Alex P. Keaton

Alex P. Keaton

    Family Ties
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... as a conservative teenager with his hippie parents in Columbus, Ohio. At least, his parents used to be hippies. Alex’s mom, Elyse, is an architect and his father, Stephen, works for the local PBS station. But both professions are somewhat embarrassing to the younger Keaton, who dreams of wealth and power.

Profession... high school student. But Alex would identify himself as a young conservative and an aspiring titan of industry. He doesn’t just talk the talk in arguments with his liberal parents and others. Alex walks the straight-laced walk, bringing a briefcase and the Wall Street Journal to school every day. 

Interests… Reaganomics, preparing his application to Princeton, making money, and charming every girl he meets. He also likes to belittle his pretty but less driven and not as hyper-intelligent younger sister, Mallory.

Relationship Status... dating around. He sleeps with a college girl while he’s still in high school, and from then on bounces from girlfriend to girlfriend. Alex seems out to prove opposites attract, as he goes on to date the artsy Ellen Reed and the feminist Lauren Miller.

Challenge... getting into a top college and making as much money as possible. Alex has his sights set on spending four years on the bucolic Princeton campus before moving onto a job on Wall Street. His parents want him to think hard about this, though, as they grew up embracing the counterculture movement in the ‘60s. They had him while volunteering in Africa, a choice Alex would never make in a million years.        

Personality... preppy, ambitious, precocious, bright, and self-absorbed. Unlike his parents, Alex has no time for things like feminism or helping others. He pictures a life of financial success for himself and is laser-focused on achieving it. When they were his age, Steven and Elyse Keaton wanted things like peace and equal rights. But when you’re Alex’s age, nothing is lamer than your parents. Frankly, Alex would be nearly intolerable if he wasn’t also charming and funny. And when push comes to shove, Alex will always close ranks around his family, and he cares much more deeply for them than he likes to let on. 


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