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Remember the Time the Second Most Likable Guy in Hollywood Pimp Slapped the Most Likable Guy in Hollywood?

By Dustin Rowles | Videos | October 26, 2012 | Comments ()


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The year was 1984. The fifth highest ranked show on television was the sitcom, "Family Ties." Meredith Baxter-Birney was still in the closet. Michael Gross was known as more than just Ted Mosby's Dad. Tina Yothers was known, and Justine Bateman was actually the more popular Bateman sibling, at least for a few years (Jason Bateman's "Silver Spoons" would be cancelled that year).

A young Michael J. Fox was on the verge of superstardom, one year away from Back to the Future and already the biggest draw on the family sitcom. Enter Tom Hanks, himself on the verge of superstardom. He was two years removed from the cross-dressing sitcom, "Bosom Buddies," and only a few months away from his first break in feature films, Splash.

In the episode, "Say Uncle," Hanks plays Ned, Elyse's brother, a whiz kid on Wall Street and Alex's idol. Ned is also a drunk. In this episode, the Keatons confront Ned about his alcohol problem, and after denying it, Ned lashes out. When Alex attempts to approach him (at the 2:50 mark), Ned turns quickly around and pimp slaps his nephew (or more accurately, pimp slaps the air two feet in front of his nephew). Ned breaks down. He apologizes. It would be Ned's rock bottom, the moment that would finally convince Ned to seek help.

Michael J. Fox received his first Emmy nomination the following year. In the intervening years since, Michael J. Fox and Tom Hanks have never worked together again.

Tom Hanks appears in Cloud Atlas out today. Michael J. Fox will reappear January in The Good Wife, and will return next fall with his own sitcom.



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  • bleujayone

    Tom Hanks is so awesome that he doesn't need to pimp slap anyone. With a wave of his hand, he simply orders the air around his intended target to do the slapping for him. Chuck Norris, Mr. T and Darth Vader all nod in approval.

  • Mrs. Julien

    "If all else fails, X equals 8." I've been waiting to say that for 24 hours.

    I buy vanilla by the quart (the good stuff) and I'm pretty sure it still has alcohol.

  • glittergirl

    oh gosh, that awkward ending, the silent fade to credits. it gave me the goosebumps. like the goosebumps i get when something is really, really horrible. i'll be forcing my husband to watch this as soon as he's home from work and has a beer. (worst wife ever!)

  • Ok, fine. But do you remember the episode of Taxi that flashed back before Rev. Jim was strung out and Tom Hanks introduced him to drugs? 'Cause that was comedy gold.

    http://youtu.be/SSl0X4heQBQ

    Score one more for the old farts.

  • TK

    I love Taxi, and I particularly always loved that episode.

  • Puddin

    Thank you! I was trying to tell my husband about this episode and the vanilla extract and he wouldn't believe me! I spent a half an hour on Netflix trying to find this episode! And here it is! I knew I was right! I am ALWAYS right. Suck it, stupid husband! HA!

  • e jerry powell

    So many cunnilingus snarks I am throwing onto the fire right now...

  • no one

    At least Michael J. Fox is sitll likeable. Hopefully he never starts spewing a bunch of crap about how American fought in WWII because its racist hate for yellow people.

  • marya

    All I know is I hope Michael J. Fox doesn't start drowning puppies and broadcasting it on his own branded YouTube channel. I'm really going to hate that guy if he does that.

  • marya

    Oh - and he better not spew any BS about the Smurfs being cobalt blue, because we all know they are royal blue. I mean, right?!

  • marya

    You know, I was just thinking, if Michael J. Fox makes a public statement that he was behind the 9/11 attacks, then I really feel strong feelings about that. I would definitely boycott his movies then.

  • Jezzer

    Why would he? How is that even a potential concern? Why are you even trying to REDANDBLUE a fluff piece about likable actors? The fuck is wrong with you?

  • no one

    It’s only relevant in the sense that that is what Tom Hanks actually did. Try getting some news from more than just The Daily Show.

  • Jezzer

    Did he do it on a fucking episode of goddamn "Family Ties"? Because that's the actual topic here.

  • Haystacks

    That much charm and genuine likeability in one place would bankrupt hollywood. It would make everyone realise that everyone else is kind of a dick.

  • Skyler Durden is not logged in

    I still remember this episode! Specifically, I remember that the family removed (hid? It's a little cloudy) the booze, and after sneaking around the kitchen desperate for something to drink, TH drinks a bottle of vanilla extract.
    On a related note, I am old as shit.

  • pumpkin

    I'm also old and I also remember that episode and I also remember the bottle of vanilla.

  • TK

    WAITWAITWAITWAITWAITFUCKINGWAIT.

    Vanilla extract gets you drunk?

    [smashes door to spice cabinet]

  • JenVegas

    No. Not anymore. I don't think they make it with the same alcohol content as they used to. ALL of the extracts used to have a ton of alcohol in them.

  • TK

    Great, NOW you tell me.

    My tummy hurts and I threw up funny.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    Hair of the dog - try the peppermint extract. Your poops will smell awesome and you'll get drunk as fuck!

  • Skyler Durden etc

    I make my own. All ya do is get some really good vodka and toss in some vanilla beans. Put it in a mason jar and wait a month or two. Ta-da!

  • Leigh

    Wow. I don't remember Family Ties being so awful... like a badly acted high-school play. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Meridith Baxter.) But Tom Hanks and Michael J. were great.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I feel like that's true of pretty much all "very special episodes" (or even very special moments) from 80s sitcoms. They better when they were bantering.

  • DominaNefret

    I only clicked this link to see who you were claiming to be "the most likable and second most likable" guys in Hollywood.
    I am shocked to say that I don't disagree.

  • Funky_Brewster

    My take away from this is that we should all demand for Michael J. Fox and Tom Hanks to work together immediately.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I didn't know how badly I wanted to see that movie until just now.

  • Guest

    My take away is that Jason Bateman was on Silver Spoons. Mind blown.

  • bleujayone

    Or that at the time of this episode he starred in the short-lived "It's Your Move" alongside Steve from "Married... with Children".

  • e jerry powell

    With now uber-Republican Ricky Schroeder...

  • pumpkin

    I knew that (which means I'm getting old). I have loved Jason Bateman for a long, long time.

  • PuraPuma

    You and me both!!

  • Guest

    It was lack of cable rather than age that de-SS'd me. I remember seeing just one or two eps at a friend's house back in the day. All I remembered was a blond kid and a lot of giant crayons.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Wasn't there an after school special or something where Tom Hanks played a guy (...kid) that lost his mind playing D&D? .~Boy howdy, those RPGs are dangerous!

  • kushiro -

    Mazes and Monsters. With Chris Makepeace!

    It was...not good.

  • Laura

    Somehow I actually own that movie. I know.

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