The Keatons Return! 'Family Ties' Alums Meredith Baxter & Michael Gross Reunite For Some '80s TV Trivia
The famous TV couple reunites for 'Dan Vs.' (season 2 premieres Sat., Nov. 19, 8PM ET on The Hub) -- it's a very special Thanksgiving-themed episode, which is perfect since we're infinitely thankful to have them both back on TV. What would we do, baby, without them? Stop me before I sha-la-la-la.
Dan always assumes everyone is against him (hence the show's title), but as his best friend's wife Elise's parents, Gross and Baxter's characters might actually be on his side. Or not. ''They're quirky parents, and they're conspiratorial," Gross said. "They're not nearly as nice as Elyse and Steven Keaton were, which is a lot of fun for us. We hate our son-in-law and his friends -- what could be more fun?" Baxter chimed in with a laugh: "We don't treat our daughter too well, either!"
Yep, these two portraits of all-American sitcom hunky-doryness are relishing in playing against type, but that doesn't mean they shun their most iconic roles. I put them to the test with some 'Family Ties' trivia, which brought out the laughs, the talk of an actual reunion and the clever middle names for Alex P. Keaton.
Michael Gross talked about the years 'Family Ties' followed 'The Cosby Show' on Thursday nights as a one-two ratings punch. "It truly was Must-See-TV in those days," he said. "I appreciate the love that still extends to this cast."
"It was the seven sweetest years of my life," Meredith Baxter said of her time on the show. "There was a lot of love and respect among us -- and I think that's what everyone seemed to see on the screen when they watched the show."
Joy Behar chose the opportunity to ask a ridiculous hypothetical question to Baxter, who came out in 2009. "What do you think Alex P. Keaton would have thought about you being gay?"
Baxter said she broke the cycle of mental and physical abuse after a period of intense introspection. "I'd been committed to being a victim for a long time because it felt really warm and comfortable and familiar, but it was a disastrous position to be in," she said. "I had to look at what was in my thinking that told me it was OK to be in this relationship."
But that doesn't stop the San Diego Reader saying that the cast of Family Ties is cursed, because Michael J. Fox has Parkinson's, Brian Bonsall keeps getting arrested, Meredith Baxter battled cancer, and Justine Bateman...well, what, made a bad movie in the '80s? I love how the writer glosses over the fact that Courteney Cox went on to star in a rather popular NBC sitcom in the'90s.
When a bunch of people from one TV show get into trouble or have some sort of misfortune, it's not a "curse." It's called "life."
The 62-year-old, who has been married three times, confessed that she was a bit reluctant to reveal her new sexual identity. "I have to admit to a certain level of anxiety; I'm a very private person," she said. "I've always lived a very private life, and to come out and disclose stuff, it's really antithetical to who I am."
Watch the video after the jump.
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.
The National Enquirer and gossip blogger Perez Hilton had reported seeing Baxter on vacation with an alleged lesbian lover. Baxter sat down with Matt Lauer this morning on NBC's 'Today' to finally set the record straight, stating, "I am a lesbian, and it was a later-in-life recognition."
The interview had started off fine until Lauer seemed to almost essentially push her out of the closet. Lauer quipped, "Do you want me to say it? I don't know what the appropriate etiquette is here."
Watch the clip after the jump.
The entire group still looks great, and I wondered if it would be possible to do a Family Ties reunion. The most obvious hurdle would be Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease. Even in this interview, it was difficult to see him struggling with it, so I would imagine it would be nearly impossible for him to hide it.
Brian Bonsall, who played Andrew, the youngest Keaton on the NBC sitcom Family Ties, was arrested in Boulder, Colorado for assaulting his girlfriend. She told police that he threw an alcoholic drink in her face while she was asleep, choked her, and threw her onto a bed. Bonsall says it was all in self-defense, because she cut him with a steak knife.
"Well it's like we've been together, for a million years..."
This isn't the first time Bonsall has been in trouble with the police. In 2001 he was convicted of drunk driving, and in 2004 he was arrested for the same offense.
If you didn't watch Family Ties, Bonsall played Worf's son on Star Trek: The Next Generation and starred in the movie Blank Check.
The short-lived Meredith Baxter and David Birney CBS show (yup, they later got married in real life and she became Baxter-Birney) is coming to DVD on September 5. It will be a three DVD set.
It was a rather daring comedy at the time because it was about a Jewish cab driver who falls in love with a Catholic schoolteacher. I don't know if I understood any of that in 1972, but I remember liking this show a lot for some reason, so I think I'm going to get the DVDs.
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