List of Family Ties episodes

The NBC sitcom Family Ties aired from September 22, 1982 to May 14, 1989, with a total of 168 episodes produced.

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
122September 22, 1982 (1982-09-22)April 11, 1983 (1983-04-11)
222September 23, 1983 (1983-09-23)May 10, 1984 (1984-05-10)
324September 20, 1984 (1984-09-20)March 28, 1985 (1985-03-28)
FilmSeptember 23, 1985 (1985-09-23)
424September 26, 1985 (1985-09-26)May 8, 1986 (1986-05-08)
530September 25, 1986 (1986-09-25)August 13, 1987 (1987-08-13)
628September 13, 1987 (1987-09-13)May 1, 1988 (1988-05-01)
726October 30, 1988 (1988-10-30)May 14, 1989 (1989-05-14)


Season 1 (1982–83)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
11"Pilot"Asaad KeladaGary David GoldbergSeptember 22, 1982 (1982-09-22)001
Father and son clash when Steven demands that Alex not accompany his new girlfriend to an elitist, restricted country club.
22"Not With My Sister You Don't"Tony MordenteLloyd GarverSeptember 29, 1982 (1982-09-29)004
With Steven and Elyse away for the weekend, Alex hosts a wild party and worries over Mallory going off with one of his womanizing friends.
33"I Know Jennifer's Boyfriend"Michael ZinbergGary David GoldbergOctober 6, 1982 (1982-10-06)003
Because she is friends with a nerdy boy, Jennifer is teased at school. To stop the teasing, she decides not to be friends with him any more.
44"Summer of '82"Tony MordenteMichael J. WeithornOctober 27, 1982 (1982-10-27)007
At 17 years old, Alex loses his virginity to a college girl (Amy Steel), but is heartbroken when he finds her the next day with another guy named Pete (John Putch).
55"I Never Killed for My Father"Dick MartinKimberly HillNovember 3, 1982 (1982-11-03)008
Steven's father (John Randolph) arrives for a visit, and announces that he is going to die.
66"Give Your Uncle Arthur a Kiss"Will MackenzieLloyd Garver & Gary David GoldbergNovember 10, 1982 (1982-11-10)012
When a family friend, "Uncle Arthur", visits the Keatons, he comes on to Mallory and tries to kiss her against her will. Shocked, Mallory goes to Alex for advice.
77"Big Brother is Watching"Alan BergmannRuth BennettNovember 17, 1982 (1982-11-17)013
As the new editor of the school paper, Alex learns of an algebra test cheating scandal in which Mallory is involved.
88"No Nukes Is Good Nukes"Frank BonnerRuth BennettNovember 24, 1982 (1982-11-24)009
Steven and Elyse are arrested on Thanksgiving while protesting nuclear arms, leaving the kids in the hands of Elyse's parents (Dick Sargent and Priscilla Morrill).
99"Death of a Grocer"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornDecember 1, 1982 (1982-12-01)011

Alex quits his job at a local grocery store to earn more at a bigger store, but he doesn't enjoy the new job.

Note: This episode marks the debut of Marc Price in the recurring role of Skippy Handleman.
1010"Have Gun, Will Unravel"Alan BergmannRuth BennettDecember 8, 1982 (1982-12-08)006
After their house is broken into, Steven and Elyse debate buying a gun to protect their home.
1111"A Christmas Story"Will MackenzieJoanne PagliaroDecember 15, 1982 (1982-12-15)014
Snowed in for Christmas, Elyse and Steven remember the kids' births in flashbacks: Alex was born in Africa, Mallory was delivered by a crazy doctor and Jennifer was born during the 1972 presidential election.
1212"Oops"Tony MordenteJoanne PagliaroDecember 22, 1982 (1982-12-22)005
One of Mallory's friends reveals that she is pregnant, and asks Elyse for advice.
1313"Sherry Baby"Tony MordenteBarbara HallJanuary 12, 1983 (1983-01-12)015
Mallory convinces Alex to go out with a sorority girl, hoping that the girl will invite Mallory to join, but soon learns the girl was only using her to get to Alex.
1414"The Fugitive, Part 1"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornJanuary 19, 1983 (1983-01-19)016
When Elyse's brother Ned (Tom Hanks) arrives for a surprise visit, the family finds out he is on the run from the FBI for embezzling millions from his employers.
1515"The Fugitive, Part 2"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornJanuary 26, 1983 (1983-01-26)017
After Ned reveals that he embezzled the money to keep his employers from firing 1,800 workers, the Keatons initially attempt to help him elude the FBI, but later try to convince him to turn himself in.
1616"Margin of Error"Tony MordenteMichael RussnowFebruary 9, 1983 (1983-02-09)018
Alex impersonates his father and uses the family's blue-chip stocks to play the market, but ends up losing a large sum of money.
1717"French Lessons"Tony MordenteRuth BennettFebruary 16, 1983 (1983-02-16)019
Mallory goes out with her French tutor, Jeff, who seeks out romantic advice from Alex. Meanwhile, Steven tries to beat Alex in chess.
1818"I Gotta Be Ming"Sam WeismanDouglas WymanFebruary 23, 1983 (1983-02-23)020
While Elyse raises money for an immigrant education program, Alex tries to help by mentoring a Vietnamese boy named Ming.
1919"Suzanne Takes You Down"Will MackenzieRuth BennettMarch 16, 1983 (1983-03-16)010
Elyse offers her friend Suzanne a job as her assistant, but Suzanne isn't up to the task.
2020"The Fifth Wheel"Andrew McCulloughRuth Bennett & Michael J. WeithornMarch 28, 1983 (1983-03-28)022
Jennifer decides she's tired of being treated as a burden by her family and runs away.
2121"Stage Fright"Sam WeismanRuth Bennett & Michael J. WeithornApril 4, 1983 (1983-04-04)021
Alex's school quiz team is forced to find a replacement for a sick teammate, and in an act of desperation, Alex trains Mallory to fill the spot.
2222"Elyse D'Arc"Michael ZinbergMichael J. WeithornApril 11, 1983 (1983-04-11)002
Steven and Elyse clash when Elyse's busy schedule keeps them from spending time together.

