Cindy was sure convinced Marcia had it in for her. For someone going on 12 years old, she sure thought that her older sister was writing secret thoughts about her family life, specifically her.
So when she sees Marcia writing in her diary, Cindy asks her point blank, "You're not writing about me, are you?" Marcia tells her no and wants to shoo her off, but Cindy isn't going away so easily. And it's making her a royal pain in the ass and ... "The Snooperstar."
Marcia comes home one day to find her diary had been read, and suspects Cindy is to blame. Since confronting Cindy directly to stop it hadn't worked, the next logical thing would have been for Marcia to talk to her father, who would have put a stop to Cindy's behavior immediately. But instead of trusting Mike to handle the situation and hey, we've got a half-hour to fill anyway Marcia and Jan take matters into their own hands, buying a new diary and then begin writing about Cindy.
Just what she wanted ... and there's lots to read when Cindy predictably reads the first entry. (Oliver acts as a lookout guy, just in case someone's coming.) It seems that there's a talent agent who has gotten wind of Cindy's fondness for Shirley Temple and thinks that Cindy bears so much of a resemblance to the perky former child star that she is secretly picking her to be the next Shirley Temple. Marcia sees that Cindy's taken the bait, and continues on, unabated. However, things take an unexpected turn when Cindy becomes convinced that Marcia is telling the truth and spends her entire savings on Shirley Temple albums, a dress and curlers. Yep, Cindy is soon going to be the "youngest one in curls" once again ... and Marcia now realizes things have gone too far and she can't do anything to deconvince Cindy from making a mistake that could cost her father his career.
Well, Mike is grumbling about his latest client, the fussy heiress Penelope Fletcher, who is demanding perfect specifications for her new office complex. A huge advance hangs in the balance, and if Mike doesn't follow through, it could be curtains for his firm, his job and his career. Cindy learns that Ms. Fletcher is planning to stop at the house to meet with her father, and somehow concludes that she's really a talent scout.
One afternoon, Ms. Fletcher stops over for her appointment with Mike, to discuss the plans and make sure they meet muster. Who should bound into the room but Cindy, all dressed up in this adorable dress, her hair in curls and ribbons in her hair ... and perfect little girl charm. It seems she's under the impression that Ms. Fletcher is the talent scout who has come incognito. Cindy begins singing "On the Good Ship Lollipop" ... and it isn't long before the hard-assed Ms. Fletcher's demeanor softens to that of a little girl reliving her childhood! Mike walks in, takes a gander at Ms. Fletcher and Cindy singing and dancing nostalgic songs from the Shirley Temple movies and, somewhat amused, wonders what is going on. Ms. Fletcher explains that Cindy merely helped her remember the better things in life, and then accepts the plans sight unseen.
Mike may have Cindy to thank for saving his contract and job ... but there's this matter about snooping in Marcia's diary that he now wants to address. Marcia finally explains matters, and Cindy admits to snooping in her eldest sister's diary. Mike tells Marcia she handled the situation incorrectly (ergo, she should have gone to either him or Carol and then let them handle it) ... and then Cindy is told to stop with the diary snooping.
At least Carol is relieved things worked out well ... and she and Mike close out singing "On the Good Ship Lollipop." And in the tag scene, a repentant Cindy gives Marcia a present a diary with a lock on it!
Tropes present in this episode:
- Alpha Bitch: The 70-something Penelope Fletcher, the snobbish heiress who is a hair-splitting perfectionist.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Marcia can't seem to shake Cindy as she pesters, begs and harasses her into reading her diary entries ... because she's convinced that the entries are about her!
- Diary: The main plot of the episode revolves around one of these.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up and Static Character: When filmed in January 1974, Susan Olsen had been 12 years old for several months (and her character, Cindy, was in the fifth grade by this time in the series). Still, several of the Cindy-based stories had her acting as a little girl rather than an older, maturing elementary student, something that Olsen has said embarrassed her at this point in the run. Here, she was asked to dress as endearing Shirely Temple, who was five years younger than Cindy (11) when she made her films some 40-45 years earlier. One Brady book has suggested a few storylines appropriate for 11- and 12-year-old girls were in the works for Cindy had the series been renewed for 1974-1975.
- Secret Diary: Although it's literal in the sense that Marcia wants to keep the diary away from Cindy's snooping eyes and the "secrets" in Marcia's phony entries (a talent agent is secretly scouting Cindy for a revival of the Shirley Temple franchise) when she concedes that Cindy is determined to read the diary are seemingly very harmless. Although with the latter, Mike later tells Marcia that these entries could have had bad consequences (such as Mike losing an important client and possibly even his job).
- Snooping Little Kid: Cindy, who at least in the original series never quite shakes this trait, annoying Marcia (and to a lesser extent, Jan) to no end.