Leonna Heuring: Bradymania is back, and I’m loving every groovy minute

Friday, October 4, 2019

Every year at Christmastime one of my favorite traditions is watching “A Very Brady Christmas” — the 1988 TV movie that follows “The Brady Bunch” family as they all come together for their first adult family Christmas in years. There’s nothing like Christmas with the Bradys. Of course, I’ve also seen all of the original episodes of the TV show.

So, you can imagine my excitement this summer when I heard about the new reality series, “A Very Brady Renovation,” which premiered Sept. 9 on HGTV, and showcases the renovation of the Studio City, Calif., home that was used for many of the exterior shots in the sitcom which ran from 1969 to 1974.

HGTV’s “Property Brothers” Drew and Johnathan Scott purchased the home in July 2018 with the goal of renovating the house to look exactly like the rooms on the show. They recruited other HGTV stars to help with the project along with the actors who played the Brady kids (because who would know the house better than them?!).

In “Renovation,” we see Barry Williams (Greg), Chris Knight (Peter), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Eve Plumb (Jan) and Susan Olsen (Cindy) as they offer their input on paint colors, decor and insight to each of the rooms as they’re renovated. The former child actors also pitch in and help with the physical labor and provide some behind-the-scenes stories of the series.

There are also guest appearances by the daughter of series creator, the late Sherwood Schwartz; and also the daughter of the late Florence Henderson (Carol Brady), who both appeared in episodes of the original show.

In the first four episodes, the Brady kids and HGTV crew tackle the exterior of the house, the living room and staircase, the den, Mike’s office, girls and boys bedrooms and adjoining bathroom, the kitchen, Alice’s bedroom, Mike and Carol’s bedroom, the backyard and Greg’s attic bedroom.

As each renovation is completed, the actors step into those rooms — and back in time to a place and period they knew so well. It’s an emotional journey for them — and, surprisingly, it’s emotional for the viewers, too, as I found myself wiping tears with them.

Since its premiere, “A Very Brady Renovation” has attracted more than 24 million viewers, according to HGTV. It’s been such a success that now HGTV has added two new special episodes to take viewers behind the scenes and feature additional surprise guests, premiering at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14.

The new episodes will feature never-before-seen renovated spaces in the Brady Bunch house, the do-it-yourself projects used to create specific items from theTV home and extended room reveal scenes with the Brady Bunch cast.

They will also showcase more special guests who visit the house, including Cedric the Entertainer (a Caruthersville, Missouri, native) as well as Jerry Houser and Ron Kuhlman, who played Marcia’s and Jan’s TV husbands from the spinoff series “The Brady Brides.”

With 24 million people tuning in, it’s obvious people still love the Bradys — and exactly 50 years after the show premiered on Sept. 26, 1969. Maybe it’s because of the simpler lifestyle they represent — or the nostalgia created. They are comfort TV — and familiar. You can turn on an episode and all your troubles go away, at least for the next 30 minutes. It’s true the episodes always had a happy ending, but so what? In today’s world we could use more of those anyway.

So, anyone looking for a little nostalgia — or anyone who likes a good makeover — can catch it at 8 p.m. Monday on HGTV or via the HGTV app. Let me know what you think! Email me at leonnah@standard-democrat.com.

Leonna Heuring is co-editor of the Standard Democrat.

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