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March 19th, 2003

The Problem with Andrew Keaton

The consensus is that Andrew Keaton killed Family Ties and caused it to jump the shark, just as many other “new kids” did to their respective shows. So why was Andrew Keaton, in particular, so responsible for the downswing of a classic TV show?

There are two reasons. 1.) Brian Bonsall wasn’t a terribly good child actor. Yeah, yeah, he was only 4 years old or whatever when he played Andrew Keaton (I won’t even go into the weird time warp the family had to endure to have a speaking Andrew one season after he was born), but his lines were delivered stiffly and you were always aware you were watching a character that had been slapped into the show at the last minute. 2.) Andrew Keaton, as a character, never seemed like he was part of the family. He almost seemed more like a cousin Oliver when he’d appear in a scene for a brief moment, deliver a line, get a laugh, and leave. That reminds me of another Ping topic for another time: why the Keatons were the masters at “leaving the room.” In any event, Andrew always felt out-of-place. Even though Nick was a late-series character, he still felt like he belonged in the script. Andrew’s presence, though, seemed more like he was thrown into each episode as an afterthought.

As a side note, does anyone else find the Brian Bonsall fan page a bit creepy?

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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