It’s been 50 years since The Brady Bunch premiered on ABC and introduced the world to newlyweds Mike and Carol Brady, and their six kids from their previous marriages. The supersized clan had a groovy house – dad Mike (Robert Reed) was an architect who designed the pad – but for some reason, the home only included one Jack-and-Jill style bathroom for all six kids to share. Even worse, it didn’t have a toilet!
The show’s five-season run featured multiple bathroom scenes — from Marcia’s toothbrushing when she got braces in Season 1 to Greg’s hair-dye fiasco just ahead of his high school graduation in the final season — but there was never a toilet in the room.
Five decades later, HGTV has come to the rescue with A Very Brady Renovation. The home design show follows the six, now-adult Brady Bunch kids — Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), and Susan Olsen (Cindy) — as they renovate the Studio City, California home that was used for the exterior shots on the ABC sitcom. And the best part is, this time around, they sprung for a toilet!
In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Brady Bunch star Mike Lookinland admitted that even in 1969, the child stars on the show poked fun at the fact that “there’s no freakin’ toilet … and our dad was an architect!”
Eve Plumb, who played middle child Jan Brady on the series, explained that back in the day, toilets were a no-no on TV.
“At the time, the idea was that it was just sort of tacky to be showing toilets on TV. Nowadays, everybody’s on the toilet!”
Due to network censorship, the kids' bathroom in ‘The Brady Bunch’ didn’t have a toilet. pic.twitter.com/Aeuc5Q6gEq
— OMGFacts (@OMGFacts) August 14, 2018
Yahoo notes that 50 years ago, network standards and censorship rules dictated that toilets could not be shown on television before 10 p.m. Since The Brady Bunch aired at 8 p.m., they were out of luck.
Of course, classic TV fans may recall the shocking first time they heard a toilet flush on TV. It was during an episode of All in the Family in the 1970s.
But nearly two decades before that, a partial toilet was shown on television. According to MeTV, the first toilet to appear onscreen occurred on an episode of Leave It to Beaver in 1957, but it was a carefully curated scene. In the episode, the Cleaver kids bought a pet alligator and hid it in the toilet tank. The classic TV site revealed that producers fought with the network over the inclusion of the commode. The network (CBS) wouldn’t allow the toilet to be filmed, but producers insisted it needed to be shown because it was essential to the plot. In the end, the network agreed just to show the tank.
Fast forward to 2019, and Maureen McCormick, aka Marcia Brady, told Yahoo that she had the pleasure of using the new Very Brady Renovation toilet, which may or may not be an antique from the 1970s, and she said it was very “good.”
A Very Brady Renovation premieres Monday, September 9 on HGTV.