Family Affair Friday(ish): Season Two, Episode 24, “His and Hers,” 2/26/1968

I apologize for my lateness with this installment. October has been a crazy month in my off-line life. I hope to get back on track this week.

Written by: Joseph Hoffman. Directed by: Charles Barton.

When Uncle Bill returns home from work, the twins invite him to a party at their school.

The party is actually an open house, and the twins are excited that their work will be on display.

The party is actually an open house, and the twins are excited that their work will be on display.

A drawing by Buffy and an arithmetic paper by Jody will have featured spots in the exhibition. The twins invite French, too, and both men decide to forgo the opening of a Van Gogh exhibit to attend the school event. (French says he places more value on an “original Buffy” than on a Van Gogh–awww.)

At school, Buffy explains that her picture shows people waiting for a "moon plane" to take off.

At school, Buffy explains that her picture shows people waiting for a “moon plane” to take off.

“Someday, flying to the moon will be as easy flying to Chicago,” Bill observes. He’s humoring her, but as a child, I really did expect that we’d be vacationing on the moon by now.

On the way to see Jody’s math paper, the Davis family runs into two of the twin’s friends.

They're another set of twins, apparently.

Jill and Timmy are another set of twins, apparently.

Their mother takes one look at Uncle Bill and suggests he join her for coffee.

Film noir actress Coleen Gray plays the mother, Margaret Williams. If I didn't know it was her, though, I never would have recognized her.

Film noir actress Coleen Gray plays the mother, Margaret Williams. If I didn’t know it was her, though, I wouldn’t have recognized her in “PTA mom” mode.

Bill and Margaret discover they’ve been living parallel lives–she has a 16-year-old daughter as well as the twins, and she’s raising her children as a single parent after losing her husband.

Margaret seems a little desperate to end her single parent status.

With apologies to Young MC, I get the feeling that Margaret’s on a mission and she’s wishin’ Bill would cure her lonely condition. Within moments of their meeting, she’s making remarks like, “Six children between us–how scary!” Down, girl.

Later, Buffy and Jody are delighted to hear that Bill and Margaret are going out to dinner together.

Like Margaret, they're already thinking about marriage and how great it would be to have Jill and Timmy as siblings.

Like Margaret, they’re already thinking about marriage. They love the idea of having Jill and Timmy as siblings.

The next morning, they grill Bill about how the date went.

"Did you hug and kiss like they do on TV?" Jody asks.

“Did you hug and kiss like they do on TV?” Jody asks.

Cissy explains that the twins are rooting for Bill to marry Margaret. Buffy asks if Jill can sleep over Saturday night, and Bill says it might be nice for all the Williams children to spend the weekend since he and Margaret are going sailing Sunday. (I don’t quite follow his thinking here.)

The mention of marriage provokes the first of several funny French faces in this episode.

The prospect of three young houseguests provokes the first of several funny French faces in this episode.

When the Williams children arrive, things get off to a great start.

Cissy is quickly sharing gossip and clothes with her counterpart, Vicky.

Cissy is quickly sharing gossip and clothes with her counterpart, Vicky.

(A quick digression: Have you ever noticed on shows like this that when teens refer to friends at school, the friends always have unlikely, antiquated names such as “Edna” and “Felix”?)

Jody, excited to have another boy around the house, shows off is Willie-Mays-signed baseball lets Timmy use his catcher's mitt.

Jody, excited to have another boy around the house, shows off his Willie-Mays-signed baseball and lets Timmy use his catcher’s mitt.

Buffy introduces Jill to Mrs. Beasley and assures Jill that the doll likes her.

The first sign of trouble appears on the horizon that evening, as Cissy and Vicky prepare for a double date. Cissy has asked her beau to provide an escort for Vicky.

When the boys arrive, Cissy is still getting ready, so Vicky heads out to the living room to meet them.

When the boys arrive, Cissy is still getting ready, so Vicky heads out to the living room to meet them.

Uh-oh.

Sure enough, Cissy's date takes an instant liking to Vicky.

