YMMV / Family Ties

  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Alex and Ellen. Most people prefer this couple to Alex and Lauren, his girlfriend in later seasons. It also helps that Michael J. Fox and Ellen's actress Tracy Pollan are still married in real life.
  • Fridge Brilliance: In the episode "Say Uncle" we Elise's brother (Uncle) Ned has developed a drinking problem. Early in the episode after she says he's going heavy on the beer, she tells him she wants to talk to him, which is a proposal to find a new job. The way Ned reacts at first means he thinks she's going to nag him about being an alcoholic.
  • Fridge Logic: If Skippy's adopted, how come his sister looks like him?
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Alex was the most popular character when the show aired and remains the best-remembered aspect of it. Interestingly, the character was originally intended to be amusingly obnoxious, but 1980s audiences loved his yuppie behavior unironically.
    • Mallory's Sylvester Stallone-inspired boyfriend Nick became extremely popular. NBC even planned a spin-off for him. But cancelled it since they were worried his absence would hurt Family Ties.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Watching the Keatons preach to Uncle Ned about his alcoholism is kind of hard to watch after Michael J. Fox and Meredith Baxter admitted they had drinking problems.
    • The second season Christmas episode shows a flash forward to thirty years in the future and it's mentioned that the economy isn't doing well. This was made in 1983, and 30 years later the economy was still recovering from a recession.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The episode "Have Gun, Will Unravel" sees Steven and Elyse consider and then debate on purchasing a gun for home defense after a burglar breaks into their home, something both ex-flower children would previously find unthinkable. Nearly a decade later, Micheal Gross would go on to play Gun Nut Crazy Survivalist Burt Gummer in Tremors, who then goes on to show a monster what happens when it breaks into the wrong goddamn rec room.
    • At the beginning of the episode "Heartstrings" Alex is celebrating George Bush's win. He tells Andy that he was born under Reagan, Bush was elected, and that he'd have a Democrat-free childhood. Bill Clinton was elected four years later.
    • At the end of "They Can't Take That Away From Me", after having just broken things off with Lauren and Marty (or more accurately, they with him, saying to him exactly what he intended to say to each of them), Alex storms into the dressing room to get changed for the graduation ceremony, then looks upward asking, "What's next? The plague? Locusts? Democrats in '92?"
  • Hollywood Homely: A bespectacled Daphne Zuniga as Alex's nerdy love interest Rachel in two episodes from the second season.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Courteney Cox had a recurring role as Lauren Miller, Alex's girlfriend.
    • In addition to creating Family Ties, Gary David Goldberg served as co-creator and executive producer of Spin City, which starred Michael J. Fox for the first four seasons.
    • Michael J. Weithorn, who wrote 26 episodes, is best known as creator and executive producer of Ned & Stacey and he would go on to co-create and executive produce The King of Queens.
    • Susan Stevenson wrote 19 episodes before becoming co-creator and co-executive producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
    • Bruce Helford wrote five episodes. Helford went on to become creator and executive producer of Anger Management and co-creator and executive producer of The Norm Show, The Drew Carey Show, and The George Lopez Show.
    • Barbara Hall wrote an episode. Hall is best known as creator and executive producer of Joan of Arcadia and co-creator and executive producer of Judging Amy.
    • Jace Richdale also wrote an episode before helming the Cult Classic series The Oblongs.
    • Kate Boutilier also wrote an episode many years before her work on All Grown Up!.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Alex's breakdown after his friend is killed in a car accident.
    • The mother of Mallory's friend who committed suicide lashing out at Mallory, calling her by her daughter's name and revealing that she's been unintentionally (or not) using Mallory as a substitute.
    • In "Remembrances of Things Past", Steven dreamed when he was a kid to a moment where he said something bad about him which he didn't mean. He woke up, Elise asked what's wrong, he tells her that he said many bad things to his dad while growing up. He starts crying, saying it's too late to take them back. Elise comforts him.
    • In a two-part episode where Alex finds himself having to choose between Lauren and another young woman he's become attracted to, Alex realizes that he doesn't have a future with either girl and gently breaks it off with both of them, allowing all three to move on with their lives.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/FamilyTies