The Brady Bunch

Season 1 Episode 14

Father of the Year

Aired Unknown Jan 02, 1970 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
45 votes

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Episode Summary

Father of the Year

Marcia enters Mike in a "Father of the Year" contest through the newspaper. However, in order to do this she's had to sneak around. When Mike catches her and she's unable to explain, he grounds her from the family ski trip.

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  • Daddy issues

    When I was a kid, I can remember watch that episode of The Brady Buch, which I didn't get. In this epsiode, Marcia tries to prove her love to her dad by entering a "Father of the Year." But why she sneaks arounds, especially in that one scen where she had to go out in the middle of the night to mail that letter? She got caught and she was grounded. Here comes the waterworks. I hate to see Marcia cry. I just didn't care about this episode. Oh well, I'll see Marcia cry less in future seasons. There's no love for "Father of the Year."moreless
  • Everyone finds pleasure in "The Brady Bunch" for a slightly different reason, but the sweet, innocent quality of this episode reminds you why it has remained popular to this day!

    It is virtually impossible to be "on the fence" with a show like The Brady Bunch--either you like it, or you can't stand it. Simple as that. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a chronic Brady watcher, I enjoy the characters enough to tune in for a few episodes every now and again. The show is not exactly subtle with the love and family morals presented, and despite loving it, just about every Brady fan out there has to have wondered at some point how it ever became such a timeless, enduring classic. Your guess is as good as mine, and I can't deny that the show is shamelessly cheesy, but you know what? Family values like the ones in this series are getting tougher and tougher to come across, and the more our society seems to fall away from it, the more many of us seem to crave it. The Bradys may be more deliriously addictive than realistic, but it doesn't really do much good when people try to spout out all the negatives they can think of. Fans of the Brady Bunch are aware of its quality and understand why it is important to them, so no amount of cynicism is going to sway them. It's all about the mindset you enter when you turn on an episode, and whenever I see "Father of the Year," I am brought back to a time and place where the writers, directors, and actors kept their focus on why a story about a seemingly "perfect" blended family would matter to contemporary audiences. The characters were so young and vibrant in this very first season, which all adds to the charm of watching it.

    This episode opens with young Marcia pestering her dad to help her with her math homework, but he has a business meeting to attend. As you can imagine, all it takes is the classic puppy dog face from Marcia for this man to close the front door and put his important work duties on hold, just to make his daughter happy. In the next scene, Marcia thanks her mom for marrying such a wonderful man who would put his children ahead of his busy work schedule. "Just think, all those important business people, and he kept them waiting for me!" she says as she gives her mother a big hug, and they smile and think about how lucky they both are. (Remember, cynics, it's a TV show, and on top of that, it's the Brady Bunch, so there's no use trying to argue the plausibility of any of this.)

    I could continue with a lengthy description of everything leading up to Marcia submitting a winning essay about why her daddy is the most deserving "Father of the Year," but if you are reading this in the first place, chances are pretty good that you've already seen the episode. All I can say is that the final scene between Marcia and her dad is incredibly touching, with an emotional quality that helps you forgive it for being a bit on the sappy side. It's no secret to anybody who follows this series that actor Robert Reed minced no words when he publicly stated his embarrassment in playing this character, which is really a shame, given the fact that Mike Brady is known as one of the most beloved TV dads in history. You'd think that such disclosures about an actor's true negative feelings would make you look at the character differently, but Reed played the part so well that whenever I watch him on the screen, the only thing I see is the gentle, loving Mike Brady. Nothing else. I can't say that for many actors who exhibit questionable behavior in real life, so it is a true testimony to how he became locked into this character, no matter how much he claims to have hated it. Wherever he is now, I hope he realizes that it was one of the most noble and memorable roles that he could have possibly accepted in his career, regardless of anything that may have made that difficult to see.

