Written by: Phil Davis. Directed by: Charles Barton.
We’ve reached Season 2 of Family Affair! Let’s take a quick look around and see if anything has changed.
Well, after 30 episodes with William D. Russell, we have a new director. Don’t expect any art-house innovations, though.
Cissy’s looking prettier, I think. Her hair is fluffier.
Buffy’s front teeth have finally come in. I think Uncle Bill had better set aside some money for future orthodontia.
Jody’s gotten taller, sprouting past his sister’s height. It’s hard to believe that Anissa Jones was 9 at this time, while Johnnie Whitaker was not yet 8.
One thing hasn’t changed since Season 1: Buffy and Jody are still 6. They are old enough, though, to start asking some questions after they see French and his nanny friends admiring a baby in the park.
When Buffy and Jody ask French where babies come from, he gives them a quick brush-off. Then he and the nannies marinate silently in their embarrassment.
Meanwhile, the twins’ friend Wendy tells them that she knows where babies come from, but she’s not allowed to repeat it. It doesn’t take her long to overcome her scruples.
Upon arriving at home with the twins, French informs Uncle Bill about the twins’ curiosity.
Uncle Bill is no more comfortable with the subject than French. So when Buffy and Jody float Wendy’s stork theory at the dinner table, both men latch onto it.
Now, let’s face it: Buffy and Jody are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, if Season 1 is anything to go by.
Their persistent questioning drives French to consult Miss Faversham, who has more experience than he does–experience with children, I mean.
The twins accept the cabbage patch story, more or less.
Eavesdropping on their conversation, Uncle Bill cringes at the twins’ avowals that the story must be true–Uncle Bill would never lie to them, they say.
Cissy is exasperated with what she calls “plain cowardice” on Uncle Bill’s part. She gets some advice and literature from her biology teacher, and tries to persuade her uncle to have a straightforward talk with the twins.
That evening at bedtime, Bill announces that he will tell the kids the truth.
Cissy and the twins are moved by his comments.
Later, though, French has a question: Is “love” also the proper explanation to give the children about a friend’s rapidly increasing pet rabbit population?
A sweet and funny treatment of an always awkward situation. I like the rabbit question at the end–it hints that Uncle Bill’s oblique explanation will only satisfy the kids for so long. He needs to get himself a copy of Dr. Spock, fast.
Miss Pringle: Viola Harris. Miss Livingstone: Athena Lorde. Miss Graham: Pauline Drake. Richard: Randy Whipple. Wendy: Pamelyn Ferdin. Miss Faversham: Heather Angel. Drake, Whipple, Ferdin, and Angel all appear in multiple Family Affair episodes.
The kids’ mother and father are mentioned.
A visual one:
Infants terrify Mr. French.
Poor Uncle Bill! Pretty uncomfortable with the whole matter, he cowardly dumps the problem on Mr. French, tries to play for time and endeavors to cut off the kids’ discussions. Eventually, he comes up with a very heart-warming explanation which, however, will not stand the test of time. Poor Mr. French! Being terrified, he – AS A BRIT! – is even more unable to solve the problem aptly. Why doesn’t Cissy answer the kids’ questions herself instead of trying to talk the unwilling Uncle Bill into it? Is she subconsciously more cowardly than she admits?
I wonder whether Anissa Jones and Johnny Whitaker knew the real answer to their question.
I like this pretty nice and witty episode.