Robert Reed struggled to make his character ''believable'' on The Brady Bunch

"For me, the biggest fight was to make the character seem real," Reed said.

The Everett Collection

Robert Reed was an actor who loved his on-screen Brady family, but had a few problems when it came to The Brady Bunch series itself.

Reed usually held back his predictions and promises for the series because he worried they would get broken. While he never promised anything of The Brady Bunch, he did promise to give fans an honest look at the series, even if it meant sharing a few criticisms. 

He played the role of Mike Brady for a total of five seasons. As Mike Brady he was a loving, caring and wise father-figure who not only supported his fictional family, but became a father for many viewers at home too.

He was the dad many viewers wanted and had the family many of us called friends. 

According to a 1970 interview with The Boston Globe, Reed said The Brady Bunch pilot episode was "perfectly horrible." He wanted the writers to patch it up and keep striving for better quality, however, he wasn't always met with what he wanted.

For as much as he liked spending time with his Brady kids, Reed said there wasn't enough time to get adequate scripts or the production they required. 

"For me, the biggest fight was to make the character seem real," Reed said. "I tried to react the way I would normally when situations arose in the storyline, but that wouldn't always work out. Naturalness doesn't pay in situation comedy."

The Brady Bunch was a chronicle of adventures following a widower, a widow and their combined total of six children. Reed wanted to show the Brady family in a realistic way, but something about a broken family didn't scream comedy or a family sitcom at the time.

"To be completely realistic, I suppose they should have taken a couple of divorcees and pictured the difficulties brought about by offspring of broken homes," Reed said. "But I suppose television isn't quite ready to tackle the problem yet, at least not in the realm of domestic comedy."

Reed said his biggest surprise was that the Brady kids were really good actors for their ages. Initially, Reed had some second thoughts about taking the role on the sitcom. After a few long talks with the studio about his hesitation, he joined the family.

"I must admit I accepted this series with some reluctance," Reed said. "I had really signed with Paramount to do the pilot of Barefoot in the Park, which I played onstage. But when they decided to shelve the project for a year... I had no choice but Brady."

Even if the choice to be Mike Brady was out of his control, it was a good choice nonetheless.

Watch The Brady Bunch on MeTV!

Sundays at 12 & 12:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

17 Comments

LalaLucy 8 days ago
I always understood Reed's point on many of the scripts. The show was largely unrealistic to the point of being cringeworthy on countless occasions. Also, where I don't want to see a lot of downers or smut, it was definitely out of step with the times according to my folks that grew up in that era. Reed did have one thing though-good delivery. Honestly, the only one I felt did other than Ann B. Davis.
Null88 8 days ago
Today, all fathers are chubby mommy/daddy's boys with hot wives.
327053 28 days ago
We don’t have these father figure tv dads anymore 😔 So many patriarch examples over the years. I don’t even know what’s on television anymore.🤷‍♂️
AnnieM 28 days ago
I think the key to the Bradys everlasting popularity, regardless of the project, is the fact that it's always been known just how much the actors all cared about each other in real life.
Lillyrose 1 month ago
I'm glad that Robert Reed played Mike Brady. I can't imagine anyone else in the role.
I think the picture above is from the Brady Bunch episode "The Cincinnati Kids." That's my favorite Brady Bunch episode!
ncadams27 1 month ago
People want comedies to be funny and - to be honest- most real families don’t do a lot of funny things. Those that do are not sitting around watching TV.
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
The whole show stretched the limits of believability. That was part of the attraction. Affording a live-in housekeeper on an architect's salary? With a stay-at-home mom? Six kids crammed into two rooms? Uh, no.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
You bet being Mike Brady was a good choice for Robert Reed! He may have been reluctant, but he was lucky too.
KawiVulc 1 month ago
If he had gotten his way it seems there's a fair chance the show would be pretty much forgotten today. It's the goofiness that makes it fun to watch for a lot of people.
sagafrat69 1 month ago
Robert Reed was a serious actor who ended up not really of his own choosing on a somewhat silly family sitcom. That's just how it worked out for him. This was a guy who came from "The Defenders" and was on "Mannix" during BB production. He enjoyed the dramatic parts better. Not sure how believable Mike Brady was. No dad is that perfect. Yet it still was 70's t.v. so I guess he worked with what was given to him. If those kids had shown up at my honeymoon hotel with the housekeeper I'd have sent them all home within minutes of arriving! One of the non-sensical plot lines that Reed griped about throughout the series. But let's not forget he had a point😎😁
Handlebar62 sagafrat69 1 month ago
I think he handled the light comedy of the Mike Brady role very well; he kept the character grounded and from becoming TOO silly. I think that's what irked the producers so much. And let's not forget Reed jumped at the chance to do that awful variety show. He supposedly wanted to stretch himself by doing the song and dance bit, but I also think it was because he got to hang out with the cast, who he adored, and didn't have to deal with the Schwartzes, who weren't involved at all. He was reluctant to do the Brady Brides movie, but his love for the cast won out. He said if anyone was going to walk "Marcia" and "Jan" down the aisle, it was going to be him.
sagafrat69 Handlebar62 29 days ago
The entire cast handled the light comedy well. Mike Brady was the dad everyone wish they had. It's a shame sort of that we didn't get to see any real flaws in the character even though it was a 70's comedy. Schwartz would never allow that. I saw the first few minutes of the variety show and said this is not going to go well. Props to Eve Plumb for not wanting anything to do with it."The Brady Brides" was another disaster even though it had very good ratings. Strange that ABC didn't want it and it ended up at NBC. The drama they tried to do in the movie and Brides should've been done somewhat when the original show ran. We saw the show as a light, fluffy comedy and trying to do the drama in the later years just didn't sit well with the core fans. The BB was what it was and we have to be happy with that
harlow1313 1 month ago
As with Pernell Roberts and Tina Louise, we get another one-note Robert Reed story.

It is sort of fascinating, the way METV consistently shows them in somewhat same and negative light. I am skeptical of such broad-brushing of a person. I bet they were neither particularly saints nor sinners. Just people.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 1 month ago
Not really fascinating. As with articles in the past, if everything presented
is positive there will be some one who feels the need to post negative comments,and visa/versa. Looks like MeTV is a step ahead in that regard.
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 1 month ago
">As with articles in the past, if everything presented
is positive..."< I observe a paucity of "positives" for these three individuals.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 1 month ago
You're perfectly right to your opinion(s). It just seems some folks, come to the site to dis-credit MeTV. Their Stories/Quizzes are presented for entertainment purposes (only)! Think some folks see it otherwise!
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 1 month ago
>"You're perfectly right (sic) to your opinion(s)."< I seek no one's approval.

>" It just seems some folks, come to the site to dis-credit MeTV."< I enjoy reading varied opinions.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?