The original cast of Growing Pains (from left to right), Alan Thicke as Jason, Joanna Kerns as Maggie, Jeremy Miller as Ben, Kirk Cameron as Mike, and Tracey Gold as Carol Seaver.
|Created by||Neal Marlens|
|Theme music composer||John Bettis
|Opening theme||"As Long As We Got Each Other"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||166 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Neal Marlens (1985–1986)
|Producer(s)||Neal Marlens (unaired pilot)
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Guntzelman/Sullivan/Marshall Productions (seasons 5–6)
Warner Bros. Television (entire run)
|Original run||September 24, 1985) – April 25, 1992)|
|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 affluent family, residing in Huntington, Long Island, New York, with a working mother and a stay-at-home psychiatrist father raising three children together, which aired on ABC from September 24, 1985, to April 25, 1992.
The show's premise is based on the fictional Seaver family, who reside at 15 Robin Hood Lane in Huntington, Long Island, New York, Dr. Jason Seaver (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: troublemaker Mike (Kirk Cameron), honors student Carol (Tracey Gold), and rambunctious Ben (Jeremy Miller). A fourth child, Chrissy Seaver, was born in 1988. She was played in her infant stage by twins Kristen and Kelsey Dohring (who alternated in the role). Beginning in the fall of 1990, Chrissy's age was advanced to six years old, whereupon Ashley Johnson took over the role.
- Alan Thicke as Dr. Jason Roland Seaver
- Joanna Kerns as Margaret Katherine "Maggie" Seaver (she used her maiden name "Malone" when she got a TV reporter job, but was known as Maggie Seaver at home and her previous newspaper job)
- Kirk Cameron as Michael Aaron "Mike" Seaver
- Tracey Gold as Carol Anne Seaver (1985–1992) (Gold replaced Elizabeth Ward after the pilot.)
- Jeremy Miller as Benjamin Hubert Horatio Humphrey "Ben" Seaver
- Ashley Johnson as Christine Ellen "Chrissy" Seaver (1990–1992)
- Leonardo DiCaprio as Luke Brower (1991–1992)
- Josh Andrew Koenig as Richard Milhous "Boner" Stabone (1985–1989, and character was also mentioned during flashbacks in the series finale in 1992); Mike's friend. Left to join the United States Marines.
- K. C. Martel as Eddie; Mike's friend.
- Lisa Capps as Debbie (1987–1988)
- Rachael Jacobs as Shelley (1987–1988)
- Jodi Peterson as Laura Lynn (1989–1991); Ben's girlfriend / love interest.
- Jane Powell as Irma Seaver (1988–1990); Jason's mother.
- Gordon Jump as Ed Malone (1989–1991); Maggie's father.
- Betty McGuire as Kate Malone (1989–1991); Maggie's mother.
- Chelsea Noble as Kate MacDonald (1989–1992)
- Jamie Abbott as Stinky Sullivan (1987–1991); Ben's friend.
- Julie McCullough as Julie Costello (1989–1990); Mike's former girlfriend.
- Bill Kirchenbauer as Coach Graham Lubbock (1987–1988 on Growing Pains, starred in spin-off Just the Ten of Us); gym teacher.
- Sam Anderson as Principal Willis DeWitt (frequent guest star); who had started as Mike's history teacher early in the series.
- Fred Applegate as Francis X. Tedesco (1991), principal of the learning annex where Mike teaches
Notable guest stars
- Danielle Harris (1 episode)
- Matthew Perry (3 episodes)
- Brad Pitt (2 episodes)
- Candace Cameron Bure (2 episodes)
- Jennie Garth (1 episode)
- Dana Plato (1 episode)
- Hilary Swank (2 episodes)
- Olivia d'Abo (2 episodes)
- Heather Graham (2 episodes)
- James T. Callahan (1 episode)
- Dennis Haysbert (2 episodes)
- Jenny Lewis (1 episode)
- Kelly Rowan (1 episode)
- Judith Barsi (1 episode)
- Kelly Hu (3 episodes)
- Leah Remini (1 episode)
- Kristy Swanson (1 episode)
- Alan Hale, Jr. (1 episode)
- Dawn Wells (2 episodes)
- Annette Funicello (1 episode)
The Season 1 main opening featured various works of art, closing with a shot of the cast, which goes from black-and-white to color.
