Hello again readers, family and friends. Today we review “The Snooperstar”. It ranks among the least favorite of many fans. I myself could take it or leave it. As many have stated before, Cindy’s character was beyond the age that most young ladies would aspire to be the new Shirley Temple. It was also stated that this script was one written for an earlier season, but discarded, only to be dusted off and produced in season five. The episode definitely has some earlier season elements surrounding invasion of privacy and dreams of stardom. Let us start our review of “The Snooperstar”.
The story begins with Bobby and Peter in the backyard. Peter has attained some bike maintenance skill as we see him lubing up his ten speed bike. Maybe his brief stint as a bicycle repair boy taught him this. He and Bobby discuss repayment of a $2.00 loan as Cindy approaches. She asks if the boys were talking about her. She is rather brusquely informed they are not. She goes inside where Greg is talking on the phone. Cindy begins to peruse a magazine and Greg asks her to leave as he is having a private conversation. Cindy replies the family room is no place to seek privacy. Actually, she does not say this, but the thought crossed my mind and I could have seen my younger self saying this should I be asked to leave the most public room of the house. Upstairs, she encounters Marcia writing in her diary. She asks if Marcia is writing about her. Cindy is really clamoring for some attention. Perhaps Oliver’s arrival has seen that she is no longer the youngest and therefore being overlooked.
The b-plot commences in Mike’s and Carol’s bedroom. Mike comments he is meeting a new female client and has some fun with Carol by stating she is a gorgeous and rich woman. Carol jokes that she was planning to spend the day with Mike at the office. He soon confesses that she has the aforementioned riches, but not the looks. Cindy and Oliver enter the room briefly and are urged to leave for school.
Before heading out for the day, Cindy decides to peak at Marcia’s diary and recruits Oliver’s assistance. She tells him to whistle should somebody come along. It is a fairly humorous scene as Oliver encounters Alice coming down the hall and tries to whistle, but only blows air. Alice obliges the young lad and shows him how it is done. This tips Cindy off and she is not caught. She found only that Marcia had written a poem in her diary.
The b-plot continues at Mike’s firm. Here we seem him interacting with Penelope Fletcher. Another funny line is uttered here. She says she would typically only deal with Mr. Matthews, the firm’s president, but he highly recommended Mike for her project. However, it was only because Mr. Matthews was also out of town, that she has agreed to work with Mike. Despite his drawing up the plans to her specifications, they will not do. He has only until Thursday to create an acceptable design for the cultural center that will bear her name.
Back at the Brady house, Cindy’s snooping ways are discovered by Marcia as her things have been rearranged. She shares with Jan that Cindy is the number one suspect for such doings. Marcia intends to teach her youngest sister a lesson by planting some juicy stuff in her diary for her to read. To make certain Cindy is the guilty party, the pair pretend to be reading from Marcia’s diary as Cindy enters. They put the diary away and “leave” to go someplace. To spy on Cindy they pass through the boys’ room. Why this was necessary is not made clear as they could have just as easily entered the bathroom observation post from the hallway. Their coming and going aggravates their brothers to the point that Peter secures the door closed with a chair.
Cindy’s next snooping adventure finds the information Marcia planted in the diary. It states something fantastic is going to happen for Cindy. Upon reading of the exciting news, Cindy encounters Alice in the hallway. Alice knows nothing fantastic other than she has a pregnant goldfish she thought was a male. Her work takes her up to Greg’s room where they discuss Greg having two dates. Cindy and Oliver listen at the attic air vent and find the conversation has nothing to do with Cindy. This was a nice continuity reference to when Greg had a goat stashed up in his room.
The next phase of Marcia’s plan has her writing that Cindy could possibly find stardom as the new Shirley Temple. She states that an anonymous talent scout will be visiting the house for a secret audition. Check out Jan’s pants in this scene. I don’t recall pants up to the belly button being a 70s style, but they must have been.
The b-plot continues as we learn Mike’s Thursday deadline has been moved up and Penelope Fletcher will be coming by the house to pick up the designs. Penelope Fletcher was played by Natalie Schafer. Fans of Classic TV really need no background for the actress. She will forever be remembers as Mrs. Howell from Gilligan’s Island. A fun bit of trivia is that she took the role in the pilot episode for a free trip to Hawaii. She enjoyed a long career in Hollywood in both film and television. Her final role was in a 1990 TV movie. She died in 1991.
Wanting to make a big splash for her anonymous audition, Cindy seeks to purchase a Shirley Temple album. She asks Alice for the money so she can buy an album by “you know who”. In a funny line, Alice asks if that is the name of a new group. Upon returning home with the album, Bobby and Peter take an interest in it. For them to be so rude about Cindy’s inquiry at the start of the episode, they have no problem taking similar actions here.
Cindy finds out her time to listen to the album and learn the ways of of Curly Top are very limited. Alice shares with Cindy and Oliver that a client of Mike’s is stopping by later. Cindy assumes this is the anonymous talent scout. Upon Cindy sharing this with Marcia and Jan, they confess to their trickery, but Cindy does not believe them. She sets about curling her hair so she will look the part for her audition. During this scene I noticed what pretty eyes Susan Olsen has.
Penelope Fletcher arrives and is haughty as ever. After answering the door, Alice asks if she might get something for Ms. Fletcher and she replies, “Yes, Mr. Brady. I’m in a hurry”. Mike sure takes his sweet time going downstairs to see his important client. In the time it takes for Alice to summon Mike and him to come down, Cindy begins her audition. She comes downstairs with her hair curled up and wearing some kind of German looking dress. She breaks out in song, much to the confusion of Penelope Fletcher. If it weren’t so strange that Cindy were doing this at her age, this could have been one of the Brady Bunch’s funniest moments.
When Mike finally comes downstairs, Penelope Fletcher and Cindy are doing a singing and dancing duet to “On The Good Ship Lollipop”. Ms. Fletcher explains Cindy’s confusing her with a talent scout. She is so taken with memories of Shirley Temple and her own youth that she is no longer the demanding socialite she was just a few minutes before. A few minutes of song and dance with Cindy have taken her back to the magic of her youth. Mike tells her he feels the plans are what she seeks and she replies that it doesn’t matter now. Penelope Fletcher’s sudden indifference to the plans gives me a chuckle every time I see it.
The episode’s talking to follows. Mike tells Cindy just because her actions brought for a happy ending and happy client, snooping is not okay. It begs the question of why this was not stated when Peter deceived Pamela and Michelle with his clone in “Two Petes In A Pod”. This scene painfully ends with Mike and Carol singing “On The Good Ship Lollipop”.
The epilogue has Cindy gifting Marcia a new diary. The new keepsake of her thoughts comes with a lock. Cindy says this diary can be secured shut should she relapse or change her mind and decide to start snooping again.
Thank you for reviewing “The Snooperstar” with me. The episode does not give too much to question or critique other than Cindy’s age. Shirley Temple was just a wee sprout when she sang her famous song; Cindy was well beyond the age any producer would seek for a child destined to be the new Shirley Temple. Please share your own thoughts! Next week, we review “The Hustler”. Have a great weekend!