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I noticed this forum has no threads yet so I figured I'd start one up. What are your favorite episodes?

My favorite is A, My Name Is Alex...the one where Alex's friend dies in the car accident.

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I don't recall any episodes off hand, it's been too long.

I do recall Alex received an F on his first college essay because he didn't express an opinion, and his dimwit friend received an A because he did, which was absurd.  College professors at expensive private universities didn't hand out Fs back then unless you doused gasoline over their nearest and dearest and lit them on fire; nor did they hand out As merely or expressing an opinion.  But what was most absurd was the idea that Alex didn't have an opinion on something and didn't share it.  Alex had opinions on everything and always shared them.

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Hands down, my favorite is Philadelphia Story--Alex dreams that he goes back in time to talk Thomas Jefferson into writing the Declaration of Independence. I also love the one where Alex tutors Nick to pass an English class, the one where Mallory fills in on the academic team, and the chess match against the Russian superstar. And clearly, I spend too much time watching reruns of this show lol

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 the one where Mallory fills in on the academic team

Thanks to that episode, I can't hear the word "SCUBA" without mentally shouting "Self contained, underwater breathing apparatus!" followed by "And who invented it?" "MAGELLAN!"

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That's one of my favorite scenes too, 24k Kate!  I loved how seriously Steven takes the playacting.  (His pretending to forget to unbuckle his belt reminds me of when my father tried to spring out of the car, all ready to fight another driver, only to spring right back in because he forgot to take off the seatbelt).

I don't know if I have favorite episodes, but there are tons of favorite scenes and one-liners.  Such as when Alex tried to fight a parking ticket, and Mallory kept sabotaging it.

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Thanks to that episode, I can't hear the word "SCUBA" without mentally shouting "Self contained, underwater breathing apparatus!" followed by "And who invented it?" "MAGELLAN!"

And don't forget the straits of Massachusetts! That was a great episode.

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The Straits of MA...of MAAAA.....

 

My favorites, other than the quiz show were two early Alex/Ellen episodes. The initial two parter, for which I will always have a soft spot for that treacly overly romantic song, and the subsequent epsiode where he tries to prove he can be as "arty" by joining in on a dance tryout. His crash of the stock market dance is PRICELESS!

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All greats, no doubt!  My two faves:  Birth of a Keaton Part 2 when APK finds out the baby is a boy and gets down on his knees and says THANK YOU!  Cracks me up each time I see it.  Second is "Birthday Boy" where APK turns 18 and plans a trip to West Virginia (where he is legal) after his Mom told him he couldn't go.  This eppy was hilarious and touching all at the same time.  The conversation about them being pilots is too much, and that was my first experience with Crispin Glover.  Then the conversation between Alex and Mom just made me cry.  Wow, great show!

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Flying a mission to Canada... Lol. 

 

He and MBB had fantastic chemistry together. Their dramatic scenes together were always top notch. 

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One of the episodes that always sticks with me was the one where Alex was working at the TV station with Steven, Roz from Night Court was in it. Roz's character tells Alex how much his Dad loves and gushes over him all the time and Alex was genuinely surprised. It stood with me because I think all kids who differ greatly from their parents, especially the parent they share the same gender with secretly fear that difference means the parent is disappointed in who they are. For Alex, this was the farthest thing from the truth and it was great to see him hear and absorb this. For far too many, this is either not the case, or they never get to hear what Alex did and it scars them for life.

Edited by Happytobehere
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I have a couple - "4 Rms ocn vu," for one.

 

"That is my plan."

"There was a kangaroo in my living room."

 

Still funny after all this time.

 

Also, "It's My Party," where Jennifer acts like a valley girl to fit in. Steven and Elyse reading Jennifer's note, again, always cracks me up.

"....like Stacy's ok. Stacy's ok?" 

"Maybe it's a dude ranch." 

 

All in the delivery.

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The Straits of MA...of MAAAA.....

 

My favorites, other than the quiz show were two early Alex/Ellen episodes. The initial two parter, for which I will always have a soft spot for that treacly overly romantic song, and the subsequent epsiode where he tries to prove he can be as "arty" by joining in on a dance tryout. His crash of the stock market dance is PRICELESS!