Season 2 (1983–84)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
231"Tender is the Knight"Sam WeismanRuth BennettSeptember 28, 1983 (1983-09-28)023

Alex must contend with a childhood sweetheart (Talia Balsam) staying at the house, who is unlike any girl he's met—or liked—before.

Note: First episode featuring a bearded Steven Keaton which he will keep for the remainder of the series. Michael Gross had grown the beard between seasons 1 and 2 while appearing in a Broadway production.
242"The Homecoming"Sam WeismanDouglas WymanOctober 12, 1983 (1983-10-12)027
Mallory's boyfriend Jeff returns to Columbus and confesses to Alex that he hates Princeton, and is willing to do anything to get out of it—even ask Mallory to go steady with him.
253"The Harder They Fall"Sam WeismanRich ReinhartOctober 12, 1983 (1983-10-12)026
Parent/Teacher Conferences at Alex and Mallory's school become interesting when both Steven and Elyse contend with a rude, insufferable teacher (Edward Edwards), whom Elyse punches for insulting her. Alex is upset when he finds out about it, particularly since a college recommendation hangs in the balance. To make matters worse when Steven tries to apologize to the teacher on Elyse's behalf, his insults cause Steven to punch him out.
264"This Year's Model"John PasquinSusan Borowitz & Richard RaskindOctober 26, 1983 (1983-10-26)032
Mallory enters herself and Elyse in a mother/daughter modeling contest but ends up regretting it when they win and Elyse steals her thunder.
275"Not An Affair to Remember"Sam WeismanRuth Bennett & Gary David GoldbergNovember 2, 1983 (1983-11-02)029
Steven's fidelity is put to the test when he learns that Stacy (Judith Light), an employee at the TV station, has a crush on him.
286"Speed Trap"Sam WeismanMichael J. WeithornNovember 9, 1983 (1983-11-09)025
Obsessed with getting good grades to earn a college scholarship, Alex begins taking amphetamines so he can stay up late studying.
297"Sweet Lorraine"Sam WeismanAlan UgerNovember 16, 1983 (1983-11-16)031
Working at the school radio station, Alex sets himself up a blind date with a fellow music enthusiast (Carolyn Seymour), who turns out to be twice his age.
308"Batter Up"Sam WeismanLisa A. BannickNovember 30, 1983 (1983-11-30)028
Alex, the coach of Jennifer's peewee softball team, pushes his own sister too hard. It is up to Steven and Elyse to show Alex that being a coach is about more than winning and "doing what the coach says".
319"A Keaton Christmas Carol"Will MackenzieStory: Robert Caplain
Teleplay: Rich Reinhart
December 14, 1983 (1983-12-14)037
Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is adapted to the Keatons as a Scrooge-like Alex is enlightened of the meaning of the Christmas season by the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Jennifer) and Future (Mallory).
3210"To Snatch a Keith"Sam WeismanAlan UgerDecember 21, 1983 (1983-12-21)024
When family friends Richard (James Sutorius) and his son Keith (David Faustino) come for a visit, it is known that Richard has gone through a divorce. Upon arrival, Richard reveals that his ex-wife Cynthia (Donna McKechnie), is moving to California and taking Keith with her. Despondent when Cynthia is about to leave with Keith, Richard takes his son. Steven has to meet Richard at a bar to convince him that not only is taking Keith illegal, it's wrong to take "prisoners" in his "war" against Cynthia.
3311"Birthday Boy"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornJanuary 5, 1984 (1984-01-05)033

Alex's friends Neil (John Putch) and Doug (Crispin Glover) want to take him to West Virginia, where the drinking age is 18, for his birthday, but Elyse is opposed to this plan.

Notes: Michael J. Fox and Crispin Glover would later star in Back to the Future together. John Putch also previously guest starred in the episode "Summer of '82" as the character Pete.
3412"Go Tigers"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornJanuary 12, 1984 (1984-01-12)036
Alex travels to Princeton University for a critical, yet coveted, admissions interview. At the same time, Mallory—who has accompanied Alex—learns that her old boyfriend, Jeff, has a new girlfriend and neglected to tell her. Mallory becomes so emotional that she interrupts Alex's interview. Alex is left to decide what is more important: family or college.
3513""M" is for the Many Things"Will MackenzieLisa A. BannickJanuary 19, 1984 (1984-01-19)038
Elyse is shocked by her soon-to-be-divorced mother's quick and free-spirited plunge into the singles world.
3614"Say Uncle"Will MackenzieRuth BennettJanuary 26, 1984 (1984-01-26)039
Elyse's brother Ned (Tom Hanks) returns, hoping to put his life back on track by getting a job at the TV station. But after they learn that Ned blew the job interview by going in drunk, Steven, Elyse, and Alex try to convince him he has an alcohol problem.
3715"Ladies' Man"John PasquinAlan UgerFebruary 2, 1984 (1984-02-02)040
Alex's attraction to a classmate, Deena Marx (Tracy Nelson) leads him to join the ERA movement, much to his parents' surprise. However, Alex soon learns that it's not a good idea to lie about what he believes in just to impress a girl.
3816"Ready or Not"Lee ShallatRuth Bennett & Michael J. WeithornFebruary 9, 1984 (1984-02-09)041
Mallory turns to Alex for advice when her new boyfriend tries pressuring her into having sex.
3917"Double Date"Will MackenzieDouglas WymanFebruary 16, 1984 (1984-02-16)044
Alex unwittingly makes two dates, Rachel Miller (Daphne Zuniga) and Jocelyn Clark (Jami Gertz) to the senior prom. He then has to figure a way out of this mess by escorting both girls to the big dance ... without telling the other.
4018"Lady Sings the Blues"Andrew McCulloughAlan Uger & Michael J. WeithornFebruary 23, 1984 (1984-02-23)042
Elyse's emotions run the gamut as she prepares to revive her folk singing career at the local nightclub.
4119"Baby Boy Doe"Will MackenzieRuth Bennett & Alan UgerMarch 8, 1984 (1984-03-08)045
Skippy finds out he is adopted and asks for the Keatons' help to find his birth mother.
4220"The Graduate"Will MackenzieRuth Bennett & Lloyd GarverMarch 15, 1984 (1984-03-15)043
Alex's sexist views are put to the test when he learns that he will be his class' salutatorian ... and that his girlfriend Rachel, will be the valedictorian.
4321"Diary of a Young Girl"Sam WeismanRuth BennettMay 3, 1984 (1984-05-03)034
Jennifer fears the worst when she goes in for a tonsillectomy. In the first of several flashback episodes, Jennifer recalls past encounters with each of her family members and how they were resolved.
4422"Working At It"Sam WeismanLloyd GarverMay 10, 1984 (1984-05-10)030
Elyse struggles to juggle a new job and home life, which leads to further family problems.

