15 July 1999 | mcfly-31
strong seven year run
"Family Ties" creator Gary Goldberg didn't like Michael J. Fox on his first audition, thought he played Alex a little too smart-assish. But on his second try, Fox approached it a different way and won the part that shot him to stardom. He quickly became the focal point of the show as the money obsessed teenager Alex P. Keaton. You could understand Meredith Baxter-Birney's disappointment, as the show was to be geared toward her character as the mother. But she and the rest of the cast pretty much faded into the background behind Fox. Not that he wasn't supported by a great group of performers. Michael Gross as the easy going father, Justine Bateman as the typical phone hogging, boy troubled teenage daughter, and Tina Yothers as the tomboyish younger sister. In later years some nice additions were Scott Valentine as Bateman's weirdo boyfriend, and making numerous appearances over the years was Marc Price as the nerdy next door neighbor, Skippy. High point episodes over the years were the Alex turns 18 one, the Alex rents out the rooms of the house one, and also the 4(!) part heartattack episode with the focus being on Michael Gross' father character, Steven. Shows major misstep occured during their final year when they tried to become too socially concious. Episodes dealing with book banning, oil spills, toxic fumes from household products, and racism seemed a bit out of place and more importantly, took away from the comedy. The last hurrah was a decent episode that saw Alex move to New York to be an investment banker. But most recommended from the series would be the shows middle years, where the writing was at its best. Show also must of set some sort of record with at least 6 or 7(!) of those flashback type episodes featuring clips of the past stories. But no harm done.