Family Ties (1982–1989)
6.3/10
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All in the Neighborhood: Part 1 

Steven's black friend Gus & his family move into the neighborhood. Gus' family is threatened, the house vandalized. The Keatons try to reason with neighbors and have Gus stay. Neighbors gather to help clean the vandalized house.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Elyse Keaton (as Meredith Baxter Birney)
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Keith Amos ...
Michael Thompson
Rosalind Cash ...
Maya Thompson
Maris Clement ...
Ginny
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Christine Chadway
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Glen
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Gus Thompson
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Robert Schanche ...
Sam
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Storyline

Steven's black friend Gus & his family move into the neighborhood. Gus' family is threatened, the house vandalized. The Keatons try to reason with neighbors and have Gus stay. Neighbors gather to help clean the vandalized house.

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Comedy | Family

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12 March 1989 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The title is a derivation of the TV series All in the Family (1971). See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Race card
24 December 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The Keatons tackle the thorny racism issue, with recurring character Gus (imposing John Hancock) and his wife (Rosalind Cash) under siege in their own neighbourhood, apparently due to their colour. Naturally the Keatons are mortified that their own neighbourhood would still harbour such prejudices and they try to convince the couple and their adult son to stay in spite of the vandalism and bigotry.

You could argue that it trivialises the issue, but then the tone is no more or less what you tend to expect from a "Family Ties" episode, though some of the more racially charged moments clearly have their sharp edges sanded well down for the safety of prime-time family viewing.

What's especially interesting about this episode is the appearance of both Hancock and Cash, two notable African-American actors of the 70's and 80's, both of whom died prematurely in the early 90's. Their work stands out, whereas many of the gags fall flat, and the Bob Dylan protestation overtures and Martin Luther King soliloquy seem off pitch, the episode an awkward combination of light humour and quite provocative subject matter.

"Family Ties" seems to perform better when it either tackles an issue full-on (e.g. the Tom Hanks alcoholism or Barbara Barrie Alzheimer's episodes) or plays it safe in pre-adolescent sitcom territory. Mark L.Taylor might also be a familiar face to some, playing an ignorant (though also wise-cracking) neighbour.


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