Grounded for Life

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Grounded for Life

Title card
Format Sitcom
Created by Bill Martin
Mike Schiff
Starring Donal Logue
Megyn Price
Kevin Corrigan
Lynsey Bartilson
Griffin Frazen
Jake Burbage
Bret Harrison
Richard Riehle
Theme music composer Ben Vaughn
Dean Ween
Gene Ween
Composer(s) Dean Ween
Gene Ween
Spek
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 91 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Marcy Carsey
Tom Werner
Caryn Mandabach
(entire run)
Bill Martin
Mike Schiff (seasons 1–4)
David M. Israel &
Jim O'Doherty (season 2)
Jeff Astrof
Mike Sikowitz (season 5)
Camera setup Film; Multi-camera
Running time Approx. 22 minutes
Production company(s) Mike and Bill Productions
The Carsey-Werner Company
Tujunga Productions
Distributor Carsey-Werner Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel Fox (2001–2003)
The WB (2003–2005)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run January 10, 2001 (2001-01-10) – January 28, 2005 (2005-01-28)
External links
Website

Grounded for Life is an American television sitcom that debuted on January 10, 2001, as a mid-season replacement on the Fox Network. It was created by Mike Schiff and Bill Martin. It ran for two seasons on the network until being cancelled only two episodes into its third season. It was immediately picked up for the rest of the third season by The WB, where it aired for two additional seasons until it ended on January 28, 2005.

The show starred Donal Logue and Megyn Price as Sean and Claudia Finnerty, an Irish Catholic couple living on Staten Island, New York with their three children: Lily (Lynsey Bartilson), Jimmy (Griffin Frazen), and Henry (Jake Burbage). The show also stars Kevin Corrigan, Bret Harrison and Richard Riehle. The show has featured guest stars such as Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Mila Kunis, Wilmer Valderrama (cast of That '70s Show), Mike Vogel, Natasha Lyonne, Vincent Pastore, Miriam Flynn, Stephen Root, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson (cast of The Kids in the Hall), and Elizabeth Berridge (Kevin Corrigan's real life wife).

Premise[edit]

The show is set in an Irish neighborhood of Staten Island, New York and is about the comedic interplay of the Irish Catholic Finnerty family. One of the central aspects of the show is that Sean and Claudia Finnerty had their first child and got married when they were only 18 years old. Thus, although their eldest is a teenage daughter, the parents are themselves relatively young and not finished with their "wild" years. (In one episode, where Sean goes to fetch Lily from the police station and is mistaken for her drug dealer, his father quips, "That's what happens when you're 17 and don't know what a rubber is!") The show features an unusual style of storytelling, often starting with a scene at the end of the story or sometimes in the middle and filling in the gaps with flashbacks. Its main concepts are an Irish/Italian Catholic family with 1 daughter and 2 sons, surviving endless catastrophes, utilizing flashbacks to further explain each current situation.

The opening sequence is set to a guitar theme, performed by the band Ween, that also serves as the music between scenes. The first sequence, used for the first 11episodes of Season 1, showed the family playing basketball. From the twelfth episode ("Jimmy Was Kung-Fu Fighting") onwards, it showed a mix of scenes from Season 1. The sequence was updated each year to include scenes from the current season. The opening sequence was later truncated, as cast names were shown after the sequence, over the episode itself.

Music is important in the production of the series, as musical cues introduce and conclude flashbacks. Episodes are also named after songs or are a play on song names or lyrics. Each episode has slightly different music in the opening sequence, differing at the end of the sequence.

Two episodes from Season 3, "Oh, What a Knight" and "Part-Time Lover", did not air on primetime, but can be seen in syndication on ABC Family.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

Original cast of Grounded for Life, seasons 1 & 2

Donal Logue and Megyn Price portrayed Sean and Claudia Finnerty, a Staten Island couple who were married and expecting by age 18. Sean was an electrician in the underground of the New York subway, but he later became the owner of a bar with his brother Eddie. Claudia worked as a hostess in a Soho restaurant, and later, when her daughter Lily decided that college wasn't for her, Claudia realized the importance of education and looked into college options for herself, regretting that she couldn't have gone right away after high school.

