Laurie's in love. Danny's in trouble. Shirley's in debt. And Keith is flunking sex education! These are just a few of the hijinks that take place in the celebrated third season of TV's beloved The Partridge Family! Join Academy Award-winner Shirley Jones (Actress in Supporting Role 1960 for Elmer Gantry) and America's original idol, David Cassidy, with Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Dave Madden, and the rest of the talented cast as pop's first family meets a princess, a convict, a biker, and a millionaire while taking on rogue computers, racehorses, crooks, crushes, and even a flash flood! With an all-star guest cast taht includes Ray Bolger, Arte Johnson, Anthony Geary, John Astin, and a very young Jodie Foster, The Partridge Family: The Complete Third Season is your backstage pass to life, love, and laughs with the tuneful, terrific Partridge Family!
An explosion of stripes, pastels, and pure bubblegum pop music, The Partridge Family were more popular than The Brady Bunch when they were both on the air. It's easy to see why; though perhaps best known for launching David Cassidy as a pop idol, The Partridge Family merged infectious melodies with fresh writing and charming, lighthearted performances. In The Complete Third Season, the show is at its peak. The touring of a family band had largely been laid aside; the focus is on domestic life, though every episode features at least one musical number. Dating, school, and family squabbles form the bulk of the plots, but the topical issues of the 1970s crop up again and again: Some of the best episodes grapple with the battle of the sexes, permissive parenting, group therapy, and sex education (which receives a firm endorsement from this family show). Of course, there's also silliness--the family has to dress as chickens when they get hired for a commercial, an escaped convict holds them hostage in their own home--but the stories are consistently well-crafted. Furthermore, the show stands out for its willingness to puncture sentimentality. When Keith Partridge (Cassidy) runs for student body president and nobly asks the students to vote for his more qualified opponent, his younger brother and campaign manager Danny (Danny Bonaduce) disgustedly mutters, "I've molded a loser!"
The show's bedrock appeal lies in Shirley Jones' wholesome foxiness, Cassidy's genuine pop charisma (as well as his willingness to be the butt of a joke), and Bonaduce's caustic preadolescent deadpan. But Susan Dey as oldest sister Laurie became a key player this season, demonstrating the charm and wit that would lead her to further stardom on L.A. Law (she also gets the most spectacular outfits--check out the red plaid jumpsuit she wears in the escaped convict episode!). Guest stars include such classic 1970s support players as Bert Convy, Mary Ann Mobley, and Nancy Walker; future sitcom stars like Gordon Jump (WKRP in Cincinnati) and Charlotte Rae (Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life); and even future movie stars like Jodie Foster, who punches Danny in the eye when he tries to kiss her. The Partridge Family was a winning show, clever, cheerful, and actually funny. Regrettably, there are no audio commentaries or interviews with the cast. --Bret Fetzer