While gathering the info on my number three sitcom daughter crush, I noticed a disturbing trend among my picks so far. It seems that stardom in the 80’s translates directly into doing nude scenes for rent money in the 90’s. At first I didn’t understand it. Was it the economy? Was Reganonomics more than just a funny word? Is “dressing slutty” the new “doing B-grade nude scenes?”
And then it hit me. It’s the internet. Among ushering in the age of fantasy football, music stealing and high-yield savings accounts, the internet has also single-handedly turned every “I needed some cash” nude scene into an omnipresent, indelible part of these actress’ past. I’m sure they never thought in the late 80’s early 90’s that the nude scene they did on the sly in the straight-to-video movie would someday be available to anyone with a connection to this “World Wide Web” thing.
I suppose actresses these days know better. Doing a nude scene is the equivalent of standing on a street corner in Manhattan handing out pictures of yourself naked. It’s not just the paying customers who are going to see it – it’s everyone with the ability to type your name into Google. And that’s sad, because the worst thing that happens to our sitcom starlets from the 90’s is that they end up with bit parts on “ER.”
But even if I won’t get to see my Top Five Sitcom Crushes of the 00’s nude someday, at least I have my downloaded topless pictures of my Crushes of the 80’s, including my new #3. Replacing Ari “Underdog” Meyers (“Kate & Alley”) is my former number two:
Justine Bateman of “Family Ties” fame is my new #3. (With apologies to Ari Meyers, who eventually got very hot. However, for the majority of the time the show was on the air, she just couldn’t compete with the rest of the pack – another victim of the 80’s style.)
That said, it’s no secret that Justine Bateman isn’t the most attractive girl out there.
But she had several things going for her at the time:
1. She’s a brunette. I’ve always preferred brunettes.
2. I wanted to be Alex P. Keaton. Has there ever been a more together dude than Alex P. Keaton? So together in fact that to this day every fan of the show remembers his middle initial? Nevermind the fact first he bagged Tracy Pollan (if this were strictly a “Girls I Loved From 80’s TV” list Tracy Pollen would be numbers 1-3), but then she leaves him (leading me to actually download the song “You Just Don’t Love Me No More” many years later) and he bags Courtney Cox (whose hair was three times the size of her head, but still)! All the while being a republican in a liberal family!
3. I wanted to be part of that liberal family. So if being with Mallory brought me closer to Alex P.* and the rest of the Keatons . . . well this is starting to sound weird.
4. She had that special something – even her fake “uncle” (older close family friend) thought so in the Very Special Episode entitled “Give Your Uncle A Kiss” in which a close family friend and older business associate of her father makes a pass at Mallory, leading to her parents confronting their friend and urging him to seek professional help. (Not to be confused with the episode about the actual uncle that redefined the low point of alcoholism, drinking vanilla extract straight from the bottle in front of his nephew.)
True story: I used to hate taking showers when I was young. One of my clearest memories of childhood is my mom threatening, exactly two minutes before the SERIES finale of “Family Ties” was about to air, that if I didn’t take a shower I wouldn’t be able to watch it.
This was before Tivo. I think this was even before VCRs. Before nor since have I showered as fast as I did that night, literally running back from the bathroom to the living room and launching myself onto the couch just as the theme song ended. That’s how much I loved “Family Ties.”
So what does that have to do with Justine Bateman? Consider this: Mallory Keaton, despite the prevalence of Alex P. Keaton, was the quintessential Keaton. Alex was almost too smart to fit in. Steven, the father, was too hippie. Elyse, the mother, too level-headed. Jennifer was too chubby in the face. But Mallory? She was clever when you least expected it, simple-minded in a cute way, pretty enough to be noticed but not so hot that she was relegated to eye candy. Maybe there are hotter girls out there, but being attractive isn’t always about being hot. Sometimes it’s about having a really awesome family on a really awesome TV show.
That’s Mallory, my #3.
No warning here on Mallory. It seems her nude scene was tastefully done. Although if you cringe in horror at the sight of an acting career deteriorated by years of nothingness, then avert your eyes. Please.
* In yet another freaky coincidence, while in my youth I was in love with Mallory in order to befriend her fake brother, now, in my mid-20’s, I am in love with Mallory in order to get close to her real brother, the star of “Arrested Development” Jason Bateman. And for the record, I absolutely think this should have happened.