The One Thing You Never Noticed About “The Brady Bunch”
Hint: Take a closer look at the kids' bathroom.
From 1969 to 1974, The Brady Bunch was one of the most popular shows on television. It aired during a time when conventional values were strictly upheld in mainstream media and the family-friendly sitcom thrived by following the rules. For example, Florence Henderson, who played Carol Brady, initially wanted her character to have a job. But, as Henderson told HuffPost, her wishes were denied by the show’s producers who thought her character should represent the traditional stay-at-home matriarch. And that’s hardly all the Bradys couldn’t depict.
In fact, the best example of the show’s adherence to G-rated programming is in the Jack and Jill bathroom shared by the six Brady children. If you are an especially keen observer of this oft-used set on this show, you might have noticed that one key element of the bathroom was missing. Double vanity? Check. Linen closet? Check. Bathtub? Check. Towel rack? Check. Toilet? Nowhere to be found.
During The Brady Bunch era of television, as The Atlantic points out, most major networks preferred “gleaming aspiration over accuracy”—especially when it came to bodily functions. Since networks considered it crude to include any insinuation of actually relieving oneself, The Brady Bunch bathroom had to be designed without a toilet, as Good Housekeeping points out. It wasn’t until the latter part of the 1970s and early part of the 1980s that major television networks started showing a toilet (or two) on screen.
Interestingly enough, the television show credited with showing the first toilet—though it was only its tank and not its bowl—was Leave It to Beaver. The episode in question shockingly aired a decade before The Brady Bunch even made its debut. The script for the 1957 episode included Leave It to Beaver’s main characters keeping their pet alligator in a toilet tank. But they weren’t allowed to show a toilet on TV, according to the Standards and Practices department. Ultimately, they reached a compromise: The show could feature the toilet tank as long as the bowl remained out of the shot. And so, history was made.
Then, in 1971, audiences heard a toilet flush on TV for the first time via the boundary-pushing sitcom All in the Family. At the time, those poor Bradys still didn’t have a pot to you-know-what in. And for more iconic television, here are The 50 Best One-Season TV Shows in Television History.
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