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|Index||54 reviews in total|
I love this hilarious sitcom and catch it on re runs whenever I chance
upon it. I think it is one of the funniest family comedy series ever,
with some entertaining and unusual character portrayals.
The series revolves around the Keaton family, with liberal parents Steven (a TV station manager) and Elyse (an architect). The couple have three children...a financially savvy, politically conservative son Alex, his shopaholic teenage sister Mallory, and a younger tomboy sister, Jennifer. Later Elyse gives birth to a fourth child, baby Andrew. Along the way, Alex develops love interests, first in the form of Ellen (played by the actor's future wife, Tracy Pollan) and later, Lauren, a psychology major. Mallory acquires a boyfriend herself, the motorcycle riding high school drop out, Nick, who incurs the disapproval of her parents and of course especially brother Alex.
The acting is stellar with Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross portraying the parents and Tina Yothers the kid sister, Jennifer. However, it is really Michael J. Fox's show with his hilarious depiction of Alex P. Keaton, who has a tendency to wear shirt & tie everyday around the house and introduces little brother Andrew to the Wall Street Journal while he's still in diapers! My personal favourite is Mallory (charmingly played by Justine Bateman); she is so amusing and endearing as his dim witted, academically slack, clothes obsessed sister who cannot get enough of the mall and talking about cute boys. Of course her contrast with the smart, serious, & focused Alex could hardly be greater.
It's a reverse generational tale to the expected. Normally the parents are the conservative ones, with the teenage offspring liberal rebels and rabble rousers. However, the Keaton parents are the left wing family members, former political activists back in their college heyday. Son Alex, on the other hand, is a die-hard and very vocal card carrying Republican who eventually finds his niche on Wall Street. The sparring between Alex and his parents (as well as with Mallory) makes for some wonderful comedy in this warm hearted family sitcom.
I get nostalgic about television shows like Family Ties. It was based around two parents who graduated University of California at Berkeley in the sixties. It was wise to have their eldest son, Alex P., to be on the opposite fence of politics. ALex with his tie and pictures of Ronald Reagan and Nixon. His younger sister, Mallory, played well by Justine Bateman cares more about fashion than grades or Alex's politics. It's great watching these two in action. The younger sister, Jennifer, develops from a young girl to an independent adolescent. There were always two story lines going on in every episode. Marc Price's SKippy is priceless for a thankless job. Scott valentine plays Mallory's boyfriend, Nick, a painter who never finished high school. Some of the best moments in this series happens after Nick enters the Keatons lives and his relationship with them. The mixture of great characters with witty dialogue. You can't stop laughing when Mr. Keaton tries to apologize to Nick in a ladies' shoe store. He comes across as a former gay lover than the father of Mallory but it's full of laughs. Despite the witty dialogues, this was a believable family who introduced Andrew, the youngest and fourth child. What do the children think when they find out. "I was talking about closet space" Mallory says to Alex. Oh, this is truly a family show for everybody. I can't say how I miss a family centered show on such a wonderful family like the Keatons.
Two former 1960s left-wing hippies (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter) try to rear their children (Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers) in the 1980s and naturally have problem after problem in "Family Ties", one of the more memorable television successes of that impressive boob-tube decade. The show ran from 1982 to 1989 and even added another child (youngster Brian Bonsall) by the middle of its run. When the show premiered in 1982 it just could not generate any substantial interest ("Cheers" had the same problem during its initial year). After that though it was all peaches and cream as the series dominated on Sunday evenings and was consistently a top 5 or 10 show each week until they exited quietly (of its own free will after eight years). Fox and Bateman were definitely the two who dominated the show. Fox was a Republican-styled teen who seemed to only care about money and social status while Bateman was a polar opposite. She was a ditsy teen who seemed to care more about makeup, clothes, boys and being popular (in other words she was a normal youngster). Every cast member had their moments, but the series was not all fun and games. It consistently had "special" episodes where life crept into the family's crazed television world. Another of those NBC products from the 1980s that survives due to its performers and its intelligence. 4 stars out of 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was the ultimate show of the 1980's when it ran for several seasons on
NBC-TV(from 1982-1989). What more could you expect for one of the best
hippiest/political families of that era which was mixed in which started in
the middle of the Reagan era,and with the series ending at the beginning of
the Bush administration. Besides,it was part "All In The Family" without the
bigotry or the downside of it. In all,one great series.The series when it
aired sprunged two made for TV movies,and also one of the most intense final
episodes ever aired(the death of Steven Keaton where Mike Gross' character
has a massive heart attack during an argument with Alex over some issue,but
it was a thriller of way to end the series)when the show ended its run in
the spring of 1989. Here you have Michael Gross(as Steven Keaton),Meredith
Baxter-Birney(as Elsie Keaton),and there three adorable children;the design
shopping boy hungry Mallory(Justine Bateman),the baby girl of the family who
wanted to go her own way but wanted to grow up and be a kid Tina(played by
Tina Yothers),and the political and conservative son Alex(played by Michael
J. Fox) who was a Republican and was a fan of both Presidents Reagan and
This sitcom became the launching pod for Micheal J. Fox,who during this series had several hit feature films that were box-office giants(the "Back To The Future" series,and the films "Teen Wolf",and "The Secret Of My Success"),as well as for his co-star on the show Justine Bateman who also had a hit film out too during her status on the series.
