50 best television shows set across the United States

36 of 52

Ohio: Family Ties

The premise: Two ex-hippies settle down and move to suburbia to raise their children. Steven and Elise Keating used to be political activists and agitators, but once they started having kids, they decided to give up all the protests and settle down in a quiet neighborhood. As irony would have it, their first born, Alex P. Keaton is a Reagan-loving conservative who wears a tie to high school and carries a briefcase.

Alex has two sisters, Mallory and Jennifer. Mallory, although not overtly political, still subscribes to the era’s emphasis on the importance of wealth. She’s painted as a vacuous airhead that loves to shop. The youngest daughter, Jennifer, is more closely aligned with her parents’ philosophies and just wants to be a normal kid.

The setting: Set in suburban Columbus, Ohio, the show’s generational clash is meant to demonstrate the ideological shift from cultural liberalism in the 1970s to a more conservative idealism in the Reagan era in the 1980s. More important than the “where” of this show, the “when” became a marker in its popularity among both young viewers and their parents.

The most Ohio thing about it: Ronald Reagan, famous for his controversial economic policy, once said that Family Ties was his favorite show, reflecting the changing and burgeoning attitudes about the distribution of wealth and Reagan’s theory about how it trickles down.