"The Personality Kid" is another of those Brady Bunch episodes fans remember fondly. It's all about Peter learning something about himself and that forcing your personality isn't a good idea ... but being yourself is.
It all begins when Peter comes home early from a party ... and not beaming at all at how he had a great time. In fact, he had a very bad time. Carol, concerned that something really bad happened — she doesn't say, but the viewer is briefly left to imagine whether he witnessed something really traumatic — decides to ask Peter what's the matter.
It turns out someone at the party thoughtlessly told the middle Brady boy that he had no personality.
Rather than just admit that what happens sometimes at these parties just simply happens — either he just simply had a bad time, didn't connect well with his fellow guests, the party itself was a flop, etc. — Peter is convinced that what this fellow party guest told him is true, and he sets out to find a personality he can call his own.
Of course, one of the attempts he makes is making like famous people, including Humphrey Bogart. When told what's on the menu and then when asked later on what's for supper, he does his best Bogey impression: "Pawkchawps ... and ... appewlsawce." And none too well.
Later, he tries to give movie reviews, and gives one to Marcia and her friend Kathy Lawrence — yes, that Kathy Lawrence, from "My Sister Benedict Arnold." Kathy seems to be connecting with Peter, until little Cindy bursts in and asks Kathy, in front of Peter, when she can stop pretending to be Pete ... "oops, I said too much!" Needless to say, Peter isn't very happy, and neither is Marcia.
Eventually, to perk up Peter's spirits, Mike and Carol buy him a joke book and then decide to unveil his new comedian persona at a special house party. Of course things fall flat, until we see how this episode's subplot works well with the main plot.
In the subplot, Clinton Avenue Elementary School is having a school safety campaign, where students are encouraged to bring information home and work with their parents to identify simple household hazards, such as the "octopus" note . The youngest Brady kids also tell their parents they must rehearse two fire drills and verify they had them ... and these include both one announced in advance and one that is totally by surprise.
It is the latter type of fire drill that leads to this episode's resolution.
Peter's party is going alright, except that when he tries out his joke book, he realizes that all of his buddies already know the punchlines. Before he can admit he's a failed comedian ...
... shrill whistles blow. It's Bobby and Cindy holding the surprise fire drill.
Everyone evacuates safely and of course there's no fire, but as his friends ask him what's going on and why the unexpected break in festivities, Peter admits he was trying too hard to be someone he's not. His friends assure him they like him just the way he is.
And then afterward, Mike and Carol try to do their own impressions of Bogey and (Lauern) Bacall.
"Here's looking at you kid!"
Tropes present in this episode:'
- An Aesop: "Be yourself."
- Easily Forgiven: Kathy Lawrence, after being used as a pawn in Greg and Marcia's feud in "My Sister Benedict Arnold." Either this episode was filmed Out of Order (and in storyline took place before "... Benedict Arnold"), or Kathy was very forgiving and Marcia was able to put her own feud with Kathy (over being beat out for a spot on the cheerleading squad) behind her. (Indeed, Sheri Cowart, a bit actress, would appear in both episodes as Marcia's classmate/frememy).
- I Just Want to Be Special: Peter, after being told he is dull. Even his own family members don't entirely disagree, particularly Greg, which pushes Peter even more to find an identity, any one at all.
- Shout-Out: To Humphrey Bogart, whom Peter tries to imitate ... none too well, of course.
- Trademark Favorite Food: A signature meal of the Bradys ... (now say it with me in Bogey's accent): "Porkchops ... and applesauce!" A Shout-Out to this would come in The Brady Bunch Movie more than 23 years later.
- The Woobie: In-universe, Peter becomes this to all of his female guests when the party he throws to celebrate his latest personality as "the funny guy" is a flop, due to the other guys stealing all his punch lines. They glue themselves to his side all night, gushing about how being a shy, sweet guy is his personality.