    This episode also boasts a solid performance from Maureen McCormick, who seemed very effortless in front of the camera, even at such a young age. With her sweet facial expressions, her impeccable pigtails with the adorable purple bows, and her impressive ability to well up on demand, it's hard to believe that so much emotional trauma was going on behind that little smile, as McCormick alluded to in her 2008 autobiography. Despite it all, she was a talented young actress, and as another reviewer here mentioned, it was nice to see the relationship between father and daughter expressed so beautifully here. Even though most pre-adolescent girls probably wouldn't warm up to a new stepfather the way Marcia did here, it's obvious that this is all part of that unprecedented formula that has helped The Brady Bunch stick around for several decades. So what if it's not popular with everyone? This episode is among my favorites in the entire series, with a sweet storyline that is supported by the youthful innocence of its actors. If another show with similar charm and value never makes it to the silver screen again, at least we'll always have reruns to remind us of what television used to be!moreless
  • Marcia's rulebreaking keeps getting her into trouble--until the end, when the truth behind her recent behavior is revealed.

    Marcia decides in secret to enter her new stepfather, whom she's crazy about, it the local paper's "Father of the Year" contest. Keeping it a secret involves some suspect behavior on her part--sneaking into Mike's den without permission, turning in homework late, and the coup de gras, sneaking out of the house late at night to mail the essay in question. Of course, she's caught trying to sneak back in, and is promptly grounded from the family skiing trip. Flash forward to a bunch of newspapermen coming to the house and--surprise!--presenting Mike with the award. When told the essayist was none other that his daughter, Marcia, the violins swell, and a young, teary-eyed Maureen McCormick, pigtails, braces and all, rushes into her new daddy's arms. This is the one and only episode of the Brady Bunch that, literally, chokes me up every time I see it. The writers of this series dealt very well with the issue of "blending" two families during the first season. There are more than a few episodes that deal with the problems of two families becoming one. It's nicely handled and not at all glossed over.moreless
  • Marcia enters Mike in a Father of the Year contest, but gets grounded after she gets caught sneaking out to mail the entry.

    I loved this episode. The end of the show was especially memorable. The love a girl has for the man who is her stepfather is very moving. I haven't actually wathced the show in a while, but did occasionally when it was on Nick at Nite. Thanks to that network for bringing the classics into my home.
Oliver McGowan

Oliver McGowan

Hamilton Samuels

Guest Star

Bill Mullikin

Bill Mullikin

Lance Pierce

Guest Star

Lee Corrigan

Lee Corrigan


Guest Star

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • This is the only episode where Marcia calls her mother, "Mommy".

    • In this episode when Carol offers to help Marcia with
      her homework Marcia says "This is math" insinuating that Carol is bad at math, but in "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" Greg says Carol is a wiz at math.

      Marcia reads the father of the year advertisement and decides she has to go out and mail the letter before midnight. The kids were in bed so it has to be at least 8:00, I have never heard of a post office that is open that late, let alone a mail box
      pickup. If the letter had to be post marked by midnight it was too late to mail it anyways.

    • Alice is wearing a ski outfit not her blue uniform. She is wearing a ski cap, and a sweater when everyone else is wearing shorts and short sleaves, kinda hot to be practicing in a sweater.

    • Why is there ash trays in this scene if the Brady's dont smoke? Why would Alice be cleaing the ash trays in any scene? It was not uncommon for a non-smoking family in those days to have ashtrays for their smoking guests.

    • After Mike grounded Marcia, she crumpled up the "Father of the Year" letter. Later, she retrieved the letter and mailed it, still crumpled. When the letter was received by the editor, the paper of the letter was in tact.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (3)

    • Prepare to shed a few tears when Mike is announced father of the year and reads Marcia's letter out loud to everyone in the room. Her eyes well up with tears as she rushes into her new stepfather's arms. It's one of the most tender moments in the entire series.

    • The exact same footage of Marcia sitting up in bed was used both when she was re-thinking about something in the letter and after she was punished by Mike and Carol.

    • This is the second reference to "that creep" Felix Brown.