Alan Brady is throwing a party at his penthouse for a few of the network executives and he wants the writing staff to attend. Unfortunately for Rob though Laura thinks Richie is on the verge of being sick and wants to stay home. Rob is certain he'll be okay and wants to get a babysitter but he's having a hard time convincing Laura.
A series of events occur that make Laura believe that Rob no longer sees her as the beautiful, young and lovable wife she hopes she still is. These events include Rob wanting to sleep in on his day off instead of waking up to eat breakfast with her, Rob being irked by her romantically playful attempts to wake him up, Rob not caring how he looks around her, Rob calling her his "old lady", and Rob pulling out a white hair from her head. Rob eventually sees that Laura is upset, but she won't tell him why if he doesn't know. Rob asks Buddy and Sally for advice, they collectively coming to the conclusion that Rob perhaps is not paying enough attention to her and not telling her often enough that he loves her. Laura turns to Millie, who thinks that Laura has to spice up their marriage every once in while by doing something different and daring, like dying her hair blonde. Once Laura does the deed, she's sorry she did it for more than one reason and tries to hide the fact of her new bleached state before Rob comes home and sees his new and perhaps not better wife.
After Rob gets home late from work because he has to drive Sally home Laura gets the idea to try and play matchmaker. Rob is against it but Laura thinks Sally would be a good match with her cousin Thomas, the lab technician. The two are polar opposites...Thomas is quiet, mild and meek and Sally is loud, brassy and full of jokes. The dinner is a disaster but can opposites attract?
Harrison B. Harding stops by the office and claims he's an old Army buddy of Rob from Camp Crowder. Rob pretends to recognize Harrison, but he doesn't really recognize him (Harrison says he lost 57 pounds). Rob doesn't even remember anybody with that name. Rob tries to get rid of Harrison, but winds up inviting Harrison and his wife home for dinner. He then starts to suspect that Harrison is a con man with embarrassing results.
Jerry plants seeds of mistrust in Laura's mind when he learns that Valerie Blake, the beautiful movie star, will be guesting on The Alan Brady Show. Laura doesn't listen to him until Rob begins a string of late night work sessions. Soon Laura's jealousy begins to grow and Rob will have to work just as hard to convince Laura that nothing is going on between he and Valerie Blake.
Buddy and his wife can't take their German Shepherd, Larry, with them on a three-day weekend. Buddy wants Rob to keep Larry for the weekend, but Rob refuses because he hasn't talked it over with Laura. The next time we see Rob, he's trying to sneak Larry into the house. Ritchie is afraid because he thinks that Larry is a wolf and Laura can't sleep because Larry is crying. What is Rob to do?
Rob's not as impressed with Buddy's new Meershatz pipe as he is with the fact that it was a gift from Alan Brady. Not just impressed but envious as well. After all, he is the head writer of the show and begins to feel as if he isn't needed. Getting sick and having to miss work for several days doesn't help his insecurities.
Rob complains about Ritchie's forgetfulness, but suddenly realizes he forgot to reserve 44 tickets for the PTA to see The Alan Brady Show. Rob begs and borrows some tickets; Buddy and Sally try to steal some tickets for him. An unexpected twist occurs at the last moment.
Buddy has a chance for a head writer job. Rob and Sally help Buddy get released from his contract to "The Alan Brady Show". The plan backfires, so Rob and Sally have to find an ingenious way to get Buddy re-hired.
Laura opens and reads Rob's mail, she giving him a Reader's Digest version of it, and even throwing away what she considers unimportant. Rob is not angry that Laura opened his mail, but he is angry that she read it before he did. Laura doesn't understand why Rob is so upset as he always lets her read his mail anyway. After apologies are made, the issue is resolved. Or is it? Out of general chit-chat, Rob tells Sally and Buddy about the event. Buddy thinks the situation is ripe for a comedy sketch for the show, to which Sally and Rob concur. Before the show airs, Laura, not knowing the topic of the sketch, tells Millie and Jerry that Rob told her that she was its inspiration. What's worse for Laura after watching the sketch is that Rob, Sally and Buddy kept the female character's name Laura, so that everyone watching the show believes that character truly is her. To add further insult to Laura, the sketch truly is funny - one of the best they've ever written - making her an even bigger laughing stock. Laura is furious with Rob, who has to make it up to her somehow. But when the next day seems to mirror what happened in the sketch, will Laura act exactly the way the maniacal wife in the sketch did?
Neighbor and friend Jerry Helper teases too much! Rob gets increasingly upset as Jerry jokes around the whole neighborhood that "The Alan Brady Show" was "rotten" this past week. Rob accidentally hits him in a restaurant, and hilarity ensues!
"The Alan Brady Show" announces its annual search for the most gifted youngster, and parents are asked to send a picture of their child. All of the stage mothers in Rob's neighborhood want him to get their children private auditions. And all of Sally's neighbors. And all of Buddy's neighbors. The final straw is parents who have just moved into the neighborhood and Rob is uncharacteristically mean.
Ritchie is starting to learn some new words. He says a bad word to Laura in the car. She thinks ignoring it is the best course, but Rob wants to have a "man-to-man" talk with Ritchie. Rob also wants to confront the family that he assumes is responsible for Ritchie learning the bad words, but that could prove embarrassing.
