Teacher/parent interviews at Alex and Mallory's school become interesting when both Steven and Elyse contend with a rude, insufferable teacher.

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Elyse Keaton (as Meredith Baxter Birney)
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Mary Farrell ...
Mrs. Morgan
Molly David ...
Mrs. Jones
Bunny Summers ...
Mrs. Stein
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Teacher/parent interviews at Alex and Mallory's school become interesting when both Steven and Elyse contend with a rude, insufferable teacher.

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Comedy | Family

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19 October 1983 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The title is from the old proverb: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." See more »

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One of the Best Episodes of Any Sitcom EVER, In My Opinion
4 February 2016 | by (Pangea) – See all my reviews

If there was ever any doubt as to why "Family Ties" was one of the dominant, Emmy darlings of the '80s, in my opinion, this episode removes it.

It's parents night in this one, and the Keaton parents (Michael Gross and Meridith Baxter) go to meet with all of the kids' teachers, including Alex (Michael J. Fox)'s arrogant instructor Mr. Tedesco (Edward Edwards - seriously). Tedesco is so rude and mean to the parents that Elyse can't help herself, and does something to him she really regrets (being vague because this episode is funnier the less you know about it). Unfortunately, Alex really wants a letter of recommendation to Dartmouth from Mr. Tedesco, so Steven goes to apologize on Elyse's behalf, and hilarity ensues from there. It is a truly exceptional episode in an exceptional series, and that's why I had to review it.

Here's the thing about "Family Ties" to me - much like "Modern Family" today, the episodes of this show have not been replicated in many others, because I feel that few sitcoms have writers of this caliber. What happens in the average "nuclear family" sitcom is totally predictable to me, to the point that modern creators seem to either animate the show to reinvent it ("The Simpsons"), or make it multicultural ("The Cosby Show"), or completely transforming the nuclear family altogether, as "Modern Family" does, making original sitcom episodes seems very difficult to do. Watching "Family Ties," episodes like this, I totally get why. Though this episode has a creative and original twist, I feel that it still successfully reinforces the show's theme, of Baby Boomer idealists negotiating their beliefs in the '80s world, while still being hilariously funny, as the Keaton family twist in the wind to keep the peace in spite of Tedesco's raging obnoxiousness. I founds this episode ridiculously entertaining even watching it in 2016, and to me, that's only possible because the leads are as strong as the writing. This episode doesn't even end in the predictable way it seems to be going in at one point, emphasizing to me how confident these writers really were. It felt to me like they knew they had a great show, and approached it with just the right touch. "Family Ties" really was a watershed to me, and watching it as an adult, I appreciate it more than ever, especially when I see episodes like this.


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