Family Affair (TV Series 1966–1971) Poster

(1966–1971)

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Sweet, warm and wonderful!
callie-513 December 2000
I've been watching this show all my life, whenever it was on, and it never fails to move me. A good basic story-line, great actors and good scripts made it fun to watch. Brian Keith as Uncle Bill Davis, a confirmed bachelor, suddenly has his life changed when he learns that he is given custody of his 2 nieces and nephew when their parents die in a car crash. Anissa Jones as Buffy is the first to appear in episode 1 and it is so good to watch Sebatian Cabot as Mr. French, Uncle Bill's butler, valet and housekeeper, trying to adjust to this shy, sullen little girl who won't come out of her shell. Episode 2 introduces Buffy's twin brother, Jody,played beautifully by Johnny Whitaker and their older sister, Cissy,played by Kathy Garver. With the three children at last reunited, life begins anew for Uncle Bill and Mr. French as they learn how to deal with children and the children learn how to deal with them. This show started at a time when family television was still on the airwaves and people enjoyed seeing a show that had 'family values". But by 1971, when it was cancelled, people started turning to more "realistic" and irreverent television shows and it was harder for a "family values" program like this to be successful. But there are still re-runs and you can get a look at a different time, a different era and a different kind of family. Well, worth a watch!
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9/10
Heartbreaking Buffy
moonspinner5512 March 2001
Brian Keith proved to be so good working with little kids: he is warm and paternal, tough but never rigid, always bemused by their antics and reassuring everyone with his calming smile when their spirits were down. When Buffy makes friends with some kids from the bad section of town, Uncle Bill buys her hand-me-downs to wear so she'll fit in (and even tags along and makes friends with a parent, Jackie Coogan). Sebastian Cabot made the perfect valet; he too is charmed by these kids and pretends to be surly even though the idea of having a real family suits him and somehow appeals to him. Kathy Garver is a gregarious big sister and Johnny Whitaker a loyal, dependable brother who rarely got mischievous (he's very grounded and sometimes gravely serious). As for Anissa Jones as Buffy, she didn't seem to be just reading lines that an adult wrote for her, she really WAS Buffy. When her doll gets lost, or when she loses her spot in the Scout Troop, or when the Mod Maidens hurt her feelings (in the terrific episode "The Joiners"), Jones works the most tender of childhood emotions in a way that is neither flashy nor incredible. She was a very subtle little actress with a beaming smile that could appear out of nowhere.
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Family Affair on DVD
mcade25 July 2005
This show I grew up with and would love to see again. It was about a different time when children were much more naive and not nearly as jaded as they are today.

It taught family values and showed how tragedy (death of the siblings parents in a car accident) brings people together. The show did have moments of being cheesy but I would much rather see that then some of the current garbage being forced on everyone on network television. Anissa Jones, playing Buffy, specifically in the first episode, is the most underrated child actress of her time. She is so natural.

I guess what really bothers me is that whenever you turn on the television today, all you are forced to see are these reality shows with the dog eat dog mentality. Everyone will stomp on everyone else to get what they want no matter what the cost. It seems that a show like The Simple Life (Paris Hilton) or The Surreal Life with C list celebrities gets released on DVD five minutes after it comes out but these truly classic shows, like Family Affair; Alice and One Day At a Time are never shown and haven't been seen for years.

TV Land shows Leave it to Beaver all the time, why not change the lineup and show Family Affair; Alice & One Day at a Time so people can see something that hasn't been on for years?
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A show we need more of.
snuggybearkids30 September 2004
With the state of television the way it is in this new millennium, now several years old, there is definitely a need big time for a show like this. Family, caring, kindness and love are terms that describe this show in all the best ways. The cast was perfect and Kathy Garver, as Sissy, gave a teen sweetness with just

enough cool. I wish I would have had a sister like her.

