Smart, brave, and sometimes annoying, Lisa Simpson has been on our screens since 1987 on the long-running The Simpsons. Apparently, due to her unique spiky hair/head shape, many animators on the show have said that she’s one of the most difficult characters to draw.
Thankfully, that’s not an issue for the human AI version of Lisa, whose hair really isn’t spiky at all. She’s also a lot less yellow, though the AI did decide to make her blonde. We do have to wonder how the program decided to give her blue eyes. Nevertheless, she’s adorable and looks ready to save the world!
Just like her forward-thinking personality in the film, Moana was considered a trail-blazing Disney princess when her movie came out in 2016. This curious young chief’s daughter couldn’t wait to explore the world and lead her people to a better future.
The human version of Moana looks just as powerful and determined as her animated inspiration. We bet that if she was real, she would be out there, sailing the seas and helping save the ocean! Would the human Moana also have a rooster and a pig as pets?
We don’t think anyone could have possibly foreseen the massive success that Disney’s Encanto had when it came out in 2021. One listen to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, though, and we were all hooked on the magical Madrigal family.
Part of the magic, of course, comes from the ensemble of unique and fun characters that the movie had — and with her emotionally-driven weather powers, Pepa Madrigal (Mirabel’s aunt) stole our hearts. As the AI image can attest, we would have been just as taken by her in real life.
Snow White was Disney’s very first princess, and she was featured in the studio’s very first full-length animated feature film (in technicolor!) all the way back in 1937. The gentle and sweet princess quickly gained quite a loving audience. But, did you know that she’s only 14 in the film?
Clearly, in this case, the AI chose to both age and modernize Snow White into a young woman. While, as a ‘real’ person, she’s kept her “hair as black as ebony, lips as red as the rose,” and “skin as white as snow,” the AI version really doesn’t look much like the animated character this time.
Ariel has always wanted to be part of our world, and thanks to the powers of AI, it looks like she finally got her wish. So, how did the computer do with this beloved princess? To start with the positive, it definitely captured her sweet innocence (which caused her to sell her voice).
However, we don’t really understand where those sweet little freckles came from. Seeing as Ariel lived far under the sea, we just can’t really see how she would possibly get any kind of blemishes from the sun. Still, she does seem determined to explore the human world.
Every parent knows that since 2013, there’s one Disney movie that has probably been played more than any other in homes across the world — Frozen. Little kids everywhere have especially become obsessed with a certain Ice Queen singing about how she needs to “Let it Go”.
Did you know that she was originally written to be the villain of the story? But, as soon as the musical duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez wrote the famous song, they knew she had to be the star.
Let’s be honest — while he gave our hearts a little twinge when he helped Anna save her sister in Frozen, it was his amazing rock ballad and awkward romance skills in Frozen 2 that really made us swoon.
Unfortunately, we feel like the AI version of our sweet Kristoff just doesn’t have quite the same magic as the original reindeer-loving character. Firstly, he looks like a teenager when he should be in his 20s, and secondly, he seems as though he could be a Backstreet Boys reject.
The beautiful and bookish Belle has been a fan favorite since Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991. After all, how can you not admire such a courageous and loving character who stands up for what’s right no matter how much certain village people tell her she’s wrong?
The AI certainly captured some of her essence. Does anyone else see a slight resemblance to Emma Watson, who played Belle in the recent adaptation? Even if she doesn’t, we think either version of her will be happy to put Gaston in his place.
Have you ever asked yourself what your favorite yellow barkeep would look like as a real person? Well, wonder no more, because here he is! So, what do you think — do they look alike? We think the AI nailed this one!
We can definitely see this guy yelling annoyingly at Homer Simpson and his intoxicated friends after one of their many shenanigans. We also can’t help but wonder how many of his forehead wrinkles are due to Bart prank-calling him.
When we say that Pixar’s Up absolutely broke us within five minutes of the film starting, we’re being 100% serious. If you’ve yet to see this touching and incredible tale of love, friendship, and dreaming big, what are you waiting for?!
Now, the ‘real life’ version of the movie’s grumpy lead character is absolutely adorable. But, he’s missing one crucial part — Carl’s signature frown. He does, however, look like Carl at the end of the movie, enjoying his time with Dug the Dog and Russell the Wilderness Explorer.
