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Sept. 9 will be quite a sunshine day for Brady Bunch fans when HGTV premieres A Very Brady Renovation. The network, which outbid Lance Bass last year to purchase the Studio City, Calif. home that was once used for the beloved series’ exterior shots, has — with the hands-on help of all six actors who played the Brady kids — uncannily transformed the house’s interior into an exact replica of the sitcom’s set.
From the leaky clay pot that was once shattered by the Brady boys’ errant basketball to the Kitty Carryall doll reclining on Cindy’s bed, from the beaded hippie curtains in Greg’s attic bachelor pad to the vintage olive green appliances in the kitchen where Alice used to make her porkchops and applesauce and pineapple upside-down cake, from long-missing family pet Tiger’s paisley-curtained wooden doghouse to the iconic shag-carpeted staircase, HGTV has spared absolutely no detail. Stepping through those blue doors and into that cobblestone-walled entryway is like stepping into a groovy portal to 1969.
However, there is one addition to the Brady home that isn’t true to the original: There’s finally an actual running toilet in the Brady kids’ shared “Jack & Jill” bathroom. A half-century ago, network standards and practices dictated that toilets could not be shown on television before 10 p.m. But to loosely quote a famous hit by the Brady 6, it was time to change and rearrange.
“Even in 1969, it was a running joke with all of us — that there’s no freakin’ toilet!” Mike Lookinland, who played youngest son Bobby Brady, laughingly tells Yahoo Entertainment.
“At the time, the idea was that it was just sort of tacky to be showing toilets on TV,” adds Eve “Jan Brady” Plumb. “Nowadays, everybody's on the toilet!”
While the actors aren’t sure if the kids’ toilet is an antique from the 1970s (the one in maid Alice’s bathroom — a room previously not seen on the show — is), Barry “Greg Brady” Williams jokes, “This one actually turns around counterclockwise.” And Maureen McCormick, who played “Marcia Marcia Marcia,” has officially “christened” the toilet and given it her stamp of approval. “I have to say I have used it now, and it was good!” she reveals with a grin and thumbs-up.
Since HGTV was generous enough to add a maid’s-quarters bathroom to the revamped Brady property, it’s odd that in 2019, all six child occupants would still be expected to share one bathroom (especially if all six kids need some mirror/counter space to style their long and/or permed hair). It certainly seems like a shortcoming of the original house. “Yeah… and our dad was an architect! Hello!?” quips Lookinland.
Toilet humor aside, all six actors say entering the rebuilt home was a seriously emotional experience. “It's like you're walking into your childhood,” says Susan Olsen, aka Cindy Brady. “It brought a few tears.”
“I had goosebumps all over, and I truly envisioned Florence [Henderson] and Bob [Robert Reed] sitting in the two green chairs when you first walk in, and I saw Ann B. [Davis] coming in from the kitchen,” McCormick says, referring to the late actors who played Carol Brady, Mike Brady and Alice. “I was just overwhelmed.”
“It’s so real — made of something that was so fake,” notes Lookinland.
A Very Brady Renovation is hardly the first Brady reboot or spinoff — let’s not forget the Brady Kids cartoon, the bonkers Brady Variety Hour, The Brady Brides, A Very Brady Christmas, The Bradys, My Fair Brady or the two parody movies — but Knight seems especially fond of this latest nostalgia-fest, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of The Brady Brunch this month.
“It's easy to feel, you know, that there's something maybe to squeeze out of this lemon, and when that happens it feels like you're kind of being exploited. But in no way, shape or form during this process was any of that felt,” Knight stresses. “The network [HGTV] has been so loving, kind, so generous to the whole Brady legacy, to us individually, to all of us as a group, that it's really been a joy to work on.”
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