Growing Pains: Season 3, Episode 26, “Graduation Day”

Season 3 (finally) ends with a pretty unremarkable episode of Mike graduating.

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A pregnant Maggie is holding up the graduation ceremony, while Ben totally and unintentionally makes a scene out of it. All the Seavers are seated and you’d think the ceremony would begin now. Well it does, but it takes forever to get to where we actually see Mike graduating. It makes sense since the whole episode is leading to this, but this approach makes the episode pretty boring and unfulfilling. The music starts playing and all the graduates start walking into the auditorium.

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Boner’s called up by Principal DeWitt to give a speech, since he’s the PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT BODY! How the hell did that happen. I assume that’s the joke. That of all people who could’ve been Student Body President, it’s Boner.

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While Boner gives his very long speech, Maggie and Jason experience memories of Mike. Maggie’s are definitely more fond than Jason. Two are of Mike as a baby. First of those is when Jason’s taking a photo of Maggie and Mike. BTW, Jason’s hair in these flashbacks make him look like a porn star.

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The other is Maggie nursing Mike in the middle of the night. As Mike gets older, Maggie (pregnant with Carol) sees Mike walking for the first time. As well as him playing on the porch of the house they’re at now. The rest of the flashbacks are just scenes we’ve seen from other episodes with sappy music playing ove it, of course. They showed Mike in the very first episode. It’s crazy to see how young he looks. When I think back to the first episode, I remember him rather close to how he is now.

The memories Jason experiences shows how Mike became the man we know him as now. We see Jason catching Mike ripping up a book.

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Mike’s first day of school where he meets Boner. We learn here Boner wasn’t called Boner to he met Mike. Mike, by combining his names, suggest Boner should change his name to that. His real name is Diggy.

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How is Jason able to remember any of this. He wasn’t there. Sure he was across the street on the porch seeing off Mike with Maggie and Carol, but he has no idea what they’re talking about. He just sees Mike talking with another kid. Also Mike and Boner skipped school that day. I love that. It’s the first day of school and Mike ditched. That’s so him. The last flashback we get, from Jason, is him coming home. Mike’s avoiding talking about school because his report card was bad. I’ll give this a pass, because Mike was a kid back then but what was his thought process exactly? Maggie, as we quickly find out, already knew. She was gonna tell Jason even if Mike was able to avoid it.

Now it’s (finally) time to hand out the diplomas. Mike’s worried (for good reason) that he won’t get a diploma thus not graduate. Sarah, the woman bringing up the diplomas to the stage, trips and the diplomas go all over the stage.

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Mike claims it wasn’t him, and it really wasn’t. I played it back and kept my eyes on Mike the entire time. She tripped before even getting to Mike, and Mike’s legs don’t move at all. Also it’s a pretty unconvincing looking trip. It looks like she just threw them. While she’s cleaning them up, the Hooters start singing, again. They’ve been singing on and off the entire episode. The diplomas are now out of order and Mike’s friend Eddie is called to get his diploma.

While the other students get their diplomas, the attention is brought over to Carol. She finds a note from Mike saying she owes him $50 dollar.

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We see in a flashback, Carol tells Mike she doesn’t think he’ll graduate high school. This all started when Jason was having Mike read and Carol starts reading the book. Since Carol is 4, this shocks Maggie and Jason. While they’re calling the grandparents to tell them, Carol tells Mike about the whole not finishing high school thing. Boner gets his diploma, and it says Boner on it. That costed extra. Mike tells him he thinks Boner should stop going by Boner. Boner doesn’t like his actual name Richard, so Mike suggests Rick. It’s a fitting moment because, like I said, Mike gave Boner the name Boner.

We go to Ben next. You’d think he’d have some memory of Mike, but no he’s just imagining himself fighting in a war. Just like with Boner, the irony here is the joke.

Principal DeWitt says that’s all the diplomas, but Mike hasn’t gotten his yet. Turns out Principal Dewitt was standing on it. Unless he was intentionally doing it, how would he not notice he was standing on something. Mike gets his diploma and everyone’s happy.

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Really did Mike think they would have him dress up and sit with everyone else if he wasn’t graduating? It’s part of the joke this episode.

I feel like I’ve been saying that all episode.

End scene: Mike’s at home relaxing having some cake. Then, to mess with him, Jason tells him that the school rechecked his grades and he’s not graduating. He tells him some other stuff like that. For real though, Jason says the summer session of Alf Landon Jr. College starts in three weeks. It’s a made up college. Mike replies with how he’s not going to college and is enlisting in the marines with Boner. I honestly thought this was gonna be some crazy cliffhanger, but Mike was just joking.

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So that’s it for season 3 of Growing Pains. I’ve got 4 seasons left. I’m so glad this season is over. There were 26 episodes. The first two seasons had, each, 22 episodes. By the end this season just felt like a fat guy racing in a 3 mile run. Then near the end of the race someone came and shot both of his legs, but he still had to crawl to the finish line.

Expect a season recap next week and the first episode of season 4 the following.

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