'Family Ties' reunion! Cast weighs in on whether the '80s show would work today

Michael J. Fox and other cast members shared their memories of working together.
/ Source: TODAY

What would we do, baby, without the Keatons?

One of TV's most beloved families reunited Tuesday night when the cast of "Family Ties" gathered for the latest edition of "Stars in the House," which raises money for the Actors Fund.

The reunion, hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, featured Michael J. Fox (Alex P. Keaton), Meredith Baxter (Elyse Keaton), Michael Gross (Steven Keaton), Tina Yothers (Jennifer Keaton), Brian Bonsall (Andy Keaton), Marc Price (Skippy Handelman) and Scott Valentine (Nick Moore).

Fox, 59, shared a story about how he'd get rides to work from Baxter, his onscreen mom — only to make her late.

"I used to live in a cheesy little apartment in Brentwood," he recalled.

"Meredith would kindly give me rides to work. And she would show up — and of course, if we were supposed to leave at 8:30, she would pick me up at 8:30, I woke up at 8:29. She would honk the horn and I'd get in the shower," he said. "I'd scramble downstairs half-dressed. I wouldn't have my script. I wouldn't have whatever I need. I was just a mess."

The cast also discussed whether the show — which ran on NBC from 1982 to 1989 and frequently found humor in the tension between hippie parents Steven and Elyse and their conservative son, Alex — could work in today's political climate.

"I just want to say one thing and that is, I loved the time that we were together," said Gross, 73. "That was, I think as you'll all agree, a kinder, gentler politics, when Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan could sit down over a glass of Irish whiskey and these two guys could hammer out compromises. And it was a great time. In the same way, we hammered out our compromises in the family and I think that's one of the things that people loved about us."

"Family Ties" ran from 1982 to 1989.(C)NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Yothers, 47, added, "I'm trying to raise a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old and trying to ... navigate them through our democracy and how to make this work and it's been really difficult to try to set the example with what's been going on. It's really unfortunate. My daughter is going to vote in the next election, so I want her to get a feel of what America's about. So we need to definitely come back to the Keatons' kitchen table."

"This show could not have, would not survive now," Baxter, 73, replied, while Yothers disagreed: "It would! It would! We have family members that are on different pages and we do get along."

Fortunately, the cast got along just as well offscreen.

"I think I took some of how great we were together for granted," said Gross. "I didn't know how contrary some shows could be and how some casts quarreled the way they did. I mean, I just thought it was all perfection the way ours was and I didn't really understand that things don't always go this particularly well — that there was no controversy, not a lot of problems."