We know quite a few people who have had a crush as kids on sweet Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. While we didn’t personally get it at the time, seeing him as a ‘real’ person, we can’t help but think he might be a little hot.
While in the movie, he ends up choosing Ariel (as he should), in the original story by Hans Chrisitan Andersen, he actually ends up with another woman (like Vanessa/Ursula). Which end would you have liked better?
Those of us who grew up in the ‘90s were really lucky — we had two warrior princesses to look up to — Xena (played by the incredible Lucy Lawless), and Disney’s Mulan. Mulan became an instant classic!
We’re going to throw some shade here, but we have to say that the AI Mulan looks a whole lot closer to her animated version than the character in the 2020 live-action adaptation. This AI girl feels like she could save China and have fun with Mushu in the process.
Obviously, the Disney Renaissance (the movies the studio presented between 1989 and 1999) is filled with amazing movies. But, out of those, we can’t think of a more magical one than Aladdin. Much of that credit goes to the legendary Robin Williams as the genie.
But, we definitely think that the headstrong and independent Jasmine adds a whole lot of charm to the story. As for the ‘real life’ version of the Sultan’s daughter, we love how her almond-shaped eyes and complexion have been rendered, but we do miss the mischievous glint in her animated eye.
Bartholomew JoJo “Bart” Simpson is one of the most recognizable kid characters in the world (and not just because of his yellow skin color). His class-clown, prankster personality is responsible for a whole lot of plots in The Simpsons.
While we do think that the AI did its best with a character that’s missing quite a few human characteristics (like eyebrows, lips, or actual hair), you can definitely see that the program had a bit of trouble creating this image.
Naveen, Prince of Maldovia
We’re definitely “Almost There” when it comes to falling for this real-life frog prince. When the characters in The Princess and the Frog were singing “When We’re Human”, we don’t think that this is quite what they meant.
Clearly, Naveen’s rugged good looks have been recreated by the program beautifully. It also manages to capture the sincerity this playboy prince grows to have through the movie. Don’t we just love seeing a redeemed love interest?
In 1950, Disney proved for the second time that they were an Animated Princess empire. The dreamy and downtrodden Cinderella captured our hearts with her wish to enjoy one single night at the ball. That decision proved to be quite advantageous to the young girl.
Clearly, this AI princess would be able to capture just as many princely hearts as the original character did. We do think that she’s missing a bit of the animated Cinderella’s sweetness and innocence, but we still absolutely love the way she looks.
Though Encanto might start with Mirabel and Isabela as antagonistic sisters, the movie ends with the two girls getting to actually know each other and appreciate one another’s inner gifts.
Since the film’s release, Isabela, with the endless pressure placed on her as “the golden child,” has become a favorite of many. We do think that the AI image shows Isabella at the end of the film — with a more relaxed and calm attitude, rather than an uptight perfectionist.
The free-spirited and strong-willed Pocahontas is actually the only Disney character that we know is based on a real-life person. As we know, though, the movie did end up taking quite a few liberties with the real story of Matoaka (aka Pocahontas).
We do wonder if this AI image (that’s based on an animated character, who is based on a real woman) looks anything like the historical person. Whether or not she does, we do think that this image captured her determination and passion.
This one is a little tricky — you see, Camilo’s miracle power in Encanto is the ability to shapeshift into whoever he wants. That means that it could be impossible to know what he actually looks like.
The AI, however, did a pretty good job at recreating the ‘official’ look of sweet and funny Camilo. Since he’s only 15 in the film and able to constantly change his appearance, though, there’s no way to tell what he would look like in the future — so hopefully, we get a sequel!
Did you know Peter Pan’s beloved fairy companion was so popular among Disney lovers, that the studio came out with a series of movies surrounding Tinker Bell and her fairy friends? In fact, there are six full-length movies in the Disney Fairies series!
While we do think this AI version of the little fairy is pretty good (although, what’s up with that chin?!), it does seem like some of the roundness and childishness of the original character are gone. We give it 6/10.
Soul has been one of Pixar’s most thoughtful, touching, and philosophical movies — which is saying quite a lot considering the studio’s impressive track record with making us feel all the feels. The movie is led by the relatable and complex jazz pianist Joe Gardner.
