Oliver Cousin Oliver
June 11th, 2017 by Proprietor
The cousin brought in to help keep the Brady family forever young. Children grow up, and if you have a family sitcom, keeping it viable means bringing in younger children. The Kelly family was intended to be a spinoff, introduced as a backdoor pilot, that did not work, and so they were forgotten. So, how can you expand the Brady Bunch to include a younger child?
Carol was still young enough to have a surprise baby. For some reason the producers opted for Carol taking in her brother’s son, though the producers played up the whole pregnancy concept. How wonderful would it be if Carol and Mike actually did end up having a child together? The biological monstrosity would be a melding of their genes. A half brother or sister to the other Brady siblings. A true heir to the Brady throne. Instead, we got Oliver.
Oliver would arrive, and the children would love him, until they hated him. He was a jinx. Bad things happened. Though his being the seventh kid would get the Bradys a chance to be extras in a movie because Oliver was the millionth visitor to a studio. Lots of pie, no cake.
For a few episodes, Oliver would be Bobby’s sidekick. When Bobby was hustling for money playing pool, Oliver was there, as was a Driscoll’s Toy Store box in the background. When Bobby decided to sell hair tonic, Oliver was there. The tonic managed to turn Greg’s hair orange. Though Johnny Bravo would not look as cool with orange hair, he did get it fixed. Cindy was also in on the entrepreneur gig, but trying to sell rabbits, yet she bought two boy rabbits. Thanks to Bobby and Oliver’s bumbling, the rabbits were died orange. Bobby and Cindy got their money back, plus a profit, Oliver got his cut. After Greg’s graduation, like Tiger, Oliver was no more. The Brady Bunch was cancelled, and when the short-lived spinoffs came about, Oliver was not brought back. He was not even invited to the weddings of Jan and Marsha or Bobby. We did not even meet Carol’s brother.
But, Oliver would live on in legend. Thanks to Oliver a show biz term was invented. Anytime a long running television series which featured young children begins to become stale, and younger children are brought in to try an reinvigorate the series, it is called “Cousin Oliver Syndrome”.
It would have been nice to have Carol pregnant with a surprise baby. That transition could have altered the series dramatically. Carol and Mike finally have a child, thinking she could not get pregnant at her age, like many middle class women, who reach middle age, they go off the pill. Then OOOPS! Greg graduating and moving on, Carol three months pregnant, that would have guaranteed a sixth season at least. It would have brought in a change in tempo, as well as form of maturity and drama to the series. But, we will never know.
Cousin Oliver did not save the Brady Bunch, but due to his introduction, he created a legend and a show biz term that lives on forever.
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