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Eight is Enough is a show which is inspired by a real life family. The Bradford family is headed by Tom and his wife Abby. The family also includes eight children who range in age from 22 year old David, all the way down to 8 year old Nicholas. The majority of the kids are in the teenage bracket which means the episodes revolve around a lot of the activities and events teens get involved in. David is the oldest, followed by Mary, who is the most practical member of the family. Mary is college bound while David seems content to work in construction.

Each child has their own unique personality which blends into the stories in each episode. Elizabeth, as the youngest girl, often tries to grow up faster than her older sisters would like her too. Joanie has a poetic soul and tends to date guys who do not always meet with her father's approval. The dating scene is a major theme in most episodes because of the ages of most of the kids. The Valentine's Day episodes revolve around the chaos which ensues in a house full of young teens all looking for romance.

Tommy, who is in high school, shares a bedroom with Nicholas, who is in elementary school. There are often fights and disagreements which occur between the two brothers. This sibling rivalry also goes on between the sisters who have a tendency to borrow each other's clothing without asking. The show takes a serious look at how families interact. There are many serious and dramatic moments, but there are also moments filled with humor and love.

The family interactions show how siblings often rely on each other for support and encouragement. Tom and Abby also have lives and personalities which become intertwined within the stories. Both parents work outside of the home and need to deal with situations which arise involving cars, school and bad choices on the part of their kids. Abby works as a school counselor, so she often takes a gentler approach to dealing with the situation's the kids get into than Tom does.

1 Season, 104 Episodes
March 15, 1977
Drama, Comedy
Cast: Dick Van Patten, Lani O'Grady, Connie Needham, Susan Richardson
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Eight Is Enough Full Episode Guide

  • Finally ready to be a father, Jeremy's father returns for a visit and wants to take him back to Los Angeles. David relives old memories when four of his old high school buddies return to Sacramento for their 10 year high school reunion. Tom and Abby fight with Jeremy's dad for custody of Jeremy.

  • Merle suffers a career-ending shoulder injury and doesn't know what to do if he can't play baseball. Merle comes upon Nicholas and his friends playing ball. He is offered a job of assistant coach of the High School team. One of Mary's patients falls in love with her and won't leave her alone. Eager to earn more money, Jeremy gets a job convincing people to try experimental products.

  • Jeremy is suspicious when he finds a skull while digging in the garden. David and Janet consider getting back together. Nicholas assumes he's a shoo-in for the basketball team when Elizabeth dates the coach.

  • Just as Tommy's career is about to take off, his old girlfriend returns to tell Tommy she is pregnant after it is announced that his band has been booked for a national tour. Nicholas wins a girl's heart by standing up to a bully. Mary, Nancy, Elizabeth, and Joannie adopt a bum named Max, and bring him home for dinner.

  • This year it's the boys' turn to meet new women. Tommy dates the daughter of a radio station owner in order to get his band some air time. Jeremy runs himself ragged trying to keep up with a beautiful sports athelete. David dates an older woman, Tommy's date's divorced mother.

  • Jeremy wants to manage Tommy's band and tries to get him a gig. Joannie is chosen to organize a charity telethon and tries to get celebrities to appear on the show. She recruits the family to perform and Nicholas saves the day with his on-the-air speech and performance. David gets a new roommate to save money on the rent.

  • Nancy's modeling career is about to take off but she needs to make an important decision as she later finds out she has to pose topless for a jeans ad. Elizabeth is trying to attract Alan Anderson, who only sees her as a friend. David hires Nicholas to find him a new apartment.

  • Jeremy meets a new girlfriend at a Fred Astaire film festival. Tom and Abby decide to renew their marriage vows on their 3rd anniversary and they agree to let the kids handle the arrangements. David and Janet try to hide the fact that they have split up

  • Joannie involves David in the renovation of an old opera house. However, Janet is the legal counsel for the developer who wants to build low-income housing on the site. Nicholas gets a horse from Joe Simons and Abby help him find a way to keep it. Merle returns home from the New York Mets, but Susan is too tired from taking care of Sandra Sue to enjoy his visit.