 

I just saw the episodes where they meet/dance/train station liaise last night. I haven't seen them (or any FT episodes, actually) in a long time and was reminded of how absolutely adorable they were together as such young pups. Looking back, knowing what the magic crystal ball held in store for MJF and TP, definitely makes those episodes even sweeter.

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I love the episode in which Alex teaches preschool. I also love when Steven helps Mallory on her science project.

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My fav episode usually was one when Alex wasn't center stage... J/K LOL

 

Fav Alex episode: The one where he is teaching his girlfriend Ellen, and her deviant behavior during class.  Makes me laugh.

 

Fav Elyse episode: A tie between her dealing with her mother dating again and her trying to play matchmaker with the neighbors daughter and her former co worker

 

Fav Mallory episode: a Tie between Mallory almost not graduating episode and the episode where her mentor steals her designs.

 

Fav Jennifer episode:  A tie between her crush on her former child hood friend and her brief trip into Valley girl land.

 

Fav Andy episode: Loved the episode where he helps his deaf classmate.

 

Fav Steven episode: I loved his attempt at being a runway model, plus the realization that he was no longer a radical and that he had evolved.

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How have I not been here yet??  MJF is my all time fav actor!

 

3 episodes are my fav... My Name is Alex and The Real Thing 1 and 2.  I can't listen to that Billy Vera song without being taken back to that episode.  I loved MJF and TP together.  The scene in the train station brings me to tears, even now.

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Michael J. Fox was the breakout star of Family Ties and Alex P. Keaton the most popular character, being the epitome of the "Greedy 80s" and "Young Republican" of the Reagan era, but to me when I look back on that show, Michael Gross as Steven Keaton was as funny if not more so than Fox. He was soooooooooooooooooo underrated. The funniest moments of the show were with him. His dealing not just with his son, who was the complete opposite in terms of ideology, but his materialistic daughter Mallory and her boyfriend Nick were just  Like Alan Alda on M*A*S*H he could do the dramatic stuff as well as absolutely kill the comedic moments.

 

This is an after the very dramatic story of his having a heart attack:

 

Edited by VCRTracking
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I loved Steven too!  And still love Michael Gross, from creeps on L&O to gun toting militia type in Tremors, to whatever else he does.

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"4 Rms ocn vu," for one

 

This one is hands down my favorite. It cracks me up - especially Steven's lines when he returns home. The line about the billboard on route whatever kills me!

 

I also loved the ones when Gena Davis is the maid.

 

The Real Thing 1 and 2 round out my top favorites.

 

 

I can't listen to that Billy Vera song without being taken back to that episode

 

Me either!

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I have been re-watching this on Netflix. I'd really forgotten how hilarious this show could be. MJF was the star for good reason--particularly in the later seasons, his delivery was just dead on every time. Last night I watched the episode where Alex gets really jealous of Lauren's ex boyfriend, the guy who drives a black Porsche and has a job on Wall Street. During the 'meaningful wrap-up' at the end, Lauren says, "But Alex, I don't love him!" and he says "Why not, I do." He was perfect.

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Whenever I see that tiny bottle of vanilla extract in the pantry I'm tempted to just drink it all like Tom Hanks as when he was alcoholic Uncle Ned. "I SPOKE IN FRONT OF THE WORLD BANK!"

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Hmmm….That episode where Alex takes speed he gets from Mallory's Friend. The other one is with Tom Hanks as Elyses' brother. Both serious episodes but well done.

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Holy crap I just stumbled on a new Lifetime Christmas movie called "Becoming Santa" where Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney are playing Santa and Mrs Claus!

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I can't wait for The Partridge Family: A Visual History, so please do track that down. Back in the olden days of my childhood, I had a toy Partridge Family Bus into which I stuffed my Barbies and troll dolls and various other passengers, and I thought Susan Dey was the most glamorous thing ever, so I have many happy yet vague memories of primary color blocking and ruffly (unisex) cravats and (also unisex) blue velvet vest/pantsuits.

On topic? I couldn't figure out what you meant by "mane comb" so I watched this whole thing twice — that's a banana clip, silly! And they were awesome, especially for those of us with the curly long hair and crazy bangs for whom a scrunchie really never did the trick. Awesome, and spectacularly unflattering (no one looks good with a flattened vertical ponytail). I had a couple that were huge, so long that they started at the nape of my neck and clicked closed at the top of my head. So pretty!

