It's frankly humiliating that it has taken me two full days to publicly respond to the passing of the actress who portrayed everybody's favorite blue-aproned counselor, confidante, and cornball Alice Nelson from The Brady Bunch. She was more than an indentured household serving wench; Alice was fully assimilated into the Brady family—probably as a means of obscuring the exploitative nature of the employer-employee relationship, but that's neither here nor there now. Sure, we can fault the Bradys for lacking of class consciousness, but we can't help but love their indomitable maidservant, who was ready with a clunky quip for any and every occasion.
No episode of The Brady Bunch was more galling to me that 1972's 'Goodbye, Alice, Hello' in which the spoiled Brady kids unjustly accuse Alice of being a snitch and decide to give her the ol' cold shoulder. Naturally, Alice is hurt and decides to make up an excuse to leave the Bradys' employment. Alice's straight-laced friend Kay takes over for her, but the Bradys discover that Kay is pretty humorless and prefers to keep her relationship with the family strictly professional. One imagines Kay leaving Bobby to die in the gutter if she spotted him overdosing on methamphetamine while she was off duty.
Sure, eventually those dumb-ass Brady kids realize their error and seek out Alice in order to beg her to return; they find her waitressing at a greasy spoon and discover that she's been just as miserable without them as they have been without her.
Of course, Alice returns as the Bradys' housekeeper and the show effectively resets itself for the next episode. So... happy ending, right? What's the problem?
Well, if you don't know what the problem is, then you have the problem. The ONLY REASON that those brats ask Alice to return is that Kay is such a dud! What would have happened if Kay happened to be an amazingly fun person? Wait. We don't even need to go that far. Let's say Kay was an acceptable replacement with a reasonably pleasant demeanor and a good work ethic. Then what?
I'll tell you what: Alice would have been permanently screwed over, and those Brady buttfucks would have never learned their lesson! Alice probably would have sunk into a life of poverty, desperation, and depression as the years went on—while the Bradys adjusted to Kay and got on with their lives.
I wished that they would have found Alice happily working at a new family's house—a family that truly appreciated her and loved her—and when they begged her to return she would have said, 'Fuck off, Brady bitches!'
But it didn't happen that way. So whenever this episode came on when I was a kid, I would not watch it. There were only two episodes of The Brady Bunch I would immediately switch off: the screw-over Alice episode and 'Kelly's Kids' which was supposed to be a pilot a for spin-off about a white couple that adopts three sons—one black, one white, and one Asian-American.
That's how much I loved Alice.