Season 3 (1984–85)

No. in
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Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
451"The Gambler"Will MackenzieAlan Uger & Michael J. WeithornSeptember 20, 1984 (1984-09-20)046
During an architects' convention in Atlantic City, Elyse succumbs to the lures of gambling.
462"Here We Go Again"Will MackenzieRuth Bennett & Alan UgerSeptember 27, 1984 (1984-09-27)047
Elyse contacts her doctor when she feels ill, and discovers she is pregnant again. The family all feel strongly against it at first, until they realize how good it could be.
473"Little Man on Campus"John PasquinMichael J. WeithornOctober 4, 1984 (1984-10-04)050
Alex enters college as a freshman and finds out there is more to college than being smart when faced with a difficult professor.
484"Love Thy Neighbor"Will MackenzieTeleplay: Alan Uger & Michael J. Weithorn
Story: Rich Reinhart
October 11, 1984 (1984-10-11)054

Jennifer looks forward to hanging out with Scott again when he returns to Columbus for a visit, but is disappointed to learn that he is more interested in Mallory than her.

Note: This is the first episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
495"Keaton and Son"Will MackenzieLissa LevinOctober 18, 1984 (1984-10-18)052

Steven is excited to have Alex working with him and begins planning their future together, but Alex tries to convince his dad that he has other goals.

Note: Second episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
506"Fabric Smarts"Will MackenzieLloyd GarverOctober 25, 1984 (1984-10-25)048
Mallory is enjoying working at a fashion boutique, but she is so caught up in it her grades begin to slip.
517"Hotline Fever"John PasquinMarc LawrenceNovember 1, 1984 (1984-11-01)055

Alex and an old school rival, James, are teamed to man Leland's suicide hotline. They have to put their differences aside when a young man calls the hotline, threatening to kill himself.

Note: Third episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
528"4 Rms Ocn Vu"Lee ShallatAlan Uger & Lawrence UgerNovember 8, 1984 (1984-11-08)057

While Steven and Elyse are away for the weekend, Mallory drives the car into a light-pole. In need of quick cash for repairs, Alex rents out the house to guests for a big University Homecoming Game. The plan works only too well; he and his sisters end up double- and triple-booking every room in the house, earning enough money to fix a dozen cars. But when Steven comes home early, hospitality at "Keaton Manor" comes to a (literally) screeching halt.

Note: Fourth episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
539"Best Man"John PasquinAlan UgerNovember 15, 1984 (1984-11-15)051

Alex worries that he's losing his best friend when Doug announces that he intends to marry his girlfriend, and the resulting friction between them threatens to make Alex's fears come true.

Note: Lily Mariye guest stars in this episode as Eleanor, to whom Doug wants to wed.
5410"Lost Weekend"Will MackenzieRuth Bennett & Michael J. WeithornNovember 22, 1984 (1984-11-22)049
Steven and Elyse plan a special last weekend before the baby arrives, but their kids have other ideas.
5511"Don't Kiss Me, I'm Only the Messenger"Will MackenzieRuth BennettNovember 29, 1984 (1984-11-29)053
Skippy asks for Alex's help to ask a girl out, but the girl ends up falling for Alex instead.
5612"Help Wanted"Will MackenzieRuth Bennett & Michael J. WeithornDecember 6, 1984 (1984-12-06)056

As Elyse's pregnancy enters its final trimester, Alex hires a housekeeper named Karen Nicholson (Geena Davis) to take care of the housework without consulting Steven. Karen soon proves to be ditzy and incompetent, but that doesn't stop Alex from falling for her.

Note: Fifth episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
5713"Karen II, Alex 0"Lee ShallatLloyd Garver & Michael J. WeithornDecember 13, 1984 (1984-12-13)058

Alex, wanting to get into Leland's Alpha Phi Epsilon fraternity, tries to talk Karen into accompanying him to a fraternity event after his date cancels. Karen balks at first, but later decides to go. She has a good time ... until she runs into an old flame.

Note: Sixth episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
5814"Oh Donna"Will MackenzieAlan UgerJanuary 3, 1985 (1985-01-03)060
Alex is a stand-in at a Lamaze class for a pregnant, single, college coeds. Alex's natural over-enthusiasm gets the best of him as he envisions nurturing a relationship with a girl named Donna and her unborn child, and leading it into marriage and a family. It takes Elyse to set him straight ... and even alert him to the possibility that Donna may not want to keep the baby.
5915"Auntie Up"John PasquinLawrence H. LevyJanuary 10, 1985 (1985-01-10)059

Mallory's beloved Aunt Trudy (Edith Atwater) suffers a fatal heart attack. Mallory falls into a deep depression, but matters are compounded when the family brushes her off to tend to what they feel are more important matters.

