When I first decided that I wanted to do a review blog, I had a hard time deciding what series I should choose. Then I decided on Growing Pains. It was perfect because I wanted to do a show I wasn’t too familiar with and hadn’t seen in awhile. But wanted to revisit. The last time I saw an episode of the show was when it aired on Nick@Nite in 2007-2008. So please join me as I review every episode of this show in chronological order.
The pilot begins with an introduction video narrated by the Seaver parents, Jason and Maggie played by Alan Thicke and Joanna Kerns. The couple sets up the series by explaining what they each do for a living.
Jason is a psychologist who has since moved his practice into the home in order to be available for their three kids. Maggie has gone back to work as a reporter for the local newspaper. From oldest to youngest, the three kids are Mike, Carol, and Ben, played by Kirk Cameron, Tracey Gold and Jeremy Miller, respectively. This is…
Now on to the actual pilot…
The first episode starts off with Maggie, Ben and Carol in the kitchen with Maggie humming the Who’s the Boss theme. Jason comes in and in his attempt to get some tells Maggie about an article he read saying that two-career couples should make special efforts to try and remain “frisky.”
Mike interrupts his parents kissing by making a snarky remark about his parents not getting enough.
Then some usual brother-sister banter breaks out between Mike and Carol. All because Jason tells Mike, “Most kids would get smacked for a remark like that” and Carol wants her dad to go through with it.
Next Mike receives a phone call where he and his friends decide to meet at the House of Sweat. (Carol explains that H of S is an under twenty dance club.)
Maggie questions Mike about his plans, with Jason trying to get her to give Mike some slack. After the kids leave, Jason continues his attempts to get some but Maggie didn’t take the bait
After Jason leaves the room, we see Ben walk in. Ben tells Maggie that Jason didn’t “do his elbow right” and by that he means his Band-Aid. But this is all really about Ben being sad his mother is going back to work.
Now not that this scene isn’t necessary. Because kids in this situation feel this way. But how the scene is incorporated, after Jason leaves the room, makes the exchange seem drawn out. The scene should’ve ended with Jason leaving the room and the part with Ben should’ve been incorporated earlier. Doing it this way just messes up the flow.
The next scene we see Jason with a client who is explaining a recurring dream with Carol and Ben listening through drinking glasses outside the door. Mike comes home wanting to talk to his father in his office. As soon as Mike closes the door, Carol and Ben resume listening in.
Mike opens the door and swipes the glasses from Carol and Ben then he refers to them as “kids.” At this point, we’re not sure exactly how old the Seaver kids are, but I find it funny that Mike refers to Carol as a kid when in real life, Tracey Gold is a year older than Kirk Cameron.
In the next scene in Jason’s office, Mike tries to convince his dad to let him go to the House of Sweat with his friend, Jerry, who took Driver’s Ed for TWO years. This Jerry sounds like a real winner. He failed his driver’s test the first time because he ran over a dog. Jason lets Mike go with Jerry despite Maggie most likely saying no. But Jason says for Mike to have more freedom, he has to agree to show more responsibility. I wonder how this is gonna go?
Maggie (as expected) isn’t too happy when she finds out, despite Jason telling Mike earlier that he would get her to understand. Maggie becomes even less happy when she finds out Mike went with Jerry “Dog Killer” Delish, as she refers to him.
Just as Maggie is questioning if going back to work was such a good idea, Jason once again trying to get some calms her by providing reasoning for why he let Mike go. After they have a seat, Jason points out two champagnes glasses on the coffee table in front of them and the new sheets he bought. And just as Jason is going to seal the deal and they’re about to head upstairs, they receive a call from wouldn’t you know it? The police station telling them that Mike has been arrested.
In this next scene, the family arrives at the police station to pick up Mike. Jason isn’t too mad to find out Mike just drove around in circles in the House of Sweat parking lot. But as it turns out, that’s not all he did. He sideswiped a cop car on his way out, taking off the bumper. Right before the Seavers leave, Mike introduces them to Jerry who is practically passed out on the floor.
Maggie says Mike is grounded for two months. Then Mike says, ”You said you were going to talk to her.” and Jason says, “I did talk to her. Your punishment was originally one month until I got it up to two.” Jason is mad because Mike didn’t show responsibility like he promised his dad he would.
Finally, when the Seavers arrive home, Jason storms into his and Maggie’s room. He immediately starts looking for his pajamas and says what he’s mad about is not being able to find his pajamas. But we, along with Maggie, know what he’s really mad about.
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Carol tries to make Mike feel better and tells him she bets in a year their dad will look at this and laugh, or “okay, chuckle.”
And she does this all while trying to pull up her pants—or that’s what it looks like to me.
For Jason it takes tearing up the entire bedroom to admit that he’s actually mad at Mike.
Maggie tells him to go and talk to Mike, which he does. In the kitchen, Jason finds Mike with his head on the kitchen counter asleep.
Mike awakens and hopes this entire debacle was a dream. But as we know, it wasn’t. Then Mike explains how he did show responsibility in not letting Jerry drive because he was drunk. Mike then agrees with his father that he should’ve called him, but he didn’t because there were some girls there.
Mike doing crazy things to impress girls. I have a feeling this will be a recurring theme.
After Mike apologizes to his dad, Jason sympathizes with his son and tells him a story about how when he was 16, he and his friends would go around mooning people. Like Mike, Jason and his friends got arrested, but had to be let off because the Mayor’s wife, one of their victims, refused to make an identification. Jason wraps up by telling Mike that not having an urge to do something like that is what being an adult is all about. Mike wishes his dad a good night and heads off to bed. Jason pulls down his pants thinking it would be funny to moon his son and calls Mike back into the kitchen.
The door opens but it’s not Mike who enters, it’s Maggie. She has a big smile on her face and she throws a towel over her head. Jason is finally going to get some.
I’m sure they moved into the bedroom but what if they didn’t. An unsuspecting Mike or one of the other kids could’ve walked in and been utterly horrified. That’s the deleted scene I want to see!
But wait there’s more! It turns out that I didn’t finish the episode the first time and when I was going back for a second run-through, I discovered another scene where Maggie is cooking in the kitchen singing “I Feel the Earth Move.”(Catchy 70’s title.) Jason comes in and harmonizes then the kids join in. It’s like the Partridge family without the ruffled collars and bellbottoms.
What’s the point of this scene anyway? Nothing. It has nothing to do with the plot of the episode and just drags the episode on. Think the scene with Ben and Maggie at the beginning of the episode. Except that scene wasn’t pointless. The freeze frame of Maggie’s reaction to see Jason mooning who he thinks is Mike was a much better way to the end the episode, bringing the storyline full circle. From wanting some to getting some.
So that’s the point…
Please join me next Thursday as I review Season 1 Episode 2: “Springsteen.”