Anyone who’s seen the movie knows that it’s one of Pixar’s most diverse and grounded films — with the characters in the New York sections of the film looking like real, fleshed-out people. We’re still impressed by the AI for bringing Joe to life so beautifully!
Merida of DunBroch
So, we have an issue with this one, and it’s a serious one. Obviously, we love Disney princesses, but it gets a bit repetitive when every single one of them looks like a model. It’s part of the reason we love Merida so much!
Unlike her counterparts, this Pixar princess is no effortless beauty. Don’t get us wrong, she’s pretty — but more importantly, she doesn’t care what she looks like. The AI, though, decided to make her look as if she was posing for a fashion magazine. That’s a big NO from us!
This unassuming character might not take center stage like her three daughters, but Julieta Madrigal still manages to be the epitome of motherhood. Her Encanto power is healing through food, and her AI look is definitely healing our hearts!
While we might have rounded her eyebrows a bit more to give her an even warmer look, we still think the computer program did a fantastic job recreating this sweet and loving character. Do you think she also knows how to make healing arepas?
While we love the MCU, and we even like the mess that was the attempt at creating a DC cinematic universe (Superman vs. Batman, we’re looking at you), we have to say that one of the best superhero films ever was animated — The Incredibles.
Sweet, loud, and hyperactive Dash Parr, the middle child of Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, is definitely one of our favorites. If we had powers, we would be pretty annoyed at our parents for making us hide them too! We give this ‘personification’ a 10/10. Well done!
Once again, we have an animated character that’s actually based on a real, historical person. That’s right; John Smith wasn’t just invented by Disney for Pocahontas. The John in the movie, though, is very different from the historical one (you might want to look that up).
The AI John is a very hunky dude, and we can kind of see why Pocahontas would initially fall for him. He does, however, give off some “California Surfer Dude” vibes — the only thing he’s missing is a puka shell necklace to complete the look.
Eugene Fitzherbert aka Flynn Rider
Dashing Flynn Rider or sincere Eugene Fitzherbert — no matter which side of him — Tangled’s leading man stole our collective heart as he was unlike any Disney prince that came before him. But, did you know there’s a good reason why he’s so beloved?
Apparently, when finalizing his design, the production team brought together 30 female employees who were working on the movie and asked them what their ideal “hunky man” would look like. This meeting was dubbed the “Hot Man Meeting.” So, does the AI do justice to sweet Eugune?
Most people know that Disney’s first African American princess and her story were based on the Brothers Grimm tale The Frog Prince. But, did you know that The Princess and the Frog is also based on a book by E.D. Baker called The Frog Princess?
Like the princess in the book, instead of turning the frog back into a prince with a kiss, Tiana is accidentally turned into a frog herself and then goes through a journey of discovery. While Tiana is regarded as a beloved princess, the movie has been criticized for different reasons over the years.
Voiced by John Leguizamo, Bruno Madrigal has managed to capture our hearts with his sincerity and awkwardness, alongside his unending love for his family. Of course, it also helps that one of the catchiest songs ever is all about him.
This goofy uncle and his hilarious rat friends have officially become a fan-favorite, and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what happens to him next in a possible sequel. Being that he can see the future, he could probably tell us.
To many, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella is one of the most frightening Disney villains. That’s because, unlike most villains in the studio’s movies, Tremaine is 100% human with no magical abilities — and yet, she’s just as evil as Maleficient or the Evil Queen.
While we’re pretty amazed that the AI managed to recreate the shape of her frightening eyes, we do think it failed to convey just how terrible this evil stepmother really is. She just seems nicer in ‘real life,’ don’t you think?
Although a pretty small movie by Disney standards, Lilo & Stitch has endured as one of the studio’s most beloved films thanks to its touching message on the strength and importance of found family — the family we choose to have around us (regardless of blood connection).
Odd, awkward, and loving Lilo is also one of the cutest animated characters ever, making us all want to hug our younger siblings close. We think the AI absolutely captured her heaps of sweetness.
Nedward “Ned” Flanders Jr. is definitely Springfield’s most cheery fictional resident. The Simpsons’ friendly neighbor is also one of the earliest characters in the show (appearing for the first time in 1989 in the episode “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”.
