When the Bradys got too old for little kid adventures, a new set of kids were brought in for this story plot. Ultra-modern parents, and neighbors of the Bradys, Ken and Cathy Kelly- seem to have everything that could make them happy-except a kid of their own to love. So thye have decided to adopt-a little blonde hair boy who could pass for Bobby\'s brother (-and he did!-he was Todd Lookinland, Mike\'s real brother). Matt-the new son of the Kellys-sees his new bedroom and loves all his new toys and crayons and racecars-and even his own connecting bathroom! But he informs his mom...he can brush his teeth himself! Soon after the \"new arrival\", nosy neighbor Mrs. Payne (aptly named) comes over to give her two-cents. Seems she\'s not pleased with a little boy-even one of her own race-in what she was hoping was a \"Peace and Quiet Neighborhood\". She would rather have a neat flower bed than the supposed noise and mess that kids bring.
It\'s time to tuck him in, and Matt says a bedtime prayer for all his friends back at the Home.-(except for Margaret-she bit me once!) But he\'s not having the sweet dreams that the new parents expected-seems he\'s crying because he misses his two best buds-Dwayne and Stevie- from the orphanage so much.
The parents return to the orphanage, and the head director shows them a \"paperweight\" that Matt made-a boulder big enough to keep her paperwork from flying even in a tornado! But the reason they\'re back is to inquire about Matt\'s buddies-and thru what seems a VERY fast adoption-they bring his two friends home- and one is black and one is oriental. But a little racial distinction doesn\'t mean anything to boys their age-and they are thrilled to be brothers! The 3 boys enjoy a spaghetti dinner and lots of laughter with their new parents.
Come bedtime,Ken (a nightclub owner), proud of his new fatherly role-engages the boys in a little bedroom softshoe routine-complete with canes and hats-and then a big pillow fight! And proud mom Cathy says that she doesn\'t have 3 little boys-she has 4 little boys! But Mrs Payne has come over AGAIN-and she\'s not a bit pleased. She has noticed \"The Kelly Rainbow\", and she doesn\'t like it. But mind you-she\'s not a bigot (hmm...) and she and hubby have even managed to be civil to the Jewish family down the street-to which Mr. Kelly sarcastically offers her the \"Neighbor of the Year Award\". She considers that remark uncalled for,but \"If nobody calls for it in 30 days, it\'s all yours, baby!\".
Dwayne and Steve come to the kitchen for some late-night milk, but the hide when they overhear their parents discussing Mrs. Payne\'s attitude. She could give Archie Bunker a run for the crown-and hopes to gets the Kelly parents thrown out of their community involvement. The boys are feeling very out of place and in the way, so \"The 3 Muskateers\" decide to run away from home.
Greg returns home from what is probably a late-night date, only to find the Kelly boys curled up in lounge chairs and blankets on the patio. He brings them into the house, and Alice (who always seems to be up in the middle of the night anyway) offers the boys cookies and milk, and also a phone call to their worried sick parents-who are just glad to find them in the middle of the night. The boys might run away to out west (\"We ARE out west!\") to avoid conflict with Mrs Payne. But being the hipsters that they are , the parents don\'t care what Mrs. Payne thinks,and she won\'t stop them from raising a happy family. In the end, the boys have sealed their family togetherness by taking a picture from a 3 Musketeers book-and coloring the faces to match their own.
*This story line has always interested me-and i would have hoped Sherwood would have continued this concept as a spin-off as planned-but it was to never be.