Season 1, Episode 12, “A Christmas Story”

It’s Christmas in July this week on Growing Pains.


I say this because I’m reviewing this episode in July. The actual episode, “A Christmas Story”, takes place when you’d expect, at Christmas.


Can’t TV shows, when it comes to Christmas specials, think of more creative titles than simply, “A Christmas Story.”


But on to this episode. For a Christmas Special, it’s at least interesting? I guess. They actually find a useful way to incorporate Jason being a psychiatrist. In a lot of the other episodes they just include those scenes to remind the audience that he’s a psychiatrist.


The episode starts with Carol putting together the manger and Mike is messing around the tree. Mike thought it would be funny to put the wise men on the train tracks. The train stops right before it hits them, but it wasn’t a miracle like Carol thought. It was Jason.


Cue the rest of the family. The Seavers have this tradition about opening a present early. Ben can’t seem to find his.

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One of Jason’s patients stops by and is going to be Santa at a children’s orphanage. Jason tells him that he should bring the kids toys. Walt, the patient, brought them raw meat and Tupperware? Jason also tells him how to act in front of the kids.

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Walt leaves and Jason and Maggie leave to get Ben’s gift, though they don’t tell him that.

Ben is persistent and after his other failed attempts offers Mike and Carol money. Mike acts like he’s going to take it just as Carol pulls him away. Mike says he wasn’t going to take it if he offered him anything under $20.

Walt shows up again and asks for Jason. Mike says he stepped out for a minute. A minute?! Walt hastily leaves.

Ben is in the living room and thinks he hears Santa and goes over to the fireplace. No, it’s Walt and he’s going to kill himself by jumping face first into their chimney, as long as he could fit. He really bombed at the Children’s Hospital.

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Mike and Carol join Ben. Carol gets one of Jason’s psychology books and tries to talk  him out of doing it.

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Maggie and Jason come home filled with Christmas spirit, but it quickly goes away once they learn Walt is up on the roof. Jason goes to talk him down. He tells him that he can’t just run away from every problem he comes up against.

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In the middle of all this, Maggie calls the cops (who seem to never show up) and Ben discovers his gift, a puppy. The puppy they got him is so adorable too.

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Turns out Walter used to have a puppy, a German Shepherd. Then it died. It was his only friend. Ben offers his puppy to Walt and with the help of Jason, Walt comes down.

I’m sorry but I don’t really see a kid ever doing that in real life. It’s like Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The kid’s a saint.

Walt comes back down and Ben gives him the dog.

The Seavers are then seen opening their Christmas Eve presents with Walt still there.

Boy wasn’t it really nice for Ben to give his dog away to Walt Oh wait his parents got two dogs.

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This kinda ruins the entire episode. Everything works out perfectly. Either you don’t give him the dog or you do. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It would even work if it was at least clear how they got the other dog.

Did they have it the whole time? Did Jason know Walt was going to try and kill himself, and plan on Ben giving the dog to Walt? Or did they buy one afterwards. If that’s the case the shop they bought it from was open on Christmas Eve or did they buy it from a breeder? That’s what I assumed.

End Scene: Ben is with his new puppy and hears Santa Claus on the roof. How cute.

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An at least interesting special. Christmas episodes always provide good atmosphere and warm feelings. It was just kinda ruined by the ending.

And that’s the point…


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