Episode 210--"elliot's dad"


Joseph Dougherty


Dan Lerner

Air Dates

2/28/89, 8/22/89

Guest Star

Eddie Albert as Charlie Weston; Meagen Fay as Ruthie Weston Tresh; Timothy Carhart as Matt

Blood-stained dress
This is a key shot because it's supposed to tip the viewer that something has gone horribly wrong in the back yard. This sharp image from the DVD, finally released in 2010, shows blood on her dress, and her mother has that horrible sinking moment when she knows something has happened to Ethan. I don't know what the viewer could see in the original ABC broadcast.


Charlie Weston returns to town as Elliot makes some stark realizations about his own duties as a father when Ethan is hurt in an accident.


Nancy has the front door lock changed becuase it was broken and Elliot is mature enough not to blow his top when he sees that she made him another key. Ethan has been reading lots of books about rockets and wants to build one, so he wheedles Elliot into getting Nancy to approve.

Elliot's Dad, Charlie, has come into town from California on business and they meet at his hotel. They're obviously good pals and Charlie expresses his concern about the divorce, saying that Elliot should be sure to get a good lawyer in case Nancy tries to take advantage of him. Elliot's sister Ruth told their Dad about the business going under, so Charlie gives him a pep talk to keep going, and wants to get out of dinner with Ruthie and the kids, but Elliot insists since they're expected. Charlie talks business at dinner, mentioning his deal with a private business consortium to put up a communications satellite. Elliot and Ruthie talk in the kitchen, analyzing what their childhood was like. She's still extremely bitter about the promises that Charlie never fulfilled, including how he never paid for her college.

The next morning at the hotel, Elliot sees Charlie's materials and offers to help him arrange them into a slick presentation. Charlie resists a little, but gives in. When the two go by the house to see Nancy and the kids, they run into Hope and Michael. Elliot and Michael talk for the first time since the comany broke up and it helps ease through things. Charlie buys an expensive rocket for Ethan and he flies it around the hotel room while Elliot and Charlie talk about the presentation. Charlie also hires a babysitter to watch the kids while he takes Elliot to dinner without asking him first. Charlie puts a little pressure on him and he caves in, leaving the kids. On an even more amusing note, Charlie has gotten dates for both of them and they discuss travel over dinner and Charlie's philosophy of loving to always be on the move. Unfortunately for everyone, Nancy comes to the same restaurant on a date with Matt, the hardware store owner. She's furious that Elliot has ditched the kids and bawls him out in public. They talk about it later at the house and she actually understands, seeing some of the irony of the situation.

Elliot talks to Ethan and promises to take him to the park next weekend to fly the rocket. At the deserted office, Elliot works on the computer systems they haven't sold back yet, putting his Dad's presentation together. Michael stops by and they tentatively talk about the colors on the program and end up collaborating just a bit. Charlie loves the presentation and praises Elliot excessively, then lets on how confused he is by so much technology, and sucks Elliot into running the hardware for him during the pitch.

Nancy, Britty, and Ethan pack up to spend the day with Hope and he packs his rocket to take along. Charlie makes the pitch in the suite and it looks really good. At the house, Nancy shows Gary the book illustrations and he's obviously never seen her work before and is quite blown away. Nancy lets herself feel positive about finding a publisher and says she'd go to Ireland if she ever made any money. Britty comes toddling in and everyone can tell that something's happened. Ethan has shot the rocket off by himself and it exploded, hurting his face.

Elliot gets a call at the hotel just after the presentation and he goes straight there. Nancy is coldly furious with him. Ethan sustained a corneal abrasion on his right eye and they can't tell just yet how much damage will be incurred.

Back at the hotel, Charlie tries to make amends for not coming along to the hospital, saying the group was close to signing the contract and asking if Elliot likes the doctors. He's also got a presentation appointment in Boston and wants Elliot to come along. They have a pretty intense conversation, Charlie accusing him of not knowing how to act like a man, and Elliot finally realizing what it feels like to have your father walk out on you, hence what his kids must be feeling.

Elliot goes to the hospital, waiting for Ethan to wake up. Elliot has a long talk with him about the broken promise not to play with the rocket by itself. Elliot admits his mistakes and that he can't make up for it, but that he's going to try, starting now. As the scene pulls back and fades, we see that Nancy is standing outside the door, listening to Elliot's honest confession.


  • Elliot has a sister Ruthie and two nieces
  • Elliot's parents were together for less than 13 years
  • Michael had never met Charlie before
  • There's lots of philodendron growing around the Weston house
  • Ethan is in room A-158
  • Ethan's right eye is bandaged, both hands wrapped
  • First use of the word "sexy" in the sense of a positive advertising compliment.
  • Fashion

  • Hope is wearing maternity-ish clothing
  • Elliot has a jacket pin.
  • Quotes

    "Is there a statute of limitations on being a bad father?" --Ruthie

    "Staying in one place might be alright for a tree, but not for me." --Charlie

    --"I should be here for [Ethan]." --Elliot

    --"What you should be is a success for him." --Charlie