The parents are away for a few days, Alex is in charge but cares only for his date Monica, so he wants the girls out; Mallory 'drives' straight into a telephone pole, now they must come up with some ...
Alex starts his sophomore year looking for a girlfriend in the freshman directory. He meets Tricia who seems to be everything he wants. However, after a spat with Tricia's roommate, Ellen, Alex finds...
Tony Micelli, a retired baseball player, becomes the housekeeper of Angela Bower, an advertising executive in New York. Together they raise their kids, Samantha Micelli and Jonathon Bower, with help from Mona Robinson, Angela's man-crazy mother.
Steven and Elyse Keaton, once 1960s radicals, now find themselves in Reagan-era American trying to raise a traditional suburban family. Their three first kids are Alex (a very ambitious Young Republican), Mallory (a ditzy and boy-crazy fashionista) and Jennifer (whom we first get to know as a precocious nine-year-old tomboy). Later on, a fourth child (Andrew) was added to the Keaton family. Most of the comedy arose from the conflict between the ex-hippie parents vs the conservative Alex and the brainless beauty Mallory.
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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