Wednesday, 12 February 2014

1980's Tv Show: Family Ties


‘Family Ties’ was an American sitcom that aired on NBC from 1982 until 1989. Created by Gary David Goldberg, the show reflected the move in the United States from the cultural liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s to the conservatism of the 1980s. Set in suburban Columbus, Ohio during the early years of the Reagan administration, Elyse and Steven Keaton (Meredith Baxter-Birney and Michael Gross) are baby boomers, liberals and former Hippies, raising their three children: Alex (Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers). Married in 1964, Elyse is an independent architect and Steven, a native of Buffalo, New York, is the station manager of WKS, a local public television station.
Much of the humor of the series focuses on the cultural divide during the 1980s when younger generations rejected the counterculture of their parents raised in the 1960s and embraced the conservative politics which came to define the 1980s. The oldest son, Alex, is consumed with becoming a financial giant someday. Everything he does is geared toward his future financial success and cannot understand his father's contentment working for a non-profit public television station.Elyse spends a great deal of time trying to instill in her oldest daughter, Mallory, a sense of women's rights and is constantly frustrated by her lack of interest in the advancement of women, but instead advancing the clothes and accessories in her closet.
Both Alex and Mallory embrace Reaganomics and exhibit conservative attitudes: Alex is a Young Republican and Mallory is a more materialistic young woman in contrast to her feminist mother. Jennifer, an athletic tomboy and the youngest child, shares the values of her parents and just wants to be a normal kid.

By 1984, when the series was in full swing, the Yuppies had emerged in force. Products of the Reagan era and born out of the baby boom. Alex became the star of the show, and unsurprisingly Family Ties was Regans favourite show. The show won multiple awards, including three consecutive Emmy Awards for Michael J. Fox as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

One reason the show appealed to so many americans wa  the well-written comedy of the show, which was not aimed so much at slapstick as it was the exchange of ideas and lifestyles. As a parent, it seems very important to instill into your children your values and when their personalities are so much at odds with yours, it becomes fuel for great confrontations in which many could relate to.

Also, there is the unknown influences that Elyse and Steven have on their children without realizing it. Even the children are unaware of their inner struggles until something brings it out. One good example is when Mallory decides to go to college only to please her parents, but suddenly finds she has a flair for fashion and decides to become a designer. Never having been a great student, she realizes that she is more career minded that she once thought. "Family Ties" was so well liked because it showed that all families don't have to think alike to be close. Even during a difference of opinion, there is respect and acceptance of each other and unconditional love, something a lot of families seem to have trouble with today.



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