Sex! Booze! Backstage battles! "Growing Up Brady" blows the lid off TV's squeaky-clean clan

By Bruce Fretts
Updated May 12, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

”We’re all interested in dirt,” admits michael Tucker (L.A. Law), who plays Brady Bunch creator Sherwood Schwartz in NBC’s tell-all movie Growing Up Brady, airing May 21. ”Dirt is big. Dirt is in. Dirt is hot.”

It would take a family-size box of Safe detergent to wash away all the Brady dirt this exposé digs up, like the sexual tension between Barry ”Greg” Williams (Adam Brody) and his small-screen sister Maureen ”Marcia” McCormick (Kaley Cuoco), as well as Williams’ now-notorious date with his TV mom, Florence Henderson (Rebeccah Bush). The telepic also explores Brady dad Robert Reed’s homosexuality and his on-set clashes with Schwartz. ”He was pretty much angry all the time, but he kept it from the kids,” reports Daniel Hugh Kelly (Hardcastle & McCormick), who costars as Reed, a classically trained actor frustrated by the show’s schmaltzy scripts. ”He came in a little ripped one time, but that was the extent of it.”

No such dysfunction ever crept into the Bradys’ fictional universe, which may explain why the series has never been off the air since its 1969 debut. ”People can’t get away from it,” explains coexecutive producer Williams, whose 1992 book inspired the film. ”In many cases, families watch it together—children for the first time and adults for the 80th time.” Perhaps 13-year-old Kaitlin Cullum (Grace Under Fire), a.k.a. Growing Up‘s Eve ”Jan” Plumb, puts it best: ”The Brady Bunch is one of those things in history everyone knows about. It’s, like, part of America.”