Boy Sunflower Girl
December 13th, 2017 by Proprietor
For the most part, the Brady Bunch television series remained apolitical. Dabbling in the counter culture was for a more musical family named Partridge. To some extent, the Brady Bunch mocked the times it was in. It was a timeless wholesomeness that went against the more permissive times. Like most half hour sitcoms, serious topics were dealt with in a humorous fashion, and did not get into the depths of the debate, just the surface. So it was very hard to take the point seriously.
In the first season, sibling rivalry drove the show as the girls and boys were growing to accept each other as family, rather than competition for affection or resources, like the bathroom. Who would build a house for six children with only one main bathroom? That could be a blog post. Because it was boys versus girls, the idea of women’s lib was introduced into one episode.
Marcia stated on television that girls could do the same thing as boys. Marcia gained instant teasing and scorn from her brothers. Greg being the chief rival was the focus of Marcia’s desire to prove herself. Marcia decided to join a scouting organization that Greg was a part of. This scouting organization was a stand in for the Boy Scouts. After a humorous cut scene where Mike and the other scout master are scene turning pages of the scouting manual to find a reason why Marcia could not join, it turns out, there is no rule against her joining.
Outraged by Marcia joining his scouting troop, Greg decides to get even. Marcia is a few years younger than Greg, so she is part of a Girl Scout like organization, the Sunflower Girls. Very hippie. Because Greg is too old to join, and Bobby is too young, Peter has to join. Marcia is informed of this, and rather than become insulted, seems to enjoy the idea. Peter ends up walking around the neighborhood with Bobby selling cookies. Their attempts to sell cookies to a middle aged man seem ridiculous, but ultimately, the man admires their guts and buys a box. Peter immediately decides to quit.
Though Peter would be the only Brady to throw a punch in a real fight, and it was to defend Cindy from that mean old bully Buddy Hinton.
In the mean time, Marcia trains to be a scout with the help of Alice and Carol. Their understanding of certain things is lacking, so there is comedy. Marcia goes with the scout troop on a camping expedition. Her final challenge is to track and follow Greg through the woods. Greg returns after blazing a trail. Greg reveals he had intentionally made the clues hard to follow, except, Marcia did find them. She passes the test. Rather than go to the scouting initiation later, she drops out, feeling her point is made.
The show itself was intended to imply being a girl is harder than being a boy. To some extent it might be different, because at the time different social expectations were placed on boys and girls. Peter quit because he did not want his masculinity questioned. If he did not quit Sunflower Girls, he might put himself into a place socially that would lead to him being picked on or beat up, not admired. Marcia on the other hand had everything to gain from success. Even failure would prove some sort of point.
Thankfully, the Brady Bunch stayed away from politics a good deal of the time. There were general riffs and some pointed comments, but the Brady Bunch was for the most part a parody or paradox of the time. The sequels or spinoffs were more serious, and tried to deal with both social issues, as well as politics, but that bogged down, plus detracted from the series. The movies, would take the whole parody and anachronism paradox to the extreme, hence Mike Brady became president.
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