Family Ties

Season 1 Episode 21

Stage Fright (a.k.a.) Video Jitters

Aired Unknown Apr 04, 1983 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
27 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

While gearing up to face the TV cameras as captain of his high school’s team on "Quiz Off," Alex panics at first when a teammate drops out. He then launches a major tutoring program for his sister Mallory.

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  • "Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus!" No review of this episode would be complete without mention of this memorable line. Filled with classic Alex/Mallory sibling back-biting, this episode establishes a foundation for great episodes to come.moreless

    Admittedly some of the first season episodes are a bit too serious for me. This is not unusual for a first season, as the characters are being developed and the show is finding its niche in TV Land. Why is this episode a "10" in my book? Most any episode that begins with a recognizable premise (in this case that of the "My Fair Lady", "Pocketful of Miracles", and "Educating Rita") lets the audience know in some ways what's going to happen, while each series adds its own unique humor to make its rendition special. In this case you have Alex's classic self-serving manipulation and mockery of Mallory. Mallory in turn begins as Alex's unwitting pawn, and per usual her chief concern is her outfit. The ironic twist to the tale is that aside from Mallory's initial "SCUBA" triumph, she blows every answer during the Quiz-off. The all-male judge panel doesn't seem to mind as they award Mallory's answer of "the Straights of Massachusetts" as being close enough. Look for Deborah Foreman ("Julie" from the movie "Valley Girl") in the part of Mary Catherine - one of the three "Mary's" who play on the opposing team of the Quiz-off. This episode of Family Ties and Valley Girl were released in the same week of April 1983.moreless
  • Alex’s excitement for his high school quiz show is halted when one of his partners comes down with the flu. Then when nobody wants to be partners with him. Alex decides to teach Mallory.moreless

    Alex’s excitement for his high school quiz show is halted when one of his partners comes down with the flu. Then when nobody wants to be partners with him. Alex decides to teach Mallory.

    Steven is arguing with Elyse about the quiz show set the its not supposed to be “My Fair lady” when Alex decides he’s going to be Henry Higgins and finds Mallory to be the perfect Eliza Dolittle.

    The episode is funny because of how everyone acts, its very comedic. This is probably one of my favorites episodes of Mallory(Justine). She looked really cute,spunky and funny.

    Also,I liked the way they spoofed "My fair Lady"moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • In the last question of the quiz show, moderator Steven Keaton acknowledges Mary Catherine, but Mary Margaret is the one who gets up and whispers the answer in his ear.

    • During the quiz between Harding High and St. Mary's, Mary Catherine answers the third question, but Moderator Steven Keaton refers to her as Mary Margaret.

    • The final quiz question posed is regarding the nature of the research of Masters and Johnson, and St. Mary's answers by whispering the response in Steven's ear. Masters and Johnson were a research team consisting of Ob-Gyn William Masters and his then-wife, sex therapist and psychologist Virginia Johnson. The two helped to debunk sexual myths and revise the definition of "normal" sexual behavior.

    • Q. Name the four galaxies closest to the Milky Way.
      A. It depends on the classification system used, but the four likely in mind are named: Sextans, Carina, Ursa Minor and Draco. Since the airing, a closer galaxy, Sagittarius, was discovered.

    • Q. Who invented the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA)?
      A. Dr. Christian Lambertson invented SCUBA gear for shallow dives. Emile Gagnan and Jacques Cousteau invented the demand regulator, which made scuba diving more suitable for deeper dives.

    • Q. Who was Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Treasury during his second term?
      A. John G. Carlisle.

    • It is unlikely that the network would have allowed one - let alone two - of Steven's children to compete.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Steven: Hey, Alex. How's it going?
      Alex: Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
      And then is heard no more: it is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.
      Steven: He seems a bit depressed.

  • NOTES (1)


    • As the three kids celebrate Mallory's break-through on the SCUBA acronym, they perform a rough parody of The Rain in Spain, from My Fair Lady. Alex's follow up question, "And who invented it?" was intended to parallel Higgins asking Eliza, "And where does it rain?"

    • The tutoring program that Alex executes for Mallory is an allusion to Professor Henry Higgins' tutoring of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

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