Welcome to another installment of Family Affair Friday! Sorry it’s late–I’m blogging from the depths of migraine hell this weekend.
This week’s episode is an important one in the Family Affair canon. A good alternate title for it would be “Aunt Fran 2: The Nightmare Continues.”
Written by: Austin and Irma Kalish. Directed by: William D. Russell.
Mr. French and Cissy are out, so Uncle Bill sacrifices a bowling game to stay home with Buffy and Jody.
After he hangs up and begins talking to Buffy, the phone rings again.This time it’s one of his many lady friends, and he uses the expression “stuck with the kids” again.
(Note to Uncle Bill: You can’t really be “stuck with” your own kids. They’re kind of your responsibility.)
Uncle Bill and the twins go on to have a pleasant evening, but Uncle Bill’s words are still worrying Buffy at bedtime. Unfortunately, her insecurities make her easy prey from the evil force that blows in the next day from the mid-west.
Aunt Fran tells Uncle Bill that Uncle Harold’s feelings have changed, and they both want Buffy back. Harold’s gotten a new job, they have a bigger house now, and they’ve hired “the Indiana version of Mr. French.” They’re even willing to take Cissy–isn’t that big of them? And Fran’s sister in Terre Haute will take Jody.
Of course, Uncle Bill wants the kids to stay with him, but Fran the Manipulator starts him doubting whether that’s what’s best for them. Everyday, he admits, people tell him how much better off kids are with a mother. (He must have some really rude friends.) Finally, he decides to leave it up to the kids.
Fran’s quick to work her magic on them, too.
She treats Buffy and Cissy to an afternoon of shopping, forbidden desserts, and mind games, convincing them that Uncle Bill would be happier without them.
The kids reluctantly agree, and Uncle Bill tries to conceal his heartbreak at their decision.
(Note to Uncle Bill: You can often gauge kids’ attitudes through their demeanor as well as their words. If they say they want to return to Indiana, but they’re wearing expressions like those below, you may want to question them a little more.)