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TV Reviews : Nostalgia of Yesteryear Returns in 'The Bradys'

February 09, 1990|LYNNE HEFFLEY

Come with us now to the days of yesteryear as "The Brady Bunch" returns from sitcom limbo.

"The Bradys" returns at 8 tonight with a two-hour movie (Channels 2 and 8) that will be followed in succeeding weeks by hourlong installments. It reunites all but one of the cast from the original 1969-74 series.

And gee, don't they look good? But what's all this relevancy stuff?

Jan (Eve Plumb) wants a baby, so she and husband Philip (Ron Kuhlman) spend their time leaping into bed. Peter (Christopher Knight) has just broken off his fourth engagement. Greg (Barry Williams) is an obstetrician married to his nurse (Caryn Richman). Little Cindy (Susan Olsen--with the pigtails, remember?) is a rock 'n' roll deejay.

Marcia, played by Leah Ayres (replacing Maureen McCormick from the original cast), has two kids and is married to out-of-work Wally (Jerry Hauser). They've all moved in with Mom and Dad. Mom (Florence Henderson) is now a successful real-estate agent and Dad (Robert Reed) is still a successful architect. And yes, Ann B. Davis is back as Alice, the housekeeper.

It's Bobby (Michael Lookinland) around whom the action revolves. About to triumph as a professional race car driver, he crashes and is paralyzed, perhaps for life. But he's got an old girlfriend (Martha Quinn) waiting in the wings if he can just swallow his pride.

Don't worry, though. Relevancy may have been the intention, but director Bruce Bilson sticks to '70s-sitcom actions and reactions with a masterful disregard for dramatic context.

He's aided and abetted by writers Sherwood Schwartz and Lloyd J. Schwartz, who go for nostalgia with the same simplistic dialogue and contrived, sweet situations we remember from the old days.

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