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DVD Review: Family Ties – The Third Season

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Written by El Articulo Definido

I think it’s true. Before long, every thing to have ever graced television will eventually end up on DVD. There’s a few I’m still waiting on like Voyagers and Tales of the Gold Monkey, but at least we’re finally getting Family Ties on DVD. That’s a start to completely recapturing the Sunday night TV lineup of my youth.

The third season of Family Ties has just been released, and it feels like opening a time capsule to 1983. I remember gathering in front of the television on Sunday nights to watch Family Ties with the family. I remember thinking Mallory was hot and that Alex was so cool … of course, now I still think Justine Bateman is hot, and Mallory is to young. I’ve also come to the realization that Alex as a Republican was the joke, a greedy desire for money and a blind following of Richard Nixon are not exactly admirable qualities.

To review the third season is sort of like playing baseball and hitting off of a tee. It’s not hard because I already know I love it; I’m nostalgic with it, and so it is the reason that one day, nearly everything will make it’s way to DVD, or whatever is the popular format. The point is that people love to revisit these old shows. And it might be that the third season is as far as you might want to go to retain the nostalgia.

It is in the third season that Elise is pregnant and about to have young Andy. The baby is fine, but by the time we get Brian Bonsall in subsequent seasons, it’s like they strapped that baby into the rocket car, filled the tank with sharks, and …

But the third season is still great fun. Gina Davis visits for a couple of episodes as a hapless, but gorgeous housekeeper. Timothy Busfield has a stint as Alex’s best friend, whom Alex feels he’s about to lose to marriage. Many a tough topic is handled from suicide hotlines to arguing with friends over a girl. Poor Jennifer must deal with no longer being the baby of the family. And Skippy Handelman is there, too.

My one question, though, is this: remember the opening credit sequence, the one where the family portrait is being painted in oils by an artist whom all we see is their hand? Why is it that by the time the painting is nearly finished, the artist goes back in and paints in some dandruff on Elise’s shoulders?

The four-disc set features all of season three, as well as a brief gag reel and actual TV promos for each episode. Not much in the way of extras, but the promos are kind of fun to watch in retrospect, seeing how it is that TV used to promote itself. The gag reel is short, provides a few laughs, but no one is going to buy this strictly for the extras. What your buying here is nostalgia, and it’s worth it. Sha-na-na na!

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