Family Affair Friday: Episode 14, Think Deep, 12/26/1966

Welcome to another installment in my weekly Family Affair series. This week’s episode is a memorable one. Before I begin, though, I wanted to point out that Kathy Garver and Johnny Whitaker, the two surviving Family Affair cast members, both celebrated a birthday yesterday. She turned 67 and he turned 53. I don’t know if they’ll ever see this blog, but if they do, I wish them all the best.

Episode 14, “Think Deep,” 12/26/1966

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

Synopsis

Cissy shakes up the Davis household by instituting some new theories. She wants to rotate seating in the dining room so Uncle Bill doesn’t dominate at mealtime. She cramps Buffy’s and Jody’s fantasy life by banning imaginative stories at bedtime. She tries to get French to rebel against “a condition of servitude bordering on serfdom” and insists on calling him by his first name.

giles

French doesn’t take this well.

She also takes over some of French’s duties.

kitchen

Buffy helps Cissy prepare Uncle Bill’s “favorite meal”–steaks and chops.

donuts

The result is so bad that Buffy and Jody bring doughnuts to the table as a meal substitute–and Uncle Bill doesn’t even object.

Cissy cites someone named Julian as the authority behind her new practices. Uncle Bill and French assume Julian is a new boyfriend, but they soon discover that he’s a teacher, Julian Hill.

Visiting Julian’s classroom, Uncle Bill finds a man who is meticulous bordering on OCD.

Doing some quick mental math, he realizes that 1 prissy teacher plus 2 feisty seven-year-olds might equal a crush-demolishing meltdown. He invites Julian to dinner.

Doing some quick mental math, he realizes that 1 prissy teacher plus 2 feisty seven-year-olds might equal a crush-demolishing meltdown.

Uncle Bill invites Julian to dinner, and an excited Cissy invites her friend Gail to join them.

Together, the girls bask in Julian’s dinner erudite dinner conversation.

Together, the girls bask in Julian’s dinner erudite dinner conversation.

buffy jody

All Julian’s talk just confuses Buffy and Jody. In defense of Julian, it doesn’t take much to confuse these two. Their dinner clothes are adorable, though.

After dinner, things take a nasty turn when Buffy and Jody accidentally spill coffee on Julian, who calls them “little monsters.”

monsters

Oh, no, he didn’t!

Cissy doesn't take this well.

Cissy doesn’t take this well.

Uncle Bill helps her realize that Julian is a good teacher and a normally fallible human being—not someone whose every proclamation should be law at home.

The episode closes with Cissy telling the twins a cute story about a fish who’s trying to earn his flying license. The story captivates even French.

The episode closes with Cissy telling the twins a cute story about a fish who’s trying to earn his flying license. The story captivates even French.

Commentary

It’s great to see my second-favorite TV father figure, Robert Reed, sharing screen time with my favorite, Brian Keith. Reed really throws himself into this part; his Julian Hill is affected and compulsive but doesn’t quite enter caricature territory. I also like Uncle Bill’s talk with Cissy. Instead of leaving her with the easy takeaway—“See, Julian’s really a jerk”—he guides her to a more nuanced understanding of human foibles.

Guest Cast

Julian Hill: Robert Reed. Gail: Diane Mountford. Robert Reed, who died in 1992, was best-known for his role as Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch. His non-Brady TV series included The Defenders and Mannix. He also had roles in the miniseries Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man. Mountford would appear in several more Family Affair episodes, but her character would only be called Gail in one of them.

Cissy gets to wear my favorite of her dresses in this episode. Poor Gail gets an ugly, shapeless thing.

Cissy gets to wear my favorite of her dresses in this episode. Poor Gail gets an ugly, shapeless thing.

Notable Quotes

This is going to be the greatest emotional experience of my life.” Cissy

“With your permission, sir, I should like to see how the flying fish achieves his license.” French

Today’s Bonus Feature

Screen Life, May 1969

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7 thoughts on “Family Affair Friday: Episode 14, Think Deep, 12/26/1966

  1. Orschel52 says:

    When I first watched Family Affair, I didn’t like Cissy very much, one reason certainly being that my focus clearly was on Uncle Bill / Brian Keith. However, this was also about age: On the start of FA in Germany in 1968 I was 15 – the age Cissy was supposed to be. Kathy Garver, though, was 18 or 20 when she started out as Cissy (some sources say she was born in 1947, others in 1945, which makes her 5 or 7 years and five days older than myself. In the DVD’s bonus feature, Kathy herself said she was 18 playing a 15-year old, but maybe she was cheating herself!). When you are beyond, say, 25 or so, 3 or 5 years is not really a huge difference, but when you are below about 16, somebody three or even 5 years older seems ages away. Cissy never really convinced me as an agemate, I never felt she represented me or my age group adequately. Maybe this is because I was not as sophisticated or mature as Cissy was, or it also has to do with a certain difference between the “old Europe” and the USA. Anyway, now – almost half a century later and as an adult, I like her better and find her quite OK. In this episode, she was quite amusing in her adoration of Julian Hill.

    • Amy says:

      It’s funny how the age at which you first watched a show can affect your perceptions. I was very little when I first watched Family Affair, and I looked up to Cissy as an example of what teenage life should be (of course, my real teen years ended up being far different!) I was more interested in Cissy back then than in the twins, even though they were closer to my age.

      The idea of differences in U.S. and European perspectives is interesting to me, and I would love to hear more about that as we go through more episodes. When I had my old Family Affair web site, I had a running email conversation with a woman who’d grown up in NYC in the 1960s, and her urban and my small-town perspective on the show differed in some interesting ways.

      • Orschel52 says:

        Maybe our perception is not so much based on where we live, but rather on our situation in life. My life was entirely different from Cissy’s, not only in that I grew up and lived in a small provincial town in West Germany, but rather in my personal interests: ball games (being German, soccer, of course) and sports in general. I dressed accordingly – very casual – and did not have any interest in nice dresses and clothes. Still don’t. And unlike Cissy, my dating activities were pretty low. Guess I was too shy. But all this is an individual thing and has not very much to do with the place you live in. But most likely the place you live in increases the scope of your interests and provides you with more possibilities. I guess what I meant with the differences between the U.S. and Europe is that – at least at those days – America was always a bit ahead of Europe in developments and Europe followed suit a couple of years later. I’ll be glad to go into more details in the episodes to come.
        P.S.: Please esxcuse my rather clumsy English.

      • Amy says:

        Your English is excellent!
        I look forward to hearing your comments on future episodes.

    • Amy says:

      It’s funny how the age at which you first watched a show can affect your perceptions. I was very little when I first watched Family Affair, and I looked up to Cissy as an example of what teenage life should be (of course, my real teen years ended up being far different!) I was more interested in Cissy back then than in the twins, even though they were closer to my age.

      The idea of differences in U.S. and European perspectives is interesting to me, and I would love to hear more about that as we go through more episodes. When I had my old Family Affair web site, I had a running email conversation with a woman who’d grown up in NYC in the 1960s, and her urban and my small-town perspective on the show differed in some interesting ways.

  2. Orschel52 says:

    Thanks for your interest in my comments. I’m always afraid I’m going at too great lengths and you might get bored stiff.

  3. Diane says:

    Loved this show! I used to have a “Buffy” dress where the skirt was fashioned as a large bass drum. It was primarily blue, red with a little yellow/good. I remember her picture was on the tag. I’d love to get a picture of that dress if anybody has one from one of the old programs.

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