With this episode, we reach the end of Family Affair‘s first season! Thanks to all of you who have followed along so far. The second season includes some of my favorite episodes, so I’m excited to get it under way next week.
Written by: George Tibbles. Directed by: William D. Russell.
Two threads run through this episode and come together by the end–almost.
First, a well known actor friend of Uncle Bill’s is observing French to prepare for a theatrical role.
Second, Cissy is indecisive about her choice for a Sadie Hawkins-type dance.
Cissy hesitates too long in finding a date and misses out on the desirable boys. Wanda, who acts more quickly, lands a good catch.
Uncle Bill reminisces to his house guest about his own Sadie Hawkins experiences. Even back then, it seams, he had to fight the girls off with a stick. Sometimes he would go as far as claiming a broken leg to avoid “dancing with a giraffe.” Real nice, Bill!
When Cissy finally stoops so low as calling her last-resort boy, Virgil, he has to decline: It seems he has a broken leg.
Believing that Virgil is lying, Cissy takes to moping around the apartment.
French thinks that Uncle Bill should offer to escort Cissy to the dance, and Bill does so.
Eventually, another answer to the problem dawns on Uncle Bill–he asks his celebrity friend to escort her.
Just then, Virgil appears at the Davis door with a very real broken leg and a doctor’s permission to attend the dance anyway.
As you can see, the twins don’t figure much in this episode’s plot. They do have a cute running gag, however.
At the beginning of the episode, they leave their school books on the hall table.
Later, Cissy and Wanda leave their books on the table, and French fails to react.
Near the end of the episode, they let themselves in after school and observe that French is nowhere to be seen.
French is amusing when he describes his efforts to keep the twins happy while Wanda sleeps over with Cissy for two nights. He manages to convince an exiled Buffy to play “hotel” in Jody’s room the first night, but by the second night his game of “castle” fails to keep the peace.
This episode seems to head in a very predictable direction.The “date-with-a-middle-aged celebrity” idea is the kind of thing that usually makes sense to everyone in old sitcoms, even though it would be make for a very strange occurrence in real life. Cissy’s refusal to go out with the movie star saves this episode.
Orson: Christopher Dark. Virgil: Patrick Moore. Wanda: Lynette Winter. Patrick Moore would appear one more time on Family Affair, and then vanish from the world of screen acting forever. Christopher Dark’s TV appearances include many westerns and two episodes of The Rogues, in which John Williams–the other Mr. French–had a regular role. Winter is familiar from her role as best friend LaRue in the series Gidget and as Henrietta Plout on Petticoat Junction. She also had a small part in The Parent Trap, but she didn’t share any screen time with Brian Keith.
French isn’t a movie buff. He only likes to watch Sir Laurence Olivier in Hamlet and color footage of the coronation. Oh, French.
Isn’t a fake broken leg a particularly lame excuse? You would have to keep the ruse up at school for a fairly long time.
Also, if Bill was so popular, why did he once have to take his aunt as his date to a track meet?