Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 1, “Birds, Bees and Buffy,” 9/11/1967

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.

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 flufflier or something.

Cissy’s looking prettier, I think. Her hair is fluffier.

truth

Buffy’s front teeth have finally come in. I think Uncle Bill had better set aside some money for future orthodontia.

curious

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.

Meet Anthony Bartlow III.

Meet Anthony Bartlow III.

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.

No sex education, please. We're British.

No sex education, please. We’re British.

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.

The stork brings babies, Wendy announces with authority.

The stork brings babies, Wendy announces with authority.

Upon arriving at home with the twins, French informs Uncle Bill about the twins’ curiosity.

French has a very reasonable plan for handling the situation--he proposes that Bill refuse to discuss the subject with the kids, ever.

French has a very reasonable plan for handling the situation–he proposes that Bill refuse to discuss the subject with the kids, ever. Or at least until the twins are leaving for college.

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.

Seriously, Uncle Bill?

Seriously, Uncle Bill?

Now, let’s face it: Buffy and Jody are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, if Season 1 is anything to go by.

But even these Einsteins can look at an encyclopedia entry about storks and doubt the story they've been told.

But even these Einsteins can look at an encyclopedia entry about storks and doubt the story they’ve been told.

Their persistent questioning drives French to consult Miss Faversham, who has more experience than he does–experience with children, I mean.

She recommends the cabbage patch story as a delightful fantasy that is "not nearly as vulnerable to logic."

She recommends the cabbage patch story as a delightful fantasy that is “not nearly as vulnerable to logic.”

The twins accept the cabbage patch story, more or less.

Unfortunately, they are also eager to share their newfound knowledge with their friend Richie.

Unfortunately, they are eager to share their newfound knowledge with their friend Richard

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.

Later, he gets an earful from Riche's mother, who has made the radical decision to raise her

Later, he gets an earful from Richard’s mother, who believes in giving her son–gasp!–actual facts about reproduction.

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.

She's fighting a losing battle. Bill can't even handle a straightforward conversation with her on this topic.

She’s fighting a losing battle. Bill can’t even handle a straightforward conversation with her on this topic.

That evening at bedtime, Bill announces that he will tell the kids the truth.

Babies come from love, he says, reminding the twins about the love their parents had for them and for each other.

Babies come from love, he says, reminding the twins about the love their parents had for them and for each other.

Cissy and the twins are moved by his comments.

Even French approves.

Even French approves.

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?

Commentary

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.

Guest Cast

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.

Continuity Notes

The kids’ mother and father are mentioned.

Inconsistency Alert

A visual one:

This is supposed to be Cissy's mid-town Manhattan high school!

This is supposed to be Cissy’s mid-town Manhattan high school!

Fun Facts

Infants terrify Mr. French.

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One thought on “Family Affair Friday: Season 2, Episode 1, “Birds, Bees and Buffy,” 9/11/1967

  1. Orschel52 says:

    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.

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