Attention Family Affair fans: Be sure you check out two great entries in the recent Me-TV Blogathon. Michael from Michael’s TV Tray wrote a hilarious take on our beloved show and even wrote some theme-song lyrics. And at Silver Scenes, you’ll find a lovely overview of the series, complete with some well-chosen favorite episodes.
Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: William D. Russell.
Note that first-season director William D. Russell gets credit for this episode. That’s our first clue that we’ve entered a weird Davis family time warp. And since this is a rather low-key–one might even say boring–episode, looking for time warp clues will constitute much of our fun this week.
When we first look in on the Davis family, Buffy and Jody are attempting to make themselves look scary and revolting. (I know some Buffy and Jody haters who would say they do a great job at this, week in and week out.)
The twins explain to Uncle Bill that they are trying to scare off a classmate, Sue Jeannette, who is stalking Jody. (When we last saw Sue Jeannette, eight episodes ago, she was called Sue Evelyn.)
Soon, there’s knock at the door, and the family is welcoming an old friend of Uncle Bill’s.
The kids take an instant liking to Freddie.
When they learn that Freddie knew Uncle Bill in Terre Haute, the kids pump her for stories from “the olden days.”
Yeah, that sounds about right.
The kids enjoy Freddie’s company so much at dinner that they ask her to tuck them in.
This episode’s sub-plot involves Cissy accepting a baby-sitting job from some neighbors. (She’s earning 75 cents an hour, increased to one dollar an hour after midnight.) Uncle Bill doesn’t like the idea of her taking on her first job, but she wants to increase her self-sufficiency.
Meanwhile, Bill has plans to take Freddie to dinner when he realizes that he must attend the twins’ first grade open house. Okay, this is more than a time-warp clue–it’s a big, fat continuity glitch. It’s been established that the twins are in second grade this year.
(Speaking of fashion, Buffy’s familiar first-season green suit is another time warp clue.)
Bill gets a chance to see Jody’s nemesis, Sue Jeannette.
He also endures an awkward moment when Sue Jeannette’s mother assumes Freddie is his wife. Actually, if Freddie wasn’t married, she’d make good wife material for Bill–better than those kid-hating bimbos he sometimes brings home.
Amid the ugliest decor imaginable, Freddie opens up about her mid-life crisis and her loneliness in her marriage to her busy, go-getter husband. She asks Bill if he has ever had to cope with regrets.
When he returns to his apartment, Bill finds an alarmed French. It’s after 2 a.m., and Cissy hasn’t returned from babysitting.
The officer picked Cissy up for violating curfew. (Does anyone know if New York City really had a curfew for teens in the 1960s? I tried to research it but couldn’t find any answers.)
Cissy explains that the couple she was sitting for arrived home late and made no effort to help her get home. What jerks!
The next night he does let her do some babysitting, though–he hires her to entertain Buffy and Jody while he has dinner with Freddie and her husband.
Freddie’s husband, Boring McStuffypants, arrives in time to see his wife playing happily with the kids.
Well, Freddie’s problem is solved, which is nice I guess, considering that we hardly know her and don’t have any real reason to care about her.
(It looks like she’s reading them Whitman Tell-a-Tale books. That makes sense, since Whitman published Family Affair books, coloring books, paper dolls, and more.)
I’d love to know why this episode, which was obviously filmed earlier, didn’t air until the second season.
Freddie: Diane Brewster. Greg: Willard Sage. Ruth: Barbara Collentine. Sue Jeannette: Susan Benjamin.
As I watched this episode, my daughter said, “That lady looks familiar–like she was Beaver’s teacher or something.” Kid’s got a good eye. Brewster was indeed Miss Canfield on Leave It to Beaver. She also appeared in the film The Young Philadelphians, in which Brian Keith (and John Williams) had roles. She was the murdered wife on The Fugitive and appeared in many TV westerns. This appearance on Family Affair was her last acting job. She died in 1991.
Sage had film roles in The Tender Trap and That Touch of Mink.
Susan Benjamin had a regular role on a short-lived Jerry Van Dyke comedy called Accidental Family. Like this episode, that show aired during the 1967-68 TV season.
Harris often appeared on The Big Valley as the sheriff.
“Guys got different ways of goin’ and gettin’.”–Bill, in reaction to Freddie’s surprise that such a laid-back guy had built a career as a go-getting engineer.
We get lots of Terre Haute references, including a reference to the kids’ parents. Jody’s turtle gets a shout-out.