Excellent episode from the fifth season...a sugary 'kid's show' grows up
Surprisingly mature and thoughtful episode from "Family Affair"'s fifth and final season, wherein nine-year-old Jody attempts to seduce a female classmate with a proposed offer of friendship--but only because she is in possession of a rare stamp he would love to add to his collection. Brian Keith's Uncle Bill is quick to point out Jody's lack of morals, and just as fast to recognize his own cunning in trying to woo a building contract from a prospective (and attractive) client. Johnnie Whitaker is impressive as always as the serious and determined Jody, while guest star Lisa Gerritsen is terrific as the reluctant objection of his false affection. Gerritsen has a moment late in the episode (discussing her stamp collection with Whitaker) that vividly brings up any child's adolescent excitement over a new project (I don't see how this performance could be improved upon). Anissa Jones as Buffy doesn't get her share of the good lines this time, yet she backs her brother with a realistic blend of loyal resilience and mild annoyance. "Family Affair" was winding down at this time, and critics of the era were quick to point out the anachronistic 'fantasy' elements of its tidy scenario; still, the interrelationships between family members and classmates are developed in a colorful and immediate way, and the child actors are far more natural than any pre-teen seen on television today.
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