I hope the studio that has the rights to this show releases the DVD soon. And, I hope that someday, Hollywood and the Industry begins to put on more shows

like this. I not only hope this for the future of television, but with the patients running the asylum, we need to retake positive and fun television. Enough of the explicit sex, promotions of bad behavior and value bashing. I'm glad I don't ever listen to critics who these days despise anything with value, sweetness and fun. All they do is look to perpetuate the negative. It proves the statement, "those that can't do, teach and those that can't teach (or do anything), criticize." Need I say more?
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8/10
A Good Family Show With Moral Values
emenon8 September 2006
This was a family favorite, when I was a child growing up. Uncle Bill played by Brian Keith took in a nephew and two nieces to raise in his New York Penthouse Apartment. However he was a great guardian parent figure as well as Mr. French played by Sebastian Cabot. Kathy Garver, who played Cissy a teenager was a bit wayward. She was made to take responsibility to Buffy and Jodie. Sometimes she neglected her duties. I really like this show better than The Brady Bunch & Partridge Family. Into the 1970's family values changed. Kids wearing long hair, bell bottom jeans and the extreme clothing. I hated to see that happened. I wish we had more shows like Family Affair. I'm very sorry Anissa Jones died of a drug overdose. It's a sad situation to see such a young person end their life. That's what I meant about the change of values. America is in desperate need of change.
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9/10
Good Wholesome Values and Morals...Remembering the classic "Family Affair" television series on its 50th anniversary
raysond15 September 2016
The television series "Family Affair" was the created brainchild of powerhouse producers Don Fedderson and Edmund L. Hartmann(who also served as executive producers of this series) who were also known for "My Three Sons",and "The Millionaire" television series along with producers Fred Henry, Edmund Beloin and Henry Garson that made "Family Affair" one of the most heartwarming comedy-drama series of the mid- 1960's. The series was one of CBS' most popular shows spanning five seasons and producing 138 episodes in color that premiered on CBS' Monday night prime-time schedule on September 12,1966 where it preceded "The Andy Griffith Show" and went opposite "Peyton Place",and "The Danny Thomas Comedy Hour". During its first three seasons the series aired on Monday nights at the 9:30 eastern/8:30 central time slot from 1966 to 1969. By the show's fourth season CBS moved the series from Monday nights to Thursday nights in an earlier time slot for its final two seasons(1969-1971) at the 7:30 eastern/6:30 central time slot until its cancellation on March 4,1971. "Family Affair" became so successful that CBS put the series on its daytime lineup schedule also known as "The Family Affair Morning Show" aka "The Brian Keith Show" which consisted of repeated episodes from various seasons airing from September 7,1970 until January 12,1973. Repeated episodes from the best of the series aired from March 11,1971 until September 10,1971.

"Family Affair" basically was a good series that had a "Disney" type theme to it that had a basic story-line, great actors, and impressive guest stars that made it not only fun to watch but made it one of the most popular heartwarming sitcoms of its era. The series chronicles the trials of a successful civil engineer and bachelor Bill Davis(Brian Keith)who life has suddenly changed when he learns that he is given custody of his brother's orphaned children in his luxury Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City. Davis' English Butler and counterpart Giles French(Sebastian Cabot) also had adjustments to make as well as he became the guardian and the second parent of caring for teenage daughter Cissy(Kathy Garver),and his brother's 6-year-old twins Jody(Johnny Whitaker),and Buffy(Anissa Jones) not to mention Buffy's treasure possession Mrs. Beasley her doll that was the heart of the show. This was a series that had basic "family values" and "morals" that was still on the airwaves that were successful during that era. Out of all the actors associated with the series only actors Brian Keith, Kathy Garver, Anissa Jones and Johnny Whitaker were the only cast members that stayed with the series throughout its entire run. Sebastian Cabot appeared in 130 episodes of the series. When Sebastian Cabot left the series for medical reasons, his brother Nigel French(John Williams) was introduced for nine episodes in 1967. In the show's final season Nancy Walker was added as a part-time housekeeper Mrs. Turner for six episodes for the 1970-1971 season.

Creators Don Fedderson along with Edmund L. Hartmann were writers for all 138 episodes of the series. Other outstanding writers that contribute were Henry Garson, Edmund Beloin, Austin and Irma Kalish, Elroy Schwartz, George Tibbles, Seaman Jacobs, Peggy Chantler Dick, Fred Fox, Joesph Hoffman, Phil Davis, and Phil Leslie among others. Charles Barton directed 106 episodes of the series while William D. Russell directed 31 episodes of the series. James Sheldon directed one episode. Notable guest stars consisted of child actors Eve Plumb, Erin Moran, Veronica Cartwright, Butch Patrick, Kym Karath and Pamelyn Ferdin. Other guest stars were June Lockhart, Robert Reed, Ida Lupino, Jamie Farr, Jackie Coogan, Joan Blondell, Sterling Holloway, James Hong, Brian Donlevy, Martha Hyer, Ann Sothern, Doris Singleton, Vic Tayback, Dana Andrews, Paul Fix and Lee Meriwether among the many who made guest appearances on the show.

