Title card from seasons 2–3
|Created by||Neal Marlens|
|Theme music composer||John Bettis|
"As Long As We Got Each Other"|
performed by B. J. Thomas & Jennifer Warnes
|Ending theme||"As Long As We Got Each Other"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||166 (list of episodes)|
David Lerner (season 1)|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
Guntzelman/Sullivan/Marshall Productions (seasons 5–6)|
Warner Bros. Television
|Original release||September 24, 1985 – April 25, 1992|
The Growing Pains Movie|
Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers
|Related shows||Just the Ten of Us|
Growing Pains is an American television sitcom about an American family, which aired on ABC from September 24, 1985, to April 25, 1992. The show ran for seven seasons with a total of 166 episodes aired.
The Seaver family resides at 15 Robin Hood Lane in Huntington, Long Island, New York. Dr. Jason Seaver (portrayed by Alan Thicke), a psychiatrist, works from home because his wife, Maggie (Joanna Kerns), has gone back to work as a reporter. Jason has to take care of the kids: ladies man Mike (Kirk Cameron), bookish honors student Carol (Tracey Gold), and rambunctious Ben (Jeremy Miller). A fourth child, Chrissy Seaver (twins Kelsey and Kirsten Dohring; Ashley Johnson), is born in October 1988. In the middle of season four (1988-89), she was first played in her infant stage by an uncredited set of twin sisters. Then, by season five (1989-90), she was played in her toddler stage by alternating twins Kristen and Kelsey Dohering. In seasons six and seven (1990-92), Chrissy's age was advanced to six years old. By the seventh and final season, homeless teen Luke Brower (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brought into the Seaver family to live with them nearly until the end of season seven .
Cast and characters
- Alan Thicke as Dr. Jason Roland Seaver
- Joanna Kerns as Margaret "Maggie" Katherine Malone Seaver
- Kirk Cameron as Michael "Mike" Aaron Seaver
- Tracey Gold as Carol Anne Seaver
- Jeremy Miller as Benjamin "Ben" Hubert Horatio Humphrey Seaver
- Ashley Johnson as Christine "Chrissy" Ellen Seaver (seasons 6–7)
- Kelsey and Kristen Dohring as Christine Ellen "Chrissy" Seaver (toddler) (season 5, alternating)
- Leonardo DiCaprio as Luke Brower (season 7)
- Josh Andrew Koenig as Richard Milhous "Boner" Stabone (seasons 1–4), Mike's friend; left to join the U.S. Marines
- Jamie Abbott as Stinky Sullivan (seasons 2–6), Ben's friend
- K. C. Martel as Eddie (seasons 1–7), Mike's friend
- Chelsea Noble as Kate MacDonald (seasons 5–7), Mike's girlfriend
- Gordon Jump as Ed Malone (seasons 1–7); Maggie's father
- Lisa Capps as Debbie (seasons 2–4), Carol's friend
- Rachael Jacobs as Shelley (seasons 2–4), Carol's friend
- Julie McCullough as Julie Costello (seasons 4–5), Mike's former girlfriend
- Sam Anderson as Principal Willis DeWitt (season 1) (started as Mike's history teacher)
- Betty McGuire as Kate Malone (seasons 1–7); Maggie's mother
- Bill Kirchenbauer as Coach Graham Lubbock (seasons 2–5; starred in spin-off Just the Ten of Us), gym teacher
- Jodi Peterson as Laura Lynn (seasons 4–6), Ben's girlfriend / love interest
- Evan Arnold as Richie (seasons 2–4)
- Jane Powell as Irma Seaver (seasons 1–3), Jason's mother
- Fred Applegate as Francis X. Tedesco (season 7), principal of the learning annex where Mike teaches
- Matthew Perry as Sandy (season 4), Carol's boyfriend
The season one main opening features various works of art and vintage photography depicting family life, closing with a shot of the cast.
The opening credits from seasons two through five features an opening shot of the cast in front of the Seaver house exterior. This is followed by a series of photos of each cast member from their childhood onward ending with a clip from the show. The credits closed with another shot of the cast in front of the Seaver house before they all run inside. Starting in the fourth season, the show taped several different versions of the shot in the main title where the family goes into the house. Whoever was the last to go into the house would usually be the focus of that week's episode.
The opening used in seasons six and seven featured opening and shot of the mantle on the Seavers' fireplace panning over photos of the cast. The photos of the cast from childhood remained but instead of clips from the show, current still photos were used. Some versions of these credits end with another shot of the mantle while others close with a montage of group shots from the same family photo shoot which the current photos used in the rest of the credits come from.
