Family Ties: Show information


Family Ties cast

First Telecast:  September 22, 1982
Last Telecast:  September 17, 1989
Total number of episodes:  180

Broadcast History:
 

Month/Year
Network
Day/Time
Sep 1982-Mar 1983
NBC
Wed 9:30-10:00PM
Mar 1983-Aug 1983
NBC
Mon 8:30-9:00PM
Aug 1983-Dec 1983
NBC
Wed 9:30-10:00PM
Jan 1984-Aug 1987
NBC
Thu 8:30-9:00PM
Aug 1987-Sep 1987
NBC
Sun 8:00-9:00PM
Sep 1987-Sep 1989
NBC
Sun 8:00-8:30PM

Show Summary:

The mellow 1960s clashed with the conservative 1980s in this generation-gap comedy, which in some ways reflected America's changing values in the Reagan area.  President Reagan, in fact, called Family Ties his favorite show.  It was set it middle America--Columbus, Ohio--where one-time flower children Elyse and Steve Keaton still espoused the liberal values of the idealistic '60s, although they were now parents and professionals (she an architect, he the manager of public TV station WKS-TV).  Their children's ideals were something else.  Seventeen-year-old Alex was Mr. Conservative, habitually dressed in suit and tie and with a picture of William F. Buckley, Jr., over his bed.  Mallory, 15, was into designer jeans, boys, and drunk food, while cute little Jennifer, 9, just wanted to be a kid.  They were a loving family, though the kids never could understand those Bob Dylan records their parents kept playing.

During the 1984-1985 season Elyse gave birth to baby Andrew, and by the following fall superstudent Alex had entered Leland College, espousing what else, the virtues of the Reagan administration's supply-side economics.  There he became seriously involved with another student, perky Ellen Reed, while back home sister Mallory was dating a poorly educated aspiring sculpture named Nick Moore.  Mallory, an academic underachiever, narrowly graduated from high school in 1986, entered Grant Junior College, and set her sights on a career in fashion design, more or less.  In 1987 another love interest entered Alex's life in the person of psychology student named Lauren Miller.  Alex's chief sidekick, though, was little brother Andrew (already four years old!), who idolized him.  Every week they watched Wall Street Week on TV together.  Skippy was Alex's rather dense friend.

Besides its continuing parody of Reagan-era values, Family Ties tackled some sensitive subjects in unusual episodes.  Perhaps the most famous episode was "My Name Is Alex," performed theater-style on a nearly bare stage, in  which Alex worked through his grief and disorientation following the sudden death of a young friend in an auto accident.  During the 1988-1989 season, the Keatons confronted racism when a black family moved into the neighborhood, and faced their own greatest crisis when Steve suffered a heart attack and had to undergo bypass surgery.  In the last original episode, the nuclear family was finally, and inevitably, dissolved as Alex graduated, accepted a plum job with a large Wall Street brokerage firm, and moved away.   There would be no Family Ties reunions, said creator/producer Gary David Goldberg.  The 1980s and all that is stood for were over.

NBC aired reruns of Family Ties on weekday mornings from December 1985 to January 1987.


More facts about the show and cast members can be found in the Did you know? section.


Series summary from The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows: 1946-Present

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