As for some of the best episodes of "Family Affair" there were several that were very good if not downright dramatic with a hint of comedy. But I start with the show's pilot episode "Buffy" from Season 1. Other great episodes included "The Joiners"(Season 5,Episode 20), "The Substitute Teacher"(Season 3,Episode 5),"A Member of the Family"(Season 2,Episode 23), "Christmas Came a Little Early"(Season 3,Episode 7), "A Matter of Tonsils"(Season 2,Episode 22), "Oliver"(Season 3, Episode 6), "Mrs. Beasley,Where Are You?(Season 1, Episode 7), "Mr. French's Holiday" (Season 2,Episode 27), "Fat,Fat,The Water Rat"(Season 2, Episode 7),and "The Baby Sitters"(Season 2, Episode 29),and the two-part episode "Lost in Spain"(Season 3, Episodes 18 and 19) to name a few. During its five season run "Family Affair" was nominated for eight Prime-Time Emmys between 1967-1969 for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series,Outstanding Directorial Achievement and Outstanding Writing Achievement. Nominated in 1971 for the Golden Globe for Outstanding Television Series and nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Comedic Role(Brian Keith).

When the series was abruptly canceled in the Spring of 1971 after five seasons and 138 episodes,audiences started turning to more "realistic" and irreverent television shows that were more of a urban and gritter appeal and by that time it was "harder" to find a wholesome family oriented program that was not only family friendly but successful and "Family Affair" exceeding all expectations as a television series. The 2002 remake of this was not successful nor did it do right to the original show. Happy 50th anniversary.
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9/10
Relaxing to watch, funny, warm and tender
TheLittleSongbird12 March 2011
I love this show. The show looks nice and cosy which alone made it relaxing to watch, and the theme tune is memorable and delightful. Family Affair also treats us to story lines that are written with taste and flair with a lot and heart, and the writing is also very funny(not always hilarious mind) with some poignant parts too particularly with Buffy.

The acting is marvellous, Brian Keith is great as Uncle Bill with a great sense of comic timing and a warm presence too. Kathy Garver shows herself as a promising young actress as Cissy and Johnny Wittaker is a cute Jody. The real stars though are Anissa Jones who is so heartfelt as Buffy and Sebastian Cabot whose Mr French is just brilliant.

Some might say Family Affair is quite syrupy or sugar coated. Maybe so, but I thought it was a great show and very warm and entertaining. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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A great but almost-forgotten classic
juliafwilliams10 January 2004
There was and still is an endearing quality about this show. You had an engineer who was suddenly thrust into the role of a bachelor father, supported by his gentleman's gentleman.

Note: When Sebastian Cabot was written off the show for a few episodes, John Williams stepped in and did an equally credible job of playing Mr. French's brother.

Note 2: It should be noted that two up-and-coming child performers made appearances on this show, Erin Moran and Eve Plumb, and nothing more need be said on the latter.
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10/10
Excellent
tarhls22 July 2006
I'm watching the first season DVDs right now and it just makes me happy to watch shows like Family Affair. They come from the time that TV was good, rather than today's crap. I'll watch old TV shows over new ones any day. Thank you for putting Family Affair out on DVD ... and I'm really excited that season 1 of Hazel will be available in August. Give me the old shows rather than the reality stuff. I love the relationship between Uncle Bill, Mr. French and the kids. And Buffy & Jody just tug at my heart when they say "Uncle Bill". Man I love this show ... always have but it hasn't been on TV for several years so now I can watch it whenever I want.
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7/10
Cute family series notable mainly for the butler and the doll
roghache15 May 2006
This is an engaging little series that I grew up with, hearkening back to a more innocent age of cute family programming. It revolves around a bachelor engineer, Bill Davis, who has been living a carefree playboy life in his Fifth Avenue apartment. His household needs are tended to by his very efficient English butler, Giles French. Suddenly Bill's life is turned upside down when he inherits three young relatives, who have been orphaned as the result of a car accident. Both Uncle Bill and Mr. French must accustom themselves to this trio of newcomers, pretty 15 year old Cissy and her adorable but challenging younger twin siblings, Buffy and Jodie.

