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(1982–1989)

Episode List

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Season 4

26 Sep. 1985
The Real Thing: Part 1
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 that despite having nothing in common with Ellen, he is developing feelings for her.
 
3 Oct. 1985
The Real Thing: Part 2
Alex is an emotional wreck, still with boring Tricia - who he doesn't care for - after kissing her intriguing roommate Ellen, who turned back to accept her Dennis' proposal to a sudden wedding in Pennsylvania without a single guest. Alex even worries so much that the whole time allotted for a Leland test essay he would have aced elapses without him writing a single line. After Ellen agrees to Alex's offer of a ride to the train station, he is filled with hopes of stopping her, but is once more unable to express his emotions. Once Alex has gathered the courage at home,...
 
17 Oct. 1985
Mr. Wrong
Mallory introduces her new boyfriend, Nick, to the family. He isn't well received, and Steven realizes that he needs to trust Mallory and let her make her own choices.
 
24 Oct. 1985
Designated Hitter
Jennifer has a boyfriend and feels a bit self-conscious. When the boyfriend is teased at school by a bully, Jennifer steps in to defend him. Alex asks Mallory to take and IQ test and is chagrined when she scores higher than him.
 
31 Oct. 1985
Don't Go Changing
Alex is feeling insecure about not being a part of Ellen's world of art and dance. Fearful that he might lose her, Alex decides to learn all he can about art and dance...including auditioning for a part at Ellen's dance class. Meanwhile, Steven is upset about missing Monday Night Football games because he and Elyse have joined a book club.
 
7 Nov. 1985
The Old College Try
Elyse is planning for Mallory's future by sending away for college applications. However, Mallory can't bring herself to tell her mother that she doesn't want to go to college at all. After a disastrous interview with a recruiter, Mallory explains her resistance, which infuriates Elyse, and tempers flare between the two. However, things change when Nick offers Mallory some surprising advice.
 
14 Nov. 1985
My Tutor
Alex hires a 13-year-old tutor, Eugene Forbes, to help him bring his grade up in advanced geometry from an 89% to 90%. However, Eugene is immediately distracted when he meets Jennifer, and he struggles to learn how to take a break from being an intellectual genius and to be a 13-year-old kid. Meanwhile, Steven is struggling to keep the family's spending in check.
 
21 Nov. 1985
Mr. Right
Nick is worried that the constant disapproval he receives from Elyse and Steven will ultimately cost him his relationship with Mallory. Eager to change, Nick turns to Alex for help. Unfortunately, Nick turns into another "Alex," and while he is now pleasing to Elyse and Steven, he turns off Mallory.
 
5 Dec. 1985
Just One Look
Steven and Elyse are nostalgically excited by a visitor he arranged: Richie Schofield, an old housemate from their Berkeley hippie days - which the kids find just silly, even embarrassingly. However, Elyse and Richie share memories of their time without Steven, who is not amused to find out 22 years later that they had a brief romance while he was working in Alaska during a break from their relationship. Sleeping in the hall makes the jealous husband even crankier. The trio has a restaurant dinner, during which he loses control. As Steven contemplates his outburst and...
 
12 Dec. 1985
How Do You Sleep?
Alex hasn't slept in over a week. Lonely nights are spent triggering the smoke alarm, and even asking Skippy to spend the night. Elyse confesses that she has battled insomnia as well, and she is able to help Alex finally fall asleep.
 
19 Dec. 1985
You've Got a Friend
While Alex is visiting Mallory in the shop where she works, they catch a 12-year-old girl shoplifting several items. Mallory knows that the girl must be turned in to the police, but later expresses a desire to reach out to the girl, named Jessie, out of concern. Steven points out that the Milford Home where Jessie lives is not an orphanage but specializes in problem children, often abused; Nick knows that is true, for one of his cousins lives there (but can't remember his name nor the abusive uncle's). Mallory decides to make the girl her friend, despite Nick's ...
 
2 Jan. 1986
Nothing But a Man
Dad Steven postulates for the job of regional PBS manager, interested in programming clout rather then the pay raise - despite his poor performance, he got the job, in fact in advance. The family is disappointed he's home much less - except Alex, who even acts as Dad's tough appointment bookkeeper. Alex is terribly worried for his beloved baby brother Andy's manhood when the kid takes a ferocious fancy to a doll Ellen gave him. Steven starts feeling guilty never to be available for the children's activities, enough to rethink his goals.
 
9 Jan. 1986
The Disciple
Jennifer is tired of being outclassed by classmates, so she asks the academically brilliant Alex (who won the Thomas Dewey best student achievement award three years in a row) to help her prepare a social studies presentation on how a bill becomes a law. Alex accepts, provided she do it his way, all the way. After assigning her reading at an Ivy League level, then attends her presentation (pretending to be a quarry worker too dumb to understand) - cueing her in a brilliant show with lights, music, patriotic panache and the flawless story, complete with the printing on...
 
