The Brady Bunch

Season 1 Episode 20

Brace Yourself

Aired Unknown Feb 13, 1970 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
39 votes

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Episode Summary

Marcia is distraught after getting braces and becomes convinced she's ugly. This compounds when her boyfriend Alan breaks their upcoming date, thinking it's due to her braces. Meanwhile, the Brady kids try their best to make Marcia not feel so self-conscious but with little success.

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  • Marcia braces for dance date

    Ever feel like inner femons
  • Every time I open my mouth I'll look like an electric can opener

    Marcia comes home with braces and won't come down because of her new braces. Peter says he and Bobby offered her a quater to see them. Later as she is eating spaghetti in the kitchen alone, Marcia tells her mother that she doesn't want to go to the school dance in two weeks because poor Alan will have to dance with her all night and every time she opens her mouth she will look like an electric can opener. Her mother encourages her by telling her that braces can't change the feelings of your real friends and those who love you. Marcia seems to have accepted this and will go to the dance. Mike holds a family meeting with all the children except Marcia and tells them not to pay any extra attention to Marcia's new braces. Cindy would rather die than look at Marcia as they share the bathroom. Peter comments on how a classmate can roll a magnet across his braces, and Bobby and Jan try without success to tell Marcia how her dress for the dance looks great. Upstairs crying, and probably not going to go to the dance, Marcia finds out from Alan, who suddenly drops by, that he can't take her to the dance because his parents and he are going out of town to which Marcia answers by accusing him of lying to get out of taking a girl with braces to the dance. The whole family, as usual try to help and tried to find a replacement for Marcia: Mike and Carol look up their friend's number in the address book in hopes of getting Harold, the shy kid, to take Marcia; Greg comes up with an idea and suggests to his friend Joey, who needs a good grade on the physics test to stay on the wrestling team, to take Marcia in exchange for help on the test; Alice noticing that Eddie, the brown bag carrying grocery delivery boy, seems to be of the ideal height and would make a great partner. All three show up at the Brady House at the same time and are dismissed by Marcia when she finds out that they are all there for one reason or another that is not to her liking. Alice returns the dress but goes back to buy it again after Alan pays a second visit to the house to let Marcia know that family plans have changed and that he can take her to the dance in addition to the fact that he truly likes Marcia despite her acting real crazy sometimes. Marcia comes down the stairs in a black skirt and white top while the children peek and watch the couple leave the house and proceed to the dance.

    The plot keeps the viewer in suspense as to whether Marcia will go to the dance or not, that is if the audience isn't already dizzy enough after all the gyrations and changes of mind Marcia and Alan put her through. The double or triple scheduled visit to the house by the boys is probably the more humorous part of this episode. It must be a shame for an American girl to not go to a dance and be a Cinderella.moreless
  • The youthful trauma of getting your first pair of braces...well done by Maureen McCormick!

    After recently watching this episode--which has been airing in reruns for over 40 years--it is absolutely amazing to me how the vibrance of the series has lost not one ounce of its charm. Everyone remembers The Brady Bunch from way back in the day, and this Season 1 episode is a genuine charmer that all fans should be able to enjoy.

    I found young Maureen McCormick to be very sweet and memorable in this episode, which centered around "Marcia Marcia Marcia's" distraught reaction to her very first pair of braces. Slightly overdone, perhaps, but all the more endearing because most women can relate to that feeling of having braces: that feeling that you're uglier, less appealing, and that everyone is looking at you with a silent snicker. To say nothing of the fact that you're in a lot of pain when they are put on your teeth for the first time, and eating something as simple as a bowl of Spaghetti-O's is no easy feat! I've been there, and like Marcia, I can attest to the fact that when you're a kid with braces, statements like "It's not that bad" and "When they come off, your teeth are gonna be beautiful" are not very helpful or comforting--although I must admit that those are the exact things I said to a 12-year-old neighbor last week when she got braces! See what I mean about being able to identify with the episode material? Whether you're 10, 20, 30, or 80, you get it, and that's the magic of it. That's why this show is still airing in reruns several decades later. This is a classic Brady Bunch episode: funny, touching, and as always, accurately in line with any experiences that today's families can encounter in daily life, even if it is slightly cheesy. There's no doubt, however, that if you want to take a 30-minute retreat from everyday reality, you can turn on an episode like this and have a guaranteed smile on your face by the time it's over. It's just that kind of timeless TV that obviously still has something about it that audiences love and want, even after all these years.moreless
Molly Dodd

Molly Dodd


Guest Star

Mike Robertson

Mike Robertson

Alan (credited as Craig)

Guest Star

Brian Nash

Brian Nash


Guest Star

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • During the scene when Marcia is in the kitchen trying to eat spaghetti: when the camera starts to pan out, look carefully at Carol, who is in the background behind the counter. You can clearly see that she is looking up at the director to give her her cue after the camera fully pulls out. She's holding a dish towel and silverware, waiting. As soon as the camera stops moving, you can see where she gets her cue, because she suddenly gets a big smile on her face and busily begins to wipe the silverware and say her line.

    • Marcia's date in this episode is named Alan. The press, however, wrote it down as Craig.

    • This episode gave the usually sunny and happy Marcia Brady some intense crying scenes. Actress Maureen McCormick has admitted that although her castmates didn't know it at the time, all her tears were real, because she was going through a lot of emotional trauma at home. Shortly before the episode was filmed, McCormick's parents had gotten into a horrible fight, and her father admitted to having an affair with a family friend. McCormick claims that she "summoned the tears easily" for this and any other episode that required her to get upset, and they were actually some of her favorite scenes, because with the difficult home life she had, it was a good release for her.

    • In the scene with Cindy and Marcia in the bathroom, Marcia's braces are gone! If you look closely, they have slid up to the top of her teeth and are on her gums. This happens several other times in this episode.

    • Look closely and you'll notice that there's no glass in the sliding glass doors at the Brady house.

    • In the scene with Cindy and Marcia in the bathroom, you can tell that the amount of facial cream on Marcia keeps changing between shots.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Marcia: Well, some people say things just to be nice.
      Jan: Would we say things to you just to be nice?
      Bobby: We're your brother and sister.
      Marcia: Then you didn't really mean it.
      Alice: Of course they meant it.
      Marcia: I wonder if I can ever believe what anyone in this family says to me ever again, at all!
      Jan: Honest, it's a real pretty dress!
      Bobby: Even if it doesn't cover up your braces.

    • Marcia: Tell me the honest truth. Do I look funny?
      Cindy: Of course not, Marcia. You look beautiful.
      Jan: Thanks, Cindy!
      Cindy: But how do you get the toothpaste through all that barbed wire?

    • Jan: (when Cindy is about to go into the bathroom) Marcia's in there.
      Cindy: Daddy said to act natural--and I always barge in on Marcia when she's in the bathroom!

    • Alan: I can't take you to the dance.
      Marcia: Why not?
      Alan: Well, my parents are going out of town.
      Marcia: So what?
      Alan: I have to go with them.
      Marcia: I don't believe you. You just don't want to be seen with a girl who has braces, like I do now. I hate you, Alan Anthony. I hate EVERYBODY!

  • NOTES (3)

    • This is the only episode that Marcia is seen wearing braces.

    • Peter and Greg are the only Brady kids that never get braces.

    • Viewers familiar with The Brady Bunch would see the situation - involving family members unknowingly (and separately) asking three different boys to go to a school dance with the dateless, luckless pre-teen daughter - on Family Matters (incidentally, the first episode to feature Steve Urkel). Like the sitaution on Family Matters (involving Laura) attempts by Mike, Greg and Alice to find a date for Marcia go wrong.