Apparently, Ned got his name from Flanders street in Matt Groening’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. According to The Simpsons executive producer Mike Scully, Flanders was supposed to be a symbol of everything Homer wanted to be but couldn’t.
The intrepid reporter Tintin from the comic series The Adventures of Tintin, written by the Belgian artist Hergé, has been a beloved character for generations now. The comics are known for their clean lines, simple facial designs, and exciting plots.
Unfortunately, those simple lines make it pretty difficult for the AI to create a person that would look like a real-life version of Tintin. Basically, we don’t love this one. For a better-personified version of this reporter, watch the Spielberg movie about him.
Thanks to her innocence, charm, and good nature, Rapunzel became an instant hit with both young and old fans of Disney when Tangled came out. You just can’t help but want to root for her on her journey to see the lights.
Did you know that her movie, though, was initially meant to be called Rapunzel? Apparently, it was a marketing decision to both make the movie sound more appealing to wider audiences, and to reflect the fact that Flynn’s story had become a bigger part of the film.
Though not actually a princess, Raya from Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest character to officially enter the prestigious Disney Princess line-up. She’s number 13 alongside Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Elle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and Moana.
While the film is very sweet and heartwarming, it has been criticized for a number of reasons. One of the issues is the sheer amount of plot that the creators tried to cram into just 100 minutes of the film. We’d love to see this character shine brighter in a possible future series.
Milhouse Van Houten
Here’s a fun little tidbit — Bart’s best friend and all-around naïve geek Milhouse is actually based on a real-life person (or at least his design is). If you don’t believe us, search for “Robert Cohen the writer” on Google, then let us know if you think the real guy resembles the AI version.
He was apparently given his name because it was the “most unfortunate name” that Matt Groening “could think of for a kid” — ouch! Poor Milhouse is also one of the longest-running recurring characters on the show, appearing for the first time in 1988!
Springfield’s resident shopkeep, Apu, has been both a cherished part of the series over the years and a source of criticism. A documentary even came out in 2017 showcasing how Apu was a stereotypical character.
The documentary even led to Apu’s voice actor, Hank Azaria, stepping down. Apu has yet to find his new voice, instead appearing in the background of newer episodes. Regardless, Apu and his Kwik-E-Mart continue to be an important part of Springfield.
Up until The Lion King surpassed it, Disney’s Aladdin was the highest-grossing animated film of all time. But, even dethroned, this film has earned its spot as one of the best animated movies ever!
Our “diamond in the rough” — alongside his wingmen consisting of Robin Williams’ iconic Genie, Abu the monkey, and the magic carpet — make this adventure timeless and unforgettable. As for the AI version of Aladdin, do you think he would have captured Jasmin’s heart?
Based on the beloved play by J. M. Barrie from 1904, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, Disney’s version of the ageless boy has become probably the most famous variation of the character.
While we do think the AI should have made Peter’s hair redder, we do think the program did a pretty job at capturing the spirit of Never Land’s leader. The sharp nose, bushy eyebrows, and thin lips all bring across his impishness and mischievousness.
Captain Li Shang
Anyone who’s familiar with Disney meme culture has probably seen the posts where Captain Li Shang is compared to the other Disney princes in terms of romance level. His swoon-worthy pick-up line toward Mulan?
“You fight good,” of course! How romantic! But really, when you have a handsome face like this AI rendition and that smolder in your eyes, do you really need to be suave? We’ll keep swooning over here. Thank you very much!
While her boyfriend Popeye is the character that made this strip-turned-cartoon into a famous success, Olive Oyl actually appeared in the comic for a whole decade before Popeye made his first appearance in 1921.
This feisty and fun character first greeted her future love with the amazing sentence, “Take your hooks offa me or I’ll lay ya in a scupper,” and if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about her, then we don’t know what will.
Prince Hans of the Southern Isles
Spoilers ahead for Frozen — but if there’s one guy we’re all very happy to hate after seeing the movie, it’s stupid, pompous, manipulative Hans! This power-hungry villain was designed to fool us into thinking he was suave and charming.
Annoyingly, it really did work. Seeing the AI version of him as a ‘real person’ definitely proves that, like poor Anna, we would have fallen under his spell just as quickly. Thankfully, there’s always Elsa to tell us that we shouldn’t marry a person we just met!
