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Family F'ing Ties!
By Robin Shorr

I was raised by a television. It would destroy my parents if they knew I felt that way. But since my sister Diana insisted that I was adopted, that statement technically shouldn't destroy them at all since they're not my real parents. When I would ask my sister detailed questions about my adoption, she would tell me to shut up and turn on What's Happenin'. I prayed that someday I would discover that Rog and Dee were my biological siblings. The more I asked about my adoption, the more Diana got frustrated and turned on the TV. While some people's older sisters gave them a stack of amazing rock albums or an appreciation of classic film, my sister gave me a false sense of identity and a love of Shirley Hemphill.

My favorite shows were the shows that no one cared about. Remember the early '80s sitcom We Got It Maid? I do. It was about two dudes and their hot maid. The stories of the hot maid being terrible at house cleaning must've really pulled at this "adopted" kid's heartstrings, as I recently found a diary entry of mine marked April 10th, 1983. It reads: "We got it maid…maid me cry." I watched every show I could, memorized the dialogue, and then recorded it on Diana's cassette recorder. How else would I remember that amazing joke that perky twin said to the other perky twin on Double Trouble? And everyone loves to reminisce about how amazing Jason Bateman was when he started on Silver Spoons, but I loved him most on a show called It's Your Move. Who couldn't adore this sitcom about a sneaky teenager being adorable and…sneaky? Bateman's dimples and calculator watch made the show sing. I'm just a little sad I never wrote in my diary that "It's Your Move…Moved Me."

I was crazy envious of those chosen people who sat inside the television and supplied the laughter for these shows. Who were these magical gigglers? And how did they get that job? When I asked Diana these questions, she said that, "anyone can go to a taping of a TV show. Anyone who isn't ADOPTED." But she conceded a little, saying "..and whatever, we're in Woodland Hills. Those tapings happen like right around the corner." I told her I couldn't take any more lies. "Duh, Robin!" she said. "Why else would that guy say The Facts of Life was recorded in front of a live studio audience? Oh and also? You have a huge butt. And you're only ten. Stop eating so much bread."

When Diana's youth group went to a taping of Super Password, I tagged along. Soon, the musty soundstages of Burbank became my second home. Throughout the years I eagerly supplied some serious chuckles for the following shows: My Two Dads (did we ever find out who her real dad was? Was it that Judge lady?), Full House (Candace Cameron's older sister was her stand-in as DJ Tanner!), Charles in Charge (hey, why is Nicole Eggert stomping offstage after every scene she does with Scott Baio?), The Munsters Today (it's not as funny as the original, but the make-up is dead on!), and countless pilots starring Leah Remini. If only I discovered my obsession a little earlier, I might have seen the beautiful Ann Jillian in person. But alas, ABC had already cancelled It's a Living, a decision I know they're still regretting.

Nothing, however, came close to the time in 5th grade when my dad hit the motherlode of TV taping tickets. Family Ties. Sha la la la, anyone? It was easily the biggest sitcom on television at the time, so in terms of prestige, there was a huge chasm between a taping of Perfect Strangers and this one. Every other taping was Mount McKinley. Family Ties was Mount Everest. Getting our paws on these tickets was like being given the keys to the castle, but not just any castle. It was a floating castle with rainbows and marshmallow clouds, where Michael J. Fox was King and I, an adopted girl with a prematurely large ass, his Queen. So, let me make sure you understand the enormity of the situation. Family fucking Ties. By this time, Michael J. Fox was not only a television and movie icon, he was my future husband. Have you seen his car? It's a Delorean. And it travels through time! No one in town got tickets to this show. So let me reiterate…Family Fucking Ties.

I made an announcement to my class about Friday night's taping. I sent a note to the principal to make sure she knew, forgetting that she already hated me for making loud fart noises during the Honor Roll ceremony. I just had to make sure everyone was aware that Robin Shorr and Family Ties had been together for a million years and by the end of the week, we'd be together for a million more.

Tape night arrived. I put on my Benneton rugby shirt and matching Pop Swatch. My whole family piled into the car. "We just have to stop off at Alan's house to get the tickets," my dad said, pulling up to his old friend's house. Alan was our one link to Hollywood. A lawyer for a major studio, he would often shower us with movie posters of upcoming releases. We never cared that the posters were always in a foreign language. Show me one kid who wouldn't want a poster of Chevy Chase's Funny Farm in Italian.

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