Growing Pains

Growing Pains
Growing Pains
Growing Pains screenshot1.jpg
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.
Genre Sitcom
Created by Neal Marlens
Starring Alan Thicke
Joanna Kerns
Kirk Cameron
Tracey Gold
Jeremy Miller
Ashley Johnson
Leonardo DiCaprio
Theme music composer John Bettis
Steve Dorff
Opening theme "As Long As We Got Each Other"
Composer(s) Steve Dorff
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 166 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Neal Marlens (1985–1986)
Mike Sullivan
Steve Marshall
Dan Guntzelman
Dan Wilcox
Producer(s) Neal Marlens (unaired pilot)
Arnold Margolin
Bruce Ferber
David Lerner
(season 1)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Guntzelman/Sullivan/Marshall Productions (seasons 5–6)
Warner Bros. Television (entire run)
Original channel ABC
Original run 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 affluent family, residing in Huntington, 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 in Huntington, Long Island, New York.[citation needed] 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.


Principal cast

  • 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 (1984–1992) (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)[1]

Recurring characters

  • 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 (frequent guest star 1987–1989, regular cast member 1989–1991); 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

Self-referential humor

Growing Pains was notable for self-referential humor as early in its history as Season 3, Episode 10. While being administered general anesthesia for a tonsillectomy, Ben listed his favorite TV shows as "Who's the Boss?, Moonlighting, and that one that comes between them. The little kid is really good." At the time, Growing Pains ran on ABC in the time slot between Who's The Boss and Moonlighting. During one other episode (Season 2, Episode 8), Maggie and Jason have an argument in Mike's car, and as the first one storms in, Maggie asks "Have you seen your father?", with Mike's reply "Tall guy, looks like a talk show host?" (Alan Thicke used to host American night time talk show, Thicke of the Night and Canadian show The Alan Thicke Show). Enter Jason, who asks "Have you seen your mother?", with Mike's reply "Blonde lady, looks like Donna de Varona?" Donna de Varona was an Olympic swimmer and is Joanna Kerns' sister.

Opening sequences

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. In all episodes that aired from 1986–1990, the opening sequence ends with a "house gag" immediately after the final episode clip, and, starting with the fifth season, ran while the executive producers names' were listed. The house gag changes from episode-to-episode, and usually features the cast standing in front of the Seavers' house. A typical gag featured all but one member of the cast (this was usually the cast member whom the main story was about in that particular episode) leaving to go inside the Seaver house, with the other leaving seconds later. This was a running visual joke mildly similar to that of the "couch gag" sequences on The Simpsons. Most house gags last only about 10 seconds, but the longest one lasted about 20 seconds. Certain house gags include:

  • Jason starts leaving before the rest of the cast, only to stop and turn back, and the rest of the cast leaves seconds later. (This was the static open for the 1986 and 1987 seasons.)
  • In the Season 4 episode "Birth of a Seaver", in which Chrissy is born, the sequence goes as normal, though the clips are abbreviated in the form of the syndication airings, while the full theme plays as normal. Near the end of the sequence, a pregnant Maggie realizes and announces to the rest of the family that she is in labor, to which everybody follows and guides Maggie back in the house.
  • Near the end of the opening credits in the next episode, fittingly, Carol holds up a sign saying "It's a Girl", which blocks Mike's face.
  • Everybody leaves, except for Carol. Noticing this, Ben, Mike, and Jason then turn back and pick Carol up and carry her into the house.
  • Everybody leaves to head into the house, except for Mike. Carol angrily turns back and taps Mike on the shoulder, and makes a hand gesture telling him to come in with them.
  • The family stands outside in the rain wearing raincoats and carrying umbrellas, and they all head toward the house.
  • Everyone leaves, except for Ben. When Mike notices, he comes back, whispers something in Ben's ear, and they both go in the house.

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 only exception was Leonardo DiCaprio: when he was added to the cast, his photo featured him wearing a hooded shirt and jeans, although for the first few episodes he appeared in, the camera would zoom to a wide shot, then his name was displayed. 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.

Theme song

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

  • 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

Behind the scenes

Kirk Cameron was once an atheist,[2] 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.[3][4][5] After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that story lines be stripped of anything he thought too adult or racy in Growing Pains.[6][7] A decade later, Cameron agreed to appear in The Growing Pains Movie, where the entire main cast reunited with one another. Cameron said, "It’s a lot less crazy of a time than when we were teenagers. It’s an opportunity to begin new friendships as adults, and I’m really looking forward to that."[8]

Julie McCullough landed the role of nanny Julie Costello on Growing Pains in 1989. She appeared in eight episodes until she was fired in 1990, Kirk Cameron's conversion to evangelical Christianity, a conversion that, according to The E! True Hollywood Story episode focusing on the show, served to alienate him from his fellow cast members, as he did not invite any of them to his wedding. He called for McCullough's termination because of his objections to her 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. Although McCullough herself is Catholic, she 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 1988 at age 19, Tracey Gold gained some weight over the Growing Pains series hiatus. That season, the show's scripts called for her to be the brunt of fat jokes from her television brothers for many episodes in a row. 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 her 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.