Now that I see my own description of the super sized banana clip, "mane comb" suddenly seems like a much better name for it. You East Coasters do get it right sometimes, I guess.

Edited by Margherita Erdman
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Michael Gross was definitely the MVP, I can see him doing the sunflower burst hands around his face, bahahaha. Also loved his stone face when the kids rented out the house for the Ohio football game, and trashed it, including somehow a kangaroo. <br />Alex: Come on dad, you can't stay mad at us forever! <br />Stephen Keaton: That. Is my plan.

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Favorite Michael Gross-as-Stephen exchange, from the episode in which Jennifer starts talking like a Valley Girl:

 

Jennifer: "Like, this is how I talk."

Steven: "Like LIKE HELL IT IS!"

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Thanks for linking [doing?] this! Regardless of Mr. Fox's current state, nothing can erase how much of a GENIUS he was at both physical and verbal comedy re this show. Too bad he and Mr. Hanks haven't performed together since as they had an undeniable comedic chemistry and could STILL do an outstanding job even today.

  I know that one couldn't include everything but since I just rewatched the two-parter in which Messrs. Fox and Keaton fall in love in Tracey Pollan and her character Ellen, his antics re safeguarding her and, in vain, trying to salvage a jerry-built bookshelf, were outstanding re chemistry and timing.

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The Alex Falls for Ellen two-parter is easily my fave set of episodes. Yes, it was already in the script that these two characters would fall in love (AND that Ellen would read him better than anyone )- and his two physical bits re his wrestling her bookshelf then literally jumping out his shoes getting shined to chase after her were outstanding. However; the undeniable chemistry between Mr. Fox and Miss Pollan is the icing on the cake inasmuch as it was beyond a mere physical attraction from two folks thrown together to play parts as professionals but (as per Mr. Fox's own subsequent telling) ironically mimicked the bond that spontaneously happened between two humans who had not anticipated this when they signed up.

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I wish the show was on now or even a special.  I would love to know what Alex's opinion would be on the current presidential election. 

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I just went through most of season three on Antenna last week-and though I wouldn't call it my favorite, it is a very good episode and showcased, at least to me, that Justine could do more than play the ditz.  It was "Auntie Up" and Aunt Trudy, Steven's aunt, died suddenly after a heart attack. She was Mallory's favorite aunt. 

I got annoyed and pissed at the tone deafness/insensitivity of those that refused to leave when they were told that the garage sale was cancelled due to a death in the family.

But Justine shone when she ripped everyone and the idiot Reverend, a new one about how they were acting. Especially the Reverend or whoever he was.  And maybe it's because I hadn't seen the episode in years, but I was bawling like a baby watching Mallory's grief. She broke my heart.

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Huh, this made me tear up. I wasn't expecting that reaction. I don't think I saw the entire run of the series. The amount of physical comedy is something I didn't remember; but, I do remember the dance with that Billy Vera and the Beaters song and Alex driving through the night to get to Ellen. It might be time for a rematch.

Thanks for posting this compilation. It was fun to watch.

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As much as many of us liked seeing Michael J. Fox showcase his excellent comedic and physical skills, surely there were things that the show might have done better to have done without (e.g. making Alex's best friend being a cartoon nerd rather than a nerd who could have been relatable   ). If so, this might be a good place to discuss them.

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I just watched the two-parter 'Read It and Weep' about when Jennifer attempted to present a book report on the classic novel "Huckleberry Finn"- only to be abruptly shut down by her principal on the grounds that the book had been banned from the school district. I won't spoil everything . However; highlights included having Alex come to Jennifer's defense and Mallory belatedly doing so when she found out that "Cosmopolitan" magazine had been banned(and her & Nick getting enthralled in Twain's work)- as well as how Jennifer's English teacher struggled re having to enforce an edict he disliked and wanting to support an intellectually moved student  not to mention  a dictator of a principal who reveled in laying down this new law and punishing all defiers . Oh, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus did a very appealing turn here as someone on Jennifer's side who still clashed with Alex. I guess I liked this a great deal not just for the issues presented but also because it was a rare show in which Jennifer's character actually shined on her own as opposed to be a foil or straight woman for Alex. Stay to the end when Nick somehow aptly links Mr. Twain's classic with a time-honored children's story.

