When it comes to old television shows, particularly family comedies, people are quick to jump to generalizations: childish, simple, one-dimensional, unrealistic are terms which come to mind. However, while on it's surface, "Family Affair" appears as just another late 60's family sitcom, there are some important distinctions which set it apart it from other family comedies such as "Leave it to Beaver", "Father Knows Best", "The Brady Bunch", etc. First, of all "Family Affair" plays more like a "dramedy" (comedy with dramatic elements) than a traditional sitcom. In fact, there are very few comedic elements in some episodes, but always a very clear story arc. The next issue is the matter of how the twins and Cissy, come to live with Uncle Bill. The writers make it very clear that both parents were killed in an accident. Unlike "The Brady Bunch" where we know both parents are widowed, but there is never any detail regarding how the families actually come together (with all due respect to the theme song); in the first episodes of "Family Affair" the writers not only take a surprising amount of time to convey that the parents were killed, but also to share with the audience the difficulty the twins had adjusting to life as they were bounced from one family member to the next, often separated from their older sister, Cissy. In fact, in one early episode, Buffy runs away because she feels that Uncle Bill will also abandon them. Next, "Family Affair" distinguishes itself because of the progressive and sophisticated nature of the main characters who explore relationships with indivdiuals across a diversity of backgrounds. In one episode Uncle Bill helps an African American gentlemen in his gym with the concerns he is having with his young son. In another episode the twins befriend a young girl with a disability who as the storyline implies, dies near the end of the episode. This was pretty daring for a family sitcom. In another episode, the family hosts the financee of a Chinese gentleman, whose bride-to-be comes from China and speaks little English and knows little about American culture. In a surprising twist, the episode ends with the couple not getting married, and going their separate ways. In another episode, Buffy befriends a young girl from an impoverished background, and as the story goes, we learn that poor people can be also be classist. "Family Affair" is well-written, well produced, and very entertaining. If you remember this show as a child, you should consider seeing it again as you may have missed some of the subtle themes. If you've never seen "Family Affair" before you may be surprised at what you're missing.