I know, I know, it’s not even close to Friday this time. My attention is currently a bit divided when it comes to classic TV, for an exciting reason that I will share with you later this week!
Written by: Henry Garson and Edmund Beloin. Directed by: Charles Barton.
This week’s episode opens with Buffy, Jody, and Mr. French walking down a typical mid-town Manhattan street.
Stickball practice is in progress, and an errant ball knocks off Mr. French’s bowler. When a kid named Sam comes to retrieve the ball, Jody becomes enraptured with Sam’s team sweatshirt.
French gives Jody’s plan to try out a ringing endorsement:
Meanwhile, at home, Bill is talking business on the phone while Cissy reviews a teen magazine. When the twins return, Jody prepares to secure Uncle Bill’s permission for a stickball try-out, while Cissy and Buffy discuss fashion ideas for Mrs. Beasley.
This brief exchange serves to remind us that Buffy is a GIRL. You’ll need to keep this fact in mind to appreciate the full “hilarity” of what’s to come.
Jody finds that Uncle Bill is enthusiastic about his stickball plan.
Bill’s eager to give Jody some tips, so Jody grabs a broomstick from the kitchen. Oh, dear. If classic TV has taught me anything, its that you shouldn’t play ball in the house.
Jody’s initial try-out doesn’t go any better than the living room practice session.
Bill takes Jody to the park for more intensive practice.
Jody’s skills don’t improve, but one interesting thing does happen in the park. Buffy retrieves an errant pitch from Jody and throws the ball back with startling accuracy.
Jody’s second try-out goes no better than his first.
They insist on giving her an immediate try-out and observe that she’s a powerful hitter, too.
Both twins return to the Davis apartment wearing Tigers sweatshirts.
French is just confused by all the baseball terminology, and Bill is out of town, so he can’t weigh in on the latest developments. He returns in the midst of the Tigers’ next game and suffers a series of bitter shocks about the twins’ respective team roles.
Bill assumes that Jody feels humiliated about his position with the team. He sneaks off, hoping Jody won’t realize he was there to witness this “disgrace.”
From the beginning, Jody only seemed to want a team sweatshirt, anyway.
Meanwhile, Buffy asks if she can skip ball practice the next day.
See, she’s a GIRL! A GIRL has a talent for sports! I hope you’re not hurting yourself by laughing too hard.
Buffy needn’t worry anyway–a category 5 hurricane couldn’t dislodge those pigtails.
I love the way Jody has no problem with Buffy’s success. Buffy is equally supportive of Jody throughout the episode.
Uncle Bill acts like a tool here, but at least he realizes quickly that he’s projecting his own feelings onto Jody. It would have been nice if he’d spared a word of praise for Buffy’s ability. At least the cab driver and the police officer appreciated her talent.
One random comment: I just love when Jody calls his sister “Buff.”
If you want to learn more about stickball, here is an interesting article about its decline.
Sam: David Brandon. Officer Wilson: Bob DoQui. Cab Driver: Johnny Silver. Randy: Stephen Liss. Roberto: Miguel Monsalve. Jose: Rudy Battaglia.
This is Brandon’s second appearance and the first of several by Monsalve. DoQui, who died in 2008, worked steadily in TV into the 1990s. He also appeared in many films, including Nashville and the Robocop movies. Silver appeared in the movie Guys and Dolls and in many episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. He was also Dr. Blinkey on H.R. Pufnstuf. His last TV appearance was on a Seinfeld episode. He died in 2003.
Buffy is an outfielder. Uncle Bill was a good hitter, but when he threw, he couldn’t go to his left.
“Oh, for the playing fields of Eton!”–French
(French doesn’t really have a high enough social standing to have attended Eton, does he?)