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I loved the Mallory/Jeff arc.  From his being her shy French tutor to their breakup at Princeton with Mallory in hysterics and Alex walking out on his interview to take care of her.  SOMUCHLOVE for all of those episodes.

Loved the Alex/Ellen 2 parter; the early Nick/Mallory eps in S4, including the one in which he transforms himself into an Alex-clone; the ep where River Phoenix is a child genius who crushes on Jennifer; Jennifer-as-Valley-girl; and the ep in which Alex won't let the Russian Chess player throw their chess match.

"There was a kangaroo in my living room," is one of the funniest lines ever.  Michael Gross rocked that ep.

Edited by lvbalgurl
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Alex getting hooked on speed, Uncle Ned being an alcoholic, Geena Davis being hired as the housekeeper (sadly, one of the best lines from that one is cut from the syndicated version of the episode....Karen (Geena Davis) had "fixed" the toaster, and while Steven and Alex are talking about whether they should fire her, a piece of toast pops out of the toaster and flies across the room toward Steven. He picks it up and says to Alex, "If this was a Pop-Tart, we'd be dead now,") and Alex and Mallory riding the train to Princeton so that Alex can have a pre-admission interview and Mallory can visit Jeff (whom she finds making out w/the actress who played Flap's college student fling in "Terms Of Endearment"...and I never saw why that actress was always cast in those roles, b/c I found her very plain).

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On 9/17/2017 at 1:27 PM, Liamsmom617 said:

and Alex and Mallory riding the train to Princeton so that Alex can have a pre-admission interview and Mallory can visit Jeff (whom she finds making out w/the actress who played Flap's college student fling in "Terms Of Endearment"...and I never saw why that actress was always cast in those roles, b/c I found her very plain).

That has to be my favorite Justine Bateman moment on the show. Her trying to talk to Alex while sobbing and catching her breath is so hilarious, but very true to life and real.

Some great interviews I found with the late creator/producer Gary David Goldberg:

creating "Family Ties

on the other "Family Ties" actors

on Tracy Pollan on "Family Ties"

on Courtney Cox and Tom Hanks on "Family Ties"

on Michael J. Fox's shooting "Back to the Future" during "Family Ties"

Edited by VCRTracking
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'Past Things Remembered' I think was the name of it, where Steven's mother is moving out of the house Steven grew up in after his father dies.  The flashbacks were sad. 

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@Blergh In Miracle in Columbus, Michelle Davies (played by Ellen Hamilton Latzen) doesn't believe in Santa, and we are meant to think that's because she wise and worldly for a child... only she looks too old to believe in Santa even if she wasn't smart and sassy.

That green go-see-Santa number - I think the skirt on that is 2x bigger around than Ellen was tall. I can see why Ellen's mom and sister were having a giggle when she came out on set in that.

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Doing a rewatch now. Michael Gross was ROBBED of kudos. He wasn't as flashy as MJF (and the show was right that they had struck gold in him, no question), but he was phenomenal at both big and small comedy and at the drama as well. He should be a living legend, not working as a wink-and-nod in one-offs.

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"There's a kangaroo in my living room!"

"If this had been a pop tart, we'd be dead!"

Just two of the perfectly delivered lines from Michael Gross as Steven Keaton that I will always remember.

Agree with everyone, he was so underrated. Can't believe he never received any Emmy nominations for best supporting actor on the show.

Edited by Gothish520
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On 4/3/2014 at 6:53 PM, 24k Kate said:

This has got to be my most favorite Family Ties scene ever.

 

God bless you, I've been looking for that for years.

I "like", for lack of a better word, "Give Your Uncle Arthur A Kiss" for Elyse and Steve's perfect reaction to Arthur's behavior:

"Can you think of one reason why I shouldn't kill you?"

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I always thought it was weird that Alex would be into the blues and play them on his college radio. I know he liked swing and music from the 40s but I thought it was a stretch he would be into blues music. It reminds me of this headline from The Onion:

Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes The Blues

I did like in this episode his radio handle (girls singing)"Alex Keaton, he's so cuuuute!"

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I am an episode from the end. Michael Gross is a GENIUS. Yes, I know Michael J Fox was great but it's MUCH harder to be the quieter one.

 

Can our little appreciation thread put together a GoFundMe to make him the star of something? (I know, I know. But I'm so retroactively angry.)

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