Family Affair: Season 5 [DVD]
- Kathy Garver tours the CBS studio
The fifth season of Family Affair was also the series' last season on CBS. Any series which features a pair of cute little children runs the risk of wearing out its welcome the older those children become, and it could not be denied that Anissa Jones and Jody Whitaker, respectively cast as twin orphans Jody and Buffy, weren't quite as spontaneous and appealing at age eleven as they'd been at age six. This burst of maturity was less injurious to costar Kathy Garver, cast as the twins' older sister Cissy, inasmuch as there were more story possibilities for a blossoming 19-year-old than there'd previously been for a slightly awkward 15-year-old--especially in terms of Cissy's social life with erstwhile boyfriend Gregg (Gregg Fedderson) and other eligible beaux. And of course, the added years could hardly affect Brian Keith as the kids' bachelor uncle Bill Davis, nor Sebastian Cabot as Bill's imperious British butler Mr. French. Still, viewership dropped off considerably during Season Five, with Family Affair plummeting from 5th place in the ratings to a position far below the "Top Thirty" list. (It didn't help matters that the series was now bucking up against the very popular Flip Wilson Show on NBC.) In an effort to pump new life into the flagging property, the reliable Nancy Walker was added to the cast in the recurring role of Emily, the Davis family's brash, outspoken housekeeper. Though Walker did not appear often enough to make any real impact, she did occasionally provide an amusing contrast to the proper and reserved Mr. French--and the fact that Emily had a handsome medical-student son (played by Peter Duryea) certainly added a bit of spice to the life of boy-crazy Cissy. Although Family Affair was definitely slipping, a few of the Season Five episodes were among the series' best, notably an entry in which the twins befriend a secretive young Latino boy who turns out to be the son of an exiled South American leader. The series closes with the last in a long line of stories concerning the kids' willingness to champion the cause of people less fortunate than themselves--and Uncle Bill's willingness to help out when the youngsters realize that they've gotten in over their heads! ~ Hal Erickson
Cast & Crew
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