Note: Seventh episode that Meredith Baxter does not appear in due to her pregnancy.
6016"Philadelphia Story"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornJanuary 17, 1985 (1985-01-17)061
While doing a term paper for history class on colonial times, Alex suffers from writer's block and falls asleep. In a dream, Alex becomes a Philadelphia stable boy who, with his friend Skipford (Marc Price in character as Skippy), experience the events leading to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Michael Gross doubles as a Steven Keaton-inspired Thomas Jefferson.
6117"Birth of a Keaton, Part 1"Will MackenzieLloyd GarverJanuary 24, 1985 (1985-01-24)062
The Keatons, including a very pregnant and about-due Elyse, prepare for the annual WKS telethon. Alex, Mallory and Jennifer are beyond disgusted at having to participate and make their feelings known, even at risk of offending Steven, who tries to juggle running the telethon from home while dealing with a plumbing problem. Things become even more complicated when Elyse goes into labor while singing a song live on the air.
6218"Birth of a Keaton, Part 2"Will MackenzieMarc Lawrence & Alan UgerJanuary 31, 1985 (1985-01-31)063
The rush is on to get Elyse to the hospital to deliver her child, except there is a major blizzard striking Columbus, meaning she may have to deliver her baby at WKS. As the storm continues, Steven, Skippy, and the Keatons' plumber, Bud, struggle to get to the station in Bud's van.
6319"Cry Baby"Sam WeismanBruce David & Bruce HelfordFebruary 7, 1985 (1985-02-07)064
Newborn Andrew's arrival has been hard on the Keatons, with everyone going without sleep. Jennifer has taken the bundle of joy the hardest, eventually screaming that she hates Andrew and wishes he had never been born. Now the family have to decide how they can properly balance their time with Andrew and not alienate Jennifer. Finally realizing that she had done wrong, Jennifer apologises and ends up starting to get used to living with Andrew.
6420"Don't Know Much About History..."Sam WeismanMarc Lawrence & Michael J. WeithornFebruary 14, 1985 (1985-02-14)065
Rival tutors Alex and James both fall for an attractive coed they are tutoring. Their ill will toward one another explodes at a poetry reading, and they continue to verbally spar.
6521"Bringing Up Baby"Andrew McCulloughRich ReinhartFebruary 21, 1985 (1985-02-21)067
With two careers, three bickering children and one demanding baby, Steven and Elyse can't seem to find any time for each other. But when they do finally take the time for a quiet evening alone, they find that they actually miss all of the chaos.
6622"Cold Storage"Lee ShallatMarc LawrenceMarch 7, 1985 (1985-03-07)066
Skippy accidentally locks himself in the basement with Mallory while the rest of the Keatons are away. The two clash at first over Skippy's unrequited feelings for Mallory, but she realizes that, despite his quirks, he has been a good friend to her.
"Remembrances of Things Past"Sam WeismanGary David Goldberg & Alan UgerMarch 28, 1985 (1985-03-28)068
Steven is summoned home after learning of his father's death. For Steven, it is a bittersweet trip back in time as he recalls not-so-fond memories of his father (told in flashback form). He also quarrels with his brother, Rob, who was closer to his parents than Steven ever was.

Film (1985)

The television film Family Ties Vacation aired two nights before the start of season four. The movie was later split into four individual episodes when the series entered syndication.

Title Directed by Written by Original air date
"Family Ties Vacation"Will MackenzieGary David Goldberg & Michael J. Weithorn & Alan Uger & Marc LawrenceSeptember 23, 1985 (1985-09-23)
The Keatons take a vacation to England where they get mixed up in international intrigue.

Season 4 (1985–86)

No. in
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Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
691"The Real Thing, Part 1"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornSeptember 26, 1985 (1985-09-26)074
Alex becomes attracted to Ellen Reed (Tracy Pollan), a college freshman, while trying to pursue another girl. It turns out the attraction is mutual, but their relationship is complicated by Ellen's engagement to another student.
702"The Real Thing, Part 2"Will MackenzieMichael J. WeithornOctober 3, 1985 (1985-10-03)075

As Ellen prepares to leave town to marry her fiance Dennis, both she and Alex must decide whether or not they really care about each other.