Brian Keith is wonderful as Uncle Bill, the playboy uncle turned surrogate father. The younger stars are also perfect in their roles, especially little Anissa Jones who plays Buffy. Sebastian Cabot is the real jewel of the series in his brilliant portrayal of the butler, Mr. French, who always appears so very proper and gruff but is actually quite charmed by these three kids.

Various amusing and touching scenarios would unfold weekly as the two adults and their three charges grew accustomed to life together. For me, the show was notable (apart from the butler) for Mrs. Beasley, Buffy's bespectacled granny doll. She was a prominent feature in most episodes, always getting lost or whatever, and naturally Buffy was VERY attached to her. All in all, it was a sweet, heartwarming show from nostalgic years of yore when kids were, happily, much less sophisticated than they are today. Pity there aren't more such family programs these days and a demand for them.
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8/10
I found it pleasant at the time
RealLiveClaude25 January 2016
I recall this sympathetic comedy in the 60s. Was played in well-dubbed French (from France) and named appropriately "Dear Uncle Bill"...

Thought "Uncle Bill" (the late Brian Keith) was the father of the three children he hosted, however, he was quite a great foster dad (the 3 children, Jody, Buffy and Cissy were orphaned) and his faithful valet and bodyguard, Mr.Giles (the late great Sebastian Cabot, who voiced Bagherra in Disney's animated Jungle Book) always watched the children by giving useful advice. However, Bill is a busy man and he tries desperately to get a new girlfriend though he must adapt to his new family life, in downtown New York...

It was well done for its times. If today, some of the context (the 60s mostly) seems out of time, the stories and the themes involved do not change.

In the French version, names were changed: Buffy became "Fanfan", Jody was "Jacky", Cissy was "Cecile" and Mr.Giles went into the more sympathetic name of "Mr.Felix"...

Still have this Frank DeVol's tune in my head... Watch it for old times sake...
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8/10
Cute Kids Make the Show a Hit
hfan7716 August 2010
Fresh off of six seasons of the single parent sitcom My Three Sons, producer Don Fedderson came up with another sitcom about a single parent, Family Affair. I remember the show well as bachelor Bill Davis, played wonderfully by Brian Keith became a father to three young orphans, Cissy and twins Buffy and Jody. The successful engineer and the kids lived in a New York high rise along with the butler Mr. French, played with dignity by Sebastian Cabot. French was reluctant to looking after children but over the show's five year run, he adjusted so well. He often looked after them when Uncle Bill was away on business.

What made the show a hit was the chemistry between Anissa Jones as Buffy and Johnny Whittaker as Jody. They got along so well and they were to of the cutest sitcom kids of the mid to late 60s. There was also Kathy Garver as older sister Cissy, who was like a mother to the two youngsters. Also part of the cast, though inanimate was Buffy's doll, Mrs. Beasley. The doll became a big seller throughout the show's five year run and even when it went into syndicated reruns.

The one episode I remember was the one where Whittaker sang the song "Every Little Boy Can Be President." Another one I remember focused on Jody having an invisible bear named Arthur.

