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Series / Family Affair

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Family Affair was a 1966–71 CBS Dom Com about three children named Buffy, Jody, and Cissy who, having lost their parents, went to live with their bachelor uncle Bill Davis (Brian Keith) and his British butler/manservant Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot) in a swanky Manhattan apartment.

Today, the show is mostly remembered for both the network and creator-producer Don Fedderson insisting that the character of Buffy should remain a young, prepubescent child, even as her actress Anissa Jones entered puberty and got closer and closer to high school.

A revival of the series, starring Gary Cole and Tim Curry, aired on The WB during the 2002 season.


This series provides examples of:

  • Candy Striper: The episode The Candy Striper sees 15-year old Cissy wishing to join her friend Sharon as a Candy Striper at the local hospital. The minimum age for volunteers is 16, so Cissy needs her Uncle Bill to meet with the hospital administrator to give permission for her to work. Cissy nearly causes an incident when she brings an old woman a glass of water before surgery, but she makes up for her earlier misstep when she helps a pregnant woman on the maternity ward deliver a baby.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Aunt Fran. In the pilot, she coaches Buffy as to what to say to Bill, and she points out in front of Bill, that his penthouse has plenty of room to house a child. In a later episode, she decides she wants Buffy back with her and thus attempts to manipulate Buffy, again.
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  • Nephewism: Part of the show's premise; Buffy, Jody and Cissy move in with their uncle after losing their parents in a car crash.
  • Plot Allergy: In the episode "The Award," Jody and Buffy start to constantly itch, and Uncle Bill worries that they've developed a psychosomatic allergy because he's been overly strict with them. But actually they're allergic to the modeling clay they've been secretly using to make a "Best Uncle Award" sculpture for Bill.
  • Spiritual Successor: Family Affair has several elements in common with the earlier show Bachelor Father. Both involve a successful, footloose bachelor with a foreign manservant becoming responsible for his sibling's orphaned offspring.
  • Very Special Episode: "Christmas Came a Little Early", which sees the family holding an early Christmas for a terminally ill classmate of Jody's.
  • Written-In Absence / Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When Sebastion Cabot became ill and had to miss part of the first season, Mr. French was said to be off accompanying the Queen on a tour of the Commonwealth. His brother, Niles French (John Williams), took over the household duties in his stead.

The 2002 revival series provides examples of:

  • Darker and Edgier: Sasha Pieterse's version of Buffy responds to Mr French's dismissal of her love for her doll as a friend by threateningly saying "You're beginning to ANNOY Mrs. Beasley!"