In 2009, TV Guide ranked this episode #76 on its list of the 100 Greatest Episodes.[1]
713"Mr. Wrong"Will MackenzieAlan UgerOctober 17, 1985 (1985-10-17)073
Mallory brings home her new boyfriend, Nick Moore (Scott Valentine), who looks to be exactly the type of guy Steven and Elyse hoped their daughter wouldn't get involved with.
724"Designated Hitter"John PasquinStephen J. CurwickOctober 24, 1985 (1985-10-24)070
Jennifer defends her boyfriend from the attacks of a bully (Danny Nucci) with complications. In the subplot, Alex is devastated when Mallory scores higher than he does on an IQ test.
735"Don't Go Changin'"Asaad KeladaMarc LawrenceOctober 31, 1985 (1985-10-31)079
Alex changes his personality to impress Ellen's artsy friends. As a subplot, Steven balks at having to go to Elyse's book club meetings during football games.
746"The Old College Try"Barbara SchultzRuth BennettNovember 7, 1985 (1985-11-07)076
Mallory upsets Elyse when she announces that she is not going to college.
757"My Tutor"Sam WeismanJace RichdaleNovember 14, 1985 (1985-11-14)080
To help him with math, Alex hires a tutor who he later learns is a fourteen-year-old named Eugene (River Phoenix). Eugene then falls for the younger Jennifer. However, he soon realizes it's a mistake when Jennifer acts her age and embarrasses him at a party. The subplot has Steven working tirelessly on the family budget.
768"Mr. Right"Sam WeismanAlan UgerNovember 21, 1985 (1985-11-21)081
Nick decides that he wants to impress Steven and Elyse and enlists the help of Alex, who turns Nick into a clone of himself.
779"Just One Look"Andrew McCulloughTeleplay: Gary David Goldberg & Michael J. Weithorn
Story: Paul Wolff
December 5, 1985 (1985-12-05)082
Steven's old college buddy Richard Schofield (Robert Desiderio) comes to town. Steven then learns that Elyse and Richard were previously in a relationship, which sends him into a jealous rage.
7810"How Do You Sleep?"John PasquinMarc LawrenceDecember 12, 1985 (1985-12-12)083
Alex has trouble sleeping, and his problems affect the whole family, much to their displeasure.
7911"You've Got a Friend"John PasquinRuth BennettDecember 19, 1985 (1985-12-19)085
Alex and Mallory catch a young girl, Jessie (Martha Plimpton), stealing from the store where Mallory works, Mallory turns her in and then later decides to help the girl and befriend her. However, Jessie may not be ready to accept Mallory's offer.
8012"Nothing But a Man"Will MackenzieTeleplay: Jean Kraynak Brinck
Story: Jurgen M. Wolf
January 2, 1986 (1986-01-02)086
Steven gets a long awaited promotion at the TV station, but his long work hours cause him to miss dinners (and just about everything else) with the family, even private time with Elyse. Meanwhile, Alex is dismayed when the only toy Andy will play with is a doll Ellen gave him.
8113"The Disciple"Will MackenzieRich ReinhartJanuary 9, 1986 (1986-01-09)089
Alex helps Jennifer with her speech project, but Alex's intellect takes over the whole assignment, so that Jennifer's school is very impressed with the finished project but Jennifer does not understand a word of it herself.
8214"Where's Poppa"Will MackenzieSusan Borowitz & Marc LawrenceJanuary 16, 1986 (1986-01-16)090
Alex sets up a reunion with Ellen and her father, Franklin (Ronny Cox), who was absent for most of Ellen's childhood.
8315"Fool for Love"Lee ShallatMarc LawrenceJanuary 23, 1986 (1986-01-23)091
Skippy refuses to let go of feelings for Mallory, despite her dating Nick.
8416"Checkmate"Sam WeismanMichael J. WeithornJanuary 30, 1986 (1986-01-30)092
Alex competes in the Chess match finals against Russia's top player, Ivan Rozmirovich (Albert Macklin). However, things start to go awry when Alex figures out that his opponent is attempting to throw the match.
8517"Engine Trouble"John PasquinRuth BennettFebruary 6, 1986 (1986-02-06)093
When Alex and Elyse have to walk home after the car breaks down, they decide they should take a class in mechanics, but Alex soon turns it into a battle of the sexes. Meanwhile, Steven continuously denies that he is ill, although it clearly shows.
"A Word to the Wise"Will MackenzieSusan Borowitz & Marc LawrenceFebruary 13, 1986 (1986-02-13)087
The Keatons reminisce in flashbacks to Ellen about Alex's previous shenanigans and faux-pas, although Alex becomes concerned Ellen won't want to see him anymore.
8820"Art Lover"Andrew McCulloughBruce HelfordFebruary 20, 1986 (1986-02-20)094
Mallory becomes suspicious when a wealthy and beautiful older woman (Christine Belford) takes a special interest in Nick's artistic creations.
8921"Teacher's Pet"John PasquinMarc LawrenceMarch 2, 1986 (1986-03-02)095
Alex gets a position as an assistant professor at the college and convinces Ellen to enroll in the class that he is teaching. In the subplot, Steven wants to enroll a too-young Andrew into preschool, which Elyse opposes.
9022"My Buddy"Sam WeismanAlan UgerMarch 6, 1986 (1986-03-06)096
Steven has to learn to accept that Jennifer is growing up. The only way he can get any time with her is to take her to her Sunflower Girls meeting, where he sticks out like a sore thumb. Meanwhile, Alex goes out early on a Saturday to fight a traffic ticket he feels he didn't deserve.
9123"Once in Love with Elyse"Sam WeismanMichael J. WeithornMay 1, 1986 (1986-05-01)097
Elyse must deal with Paul (Peter Scolari), a young architect associate who has fallen in love with her.
9224"Paper Chase"Sam WeismanSusan BorowitzMay 8, 1986 (1986-05-08)098

Mallory faces the possibility of not graduating high school unless she passes a tough final exam.

Note: This was the last episode featuring Tracy Pollan as Ellen Reed, although she will appear in the season 5 2-part episode "It's My Party", which was originally produced for Season 4.

Season 5 (1986–87)

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Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
931"Be True to Your Preschool"Sam WeismanMarc LawrenceSeptember 25, 1986 (1986-09-25)100

Steven and Elyse enroll 5-year old Andrew in preschool, but it soon becomes clear that Alex objects to the school's values of sharing and cooperation.

