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The plot for Together We Stand was originally written as a 1974 spin-off from The Brady Bunch (1969) called Kelly’s Kids, with Brady neighbours Ken (Ken Berry) and Kathy Kelly (Brooke Bundy) adopting orphaned Matthew (Brady cast member Mike Lookinland’s real-life brother Todd).
They then adopt his Asian pal Steve (Carey Wong) and black friend Dwayne (William Attmore II). All was set for a successful series based on the tried-and-true Brady formula of an alternative family living and loving. Then it didn’t happen.
Brady creator Sherwood Schwartz did eventually manage to get the concept aired with Together We Stand on CBS’s schedule in the fall of 1986.
Elliott Gould played David Randall, a former Portland Trail Blazers coach who, together with wife Lori (Dee Wallace Stone), headed a household of one natural son and three ethnically diverse adoptees.
Amy (Katie O’Neill), the oldest at 16, had been adopted before 14-year-old Jack (Scott Grimes), the natural son they thought they could not have was born. A pushy social worker then foisted on them two more adoptees – 14-year-old Asian-American Sam (Jonathan Ke Quan) and a cute little 6-year-old black girl, Sally (Natasha Bobo).
Stories revolved around the cultural differences between the members of this suddenly multi-ethnic family and the adjustments that had to be made by all – Sam and Sally having parents for the first time, and Jack and Amy having to compete with the new arrivals for their folks’ time and affection.
After a brief time jumping around the network grid, the show left the air until February, when it returned as Nothing Is Easy. This time around, Gould was nowhere in sight (David had been killed in a car accident), and Wallace Stone was a widow coping with this United Nations of kids alone.
She had gone back to work, was taking courses at night school to become a legal stenographer, and had to fend off the adoption agency, which had begun to think this was all a bit much for one woman.
At least she gained a next-door neighbour, cynical Marion (Julia Migenes), who was a divorcée and also a single parent. The show was gone by the end of April.
Dee Wallace Stone
Jonathan Ke Quan