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December 19, 2014

5 Clues From 'Family Ties' That Meredith Baxter Birney Was Gay All Along

by Ryan McKee, posted Dec 2nd 2009 6:51PM
Sitcom mother Meredith Baxter is enjoying the most attention she's had in two decades. After reports emerged that Alex P. Keaton's mom enjoys gay cruises, Baxter decided to pull a 'DeGeneres' this morning on 'Today.'

While some '80s TV fans were shocked, vigilant 80-philes already saw it coming. Just like there were hints towards Ellen's sexuality in her sitcom before she came out in 'The Puppy Episode,' there were plenty of signals in 'Family Ties' about Baxter through her character Elyse Keaton. We present five of them -- with tongues planted firmly in cheek, of course.Sitcom mother Meredith Baxter is enjoying the most attention she's had in two decades. After reports emerged that Alex P. Keaton's mom enjoys gay cruises, Baxter decided to pull a 'DeGeneres' this morning on 'Today.'

While some '80s TV fans were shocked, vigilant 80-philes already saw it coming. Just like there were hints towards Ellen's sexuality in her sitcom before she came out in 'The Puppy Episode,' there were plenty of signals in 'Family Ties' about Baxter through her character Elyse Keaton. We present five of them -- with tongues planted firmly in cheek, of course.

1. Elyse and Steven's marriage is a sham.
Though products of the hippie generation, Elyse and her husband Steven always seem too wrapped up in their jobs and family for any free loving. Steven never appears interested in sex with his wife -- or any woman, for that matter. In 'Not An Affair to Remember,' he easily turns down the advantages of sexy co-worker Stacy (Judith Light). The episode 'A Christmas Story' cements the speculation: Viewers learn Elyse and Steven met during the early '60s while working for the Peace Corps in Africa! Obviously, Elyse and Steven became each others' "beards" to hide their homosexuality owing to native prejudices. Plus, it covered up Elyse's illegitimate pregnancy by a conservative diplomat. How else do you explain the anomaly that is Alex P. Keaton?



2. Elyse is comfortable in prison
In the 'No Nukes Is Good Nukes,' Elyse and Steven get arrested for protesting against nuclear weapons. When the two are offered a deal that will release them from jail in time to go home for Thanksgiving, they refuse it. Maybe this was their plan all along? If they stayed in prison, they could finally end the sham and be themselves.



3. Elyse hires a lover
When her friend Suzanne confesses that she needs a life beyond her husband in 'Suzanne Takes You Down,' Elyse readily gives her an assistant position even though she has absolutely no skills or experience. The episode jumps forward two weeks, and Elyse is complaining that her work is way behind because of Suzanne ... and they're bickering. Sounds like an office romance gone wrong. She wants to fire Suzanne, but says there are too many emotions involved. During all this, Suzanne's husband announces he's leaving her. He must have picked up on the affair.



4. Elyse speaks with her fists

In 'The Harder They Fall,' Steven and Elyse attend parent/teacher conferences at Alex and Mallory's school. Alex's English teacher, Mr. Tedesco, ends up being jerk and pushes an elderly woman aside. Elyse responds by punching the guy in the mouth. Later, Steven tries to reason with the angry teacher. Everything is fine until Tedesco calls Elyse "Amazonian" and whispers something in Steven's ear. Whatever was said shakes Steven's core, because he, too, punches him. Must have been something very personal ... like the truth about her sexuality?



5. Elyse takes a special interest in Mallory's friend
It's one thing to hire a married woman to lure her into an affair, but Elyse takes it a step further in 'My Mother, My Friend' by stealing her daughter's friend, Allison. By exploiting the college student's love of architecture, Elyse entices her with exhibits and shopping trips. They spend so much time together that Mallory feels like the third wheel. Finally, Mallory explodes when Allison begins joining family dinners. Elyse wakes up and 'The Friend' never appears again, rather like a shunned ex-girlfriend.

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ashmont30

Get your facts straight. "My mother my friend", Mallory gets upset when her mom, Elyse, invites the sorority sisters meeting to be held at their house celebrating Allison's A on her paper written about Elyse.

June 08 2014 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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