Bother Fighter Buddy

June 13th, 2018 by

It has been a long time since I posted a Brady post, this one is spurred by my viewing of various episodes on Hulu, now that the Brady Bunch is available.

Peter Brady was the the overlooked middle child. Somewhat meek, mild mannered, and easily pushed around or persuaded by his older brother into doing things he probably did not want to do, like become a Sunflower Girl. Considering Greg was the athlete of the bunch, you might understand why.

Peter though would go out of his way to help Jan, be devil’s advocate for Marcia, and even though he often picked on Bobby, he would go to great lengths to help his younger brother. He had a heroic streak which caused him to save a young girl from being crushed by a shelf at Driscoll’s Toy Store, but also a very selfish aspect, which was high lighted by his taking advantage of the rewards given to him. Peter had a sketchy work ethic, even though he loved his job at Martinelli’s Bike Shop, he had no talent for the work. When Marcia hired him to work at Haskell’s Ice Cream Parlor, he lazed about and at ice cream, which caused Marcia to fire him. One thing Peter really had was a sense of nobility and compassion, which caused him to leap to Cindy’s aid when she was being tormented by the bully, Buddy Hinton.

Season 2, Episode 8, A Fistful of Reasons, which was a play on words of a popular Clint Eastwood western, A Fistful of Dollars, lead to Peter’s becoming the only Brady to actually get in a physical fight. Even in a later episode, it was hinted that Peter and Buddy would become perpetual nemesis locked in mortal combat.

The episode starts with a very weary and sad Cindy returning home from school. As she passes through the kitchen, Alice tries to address Cindy, but is snubbed. Cindy is followed to her room where she leaps to her bed, hugging her stuffed animal, and bursts out crying. The scene cuts to Carol entering the kitchen, Alice informs her of the snub, but they both blow it off to Cindy having something on her mind.

It is not until dinner time when all the children come down to eat, Mike exits his den commenting on a need for traffic lights. As Marcia comes down, Carol notices the absence of Jan and Cindy. Marcia states Jan is in the bathroom drying her hair. Eve Plumb was not in this episode. Marcia informs Carol and Mike that Cindy refuses to come down. This causes both concerned parents to go upstairs and find out why Cindy does not want to come to dinner. After talking to her, they find out she is distressed because the children at school are picking on her because of her lisp. Carol informs Cindy that she had a worse lisp in school. Both Mike and Carol say they will help Cindy get over her lisp after dinner. This buoys Cindy’s mood, and she runs down to dinner. Mike asks Carol if she really had a lisp in school, and she states that she did, it was really bad, because she was born in Saskatoon, Massachusetts, which does not exist. This gives the viewer insight into the past life of Carol. It is never addressed when she moved out to California, but it is presumedly because her parents either moved when she was young, and thus she had to come with or after her ex-husband’s demise. Her parents, like many Brady relatives, with the exception of Cousin Oliver, appeared only once, then were never seen again.

It is unclear how long Mike and Carol help Cindy with her anti-lisp training, presumedly it will take weeks, so Cindy either suffers weeks of torment or the children moved on. At the start of the episode, it is also presumed that the whole class or more than one child is tormenting Cindy.

Then Buddy Hinton is introduced. Cindy is walking home, and Buddy is lying in wait. He begins heckling Cindy, calling her “Baby Talk” and making up sing song attacks. Peter comes to Cindy’s defense. Buddy challenges Peter to a fight, but Peter backs down, he and Cindy leave while Buddy cat calls insults to both of them, calling Peter a chicken.

The scene cuts to the boy’s room where Cindy tries to console a distraught Peter. Bobby and Greg enter, and ask Cindy to leave, because they want to talk to Peter in private. It is Man’s Business they are going to deal in. Any boy knows what that means. Immediately Greg and Bobby inform Peter that Buddy is blabbing around school that Peter chickened out of a fight. Peter states he backed out, and did not want to fight. Being a chicken is worse than being a bully in the mind of boys. In the meantime, Mike returns home, Carol is distraught. She informs Mike that it has something to do with a bully, and school. Mike goes up to the boys room to address the situation. Greg offers to straighten Buddy out in regards to his teasing Cindy, but Mike puts the kibosh on it, and talks to Peter about reasoning with Buddy. Like reasoning with a bully ever worked.