By their early 30s, Sean and Claudia had 3 children (later 4). Lily (Lynsey Bartilson) is a selfish, spoiled brat who seeks male attention, often turning to dorky next-door neighbor, Brad O'Keefe, whom she later dates. She also dated the drummer of Sean and Eddie's band, Dean Peramotti; they went steady until she cheated on him with Brad. Lily is ragingly jealous of her mother, Claudia, fearing that Claudia is "hotter" than her, as she still attracts the attention of teenage boys—especially Brad. Lily has been drunk on several occasions, including a college party at which she bumped into Claudia and they arranged to keep it from Sean. Lily blames all her problems on her parents, mostly on the grounds that they had her so young. Lily was shocked to discover she was born before her parents were married, but later realized she was proof of their love.

Jimmy (Griffin Frazen), the second Finnerty child and first son, is the family black sheep. His choices are not always accepted by his parents, like the time he decided to become a vegetarian. Jimmy is smart and wants to do well at school, but his parents sometimes—accidentally—seem to hold him back. Once at a street fair, Sean and Claudia went to a Ramones concert, and Jimmy was late with his science project, causing him to be suspended. The following day he went missing, and was later discovered to have sneaked back into school. Jimmy has been bullied at school; once he fought back and was accused of being the bully. He was also bullied by a girl, although it turned out that she actually liked him.

Henry (Jake Burbage) the Finnertys' younger son, is the family optimist. A little wild, sometimes annoying, and unfortunately gullible, he is kindhearted and gentle. Jake Burbage left the show at the end of season four (in the summer of 2004) to move back east which is why he was never seen in season five although he was mentioned.

Gracie, the youngest Finnerty, was born in the last episode. Claudia discovered she was pregnant at the start of season five, and in the season finale—at Lily's graduation—she went into labor and delivered Gracie at the hospital. Originally they were going to call her Rose, until people mistakenly thought the name was a reference to Titanic and they decide to rename her Gracie. Walt and his fiancee then say they will name their child Rose.

Eddie (Kevin Corrigan) is Sean's younger brother, a conniving, womanizing weirdo who can never give a straight answer to any question. Claudia and Eddie often had their differences throughout the series run. The worst thing he ever did was film a porn film in the Finnerty house; for this Claudia and Sean put him out.

Grounded for Life cast, seasons 3–5

Walt (Richard Riehle) (recurring: seasons 3–5) is Sean and Eddie's strict father. He often berates Sean and Claudia for being too soft on their kids. Sean and Eddie had a frightening upbringing, as Walt often scared them by telling them that their sins would send them to hell or by giving them booklets that explained what effect sins would have on them. Widower Walt has had little luck with women: he once had a woman whom Sean and Eddie didn't like; Lily and Brad set him up on a date with a woman, or whom they thought was a woman; another handcuffed him in the bar and robbed it.

Brad O'Keefe (Bret Harrison) (recurring: seasons 1&2) is the Finnertys' geeky next-door neighbor. He had an on-off relationship with Lily. She cheated on her boyfriend Dean with Brad, and they once broke up when they realized they cheated on each other during a summer of being apart. They eventually got back together. In one episode, Brad was upset when his parents split up, so the Finnertys decided to celebrate his birthday at their house. Unfortunately, during the party he discovered that his mother had a fling with Eddie. In the end, his parents reconciled.

The black highlighted boxes indicates that an actor appears as a member of the main cast. When a starring actor has also appeared as a guest in other seasons, this is highlighted in grey, with the numbers indicating how many appearances they made. A white square indicates that the actor does not appear in the season.