The show's theme song,"What About Us",was done by legendary musical artists Johnny Mathis and Deniece Willams which was a top 10 hit on Billboard's charts during the 80's.
I'm surprised that these episodes are not out on video but if they are the ones that were very good were the one where Tom Hanks plays an alcoholic(in a brillant performance),and the one where the Keaton's go to Paris and Alex ends up in great danger involving a beautiful model.
I would love to see a TV reunion movie with the entire cast. Catch the reruns on Superstation TBS!
"Family Ties" creator Gary Goldberg didn't like Michael J. Fox on his first audition, thought he played Alex a little too smart-assish. But on his second try, Fox approached it a different way and won the part that shot him to stardom. He quickly became the focal point of the show as the money obsessed teenager Alex P. Keaton. You could understand Meredith Baxter-Birney's disappointment, as the show was to be geared toward her character as the mother. But she and the rest of the cast pretty much faded into the background behind Fox. Not that he wasn't supported by a great group of performers. Michael Gross as the easy going father, Justine Bateman as the typical phone hogging, boy troubled teenage daughter, and Tina Yothers as the tomboyish younger sister. In later years some nice additions were Scott Valentine as Bateman's weirdo boyfriend, and making numerous appearances over the years was Marc Price as the nerdy next door neighbor, Skippy. High point episodes over the years were the Alex turns 18 one, the Alex rents out the rooms of the house one, and also the 4(!) part heartattack episode with the focus being on Michael Gross' father character, Steven. Shows major misstep occured during their final year when they tried to become too socially concious. Episodes dealing with book banning, oil spills, toxic fumes from household products, and racism seemed a bit out of place and more importantly, took away from the comedy. The last hurrah was a decent episode that saw Alex move to New York to be an investment banker. But most recommended from the series would be the shows middle years, where the writing was at its best. Show also must of set some sort of record with at least 6 or 7(!) of those flashback type episodes featuring clips of the past stories. But no harm done.
'Family Ties' is great and even though I haven't seen that many episodes, I
still rank it among my top ten favorite TV shows. The cast is great, the
writing is excellent, and it just makes me laugh about a million times
within the half hour of air time.
Michael Gross, Meredith Baxter, Justine Bateman, and Tina Yothers are all terrific in their given roles. They are all funny and great and anything else that I want in a television show, but the real stand out is of course, Michael J. Fox. I've adored Fox for many years and then when I finally got around to seeing him as Alex P. Keaton, well he just amazed me. He's so excellent with his quick comedic timing and snappy comebacks. (Particularly the ones given to Mallory make me laugh the hardest.) All in all he's a wonderful actor, not just in this show even though it brings the best out of him, but on any project he works on.
The writing is fast moving, hilarious, and just about some of the best that I've seen in a comedy serious. Although it is now...20 years old, the series is still one of the best, even up against today's series. Lets face it, today's television has gone straight to the trash can with the exception of a very small percent of shows.
Each episode is great, and if the plot isn't all that good, the writing and performances make up for it. I have to say that there were many episodes that I saw where I was so bored (about the plot), yet they still turned out good because of the comedy.
All of the Emmys and Golden Globes and many more awards that 'Family Ties' was nominated for and having won throughout the years were all well deserved. A couple of more wins wouldn't have hurt. I can honestly say that this is one show that I try to catch (only on Nick can it be seen where I'm at). I love it, I love Fox, and good job to the writers. The show is great!
Having Michael J Fox plays Alex Keaton is my incentive of watching
I believe that some people are having the same purpose as I in watching this...
