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Her Sister's Shadow is the tenth episode of Season 3 of The Brady Bunch, and the 59th overall episode of the series. Written as a teleplay by Al Schwartz and Phil Leslie from an original story by Schwartz and Ray Singer, and directed by Russ Mayberry, it first aired 19 November 1971 on ABC.

Short Summary[]

Jan's teachers constantly compare her to Marcia, but can her entry in a school-sponsored patriotic essay contest help Jan escape "her sister's shadow"?


The gushing that Jan's teacher, Mrs. Watson, does over former pupil Marcia is the last straw for Jan in always being compared to her older, seemingly perfect sister. The plethora of Marcia's awards and trophies in their bedroom does not help matters. She dumps Marcia's awards in the closet and complains that all she hears is "Marcia this, Marcia that... Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." To get out of Marcia's shadow, Carol and Mike encourage Jan to find out what she's good at and develop that talent. Jan wants to find something specifically that Marcia has never done. She tried out to be a pompom girl and practiced hard for it, but got rejected. However, an unexpected talent emerges as an essay Jan wrote for Mrs. Watson's class wins first prize in the honor society essay contest with the highest mark they ever awarded. Jan is excited by the fact that the award will be presented at a school assembly with her parents present. However, Jan notices that there is an error in the grading and that she didn't actually win, but came second. She grapples with her conscience and considers keeping secret her discovery. At assembly with her parents in attendance and minutes before the presentation, Jan reveals her discovery to her teacher. The teacher's presentation depicts Jan as gracious and mature for revealing the error.


  • This episode features Jan saying "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia," which would unintentionally become a world-famous catchphrase that would be recognizably affiliated with the show forever. This is actually the only time in the series, Jan said this, though it would return in The Brady Bunch Movie.
  • Alice reveals that she used to be a cheerleader when she was a teenager.
  • At the end of this episode, Jan finally gets the respect she worked for, only for Cindy to become jealous of her. A similar ending would be used in The Brady Bunch Movie, where Jan envies Marcia throughout the entire movie, and when she gets a slight bit of respect at the end, her jealousy is passed down to Cindy.