Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 11, “Take Two Aspirin”

Welcome to the latest installment of my weekly Family Affair series!

Season 1, Episode 11, “Take Two Aspirin,” 11/28/1966

Written by: George Tibbles. Directed by: William D. Russell.

Synopsis

The prospect of spending three months in New York makes Uncle Bill restless, both at home and at work.

Buffy and Jody spy on a jumpy Uncle Bill. Prominent here is the rarely seen Davis TV, rabbit ears and all. You might think that, like Chekhov’s gun, the TV will become important later. It doesn’t.

He jumps at the chance to work with his old friend Dave McCovey on a project in Mexico. Dave is building a pipeline, and three other engineers have disappointed him.

“You have to go around that shale,” Uncle Bill tells Dave. That’s the kind of engineering advice you can only get from Bill Davis (and only on site).

Besides respecting Bill’s engineering acumen, Dave also admires his friend’s attitude toward family. “You love ’em but you don’t get tied down,” Dave says, launching Bill into a tizzy of worry.

Meanwhile, at home, Cissy leaves to spend the weekend with a friend, and French comes down with the flu. Buffy and Jody do their best to take care of French, and you can imagine how that goes.

On a call home, Bill gathers that French is sick and that the twins are cooking. Understandably, he becomes alarmed. First grader Jody doesn’t even know the difference between the words “fly” and “flu.” These are definitely not kids who should be trusted near an oven.

French feels better after a nap–until he sees what Buffy and Jody have prepared for him.

Buffy’s “omelet”

Jody’s peanut butter sandwiches (laced with aspirin!)

French’s reaction.

After a quick swoon, French rallies enough to take the twins out for dinner. Cissy arrives home unexpectedly to an empty apartment and becomes alarmed. Uncle Bill picks that moment to phone home again, and his own nervousness increases.

Odd overreactions drive this episode. I’m fan-wanking that the sudden death of the kids’ parents left all the Davises with PTSD and hair-trigger nerves.

Uncle Bill does reach French later and finds out that he’s okay. While they’re talking, the twins break a vase in the hallway, and French announces that “the Ming” is gone. The phone line cuts out, and Bill’s left believing that the family has been robbed.

The “Ming”

Bill decides to head for home. By the time he arrives, of course, everything’s fine. He suggests a school composition topic for Cissy–the tricks that the imagination can play. (Cissy’s planned topic was long hair on men!)

My Thoughts

This rather choppy episode is not one of my favorites. Mr. French is at his irritable best sick in bed, though.

“Sloshing damp rags on a chap when he’s lying down–that’s not cricket.”–French after Jody awakens him by dropping a wet cloth on his head.

The twins’ attempts to cook are also funny.

Guest Cast

Dave McCovey: Norman Alden. Ted Gaynor: John Hubbard.

Norman Alden’s voice was perhaps more memorable than his face. He was a ubiquitous guest on 1960s and 1970s TV shows. Generation Xers like me might remember him as Polly’s father on My Three Sons, Frank Heflin on Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, or the voice of Aquaman on Superfriends. He died in July of this year.

Continuity Notes

Jody’s turtle gets a final mention–he dies while Uncle Bill is out of the country. (Previously referred to as Dinky, the turtle is called Alexander in this episode.) Scotty the doorman is mentioned but not seen. Uncle Bill’s service in Korea comes up again. (He contracted malaria, but he didn’t let it slow him down.)

Random Fashion Moment: The kids’ going-out-to-eat-on-a-rainy-day clothes are cute.

Today’s Bonus Feature
This article about Anissa Jones is from TV Radio Mirror, March 1967. It includes adorable publicity photos of Jones, Johnny Whitaker, and Sebastian Cabot on an outing at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Enjoy my whole Family Affair series!

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2 thoughts on “Family Affair Friday: Season 1, Episode 11, “Take Two Aspirin”

  1. Orschel52 says:

    I agree, this is one of the weaker stories, though with some nice moments, e.g. the kids’ cooking efforts and French’s appalled reaction, Jody’s sloshing a dripping wet cloth on Mr. French and French’s appalled reaction, or Uncle Bill’s feeling miserable on receipt of the kids’ letter, showing he misses them and wants to be back with them. Touched me! By the way, what’s this about Uncle Bill’s birthdays?

    • Amy says:

      They produced so many episodes per season, compared to modern shows, that it’s not surprising some scripts fell short. At least the kids are always cute!

      The story about Uncle Bill’s birthday is in Gold Key Family Affair comic book #2. I just used the cover image as artwork this week, but eventually I’ll post all the comic book stories as bonus features.

      Thanks for commenting!

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