Nielsen ratings

Season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
1 1985–1986 #18 16.75[12]
2 1986–1987 #8 19.83[13]
3 1987–1988 #8 19.83[14]
4 1988–1989 #14 15.91[15]
5 1989–1990 #21 14.18[16]
6 1990–1991 #27 13.31[17]
7 1991–1992 #75 N/A


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 first two seasons on DVD in Region 1. Season 2 was released on April 26, 2011.[18]

Season 1 was also released on DVD in Region 4 on June 5, 2007.[19]

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Region 4
Season 1 22 February 7, 2006 June 5, 2007
Season 2 22 April 26, 2011 N/A

International names

Country Name Literal translation
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) Growing up & getting better
Japan 愉快なシーバー家 (Yukai na Seava (Seaver) Ke) Happy Seaver's family
Latin America ¡Ay! Cómo duele crecer Ouch! How painful is growing up
Poland Dzieciaki, kłopoty i my Our kids, trouble 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


United States

ABC aired reruns of the show on its daytime schedule from July 1988 to August 1989. The show originally aired at 11:00am (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 12:00pm.

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 9:00PM ET-1:00AM 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 5:00AM 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").
  • The Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire was titled in Chinese as the "New Growing Pains".
  • The Chinese sitcom Home with Kids is considered to be a Chinese adaptation of Growing Pains.
  • 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's family) from 1997 to 2000.


Two books published in French exclusively about Growing Pains: Cyrille Rollet, Ph.D (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



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


  1. ^ "IGN's Top 10 Favorite TV Couples". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  2. ^ Bashir, Martin (7 May 2007), "Does God Exist? The Nightline Faceoff", ABC News,, retrieved 4 April 2009 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Back of Book Segment". The O'Reilly Factor Flash. April 12, 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  5. ^ Cameron, Kirk; Ray Comfort (2004). The Way of the Master. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. p. Foreword. ISBN 1414300611. 
  6. ^ "The Cast of 'Growing Pains:' Where Are They Now?". Fox News. December 18, 2008.,2933,469484,00.html. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  7. ^ Keck, William (November 3, 2000). "TV Family’s Cast Gets Over Its Own 'Growing Pains'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  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. ^
  12. ^ "TV Ratings: 1985–1986". Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  13. ^ "TV Ratings: 1986–1987". Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  14. ^ "TV Ratings: 1987–1988". Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  15. ^ "TV Ratings: 1988–1989". Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  16. ^ "TV Ratings: 1985–1990". Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  17. ^ "TV Ratings: 1990–1991". Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Growing Pains — Título ¡Ay! cómo duele crecer (Hispanoamérica) Los problemas crecen (España) Género Sitcom Creado por Neal Marlens Reparto Alan Thicke Joanna Kerns Kirk Cameron Tracey Gold …   Wikipedia Español

  • growing pains — growing .pains n [plural] 1.) problems and difficulties that happen when an organization or system is new ▪ the growing pains of a new republic 2.) pain that children who are growing feel in their arms and legs …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • growing pains — growing ,pains noun plural 1. ) pains that children and teenagers sometimes get in their arms and legs because they are growing 2. ) early problems that an organization experiences when it is first starting in business …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • growing pains — If a business is going through some growing pains, it is experiencing the typical problems that arise when a company becomes stronger and bigger …   The small dictionary of idiomes

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  • growing pains — ► PLURAL NOUN 1) pains occurring in the limbs of young children. 2) difficulties experienced in the early stages of an enterprise …   English terms dictionary

  • Growing pains — DiseaseDisorder infobox Name = Growing pains ICD10 = ICD9 = ICD9|781.99 Growing pains are pain symptoms relatively common in children. Typically, they are located in the muscles, rather than the joints, of the leg and less commonly the arm. They… …   Wikipedia

  • Growing pains — Mysterious pains in growing children, usually in the legs. These pains are similar to what the weekend gardener suffers from on Monday—an overuse type of problem. If in playing, children exceed their regular threshold, they will be sore,… …   Medical dictionary

  • Growing Pains — Quoi de neuf docteur ? (série télévisée) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quoi de neuf docteur ?. Quoi de neuf docteur ? Titre original Growing Pains Genre Sitcom Créateur(s) Neal Marlens Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Growing pains — Quoi de neuf docteur ? (série télévisée) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Quoi de neuf docteur ?. Quoi de neuf docteur ? Titre original Growing Pains Genre Sitcom Créateur(s) Neal Marlens Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

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