There’s nothing that gives Michael J. Fox more joy than meeting an ardent fan of Alex P. Keaton.
Though its been years since Family Ties finished its memorable run on NBC from 1982 to 1989, fans still want to engage Fox about the comedy that featured a pair of hippie parents (Meredith Baxter, Michael Gross) and the very different kids (Fox, Justine Bateman, Tina Yothers) who loved them.
“People grew up with Family Ties,” Fox tells EW. “That’s a very special relationship I enjoy with people. I was there for a lot of big things in their lives. I wasn’t physically there but I was a friend in their lives. It’s really a blessing to be able to have people associate you with something pleasant and positive in their lives.”
So when EW asked the Keatons to reunite for the magazine’s Reunion issue, the cast was overjoyed to see their “other” family – not that anyone really lost that connection when the show went off the air.
“We definitely stayed in touch,” says Yothers, now a California-based stay-at-home mom with a husband and two kids. “It’s probably more so than any normal job when you leave an office or workplace. And now with social media, Michael Gross for instance is all over Facebook. He is the Facebook king! My dad passed away 10 years ago and Michael reached out. He’s been my dad. It’s like we’ve never been apart.”
Looking back, the castmembers are particularly proud at the stories – not just the jokes – they told on the multi-camera comedy.
“The show was more focused on getting Humanitas Awards than Emmys,” said Justine Bateman, who is studying computer science and management full-time at UCLA. “Think about All in the Family, The Jeffersons, the topics they tackled. That’s what was going before us, you know what I mean? We were in the early ’80s, so we were all of that mind. There was an episode where Mallory’s uncle makes a pass at her. I don’t know if there was anything the [writers] wanted to do that the network said no to.”
WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television, music, and more.
To continue reading more from the cast reunions of Family Ties,as well as those of Misery, Felicity, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bring It On, and Muriel’s Wedding,, pick up the new issue celebrating Entertainment Weekly’s 25th anniversary, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here.