I love this show I just actually ordered some old episodes from Blockbuster, this is honestly one of the best TV sitcoms shows ever!!!!!! Michael J Fox was awesome as Mr. know it all brother (republican) what stands out for me even as a kid when i was watching him was his calculator watch LOL all the time. My favorite character was Mallory Hands down she was the epitome of an 80's girl really pretty, into guys, clothes your normal daughter, Jennifer, a lil tomboy. The mother Elyse was hilarious, as well as Michael Gross(even though its so funny every time I watch him my mom keeps joking he looks like one of our cousins) small joke... anyways to one of the reviewers that said that Elyse the mother was way prettier than Mallory, its wrong. They are both very pretty in different ways (the mother was beautiful for her age group, and Justine Bateman (was pretty for her age group)........ I love Nick I thought he blended well with Mallory and everyone... Skippy was too much of a nerd I am sorry LOL........ To me my favorite character was Justine Bateman, she could have done so much more oh well, she actually standed out from the rest of the cast. Anyways it was an amazing show.. so, watch it LOL
If there's something that popular culture from the decades of the 1950s
and 1980s share,it's the "family" sitcom(i.e. unitary parents and
kids,all attractive and relatively free of deep problems). And while
there was some variance of family types,from the more safe,traditional
families of "The Cosby Show","Growing Pains" ,"Mr.Belvedere",to the
not-so-conventional domestic groupings as "Full House", "The Hogan
Family"(originally "VAlerie",which originally aimed to BE a
conventional family sitcom) and "Who's the Boss"(or,for that
matter,surface-traditional-looking shows "Roseanne" and "Married...With
Children"),it seemed to me that as these shows went,none of them
matched the wit,warmth and viability as "Family Ties".
The Keatons are about as polarized a unit as they come: parents Steven and Elyse(MIchael Gross and Meredith BAxter-Birney,both excellent!)are '60s Lefty IDealists,and as such,carried their idealism into their work as adults--Steven works for Public TElevision and Elyse carries her form of modified feminism into a successful job as an architect--but cannot seem to carry it into their children. Alex(Michael J.Fox,birthing much of his career out of one very iconic role,which is no mean feat!),a buttoned-down Conservative practically from birth,MAllory(Justine BAteman,who is STILL a babe IMHO),the dim,materialistic mall-girl younger daughter and Jennifer(Tina Yothers,who became as famous for disappearing from showbiz as appearing),the bright but resigned youngest,who is neither idealist or materialist. As the show ran along,you added such extra characters to the pastiche as Skippy(MArc Price,doing stand-up somewhere now),the dippy,well-meaning neighbor kid with a painful crush on MAllory,Nick(Scott VAlentine),MAllory's equally dim but cool boyfriend,Ellen(Tracy POllan,future Mrs.Michael J.Fox),Alex's unlikely liberal girlfriend and LAuren(Coutreney Cox,yes,THAT Coutrney Cox),another lock-horns girlfriend of Alex's and baby brother Andy(Brian "Mikey" Bonsall),Alex's potential protégé.
After a bit of a sluggish start,NBC wisely gambled to keep this on and it managed to hook on to Thursday and Sunday night schedules and ride steadily improving ratings over the remainder of the show's run. While it's been some years since I've seen any of the shows,I was a loyal viewer of the show and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not sure if or where this show is re-running,but I may have to check these shows out again soon,if for nothing else to re-visit one of the more well-crafted TV programs to grace the airwaves over that rascally decade of greed,spandex and hair.
Re-watching it on DVD I was amazed that Family Ties really stood the test of time. What makes it stand out is the constant high quality of the writing. On the one hand Family Ties always tackles serious issues on a personal level (death, trust, love, sexual harassment) but also on a social/ political level. I find it absolutely amazing that the writers always manage to avoid the trap of becoming sentimental or moralizing but always keep a healthy distance. Politically Family Ties is the great liberal voice of 80s television and from that point of view plays in a different league from its arch rival at the time, The Cosby show. What I also find amazing is that they manage to pack a satisfying story in the fairly short format of less then 30 minutes. The cast of course is perfect. Michael Gross stands out for me because he has the best one-liners in the show and his delivery as naive Steve Keaton is incredibly funny. Michael Fox is Michael Fox (as always) but Meredith Baxter is a great and underrated comedienne (and actually hellishly attractive...). Pity Tina Yothers stopped acting as it is amazing what a quantity and quality of dialogue she delivered at a very young age (though the jury is still out on her real age). And let's not forget Justine Bateman as airhead Mallory but who can act a fine line between comedy and drama (see Give uncle Arthur a kiss.)
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