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Growing Pains

Growing Pains
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"
Ending theme "As Long As We Got Each Other"
Composer(s) Steve Dorff
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 166 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Neal Marlens (1985–86)
Mike Sullivan
Steve Marshall
Dan Guntzelman (1985–91)
Dan Wilcox (1991–92)
Producer(s) David Lerner (season 1)
Arnold Margolin
Bruce Ferber
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Guntzelman/Sullivan/Marshall Productions (seasons 5–6)
Warner Bros. Television
Original channel ABC
Original release 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 American family, which aired on ABC from September 24, 1985, to April 25, 1992. The show ran for seven seasons with a total of 166 episodes aired.


  • Premise 1
  • Cast and characters 2
    • Main 2.1
    • Recurring 2.2
  • Opening sequences 3
    • Theme song 3.1
  • Production 4
  • Episodes 5
  • Nielsen ratings 6
  • Spin-off 7
  • Reunion movies 8
  • DVD Releases 9
  • International names 10
  • Syndication 11
    • United States 11.1
    • Asia 11.2
    • France 11.3
    • Australia 11.4
    • Turkey 11.5
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The Seaver family resides at 15 Robin Hood Lane in Huntington, Long Island, New York.[1] Dr. Jason Seaver, a psychiatrist, works from home because his wife, Maggie, has gone back to work as a reporter. Jason has to take care of the kids: ladies man Mike, bookish honors student Carol, and rambunctious Ben. A fourth child, Chrissy Seaver, is born in 1988. In the beginning, she is played in her infant stage by twins. In season six, Chrissy's age was advanced to six years old.

Cast and characters



  • Josh Andrew Koenig as Richard Milhous "Boner" Stabone (25 episodes, 1985–89), Mike's friend; left to join the United States Marines
  • Jamie Abbott as Stinky Sullivan (18 episodes, 1987–91), Ben's friend
  • K. C. Martel as Eddie (16 episodes, 1985–92), Mike's friend
  • Chelsea Noble as Kate MacDonald (14 episodes, 1989–92), Mike's girlfriend
  • Gordon Jump as Ed Malone (11 episodes, 1989–91); Maggie's father
  • Lisa Capps as Debbie (10 episodes, 1987–88), Carol's friend
  • Rachael Jacobs as Shelley (10 episodes, 1987–88), Carol's friend
  • Julie McCullough as Julie Costello (10 episodes, 1989–90), Mike's former girlfriend
  • Sam Anderson as Principal Willis DeWitt (10 episodes, 1986–92) (started as Mike's history teacher)
  • Betty McGuire as Kate Malone (7 episodes, 1989–91); Maggie's mother
  • Bill Kirchenbauer as Coach Graham Lubbock (7 episodes, 1987–88; starred in spin-off Just the Ten of Us), gym teacher
  • Jodi Peterson as Laura Lynn (6 episodes, 1989–91), Ben's girlfriend / love interest
  • Evan Arnold as Richie (6 episodes, 1985–87)
  • Jane Powell as Irma Seaver (5 episodes, 1988–90), Jason's mother
  • Fred Applegate as Francis X. Tedesco (4 episodes, 1991), principal of the learning annex where Mike teaches
  • Matthew Perry as Sandy (3 episodes, 1989), Carol's boyfriend

Opening sequences

The season one 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 two through five 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 six and seven 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.

Theme song

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

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 Dorff from his television series theme songs and three tracks from Growing Pains:

  1. Theme Song "As Long As We Got Each Other" (B.J. Thomas and Dusty Springfield)
  2. Aloha Episode – "Swept Away" by Christopher Cross
  3. Graduation Day Episode – "This Is The Day" performed by B.J. Thomas


Kirk Cameron claims he was once an atheist,[3] but when he was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, became a born-again Christian.[4][5][6] After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that story lines be stripped of anything he thought too adult or racy in Growing Pains.[7][8] 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 and replaced on the show by Cameron's real-life girlfriend, Chelsea Noble. Cameron objected to and was outraged at 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,[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. McCullough has criticized the evangelical television programming Cameron has produced, which she has viewed on one occasion, saying on her MySpace page:

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. The producers and wardrobe department for the show tried to hide her skeletal and gaunt appearance by dressing her in large and baggy sweaters and sweatshirts. 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 episodes 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 1985–86 #18 16.75[12]
2 1986–87 #8 19.83[13]
3 1987–88 #5 21.5[14]
4 1988–89 #14 15.91[15]
5 1989–90 #21 14.18[16]
6 1990–91 #27 13.31[17]
7 1991–92 #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 five seasons on DVD in Region 1, as of July 14, 2015.[18] Seasons 3, 4, and 5 are manufacture-on-demand (MOD) releases, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Season 6 will be released by Warner Archive on November 3, 2015.[19]

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 Video and ITunes also have the entire series available to purchase.

DVD Name Ep # Release dates
All Regions Region 1 Region 4
Season 1 22 N/A February 7, 2006 June 5, 2007
Season 2 22 April 26, 2011 N/A
Season 3 26 May 21, 2013 N/A
Season 4 22 April 14, 2015
Season 5 26 July 14, 2015
Season 6 24 October 20, 2015

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) To grow up & to overcome
Japan 愉快なシーバー家 (Yukai na Shiibaa (Seaver) Ke) 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


United States

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.

UP began airing Growing Pains in January 2015.


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 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 the 1990s in Turkey's first private TV channel, Star TV.


  1. ^ "Growing Pains Trivia Facts". ShareTV. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ "IGN's Top 10 Favorite TV Couples". IGN. Retrieved August 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ Bashir, Martin (May 7, 2007), "Does God Exist? The Nightline Faceoff", ABC News, retrieved April 4, 2009 
  4. ^ Ewald, Dan (March–April 2003). "The Rebirth of Kirk Cameron".  
  5. ^ "Back of Book Segment".  
  6. ^ Cameron, Kirk; Ray Comfort (2004). The Way of the Master.  
  7. ^ "The Cast of 'Growing Pains:' Where Are They Now?". Fox News. December 18, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ Keck, William (November 3, 2000). "'"TV Family’s Cast Gets Over Its Own 'Growing Pains. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  9. ^ The John Kerwin ShowMcCullough interview on ; YouTube; Accessed August 21, 2010
  10. ^ Julie McCullough at; Accessed August 21, 2010
  11. ^ "Julie McCullough op Myspace Comedy – Komische clips, lollige video's en grappen". Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  12. ^ "TV Ratings: 1985–86". Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  13. ^ "TV Ratings: 1986–87". Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "TV Ratings: 1988–89". Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  16. ^ "TV Ratings: 1985–90". Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  17. ^ "TV Ratings: 1990–91". Retrieved January 9, 2010. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ 'The Complete 6th Season' May Be Here In Just a Few Weeks!

External links

  • Growing Pains at the Internet Movie Database
  • Growing Pains at
  • French websiteGrowing Pains (French)
  • streaming episodes on TheWBGrowing Pains
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