Jan Jan Jan
May 14th, 2017 by Proprietor
Watching a television series in it’s entirety, especially one that has nostalgic significants, and turns out is not a bad series, gives you some interesting insight into dynamics when it comes to the characters or inside jokes, like Cake.
I admit, I was a Jan Brady fan as a child. No one would argue that Marsha was not strikingly pretty, and because of her blue eyes, blond hair, and earlier development, Marsha drew attention immediately. This meant, Jan was going to be overlooked and dwell in the shadows of her older sister. Plenty of episodes revolved around Jan’s neurosis. The concept was taken to a total farcical parody in the Brady Bunch movies, where Jan contemplated evil things, and talked to herself out loud. There was cake in the movies as well.
But, my fandom of Jan was somewhat sympathetic, as a young boy, being the second child, I am thankful I was not a middle child, I had great empathy. I was always dwelling in the shadows of an older sibling. How can you not blame Jan for being so screwed up? Either Jan was overlooked because of Marsha or Cindy was stealing the light for being just too damn cute. Peter seemed to not have any sympathy, because he got along well with both of his brothers, boys are different. No matter how hard Jan worked, no matter what she did, she failed. Marsha did it better or Cindy could do it better. The only person who had any sympathy was Alice, because Alice revealed she was a middle sister as well.
Jan was pretty. In many ways, just as pretty, if not more pretty than Marsha. No guy in school would look down on you if Jan was your girlfriend. If Jan was your girlfriend, you would be the guy with the babe. Yet, for some reason Jan did not have the guys hanging all over her. Even when Mrs. Brady realized Jan needed to dress like a girl rather than a boy because Clark Tyson filled her in on why Jan could not get a guy, Jan seemed to have boyfriend issues. She had to make up boyfriends, while Marsha dated bug collecting geeks, like Harvey Klinger. This gave geeks some hope, especially bug collectors. Mike even offered Harvey some bug cake or something.
When Jan reached a certain age, she developed well. Seems lecherous now, but at the time, I was ten or eleven and the Brady Bunch was in syndication airing on local channels. When the Hawaiian episodes came on, suddenly, Jan was not the flat chested younger sister to Marsha.
Apparently Maureen McCormick was actually self conscious during the whole Hawaiian beach scenes if she had to stand next to Eve Plumb. Eve actually made Maureen feel inferior for many reasons. Yet, Jan had self confidence issues. In the Most Popular Girl episode, Jan lamented that her opponent had the three B’s, Brains, Blond, and Built. In my mind I was wondering, “How well built was the other girl?” Yet, they never showed the competition.
One thing is for certain, Jan did not turn out to look like her great aunt, Jenny, played by Imogene Coca.
In season 5 Jan had bested Marcia when it came to work. Marcia lost her job in an Ice Cream Parlor because the owner decided Jan was a better worker. This became a clear indicator of the future, though Marcia was not happy, she soon decided to give up her working ways for a life of luxury and being supported by men.
Several years after the Brady Bunch ended, Eve Plumb appeared in a Wonder Woman episode. She was now a woman, and wow. She could give Linda Carter competition in the looks and build departments. Linda Carter was taller though, and not in any danger of losing her amazon heroine job. Eve played the daughter of a general or something whom became a member of a cult, struck me as very Jan Brady-ish. Would not a neurotic Jan Brady seeking acceptance join a cult? Wonder Woman naturally went to investigate, then rescue the former Jan Brady.
There was a Brady Bunch Variety Hour or something, where a different woman stood in for Jan. Obviously no substitute for Eve. It was like the producers just grabbed some blond chick around the same age, and expected people to just overlook things.
Then came the Brady Brides, a made for TV movie. Eve returned to play her former second fiddle role to Maureen, but this time, the tables were turned. Jan was getting married, and Marsha did not want to be outdone, so she rushed into marriage with a man she barely knew. Then it seemed Jan had more of a solid life in the short-lived spin-offs of the Brady Bunch, the Brady Brides, and even the Bradys. Though Jan could not get pregnant, and that was a main point of competition between the now Brady women, Jan had a husband with a steady job, worked successfully as a realtor, and did not have an alcohol problem. Marcia married a perpetually unemployed husband, and ended up a drunk who did not have a job.
Today, though Eve Plumb is not in the spotlight as much, she is probably the most successful of the Brady girls.
Jan Jan Jan.
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