Season 1, Episode 22, “Extra Lap”

The Seavers deal with the death of Uncle Bob this week on the season finale of Growing Pains.

We’ve reached the season finale. I’ve done 22 of these. more to go.

Anyway, onto the episode.

Maggie is in the kitchen making breakfast as Jason comes in asking why Uncle Bob is sleeping in his (Jason’s) office. Maggie replies that Mike and Uncle Bob played Poker last night and Mike won his room back. Mike comes in asking for a can of shaving cream because Uncle Bob has done the Shaving Cream in Hand prank on him four nights in a row.

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Since Uncle Bob is still “sleeping,” this give Mike the perfect time to get revenge. When he’s gone Carol and Ben come in talking about how Uncle Bob will beat Mike in things today. Mike comes in with a shocked look on his face proclaiming Uncle Bob is dead.

The next scene the Seavers return home from the funeral. Maggie suggests that they should tell some happy memories of Uncle Bob because that’s what he used to do for people.

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Maggie goes first telling the time Uncle Bob took her to her first Ballet lesson. Carol’s is about the time her appendix was taken out and Uncle Bob took her one in a jar and said not to worry because he knew how to put it back in. Ben’s was remembering how much fun it was when he’d make Mike lose like when they’d race from and to the house. We then see that scene. Uncle Bob beats Mike and to make it look like he’s been there longer than he actually was, puts on different clothing and acts like he was telling Carol and Ben a story.

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I give credit to the make up department for this scene because they do a good job of everybody looking younger. Mike’s was how he used to play poker with him. We then see that scene play out as well. Uncle Bob’s telling Mike of this girl he thought he was going to marry. Mike then tells Uncle Bob about this girl he likes at school and Mike’s D in Geometry. This shows how they bonded. These stories are good in general because it develops Uncle Bob and allows us to care for him more. Even though this is his first and probably last appearance or mention.

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We cut to the middle of the night and Mike has entered the kitchen to drink some butter milk. While he’s doing so, guess who comes in through the door? Uncle Bob.

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Mike can’t believe his eyes and drops the carton from his hand.

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Next we see him in his room the next morning leading us to assume it was all a dream. He comes down for breakfast and Maggie soon asks who can explain why the Buttermilk was spilled in front of the fridge. In response, Mike starts choking on his food because up until this point he thought it was a dream.

At midnight that same day, The Seavers are playing a game of Charades. Mike wants to keep playing because he doesn’t want to go to sleep and have that dream again. The rest of the Seavers can’t stay awake anymore and head up stairs. Just as Jason is about to go up, Mike asks what happens when you die and brings up all what’s going. He then suggests talking to Uncle Bob and seeing what he wants. That’s an interesting idea for the writers to explore.

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So it’s the middle of the night again and Mike goes down for some buttermilk. He finishes and puts it back thinking Uncle Bob was just a one time occurrence. But in walks him talking to Mike acting like everything’s swell. See Uncle Bob doesn’t know he’s dead and Mike has to break it to him. Once Uncle Bob finds out he decides he needs to leave and go to the afterlife. Mike doesn’t want to go. He already lost him one time. Uncle Bob tells Mike that’ll always have the memories. Mike and Uncle Bob say their goodbyes, but before leaving Uncle Bob hands him his red towel as one of many memories to hold on to.

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The next morning Maggie wakes Mike up by going to his room and throws a red towel at him telling him not leave his towels on the floor. He starts to tell her it’s not his. She’s already left the room and not seeming to be paying attention. Suddenly he realizes it belonged to Uncle Bob and was the same one Uncle Bob gave Mike before he left.

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And that’s the point..

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