Anna of Arendelle
We think we can all agree that no one other than Kristen Bell could have voiced this enthusiastic and determined character. While Disney changed a whole lot of the original “The Snow Queen” fairytale, Anna’s personality (based on Gerda) remained a strong element of the story.
While Anna is far from Disney’s original perfect princesses, she does have a strong and loving heart like they had — and that ultimately saves the day! We absolutely love what a real-life version of Anna would look like.
This animated character has been the stuff of nightmares for both kids and adults ever since Charles Lee “Chucky” Ray first appeared as the antagonist in Child’s Play in 1988.
As a quick reminder of how this doll comes to life — what should have been a “Good Guy Doll” is overtaken by the spirit of a terrifying villain. While, yes, the AI managed to turn the homicidal doll into a human, we do think it’s missing that fear factor…
Usagi Tsukino — Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon has been one of the most popular anime (Japanese animation) shows ever. Starting in the early ‘90s, the show followed young Usagi Tsukino as she discovers she needs to become a protector of Earth under the name Sailor Moon.
Interestingly, her name in Japanese is a bit of a play on words. In Japan, instead of a Man on the Moon, they have a Rabbit up there. Usagi’s full name translates to “Rabbit of the Moon.” Therefore, she’s often nicknamed “Rabbit” in the show.
Annabelle, the prequel to The Conjuring movie franchise, might have been negatively reviewed by critics. Still, fans absolutely loved it, and it was a huge success.
The possessed doll has surely haunted quite a few nightmares of its watchers. We do have to wonder if the AI version of this scary character is going to have the same effect on people. It definitely is on us — creepy!
The Birth of a Sitcom
Have you ever wondered how The Brady Bunch came to be? Apparently, it was all thanks to a news article that Sherwood Schwartz happened to see.
While the creator of the show was perusing the Los Angeles Times one morning, he saw a news article about partners remarrying with children from previous relationships, a trend becoming more common. It was a lightbulb moment that led to the sitcom that would go down in TV history.
A Real Father Figure
The Brady Bunch was a show that centered around family. So, it’s no surprise that the roles made the cast closer. Since the show’s airing, both Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen have shared some of their feelings.
On the show, Lookinland played Bobby and Olsen played Cindy. They’ve shared that Robert Reed became more of a father figure to them than their own fathers had been. He once even took the cast on vacation!
Missing the Finale
If you saw The Brady Bunch finale, you probably noticed something odd. Mike was completely absent from the show’s final episode!
This was because Robert Reed gave the producers a choice — or, more aptly, an ultimatum — that the last episode was changed or he wouldn’t participate in the finale. Sherwood Charles Schwartz simply accepted that choice and continued on. As for Reed, he kept to his promise and stayed away, giving us a finale free of one of the main characters.
If you saw any scene in The Brady Bunch that took place in the bathroom, you might have noticed something missing. Where is the family’s toilet?
Well, when the show aired, you couldn’t show a toilet bowl on screen. So, how do you have scenes of characters getting ready in the bathroom without catching the toilet in a single shot? As the makers of The Brady Bunch found out, you can simply do away with the toilet altogether.
When you rewatch The Brady Bunch, it’s easy to spot Florence Henderson in the first six episodes. Why would you expect not to?
What you probably don’t expect is that she filmed her scenes separately from the rest of the cast. This was because she was unavailable when the scenes were originally filmed, as she was filming a movie in Europe at the time. So, her scenes were recorded when she returned.
What They Didn’t Know
On-screen, Henderson played the perfect mother. She was sweet, kind, and exactly what you’d expect from a maternal sitcom character.
When fans met her in real life, they saw the sense of humor even in person. Schwartz’s son once said, “Whenever anybody came up to [Henderson] to say anything about the show, she was as warm as could be. I saw it a million times.” The truth was, to the people around her, Henderson was known for her more adult sense of humor.
Even if you watched The Brady Bunch as it aired, the way the Brady kids dressed wasn’t exactly the height of fashion. This was something the actors knew all too well.
