In a parallel universe, on Nick at Nite…

(scene: around the dining room table at the Brady house)

Mr Brady: Now, Cindy, you know it's not nice to tattle.  Greg is your brother, and he deserves his privacy.

Cindy: But, Daddy, I couldn't get him to play with me!

Mr Brady: Cindy, if you stick a cattle prod up their ass, you could get a horse to deal cards.  It's just a matter of voltage.*

Cindy: What? I don't understhand.  I'm telling you Greg was playing thtrangle the bishop, and you're thaying thomething about cattle prodth.  He wagged hith–

Mr Brady: Cindy, I'm the captain of this ship, now SHUT THE FUCK UP! *

Harrowing, no? Much as we'd love it, the Mike Brady we all know would never speak that way to poor, tattling, lisping, be-curled Cindy.  Mike Brady was played by the amazingly well-trained Robert Reed.  You might not guess it from watching him as the unflappable, perpetually optimistic wuss with the man-perm, but Robert Reed was a Shakespearean actor, who even taught classical theater at UCLA.  Robert Reed hated The Brady Bunch, and he battled constantly with creator Sherwood Schwartz over the show's insipid writing.  Sadly, that show he hated so much defined him, and that's how he'll always be remembered, for craptacular scenes like this:

[Carol walks into Mike's den to show off her new ensemble for their weekend vacation at a dude ranch]
Carol Ann Brady: What are you going to wear, Mike?
Michael 'Mike' Brady: Oh I don't know… my cowboy boots…
Carol Ann Brady: [in her best John Wayne impression] Well ya better wear somethin' else, or you're gonna get arrested!
Michael 'Mike' Brady: Not to mention sunburn!  +

HAR! (sfx: projectile vomiting)

But it almost didn't happen for Robert Reed.

Producer Schwartz's first choice to play Mike Brady was Gene Hackman.  Yes, the same Gene Hackman who won Oscars for playing uber-badasses Popeye Doyle and Unforgiven's sadistic sherrif, Little Bill.  It boggles the mind to think how different the Brady Bunch would've been had the studio not considered Gene Hackman to be too unknown at the time. 

In a parallel universe, maybe Gene Hackman did get the job.  And maybe, since he would've been too busy shooting The Brady Bunch, Robert Reed would've played Popeye Doyle in The French Connection, or Superman's Lex Luthor. 

Imagine Mike Brady as we know him saying, "All right! You put a shiv in my partner. You know what that means? Goddammit! All winter long I got to listen to him gripe about his bowling scores. Now I'm gonna bust your ass for those three bags and I'm gonna nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie." +

Tough to visualize, no? Gene Hackman went on to turn down starring roles in Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, four film classics.  If you extrapolate, we could've had Robert Reed playing Indiana Jones.  Yikes.

Then again, I was always told that if I extrapolate, I'll grow hair on my palms and go blind, so I won't do that.  And thank God we don't live in that parallel universe, because maybe I'd have married my college girlfriend and had kids and sell insurance and play bridge and watch horrible children's soccer games and live in suburbia and have a white picket fence.

Worse yet, I might live next door to those insufferable Bradys and their saccharine goody-goody spawn.

Although, I'd love to run my hands through that Jan Brady's "hair of gold," and help her get over her Marcia fixation.

*- Gene Hackman's lines from Crimson Tide (1995)
+- excerpts from imdb.com

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4 Responses to “In a parallel universe, on Nick at Nite…”

  1. bwahahhadhahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I nearly spit coffee all over my keyboard, reading this!!!! Sill trying to visiualize Robert Reed running from that big round rock. He was a good actor, I think- I've seen him in a couple of other things — naturally I can't remember them; he certainly brought more depth to those roles than he could with the Brady "bonanza" he ended up with. Your parallel universe scene is soooooooo funny! This entire post is a gem, and I'm maing it a "favorite." Thanks for a terrific morning laugh!!!

  2. That Jan comment was a little creepy. I'm just saying. Especially in the context of your hypothetical parallel world.

    I love Gene Hackman. I'm so glad he wasn't Mr. Brady.

  3. Oh, you're no fun. šŸ˜‰
    I never liked Marcia. I thought Jan was cuter, plus Marcia was an evil narcissist. She and GInger should be forced to share a mirror in hell.

  4. Holy shit! Gene Hackman as Mr. Brady. Can't begin to fathom.

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