It's a shame that the show hasn't been seen on any cable channel in the last few years, it's a show that appeals to the entire family. In the age of sitcoms with objectionable language, Family Affair is a throwback to the days of family friendly entertainment. Definitely a Family Affair.
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10/10
My son looks like a character from this show!
rachelflowers23 June 2015
My son is 6 years old and every since he was 5 and started wearing his hair curly, we get stopped at stores, church or restaurants for people to say to us, "Oh my goodness, he looks just like the little boy from that of TV show 'Family Affair". SO FUNNY! My husband and I are both in our 30's, so we do not remember the show but we looked it up and our mouths DROPPED! So now when people ask, we know what they are talking about. We will probably start buying some of these old shows if we can find them because these are really good shows! I wish the would redo these shows so we can show our kids. There are so many shows (even commercials) that we don't like them to watch. The cute, innocent and respecting kids on these TV shows truly MADE TV. And the little boy is so cute!
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So True to Life!
BumpyRide14 April 2005
I never liked this show, and I never liked Mr. French. What kind of a name is that anyway, or perhaps it's his nickname? The only thing I really remember liking about this show were those big double doors with those huge door knobs! I didn't like Buffy, Jody or "Sissy." Jody was much more of a sissy than Sissy was! I know if they had a mud fight teaming Buffy against Cindy Brady that Buffy would be on the mats crying out for mercy. Even Kitty Carry All could whip Mrs. Beasley's butt any day of the week. Did Uncle Bill ever do anything besides walk around the apartment in a gray flannel suit? And after all these years I'm still trying to figure out who had the affair?!
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Wrong Names
bigdave547216 August 2012
I don't know who is responsible for putting the names on IMDb, but the names of the characters, the three Davis children are wrong. At no time in the course of the series are the children known as other than Cissy Davis, Jody Davis, and Buffy Davis. Whoever put their names on IMDb as Patterson-Davis is quite ignorant, or some sort of smart alec. These are not members of the British Royal Family, they are 1960's era middle Americans from TerreHaute, Indiana, and their surname is the name of their father, the late brother of Bill Davis. The name "Patterson" was the name of their maternal grandfather who showed up in one episode, but we don't even know if the birth name of the late mother of the children was Patterson. For all we know from information given in the series, Mr. Patterson could have been a step-father. What we do know is that from time to time, throughout the series, the names of the children are given, and their names are Buffy Davis, Jody Davis, and Cissy Davis.
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5/10
So Syrupy It Hurts Your Teeth
eprobldg462310 May 2007
When I was watching this it was the 1960's. My family life was a horrendous nightmare and the family was broke and times were desperate. I started having horrific problems with my father, who started hating me at a pretty young age, and my insane mother, who we all had to dodge for fear of dying young. I was quite the basket case from all this unwanted stimuli.

So we watch this show weekly and it is such a paradise: Everyone has nice clothes, they live in a wonderful apartment, there is always food, and everyone gets along so well it makes you want to puke.

I remember thinking, "Is this what life is outside of this scary household?" I didn't find out till I was much older that Family Affair wasn't the norm, but the household I grew up in thankfully wasn't either.

You'd know a really mushy "heartfelt" part of the show was going to be coming up because this maudlin violin music would start playing. Uncle Bill and Mr. French never touched the kids but never hit them either - I thought this was a good trade off. But oh, the corn! All those "feelings"! It would make you want to puke now and then.
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Has Not Withstood the Test of Time
dgordon-121 February 2002
I loved this show when it was on reruns in the early '70s. Now, when I see it again, I wondered what I ever saw in this show. The whole show seems to revolve around Buffy & Jody, with Brian Keith & other adult family members fawning over them for 30 minutes. Also the fact that they kept the characters of Buffy & Jody the exact same throughout it's run was a real joke. I don't know about you, but a 10 or 12 year old acting the same as a 5 year old is really warped. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the old shows from the '60s through to the early '90s, and actually prefer them to the junk that's on the tube today. I just draw the line with this one and other shows like "Gilligan's Island", "Petticoat Junction", and the "Beverly Hillbillies". Give me "Bewitched" or "The Partridge Family" anytime!
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A bowl of sand and syrup.
Douglas_Holmes29 June 2002
I remember watching this in the mid-1960s; today I don't know why I bothered. A syrupy sweet family show that grates on my nerves now, I personally think that Sebastian Cabot's character of Mr. Giles French was the only truly great thing about it.