The next day, Peter and Cindy walk home, Buddy accosts them. Peter tries to reason with Buddy. The whole reasoning philosophy is squashed in the next scene. Peter has a black eye, Carol is shocked that reasoning did not work, as Alice gives Peter a steak to put on his eye. It was Tiger’s dinner, the dog eats good, but a cold steak is really good on a black eye. Mike is upset, and decides to talk to Buddy’s father. Buddy’s father seems un-phased by the fact that his son punched Peter and is picking on Cindy. Children are children and get in fights, as well as pick on each other. This upsets Mike, and things appear to get heated. Mike and Mr. Hinton step up into each other’s face, but Mike backs down. Mike informs Carol that he will give permission to Peter to defend himself. Carol is shocked, and decides to reason with Mrs. Hinton, women do things different.

Mrs. Hinton turns out to be a feckless housewife under the thumb of her husband. Mrs. Hinton informs Carol that Mr. Hinton has strong opinions when it comes to raising boys. If she were to intervene, Mr. Hinton would tell her to butt out. There is even hints that Mr. Hinton might be physically and psychologically abusive. Carol is frustrated, goes back to Mike, and explains that Peter does need to defend himself. Carol is also exasperated that Mrs. Hinton is so dependent on her husband.

Mike goes to the boys and explains Peter can defend himself. Peter unfortunately is not as exited as Bobby and Greg. Peter confesses to his father that he does not know how to fight. Mike decides to train Peter. There is a Brady like training montage, not as dramatic as Rocky, but quaint.

As Peter trains to gain speed, strength, and actually learn to throw a punch, rather than take cheap shots at Greg, Cindy decides to train to lose her lisp. All the Brady’s are on board with helping, including Alice, who while cooking the family meal, trains Peter in boxing moves. Sometimes though, the help was more humiliation. When Peter was jumping rope, Marcia thought it was a game, and began the school girl rhymes girls learn while skipping rope. Peter walked away humiliated.

The time and length of training was unspecified, except the way the whole episode was edited, what should have been weeks, seemed to take place within a few days or the weekend. It was obvious that Cindy took the same walk home everyday, and Buddy lurked waiting to assail her. If Peter had been training, he either kept his mouth shut, and allowed himself and Cindy to be subjected to further torment or they chose a different all home.

Cindy and Peter have a brother and sister moment that leads the viewer to believe that both were walking into the fight on purpose. Cindy even invites friends along to witness the event. Buddy, undeterred by the volume of children, and obviously not realizing he might be set up, torments Cindy and Peter. Peter at first tries to reason, but Buddy continues to taunt him. Peter finally gives in to physical combat. Closing his eyes and throwing a punch, he knocks Buddy down. Within seconds Buddy is not only defeated, but humiliated, because Peter knocks his tooth loose, and it causes Buddy to lisp. Cindy not wanting to pass up a moment torments Buddy, the crowd laughs. Buddy runs off crying. Peter silences the crowd, and explains to Cindy, her tormenting Buddy was a wrong as him tormenting her.

In a form of television show symmetry and a way of apologies, Buddy shows up at the Brady residences asking to borrow Cindy’s tongue twister book. Since he now speaks with a lisp, and needs to relearn to speak. Did the Hinton family not have a dentist to go to? Was Peter’s punch that ferocious, that Buddy was somehow brain damaged?

This episode, as cheesy as it was, goes down as one of the better Brady episodes. It teaches strength of character, and nobility under adverse conditions. It also shows the futility of trying to reason with someone who uses intimidation as a way to achieve something, even if it is making themselves stronger.

Thanks for stopping by.