The dream, wide broken, seemed like all was lost: In 1998, following six seasons on ABC and a aborted, single-season attempt to transplant the family-friendly comedy to Friday nights on CBS, Step By Step was canceled. What would be the future for the gentle Brady Bunch redux, could syndication money pay the cost of living for its sizable cast? They were left to wonder: “Will there ever be a second time around?” Apparently tired of waiting for the appropriately earthy, female-vocalized response to this question, Step By Step star Patrick Duffy has gone ahead on and put the answer out into the world, like a version of The Secret based around reviving the TGIF sitcom best remembered as the one without Urkel, the Olsen Twins, or its own in-the-works Disney Channel sequel.
Or at least that’s one way to read a Hollywood Reporter item headlined “Patrick Duffy Calls for Two-Hour ‘Step By Step’ Reunion Special.” “The Step By Step cast was so wonderful to be with,” Duffy recently told the publication, assumedly as part of a larger conversation about TNT’s Dallas reboot, though it’s funnier and more shareable if you imagine Duffy going around pitching do-overs of all his old TV shows to anyone who’ll listen. “I think a little two-hour special about where these people are—not a documentary, but actually doing a show—seeing where they all come to over the years,” he continued, sharing the idea with a trade publication and not, say, a stranger at the bus stop or a Starbucks barista, whose idea for a “Where are they now?” documentary about Step By Step would’ve just been dashed by Old Man Duffy, thinking out loud.
But why stop at the charming split-level accommodations of the Foster-Lambert clan—why not dive into the strangely ocean-like waters next to the family’s favorite, Wisconsin-based amusement park and swim all the way back to The Man From Atlantis? Duffy wouldn’t mind returning to that role, either, though he fully acknowledges that the forward march of time, forever demanding its fresh starts over and different hands to play, would require a fundamental change to the amnesiac, amphibious superhuman known as Mark Harris. “Not trying to be a superhero, but to be a sage voice of that kind of sci-fi thing… I would be the Obi-Wan of The Man From Atlantis at that point,” the actor told THR, good naturedly indulging questions theoretically stemming from his return to Southfork that can then be taken out of context and spun into sarcastic online notices. (Like this one!) “And what if you were offered the chance to star in a live-action spin-off of that South Park episode with Scuzzlebutt?” THR did not ask, thus robbing your workday of a few extra LULZ at the expense of an actor reacting positively to someone expressing interest in his career.