‘The Brady Bunch’: Barry Williams Was Very, Very High During Season 4’s ‘Law and Disorder’ Episode
Television has definitely gotten a lot more risqué over the years, and that can leave classic TV shows looking quite outdated with their squeaky clean — and unrealistic — portrayal of family life. At the same time, this wholesome nostalgia has given the shows a kind of second life, representing a rose-colored memory of a bygone era that never really existed.
This is definitely the case with The Brady Bunch, a TV show so wholesome that its own teenage stars began rebelling against the restrictive rules placed upon them to keep their fictional images untarnished.
Evidence of some of those moments of rebellion have even been memorialized on film. When the backstage shenanigans spilled over to the set, fans could catch a glimpse of their favorite Brady characters behaving badly, and that’s certainly the case on one classic episode when star Barry Williams was extremely high.
‘The Brady Bunch’ was inspired by a growing demographic
When The Brady Bunch premiered in 1969, the idea of a blended family with the parents remarrying after divorce was novel for the screen — but it was quickly becoming the reality for many Americans. In fact, the show was inspired by a newspaper statistic pointing to the rise in just such a family arrangement.
The series ran for five seasons and featured an architect with three sons who meets and eventually marries a woman with three daughters. Together, their new large family is brimming with situations ripe for heartfelt lessons and plenty of good-natured laughs.
The real-life actors who portrayed the fictional new siblings were actually growing up on the set. The oldest sibling pair consisted of Marcia (portrayed by Maureen McCormick) and Greg (played by Barry Williams). When they were first cast on the series, they were 12 and 14, respectively.
A few seasons into the show, and they were in the full throes of both Hollywood stardom and their own teenage years. As one might expect, this led to some clashes between their actual experiences and the wholesome portrayal of their characters.
Barry Williams was at the center of many on-set scandals
Williams, in particular, has been at the heart of many rumors and scandals about the show. As two teens spending a lot of time together, it makes sense that McCormick and Williams would be flirtatious on the set, but those flirtations spilled over into their first kiss while the show was filming in Hawaii for Season 4.
Showrunners knew that sparks flying between the brother and sister on the screen would be a definite turn-off for viewers. So they discouraged the relationship by telling Williams he was too good-looking and popular to settle for just one girl.
Of course, that strategy may have backfired as one of the biggest scandals to rock The Brady Bunch is the rumor that Williams enjoyed an age-inappropriate relationship with his on-screen mother, portrayed by Florence Henderson. While Williams did admit to having a bit of a crush on Henderson, there is no evidence that anything ever happened between the two of them, as Biography.com reports.
Barry Williams was stoned on set for one Season 4 episode
It wasn’t just locking lips that scandalized the goody-two-shoes image of the Brady kids. There was also the lure of recreational drugs. In a reunion discussion from 2014, Williams recounts being offered a “new sort of cigarette thing” from some friends on what he thought was a day off. He decided to experiment with the new substance but then got a surprise call to report to set for filming.
“I was having a ball,” Williams recounts of his behavior on set, which included erratic jumping around in an attempt to be “creative.”
Once the cameras started rolling, however, he felt differently. He panicked and froze up, and he notes that anyone who freezes the frame and looks closely will see his panic-stricken face and bloodshot eyes. At the end of his story, Williams quips that he “just stays sober” since he’s a better actor that way.