- B.J. Thomas (singing solo); season 1
- B.J. Thomas & Jennifer Warnes; seasons 2, 3, 5, part of 7
- B.J. Thomas & Dusty Springfield; season 4
- Joe Chemay, Jim Haas, Jon Joyce and George Merrill (singing a capella); season 6, part of 7, series finale
There were nine versions of the theme song used; others included a Halloween-themed version not sung by Thomas or Warnes used in a two-part Halloween episode in 1990. A shorter version of the Thomas/Warnes version was used starting in season five.
There was also an a cappella version of the song which was used for all of season six, but this version was abandoned for most of season seven in favor of the reinstatement of Thomas' and Warnes' duet version, although the a cappella theme returned for three episodes as well as the series finale. A full-length version by Thomas and Springfield was released as a single in 1988.
A soundtrack was released in 1988 titled Steve Dorff and Friends: Growing Pains and Other Hit TV Themes. The soundtrack contains songs penned by Dorff from his television series theme songs and three tracks from Growing Pains:
- Theme Song "As Long As We Got Each Other" (B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield)
- Aloha Episode – "Swept Away" by Christopher Cross
- Graduation Day Episode – "This Is The Day" performed by B.J. Thomas
Kirk Cameron was once an atheist, but when he was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, became a born-again Christian. After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that story lines be stripped of anything he thought too adult or racy in Growing Pains.
The biggest consequence of Cameron's conversion to Christianity was the firing of actress Julie McCullough who had landed the role of nanny Julie Costello in 1989. McCullough's character appeared in eight episodes of the show before she was fired at Cameron's insistence and replaced on the show by Cameron's real-life girlfriend, Chelsea Noble. Cameron objected to and was outraged at McCullough's having posed nude in Playboy, and accused the show's producers of promoting pornography. A decade later, Cameron apologized to his TV family, attributing his prior behavior to his lack of maturity, but did not reconcile with McCullough, who claims that Cameron refused to speak to her during a later encounter, and who remains critical of him, stating that she lost a lot from the public criticism she endured from the controversy. McCullough has criticized the evangelical television programming Cameron has produced, which she has viewed on one occasion, saying on her MySpace page:
He thinks if I read science books that I'm going to hell. [I would] rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints ... the sinners are much more fun. And a lot more interesting than some book-burner who is still having growing pains. I am at peace with God. Kirk thinks people like me are going to Hell, if I do then at least I'll go well informed and well read.
In season four, the show's scripts called for the character Carol Seaver to be the brunt of fat jokes from her television brothers. Beginning in October 1988, Gold dieted from 133 pounds to about 110 pounds on a medically supervised 500-calorie-a-day diet, but still occasionally the scripts included fat jokes at her expense. In her autobiography, she says that between 1989 and 1991, she became increasingly obsessed with food and her weight and continued to slowly and steadily lose weight. In 1990 Gold began group therapy in an eating disorder program, but only learned more ways to lose weight. That season, her problem with weight loss was touched upon slightly on the television series, when Gold is seen looking at her body in a carnival mirror, and describes to another character the distorted image in her head. In 1991, she started starving herself more than ever and vomiting, and lost a massive amount of weight, to the point that she was admitted to a hospital in early 1992. Her lowest weight is estimated to have been near 80 pounds. She was suspended from the show for her skeletal appearance. Photos of Gold's emaciated body were plastered all over tabloid magazines, and she was one of the first celebrities ever to be formally outed for anorexia. The producers and wardrobe department for the show tried to hide her skeletal and gaunt appearance by dressing her in large and baggy sweaters and sweatshirts. She last appeared in the 1991 episode "Menage a Luke" after missing the two prior episodes where her problem is very obvious in some scenes, and did not return until the last two episodes of the series in the late spring of 1992, although she was not nearly recovered at this point.
Awards and nominations
Growing Pains spawned the spin-off series, Just the Ten of Us, which featured Coach Graham Lubbock, Mike and Carol's gym teacher, moving to California with his large family to teach at an all-boys Catholic school after he was fired from Thomas Dewey High School.
Warner Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1. Seasons 3–7 are manufacture-on-demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.
On December 6, 2011, Warner Bros. released The Growing Pains Movie and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers on DVD in Region 1 via their Warner Archive Collection. Similar to the subsequent season sets, these are manufacture-on-demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and amazon.com.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release dates|
|Region 1||Region 4|
|Season 1||22||February 7, 2006||June 5, 2007|
|Season 2||22||April 26, 2011||N/A|
|Season 3||26||May 21, 2013|
|Season 4||22||April 14, 2015|
|Season 5||26||July 14, 2015|
|Season 6||24||October 20, 2015|
|Season 7||24||January 26, 2016|
ABC aired reruns of the show on its daytime schedule from July 1988 to August 1989. The show originally aired at 11:00 am (EST) until January 1989, when with the cancellation of Ryan's Hope and the expansion of Home to an hour (from 11:00am-noon), the reruns moved to 12:00 pm.
