The “Ranch House” Dilemma
Ever since I was little, I’ve been a Brady Bunch fan. Not in the casual sense, but a dyed-in-the-wool fanatic with an insane knowledge of each and every episode, what season they were in, one-shot character name knowledge, extensive trivia, and the list goes on (and, yes, I even read Growing Up Brady and own their CD). When I was in bands in the 1980s, a roadie of mine and I used to “disturb” people when an episode came on by spitting out the plot synopsis within seconds of post-credits story start. (My current record is 4 seconds.) To say I know this five-season show like the back of my hand is a vast understatement.
Since my entrance into the double-digit ages, I was always bothered by some inconsistencies and at least one mystery about the Ranch House. (Pic above is the house in its 1969-1974 incarnation.) Whether we work with the show perspective of the house or the aerial shot below taken years later, the same concerns still exist. And, yes, I’m aware that interiors were shot on a set and not in this particular house, but this is a TV show that established that it take place in this house, so let’s all suspend disbelief for an entry and follow me on this one…
In the show, the Brady home had two floors and an attic. The first inconsistency was established in two separate episodes about a couple of seasons apart. A discussion between the parents, when Greg wanted his own room and ended up getting Dad’s study temporarily, revealed that the “attic” had a height of only a few feet and was implied to be more or less a crawlspace of sorts. In another episode, when Greg and Marcia fought for the “attic” room, and Greg got it, the attic magically turned into a full-sized room. What gives?!
Anyhoo, take another look at the house layout. Although the level above the first does indeed extend towards the back, it is a slanted-roof level. In no episodes are the upstairs bedrooms following a slanted wall pattern. In fact, they are square-shaped like the downstairs rooms. Therefore, the “second floor” conflict remains just that. It shouldn’t be there, or the roof should be over a squared second floor. Madness!
There’s also the “mystery room.” At the top of the stairs to this confounding second floor, the hallway takes a sharp right followed by a sharp left, which only explains that the hallway runs perpendicular to the first floor, but still doesn’t explain away the roof thing and the lack of room for the hallway’s adjacent rooms. Before all of this, there is a door to the immediate left. it is never entered and never acknowledged in any episode of the show. If you look at the Ranch House shot, there is a room over the living room with a window that more than implies a room behind it. What’s in this room? Why does no one acknowledge it? Maybe it’s where Tiger went and no one cared to check? It’s not the parents’ room because that’s next to the boys’ room to the right of the long hallway. I tell you, it’s enough to drive a Brady fan bananas!
Of course, there’s the other stuff, like Bobby’s magical hair color change after the first season, the whole Tiger disappearance, the fact that Mom NEVER said in any episode the words, “don’t play ball in the house” (even if she “always” said it, according to Bobby), and still more stuff. But, this whole mystery room and inconceivable second floor thing seems to be a far bigger dilemma. If I ever meet Sherwood Schwartz, I’ll get the truth out of him one way or another, so help me Johnny Bravo!
Oh, and my favorite Brady is Jan, in case you were wondering. Favorite episode? Why, the Buddy Hinton one, of course.