Family Affair: The Complete Series

"Weak"

Family Affair: The Complete Series Review


If the 1966-'71 sitcom Family Affair is remembered at all these days, it's for the jaunty theme music and for Mrs. Beasley, a doll that had at least as much personality and a longer shelf life than most of the cast. Hauled out of the video vault and dusted off for a DVD box set, it's TV to nap by.

The show, sort of an all-white Diff'rent Strokes, finds successful New York engineer Bill Davis (Brian Keith) volunteering to adopt the three orphaned children of his suddenly deceased sister. Teenage Sissy (Kathy Garver) and adorable young twins Buffy (Anissa Jones) and Jody (Johnny Whitaker) arrive from Terre Haute, Indiana and quickly settle in at Uncle Bill's sprawling apartment, a lovely home managed by his "gentlemen's gentleman" (what we would call a butler), Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot).

The fun, such as it is, mainly revolves around the twins getting into minor mischief and frustrating Mr. French's attempts to run his household like a stately English manor. Uncle Bill comes and goes saying little and mumbling when he does, sometimes delivering little homilies to explain life lessons to the young ones. Everyone learns patience and cooperation, and we all doze off until the next episode. To be frank, the only really entertaining part of all this is Johnny Whitaker's speech impediment, which renders "Uncle Bill" as "Unco Beo" and "Mr. French" as "Mistuh Fwench." Ha.

As the years go by, Buffy and Jody grow up and become increasingly less adorable, while Sissy drifts through her teenage years like a young Jackie Kennedy, painstakingly matching her pillbox hats with her shoes and completely ignoring the groovy social revolution of the '60s which must be happening on the sidewalk right outside Uncle Bill's apartment. She is such a square.

And as for Mrs. Beasley: Buffy's doll, a little old lady with glasses, is a fixture on the show. It figures into several episodes (Mrs. Beasley gets lost, etc.) and became a top seller in real life for several years, even after the show went off the air. In the end, Mrs. B. was more successful that Anissa Jones herself, who, as child stars sometimes do, died of a drug overdose at the age of 18, putting a sad coda on the long but unmemorable run of the show, a sitcom so sleepy that even the laugh track seems to be on Ambien.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: William D. Russell

Producer: Don Fedderson

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.