Family Ties Wiki

Episode Info[]

Episode #47 - Season 3, Episode 3

First Aired: October 4, 1984

Title:  A play on the phrase "Big Man on Campus" (Alex jokingly referred at as a "little man" often)


Alex is getting ready to begin at Leland University (with the McKinley Scholarship).  Alex takes an American government class with the difficult Professor Bronski (played by Michael McGuire).  Alex tries to put more effort into the class, but with little success (especially on the first essay).  A one-on-one conversation with the professor convinces Alex that he should stay in the class.

Funny Moments[]

  • Finding out that Alex got an F on his first essay, Mallory (laughing) asks, "Do you mind if I make a few phone calls?"
  • Alex recalls that the only B he ever got was in Health because he boycotted the sex-education films, to which Mallory replies, "You missed some great stuff."


  • At various times throughout the series, Leland is referred to as both "Leland University" and "Leland College" (in fact, both in this episode).
  • Alex says the Debs speech happened in 1917, when in fact it happened in 1918 in Canton, OH
  • Alex faces the common dilemma of having been a great student in high school but only average in college.  He compares himself to Orlando del Rio (a baseball player who was great in the minor leagues, but went 0/167 with the Cincinnati Reds).  Steven cites Willie Mays, who started out slowly and became a superstar. (Note: Alex’s example appears to be a fictitious player.)
  • Alex's friend Doug also appears in "Best Man".