In the fall of 1989, the show was sold to local syndication, which continued until 1997. Stations that booked the show for syndication were, WPIX Ch. 11 in New York, KCOP-TV Ch. 13 in Los Angeles, WPWR-TV Ch. 50 in Chicago, WPSG Ch. 57 in Philadelphia, KBHK Ch. 44 in San Francisco, WLVI Ch. 56 in Boston, KTVT Ch. 11 in Dallas, KWGN Ch. 2 in Denver, WDCA Ch. 20 in Washington, D.C., WJZ-TV Ch. 13 in Baltimore, WATL Ch. 36 in Atlanta, WKBD-TV Ch. 50 in Detroit, KPTV Ch. 12 in Portland, WLOS Ch. 13 in Asheville, KSHB Ch. 41 in Kansas City, KPLR-TV Ch. 11 in St. Louis, WVTV Ch. 18 in Milwaukee, KHTV Ch. 39 in Houston, KSTW Ch. 11 in Seattle, KMSP-TV Ch. 9 in Minneapolis, WTOG Ch. 44 in Tampa, WBFS-TV Ch. 33 in Miami, KPWB-TV Ch. 31 in Sacramento, WFLX Ch. 29 in West Palm Beach, and WNAC-TV Ch. 64 in Providence. The show also aired on TBS for several years.
Reruns aired on the Disney Channel from September 1997 to September 2001. The cable rights for the show moved to sister network ABC Family, where it ran from 2001 to 2004. It has also aired on ION Television during the fall of 2006 into the spring of 2007.
Nick at Nite began airing Growing Pains on February 12, 2007, launching with a marathon from 9:00 pm ET-1:00 am ET. It was pulled from the line-up shortly after, and later moved to sister network The N/TeenNick, where it aired up until early 2010. TeenNick re-aired the series on Monday, September 13, 2010, in a 5:00 am hour block, and aired its final showings on December 27, 2010.
Growing Pains began to air on Up TV in October 2016.
- Mainland China
- This show was dubbed in Chinese by the Shanghai Television in the late 1980s with the title of Chéngzhǎng de Fánnǎo (成长的烦恼; literally "Growing vexation")
- This show was dubbed in Chinese by Chinese Television System in the 1980s–1990s, and was given a Chinese title called Huānlè Jiātíng (歡樂家庭; Happy Family)
- Growing Pains was dubbed in Japanese, and broadcast by the NHK of Japan in the title of "Yukai na Shiba Ke (愉快なシーバー家)" (Happy Seaver family) from 1997 to 2000
Two books published in French exclusively about Growing Pains: Cyrille Rollet, PhD (EHESS, Paris),
- Physiologie d'un sitcom américain (voyage au cœur de Growing Pains), (volume 1) – Physiology of an American Sitcom (Journey to the Heart of Growing Pains)
- Circulation culturelle d'un sitcom américain (volume 2) – The Cultural Circulation of an American Sitcom
- Digital free-to-air channel 7TWO began reruns of Growing Pains in October 2010, and reached the final episode in June 2011, replacing it with Night Court. The Nine Network first aired the show back in the 1980s and 1990s.
The show aired in the beginning of the 1990s in Turkey's first private TV channel, Star TV.
- "Growing Pains Trivia Facts". ShareTV. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "IGN's Top 10 Favorite TV Couples". IGN. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- Bashir, Martin (May 7, 2007), "Does God Exist? The Nightline Faceoff", ABC News, retrieved April 4, 2009
- Ewald, Dan (March–April 2003). "The Rebirth of Kirk Cameron". Today's Christian. Archived from the original on July 11, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
- "Back of Book Segment". The O'Reilly Factor Flash. April 12, 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
- Cameron, Kirk; Ray Comfort (2004). The Way of the Master. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. p. Foreword. ISBN 1-4143-0061-1.
- "The Cast of 'Growing Pains:' Where Are They Now?". Fox News. December 18, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
- Keck, William (November 3, 2000). "TV Family's Cast Gets Over Its Own 'Growing Pains'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
- McCullough interview on The John Kerwin Show; YouTube; Accessed August 21, 2010
- Julie McCullough at TV.com; Accessed August 21, 2010
- "Julie McCullough op Myspace Comedy – Komische clips, lollige video's en grappen". Blogs.myspace.com. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "TV Ratings: 1985–86". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1986–87". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "List of Season's Top-Rated TV Shows With AM-TV Ratings Bjt". Apnewsarchive.com. 1988-04-19. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
- "TV Ratings: 1988–89". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1985–90". fbibler.chez.com/tvstats. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1990–91". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- Leonardo DiCaprio Joins the Cast for the Final, '7th Season'
- Growing Pains at the Internet Movie Database
- Growing Pains at TV.com
- Growing Pains French website (French)
- Growing Pains at UP TV Network