First appearance: Brian Bonsall as Andrew Keaton.
942"Starting Over"Steven RobmanAlan VejarOctober 2, 1986 (1986-10-02)103
Ellen breaks up with Alex and leaves for France. Distraught, Alex tries coping by re-entering the dating scene too soon ... and meeting a girl that looks very much like Ellen.
953"The Freshman and the Senior"Sam WeismanRuth Bennett & Marc LawrenceOctober 9, 1986 (1986-10-09)104
Mallory is teamed with 66-year-old Margaret Hollings (Julie Harris) on a college sociology project. Meanwhile, Alex is very interested to know what Steven and Elyse have written in their wills.
964"My Back Pages"Sam WeismanRuth BennettOctober 16, 1986 (1986-10-16)099
Steven's old college roommate comes for a visit and reveals he wants to re-launch their old magazine.
975"Beauty and the Bank"Asaad KeladaStephen J. CurwickOctober 30, 1986 (1986-10-30)105
Alex gets his dream job at the Harding Trust, only to find out his boss is an attractive woman named Rebecca (Melinda Culea).
986"Mrs. Wrong, Part 1"Sam WeismanAlan UgerNovember 6, 1986 (1986-11-06)101
Nick and Mallory's relationship is about to head in a new direction ... down the aisle and to the altar. When Steven and Elyse refuse to give their blessing to the young couple, Mallory rebels by stating her intention for her and Nick to elope.
997"Mrs. Wrong, Part 2"Sam WeismanAlan UgerNovember 13, 1986 (1986-11-13)102
The Keatons learn that Nick and Mallory are about to elope and try to stop the young couple from making a mistake. As every trick in the book fails, Nick and Mallory conspire to leave in the pre-dawn hours for New Jersey to marry. With Alex following behind, will the young couple eventually realize that they are taking things too quickly?
1008"The Big Fix"John PasquinMichael J. WeithornNovember 17, 1986 (1986-11-17)084
Elyse plays matchmaker when she tries to fix up a lonely colleague with her neighbor's daughter Liz Obeck (Terry Farrell).
1019"My Brother's Keeper"Asaad KeladaSusan BorowitzNovember 20, 1986 (1986-11-20)107
Alex gets Skippy an interview with the Grant chapter of his fraternity, only to find out they plan to make Skippy the butt of a humiliating practical joke.
10210"High School Confidential"Mark W. TravisRuth BennettDecember 4, 1986 (1986-12-04)112
In order to teach an art class at the local youth center, Nick must get his high school diploma with help from Alex and Mallory.
10311"Paper Lion"Peter BaldwinWendy AaronDecember 11, 1986 (1986-12-11)106
Alex works on an important paper with his Economics professor, only to find out that their hypothesis is wrong. His professor goes ahead with plans to present the paper anyway.
10412"My Mother, My Friend"Lynn HamrickKate BoutilierDecember 18, 1986 (1986-12-18)113
Mallory brings home a friend who has more in common with Elyse than Mallory herself. Mallory then becomes jealous of the attention her mom lavishes on the girl.
10513"O'Brother, Part 1"Sam WeismanAlan UgerJanuary 8, 1987 (1987-01-08)108
Steven's brother, Rob, with whom he has a strained relationship, arrives with news that he and his wife, Maureen (Julie Cobb), have filed for divorce.
10614"O'Brother, Part 2"Sam WeismanAlan UgerJanuary 15, 1987 (1987-01-15)109
Tensions rise as Rob's wife, Maureen, tells a different version of their separation.
10715"Higher Love"Debbie AllenSusan BorowitzJanuary 22, 1987 (1987-01-22)116
Mallory begins to fall for the leader of her poetry group.
10816"Architect's Apprentice"Steven RobmanDavid Tyron KingJanuary 29, 1987 (1987-01-29)117
Nick convinces Steven to let him enter a contest to pick the sculpture for the newly remodeled lobby of WKS.
10917"A Tale of Two Cities, Part 1"Peter BaldwinMarc Lawrence & Alan UgerFebruary 5, 1987 (1987-02-05)114
Alex and his boss, Rebecca, travel to Chicago for the Midwestern Banking Convention. Back home in Columbus, there is talk of remodeling the kitchen.
11018"A Tale of Two Cities, Part 2"Peter BaldwinMarc Lawrence & Alan UgerFebruary 12, 1987 (1987-02-12)115
During the convention, Rebecca has a few too many drinks and embarrasses both herself and Alex.
"Battle of the Sexes"Andrew McCullough & Sam WeismanStephen J. CurwickFebruary 19, 1987 (1987-02-19)110
This episode looks back on the competitions between the Keaton men and women.
11321"Band on the Run"Andrew McCulloughSusan Borowitz & Marc LawrenceFebruary 26, 1987 (1987-02-26)118
Jennifer and her band, The Permanent Waves, try out for the homecoming dance at Leland College. They do so well Alex sees a chance to make money, and convinces them to let him be their manager.
11422"Keaton vs. Keaton"Sam WeismanStephen J. CurwickMarch 5, 1987 (1987-03-05)123
Alex and Mallory compete for a new $2,500 WKS scholarship.
"A, My Name is Alex"Will MackenzieGary David Goldberg & Alan UgerMarch 12, 1987 (1987-03-12)119

Alex's close friend, Greg (Brian McNamara), is killed in a car accident, and Alex begins seeing a therapist as he struggles to deal with Greg's death.

Notes: This two-part episode won the 1987 Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. In 1997, TV Guide ranked this episode number 68 on its '100 Greatest Episodes of All Time' list.[2]
11725""D" is for Date"Sam WeismanSusan BorowitzMarch 20, 1987 (1987-03-20)122
Jennifer plays dumb in order to date a good-looking jock named Tim (Wil Wheaton).
11826"Love Me Do"Sam WeismanMarc LawrenceApril 30, 1987 (1987-04-30)121
Skippy falls in love with Amy, a friend of Mallory's. Meanwhile, Steven plans a surprise birthday party for Elyse.
11927"The Visit"Sam WeismanMarc Lawrence & Alan UgerMay 7, 1987 (1987-05-07)124

Elyse's sister, her obnoxious husband (Stuart Pankin), and their bratty children come for a visit.

Note: The obnoxious son is played by Jeff Cohen, who played the annoying kid with the clapping hands hat in the episode "4 Rms Ocn Vu".
12028"Matchmaker"Barbara SchultzBruce David & Bruce HelfordJuly 23, 1987 (1987-07-23)072
Mallory—having recently broken up with Rick (rather than Nick, this episode was filmed 2 years prior and breaks continuity)—comes home after yet another disastrous date. Alex, determined to get Mallory to forget Rick and find her a boyfriend, uses Jennifer's computer to snare the perfect guy. But how will Alex respond when Mallory doesn't like the guy the computer chooses for her?
12129"It's My Party, Part 1"Asaad KeladaSusan BorowitzAugust 6, 1987 (1987-08-06)077
Jennifer, desperately seeking popularity, wants to make some new friends, and ends up falling in with a group of snobbish rich girls.
12230"It's My Party, Part 2"Asaad KeladaSusan BorowitzAugust 13, 1987 (1987-08-13)078
Jennifer begins spending more and more time with her new "cool" friends, which leads to serious repercussions when she stays out past curfew, begins disrespecting her parents and is caught skipping school, prompting Steven and Elyse to ground Jennifer indefinitely.

