Welcome to Family Affair Friday–or, as I should probably call it, Family Affair at Whatever Point During the Weekend That I Have Time to Complete It. That’s a little unwieldy, though. I do promise that I will try to avoid being so late with future installments.
Written by: Joseph Hoffman. Directed by: William D. Russell.
Our episode opens at the Davis breakfast table, as Bill tells French about his plans for the upcoming week–he’s taking a vacation from work to spend time doing fun stuff with the kids. They’re on vacation from school, apparently. Didn’t they just have spring break a few episodes ago?
Cissy quickly bails on Bill’s Week o’ Fun–she’s going to spend the week with a friend on Long Island. The twins, though, are excited about attending the rodeo.
French declines to join them; watching someone ride a bull gives him “a touch of vertigo and a wave of sympathy.” I always enjoy a great French line.
Bill takes the kids backstage after the show to introduce them to his friend.
French is less thrilled to welcome this house guest, especially when Gabe calls him “Jeeves.”
He doesn’t care for Gabe’s culinary ventures either.
The kids love him, though, especially when he gives them a “bucking bronc” experience in the living room.
Unfortunately, Gabe begins to monopolize the kids’ time. They spend the entire next day at the rodeo with him, and Gabe asks Bill if they can stay for the evening show, as well. Neither Gabe nor the kids know that Bill had planned to take the twins to a performance of Hansel and Gretel.
(Another Good Frenchism: “The twins will enjoy Hansel and Gretel. There’s a great deal of violence in it.”)
Bill is so bummed that he returns to the office the next day, which provides our first Ted Gaynor sighting in quite a while.
Bill is determined that he and the kids will follow through with the next day’s activity–a helicopter ride over Manhattan.
Uncle Bill swallows disappointment about yet another change in plans. Fortunately, French takes the bull by the horns, so to speak–he simply explains the situation to Gabe. Straightforward communication? What a rarity on a sit com!
Gabe tries to help by telling the twins an outlandish story about Uncle Bill fighting a grizzly bear.
After talking to Gabe, Bill explains to the kids that Gabe exaggerated the story in order to make Bill seem like more a hero in the kids’ eyes.
The twins are amazed that Uncle Bill felt that Gabe was replacing him in their affections. “We like Uncle Gabe. We love you,” Buffy explains in a matter-of-fact way.
At episode’s end, Uncle Bill tells French to order three tickets for a rescheduled ride over Manhattan–and four tickets for Hansel and Gretel.
The fourth ticket is for French, who had already expressed a lack of interest in attending the play. This seems a little mean on Bill’s part. At the very least, he should’ve included French in the helicopter ride, too.
Although Gabe gets on my nerves, this is a nice episode. We’ve seen the kids deal with their insecurities about their new family situation–it’s interesting to see that Bill has insecurities, too.
Buffy and Jody are just too cute in their Western garb.
Gabe Nelson: John Agar. Ted Gaynor: John Hubbard.
John Agar jumped into the spotlight when he married Shirley Temple in 1945. His first film was Fort Apache (1948), which starred John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Temple. His marriage to Temple was short-lived, but he went on to appear in many movies, particularly Western and sci-fi films.
When he was young and broke, before he started college, Uncle Bill worked in Montana. He has ridden a buckin’ bronc.
Uncle Bill mentions his brother.
“Well, I can fight a girl bear.”–Buffy, responding to Jody’s assertion that she can’t fight a bear because she’s a girl