7 very '80s things from A Very Brady Christmas

Big shoulder pads, bigger hair, and one sweet mustache.

In 1988, A Very Brady Christmas gave us a chance to catch up with TV's favorite family 14 years after The Brady Bunch ended. Carol and Mike, now empty nesters, try to get the whole family (plus Alice) back in the same house for Christmas. Not an easy task, since the kids have all gone their own ways over the years. But do the parents succeed in getting everyone back for a nice TV special Christmas? Would it be a Brady show if they didn't?

The made-for-TV movie also turned out to be a time capsule of some very boss '80s fashion, trends, and tropes. Let's take a look at some of the most '80s things from A Very Brady Christmas.

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1. The kitchen remodel

 

The orange Formica countertops are OUT, blond wood and pastels are IN. This is a kitchen made for drinking New Coke and eating Mr. T cereal. The living room could also count — those throw pillows just scream '80s.

2. Getting tangled in the phone cord

 

Before cell phones, and before cordless phones became the new norm, dealing with the cord during a conversation used to just be a part of life. Conversations just hit different when you were absentmindedly playing with the cord while a friend gave you all the gossip. Of course, cords also meant that sometimes if you were moving around, you ended up wrapped in it instead.

3. Greg's mustache

 

There are a few mustaches in his movie, but none is more '80s than Greg's Magnum P.I. looking lip hair.

4. Cindy's outfits

 

There's a lot of good '80s fashion in this special (more later in this list, even!) but Cindy, as a cutting-edge college senior, gets some of the best looks. With this off-shoulder oversized jersey, glittery belt at the waist, tights, and chunky tennis shoes, Cindy looks like she could have stepped out of a Cyndi Lauper video. 

5. Everything about this office

 

The Pepto-Bismol pink flooring and walls. The marble desk. The glass brick windows. It feels like '80s Harrison Ford is going to walk into this office at any moment.

6. Meeting people at the gate at the airport

 

In the '80s, there was no better way to show that you cared about someone than meeting them at their gate at the airport. Or if you really cared, maybe you'd even get a dramatic montage of rushing to their gate before the plane takes off so you can make an impassioned speech. 

7. The shoulder pads

 

Yes, we mentioned the fashion already, but the shoulder pads in this special needed a separate item. In the '80s, shoulder pads meant that you were a classy, independent woman who didn't want romance without finance. And boy, are there a lot of them over the course of this holiday tale.

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65 Comments

bradyguy 6 months ago
Classic. My friends and I were so excited to see AVBC. We had a watch/costume party. In the middle of December (granted, it was L.A. - hardly a "white" Christmas), I wore a bathing suit, the tiki idol around my neck, and carried Peter's tarantula in my pocket... I danced with TWO Molly Webbers that night - one a wipeout, and the other one - "...I just wiped her back in...!!"

It was typical BB...sometimes silly...a bit corny...and we loved every minute of it!!

Apparently, many other viewers did too; it was the second-highest-rated TV movie of 1988; often mistakenly cited as THE highest...it was not.

