YMMV / Family Ties

  • Anvilicious
  • 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. His popularity led to increased prominence.
    • Which is funny when you consider that the show's creator originally intended for Alex to be an unlikable Straw Republican. But Michael J. Fox proved to be just too likable for audiences to view him as a heel, and the show's writers eventually decided to give him a more positive portrayal.
    • 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 a drinking problem.
    • 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 in the 2010s the economy is still hurting.
  • 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.
      • Similarly, 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.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Alex, to the majority of the audience.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Arguably, Alex P. Keaton. While Michael J. Fox (who played Alex) has always been a liberal, many Republicans have been inspired by the character - and even many liberals have insisted that Republicans should be a little more like Alex. Somewhat justified, though, with the character being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • In a Real Life Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, Fox says many rich Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers who were inspired by Alex P. Keaton have donated to Fox's Parkinson's foundation because of what his character meant to them.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Among the then-unknowns of the guest cast were Tom Hanks, River Phoenix, Geena Davis, Courteney Cox, Judith Light, Crispin Glover, Wil Wheaton, Deep Space Nine's Terry Farrell, Tracy Pollan, and Martha Plimpton.
    • You can add Daphne Zuniga, Jamie Gertz, Stephen and Daniel Baldwin (but not in the same episodes and not as brothers), Jeff Cohen (Chunk in The Goonies), Maurna Tierney, Kevin Dunn (Sparkplug Witwicky in the live-action Transformers films), Betsy Randle (Mrs. Matthews on Boy Meets World), Earl Boen (Dr. Silberman in the Terminator films), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a pre-Married...with Children David Faustino and Christina Applegate.
    • 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.
    • Tony Mordente directed six episodes. Mordente is best known for playing A-rab in West Side Story.
    • Debbie Allen directed two episodes. Allen is best known for playing Lydia Grant in Fame.
    • Frank Bonner directed an episode. Bonner is best known for playing Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati.
    • Dick Martin also directed an episode. Martin is best known for co-hosting Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
    • Michael J. Weithorn wrote 26 episodes. Weithorn is best known as creator and executive producer of Ned & Stacey and co-creator and executive producer of The King of Queens.
    • Susan Stevenson wrote 19 episodes. Stevenson is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
    • Bruce Helford wrote five episodes. Helford is best known as 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. Richdale is best known as co-creator and executive producer of The Oblongs.
    • Kate Boutilier also wrote an episode. Boutilier is best known as co-developer and producer of 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.
  • 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.

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