Family Ties

Season 1 Episode 16

Margin of Error

Aired Unknown Feb 09, 1983 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
24 votes

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Episode Summary

Alex amasses a bundle of money by playing the stock market on paper for his economics class. He courts disaster by secretly investing his father’s real money.

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  • One of my favorite episodes!

    An episode where Alex does something way too extreme even for him! He's going so great where he's up to receiving $10,800 but then after a mishap, ends up owing $2,700! Since he's good friends with the broker he wonders if maybe he could get Mr. Matthews to extend the deadline but before he can ask for the favor, an elderly woman tells Mr. Matthews that because they've gotten burned, they'll lose everything they have and ask if Mr. Matthews can help and he just smiles and says, "Sorry" and adds, "Say hi to Alex can't believe it, Mr. Matthews won't help out his own parents when their bankrupt?! If he won't help a bankrupt relative, there's no way he's going to extend a margin deadline for a friend. I like how Steven and Elyse blow up at Alex for pretending he was Steven and then made a mess of everything. Steven should've said, "Alex, if you were a stranger, I would have you arrested!" So they decide they're not going to lose their AT&T stock so they'll have to give Mr. Matthews the $2,700. He tells Elyse to get a check over to Mr. Mathews while goes to the bank to cover the check with savings. Steven should've also said to Elyse, "And after you give Mr. Matthews the check, tell him to close the account back Alex might have started giving an objection to that but Steven and Elyse would glare at him and he'd shut up. Alex brought Jennifer to the firm hoping to get sympathy from Mr. Matthews but it turns out Mr. Matthews hates kids. I don't know if Philip Charles MacKenzie(Mr. Matthews) hates kids in real-life but he doesn't have any kids in real-life.moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Elyse: (showing Steven her blueprint) I did it! I never thought I'd finish this chapel!
      Steven: You gotta have faith, Elyse.
      Elyse: See, all the religions have been satisfied. Uh, I just have that one little blank space down there.
      Steven: That can be the agnostics' lounge.

    • Alex: It's like taking candy from a baby.
      Jennifer: Brings back memories.

    • Steven: No movies, no dates....
      Alex: Sounds fair.
      Steven: ... and no TV.
      Alex: Not even Wall Street Week?
      Steven: Especially not Wall Street Week.
      Alex: Come on Dad. I did not kill a guy!
      Steven: Alex I am out $2,700. I am the major investor in an underwater video company in the Philippines. They probably have a picture of me in one of their huts with the caption, Our Founder. You are lucky to be getting off this easy.
      Alex: Oh listen, just in case, I mean if this stock does go up, we are in this 50/50 right?

    • Mrs. Matthews: This is not very good news is it?
      Mr. Matthews: No it is not.
      Mrs. Matthews: We invested everything we had with you. Our, our life savings.
      Mr. Matthews: We knew there would be risks going in. We discussed that.
      Mrs. Matthews: But we are retired people there is no way that we can re-earn what we have lost. We will lose our house, our car.... Is not there anything you can do?
      Mr. Matthews: Sorry. Say Hi to Dad.

    • Mallory: So Alex what are you going to do? Sell your soul to the devil or your body to someone who is nearsighted?
      Alex: Jennifer…
      Jennifer: Sometimes when you keep a secret all to yourself you get a really bad headache.

  • NOTES (1)


    • When Alex admired the excitement of the stock market, Steven reminded him that a high school student is not a Flying Wallenda. The Flying Wallendas are the quintessential tight-rope walking family. Though they refuse to use a net, they are in the Guinness Book of World Records for tight-rope walking an eight-person pyramid.