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Family Ties and Michael J. Fox's finest hours,
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This review is from: Family Ties: Season 5 (DVD)
Season Five of Family Ties may be best remembered for two things: Baby Andrew grew up a LOT over the summer, and Michael J. Fox's amazing performance in the hour-long episode "A, My Name Is Alex."
Brian Bonsall joins the cast as preschool-aged Andrew Keaton. While Bonsall's screentime is understandably limited, the mere fact that Alex's little brother can now speak and interact with the others helps create some great comic moments. Alex also has to deal with the loss of steady girlfriend Ellen (though actress Tracy Pollan would eventually become Mrs. Michael J. Fox in real life). It's also a great year for Nick and Mallory, including probably my all-time favorite scene in which Mallory tries to tutor Nick ("High School Confidential"). And life would continue to imitate art when Tina Yothers tried her hand at singing after Jennifer Keaton joins a band.
Still, it's the groundbreaking "A, My Name Is Alex" which leaves the largest impression. Alex is overcome with remorse and self-doubt when he backs out of a commitment to help his friend Greg, and then Greg is killed in a car accident. The second half of the episode, which was presented commercial-free back in 1987, is basically Fox on a darkened stage, with family and friends appearing in little vignettes illustrating key points in Alex's life.
"Walking into that kitchen was like walking into a hug," Alex observes. And for those of us with fond memories of this quintessential 80's sitcom, here's another 4 discs' worth of hugs.