Christine Taylor on Marcia Brady memes and 20 years of 'The Brady Bunch Movie'
If the original 1969-1974 Brady Bunch series played to baby boomers, and the satirical 1995 movie refreshed the title for another audience, then it’s simply the next logical step to see the Bradys find their footing with yet another young generation: the Tumblr crowd. That’s right: The Brady Bunch has entered the digital age.
Snickers’ Brady-inspired Super Bowl spot is just one testament to the popularity of the Bradys. There’s also Jan and Marcia Brady’s catty interaction from 1995’s The Brady Bunch Movie, the first certifiable meme of 2015—it’s the “Sure, Jan” heard round the world. Chalk its popularity up to the ’90s spoof’s surprising longevity; the film spawned two sequels (one theatrical, one straight-to-TV) and is clearly still striking a chord a whopping 20 years after its release.
In honor of the film’s 20th anniversary on February 17, EW spoke with breakout cast member Christine Taylor—of Zoolander, Dodgeball, and the upcoming Zoolander 2 fame—to get her take on the sudden resurgence of the blended bunch and her memories of being America’s (mostly) favorite older sister.
EW: Does it honestly feel like it’s been 20 years since The Brady Bunch Movie?
Christine Taylor: Oh God, no! I didn’t feel like it until I saw a couple of the kids who played Bobby and Cindy, and what they look like now…they’re grown-up people! I still want to imagine that they’re kids. We were in our early 20s, but they were kids. I remember running into Jesse [Lee], who played Bobby, at the grocery store, and he stopped me and he’s suddenly this 6 foot 2 man. I just felt like I aged overnight. You feel like it stopped time for you, but then you see the kids grow up and it feels like a blink.
Would you say Marcia Brady is the role you’re most recognized for?
It’s mostly that role, and then ironically, another thing I did 25 years ago, which was this show called Hey, Dude!. First of all, I’m so complimented that people still recognize me this many years later and that I haven’t transformed too much. [Laughs] But 100 percent, it’s Marcia Brady, and the crazy thing—and I remember even when we were doing press for the movie and the sequel—people always thought that I was the original Marcia, Maureen McCormick. The plumber would come to the house and be like, “Oh, I grew up watching your show!” You’ve just gotta go with it. There’s no need to clarify at that point, because they’ve got the right character, I don’t need to say, “No, I was the one in the movie.” I just let people enjoy whichever version of Marcia they think I am.
When someone brings up this movie, is there an immediate memory that your mind goes to?
It was just one of the most fun jobs you could ever have. I grew up obsessed with the show. I came home from school every day and watched reruns obsessively. And I did hear that I looked like her growing up, so I always had this fascination with the show and had lines memorized. I would do impressions of Marcia for my friends even before I became an actress.
When we were all cast, I remember at the first read-through I was so excited to see what everyone else was going to do. Marcia and Jan had such very specific quirks and mannerisms that you can pick up on, and I remember thinking, what is Gary Cole going to do? What was Robert Reed’s thing? Because it didn’t feel like he had a thing, until we sat at the table read and Gary Cole channeled him in a way that was uncanny. All of us—I don’t know about Gary, but the older kids, certainly—had our own secret thing about the characters. Jennifer [Elise Cox], who played Jan, and I had both been fans of the show, so we were sort of living out our fantasy and getting to do this fun satire, which we were secretly loving. It wasn’t like we were making fun of it. We were really serious about honoring Jan and Marcia.
Jennifer recently gave a great interview and said you both channeled Jan and Marcia off camera, too. Why did Jan and Marcia pop so much?
We meant business! Because I think we were close to the same age and we were the ones that grew up on it and were obsessed with it, and so we felt like we needed to take it super seriously because there were very specific things that each of the characters had. Obviously, like, [Marcia’s pronunciation of] “school” [which sounds more like “sküle”]. And there were so many others that Maureen McCormick did that I didn’t even get a chance to do in the movie that I still quote around my house for my kids.
There was an episode where all the kids try to scare each other, and they’re trying to find out what scared Alice, and Greg says, “Well, how about vampires?” and Marcia says, “What about wure-wulves?” [laughs] Oh my God. I still call it a wure-wulf. It’s actually so funny. But yeah, Jennifer and I meant business. We were very serious about how we were going to portray these characters.
Does Marcia’s thumb dancing fall into that category?
They did a lot of those musical episodes where they danced, and I know there was some thumb action that wasn’t specific to Marcia but definitely to the whole family. I’ve got to give all of that to the choreographer because that was pretty genius.