Family Ties: Season 3
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Steve and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney), once 1960s radicals, now find themselves in Reagan-Era American trying to raise a traditional suburban family. Son Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) is an ambitious Young Republican and his sister Mallory (Justine Bateman) is a shallow victim of the corporate culture, obsessed with music, clothes and boys. Their only normal kid is young Jennifer (Tina Yothers), a bit of a tomboy.
With a title like Family Ties, the Keaton clan was bound to add to their number. After Meredith Baxter Birney became pregnant during the third season, Elyse follows suit, and little Andy evens out the household's gender balance (he makes his debut in two-part episode "Birth of a Keaton"). While Elyse and Steven (Michael Gross) prepare for the new arrival, 19-year-old Alex (Michael J. Fox) starts college, 17-year-old Mallory (Justine Bateman) gets a job, and 11-year-old Jennifer (Tina Yothers) discovers boys. To Alex's surprise, college proves more difficult than expected. In "Little Man on Campus," he learns it isn't just about memorizing facts and figures, but about thinking for yourself (thirtysomething's Timothy Busfield begins a recurring run as suspender-sporting classmate Doug). Fox also shines in "Hotline Fever," in which the usually over-confident freshman admits to fears of failure, and "Best Man," in which he puts aside personal misgivings to support a friend (The 4400's Billy Campbell and The O.C.'s Tate Donovan play his poker buddies). Year three also provides Bateman with opportunities to reveal her range, as in "Auntie Up," in which Mallory mourns a beloved relative, and "Cold Storage," in which she and Skippy (Marc Price) get locked in the basement.
The show's knack for welcoming Oscar contenders continues with The Accidental Tourist's Geena Davis as an incompetent nanny ("Help Wanted," "Karen II, Alex 0"), Mr. Saturday Night's David Paymer as an obnoxious father-to-be ("Oh, Donna," "Cold Storage"), and Babe's James Cromwell as John Hancock in Alex's re-imagining of the signing of the Declaration of Independence ("Philadelphia Story"). This more introspective season, which concludes with Steven reminiscing about his late father (two-parter "Remembrances of Things Past"), comes complete with episode promos and a gag reel. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- All 24 episodes from the 1984-85 season on four discs
- Gag reel
- Episodic promos
- *Some episodes may be edited from their original network v ersions
- *Music has been changed for this home entertainment version
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It starred Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton, the conservative, business-oriented son of liberal parents Elyse and Steven (Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross). Elyse was a successful architect, while Steven ran a public television station. They lived in suburban Columbus, Ohio with their children: Alex, Mallory ("Mal") (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer ("Jen") (Tina Yothers). Another child, Andrew ("Andy") (Brian Bonsall), was added later.
Saeson three includes the following 24 episodes:
"The Gambler" September 20, 1984
"Here We Go Again" September 27, 1984
"Little Man on Campus" October 4, 1984
"Love Thy Neighbor" October 11, 1984
"Keaton and Son" October 18, 1984
"Fabric Smarts" October 25, 1984
"Hotline Fever" November 1, 1984
"4 Rms Ocn Vu" November 8, 1984
"Best Man" November 15, 1984
"Lost Weekend" November 22, 1984
"Don't Kiss Me, I'm Only the Messenger" November 29, 1984
"Help Wanted" December 6, 1984
"Karen II, Alex 0" December 23, 1984
"Oh Donna" January 3, 1985
"Auntie Up" January 10, 1985
"Philadelphia Story" January 17, 1985
"Birth of a Keaton, Part I" January 24, 1985
"Birth of a Keaton, Part II" January 31, 1985
"Cry Baby" February 7, 1985
"Don't Know Much About History..." February 14, 1985
"Bringing Up Baby" February 21, 1985
"Cold Storage" March 7, 1985
"Remembrances of Things Past, Part I" March 28, 1985
"Remembrances of Things Past, Part II" March 28, 1985
FAMILY TIES was also an instant smash when it made its debut on NBC in the Fall of 1982 and the series even won multiple awards, including 3 consecutive Emmy Awards for Michael J. Fox as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
This 1984-85 Season also takes me back to memory lane to when I was 12 years old in the 6th grade and when I used to watch FAMILY TIES at 8:30 PM after THE COSBY SHOW at 8PM every Thursday night on NBC, plus it also takes me back to memory lane to when NBC's motto was "Let's All Be There", which was NBC's slogan from the Fall of 1984 thru the Summer of 1986.
FAMILY TIES also had a lot of Hollywood stars appear on this show before they were famous and/or during the early years of their showbiz careers like
*Courtney Cox whom is best known as Monica Geller on FRIENDS had co-starred as Alex's girlfriend(Lauren Miller)on the last 2 seasons of this series
*Christina Applegate whom is best known as the ditzy blonde bombshell(Kelley Bundy)on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN had guest starred as Jennifer's girlfriend(Kitten)in the episode "Band On The Run"
*Judith Light from WHO'S THE BOSS had appeared in Season 2 as Steven's co-worker who unsuccessfully tries to seduce him
*River Phoenix guest starred in Season 4 as a 14-year old math-genius who develops a crush on Jennifer after a math tutoring session with Alex
*Tom Hanks appeared in the first 2 seasons as Elyse's alcoholic kid brother(Ned)
*Stephen Baldwin which is the baby of the Baldwin brothers guest starred as a member at a therapy group Alex and his girlfriend attended together
*Geena Davis who co-starred in the movies BEETLEJUICE and THE FLY had guest starred in Season 3 as the incompetent housekeeper(Karen)
*Jane Adams guest starred in Season 7 in the 2-parted episode "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
The original air-dates and titles to each of these 1984-1985 Season episodes were
9/27/84-HERE WE GO AGAIN
10/4/84-LITTLE MAN ON CAMPUS
10/11/84-LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
10/18/84-KEATON & SON
11/8/84-4 RMS OCN VU
11/29/84-DON'T KISS ME, I'M ONLY THE MESSENGER
12/13/84-KAREN II, ALEX O
1/24/85-BIRTH OF A KEATON(Part 1)
1/31/85-BIRTH OF A KEATON(Part 2)
2/14/85-DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY
2/21/85-BRINGING UP BABY
3/28/85-REMEMBERANCES OF THINGS PAST
True, we have to wait one more season for Nick, as well as Alex's great love (and Michael J. Fox's real-life wife) Tracey Pollan. But season 3 is definitely Family Ties at the top of its game.
This is not just a series of loosely connected jokes. There is a story being told.
The Keaton family all love each other, in spite of Alex always insulting his sister. There is a lot of subtle, excellent, acting. The sister Mallory is a poor student, though she tries. Alex is a quicker wit. When Alex insults his sister, Mallory, and the script does not give the actress another line, most actresses would do nothing. However, Justine Bateman is great in this roll, because she does not just do nothing, she responds with a blank look that also says, "I am trying to think of a comeback, thinking, I cannot come up with one, I am a bit hurt, I am exasperated", at which point Mallory storms out of the room. These great responses really embellished Alex's insults.
Little sister, Jennifer, always has a clever line. Such as when Alex gets in trouble and brings his little sister along for sympathy. Jennifer realizes this, and asks Alex, "Do you want me to limp?"
The parents are former hippies, but their son Alex, in sharp contrast, is a preppie, businessman. Skippy is the neighbor boy, who loves Mallory, but Mallory is not interested. All the actors are excellent. Clever scripts. All the seasons are good.