Title card from seasons 2–3
|Created by||Neal Marlens|
|Directed by||John Tracy (seasons 1-6)|
|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"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||166 (list of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||David Lerner (season 1)|
|Running time||22–30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Guntzelman/Sullivan/Marshall Productions (seasons 5–6)|
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||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|
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. 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 until nearly the end of season seven.
Often mentioned but rarely seen are the Seavers' next door neighbors the Koosmans - an obvious reference to the 1969 Miracle Mets.
Cast and characters
- Alan Thicke as Dr. Jason Roland Seaver
- Joanna Kerns as Margaret Katherine "Maggie" (née Malone) Seaver
- Kirk Cameron as Michael Aaron "Mike" Seaver
- Tracey Gold as Carol Anne Seaver
- Jeremy Miller as Benjamin Hubert Horatio Humphrey "Ben" Seaver
- Ashley Johnson as Christine Ellen "Chrissy" Seaver (seasons 6–7)
- Kelsey and Kristen Dohring as Christine Ellen "Chrissy" Seaver (toddler) (season 5, alternating)
- Leonardo DiCaprio as Luke Brower (season 7)
- Andrew Koenig as Richard Milhous "Boner" Stabone (seasons 1–4, 25 episodes), Mike's friend; left to join the United States Marine Corps
- Chelsea Noble as Kate MacDonald (seasons 5–7, 22 episodes), Mike's girlfriend
- Jamie Abbott as Stinky Sullivan (seasons 2–6, 19 episodes), Ben's friend
- K. C. Martel as Eddie (seasons 1–7, 19 episodes), Mike's friend
- Sam Anderson as Principal Willis DeWitt (season 1–7, 13 episodes), Mike's history teacher in season one and principal from season two onward
- Betty McGuire as Kate Malone (seasons 1–7, 12 episodes); Maggie's mother
- Lisa Capps as Debbie (seasons 2–4, 12 episodes), Carol's friend
- Rachael Jacobs as Shelley (seasons 2–4, 12 episodes), Carol's friend
- Gordon Jump as Ed Malone (seasons 1–7, 11 episodes); Maggie's father
- Julie McCullough as Julie Costello (seasons 4–5, 11 episodes), Mike's former girlfriend
- Bill Kirchenbauer as Coach Graham Lubbock (seasons 2–5; starred in spin-off Just the Ten of Us), gym teacher
- Jane Powell as Irma Seaver (seasons 4–6, 8 episodes), Jason's mother
- Jodi Peterson as Laura Lynn (seasons 4–6, 6 episodes), Ben's girlfriend / love interest
- Kevin Wixted as Bobby Wynette (seasons 2-3, 6 episodes), Carol's former boyfriend
- Evan Arnold as Richie Flanscopper (seasons 1-3, 6 episodes), Carol's school classmate who has a crush on her.
- Harry Shearer as Francis X. Tedesco (season 7, 4 episodes), principal of the learning annex where Mike teaches
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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, several different versions of the opening sequence were filmed. 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.
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- 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
The Theme for Growing Pains got airplay on the Adult Contemporary format in early 1989 and peaked at #5 on the Radio & Records AC chart and #7 on the Billboard AC chart.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Nielsen ratings|
|First aired||Last aired||Rank||Rating|
|1||22||September 24, 1985||May 13, 1986||17||19.5[a]|
|2||22||September 30, 1986||May 19, 1987||8||22.7|
|3||26||September 18, 1987||May 4, 1988||5||21.3|
|4||22||October 18, 1988||May 3, 1989||13||17.6[b]|
|5||26||September 20, 1989||May 2, 1990||21||15.4|
|6||24||September 19, 1990||April 24, 1991||27||14.3[c]|
|7||24||September 18, 1991||April 25, 1992||75||8.6|
|Television films||November 5, 2000||October 16, 2004||TBA||TBA|
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.
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. 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.
- 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
The show aired with the title of Unser lautes Heim (Our noisy home) on ProSieben from 1993.
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
In Italy the series aired in 1987 with the title Genitori in blue jeans (Parents in blue jeans).
- Digital free-to-air channel 7TWO began airing 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 on TVNZ's TV2 on Saturday afternoons in the late 1980s-early 1990s.
The show aired in the beginning of the 1990s in Turkey's first private TV channel, Star TV.
- "Growing Pains TV Show: News, Videos, Full Episodes and More". TV Guide. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
- "Alan Thicke, '80s icon and renaissance man, wasn't a Long Islander, but he played one on TV". Newsday.
- Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1691-1692. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
- |title=1991-92 Ratings History|http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1991-92-ratings-history-political.html
- |title=1991-92 Ratings History|http://www.tvratingsguide.com/2017/08/1991-92-ratings-history-political.html
- Leonardo DiCaprio Joins the Cast for the Final, '7th Season' Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine
- Genitori in blue jeans: che fine hanno fatto i protagonisti