A few years ago while I was still in nursing school but had already left The Fresno Bee, I was asked to co-author an article on TV moms. While I was not enthusiastic about the job, I accepted it...and eventually just went with it, re-working what had already been assembled and making it my own article. It didn't come out all that great (and luckily I can not find it to share here). However, when it came to finding sources for the article, I only had one person I could turn to, former child star Susan Olsen. Susan is, of course, best known for playing Cindy on "The Brady Bunch".
I had met Susan online back in the MySpace days. We hit it off right away. When the world shifted to Facebook, we sort of lost touch. I think she would still help me with a project if I needed her, but we really don't "talk" any more.
In addition to the TV moms article, I have done two other articles with Susan's help. One was on Pearl Harbor (remember the "Brady Bunch" episode when they visited the memorial there?). The other was an article about adopting/fostering kittens---a cause near and dear to Susan's heart. Those "interviews" are lost, but I found the one on TV moms.
Below are her words and responses. The stuff in BOLD are my questions:
1) Why do you think Carol Brady was such an iconic TV mom?
Mostly because the show itself was so iconic and that was due to many factors and 8 other cast members.
2) What set her apart from TV moms of the 70s or TV moms who came before her?
She was a little before the liberation age so she was still a stay at home Mom but you got the feeling she could survive on her own. It was always intended that she was divorced. That would have really set her apart but the network would not allow it!
3) How is she different than other TV moms of today?
She was a GOOD Mom. Nowadays there seems to be a real effort to make all parents in T.V. shows either non existent or bafoons.
4) How is the real Florence Henderson different than Carol Brady?
Florence was a working mother and as such had to spend the first season of our show commuting on weekends to see her kids who were still on the East Coast. By the second season, she had moved them out to California. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to be away from them for the months that we were filming that first season. Her youngest (of four) was only 2.
5) How are TV moms today as compared to TV moms of 30, 40, or more years ago?
They are idiots. We really have very few, if any, shows that portray parents that one could learn from. Most of TV's parents are the brunt of jokes. The role of parents in shows has diminished. It's not a good thing! IF we see mothers, they are the mothers of babies and they are obsessed with over parenting. We rarely see the mothers of teenagers.
6) If you had to have a TV mom as your real mom, would Carol Brady be a good choice---or would you prefer Florence Henderson?
Florence! She was much smarter and way cooler!
7) Who were your favorite TV moms? Why?
Morticia Gomez was beautiful. I always felt I belonged in the Addams Family.