theFAN2000 6 months ago
Airport scenes in movies/TV shows really set them in one of two eras.
jtkrifkan2002 6 months ago
The rival architect's shoddy structure fails of course. But do they call the fire department to rescue the trapped workers? No, they call Mike Brady!
bradyguy jtkrifkan2002 6 months ago
Ahh...but don't forget...it was the power of Mark and Brian (L.A. DJs) singing carols in the background that made the Christmas miracle happen...
sttvr 6 months ago
The tv variety show gave us fake Jan, the xmas show gave us fake Cindy. I kinda think the xmas show had fake Sam as well since it only showed him in a santa costume.
Jon sttvr 6 months ago
...and THE BRADYS gave us Fake Marcia a bit later. Yes, Sam in this movie was the much shorter Lewis Arquette, son of Cliff Arquette, known as the character Charlie Weaver on places like the original HOLLYWOOD SQUARES, and father of the many acting Arquettes now, including David, making him ex-father-in-law of Courtney Cox.
bradyguy Jon 6 months ago
And Jennifer Runyon as CIndy gave us Part 2 of the BB/Charles In Charge Connection - a two-part trivia question that I have been holding onto since these late 80s... It's reaally not THAT difficult, and yet nobody has ever answered it correctly. Try if you dare....bwah hah hah hah...
bradyguy Jon 6 months ago
All true. Lewis Arquette appeared only in the Santa Claus suit...since it would be obvious that it wasn't Allan Melvin. (Seems a bit odd to care though...when you have a "fake" Cindy standing right there, but que se ra....) To date, I've not seen an explanation as to why Allan Melvin did not reprise his role as Sam Franklin. His last TV "appearance" was in 1983 on the penultimate episode of "Archie Bunker's Place", but he did TONS of V/O work on cartoons until 1994. Perhaps he was illi (or unfit to appear on camera?? He was only 65...) or simply unavailable like Susan Olsen...but that seems unlikely, given that he was only doing V/O work...and the AVBC couldn't have needed him for more than one day... MYSTERY!!!
WGH 6 months ago
Where I grew up, girls didn't dress like that. It was mostly just on tv. And certainly College seniors didn't do that, more like Junior High girls. Looks so out of place in the movie
Arkansasboy42 6 months ago
Different actress playing Cindy.
bradyguy Arkansasboy42 6 months ago
Wait...WHAT????
Mitch8901 6 months ago
I love watching A Very Brady Christmas every year. I even bought the VHS tape from Ebay. I love the sexy mustache on Greg (Barry Williams). Susan Olsen (the original Cindy) was definitely missed but Jennifer Runyon did her best. I just wish MeTv would air the other Brady programs: The Brady Kids (cartoon), The Brady Girls Get Married (reunion Tv-film), The Brady Brides (TV series) and the Bradys (TV series). and oh, by the way, Happy 35th Anniversary to his holiday film (1988-2023).
RichieC 6 months ago
Cindy may be a counterfeit but Susan Olsen didn't want to do it so Jennifer Runyon did. She was also in To All a Good Night and Ghostbusters.
George58 RichieC 6 months ago
I read an interview done with Susan Olsen. The reason she couldn't do the movie is because she just got married & she & her husband were on their honeymoon. The producers of the movie were on a time schedule & couldn't wait until she returned so that's why they chose a different actress. NOTICE, I said, "ACTRESS" and NOT actor!
bradyguy George58 6 months ago
Yes...Actress. Nice!

Yes, Susan was on her honeymoon with her first husband.

She re-married in 1995...the same year I married my wife. I had been looking at several engagement rings in downtown L.A...but I was taking my sweet time. When I finally decided on the one I (we) wanted...I found that my jeweler had sold it to Susan's fiance. It still makes me giggle to know that the engagement ring I wanted for my wife was on the finger of one of my earliest TV crushes!!
robert George58 6 months ago
Olsen was bitter about the way she was treated on the show. I had a dog and they took that away from me and I was lucky to get one line a show. Many, I did not even get seen. They told me everyone wants to see Eve and Maureen, not you. You cannot remember your lines either. I told them well give me some and maybe I would remember them better. No, you have fans believe it or not but they are not the demographic we are looking for. This show is all about Greg, Marcia and Jan now. She is still bitter about all that. If it ruins so movie so be it. I am not doing it. Fans are going to spot the fake Cindy for sure.
ruswilinc 6 months ago
Aw man... Cindy is a counterfeit!
tootsieg 6 months ago
Nice stroll down memory lane. Enjoyed the article as I won’t be able to watch the movie (boo hoo).
bsantaniello 6 months ago
Thought it was a great movie. Like visiting with old friends you haven’t seen for awhile.
59Chevy 6 months ago
Loved the 1980's. My young teen years. Life was just starting to get interesting. lol. And all of that without a cell phone. A cordless house phone may e but no cell phone.
Lillyrose 6 months ago
I like The Brady Bunch much better than A Very Brady Christmas or any of the movies or specials. I just love the green and orange kitchen in The Brady Bunch. It is a very cute kitchen, and very colorful, and very 70's! One of my favorite TV kitchens!
I was a teenager in the 80's, and I HATED shoulder pads! Still do. If shoulder pads ever make a comeback, I'm not going to wear them. They made one look like a football player. It didn't look good at all.
CarolKelley Lillyrose 6 months ago
I hated shoulder pads as wel! They were not sharp looking and tailored as 1940s shoulder were, but looked like football player shoulder pads, as you said, Lillyrose. Joan Crawford would not be caught dead in 80s style shoulder pads.
SrLerxst 18 months ago
You forgot the cameo appearance Mark and Brian, the famous DJs of KLOS of Los Angeles!
Runeshaper 18 months ago
Very 80s indeed!
TheSentinel Runeshaper 14 months ago
Including Jan's '80s-style bob (a far cry from the waist-length hair she sported during the original show's run) and the appearance of Fake Cindy.
sttvr TheSentinel 6 months ago
Jans hair looks like that of a plain 80's mom with 2 middle school age kids
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