Season 6 (1987–88)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
"The Last of the Red Hot Psychologists"Sam WeismanMarc LawrenceSeptember 13, 1987 (1987-09-13)126
Alex meets Lauren Miller (Courteney Cox), a psychology major at Leland College, and the two become friends ... then much more ... when Alex participates in Lauren's study of overachievers. Also, Andy goes to his first day of Kindergarten and Jennifer goes to her first day of high school.
1253"Dear Mallory"Sam WeismanAlan UgerSeptember 20, 1987 (1987-09-20)125
Mallory is hired as advice columnist for the Columbus Shopper's Guide.
1264"The Other Woman"Asaad KeladaSusan BorowitzSeptember 27, 1987 (1987-09-27)130
Andrew feels ignored when Alex begins spending time with Lauren at the expense of brotherly bonding sessions.
1275"Dream Date"Andrew McCulloughKatie FordOctober 4, 1987 (1987-10-04)129
Jennifer uses a nerdy boy who has a crush on her as a stepping stone to win the heart of a teen heartthrob.
1286"Super Mom"Matthew DiamondAlan UgerOctober 18, 1987 (1987-10-18)132
Elyse must choose between working on a prestigious architectural account or spending time with her family.
1297"Walking On Air"Andrew McCulloughKatie FordOctober 25, 1987 (1987-10-25)131
Steven gets a reluctant Mallory a new job at WKS. Meanwhile, Alex leads the rest of the family on a cereal-sponsored search contest for $5,000.
1308"Invasion of the Psychologist Snatchers"Matthew DiamondMarc LawrenceNovember 1, 1987 (1987-11-01)133
Alex becomes insecure of Lauren's visiting ex-boyfriend.
1319"The Way We Were"Will MackenzieGary David GoldbergNovember 8, 1987 (1987-11-08)128
The Keatons get a first-hand lesson on Alzheimer's disease when Aunt Rosemary (Barbara Barrie) comes to visit and behaves erractically.
13210"Mister Sister"Kent BatemanSusan BorowitzNovember 15, 1987 (1987-11-15)134
Nick gets a job as the janitor at Mallory's sorority house, which leads to friction between them. Meanwhile, Steven and Alex try to teach Andy basketball.
13311"Citizen Keaton"Sam WeismanSusan Borowitz & Marc LawrenceNovember 22, 1987 (1987-11-22)135
Mallory runs for student body president of Grant College, and Alex agrees to be her campaign manager.
13412"Father Time, Part 1"Sam WeismanAlan UgerNovember 29, 1987 (1987-11-29)136
After Rob and Maureen finalize their divorce, Rob and his children, Marilyn and Jonathan (Tammy Lauren and Blake Soper), visit the Keatons. It soon becomes clear that Marilyn is having a very tough time dealing with the divorce, and her emotions quickly implode on the Keatons.
13513"Father Time, Part 2"Sam WeismanAlan UgerDecember 6, 1987 (1987-12-06)137
Steven and Rob fear the worst after Marilyn fails to come home after her date.
"The American Family"Sam WeismanKatie FordDecember 13, 1987 (1987-12-13)138
Lauren does a term paper on the typical American family, culling memories from the Keatons on their past.
13816"Anniversary Waltz"Sam WeismanAlan UgerDecember 16, 1987 (1987-12-16)035
Steven and Elyse argue for a week about their upcoming 20th anniversary party, leading the kids to remind them of their love for each other.
13917"Miracle in Columbus"Lynn HamrickRob OkunDecember 20, 1987 (1987-12-20)141
Alex gets a job as a mall Santa, where he finally gets the spirit of Christmas after he hears a young girl's wish for her father to come home.
14018"The Play's the Thing"Debbie AllenDiane DixonJanuary 10, 1988 (1988-01-10)140
Steven tries to stage a radical play he wrote in the '60's, but Elyse is reluctant to play the lead role.
14119"The Spirit of Columbus"Sam WeismanCharles J. SchlotterJanuary 17, 1988 (1988-01-17)143
Nick sells one of his sculptures and so Alex starts to believe that Nick's art is worth something. So he makes Nick make 35 more of them to sell.
14220"The Blues Brother"Matthew DiamondBurt PretluskyJanuary 24, 1988 (1988-01-24)142
Alex encourages former blues musician Eddie Dupree (Brownie McGhee) to come out of retirement.
14321"Read It and Weep, Part 1"Sam WeismanMarc Lawrence & Alan UgerFebruary 7, 1988 (1988-02-07)144
It's book report time in Jennifer's American Literature class, and instead of going along with her classmates and do a report on books concerning Yogi Berra, she chooses "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". The problem: The book is on the school's banned book list for its use of racial slurs. Jennifer is warned by her stern high school principal (Bibi Besch) not to review the book or face serious consequences, but she stands her ground and gets suspended.
14422"Read It and Weep, Part 2"Sam WeismanMarc Lawrence & Alan UgerFebruary 14, 1988 (1988-02-14)145
Jennifer fights her suspension as the fate of her book report—and the status of "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" being on the school's banned book list—are left in the hands of the court system.
14523"Quitting Time"Matthew DiamondSusan BorowitzFebruary 21, 1988 (1988-02-21)147
When Lauren quits work on her psychology thesis, Alex begins to find her less interesting.
14624"Spring Reminds Me"Matthew DiamondKatie FordFebruary 28, 1988 (1988-02-28)146
Evelyn Mitchum (Constance McCashin), a former neighbor and mother of Mallory's childhood best friend Rosalie, who had committed suicide, visits the Keatons and reveals that she still has difficulty coping. Meanwhile, Steven unearths his old kit of magic tricks and starts driving the family crazy with them.
14725"The Boys Next Door"Sam WeismanTrish VrandenbergMarch 6, 1988 (1988-03-06)148
Elyse's nerdy high school friend visits in hopes that she will be his date to the class reunion.
14826"Sign of the Times"Asaad KeladaMatthew MonaherMarch 13, 1988 (1988-03-13)150
Andy becomes friends with a new student who is deaf. But when the other kids start teasing him, Andy decides not to talk.
14927"Return of the Native"John PasquinLloyd GarverMarch 20, 1988 (1988-03-20)071
Cousin June (Danielle von Zerneck) returns to the United States after three years abroad in England. She has lots to tell, but the entire family has stories of their own.
15028"Father, Can You Spare a Dime?"Andrew McCulloughBen Cardinale & Peter SchreiderMay 1, 1988 (1988-05-01)149
Nick is hurting for money after he is rejected for a bank loan, but he doesn't think his estranged father (Dan Hedaya) is the right person to lend him money either.

