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  • Everyone’s favorite suburban mom: The story of a lovely lady who helped make the whole bunch smile

Everyone’s favorite suburban mom: The story of a lovely lady who helped make the whole bunch smile

Nestled in the green hills of Southern California suburbia stands one of the most recognizable houses in television history: the split-level used as the facade for The Brady Bunch. And from 1969 to 1974, the fictional Carol Brady and her husband, Mike, headed this household known for corny yet sweet, even if saccharine, familial bliss.
Brady Bunch
Arguably, Carol Brady -- played by Florence Henderson, who passed away Nov. 24, 2016, at age 82 -- was the heart of the Brady household, even with six kids, a husband and a housekeeper in the ensemble cast. The beloved Mrs. Brady -- like many mothers -- gave the unconditional love the kids needed while they navigated the world of childhood.

For those fans of The Brady Bunch who live in the real world, the show and its fictional family provided a delightful escape into cozy yet totally unrealistic idealism. Beautiful and elegant Carol Brady represented the mother people wished they had, or she reminded us of the mothers we were lucky to have.

In the series' pilot episode, Carol marries Mike and instantly becomes mom to the "three boys of his own" she inherited from her new husband: handsome oldest child Greg, fun-loving and scheming middle son Peter, and the often pesky yet cute baby brother Bobby. Likewise, Mike Brady instantly became beloved dad to Carol's "three very lovely girls": the beautiful and often melodramatic oldest girl Marcia, the deep and pretty Jan, and the adorable yet often annoying baby sister Cindy.

Such a smooth, quick adjustment in a blended family probably would never happen in real life, either during the Bradys' early '70s Nixon era or today's more complicated world. But that kind of parental connection is what we all crave, and that half-hour Brady episode allowed people to experience it vicariously.

We saw the best of Carol's nurturing in the sentimental first season, where the theme underlying every episode's storyline is the bonding and speed bumps experienced by "this group," who "must somehow form a family." That is the mission described in The Brady Bunch theme song, with the iconic matching visual of nine squares, each filled with a smiling headshot of a character.

She mothers with a smile, a sense of humor, and an unquestionable love for her kids that made them comfortable approaching her about anything. Carol Brady could be the most beloved television mother in pop-culture history.
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©2017 ReMIND magazine Brady Bunch: via MoviestillsDB