Six kids, two parents, a dog and a housemaid.
The new family is one that Alice has grown close to, but she also knows that Carol is now the primary motherly figure in the household, so she starts sending the boys to their new stepmother so that they can bond with her.
Before long, Alice is feeling not like a housemaid but an old maid, and it could soon have everyone saying "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore."
Indeed, the script would have worked best, with Alice leaving anyway, had Ann B. Davis signed only a short-term contract with the show and she's definitely gone by this, the fourth episode. The family would have had an incredibly emotional goodbye, particularly the boys since for at least six years — per the Brady bible, Mike's first wife/the boys' mother died just before Bobby's first birthday — Alice was their mother figure.
So that's why she sends Peter to Carol one day when he needs help with homework. And then Bobby, when he loses a button on his shirt. The boys take the hint and before long, Greg, Peter and Bobby are going to Carol for all their problems.
And in the process, they're ignoring Alice. And for days, there's very little contact between the boys (or the girls, for that matter) and Alice. She gets depressed enough that she wants to leave.
But how to explain it to the kids ... and Mike and Carol ... that she's planning to leave?
Well, she has this batty aunt who has been sick lately, so she's going to go be a caregiver. (Alice has some nurse's training by trade.) Up north, it seems.
But when pressed again to explain, the town is ... in the south. Mike and Carol's eyebrows are raised, but ... OK, if you feel the need to leave, so be it.
Then Jan and Marcia overhear Alice on the phone ... and the truth comes out. Alice is just going to take a different job, with a family that needs her. She made up the story about a sick aunt.
They tell Mike and Carol and a scheme is on to stop Alice from leaving. Basically, the scheme has Mike and Carol invited to a formal party they forgot to tell Alice about, and then all sorts of calamities happen at once. The dog ran away. Greg and Peter get into a fight. Supper needs to be made for the kids. Marcia all of a sudden "remembers" she needs a quick project done for a Girl Scout badge. Mike needs a button on his best shirt, and Carol needs a hemline adjusted on her evening gown. On it goes.
Alice gladly helps with every one of them ... and doesn't seem to have a clue that this is all a scheme ...
... until Cindy and Bobby come in, hands soaked in finger paint and in the midst of an argument ... and then they wipe their hands on Mike's tuxedo coat!!!
Alice then calls Mike and Carol on the scheme ... she figured out this was a plot to keep her at the Bradys.
Thing is, she says ... it worked. She then suggests that her aunt isn't really all that sick and besides, what would this chaotic household be without her to keep order. She's staying.
And with that, a big celebration ensues.
And with that, Mike and Carol decide re-dressed (in a more modest suit coat and dress, respectively) to go out for the evening after all. Alice has cooked dinner for the kids, and all is well in Brady land.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Gone Horribly Right: Alice tries to convince the boys to rely on Carol so she'll feel like their mother. It works a little too well, and they end up going to her for everything and making Alice feel unwanted.
- Zany Scheme: The plan hatched by the family on Alice's intended last day to convince her to stay. It works.