Robert Reed wasn't afraid to speak up about his Brady Bunch criticisms

Reed had a few opinions about the writing on The Brady Bunch.

Image credit: The Everett Collection/CBS Television Distribution

Robert Reed, as Mike Brady, was the iconic father of six during his time on The Brady Bunch. His character quickly became one of America's favorite TV dads. Mike Brady was able to instill many life lessons in not only the Brady kids but also the kids watching The Brady Bunch at home.

Although Reed was on The Brady Bunch for a total of five seasons, he wasn't always happy with the final product. 

According to a 1972 interview with Courier-Post, Reed had a lot to say about his series, primarily discussing how he wished certain aspects of the series could change. 

"The ineptitude of the scripts can be overpowering," Reed said. "You get a script that's ludicrous. Sometimes the pages don't even match. It could be a good show, but we're operating at 30 percent capacity, I think."

Although Reed said the writing and writing process had gotten better from season to season, he still wasn't happy with how it was going. But he also wasn't afraid to speak his mind about it either.

"They want ratings and money... Their attitude is not caviler," Reed said. "They think it's good. The others are not going to raise a fuss. I'm called a bad boy because I want to improve it."

According to the interview, Reed wanted The Brady Bunch to be renewed for a new season but was unsure if he could commit himself to another season. He had love for all of his Brady co-stars, and stated: "The role, apart from the ninny writers, is terrific."

"These are the finest kid actors I've ever worked with," Reed said. "There's never an argument or friction. The fact that they're good and pros is exciting to me. And Florence and Ann are the nicest people you can be with."

It's good to know that the Brady family off-screen was a lot like the Brady family on-screen, too. The series' primary audience was young adults and kids, but Reed thought the appeal to the youth wasn't intentional by the writers. 

"When they offered me this part, I asked them if the show was going to be Gilligan's Island with kids," Reed said. "They said 'Oh, no' it would be full of portent and meaning... They toss it all together like anagrams. There isn't the meticulous care that there was in Father Knows Best."

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27 Comments

Coldnorth 6 days ago
Kinda Off topic:
The Brady’s should have had one or two kids together. Yours, Mine and Ours. Both of the movies with the same titles worked well. Maybe not as a movie per se, but as a series. I’m sure they would have some interesting plot lines. Like favoritism, getting along in a huge group etc. I think the idea could be interesting
bradyguy 1 month ago
Considering that Reed's quotes come from 1972...likely between seasons 3 and 4, this article doesn't really offer any new information and simply repeats what we've all heard before...
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Well, you can fault a man for speaking his mind in a show that he’s part of!
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
Reed's disagreements with Schwartz are infamous. They came to a head on the last episode, in which he did not appear at all. All this is all well-documented.
Bapa1 1 month ago
I have read he was always complaining about the show. But he knew when he signed on, what he was getting into. And he got paid. Back then, lots of actors were doing 'silly' shows. (Bewitched, My Favorite Martian, I Dream of Jeannie, Mr. ED, Love Boat, etc.)
bradyguy Bapa1 1 month ago
As stated above by Wordsmith, Reed's disappointment with many of the BB's scripts is well-documented, by him, other cast, crew, and creator Schwartz. But I do agree with your comments about Reed. As much as I love the show (Does my screenname give me away?) and always liked Reed's performance, he certainly seemed to see himself and his talent as "above" the quality of the show. Whether or not, as he stated, Sherwood Schwartz promised him that the BB would delve into serious subjects isn't particularly relevant. (And in fairness, they did "touch" some weighty subjects - not an insignificant accomplishmnent given that it was JUST a light-hearted family comedy and NOT All in the Family or Maude.) He DID know he was signing on to a family comedy, so perhaps it was unfair to expect much more than that.

However, your inclusion of the BB as a "silly" show is shortsighted and mistaken. The other four you mention (along with My Mother, The Car...The Munsters...and The Addams Family) were all products of the mid-60s "fantasy"/high-concept era, and though I wouldn't consider them all "silly", they were absolutely of a very specific "mini-genre" in sitcoms. By the time the BB premieres in 1969...that era was long gone. For better or worse, the BB was little more than a basic family sitcom, albeit one with a family we had never seen before. "A man with three boys of his own marries a woman with three daughters..." Not EXACTLY high-concept...but a bit higher than normal.

Oh, and The Love Boat doesn't belong on that list at all. It was 10-15 years later...was NOT a sitcom, and, arguably dealt with many, many, very serious issues, including rape, child abuse, immigration, mastectomies, criminal behavior, unwanted children and adoption, kidnapping, drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia, numerous life-threatening diseases...and LOTS of adultery.

But yeah, it could be pretty silly too!
harlow1313 1 month ago
Robert Reed articles on METV remind me of those for Tina Louise; they have one simplistic note, repeated.
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Coldnorth sagafrat69 1 month ago
They should have had a child together. Then they wouldn’t have brought in Oliver. I’m still not sure why he was living with them
sagafrat69 Coldnorth 1 month ago
Probably would've solved the problem of not having a Brady toddler in the house. So many things wrong about Cousin Oliver's arrival lol.
sagafrat69 bradyguy 1 month ago
Ok bradyguy. Apparently you're the Brady expert. You got me on the not being escorted out. Thought I read something about him being thrown out but you're right about Schwartz and his desire not to have the kids see "Dad" bounced. RR was about 30 ft away off camera and fuming. What "weighty" subjects did they tackle?Nada except maybe the "smoking episode I mentioned. And you're wrong about the show not being silly. It was a very short -sighted, light hearted family comedy. Not quite the cartoonish comedy like " Gilligan' but close. That was Schwartz's style. They really didn't know what to do with the show once the kids were in their teens. Cousin Oliver was an example of trying to inject a younger kid in the show when that train had already passed so to speak. SS wouldn't take the Bradys out of their bubble. That wasn't much of a problem in the very early seasons but became a problem when they got into their teens. Don't blame Reed in the least. A shame nobody listened to him.
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cperrynaples 1 month ago
Actually, TBB WAS sorta Gilligan with kids! After all, the same producer! And let's not forget Reed's refusal to do the last episode!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 1 month ago
Yes. Sherwood Schwartz explained it clearly.
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 1 month ago
Need to give credit to Mr.Schwartz for his patience,as Reed was like that throughout the series.
Bapa1 cperrynaples 1 month ago
He did walk out. Yet he came back for the variety show and the reunion shows.
bradyguy Bapa1 1 month ago
Well...no. He did NOT "walk out". I detailed it above.

But your point is one that we've all pondered for years. If he was so unhappy with Schwartz, his experience on the BB, and the (lack of) quality of the show...then why did he keep coming back over and over....and over...?

The answer for the BBVH is fairly simple; Sherwood Schwartz had nothing to do with it. So, to Reed, it offered him an opportunity to reunite with his beloved TV family (sans Eve) without having to deal with his prickly former EP. He was also quoted as saying he loved to sing and dance, though he considered himself accomplished at neither.

As for the other three (Reed/Mike doesn't appear in The Brady Brides) "reboots" - all of which had Schwartz as EP...you're guess is as good as mine. Again, his desire to work with his TV family must have outweighed his resentment of Schwartz and their previous encounters. And don't forget about the $$. We all love Reed...but after his heyday of the early mid-70s with some respected TV work (Roots, etc.) and Nurse in the 80s, nobody was really knocking down ol' Bob Reed's door to star in anything anymore. (He did a LOT of guest spots...he was essentially a "working" actor.) The prospect of that steady paycheck for The Bradys probably cannot be overstated...
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