Season 7 (1988–89)

No. in
No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Production
1511"It Happened One Night"Matthew DiamondMarc LawrenceOctober 30, 1988 (1988-10-30)154
Steven, Elyse, and Andy go camping and Jennifer, Alex, and Mallory stay home. After realizing they should have gone with them, Jennifer, Alex, Nick, and Mallory head to the campground. But the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and they must camp outside.
1522"Designing Woman"Matthew DiamondKatie FordNovember 6, 1988 (1988-11-06)155
Mallory gets a job a fashion designing store but finds out her co-worker is stealing her designs.
1533"Truckers"Andrew McCulloughShannon GaughanNovember 13, 1988 (1988-11-13)156
Alex feels neglected when Andy would rather spend time with Nick's nephew than with him.
1544"Beyond Therapy"Sam WeismanKatie FordNovember 27, 1988 (1988-11-27)158
Lauren encourages Alex to join a therapy group to express his feelings more.
1555"Heartstrings, Part 1"Sam WeismanAlan UgerDecember 4, 1988 (1988-12-04)151
Steven suffers a major heart attack in the living room of his home. At the hospital, the Keatons pass the time in two ways: recalling when Steven and Elyse met and supporting Mr. Meyers and Mrs. Hobart (Richard Kuss and Christina Pickles), whose spouses are also suffering from heart-related health issues.
1566"Heartstrings, Part 2"Sam WeismanAlan UgerDecember 11, 1988 (1988-12-11)152
Steven's surgery goes longer than expected, but spirits are lifted when Mr. Meyers' wife pulls through her surgery successfully. Just minutes later, the Keatons get a scary reminder of what still might be when Mrs. Hobart's husband suddenly dies, even after it had appeared that his health had improved greatly.
1577"Heartstrings, Part 3"Sam WeismanAlan UgerDecember 18, 1988 (1988-12-18)153
Steven recovers from surgery and returns home, but is terrified of his future. In the end, Elyse has to put her own fears aside to help calm Steven's and help him adjust to life after his heart attack.
1588"Basic Training"Sam WeismanSusan BorowitzDecember 25, 1988 (1988-12-25)157
Desperately seeking direction in life, Skippy decides to enlist in the Army. But is the Army the best career path for him? Meanwhile, Steven is not allowed to eat fattening foods because of his recent heart attack.
1599"Deja Vu"Matthew DiamondSusan BorowitzJanuary 8, 1989 (1989-01-08)160
Jennifer starts dating Mallory's ex-boyfriend's younger brother, Josh. But when Mallory finds out that Josh wants to follow in his brother's footsteps, she thinks that he will dump Jennifer just like Jeff dumped her.
16010"Nick's Best Friend"Sam WeismanKatie FordJanuary 15, 1989 (1989-01-15)159
Nick is reunited with his old dog Scrapper after his mother moves into an apartment that does not allow pets. But after the dog is struck by a car and critically injured, Nick is forced to make a heart-wrenching decision.
16111"Get Me to the Living Room on Time"Sam WeismanMatthew MonaherJanuary 29, 1989 (1989-01-29)161
Andy becomes friends with two senior citizens at a retirement home, Joseph and Eva. Steven decides to make them the focus of his new documentary. While the documentary is being recorded, Joseph proposes to Eva, who accepts. But Joseph's son, David, does not approve of their marriage.
16212"The Job Not Taken"Andrew McCulloughMarc LawrenceFebruary 5, 1989 (1989-02-05)162
When Alex's friend, Paul Corman, gets Alex a job, Paul gets fired. Alex starts to feel guilty, so he quits.
16313"The Wrecker's Ball"Sam WeismanDouglas WymanFebruary 12, 1989 (1989-02-12)163
When the first building Elyse designed faces the wrecking ball, the entire family rallies behind her attempts to block the demolition.
16414"My Best Friend's Girl"Sam WeismanBruce HelfordFebruary 19, 1989 (1989-02-19)165
Lauren tries to play matchmaker for Skippy as a favor to Alex, but Skippy ends up falling in love with her. Steven and Elyse both think they can teach Jennifer to drive better, so they compete.
16515"'Til Her Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away"Matthew DiamondSusan BorowitzFebruary 26, 1989 (1989-02-26)166
Mallory's plans to buy a car from Nick's father's used car lot are stalled when Steven refuses to co-sign her loan.
16616"Simon Says"Matthew DiamondKatie FordMarch 5, 1989 (1989-03-05)164
Jennifer and Simon get jobs at a fast food restaurant.
16717"All in the Neighborhood, Part 1"Matthew DiamondRuth BennettMarch 12, 1989 (1989-03-12)167
When a longtime African-American co-worker of Steven's moves into the neighborhood with his family, tensions rise over the fear of falling property and home values. Things come to a boil when the new neighbors' home is vandalized.
16818"All in the Neighborhood, Part 2"Matthew DiamondRuth BennettMarch 19, 1989 (1989-03-19)168
The Keatons and their neighbors are pressed into action after their new neighbors' home is vandalized. Through the process, the neighbors really get to know one another, as deep-seated feelings of racism begin to surface in the neighborhood.
16919"They Can't Take That Away From Me, Part 1"Matthew DiamondMarc LawrenceApril 2, 1989 (1989-04-02)171
Alex becomes attracted to a young music student named Marty (Jane Adams) even though he is still dating Lauren.
17020"They Can't Take That Away From Me, Part 2"Matthew DiamondMarc LawrenceApril 9, 1989 (1989-04-09)172
Alex must choose between Lauren and Marty.
17121"Rain Forests Keep Falling on My Head"Rita RogersBruce HelfordApril 16, 1989 (1989-04-16)173
When Jennifer becomes obsessed with saving the environment, she makes everybody use things that are not a hazard. Steven and Elyse suggest she see the school counselor.
"Wrap Around the Clock"Matthew DiamondKatie FordApril 23, 1989 (1989-04-23)169
The Keatons look back on pleasant memories while filling in Andy's time capsule.
17424"Mr. Keaton Takes a Vacation"Sam WeismanShannon GaughanMay 7, 1989 (1989-05-07)174
Steven finally expresses his true feelings about Nick when he moves in with the family for a week.
"Alex Doesn't Live Here Anymore"Sam WeismanSusan Borowitz, Katie Ford, Marc Lawrence & Alan UgerMay 14, 1989 (1989-05-14)175

When Alex lands his dream job in New York, everyone (except Elyse) is delighted for him. At the end of the show, the cast and the show's creator Gary David Goldberg come out for a final curtain call.

Note: In 2011, the entire two-part finale was ranked #24 on the TV Guide Network special, TV's Most Unforgettable Finales.[3]

See also


  1. "TV Guide's Top 100 Episodes". Rev/Views. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  2. TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-7624-3007-9.
  3. "TV's Most Unforgettable Finales" – Aired May 22, 2011 on TV Guide Network
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