The Brady Bunch's Controversial Character: Remembering Cousin Oliver's Impact

Mason Riverwind

Updated Monday, April 1, 2024 at 12:00 AM CDT

In the world of classic television sitcoms, few shows have left as lasting an impression as "The Brady Bunch." From their catchy theme song to their iconic blended family, the Bradys became a household name. However, there's one character that stirred up quite a bit of debate among fans and critics alike: Cousin Oliver.

If you're a true "Brady Bunch" enthusiast, you'll remember the exact moment when Cousin Oliver made his debut. It was a pivotal episode that had fans talking for years to come. But who exactly was Cousin Oliver, and why did he become such a hot topic?

In the image that has resurfaced on Reddit, we catch a glimpse of the infamous scene that introduced Cousin Oliver to the Brady family. The photo shows two young actors engrossed in conversation on the television screen. On the left, we have a blonde-haired girl with spiral curls and bangs, sporting a vibrant yellow turtleneck sweater. To her right stands a young boy with light blonde hair, glasses, and a dark-colored shirt. These two characters were at the center of the controversy.

Now, let's address the elephant in the room. Many fans were quick to voice their displeasure with Cousin Oliver. User comments such as "Could not stand cousin oliver" and "Oliver was the worst part of the Brady Bunch show" highlight the divisive nature of this character. But why did he receive such a negative reception?

Some viewers felt that Cousin Oliver's introduction marked a turning point in the show's quality. As one commenter put it, this was the moment when the show "jumped the shark." The phrase "jump the shark" refers to a point in a TV series when it starts to decline in quality or lose its original appeal. For many, Cousin Oliver's arrival signaled just that.

However, it's important to give credit where credit is due. Cousin Oliver, portrayed by Robbie Rist, went on to voice the beloved character Michelangelo in the classic '90s "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cartoon. And as one commentator pointed out, he even did the score for the cult film "Sharknado." Robbie Rist's talent and versatility are undeniable.

But let's not forget the real star of the show: John Denver. In the midst of the Cousin Oliver controversy, the image on the television screen reminds us of John Denver's guest appearance on "The Brady Bunch." The caption box, partially obscured by a reflection, teases a line from the show's dialogue: "there she [obscured] ending agn." Though we can't fully decipher the caption, it's clear that John Denver played a significant role in this particular episode.

As we examine the image more closely, we notice a MeTV logo at the bottom right corner of the screen. This indicates that the episode featuring John Denver and the introduction of Cousin Oliver was aired on the MeTV network. It's a testament to the enduring popularity of "The Brady Bunch" that it continues to find new audiences through reruns and streaming platforms.

In terms of the image itself, we get a glimpse of the surroundings in which the television is placed. A slightly tilted frame, a brick wall, and a piano keyboard cover indicate that this scene is unfolding in a cozy living room. The reflective object atop the piano adds a touch of charm to the setting, suggesting a home filled with cherished memories.

So, whether you're a die-hard "Brady Bunch" fan or just discovering the show for the first time, this image serves as a captivating reminder of the controversy surrounding Cousin Oliver's arrival and the star power of John Denver. The impact of these moments on television history cannot be denied.

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View source: Reddit

Top Comments from Reddit


Could not stand cousin oliver


That John Denver’s full of s***, man!


That was a jump the shark moment.


Mr. Sunshine on My G******* Shoulders, Himself


We all know that's not John Denver, right? Just checking. Although that kid looks like he could have been his clone.


Cloning was much more expensive in the early 70s. As such the studio was only able to afford a 1/8 scale clone of John Denver. 


That kid grew up to voice Michelangelo in the classic 90’s Turtles cartoon. Show some respect.


You apologize to Robbie Rist right now! He redeemed himself with Kidd Video!


That’s Robbie Rist. He’s a musician as well, my buddy saw him play in Buffalo many moons ago. He did the score for Sharknado.


I think "cousin Oliver" has become a sort of code for when a show is breathing its last, pretty much the same as "jump the shark."

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