Today, we look at when (or if) you folks believe that Family Ties “jumped the shark.”
This is “Just Can’t Jump It,” a feature where we examine shows and whether they “jumped the shark.” Jumped the shark (coined by Jon Hein) means that the show had a specific point in time where, in retrospect, you realize that show was going downhill from there (even if, in some rare occasions, the show later course-corrected). Not every show DOES jump the shark. Some shows just remain good all the way through. And some shows are terrible all the way through. What we’re looking for are moments where a show that you otherwise enjoyed hit a point where it took a noticeable nose dive after that time and if so, what moment was that?
Family Ties was a long-running sitcom that was based around the idea of two former hippies raising kids who were very much of the 1980s. However, their eldest child, Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) became such a breakout that the series evolved a bit into the Alex P. Keaton show, featuring these other Keatons, as well (including an occasional Jennifer spotlight episode if you’re unlucky). It was very critically acclaimed, and Fox won a number of Emmys for Best Actor in a Comedy Series.
So first…DID IT JUMP THE SHARK? I am going to say no.
WHEN DID IT JUMP THE SHARK Clearly, like any other long-running sitcom, Family Ties got worse as it went on, but Fox was just too good as Alex to let the quality dip too low, and the supporting cast of Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney as the parents were similarly too good to let things fall apart around him. The show certainly got progressively wackier as time passed (and characters, like Justin Bateman’s Mallory, became more and more cartoonish) and there was a late-in-the-series baby (who got aged up), and the show was sort of stuck with Tina Yothers’ Jennifer, but still, the quality never dipped low enough for me to say that it ever jumped the shark.
Let me know what you think in the comments or on social media!
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com for suggestions for shows for us to do in future installments!