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"Growing Pains"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Growing Pains" More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

only love`n it!

Author: yuxu (yuxuyeah@yahoo.com.cn) from nanjing CHINA
11 December 2003

In china,it played every summer vocation,I have seen it twice in this and last summer.In fact,the first time I saw it is about in early 90s`,when I was over ten years old,that made me happy. Today I am 20 years old and I still love it,even more!I think it`s the great example of America family,great love in family,love each other. I wish when I have my own children,I can sit down with them and my wife,in front of the TV,watch it!

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Very Underrated

Author: levonhughey2000 from Cleveland, OH
30 September 2001

Growing Pains is one of the greatest shows of the 1980's. However, because of "The Cosby Show" and "Family Ties" and other great shows during the late 80's, the show is constantly overlooked and very underrated. The show had very good acting. It is a shame that this show is constantly overlooked when we talk about the greatest shows in the 80's

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A solid, family sitcom that has faded with time

Author: steve-575 from pa
7 September 2003

Like many series from the 80s, "Growing Pain" was one of those long-running shows that was immensely popular at the time but has kind of fizzled out 25 years later. It is rarely seen in syndication and has only released two seasons on DVD.

The show originally centered around upper class parents Maggie and Jason Seaver and their pains raising three kids: Mike, Carol, and Ben. The show had the unenviable task of being aired at around the same time as two highly-rated and similar-themed family sitcoms: "Family Ties" and "The Cosby Show". While it was never as critically acclaimed as "Family Ties" nor as groundbreaking as "The Cosby Show", "Growing Pains" built up a loyal fan following that allowed it to run for 7 seasons.

In some ways, the show was both exactly similar and exactly opposite to "Family Ties". Maggie and Jason were similar to Steven and Elyse in their methods of parenting. Like the Keatons, they grew up in the 60s and had mellowed with the advent of a family. Their eldest, Mike, was basically the anti-Alex Keaton. While Alex was a habitual overachiever, Mike was the chronic underachiever who was always trying to talk his way out of trouble. Carol was the anti-Mallory Keaton. While Mallory was shallow, ditzy and popular, Carol was brainy, deep and struggled to fit in. Ben was similar to Jennifer Keaton. He was cute as a youngster but as he got older, he never really did anything to stand out. He wasn't as outgoing and charming as Mike and wasn't as smart as Carol. The similarities don't end there. Both shows added babies late in their runs and both babies mysteriously aged like 3 years during the summer hiatuses. Both Mike and Alex had strange best friends with weird names (Boner and Skippy). Both Carol and Mallory had weird, spacey boyfriends (Dwight and Nick). Both shows started with the parents being the focus and then shifted to the children with Michael J. Fox and Kirk Cameron becoming the faces of their respective shows.

As the shows ratings began to fall, the producers began to bring new characters to try and breathe new life into the show. Maggie gave birth to Chrissy in the third season. Between seasons 5 and 6, she showed "remarkable maturity". They also brought in Luke (Leonardo DiCaprio) as a homeless kid that the Seavers adopt for a season and Dwight as Carol's weirdo boyfriend.

In the later years, the show lost some of the dynamics that made it a top-rated sitcom but was still very entertaining nonetheless. The ongoing conflict between Mike and his parents had run its course. Mike had gone from being an irresponsible teen to a very responsible adult who was in charge of Luke. Carol was seen less during the final season as Tracy Gold had temporarily left the show. The producers had almost tried too hard to make Ben into a younger version of Mike. I think they eventually realized that it was not working and brought in Luke.

While the show dealt with many serious subjects, it never really took itself too seriously and found different ways to be creative. There was a show where Ben dreams that he was actually Jeremy Miller (the actor who played him) and everyone began to act as if they were not their respective characters but the actors playing them who were part of a show called "Meet The Seavers". There were also several variations on the opening song. On one episode, Mike was in an acting class where they reenacted the opening song. On another episode, Maggie went into labor at the end of the opening credits.

While this show has lost steam since it went off the air in 1992, it was one of the last truly traditional family sitcoms to grace the airwaves. With most sitcoms today being adult-themed, it is refreshing to go back in time and watch a well-meaning family show like "Growing Pains".

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16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Best Sitcom Ever.

Author: Liz H from Ontario, Canada
26 August 2001

Growing Pains was definitely the show to watch during the dreaded 80's. Kirk Cameron (Mike) was the heart-throb of the show, and it seriously got funnier every episode. There was not ONE THING wrong with this show, (although I did really want to see something FINALLY happen with Boner & Carol), but that's a whole other story. Best Show Ever. You know you want to admit it.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Awesome 80's show!

Author: meggy_m (meggy_m@hotmail.com) from Pennsylvania, USA
18 May 2002

Growing Pains is one of the greatest family sitcoms to come from the 80's. There is a certain amount of cheesiness there, but that's what makes it so good! Not to mention Kirk Cameron and all of his hotness! Try to catch the reruns on Fox Family channel!

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

really miss in todays tv!

