Family Ties

Season 1 Episode 18

I Gotta Be Ming

Aired Unknown Feb 23, 1983 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

As "Big Brother" to a 10-year-old Vietnamese boy, Alex tries to mold Ming into his own image. Alex then learns an unforgettable lesson when he breaks a promise to the adoring child.

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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (4)

      • When Mrs. Tanly notes that she has heard a lot of nice things about Steven and Elyse, Elyse drapes her arms over Alex's shoulders, and says, "Thank you, Alex." When she clarifies that most of it came from Ming, Elyse's hands circle Alex's neck. Alex must remove Elyse's hands from his neck to speak his next line without choking.

      • It is not clear where Alex and Ming met during the early stages of their Brother relationship. It wasn't at the Keaton's: for when Mrs. Tanly came to the Keatons, she had to be introduced to Alex's parents and sisters. And it wasn't at the Tanly's: for remarks such as "This is your bed" betray that Alex had never been there before.

      • Though Ming claimed he enjoyed the lecture at the library, "The Dewey Decimal System and You," when Ming continues his account of the time with Alex, he resumes, "When Alex woke me up...."

      • As Mrs. Tanly grants Alex entry, the dart that Ming had thrown onto Alex's poster is visible.

    • QUOTES (4)

      • Steven: Oh-h, hey! Alex, where you been?
        Alex: We had a meeting of the debate club. It ran a little long. We kept arguing over what time to start.

      • Irene: You must be so happy to have Alex as a big brother.
        Mallory: I don't know if "happy" is the word I would have chosen.

      • Alex: You know, this really excites me! Shaping [Ming's] ideas, molding his I know how you guys must have felt when I was growing up.
        Steven: No, you don't.

      • Alex: ... I want you.
        Ming: You don't want me, Alex. You want another you. You want someone who looks like you, acts like you, thinks like you.
        Alex: Is that how I acted?
        Ming: Look, I can't be Alex; I gotta be Ming.

    • NOTES (0)

    • ALLUSIONS (2)

      • When Jennifer retorted, "It's a good thing E.T. didn't land here," she alluded to the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial about a creature who lands on earth and is taken in by a young boy and his family. The film came out in 1982, the same year that this episode aired.

      • The title alludes to a Sammy Davis, Jr. song I Gotta Be Me.