When America first got wind of Michael J. Fox, following the 1982 premiere of the sitcom, Family Ties, everyone knew this tiny Canadian was destined for comedy greatness. And while he certainly made his mark on the silver screen in films like Back to the Future, Doc Hollywood and Back to the Future Part II, it was on television where he always shined the brightest. And since even a quick glance at the Michael J. Fox television-ography shows a handful of grossly under appreciated moments, we aim to pay shine a spotlight on those today.
So apologies if you came here looking for a tribute to the 1993 comedy Life with Mikey. You should probably look elsewhere for something like that. Perhaps you were on the hunt for an in-depth retrospective of Life with Mikey, starring Cyndi Lauper of all people? Try another website, buddy. Desperate to hear behind-the-scenes stories from the set of, I don't know, James Lapine's film, Life with Mikey? Again, THIS IS NOT THE PLACE FOR THAT! I'm sorry.
Now with that out of the way, here they are, The 7 Most Underrated TV Moments of Michael J. Fox.
1. STOCK MARKET CRASH DANCE
Outside of the Back to the Future franchise, Michael J. Fox (it really feels weird shortening it, so I won't) is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Alex P. Keaton on the 1980s sitcom, Family Ties. So why is it on this list? Because something can be appreciated and still be UNDER-APPRECIATED, ya dummies.
But seriously, if you want to see seven seasons of the great Alex P. Keaton boiled down into one 3 minute chunk, this is it.
2. THE ICEMAN HUMMETH
This fun-size nugget of all-around greatness was created for David Letterman's Second Annual Holiday Film Festival, a primetime special that aired on NBC in 1986, because apparently those used to be a thing you had to look forward to every year.
The short film was written by, directed by and stars Michael J. Fox, as both a hockey player and an orchestra violinist and shows the parallels between the two careers. In the end, of course, the hockey player turns out to be the more civilized of the two, because it probably wouldn't be funny the other way around.
To see more films from the Letterman Holiday special, click on the super-fun poster below.
3. JASPER THE STINGING CLOWN
In 1991, Michael J. Fox finally took to the SNL stage, after what had to be at least 6 or 7 years of desperate pleas from Lorne Michaels, to promote his new film, The Hard Way. (Yeah, I don't know what that is either.)
Anyhow, one thing that came of it was this fun sketch featuring Michael J. Fox as Jasper the Stinging Clown. That's right, a STINGING clown, not a singing clown. (Comedy, how do they do it?) Be on the lookout for Chris Farley as Exposo the Clown and try not to do a gigantic spit take on your monitor like I just did.
BONUS: Another sketch from the show called "America's Most Wanted: 90s Child Stars" has seemingly been removed from all future broadcasts of the show, and is nowhere to be found online. You can, however, find a transcript of the sketch HERE. I have to imagine Chris Farley as The Facts of Life's Mindy Cohn is the greatest thing ever filmed. Damn! Someone should do a tribute to Chris Farley.
4. BACK TO THE FUTURE - Revisited
In a commercial for the 2010 Scream Awards (?), Michael J. Fox stepped back into the red vest and white Nikes to once again play Marty McFly. Honestly, this should probably be higher on the list, but these aren't ranked, necessarily. It's just important to know how great this is before you watch. However, if you're like me, you've already watched this 38 times.
5. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT DICKNOSE?
OK, I'll be honest, this one's a little bit of a cheat. Teen Wolf was a feature-length movie, so maybe it shouldn't qualify as a great TV moment. However, as someone who's seen Teen Wolf LITERALLY 100s of times, I'm going to count it.
Why? Because my childhood copy of Teen Wolf was taped off the TV, when it aired on NBC's Monday Night at the Movies WAY back in 1987. And because holy shit the internet is the greatest thing ever, here are all of the TV bumpers from that very night.
It's also fun to note that the edited-for-television version didn't contain the critical scene where Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) confesses to his good buddy, Stiles, that he's, in fact, a teenage werewolf. Apparently, this was because Stiles was wearing a T-shirt that read, "What Are You Looking at Dicknose."
Thank you NBC, for making me believe that monsters could be real, yet protecting me from the word, "dicknose."
6. THE TRAP
In 1991, Michael J. Fox stepped behind the camera to direct an episode of the HBO horror anthology, Tales from the Crypt, called "The Trap." In the episode, a bullish husband, talks his wife and brother into helping fake his own death so he can collect on an insurance policy. Michael J. Fox makes a cameo here, but isn't the star. The main cast includes Bruce McGill, Teri Garr, Bruno Kirby and James Tolkan, who you probably know as Principal Fucking Strickland from the very popular Back to the Future movies.
Anyhow, as I mentioned earlier, the internet is great and thus, the entire episode is available to watch online, as our birthright dictates it should.
Oh, and just in case you were worried the Crypt Keeper might not be in fine form this episode, here's a killer quote.
“Can I interest you in a policy? The benefits are great, but the screamiums’ll kill ya!” - The Crypt Keeper, nailing it since forever.
7. THE CHOICE OF A NEW GENERATION
Believe it or not, there was a time when people actually had to watch commercials. And thankfully, because of that, advertisers tried to make commercials we actually wanted to see. Case in point, this great series of commercials Michael J. Fox did for Diet Pepsi. There's so much going on in these things: Sexy ladies, robots, the opera, Aunt Becky from Full House.
After rewatching these, I'm glad Diet Pepsi is still a product that exits, because I'm going to go out and purchase one right now. That's a commercial with 25 years of effectiveness. Not bad.
HONORABLE MENTION: LIFE WITH MIKEY
It had to have aired on TBS at some point, right?