Buddy's wife Pickles is away for 3 weeks to take care of her mother. Buddy can't stay at home because he's too lonely. Rob discovers that Buddy has been sleeping overnight at work and insists he move into his guest room. Sally warns against it. Either Buddy and his dog Larry are keeping Rob and Laura awake, or Rob and Laura aren't letting Buddy stay up late.
Rob gets called for jury duty; unbeknownst to him, Laura attends the trial. The defendant is an exotic dancer. Is she really innocent as only Rob believes? Will Rob be in major trouble when he gets home?
Sally doesn't have a date for her birthday, then an old friend from high school (Leo Fassbinder) calls. Sally invites Leo to her apartment for a quiet evening, but Rob, Laura, Buddy and Mel think Leo is just a made up friend and plan to bring a loud party to Sally's apartment.
Rob's brother Stacey has a two week furlough and sends Rob a telegram that he's coming for a visit. Rob (whom Stacey calls "Burford") isn't thrilled. He explains to Laura that his shy brother has a problem.
Rob runs into Happy Spangler, the fellow who gave him his first break to get into show business. Learning that writing jobs have been a little lean of late for Spangler, Rob decides to repay the debt to his old mentor by agreeing to take him on temporarily as a writer for the Alan Brady Show. Rob soon comes to regret his act of kindness, however, as he realizes that Spangler is much more interested in telling stories that distract his writing staff, preventing them from getting their work done.
Ritchie becomes very attached to two baby ducks that were left over from a show and adopts them. Rob faces the task of making Ritchie understand the consequence of trying to keep pets that may be happier living in the wild.
While directing the annual variety show sponsored by his talented neighbors, Rob becomes frustrated by spousal jealousies as he tries to pair the perfect "Cleopatra" to "Mark Antony" for the lead roles.
Rob promises Laura he won't get injured on his skiing trip with Jerry, but when he sustains a full-body bang-up, he does all he can to keep it from her rather than admit her woman's intuition was correct.
Rob plans to make himself scarce when he hears French heartthrob Jacques Savon is Alan's guest star, a man whose marriage Rob feels responsible for breaking up. Oddly enough, Laura feels responsible, too.
In answer to an invitation, the Petries attend a swank dinner party thrown by wealthy Mrs. Huntington, which later reveals itself to be a fund-raiser where Rob's compliant gesture turns into a donation far beyond his means.
Rob drives himself beyond distraction trying to figure out whether Laura is going to throw him a surprise party for his birthday and, if she IS going to throw a surprise party, when and where it's going to happen.
With Laura out of town for a few days, Rob tries to figure out what to do in his spare time. Eventually, he looks in on an old Army buddy, who is at a nightclub. Unfortunately, it results in confusion that ultimately lands Rob behind bars.
Rob and Laura spot their neighbor Jerry at a fancy restaurant with a pretty blonde. They suspect him of having an affair, and his lack of candor seems to confirm their fears. They try to squirm out a confession and save his marriage.
Laura takes a creative writing course, and the teacher extols Laura's writing abilities. Rob infers from this unwarranted attention that Mr. Caldwell is using Laura to meet him. In fact, Mr. Caldwell's interest is only in Laura.
When a drunk accosts Laura and Rob in a downtown bar, Laura surprises Rob by using a judo throw that flattens the man. Rob begins to feel inadequate as the "protector" of his household and sets out to prove a point with Laura.
An old friend of Rob's shows up to offer him a job with his hugely successful but racy gentlemen's magazine. Rob says he won't do it, but Laura is not so sure. Rob is sorely tempted by the wining, dining, and the beautiful girls.
Rob relates the story of how he and Laura became friends with Lyle Delp, a convict in prison. Lyle had robbed the Petries years ago in an elevator, but then the three were trapped together when the elevator stuck.
To help Rob, Millie sends raving pseudo fan letters praising Alan Brady for hosting a "brainy" documentary show on comedy that Rob wrote - only the show doesn't air, and the letters meant to help Rob could help him right out of his job.
On learning they're not the highest paid writers for their highest rated show, Sally and Buddy go on strike. Rob, speaking on their behalf for raises, gets a bewildering introduction to Alan's convoluted corporate structure.
Stacey waits till the day before his club opening to fess up to Julie about the author of her love letters from "Jim," with the success of his new nightclub resting precariously on their meeting's outcome.
Rob agrees to have a popular British singing duo spend the night at his home when they appear on Alan's show. There's one catch: he's sworn to secrecy and cannot tell anyone about it for fear of touching off a Beatlemania-like fan frenzy.
Sally falls head over heels over handsome, suave Anthony Stone, whom she met while on vacation in Jamaica. All is not what it seems as Rob and Buddy uncover a shocking secret about Sally's new boyfriend that will only cause heartache.
A strong sense of déjà vu strikes Rob, bringing to mind nine summers earlier when, as Alan Brady's new head writer, he, with a mountain of debt and Laura pregnant, unexpectedly faced no income for two months.
Laura gives Rob an expensive watch at a birthday party attended by several family friends, but when the watch goes missing shortly after the party, Rob reluctantly concludes that one of his close friends may be a thief.
When Rob, Sally and Buddy have to dig through building trash containers for a lost script, Rob finds a network memo to Alan Brady saying he must fire one writer. Rather than be split up, they seek a new gig together.