The opening credits from Seasons 2 through 5 featured an opening shot of the cast in front of the house where establishing shots of the Seaver house are used, switching to photos of each cast member from childhood and, in Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns' case, to adulthood, mixed with various episode clips.
The opening used in Seasons 6 and 7 featured an opening shot of the mantle on the Seavers' fireplace panning over pictures of the cast. The past photos of each cast member were kept, but the clips where each cast member's name is overlaid was replaced with current photos of each cast member. In this sequence, the males wore tuxedos and the females wore formal dresses. The end of this sequence featured various still-shots of the entire cast trying to get together for their picture, closing with a shot of the pictures on the wall on and above the mantle.
- 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
- Unknown; Season 6, part of 7, series finale
There were nine versions of the theme song; others included a Halloween-themed version not sung by Thomas or Warnes used in a two-part Halloween episode in 1990. The first three seasons featured an instrumental part at the end of the theme, but in the fourth season, the original last verse of the TV version of the theme song, "Sharing the laughter and love," was added in its place.
There was also an a cappella version of the song which was used for all of Season 6, but this version was abandoned for most of Season 7 in favor of the reinstatement of Thomas' and Warnes' duet version, although the a capella 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 Steve Dorff from his other television series theme songs and 3 tracks from "Growing Pains" 1- Theme Song "As Long As We Got Each Other" (BJ Thomas and Dusty Springfield) 2. Aloha Episode – "Swept Away" by Christopher Cross 3. Graduation Day Episode – "This Is The Day" performed by BJ Thomas
Kirk Cameron claims he was once an atheist, but when Kirk was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, he developed a belief in God, and 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. According to interviews with cast and crew for an episode of The E! True Hollywood Story Cameron's new morals caused increasing creative headaches for the show as he would object to even mild innuendo. One example involved a scene which opened with Cameron's character Mike and a girl talking in bed only to pull out to reveal that they were on stage rehearsing a scene for a play. Cameron objected even to the suggestion of pre-marital sex on the show. Alan Thicke privately counseled him that more explicitly Christian entertainment might be a better fit for Cameron, commenting that Growing Pains was "about as pablum as it gets" in mainstream entertainment.
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. Cameron objected to 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. 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 shows of the series in the late spring of 1992, although she was not nearly recovered at this point.
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.
Season 1 was also released on DVD in Region 4 on June 5, 2007.
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. These are Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and amazon.com.
Amazon Instant Video also has three seasons of the show available.
|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|
|Mainland China||成长的烦恼 (Chéngzhǎng de Fánnǎo)||Growing vexation|
|Taiwan||歡樂家庭 (Huānlè Jiātíng)||Happy Family|
|France||Quoi de neuf docteur?||What is new doctor? or What's up doc?|
|Germany||Unser lautes Heim||Our noisy home|
|Italy||Genitori in blue jeans||Parents in blue jeans|
|Israel||להתבגר ולהתגבר (Lehitbager Ve Lehitgaber)||To grow up & to overcome|
|Japan||愉快なシーバー家 (Yukai na Shiibaa (Seaver) Ka)||Happy Seaver family|
|Latin America||¡Ay! Cómo duele crecer||Ouch! It's painful growing up|
|Poland||Dzieciaki, kłopoty i my||Kids, troubles and us|
|Slovenia||Ne mi težit'||Don't bother me|
|Turkey||Büyümenin Bedeli||The Price of Growing Up|
|Spain||Los problemas crecen||The problems grow|
|Sweden||Pappa vet bäst||Dad knows best|
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., 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 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.
- 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 during 1980s – 1990s, and was given a Chinese title called "Huānlè Jiātíng" (歡樂家庭; Happy Family).
- Growing Pains was dubbed in Japanese, and broadcasted by the NHK of Japan in the title of "Yukai na Seaver 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 1990s in Turkey's first private TV channel, Star TV.
- "Sitcoms « Amut's Blog". Tri4mut.wordpress.com. December 10, 2010. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "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 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK].
- "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: 1985–1986". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1986–1987". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1987–1988". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1988–1989". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1985–1990". fbibler.chez.com/tvstats. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "TV Ratings: 1990–1991". ClassicTVHits.com. Retrieved January 9, 2010.
- "Growing Pains – The Complete 2nd Season DVD Information". TVShowsOnDVD.com. April 26, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.