They even regularly pleaded with Schwartz for more modern clothes for their wardrobe. However, what’s wrong with letting the kids wear the latest trends? Swartz was worried that if he made this change, the series would start to look outdated when it came to syndication.
We’ve all been in a position where we’ve wanted something more. Even the rich and famous have career ambitions they may not have met yet.
According to Schwartz, Reed clearly thought that he could do more than TV. However, he agreed that Reed was probably right — he had Shakespearean training and natural talent. Schwartz once told ABC that Reed “wound up on a show that he didn’t want to do in the first place, and it became more and more difficult for him.”
A Familiar Set
The house that the family lived together in during the run of The Brady Bunch is no one-hit-wonder. It might look familiar for a few other reasons!
The house — ot at least the interior — has been used as a set more than once. You might have seen it in an episode of Hawaii Five-O or during the runtime of Mission Impossible. It’s also been in the horror movie Bug and in Mannix.
Just Too Good
The role of the father figure didn’t always belong to Reed. There was a time that it was up for grabs and plenty of people wanted it.
One actor who really wanted this role was Jeffrey Hunter. You might recognize him from his roles in The Searchers or King of Kings. However, he was turned down for the role because the executives thought he was too attractive. Admittedly, though, Robert Reed was also a hunk.
We All Make Mistakes
The Brady Bunch wouldn’t be what it is without the mistakes and bloopers made on set. After all, the editors often left some of these mistakes in.
This has made for a few fan-favorite scenes with large errors. For instance, in one scene, the family leaves the house and then returns with a different car. Even worse, Jan’s haircut changes in a scene at one point. They add some character to the show!
The Subject Was Noses
In an episode of The Brady Bunch titled “The Subject Was Noses,” Marcia Brady is hurt in the show, and the episode follows her along as she navigates through her injury.
The episode actually came about after Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia Brady, was injured in real life. In 1973, the actress was in a car accident that left her with an injured nose. As a result, the writers incorporated what she went through into the show.
Too Much Realism
Speaking of “The Subject Was Noses,” there’s a darker fact behind the episode. During the episode, Marcia is hit in the face with a football that Peter throws her way.
Usually, when you see something like this on TV, it’s a bit of “movie magic” at work. After all, who wants the actors to actually get hurt? That wasn’t quite the case for The Brady Bunch. Schwartz had a real football actually thrown directly at McCormick’s face for the shot.
Of course, what the actors and the characters experience aren’t always the same. For example, the actors had totally different relationships with one another in real life than their television character counterparts.
Behind the scenes, romance blossomed too. Maureen McCormick and Barry Williams may have played siblings Marcia and Greg on-screen but they were romantically linked at one point in real life. At least they were for a little while and McCormick even discusses it in her memoir.
In the Spotlight
Throughout the run of The Brady Bunch, you see a lot of the same actors and actresses on screen time and time again. After all, it’s a show with a regular cast.
Despite this, though, there are only three actors that appear in every episode of the show. This includes Florence Henderson (Carol), Barry Williams (Greg), and Ann B. Davis (Alice). This gives them a total number of 117 episode appearances in The Brady Bunch.
The Brady Bunch almost got a spinoff of its own but the series ended up falling apart before it even made it to air.
The series was going to be called Kelly’s Kids. Instead of the Brady family, this series would have focused on their neighbors, Ken and Kathy Kelly — who fans met in the fifth season of the show. The show would have also featured the Kelly children that Kathy and Ken adopted.
Back on Screen
If you’ve seen the entirety of The Brady Bunch, you’ll definitely recognize Christopher Beaumont. He took on four roles over the span of two years.
The interesting thing about this is that he came back as a different character every time. In “Our Son, the Man,” he showed up as ‘The Boy’ while he played Hank in “A Room at the Top.” He’d show up once more as Jerry in “Quarterback Sneak.”
Not Quite as it Seems
We all know that the sets we see on screen probably aren’t exactly like a regular house. We already noted that something’s missing from the Brady bathroom.
Another missing thing is something you might not have noticed. The sliding glass door in the home is actually completely free of any glass. They did this to help reduce any glare or reflection off of the glass that the camera might pick up while filming.
Replacing Mike Brady
The role of Mike Brady was like any other role — there were a lot of actors up for the job! Before they decided on Reed, there were a few options in the running.
