Episode #60 - Season 3, Episode 16
First Aired: January 17, 1985
Though sick, Alex insists on staying up late to work on his term paper about The Declaration of Independence. Steven is invited to testify before Congress about the need for more funding for Public Television (but doesn't want to go). Alex tries to convince him to do so by comparing him with Thomas Jefferson. In a dream, Alex is transported back to the Continental Congress and to the writing and signing of The Declaration of Independence.
- During the dream, Alex observes his father (as Thomas Jefferson) and Mr. Nelson (as John Adams) talking about writing The Declaration of Independence. Alex says to "Skipford", who's staring out the window: "Pay attention. You are about to witness one of the greatest moments in the history of mankind." Skippy can't be bothered: "Never mind that. Betsy Ross' window shade is up."
- Skippy is somehow responsible for cracking The Liberty Bell.
- Alex, still sick in his dream, enters the Jeffersons' house and sneezes. Mrs. Jefferson says, "Young man, you're not well. You should have yourself leeched."
- Jefferson is stuck while writing, and Alex wants to suggest he use the term "self-evident", but Jefferson won't let him speak. Instead Jefferson uses the words "pretty darn clear" and "obvious even to a big dope".
- Skippy calls Mallory to invite her to a Van Halen concert (which becomes a turkey shoot in the dream).
- Alex displays the famous John Trumbull painting of the signing of The Declaration of Independence. The kitchen table where Alex is working has a green tablecloth (unusual), perhaps to make it similar to Trumbull's painting.
- Alex mentions that Thomas Jefferson was a young "nobody" at the Continental Congress. This is hardly true (or he wouldn't have been selected to be there in the first place). Read more.
- Lots of great parallels between present time and Alex's dream (e.g., 1. Jennifer asking what's for dinner; 2. Skippy having tickets and inviting Mallory; 3. Steven needing a haircut, while Thomas Jefferson needs a wig-fluffing; and 4. Jefferson wanting his horse in the stable and Steven his car in the garage).
- This episode was aired before Back to the Future was released. However, while the film was being shot, Michael J. Fox worked night and day on both the film and the series. This episode was likely filmed just before he started work on BttF. So it's a big inside joke that there are many parallels (Alex going back in time to make sure the future turns out correctly). Maybe this episode was like a try-out for the film! (read more)
- At the end, there is a Wizard of Oz moment with Alex, "And you were there, and you were there..."