Author: brookelyn (HipChic960@msn.com) from michigan, usa
21 April 2003

I know most of the people who comment on this probably were teenagers in th 1980's, I however was not. I first saw "Growing Pains" in 1999 as reruns . I fell in love with the show and later learned it was canceled already, then Disney threw it out the window. Fox Family picked it up three years later but they threw it out again. I really think this show is greatly missed by thousands of fans of the show. They say oh well the kids grew up times changed but their could have been so many more episodes and there should have been. I really think that the reruns should be picked up again and this time kept for a while or something like that. Look at the Brady Bunch most people I know hate that show and its a 70's show here its reruns play all the time constantly but yet a sit-com like growing pains from the 80's with more reality and morals is left behind. What's with that?

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

It's not the best but it sure beats most other shows

7/10
Author: (sylviastel@aol.com) from United States
26 June 2002

After the family ties success on NBC, ABC developed Growing Pains to rival it about the Seavers with their 3 children in Long Island, New York. Nobody in this show has the New York accent but it still beats other shows. Kirk Cameron became a huge teen star in the eighties. Tracey Gold shined as the middle sister, Carol Seaver. Alan Thicke finally had a successful show in his lifetime and Joanna Kerns came out of her big sister Donna Devarona's shadows as the Growing Pains mom. The writing could have been better and the show could have equaled Family Ties but nowadays, a show like this would have got Emmys. Sure, it was sweet and full of saccharine but I miss it now.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A good show. Bring back the reruns.

Author: mnbvcxz112 from Saskatchewan, Canada
11 December 2002

When I first saw "Growing Pains" I referred to it disparagingly as "The White Cosby Show". In 1984, sitcoms were the junk food of the television diet. They lacked quality, and were relegated to the basement of the Nielsen ratings. Then, in 1984, NBC showed that a sitcom could be #1 in the ratings with "The Cosby Show". I greeted "Growing Pains", ABC's apparent attempt to cash in with a new family sitcom in 1985, with cynicism, and watched every week for them to drop the ball. I watched, in the beginning to see this show crash and burn, and was very surprised to find, in a few weeks that I liked it!

In a time before shows about dysfunctional families like "Married...With Children" and "Roseanne" (good shows in their own way) "Growing Pains" showed a reasonably functional family in a basically caring environment, Mike's constant put-downs of Carol being his way of handling the affection he felt for his sister but felt uncomfortable showing.

The members of this family liked each other, and their feelings were infectious. I liked being able to hang out with the Seaver family for half an hour every week, and daily when the syndicated reruns began. I haven't been able to see GP reruns in at least 4 years. When the twice-a-day reruns of "Seinfeld", "Friends", and "The Simpsons" begin to lose their steam, I hope "Growing Pains" is given another opportunity.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good show!

Author: Monika-5 from United States
15 December 2000

I still love the fantastic wit Growing Pains has! Even in reruns, this show still makes me laugh--a lot. With a talented cast like this, I'm surprised none of them made it big in Hollywood (except for you-know-who from Titanic). The Seavers were one of my favorite TV families and I was sad when the show left the air. I also loved the recent reunion movie!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Great Family Show That Defined An Era.

10/10
Author: powermandan from Canada
14 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Growing Pains is a family sitcom that deals with traditional matters that need dealing. Drinking, smoking, curfews, and others. Some episodes are sadder that deal with death in the family and suicide. The episode about teen suicide is one that there should have been more of if Growing Pains wanted to set itself apart from other shows around this time. The suicide episode was like something Diff'rent Strokes would do. That is what set it apart from others, they took risks. But there are many meaningful episodes that can come to help and really make you laugh. I know that this doesn't have very high ratings on many sites and sources, but I have a personal connection with this. I feel this is my own.

Growing Pains is about the Seaver clan: Maggie (Kerns) pursues her career in journalism again while husband Jason (Thicke) does his psychiatry work at home. They have three children: girl- chasing slacker, Mike (Cameron); clever, bookworm Carol (Gold); and nutty, rambunctious Ben (Miller). By season four, Chrissy Seaver was introduced and aged very fast when Ashley Johnson was cast in the role. The character of Chrissy is one of the most recognized TV characters that age faster. Around that time, Maggie and Jason's work locations switched again with Maggie working from home and Jason having an office.

One thing I like about Growing Pains is the chemistry and evolvement of the characters. The one that evolves the most is Mike. In the early seasons, he is girl-crazy, immature, and trouble making with no ambition. he eventually decides he wants to be an actor, and the episodes where he puts his plan into action show how had it is to find work as any artist. He later works as a teacher, where he takes in homeless Luke Brower (DiCaprio). Mike becoming a teacher was very unrealistic because a university degree is needed and Mike just went to community college for drama. He becomes a sophisticated and responsible young man. He totally changes from the slacker in the first few seasons. Luckily, his transition was very smooth and precise, making it realistic and admirable. This was also when he fell in love with his character's girlfriend (Noble) in real life and wound up marrying. Mike becomes Luke's guardian and father figure. The introduction of Luke alone was a good addition to the show. Tracey Gold was having health problems and her character was seen less in the last season as she attends university, and they needed a good replacement. Who better than a young Leo DiCaprio? This was before the days of Gilbert Grape and Titanic, but DiCaprio still shines in a very memorable role. Any old fan of Growing Pains knew that Leo was destined for greatness.

With most seasons in the 80s and a couple in the 90s, Growing Pains is a wonderful cruise down memory lane.

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