16 Jan. 1986
Where's Poppa?
Alex is in charge of organizing Leland's parents' weekend. His girlfriend Ellen is angry, because Alex personally invited her father, corporate lawyer Franklin Reed, whom she rejected as a foul materialist years ago. Astonished and excited to learn she comes from a rich family, Alex eventually gets her to agree to a truce. When Mr. Reed drops by, the men prove birds of a feather - but will father and daughter make up?
 
23 Jan. 1986
Fool for Love
Elyse and Jennifer hardly notice the vaguely visible mustache Alex has grown for his homecoming speech as a former valedictorian from Harding High School. Skippy is hoping that Mallory is just using Nick to make him jealous, but of course she refuses to go with him to the homecoming dance; Skippy is heart-broken but convinces Alex to find him a blind date. Any human female will do - and Alex, out of desperation, chooses Dr. Sylvia Wagner, a divorced psychiatrist who is researching adolescent social life and sees Skippy as a voluntary study subject. Even for him, she ...
 
30 Jan. 1986
Checkmate
When Alex, as Leland chess club champion, duels reputed Soviet guest Ivan Rozmirovich, he takes it as a personal and patriotic challenge, stirred by a telegram from the White House. The match is commented by desperate dad Steven and American chess-master Eric Nordstrom whose seemingly silent-succinct style at his debut is likely to be his undoing as commenter. After endless equal quality, Ivan's last move before adjournment is an obvious attempt to throw the game, but why? The boys meet in a bar, and Alex learns the official pressure totally spoiled Ivan's love for ...
 
6 Feb. 1986
Engine Trouble
Alex committed the surprising error to vent his conviction there are male and female fortes in the feminist home, so he gets stuck following the same elementary car mechanics course as ma Elyse, the architect, who proves more gifted at it. It gets embarrassing when Alex keeps bumbling like any self-respecting nerd covered in grease while she gets 'consulted' by Nick's hunky mate Clete... Meanwhile the girls must try to keep dad Steven in bed, who refuses to admit he's sick.
 
13 Feb. 1986
A Word to the Wise
Alex and Ellen have been together for six months. The family decides to tell Ellen some of the things Alex has done in his life before she met him.
 
13 Feb. 1986
A Word to the Wise: Part 2
Skippy joins the Keatons in sharing stories about Alex with Ellen, recalling how he confronted Mallory about her love life, rented out the house while his parents were away, and went to a bar in West Virginia for his 18th birthday.
 
20 Feb. 1986
Art Lover
Steven accepts works of art for WKS's 1986 auction, reluctantly even Alex's "fiscal-surrealist" bank yard eviction drawing (at age 5), and an abstract welded sculpture by Nick - which only gets a bid from filthy rich, glamorous art lover Victoria Hurstenberg, who calls him an irresistible hidden talent. Nick brings more of his works for a private show at the Keaton house, and becomes her protégé. Only Mallory and naive Nick need weeks to realize that time between the two is more limited due to Victoria offering her patronage not just for his art but also for his ...
 
2 Mar. 1986
Teacher's Pet
Steven worries about Andy's inability - at 11 months - to handle a toy recommended for babies over 9 months, and he determines the toddler needs to go to preschool, which Elyse forbids. Alex enjoys the rare honor of being picked as Professor Spanos's teaching assistant for economics, but finds himself conflicted when Ellen is among his students. An arrogant professorial air and ruthless strictness come naturally to "Mr. Keaton", but he talks Ellen out of changing to another teacher to assure impartiality. Once Alex grades her first paper a C-, their relationship - ...
 
6 Mar. 1986
My Buddy
As Jennifer is growing up, Steven finds himself increasingly left out of her activities, and begins to feel that he is no longer an important part of her life. Meanwhile, Alex attempts to refute a traffic ticket, which he blames on Mallory.
 
1 May 1986
Once in Love with Elyse
Back at work at the architecture firm for a year, Elyse is quite happy to collaborate closely with Paul Kenter, but her younger colleague confides to their boss Raymond that he has a problem - he has fallen secretly but passionately in love with the happily married mother of four. Unsuspecting Elyse asks him over for a family dinner to celebrate landing a major account. Paul confesses his problem apologetically to Steven, but still keeps quiet to Elyse. When Steven tells her, she is first flattered, but then learns that Paul has quit his job because of the situation.
 
8 May 1986
Paper Chase
With just four weeks to graduation, Mallory is in danger of flunking history and not getting her diploma, stunning her parents. Needing a "B" on the final exam, she realizes that her future is on the line as she buckles down and studies for her exam. Meanwhile, Steven and Alex agonize over mementos from the attic that Elyse wants to discard.
 

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