Episode 20: The Snooperstar

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.

bplot1

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.

bplot2

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.

trap2

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 eyesvery 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”.

epilogue

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!

 

 

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Author: bradybunchreviewed

I am a lifelong fan of the Brady Bunch. I love it for it's wholesomeness, it's absurdity and how it serves as a time capsule for a time that really never existed, but so many of us wish it did. The show was off the air by the time I was born, but I enjoyed it daily at 4:35 PM for years on Atlanta's Superstation 17, TBS. Through the years I've enjoyed the Brady Bunch spinoffs (however short lived), revivals in pop culture, books, reunions, movies and spoofs. Now, I am excited to be revisiting the show after nearly a decade's hiatus from viewing. I am a parent now, so there may be some new perspectives never before experienced. I hope my fellow fans, lovers and haters alike of the Brady Bunch will join me on this blogging adventure and share your own thoughts and observations.

22 thoughts on “Episode 20: The Snooperstar”

  1. Speaking of continuity, this is a good reference to Mr. Matthews, who appears in the next episode, about the pool table. One surmises that he is Mr. Philips’ boss.

    I’ve always seen this episode and the BeBe Gallini episodes as bookends to the series. A first season and last season storyline—each about a demanding female client who tests Mike’s patience.

    Another classic TV and movie plot device appears in this script: the lookout who is supposed to whistle and inevitably can’t when the moment comes.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ah yes, The Snooperstar. Well what can be said about this? Too weird for words, an outright embarrassment for Susan Olsen, and proof positive that BB was lurching to an end. This was first broadcast on February 22, 1974. You’re right: the script looks back to earlier episodes for the story line. Which points us to the assumption that this was indeed a script from an earlier season and dusted it off for this episode. But Shirley Temple was 5 or 6 during her heyday. Susan Olsen was 12 going on 13 when this episode was filmed. Good God. And unfortunately (unlike Robert Reed), she didn’t have any pull as far as script changes. So she did her duty, said her lines, and performed her songs. Yes, good continuity on the air vent being a method of listening in Greg’s room (although if I were him, I’d have that thing plugged up by this point). One curiosity is in some Brady book that I have (forget which one), the song “Animal Crackers In My Soup” is also sung and Penelope Fletcher gives advice to Cindy on dance moves and makeup. Huh? I don’t recall that scene being in the episode. Maybe that wound up on the cutting room floor. Like this whole episode should’ve been. Just awful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. About Miss Fletcher (as she was probably called at the time) usually working with Mr. Matthews, which I’d never noticed before, maybe this was also a reference to how Natalie Schafer had worked with Jim Backus before, if it was already known (and it likely was known) that he’d be playing Mr. Matthews in the next episode. By the way, if the center will “bare her name”, it leaves it naked so to say. I think you meant to write “bear her name”. (OK, I’m a better copy editor than I am a writer.)

      I also remember reading about “Animal Crackers” being sung and don’t remember that. I think that’s most likely in Barry Williams’ book’s episode guide, since he’s known to have made several errors in his book, as much fun as it was to read. I remember watching this episode after reading that and listening for that song. I suspect he extrapolated a bit as to what may have happened after the end of the scene.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for commenting! Barry Williams’ book “Growing Up Brady” is full of errors on the episode details. That is likely where you read the incorrect episode details. He probably just remembered a Shirley Temple song being sang and associated the Animal Crackers song.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In Marcia’s diary entry to throw Cindy off ,she had said that she told all the kids & Alice about the Shirley Temple contest. Oliver hangs out with Cindy often. Cindy should have been grilling Oliver for answers too, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m in agreement with everyone that says “The Snooperstar” may have been better suited for the younger Cindy from the earlier seasons. Plus, like others stated previously about “the new Johnny Bravo”, referring to “the new Shirley Temple” sounds odd. Did Cindy believe, or Marcia imply there was a search for a girl to become a new child movie star, or for someone to play Shirley Temple in a period film? At least that would explain Cindy’s outfit. But I don’t dislike this episode at all, and also enjoy seeing Cindy loosen up a dancing Ms. Fletcher. Like vice principal Binkley in “Getting Greg’s Goat”, these stuffy adults were kids once.

    Like Cindy, I used to watch Shirley Temple movies on television when I was young, although I only recall bits & pieces. I remember the scene where she tap danced down a stairwell while reciting times tables, which I watched again on YouTube when she passed in 2014. Coincidentally, the local tv station that showed her films, while playing “On The Good Ship Lollypop” during promos, was the same one that ran The Brady Bunch in syndication.

    On that note, with the last two episodes ahead, I’d like to make a shoutout to the long-defunct UHF station WKBS Channel 48, which was seen in PA and NJ. Owned by Kaiser Broadcasting and later Field Communications, this was the station that I watched The Brady Bunch on in syndication during weekday afternoons. My memories of the show are more clearer from this period than from the original broadcasts on our ABC station, WPVI Channel 6 (formerly WFIL), and from what I’ve read, the shows weren’t edited as much in those mid to late 70’s rebroadcasts. Other shows I’ve seen on 48 were Star Trek, The Monkees, The Flintstones, The Munsters, Dark Shadows, Night Gallery, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Honeymooners, Perry Mason, You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Bob Cummings Show/Love That Bob, Mary Hartman-Mary Hartman and it’s various spin offs, and some that I remember from the networks runs like Sanford And Son, All In The Family and Wonder Woman. During weekends, they’d show old horror movies and Flash Gordon serials, as well as Abbott and Costello films, Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts, and Shirley Temple films. WKBS went off the air for the last time in 1983; their final sign-off is on YouTube, along with a number of commercial spots from Channel 48. One station from the area that’s still on the air, WPHL Channel 17, is the local affiliate of Antenna TV and This TV on two of it’s digital channels. I used to watch Antenna regularly with it’s library of classic shows, which included Leave It To Beaver. I can remember when a station would sign off late at night and run a test pattern after playing The Star Spangled Banner!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds like a great channel, with plenty of old favorites. You’re correct about the first generation reruns. Cuts were quite minimal, almost imperceptible, on most syndicated shows . Then after a few years one would notice a few. As time went on and cable increased the competition, more and more cuts began to be made.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In hindsight, I probably watched more of WKBS 48 back in the day than I did of the other two main UHF channels in my area, WPHL 17 and WTAF 29 (now WTXF; I mentioned this one in the Kings Island blog). Apparently, The Brady Bunch never had great ratings on ABC, and it was the syndicated reruns shown after school that helped make the show the staple that it is.

