Almost the entire cast is back again for this TVM (made two years later but set one, in 1964), but the focus is primarily on John Boy and his parents this time. Engaged to his one true love, Janet, John-Boy is aghast when wedding reparations are almost immediately overtaken by Janet’s Aunt Flo, played by veteran actress Holland Taylor. Added to this is another case of writer’s block, possibly caused by John-Boy’s inability to write about Grandma in an honest, warts-and-all way. The problem, he deems, regards a lack of info about Grandma’s father – but he finds a letter from the old man, one that proves he fought for the Union side during the Civil War. Grandma is livid about this disclosure, and threatens not to attend her grandson’s wedding (don’t worry: she does). Olivia reads The Feminine Mystique and gets inspired to take college classes – always a protofeminist during the series, now she can be a part of the modern women’s movement! And John, who’s now a county supervisor, fears a conflict of interest when he discovers been had inked a lumber contract for a proposed subdivision, one he has to vote on as supervisor!
Oh, and the wedding? Delightful – just once small hitch: Toni goes into labor during the “I do’s,” giving birth to her and Jason’s daughter, Patsy Cline Walton. Aunt Flo gets her way to have a “yee-haw” down-home country reception, perfect for the “fertile, folksy” clan that are now her in-laws.
John-Boy, once presumed to be the first Walton child to marry, officially becomes the fifth. Focus is smartly on his travails leading up to the big day (he was hardly in the last TVM), and his chemistry with Janet as played by Kate (House on Sorority Row) McNeil is sweet and sharp. Missing here are Cindy, Jonesy (still in Vietnam?), Aimee and all the fourth generation kids that populated the last one. Still around, despite their age: Grandma, Mamie and Emily.
Prolific character actor Nicholas Pryor plays Janet’s father here. I will always remember him as Joel’s dad in Risky Business.