Trivia / Family Ties

  • Actor Allusion /Shout-Out : The episode where Jennifer forms a Girl Group and Alex decides to manage them. Their song: Mr. Sandman.
  • The Cast Showoff: In later seasons, Jennifer. In earlier episodes, Elyse.
  • Dawson Casting: Michael J. Fox was 21 when he was cast as 16-year-old Alex.
  • He Also Did:
    • Tony Mordente directed six episodes. Mordente is best known for playing A-rab in West Side Story.
    • Debbie Allen directed two episodes. Allen is a choreographer, dancer and actress who's most known for playing Lydia Grant in Fame - both the film and the series.
    • Frank Bonner directed an episode. Bonner is best known for playing Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati.
    • Dick Martin, of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In fame, also directed an episode.
  • Out of Order: The two part episode "It's My Party" (where Jennifer turns 13) was made for the fourth season but delayed and not shown until the end of the fifth season. This was quite noticeable since Andrew, who was now being played by a much older Brian Bonsall, was back to being a newborn baby and Alex's girlfriend Ellen is back even though she had already broken up with Alex when she moved to Paris. The producers had originally wanted to show it for season 4, but NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff initially vetoed it, claiming that it made Jennifer seem too nasty.
  • Real-Life Relative: Justine Bateman's father, Kent Bateman, directed an episode.
  • The Red Stapler: The name "Mallory" was almost nonexistent prior to the show's premiere. As a given name that is. As with many non-classic given names, it is also a surname.
  • Romance on the Set: Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, who played Alex and Ellen respectively, got married in real life.
    • However, according to Fox's autobiography Lucky Man, the two actors did not start dating until sometime after Family Ties concluded its run, as Pollan was already dating Kevin Bacon, while Fox was dating Nancy McKeon. Fox did have a crush on her, though.
  • Screwed by the Network: After the show's fifth season, NBC Entertainment president Brandon Tartikoff moved the show out of its comfortable post The Cosby Show time slot on Thursday nights to Sunday nights for its final two seasons, where the ratings declined and never recovered. In an aversion of the trope, however, Tartikoff did not actually want to move Family Ties out of its Thursday night slot and only did so at the insistence of Bill Cosby, who wanted the slot freed up for spin off show A Different World.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: If there was ever a show that reflected America under the Reagan administration, Family Ties is it. Republicans at the time saw Alex P. Keaton as cool and hip, no doubt due to Michael J. Fox's performance. Cut to 2016: With America still living under the shadow of 9/11 and the Great Recession, race relations becoming more problematic, and the Republican Party's continued controversial attempts to pander to fundamentalist Christians, it's quite possible that most conservatives now view Alex as a liberal, and the Democratic parents would probably be viewed as Communists. Word of God seems to defend this: in one of his last blogs, written during the 2008 Presidential Election, creator Gary David Goldberg believed that Alex would not fit in with modern-day Republicans, would become a registered Independent, and would consider voting for Barack Obama because of his Recession-related fiscal reforms.
    • If the radical politics of Millennials (fueled by the Great Recession) are anything to go by, Alex would certainly not fit in with the Alt-Right and the 'liberal' parents would not fit in with the SJW (Social Justice Warrior) Left crowd of today, either.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, the actor who played Nick, Scott Valentine, was supposed to have been spun off into his own series, The Art of Being Nick. However, NBC did not pick it up because they were reportedly afraid that Nick's absence would hurt Family Ties.

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