Growing Pains

This article is about the US television series. For other uses, see Growing Pains (disambiguation).
Growing Pains

Title card from seasons 2–3
Genre Sitcom
Created by Neal Marlens
Theme music composer John Bettis
Opening theme "As Long As We Got Each Other"
performed by B. J. Thomas & Jennifer Warnes
Ending theme "As Long As We Got Each Other"
Composer(s) Steve Dorff
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 166 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) David Lerner (season 1)
Arnold Margolin
Bruce Ferber
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Guntzelman/Sullivan/Marshall Productions (seasons 5–6)
Warner Bros. Television
Original network ABC
Original release September 24, 1985 (1985-09-24) – April 25, 1992 (1992-04-25)
Followed by 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.[1] 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



Opening sequences

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.

Theme song

The show's theme song is "As Long as We've Got Each Other", which was written and composed by John Bettis (lyrics) and Steve Dorff (music). It was performed by:

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:

  1. Theme Song "As Long As We Got Each Other" (B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield)
  2. Aloha Episode – "Swept Away" by Christopher Cross
  3. Graduation Day Episode – "This Is The Day" performed by B.J. Thomas


Kirk Cameron was once an atheist,[3] but when he was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, became a born-again Christian.[4][5][6] After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that story lines be stripped of anything he thought too adult or racy in Growing Pains.[7][8]

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,[9][10] 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.[11]

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.



Nielsen ratings

Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
11985–86 #18 16.75[12]
21986–87 #8 19.83[13]
31987–88 #5 21.5[14]
41988–89 #14 15.91[15]
51989–90 #21 14.18[16]
61990–91 #27 13.31[17]
71991–92 #75 N/A

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominee / episode Result
1985 Young Artist Awards Best Young Actor Starring in a New Television Series Kirk CameronWon
1985 Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series Tracey Gold Nominated
1985 Best Young Supporting Actor in a New Television Series Jeremy MillerWon
1986 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics "As Long As We Got Each Other" Nominated
1986 Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Series George Spiro Dibie (director of photography) / "My Brother, Myself" Won
1986 Young Artist Awards Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor Starring in a Television Comedy or Drama Series Kirk CameronWon
1986 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor in a Long Running Series Comedy or Drama Jeremy MillerNominated
1986 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series April Lerman Nominated
1987 Young Artist Awards Best Young Superstar in Television Kirk Cameron Won
1987 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor in a Television Comedy Series Jeremy MillerWon
1987 Best Young Actress Guest Starring in a Television Comedy Series Candace Cameron / "The Long Goodbye"Nominated
1987 Best Family Comedy Series Growing Pains Won
1988 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Achievement in Music and Lyrics Song: "Swept Away" / episode: "Aloha" Nominated
1988 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Kirk Cameron Nominated
1988 Favorite TV Show Growing Pains Nominated
1988 Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical Alan ThickeNominated
1988 Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV Kirk CameronNominated
1989 Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV Kirk CameronNominated
1989 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Show Growing PainsNominated
1989 Favorite TV Actor Kirk CameronNominated
1989 Favorite TV Actress Tracey GoldNominated
1989 Young Artist Awards Best Family Television Series Growing PainsNominated
1990 Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series Jeremy MillerNominated
1990 Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series Kenny MorrisonNominated
1990 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Kirk Cameron Won
1991 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Comedy Series George Spiro Dibie / "Happy Halloween" Won
1991 Young Artist Awards Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Nine Ashley JohnsonNominated
1992 Best Young Actor Co-starring in a Television Series Leonardo DiCaprioNominated
1992 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Ten Ashley JohnsonNominated
1993 Outstanding Actress Under Ten in a Television Series Ashley JohnsonNominated


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.

Reunion movies

In 2000, the cast reunited for The Growing Pains Movie, followed by Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers in 2004.

DVD Releases

Warner Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1.[18] Seasons 3–7 are manufacture-on-demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and

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

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


United States

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


Two books published in French exclusively about Growing Pains: Cyrille Rollet, PhD (EHESS, Paris),



The show aired in the beginning of the 1990s in Turkey's first private TV channel, Star TV.

Latin America

The show was previously aired on Nickelodeon's block, Nick at Nite from 2006 until 2009.


  1. "Growing Pains Trivia Facts". ShareTV. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  2. "IGN's Top 10 Favorite TV Couples". IGN. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  3. Bashir, Martin (May 7, 2007), "Does God Exist? The Nightline Faceoff", ABC News, retrieved April 4, 2009
  4. 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.
  5. "Back of Book Segment". The O'Reilly Factor Flash. April 12, 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  6. Cameron, Kirk; Ray Comfort (2004). The Way of the Master. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. p. Foreword. ISBN 1-4143-0061-1.
  7. "The Cast of 'Growing Pains:' Where Are They Now?". Fox News. December 18, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2009.
  8. Keck, William (November 3, 2000). "TV Family's Cast Gets Over Its Own 'Growing Pains'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  9. McCullough interview on The John Kerwin Show; YouTube; Accessed August 21, 2010
  10. Julie McCullough at; Accessed August 21, 2010
  11. "Julie McCullough op Myspace Comedy – Komische clips, lollige video's en grappen". Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  12. "TV Ratings: 1985–86". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  13. "TV Ratings: 1986–87". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  14. "List of Season's Top-Rated TV Shows With AM-TV Ratings Bjt". 1988-04-19. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  15. "TV Ratings: 1988–89". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  16. "TV Ratings: 1985–90". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  17. "TV Ratings: 1990–91". Retrieved January 9, 2010.
  18. Leonardo DiCaprio Joins the Cast for the Final, '7th Season'
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