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Uplifting Ideals & Family Fun That Haven't Been Re-"Run Into the Ground",
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This review is from: Family Affair: Season 4 (DVD)
"Family Affair"--like so much of 1960s pop culture--calls us to consider our world not as it is but as it could be. And ultimately that means reconsidering on some level our own potential as well.
That said, it's becoming faddy with reviewers of old TV shows to find fault with their moral base. Some even claim that these shows' idealism is psychologically threatening to children who will be frustrated by their parents' inferiority to perfectionistic paragons like "Uncle Bill" Davis and Mr. French (or June Cleaver or Carol Brady or Cliff Huxtable...). But the real threat in the household is more likely parents who don't communicate with their children about life--and who probably haven't followed a piece of down-to-earth advice from "Family Affair" -- "When you're wrong, admit that you're wrong, and you'll be all right." A parental apology now and then can help point the kids' moral compass (and their expectations of others and themselves) in the right direction even more effectively than a rerun of "Family Affair." And anyway, assuming these idealistic '60s sitcoms are so terrible for kids, the alternative is--what?--"Desperate Housewives"?
But I digress.
If you liked the first three seasons of "Family Affair," you'll enjoy this one, too. The twins continue to deal with their own growing pains and the cultural contrasts presented by a world that doesn't always jive with the ideals Uncle Bill and Mr. French provide (for example, they encounter another one of those kids who gets away with murder in "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?"). And Cissy plows through teenage growing pains of her own (which include the attentions of a charming young man that she quickly falls for--until she learns he's married).
If you're in the mood for some uplifting, heart-warming nostalgia from the 1960s, "Family Affair" is a good bet, in part because it did rather poorly in syndication and wasn't run continuously for the last few decades. (I can usually predict the plot of an episode of "The Brady Bunch" in the first minute or two). I don't really remember most of the plots from "Family Affair" and so there's a certain amount of "newness" about it that you might enjoy, too. It's almost like having a "new" '60s sitcom.
Plus, we finally get an interview with Johnny Whitaker ("Jody"), the alumnus who has done the most to milk his association with the show through public appearances and who has been conspicuously absent from special features in the last three seasonal installments.
My only criticism is that MPI Home Video seems able to find only one color photo of the cast, which it continues to run on the cover of each release. Not a big deal, but odd.