This included the famous Gene Hackman. He wasn’t quite the mammoth in his field as he’s considered today and that’s ultimately what did him in. He was turned down for not seeming familiar enough to audiences. Don’t worry, though, because he found success with an Oscar for The French Connection only a year later.
That’s One Solution
There’s a distinct visual cue in The Brady Bunch. The daughters in the family are blonde and Mike’s sons have dark hair.
Susan Olsen, who played Cindy, wasn’t actually a natural blonde, though. Instead of opting for a wig, the production team decided to bleach her hair regularly. They started doing so when the actress was only eight years old. The treatment was so harsh on her hair that it eventually started falling out.
Mike Brady wasn’t the only role that almost went to someone else. The role of Carol was up for grabs at one point as well.
Interestingly, Shirley Jones was also in the running for the role but turned down the offer when she was asked. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. Not only were Jones and Florence Henderson already friends at the time but Jones would later go on to take up a role in another famous sitcom — The Partridge Family.
A Different Cindy Brady
It’s interesting to think about how different the show could have been with different actors. Another person to compete for their character was Susan Olsen.
In 2019, on Watch What Happens Live, Olsen shared that someone else almost took her spot. As it turns out, before she launched to fame with titles like The Silence of the Lambs, Jodie Foster almost made a mark on sitcom history, too.
You don’t necessarily have to watch The Brady Bunch in order to see the cast members together. Many worked together more than once in other popular shows.
An ode to classic sitcoms, That ’70s Show called on actors from The Brady Bunch more than once. Barry Williams and Christopher Knight play the Foreman family’s neighbors — and Eve Plumb played Jackie’s for a moment, too!
Not as Popular as You Think
Considering how well-known The Brady Bunch is now, you’d probably expect that it was astonishingly popular when it aired. That isn’t quite the case.
During the time it aired, the show didn’t receive anywhere near the recognition it got later after it was syndicated. At the time, there was a metric of Nielsen’s Top 30 to spotlight popular and well-done shows. The Brady Bunch never made it on the list while it originally ran.
Moving Into Music
It’s not rare for a show to expand beyond simply existing on your screen for an episode each week. The Brady Bunch was no different.
While the TV show was on, the kids in the family launched into their own spin-off career in pop music together. The move was a familiar one since it’s one that The Partridge Family also took. They released a number of albums through the early ’70s and even briefly worked with the Jackson 5.
Singing a Song
While the Brady kids were known as a fairly musical bunch, not all of the actors had the same talents off-screen. After all, they weren’t hired as musicians.
This really negatively impacted Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady. He didn’t have a knack for singing so the solution the show came up with was to have the young actor lip sync. In an interview with The Improper Bostonian, he later admitted the musical scenes were particularly traumatizing.
People land roles in shows for all sorts of reasons. Schwartz made sure that he added his daughter into the show a few times, even if it wasn’t for a main role.
Throughout the run of the show, she shows up four separate times. The first time you see her is in “The Slumber Caper” as Jenny. Then, she shows up for two episodes to play Rachel, Greg’s brief romantic fling. Finally, she shows up in “The Hair-Brained Scheme” as Gretchen.
By Any Other Name
By today’s standards, The Brady Bunch is nothing short of iconic. The title automatically brings to mind an idea of classic sitcoms.
So, it’s hard to think of the show under any other title. Yet, we almost saw a completely different title from the end result. Some of the ideas that floated around included “Yours and Mine,” much like an earlier comedy. Then, it shifted closer with “The Bradley Brood” before finally settling on The Brady Bunch.
A Show at Risk
Schwartz almost lost The Brady Bunch when he ended up in court over it. The executives of Yours, Mine, and Ours were the other party.
The makers of the 1968 comedy alleged that Schwartz had plagiarized their work. Namely, they tried to claim the concept of a blended family as the focus of the work. Schwartz got out of it by proving that he had written ideas for the show from before it aired.
In “The Cincinnati Kids” episode, The Brady Bunch was meant to jump on a real-life roller coaster. Reed got a hunch that something was off, though.
So, before they got on, he demanded that the roller coaster was subjected to a test run. During that test run, the camera on the front of the cart flew off. Had the actors been in their places, it would have hit them directly too! He managed to save the day.