        The “In Color” intros from the first two seasons and the next episode trailers from the last season were part of those reruns I recall. Along with cutting scenes, syndicated shows were sometimes sped up in order to fit in more commercials. Last year, I caught some of Decades TV’s Binges of programs I have on DVD, and it was blatantly obvious how fast the characters were talking!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I remember seeing WKBS-TV around 1981 when my family stopped to visit my aunt & uncle near Allentown, PA. I saw a lot more of WKBS’ sister station, WLVI-TV, channel 56, in Boston, when I visited my grandparents in that area as a kid. I fondly remember these Field/Kaiser stations and wish we’d had one in the places where I grew up.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovey Howell really aged well and she seems to be knocking that 70s does 30s or 40s looks out (Mike’s comment notwithstanding, I would not mind aging as well as she).
    I found Cindy’s Shirley Temple thing intriguing, now if she wanted to look like ST at a similar age, that’d fit https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1366&bih=657&ei=xZDfW4qlFs-2ggeYnKAI&q=Shirley+Temple+1940s&oq=Shirley+Temple+1940s&gs_l=img.3..0.1535.6766..6910…4.0..0.246.3733.0j23j2……2….1..gws-wiz-img…..0..35i39j0i30j0i8i30j0i24.LOgINrWi_9I#imgrc=fwwphHaHJQUECM:
    Cindy’s new hair reminds me of Sally Draper in the Moon landing episode of “Mad Men” https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1366&bih=657&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=zZDfW9f7DdK0gge6vZTwCg&q=Sally+Draper+moon+landing&oq=Sally+Draper+moon+landing&gs_l=img.3…241603.245425..245521…1.0..0.196.3690.0j25……1….1..gws-wiz-img…….0j35i39j0i67j0i10i30j0i24.Bg9uuusb6A8

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For anyone who may be interested, the Shirley Temple album Cindy has in this episode is the real deal. It was a two-LP set titled “Remember Shirley”, released in 1973 on 20th Century Records. Several copies of this album are currently available on eBay.
    Since she was apparently pressed for time to learn the songs, I’m guessing Cindy just stuck to learning “On The Good Ship Lollipop” (apparently it was the first song on Side One of the set’s first album).

    Like

  7. It’s interesting that the Brady’s weren’t highly rated, but easy to see why it’s been so popular since. The characters are likable and the actors are talented. And DeVol’s score is amazing. The ditties are so catchy, and quite numerous.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I simply don’t understand the need to “dust off” an old script, not to mention one that is no longer age appropriate, for a show that’s only been on 5 seasons with characters that are dynamically changing, as are their lessons and relationships, and even the era. Just look at the difference between Season 1 and Season 5 Carol and Mike! Totally different people, and then there’s the growth of the kids! It didn’t have to be profound or groundbreaking – in fact, a nice, escapist non-political show seems like a nice alternative for the times – but some of the weird gimmicky plots, the addition of cousin Oliver, the reduction of Marcia and Jan’s roles to giggling maniacally – puzzles me. Was there a writer’s strike or something?

    I felt the same way about “Love Boat,” going from lighthearted stories, fun guests and easy interwoven plotlines, to too many heavy-handed, multi-part travelogues. Perhaps it’s due to the inevitable desire of the cast and producers to evolve, but in the case of The Brady Bunch, that evolution seemed built in, with no need to conjure up quackery. So I kind of get where Robert Reed was coming from, but agree with other posters about his strange choice of battles to pick. Singing “Goodshop Lollipop” at the end with Carol, next to a dolled up adolescent Cindy, seems like it would have been one of them; not sitting out of Greg’s graduation episode.

    Thank God I’ve recently discovered Gomer Pyle, which just never interested me before; I thought it was just “Gilligan Enlists”. But it has been such a wonderful surprise – beautifully, cleverly written, incredibly acted and SWEET.

    Okay, down off my soapbox now! Today was the last installment of this go-round of TBB on MeTV; THANKS for this blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I’ve never watched The Love Boat. I rediscovered Gomer Pyle as an adult. I loved it as a child, but found it idiotic in my teens and early adulthood. I gave it another chance a few years ago and it’s now one of my favorite classic shows. When Andy Griffith (aka TAGS) went to color that show became such a bore. It seems Gomer Pyle continued with the light and fun mood of the black and white episodes of TAGS.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For sure! I don’t recall ever seeing Andy Griffith play a “happy” character ever again. He might have been trying in the abysmal film “Angel In My Pocket”. That movie was such a mess I can’t speak to any character’s motivation

        Like

  9. Re: Jan ‘s slacks: Women’s waistlines enjoyed a time of weirdness in the late 60s-early 70s. From plunging hip huggers to high waisters up to the rib cage, women had to restock their wardrobes every couple of years just to be “in fashion.” It doesn’t seem to be as extreme these days.

    Liked by 1 person

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