Family Ties Wiki
Family Ties Wiki

I Gotta Be Ming is the eighteenth episode of the first season of Family Ties and the eighteenth episode of the series overall. It originally aired on February 23, 1983.

Episode Info[]

Episode #18 - Season 1, Episode 18

First Aired: February 23, 1983

Title:  A play on the phrase, "I gotta be me!" (and Ming uses the title as one of his lines.)


Elyse is collecting donations for the Vietnamese Relocation Services.  Alex serves as big brother to Ming (played by Gene Akutagawa) and molds Ming in his image.  Alex is supposed to take Ming to the circus, but his busy schedule causes him to forget about it.  Later, after the circus, Alex tells Ming that because of all his activities, he shouldn't be Ming's big brother anymore.  Alex and Steven have a talk where Alex reveals that he had become emotionally attached to Ming and was now depressed because he'd ended the relationship. Stephen attempts to say that people cannot copy others, and uses his own personal relationship with Alex versus what he expected. Alex goes to see Ming, who is really hurt by Alex's actions. Alex mends fences with Ming by saying he will try and spend more time with him and accepts Ming for who he is.

Funny Moments[]

Elyse (on the phone, trying to get someone to donate):  We were all foreigners to these shores at one time.

Elyse (listening to response):  I'm sorry, Mr. Running Bear.


Steven tells Alex what he'd always wanted his son to be like:  "against Increased defense spending", and what he got was one who is "an expert on Supply-side Economics"


Alex (trying to make up with Ming):  If you don't want to be a Young Republican, it won't bother me.

Ming:  What if I want to be a Liberal Democrat?  [Alex stares him down and tries to convince him otherwise.]



  • Steven says the ratings are slipping for the WKS documentary "Oh, My Ohio", which Steven and Elyse keep missing.
  • Jennifer (after finding out Alex told Ming he wouldn't be his big brother anymore): Nice going, Alex.  It's a good thing E.T. didn't land here.  [The movie had been released in 1982.]
  • Steven reveals that Alex wants his first son to be named "Francis Scott Keaton" and to be born on July 4, 1999.