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Growing Pains

By Wikipedia

Growing Pains was a television sitcom that ran on the ABC network from 1985 until 1992.

The show was about Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist who works from home because his wife, Maggie, has gone back to work as a reporter. Jason has to take care of his kids Mike, Carol, and Ben. The show was quite relevant in the mid-1980s as women going to work was becoming more and more common, as were stay-at-home dads. At the beginning of the last season, a new character was introduced, Luke Bower, played by a then unknown Leonardo DiCaprio, in an attempt to salvage ratings. The show, however, was cancelled at the end of the season.

The 1989-1990 season was retconned out of existence as a dream of Mike Seaver's after Kirk Cameron insisted Julie McCullough be fired for posing for Playboy magazine. Mr. Cameron later apologized for his actions. The season had ended on a cliffhanger where Mike asked Julie to marry him. Initially the character of Julie abandoned Mike at the altar; there was a backlash by fans and she was brought back later to reconcile. McCullough did not find out she was being fired until showing up to film what she thought was a wedding episode.

Cameron's wacky religious beliefs consistently interfered with production of the show. He insisted that no "adult themes" be incorporated into episodes, and often demanded that entire episodes be re-written when he objected to the content (one planned episode revolved around Julie giving Mike the key to her apartment; Kirk Cameron objected to the sexual connotations of this and forced a new script to be written). At one point Cameron publically referred to several of the producers "pornographers" due to the content of some of the episodes. Three producers quit due to mistreatment by Cameron. In 2000, according to the article "The Rebirth of Kirk Cameron" in Christianity Today, Cameron realized he had been immature and overzealous, apologized to the other cast members, and appeared in "The Growing Pains Movie." Clearly, he was suffering growing pains of his own.

Gold was absent for almost the entire final season of the show due to her struggle with an eating disorder. Additionally the character of Chrissy was "jumped" five years of age over the course of only one actual year to bring more interest to the show and to give the writers more to play with in terms of storylines.

Reruns of the show aired on the Disney Channel at the end of the 1990s; the episodes featuring Leonardo DiCaprio were given special emphasis in an attempt to draw in tween crowds who had recently seen him in Titanic

The theme song ("As Long As We Got Each Other") was performed by B.J. Thomas, Jennifer Warnes (1986-1988, 1989-91, 1992), and made a hit with Dusty Springfield (1988).

Main Cast

Alan Thicke ... Dr. Jason Seaver
Joanna Kerns ... Margaret "Maggie" Malone Seaver
Kirk Cameron ... Michael Aaron "Mike" Seaver
Tracey Gold ... Carol Anne Seaver
Jeremy Miller ... Benjamin Hubert Horatio Humphrey "Ben" Seaver
Kirsten Dohring, Kelsey Dohring and Ashley Johnson ... Christine Ellen "Chrissy" Seaver
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Luke Bower

Minor Recurring Characters

Josh Andrew Koenig as Richard "Boner" Stabone
K.C. Martel as Eddie
Gordon Jump as Ed Malone
Betty McGuire as Kate Malone
Chelsea Noble as Kate MacDonald
Jamie Abbot as Stinky Sullivan
Julie McCullough as Julie Costello
Jeb Tennyson Lund -- Uncle Randy

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Growing Pains? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I will never ever ever forget The Hawaii episodes. The back to back episode I think are called Aloha. I specifically went and Bought Christopher Cross' album with the song "Swept Away" for my plane ride to Hawaii. I sat and cried on the plane as we descended a top the beautiful mountains of Oahu. Mike fell in love with Melia and I fell in love with the Mountains. Swept Away, like right when the morning begins the day. I was Swept away. Hawaii is like no other place in the world."

--Brett's Sunshine

"This is one of those Awesome80s shows a teengage at the time could identify with. Kirk Cameron was Mr. Cool. But in my mind when I think of Growing Pains I'm reminded of my high school English Teacher Mrs. Defloria, who said she watched the show also."

--Mr. T

"I loved the one where Carol met Sandy, the one where Maggie found out she was having Chrissy, the halloween where maggie went to lamaz class, the Halloween ones in general, and the one where Ben threw the fake birthday party and the last eppisode."

--Felicity

"My most memorable episode of growing pains is the one when the kids are alone at home and Carol breaks a lamp with Mike's shoes. After they superglue it back together, Ben accidentaly superglues himself to the coffee table. When he gets off, Mike tries to sand the table, and he sands a hole into it. That episode cracks me up!"

--Mimi

"I remember when I was a kid, the episode when Carols boyfriend died. I thought "Hey this is unreal" I didn't know anyone who has had that happen to them. But 10 years later my fiancee was killed in a car accident. So when ever I see that rerun now, It make me cry. I really loved the show. I thought each character was great in their own respects."

--Jude

"I remember the episode where Mike got stuck with Julie alone in a cabin. It was cute the way that he thought she would fall for his charm right away, but she played hard to get."

--Jessica

"I wasn't even born yet (i was born in 1990) when Growing Pains started, but I can remember me and my older sister watching it every week day after she got home from school. Then after the show ended (i didn't know it at the time) when I started Junior Kindergarten, I remember coming home every day at lunch time and the first thing I'd do was turn Growing Pains on. I had a huge crush on"Mike Seaver" and I was only 4 years old. My mom thought that was so funny. I can't decide which episode was my favourite. I know I've seen them all, I remember them all very distictly. I still watch the reruns every single night on Chex TV. I just love the theme song. I can't get enough of it. Even today, I still think Kirk Camron's relly cute."

--Kykey

"My mom used to watch this show when she was pregnant with me and when I was a young girl, I would hear the theme song and run into the living room and dance to it and then watch the show with my mother. Of course I don't exactly remember doing this, but that is what I am told. When my family got Disney Channel, the first day, when we turned it on, that was the show that was on, and I recognized it and fell in love all over again. I watched it every single day and adored it. I was heart broken when it left Disney, but then I found it on ABC Family. And now it's not on either channel and I am looking all over to find out when it is shown and I can't find it. One of my favorite episodes was the one when Chrissie was born because it helped me around the time when my baby sister was born. I also loved the heart touching one where Carol's boyfriend died, I cried! Well I hope the show comes on again and that ABC decides to air the second movie."

--Kristina

"In truth, I had never really payed much attention to Growing Pains when it was popular, but I have always admired Tracey Gold. After hearing about her bout of anorexia, my heart went right out to her. I think that she is a very courageous woman to have overcome the disease, married, and had two beautiful boys. I think that it is a tremendous gift that Tracey is able to share her personal experiences with the world, and educate others about anorexia. It takes a very special person to be able to affect somebody's life, and I feel that Tracey could be that special person for a young girl in pain. I just want to say, thank you, Tracey."

--ALD

"No episode beats the one where Mike graduates. I'm crying and laughing through the whole thing. I especially like the song, "This is the Day, " they play while getting his diploma."

--Mike Seaver Lover

"I think my favorite episode of all time is the Growing Pains episode where Carol's boyfriend dies. It is so sad and I would always cry whenever I saw it, no matter how many times I had seen it before. I will always remember that episode and will always love to see it."

--Britnie

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 24, 1985 April 25, 1992

Cast: Alan Thicke, Kirk Cameron, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tracey Gold, Joanna Kerns

Network: ABC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC


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