Family Ties “Band on the Run” (part 1 of 2)
Wow, are we up to season 5 already? I guess it helps that I completely skipped over season 4 of Family Ties, a season notable for many things, including Justine Bateman inexplicably being nominated for an Emmy (for acting), a cheesy TV movie featuring the whole Keaton family going to England, and the writers realizing that after Meredith Baxter’s pregnancy was written into the show, they were now stuck with a baby in the cast who couldn’t contribute to any of the storylines and was basically dead weight on every episode.
To solve that problem, they crafted an ingenious solution. They magically aged little Andrew Keaton by about three years between season 4 and season 5, in the process adding child actor Brian Bonsall to the cast. Now, not only would Andrew be able to talk, but he’d bring back that “cute kid” dynamic sorely missing ever since Tina Yothers hit puberty. Brilliant!
Except, from the episodes I’ve seen featuring a rapidly-aged Andrew, the kid really doesn’t do much of anything. It seems he’s mostly there to look cute and toss out precocious one-liners every now and then, surely with a lot of prompting from his off-camera stage mom.
Also, Andrew’s presence is a real distraction, in that the whole time I’m watching him, I’m wondering how the hell two sons can have the same parents and be born 20 years apart. Then again, Alex and Mallory were high school age when this show started, and after seven seasons, they were both still living at home. So a lot of things on Family Ties don’t add up for me.
After Family Ties ended, Brian Bonsall went on to play Worf’s son, at least until that character was also rapidly and inexplicably aged. In the years since, Bonsall has lived up to every cliché you’ve ever heard about former child actors, being arrested on several occasions for DUI, assault, and less than two weeks prior to this writing, violating his parole by using marijuana.
Between this, Michael J. Fox getting Parkinson’s, Justine Bateman playing her brother’s love interest, and Meredith Baxter turning lesbian, I would absolutely kill to see a Family Ties reunion TV movie.