Actor Character Appearances
S 1 S 2 S 3 S 4 S 5
Donal Logue Sean Finnerty
Megyn Price Claudia Finnerty
Kevin Corrigan Eddie Finnerty
Lynsey Bartilson Lily Finnerty
Griffin Frazen Jimmy Finnerty
Jake Burbage Henry Finnerty
Richard Riehle Walt Finnerty 3 4 1
Bret Harrison Brad O'Keefe 4 13

Recurring cast[edit]

Sister Helen (Miriam Flynn) is the nun and principal at Lily, Jimmy, and Henry's school. She frequently tries to tell Sean and Claudia how to raise their kids, whom she is always berating at school (Lily's skirts are too short, Jimmy's hair is too long, etc.). Sean once caused her to use the F-word.

Dean Peramotti (Mike Vogel) was the drummer of Sean and Eddie's band. He and Lily dated until she cheated on him with Brad.

Dan O'Keefe (Floyd Van Buskirk in Season One, Gregory Jbara in all later appearances) is Brad's father. Sean and Dan never got along and were constantly fighting. He was busted for having an affair when Sean challenged him to a tennis match, then noticed that all the weekend "tennis lessons" Dan had were useless. His wife Connie discovered this, and they broke up, Connie then had a brief fling with Eddie, but they soon got back together.

Finnerty Household[edit]

The household that makes for the main location for the series features interesting background items that allude to the interests of the family. Throughout the series, there is a picture of Lou Thesz hanging in the living room and a real-life picture of a young Lynsey Bartilson, who plays Lily in the series. The living room also features a framed and hung vintage baseball bat, a broken guitar (used by Sean in his younger days) and a couple of crosses, representing the Catholic faith of the family.

The refrigerator in the kitchen is always changing, but prominently features fruit magnets and a sticker bearing the logo of video game developer, Rockstar Games. Jimmy's room changes many times throughout the series (especially after the departure of the Henry character from the show), but at least one piece of WWE merchandise can be spotted in any given scene in the location, most notable the pillow bearing the WWE logo (however, in the last few episodes of season five, the pillow is turned over, hiding the logo). Jimmy's room also features a vintage Indianapolis Speedway poster (dated May 13, 1914), a dartboard, a small basketball hoop and at times featured a "Shonen Jump" poster and posters of bands such as Less Than Jake and Green Day.

Lily's room has a computer, a snowboarding poster, and a scrapbook poster, in addition to other, nondescript items that change throughout the series. In early episodes, she has several posters featuring Justin Timberlake and/or 'N Sync.

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

Season Ep # Time Slot First Airdate Last Airdate Rank Viewership Network
Season 1 15 Wednesday 8:30 January 10, 2001 May 23, 2001 #87 8.9 Fox
Season 2 22 Wednesday 8:30 September 26, 2001 May 8, 2002 #96 7.2 Fox
Season 3 13 Friday 9:30 September 17, 2002 May 9, 2003 #95 8.10 Fox/WB
Season 4 28 Friday 9:00 September 5, 2003 May 7, 2004 #187 2.79 WB
Season 5 13 Friday 8:30 September 17, 2004 January 28, 2005 #145 2.7 WB

British remake[edit]

In 2011, the show was remade by the BBC as In with the Flynns. Six episodes were produced for its first season, using stories and scenes from the American series. Another six episodes were made for a second season, this time using original stories.

Syndication[edit]

United States[edit]

The series aired in syndication on ABC Family on an intermittent basis since 2005,[1] having gone through several time slot changes during its run on the network. When first aired on ABC Family, the tag scenes were cut out; but when ABC Family re-acquired Grounded for Life, newer prints with the tag scenes are now shown.

On November 16, 2009, MTV began to air the show at random during the week[2] Unlike ABC Family's airings, these airings are the same episodes and are aired more frequently.

As of 2013 the show no longer is in syndication.

