Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on a "Classic TV Comedy Christmas" DVD that features a 1968 episode of "Family Affair."

When I am at home relaxing and watching TV, I tend to choose sitcoms over dramas to help take away the stress of the day.

I have always enjoyed sitcoms and was fortunate to grow up in a time when there were a lot more sitcoms to choose from and back then a lot of great comedy shows were airing in reruns in the afternoons after school.

Recently, I found a DVD titled "Classic TV Comedy Christmas" that features holiday episodes from the following sitcoms: "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Donna Reed Show," "Petticoat Junction," "The Doris Day Show," "The Honeymooners" and "Family Affair."

Do you remember "Family Affair?" It starred Brian Keith as Uncle Bill, who is raising his teenage niece Cissy (Kathy Garver), and younger niece Buffy (Anissa Jones) and nephew Jody (Johnny Whitaker), who are twins. He is assisted by the very proper Mr. French (played by Sebastian Cabot), who is technically a servant but really part of the family. They all live in a very nice apartment in New York City and everything seemed very sophisticated to me, yet the characters were still very relatable.

Imagine my surprise when I began to watch the "Family Affair" holiday episode titled "Christmas Came a Little Early" and realized Eve Plumb was a guest star. Plumb is well known for playing Jan Brady, who was my favorite Brady kid. In this episode, her character becomes friends with Buffy, who was my favorite character on "Family Affair." They strike up a friendship when Buffy visits Plumb's character who is too ill to attend school.

When it becomes clear that Plumb's character is not going to get better, plans are made to hold a Christmas celebration early so she can enjoy it.

The adults give the children an excuse for the party happening early, and Uncle Bill and Mr. French think that young Buffy doesn't understand what is happening. Yet, the episode ends in a very touching way when Uncle Bill realizes that Buffy knows that she is about to lose her friend.

Now, if this episode sounds more like a drama than a sitcom, then I guess it is, but it was well done in my opinion.

Some of the other episodes on the DVD offer more humor, especially on the 1962 "Home for Christmas" episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies" when the Clampetts decide to go visit family for the holidays and we get to see Max Baer Jr. play both Jethro and sister Jethrine.

The 1958 "Very Merry Christmas" episode of "The Donna Reed Show" helped bring home the message that family members can be stressed out in the days leading up to the holidays but being with your loved ones at this festive time of the year is a wonderful gift.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.

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