  • Abby is proud of the progress one of her students has made and invites her to the house for dinner. Jeremy falls for 16-year-old Darlene, who likes to flirt and cause trouble (shades of Melrose Place), and he refuses to listen to Abby's advice about her. Nancy gets a modeling job as the spokesperson for a shady heating and cooling company. Nicholas tries to impress a 12-year-old girl with his cooking ability.

  • Tom is nominated for a political post by the governor. A political appointment for him ends up more than he can live with. Joannie goes undercover to do a story on a video dating service. Nicholas tries to get rid of his "cute" image.

  • Caught up in a newspaper strike and laid-off, Tom tries to bring the feuding parties together thanks to something Nicholas says about giving and compromise.

  • Caught up in a newspaper strike and laid-off, Tom tries to bring the feuding parties together thanks to something Nicholas says about giving and compromise. To save everyone money, Nicholas starts a barter system for the family. The Bradford's have a five car pile-up in their driveway.

  • Ernie introduces Tommy to a slightly older songwriting woman who has a 4-year old son. When he falls for her, she has second thoughts. The Bradford's convert the garage into an apartment for Susan and Merle. Nicholas supervises the conversion job. Jeremy begins to feel like part of the family when Abby enrolls him in school and Tom makes him follow the household rules.

  • Susan brings the baby, Sandra Sue, home from the hospital. When Joan's parents visit the Bradford household to see the family and their great-grandchild, a conflict with Abby occurs as Joan's parents disapprove of the way Abby is raising Nicholas. Grandpa and Abby make up and finally accept Joan's death in a touching story. Tommy gets a job playing the guitar at a male strip joint

  • Abby gets a job as a guidance counselor at a rough high school filled with trouble. Tom discovers his driver's license has expired and fails the renewal test. Tom drives his family crazy when they become his chauffers. Nicholas's friend dares him to shoplift a desired yo-yo.

  • Abby goes to a funeral in San Francisco and returns with her nephew, Jeremy, who has nowhere else to go. His behavior upsets the family, referring the Bradfords as that other family (The Brady Bunch), but all ends well as he becomes the newest member of the Bradfords. Joannie is promoted to sports anchor. Nicholas gets into trouble for selling peeks at Mary's medical books.

  • Abby goes to a funeral in San Francisco and returns with her nephew, Jeremy, who has nowhere else to go. His behavior upsets the family, referring the Bradfords as that other family (The Brady Bunch), but all ends well as he becomes the newest member of the Bradfords. Joannie is promoted to sports anchor. Nicholas gets into trouble for selling peeks at Mary's medical books.

  • Tom and Abby agree to let Tommy and a few friends have the house for a small party after graduation. Nicholas and Irving are working on a school project when Irving gets hurt and Tommy ends up spending grad night at the hospital. The party goes on without them as party crashers show up. Officers were called in to finally break up the party and Tom demands an explanation, thinking Tommy was being ignorant.

  • Nicholas starts a dog-sitting service. Nancy falls in love with the 5-year-old daughter of the young widower she is dating, but doesn't fall in love with her father. Ernie can't find a date for the prom.

  • Joannie gets an important assignment at work but Jeffrey believes that the boss will be expecting a favor in return. Joannie blows her chance at a big story. An experienced reporter makes her his partner and the result is an important scoop. Nicholas has a problem with a bully that he can't hit back. Fed up with the way that Tom divvies up the family's discretionary funds, Tommy takes over budgeting for it.

  • Ernie misreads Elizabeth's friendly gestures. David is jealous that Janet is working long hours with a male colleague. Tom counsels David and Abby counsels Janet, and they end up happily together. Bored with his own house and family, Nicholas has more fun playing at a friend's house but his friend has more fun at Nicholas's house.

  • Tom's new temporary secretary is overly attentive. Joe Simons, the con man who helped Nicholas return from San Diego, shows up pretending to have struck it rich in the Yukon and drives the family bonkers. He claims to have found a gold mine. Joannie offers to produce a TV commercial for David's construction company.

  • It's winter break and Joannie, Nancy, and Mary meet strange men that drive Tom and Abby crazy. Tom fixes Tommy up with his boss's niece.

