Family Ties

Set during the early years of the Reagan administration, Elyse and Steven Keaton (Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross) are Baby Boomers and liberals [2] raising their three children: Alex (Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers) in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Married in 1964, Elyse, an independent architect, and Steven, a manager in a local public television station, were hippies during the 1960s. According to the episode, “A Christmas Story” in season one, they were influenced by John F. Kennedy and were members of the Peace Corps following their marriage in 1964. Alex was born in 1965 in Africa. Mallory was born while Elyse and Steven were students at the University of California, Berkeley in 1967, and Jennifer was born the night Richard Nixon won his second term in 1972.

Much of the humor of the series focused on the cultural divide during the 1980s when younger generations rejected the counterculture of the 1960s and embraced the conservative politics which came to define the 1980s.3 Both Alex and Mallory embrace Reaganomics and exhibit right-wing attitudes: Alex is a Young Republican and Mallory is a more traditional young woman in contrast to her feminist mother.2 Jennifer, an athletic tomboy and the youngest child, shares the values of her parents. Elyse and Steven have a fourth child, Andrew, born in 1984.

Information

Airs
NBC
First Aired On:
1982-09-22
Genres
Comedy
Actors
Brian Bonsall, Garrett Merriman, Justine Bateman, Meredith Baxter Birney, Michael Gross, Michael J. Fox, Tina Yothers

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