Sure enough, Cissy’s date takes an instant liking to Vicky.

VTS_01_8.VOB_000141743

Cissy is not especially pleased.

The next day, Timmy bullies Jody into violating house rules by playing catch in the living room.

Who didn't see this coming?

Who didn’t see this coming? (By the way, this vase is a “priceless royal Sevres,” according to French.)

Timmy, who threw the ball, blames the whole incident on Jody. The boys’ ensuing argument turns physical after Timmy shoves Jody. (Their fight is actually more a weird writhing session, with no blows thrown.)

The only way Jill could tick Buffy off this badly is by messing with Mrs. Beasley. But surely should wouldn’t…

Yeah, she goes there.

Oh, yeah. She goes there.

First she tries to change Mrs. Beasley’s clothes, although Buffy says Mrs. Beasley only feels comfortable undressing around her owner. (This is a cute comment, even though it’s not really possible to “undress” Mrs. Beasley.)

Jill responds by asserting that Mrs. Beasley has started talking to her–and expressing a preference for her over Buffy!

Needless to say, the whole family is thrilled to see the Williams kids go.

Needless to say, the whole family is thrilled to see the Williams brats go.

But when the twins ask Cissy how they can discourage Bill from marrying Margaret, she gives them her usual suck-up-your-own-feelings-and-concentrate-on-Uncle-Bill’s-happiness spiel.

Bill doesn't seem especially happy, though. Margaret is telling him how she tries to be a pal to her kids, but they really need a father.

Bill doesn’t seem happy, though. Margaret is telling him how she tries to be a pal to her kids, but they really need a father.

Bill ignores her blatant marriage hint and responds to the parenting fail implicit in her remarks.

“I’m not a pal to my kids…I’m older than them and smarter than them and more responsible than them, so I decide what’s best for them,” he says.

He also makes it clear that he will only marry when he falls in love.

His expression in this scene must make it clear, even to Margaret, that she won't be the lucky lady.

His expression in this scene must make it clear, even to Margaret, that she won’t be the lucky lady.

At home, Bill tells French that marriage is off the table. He’s nervous about how the kids will take the news, though.

They manage to bear up under the strain.

They manage to bear up under the strain.

French, too, is relieved about the bullet they’ve dodged.

"That mass of tiny creatures," he says with a shudder.

“That mass of tiny creatures,” he says with a shudder.

Commentary

Pre-dating The Brady Bunch by more than a year, this episode anticipates the comic situations that could result from a large, blended family (though Family Affair puts a darker and more realistic spin on the conflicts that might arise). Buffy and Jody’s “How do people get married?” inquiries are cute, and I love French’s dismay at the prospect of his kid load doubling.

Guest Cast

Margaret Williams: Coleen Gray. Vicky: Kay Cole. Timmy: Tony Fraser. Jill: Martine Fraser. Allan: Mickey Sholdar. Norman: George Winters.

Red River, Nightmare Alley, and The Killing are among Coleen Gray’s most memorable films. She kept busy with TV appearances from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Tony Fraser would appear twice more on Family Affair. Martine Fraser is surely his sister; they both had very short TV careers.

Kay Cole played Maggie in the original Broadway cast of A Chorus Line.

Mickey Sholdar had a regular role in the 1960s TV series The Farmer’s Daughter

Continuity Notes

Uncle Bill mentions his brother.

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2 thoughts on “Family Affair Friday(ish): Season Two, Episode 24, “His and Hers,” 2/26/1968

  1. Orschel52 says:

    Did the twins swap their intellectual skills all of a sudden: Jody with an A-arithmetic paper on display and Buffy with a drawing?

    Three additional kids staying overnight? What are the sleeping arrangements? This got to be a bit crowded, despite the large size of Bill’s apartment and the fact that Bill’s own bedroom would be available…

    • Amy says:

      That’s a good point about the intellectual shift! Let’s see–I guess the boys could go in Bill’s room, the little girls in Jody’s, and the teens in Cissy’s? It would be very crowded, though. Poor French.

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