  • Abby tries to cheer Tom up on his 50th birthday. Tom feels the pressure of teh youth movement at work and believes that the Register wants to replace him with a younger columnist. Merle and Susan try to pick names for their baby. Nicholas is helping Merle come up with a name for the new baby.

  • Tom is upset that everyone is neglecting their household duties so Abby and the kids pool their resources to hire a maid. Tommy tries to help his friend Ernie, who won't admit he has an alcoholic problem. They split-up over this and Bradford steps in to help. Nicholas and Marvin try to get into the Book of World Records.

  • Upset that an all girl band was chosen to play at prom, Tommy protests by running for prom queen. Joannie pushes her boss for some on-camera work.

  • Tom talks David into hiring Tommy as a construction worker but Tommy has to prove himself to his fellow workers by standing up to them on his own. Nicholas needs to write a speech about Tom and follows him around for a day at the office to get material. Elizabeth is looking for advice on how to meet men in college.

  • Tom and Abby believe that Susan is depressed because Merle is gone but learn that she is pregnant. The girls try to cheer her up. Joannie meets a psychic and holds a seance to help Susan. Merle arrives to win her back and finds out she is going to have their baby. Ernie and Tommy use Nicholas as bait to meet girls.

  • Elizabeth and Mary try to fix the furnace when David doesn't have time to fix it, and try to bill Tom. Merle is excited when he is asked to play dealing with winter ball in Puerto Rico but Susan doesn't want to quit school to go with him. Tom is up to his ears with kids when Susan returns home after a spat with Merle. Tom deals with Nicholas on strike for more allowance.

  • Nicholas feels responsible when bad luck seems to run in the family after he breaks a chain letter. Nicholas really believes that bad luck followed afterwards. He finally learns that it is nonsense after putting the family through the ringer. Merle and Susan argue about his choice of friends and her neglect of household duties. Tom, Abby, and the rest of the Bradfords are worried when Tommy is hospitalized for a ruptured spleen.

  • Tom thinks that Tommy is spending too much time with his band and is neglecting his school work. Tom's sister, Vivian, also known as Auntie V, arrives and offers to take the entire family to Hawaii for a vacation. The real reason is that she has found out that Tom's long-lost father is living there.

  • Tom needs a partner for the father/son golf tournament but David, Tommy, and Merle are all busy. Nicholas's substitute teacher compares him to his older brothers and sisters so Nicholas and Abby discuss how it feels to be compared to someone else. Nancy tries to help David's construction business by dating a local businessman.

  • Joannie gets a job in the research department of a TV station. Mary finds a hidden home pregnancy test and tries to find the owner. Joannie "scoops" Tom on a story on a porno theater for her new job at a television station. The problem is that the theater is owned by a public corporation and Tom is a stockholder. Tom is upset that a porno theater has opened in his neighborhood but then discovers that he is part owner of it.

  • Chaos hits the Bradford house when everyone's activities go around the clock. In order to get her Ph.D. more quickly, Abby attends school full-time and has little time for the family. Tom is upset when no one is home when Nicholas gets home from school. Tired of getting dead-end jobs because of her looks, Nancy gets a job at a brokerage firm. All this drives Tom bananas and he finally calls a family meeting at 3 a.m. by playing loud music to rearrange the goings on.

  • David and Janet set a wedding date but it turns out to be the same day Merle and Susan decided to move up the wedding day to accomodate Merle's ballplaying career move. Nancy gets a job delivering singing telegrams and is hired to deliver one at the double wedding for David and Janet and Merle and Susan.

  • David returns and is determined to win Janet back from her new boyfriend. Merle confides to Nicholas that he wants to propose to Susan but Susan is upset when the entire Bradford family knows about before she does. Nicholas acts as the go-between for everyone

  • Nicholas and Susan meet Merle the Pearl, a local minor league baseball player. Nicholas is upset that his young girlfriend is moving out of town and wants to introduce her to Merle the Pearl to impress her before she leaves. Frustrated by the gas shortage, Tom agrees to buy a new, fuel-efficient car. Merle falls for Susan and Nicholas gets his first kiss

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