People who think that everything about TV nowadays is indeed a "vast wasteland" compared to the "good old days" of television should sit down and watch this tripe. Proof positive that worthless television was available even then to the undiscerning.
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why did they ever make this show? that's what I want to know. ick.
marymorrissey12 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Always hated this show the kids were so creepily cuuuuuute with their irritating names the 2 little ones Buffy and muffy always irritatingly making it 3 syllables instead of 2 calling out "uncle Bee-ulll" and "mr freyainchhuh", Brian Keith acting like he was on downers. The older girl worked my nerves too. Mr. Frieanchhe not exactly eye candy was he. But it wasn't just that that made him annoying. As with all the others each detail was another component of unwanted, that's-not-entertainment shortcomings of every facet of the production including (no pun intended) that rather gauche, bejeweled yet ironically lackluster opening credit sequ- ....well it could hardly be called a "sequence" ... 'that opening credit listing on top of swirly jewelry "set up"' is I would venture to suggest how it might best described. It recalls a Lucy show credit design (not her best!) that Lucy show design accompanied by an abysmal selection of champagne music. What in the world was that musical number meant to evoke? The "class" of Mr. French? The deluxe apartment in the sky? Period sets and costumes might give it visual interest to today's viewers; see such things in other shows aplenty. Basically "Family Affair" stimulated whatever little in the way of homicidal personality traits I possess. Not just for the people on screen, but for everyone involved in the manufacture of this prime time travesty.

Better for me was "Courtship of Eddy's Father" if you want this theme .But then who could resist that woman from "Flower Drum Song" week after week after week after week after week? "Family Affair", did I mention I hated the title? I will try to think of a few other shows I found as annoying. This has to be one of the ickiest TV series.
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The Attractive Catherine "Cissy" Davis.
bhrowe2116 July 2002
This Character is a native of Terre Haute, Indiana was born on January 5, 1951. Her private childhood was all peaches and cream being as the daughter/first child of Bob & Mary Patterson. In 1960, She founded her love of the twin children named Buffy & Jody. In 1965, A Tragic Moment in the Patterson Family, Bob & Mary Patterson were driving to the drug store and suddenly, they hit at the intersection of the unknown streets and making her and the twins can go to 3 different houses. A year later, They're all together again in New York, New York at their Uncle's Penthouse Apartment. Throughout the course of the program, She's a busy girl like her mother (Mary), wearing a closet full of clothes and dresses to look attractive herself and her hair made an few changes from-time-to-time.
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Even More Sugary Than the Brady Bunch
Brian Washington20 September 2003
This show had to be one of the most sickeningly sweet shows to ever come on television. The plot was simple, a confirmed bachelor and his butler suddenly have their lives turned upside down when the bachelor's nephew and two nieces move in with him. The bachelor immediately turns into a huge teddy bear and lots of love is thrown around. When I was younger I used to look this show on a regular basis, but as I grew older the plot was so unbelievable and so syrupy that I couldn't stand it. At least when they did the remake, they tried to make the kids at least a little bit more believable.
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No Sex, No Violence, No That.
Ben_Rowe17 June 2003
Although the moral values of the show. There's no sign of sex, lust, pornography, violence nor murder. The Character Cissy Davis had never shown her diary nor her lingerie nor a bikini on camera and that might cause censors go insane. Since CBS-TV is the responsible network for decent & proper values. After 1971, Cissy had to move Columbia University and evolved into the Women's Liberation Movement and in 1976, She graduated from Columbia and then she's married to Gregg Bartlett (her longtime boyfriend) at New York's Central Park.
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Hollywood "Families".
eppa9615 July 2005
This show was entertaining in its day, but was typical of the warped writers of TV-land who didn't know how to show a mature intelligent married couple. Just about every sitcom show was about a single-parent family after "Father Knows Best" and "Leave It To Beaver" went off the air.(but heavens, no, it can't be divorce or abandonment!). Ah, those were simpler times. Even when "All In The Family" came along, they had to make one partner a total ditsy rather than show an intelligent loving couple.

Didn't anyone wonder about the "Confirmed bachelor" and his prissy "live-in butler"? Whereabouts in New York did they live- close to the Village? Hmmm.
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5/10
"Uncle Beeel !"......
Matthew_Capitano2 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
1960s 'dramedy'.

A sneaky relative dumps three unruly rug-rats on the New York City doorstep of billionaire Bill Davis. Teen girl Cissy, red-headed step-child Jody, and annoying little girl Buffy will force 'Uncle Bill' to curtail his snuggling sessions with his 'man-servant', Giles French.

A goofy show to say the least, five years after this series concluded, Anissa Jones (Buffy) over-dosed and died with more different kinds of narcotics in her system than the coroner had ever seen.

The eccentric sitcom featured a trippy opening of kaleidoscopic credits and front doors on the apartment which had humongous knockers.... much bigger than Cissy's.
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