw him off the set but ironically enough Schwartz prevented it, stating that his tv “family” shouldn’t see their “dad” treated like that. That being said, what I just described would’ve made a much better episode!

      (Not gonna lie either, Marcia Brady was a smokeshow back then. Too bad all the drugs she did messed her up really badly.)

    • James Fabiano says:

      Every Schwartz show has one. Robert Reed, Tina Louise…

  3. C Boz says:

    Cindy was played by Jennifer Runyon whose other credits include (1) Up The Creek as the sort of love (read: hookup) interest – effectively Animal House in rafts, (2) a brief run on Charles in Charge as the titular character’s squeeze, (3) a guest blink-and-you-miss-it spot on 90210, and that is about all I can think of from the top of my head. Yes I remember those appearances without looking them up in IMDB or the like. And I even remember this god awful TV movie when it came on the first time, The only saving grace would have been if Tiger returned from the dead or wherever he disappeared after the sixth episode, never to be mentioned again, And if he extracted revenge.

    Once again I have aged myself in these comments.

    And by the way, Greece is great. Excellent classical sites, islands, beaches, hiking, people, and food. Maybe not in the winter though. Then again, in Japan you would be freezing your rear end off that time of year, too.

    Happy holidays everyone!

    • CP says:

      She was Gwendolyn Pierce? Huh.

      Guess once you’re stuck playing love interest to Scott Baio, things don’t look up for you afterwards. Rest In Peace Erin Moran.

  4. CP says:

    I never understood what Robert Reed was thinking about when he grew that stupid stache in the 80s. His and Jackie Gleason’s were creepy.

  5. Sean Bateman says:

    Poor Jerry Houser. He went from playing in Slap Shot to being a schmuck in a TV reunion movie. Plus, he appears in A Flintstones Family Christmas.

  6. The House says:

    My mom never tells me and my wife we can be late to breakfast… Not even at Christmas…

  7. Tony says:

    And then Peter had a son who grew up and created Family Guy.

  8. Jay says:

    We just got done watching the entire series with our kids (aged 10,9, and 7). My 7 year old saw this on Amazon (Hulu?) and wanted to watch it too. We all watched it….NO ONE liked it. My wife asked me, “How did such a great show make such a bad movie?”

    I don’t know babe. I don’t know

  9. Jimbolian says:

    YES!!!! After 15 years of waiting, MY WISH HAS BEEN GRANTED!!!

    THANK YOU R.D.!!!!!

  10. Chiguy23 says:

    You didn’t mention the worst part of that whole building collapse scene: A news reporter talks about this being a Christmas miracle and the camera zooms out to show that the building is on the corner of 34th Street. Get it?

    • Dave Marklinger says:

      And if you don’t, they sure as hell spell it out for you, as the reporter actually says, “It looks like another miracle on 34th Street!”

  11. Chris V says:

    Mike had a real Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Amazing Spider Man #33 moment.
    Mike hearing Carol singing is the equivalent of Peter Parker knowing his Aunt May’s life is in danger.

  12. Bret Cyr says:

    I have never seen the word JALOPY outside of the old blue covered Hardy Boys (not the tag team) books from the 80s. Their friend Chet drove one. Even though its pluralized here it counts!

  13. Gabe Benson says:

    Caryn Richman played Greg’s wife. But I remember her more for playing Gidget in The New Gidget back in the 80’s. The only thing I remember is her in a bathing suit each episode. Wow!

  14. Doc 902714 says:

    “GOLDEN POPCORN. Like I guess what you’d get at a movie theater.”

    The real question is who brings their popcorn HOME from the MOVIES? Doug Heffernan, perhaps

  15. Don R Townsend says:

    ugh. oh well this attempt might have failed but the bradys did have a comeback in the 90s in the form of two movies that were kind of funny.

    sad about Alice and Sam the butcher but it’s no surprise…….they always said nobody could beat his meat.

  16. Mr. Boing says:

    I try and watch this every year and every year I always fall asleep..
    This is not a knock against the Brady Bunch franchise but just
    this one movie. It’s cinematic Valium

    I mean even Santa Claus with muscles is La-La land compared to this movie.

  17. Ray says:


  18. Dave says:

    For the sake of accuracy, I should point out that Phillip didn’t actually sleep in that drawer– he slept in the chair next to it, and fell into the drawer when Carol knocked on the door in the morning. Not much better, granted.

    I actually loved this special when I was younger– I had it recorded on an old VHS tape and watched it numerous times. Young me may have just been enamored with Peter’s girlfriend… yowza.

    Also this movie DOES have a wrestling connection: one of the Brady grandkids is played by future Wrestlemania timekeeper Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

    • Dave says:

      Actually my mistake– JTT isn’t in this movie but he takes over the role of Greg’s son on the spinoff drama “The Bradys.”

  19. Chris the Bambikiller says:

    By the way, 30 million tourists visit Greece every year, so it can’t be that horrible.

    Well, not this year, in a normal year.

  20. Another Dave says:

    Considering how “The Bradys” series worked out, someone REALLY should’ve talked Bobby into the taxi option…

  21. CF says:

    Ah, the ’80s — when it was perfectly acceptable to dump on auto racing merely because it was auto racing. (Can you tell what I liked to watch back-then? 🙂 )

    Also: On one hand, I wonder where the track that scene was filmed is; on the other hand, it seems a Cunning Trap to get me to watch that PoS…. >:)

  22. CF says:

    Also: Bonus Points to anyone who reads the quoted lyrics of the theme song to the tune of Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance”…. 😉

  23. Big G says:

    Was surprised to see Greg was a doctor / midwife. Given the background in his office, I’d assumed lawyer. Or fluffer.

    Were Wally and Phillip the same dudes from that “The Brady Brides” briefly lived sitcom?

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