Mar 19, 2020
Family Ties “The One Where Tom Hanks Plays a Drunk”
First of all, I’d like to make it clear that I realize the title of this episode is not actually “The One Where Tom Hanks Plays a Drunk”. But if I gave this recap the actual title of “Say Uncle”, nobody would know what the hell I was talking about, other than the hardcore Family Ties fans who know every episode title by heart, and do people like that really exist? For their sake, I hope they don’t.
It’s probably been 20 years since the last time I watched a full episode of Family Ties, but I’ve been meaning to delve into the show for some time now. I was reminded of this when Family Ties found its way into the news lately. For those who haven’t heard, Meredith Baxter just announced she’s a lesbian, and let’s face it, it’s not every day that a sitcom mom comes out of the closet. My money’s on Patricia Richardson being next. She’s just got that look.
In honor of the occasion, I decided to recap an episode of Family Ties centered on Meredith Baxter’s character. But as it turns out, there aren’t any. Or rather, there aren’t any worth writing about.
Family Ties was originally a show about two ex-hippies, Stephen and Elyse Keaton, who settle down in the suburbs and have a family, and find their lofty Baby Boomer ideals clashing with the cynical realities of Reagan’s America. Ratings for the first two seasons were mediocre at best, but in the fall of 1984, the show was paired with future ratings juggernaut The Cosby Show. Blessed with this lead-in, Family Ties became a top 10 show, and helped kick off NBC’s dominance of Thursday nights for years to come.