Everybody knows that Courteney Cox landed a role on Family Ties several years before she landed as Monica Geller on Friends.
But you *might* think Alex P. Keaton ditched his beautiful girlfriend, Lauren Miller (Cox), for the mousy but opinionated Ellen.
After all, Michael J. Fox and Tracey Pollan ended up married in real life, so their storybook romance must have been the one that prevailed on Family Ties, too, right?
Alex and Ellen were done before Lauren ever came along, which happened as the show rounded the bend and headed into Season 6.
The Last of the Red Hot Psychologists
Season 6, Episode 1 (9/13/1987)
Back at Leland University after a summer off, Alex agrees to take part in a psychology study run by another student. Yeah, it’s Lauren, and while the two are oil ad water at first, they’re all “you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter” before long.
The Last of the Red Hot Psychologists: Part 2
Season 6, Episode 2 (9/13/1987)
You might also call this episode, “First Kiss,” because that’s exactly where Lauren’s ongoing study with Alex leads them. Hilarity and awkwardness ensue before the duo settle into an understanding that they might have something on their hands.
The Other Woman
Season 6, Episode 4 (9/27/1987)
Alex juggles his affections, struggling to maintain his brotherly bond with Andy while building on his relationship with Lauren. A three-way date at a carnival isn’t the paradise Alex envisioned, but it helps the trio grow closer.
Season 6, Episode 6 (10/18/1987)
This one is all about Elyse and her struggles to have and do it all. But, even in the midst of a parental crisis, we get a dose of Lauren, a sure sign things are getting serious for Alex P. Keaton.
Invasion of the Psychologist Snatchers
Season 6, Episode 8 (11/1/1987)
Lauren’s old flame pays a visit, dredging up feelings of inferiority for Alex. How could she possibly turn down Eric for preppy APK?
Season 6, Episode 11 (11/22/1987)
Another small supporting role for Lauren/Cox, as Mallory takes center stage when she runs for class president.
The American Family
Season 6, Episode 14 (12/13/1987)
Ah, the beloved and yet hated retrospective episode, facilitated by Lauren’s term paper on the typical American family. What better way to illustrate the species than with a trip down memory lane with the Keatons?
Miracle in Columbus
Season 6, Episode 16 (12/20/1987)
Alex rides his holiday gig as a mall Santa on a rollercoaster from money-grabbing to despair when he can’t grant a little girl her heartfelt wish. Lauren, of course, is there to support him.
The Blues Brother
Season 6, Episode 19 (1/24/1988)
While spinning blues records for the Leland radio station, Alex declares one of the artists dead … only to have the dude call in and visit to prove he wasn’t. This one features passing interactions with Lauren.
Season 6, Episode 22 (2/21/1988)
Amid some reminiscences about Steve and Elyse’s early days, Lauren turns her devoted (overbearing!) focus on Alex when a school paper frustrates her. It proves to be too much togetherness for the young couple, leaving 2020 audiences to wonder how they would have ever weathered coronavirus quarantine.
It Happened One Night
Season 7, Episode 1 (10/30/1988)
Lauren is just one of the reasons Alex doesn’t want to go on a camping trip with his parents, and Mallory and Jennifer join him in the boycott. After the oldsters leave on their own, though, the kids chase after them … and get lost.
Season 7, Episode 4 (11/27/1988)
After just over a year together, Lauren tells Alex they aren’t close enough and don’t communicate well, and that they need to see a therapist. “Geez, O’Pete,” he says (if not out loud), “what would be like if we were actually married??”.
Heartstrings: Part 2
Season 7, Episode 6 (12/11/1988)
Another retrospective, this time spurred on by Steven’s heart attack. The fam sits around, waiting for dad to die, or whatever, and reminisce about how he used to be before he became a burden. Lauren chimes in.
Heartstrings: Part 3
Season 7, Episode 7 (12/18/1988)
Steven survives his heart operations, comes home, and feels the pity of his family as they treat him like an invalid. Again, Lauren chimes in.
My Best Friend’s Girl
Season 7, Episode 14 (2/19/1989)
Skippy falls in love with Lauren when she tries to play matchmaker for him. Alex is left to ponder a life-and-death decision and starts to wonder: if Skippy likes Lauren, is she really good enough for Alex?
They Can’t Take That Away from Me: Part 1
Season 7, Episode 19 (4/2/1989)
Lauren takes off for a multi-week conference (a likely story), leaving Alex to spark some sparks with a music student who is struggling with his economics class.
They Can’t Take That Away from Me: Part 2
Season 7, Episode 20 (4/9/1989)
Lauren comes home … Alex tells her he likes the econ dunce … once again, hilarity, ensues.
Wrap Around the Clock – Part 1
Season 7, Episode 22 (4/23/1989)
One more retrospective before the Keatons slid off our TV dial, this on prompted by Andy’s time capsule school project. Lauren is part of the family’s history, and part of this retro.
Alex Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Season 7, Episode 25 (5/14/1989)
In the series finale, Alex leaves home to meet his inevitable destiny — heart attacks and loneliness brought on by the pressure of a high-stakes New York job. Lauren stops by to bury the hatchet (in his head) and deliver a parting gift. (“I’m going to be on Friends!”)