Characters that almost single-handedly ruined a television show

Cousin Oliver — The Brady Bunch

Introduced in the fifth season of the Brady Bunch, as all the Brady Kids were starting to age out of being precocious young kids, Cousin Oliver was reputed to be Carol’s nephew, who was dumped with the family while his parents were traveling on a South American archaeology dig. We soon learned why they’d rather not be around him.

Oliver was a regular for all of five episodes — in his big debut, he believes himself to be a jinx after causing problems over and over. Sometimes, the stories write themselves. Soon, Oliver was involved in a mix-up where he and Bobby Brady fell under the mistaken notion that Alice’s beloved butcher friend, Sam, was actually trading secrets to the Russians and was going to trap Mike Brady in a meat locker. Yes, before hackers, the Russians apparently employed mild-mannered meat men. When Cousin Oliver shows up on The Americans, watch out.

Oliver’s tendency to cause accidents when he was around helped to change the balance of the series, becoming something of a real-life evil Tiki that cursed the family. The Brady Bunch was canceled just a few episodes later and Robbie Rist, who played Oliver, wasn’t even told the series was done, only learning when he found out he wasn’t going back to work.

While the overall legacy of the Bradys stands tall, Oliver was that “jump the shark” character that made eyes roll, so perhaps it’s fitting that he’s been involved in creating the music for the Sharknado film series.