International[edit]

Country Channel(s) Notes
 Australia Seven Network, Fox8, The Comedy Channel Currently airing on The Comedy Channel.
 Belgium Plug TV In French; currently airing
 Belgium 2BE In English with Dutch subtitles; currently airing
 Bulgaria BTV Comedy (the former GTV) Currently airing
 Finland TV Viisi Goes by the name Perhe Paketissa, meaning "Family in a Package"; currently airing in English, with Finnish subtitles
 France France 2, France 4 Goes by the name " Parents à tout prix "
 Germany Comedy Central Goes by the name Keine Gnade für Dad, meaning "No Mercy for Dad"
 Hungary HBO Comedy Currently airing. Goes by the name Sorscsapás család, meaning "Setback Family"
  Switzerland 4uTV Goes by the name Keine Gnade für Dad, meaning "No Mercy for Dad"
 India STAR World
 Ireland RTÉ Two Aired up until the show's cancellation in 2005
 Israel HOT3 Goes by the name ככה זה בחיים (Kacha Ze BaChayim), meaning "That's How Life Works"
 Macedonia Nasa TV Goes by the name Доживотно казн
 Norway TV Norge Goes by the name Familietrøbbel, meaning "Family Trouble"
 Netherlands Comedy Central(Extra) Currently airing
 Slovenia HBO Comedy, POP TV Goes by the name "Sami doma"
 Romania HBO Comedy Currently airing;goes by the name "Consemnati pe viata"
 Serbia HBO Comedy Currently airing
 Montenegro HBO Comedy Currently airing
 Sweden TV3
TV4 Komedi
Currently airing
 Turkey ComedyMax Currently airing
 United Kingdom Trouble
ITV1
Trouble closed 1 April 2009; no longer broadcasts on ITV1

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grounded for Life has been nominated for a number of Young Artist Awards for best TV comedy choice, best family TV comedy series, best performance by a guest star in a TV comedy series and best supporting actor in a comedy or drama series,[3] it has also won a Young Artist Award for supporting young actor in a TV comedy series. It has also been nominated for an Artios Award,[4] Teen Choice Award,[5] GLAAD Media Award and an Emmy Award.

Year Result Award Category
2001 Nominated Artios Best Casting For TV, Comedy Pilot - Meg Liberman, Camille H. Patton
2001 Nominated Teen Choice Award TV - Choice Comedy
2001 Nominated Emmy Outstanding Choreography - Kenny Ortega for episode: "Mrs. Finnerty, You Have a Lovely Daughter"
2002 Won Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Supporting Young Actor - Griffin Frazen
2002 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Family TV Comedy Series
2002 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actor - Eddie Carr
2002 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actor - Kevin G. Schmidt
2003 Nominated GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Individual Episode (In a Series Without a Regular Gay Character) for episode: "Relax!"
2004 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actor - Griffin Frazen

DVD releases[edit]

Anchor Bay Entertainment released all five seasons of Grounded for Life on DVD in Region 1 for the first time between 2006-2007. As of 2010, these releases have been discontinued and are now out of print.

On May 4, 2011, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that they had acquired the rights to re-release the series on DVD in Region 1.[6] They subsequently re-released the first two seasons on DVD on September 13, 2011.[7][8]

On September 4, 2012, Mill Creek released Grounded for Life - The Complete Series on DVD for the very first time.[9] The 13-disc set features all 91 episodes of the series.

In Region 2, Brightspark has released the first two seasons on DVD in the UK.

In Region 4, Visual Entertainment has released the first three seasons on DVD in Australia.[10][11]

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 15 February 7, 2006[12] March 5, 2007 June 7, 2010
Season 2 22 May 16, 2006[13] March 3, 2008 September 6, 2010
Season 3 13 August 8, 2006[14] TBA September 2010
Season 4 28 November 7, 2006[15] TBA TBA
Season 5 13 September 27, 2007[16] TBA TBA
Complete Series 91 September 4, 2012 N/A N/A

References[edit]

External links[edit]