In the 1980’s, I grew up watching a lot of sitcom family shows as I am sure a lot of kids my age did. Somewhere in my late teens and twenties, I ran away from sitcoms and straight in to cartoons and wrestling. (you thought I was going to say reality shows didn’t you?) But before that happened, I probably saw every last one of those crazy family sitcoms. Including Growing Pains. So when I received Growing Pains Season 2 to review, I knew I didn’t need season one and could dive right in. (
It is Season Two for the Seaver clan. Jason Seaver (played by Alan Thicke) is still operating his practice from the home while Maggie Seaver (played by Joanna Kerns)is exploring a career in journalism. With Jason at home, he is able to spend time with the three kids. The youngest, Ben (played by Jeremy Miller ) is going through middle school.
Ben is also having trouble with bullies in his first day back to school and has to come face to face with one that was waiting for them right after summer vacation to take it to the next level. Then we also have Carol (played by Tracey Gold) who is entering her sophomore year of high school. Excited about the new year, she hopes to find new friends and even perhaps a love interest or two.
Then there is Mike (played by Kirk Cameron), the eldest child of the Seavers and going into his junior year of high school. An instant hit with the ladies, Mike tries to survive high school by dating as many women as he can and keep up with his studies. But as he soon finds out, a budding high school student can become involved with trouble and forced to make choices that will affect the rest of his life.
There are twenty-two episodes in the second season and they encompass a variety of subjects. Some of them are fairly light-hearted such as Jason and the Cruisers where Jason starts to feel old which leads to a reunion of his old band, the Wild Hots. But then there are ones that deal with heavier subjects like in Thank God, It’s Friday where Mike comes into a confrontation with the deadly drug known as cocaine.
The show isn’t as good as I remember it. I watched the show probably from this season until I would say season 6 or 7 and I remember laughing a lot more than what I went through here. Cringing was actually a better word to describe what went on from me here as I mostly shook my head at what used to be the better moments of a once forgotten show. It wasn’t pretty, well except for Tracey Gold I suppose. (Still have a crush on her after all of these years)
It isn’t to say there isn’t some decent acting contained in this three disc set. I respect Alan Thicke a lot more these days as one of the better television dads on record. Jeremy Miller was actually surprising in his role as he had a ton of underrated lines. Did I mention I have still a crush on Carol? Okay, nevermind. Moving on. But all of this wasn’t enough to save the show which was an attempt to launch Kirk Cameron into stardom more than anything else. Too bad, it never turned out as well as one would hope.
The video as expected is the 1.33:1 fullscreen ratio The show has not really aged that well thanks to all of the dated clothes and hairstyles. Seriously, a pink blazer? The video quality is basically mediocre at best. Colors aren’t as vibrant as one would hope and grain is just about everywhere. For all intents and purposes, it will do but don’t expect anything amazing.
The audio is presented in 2.0 English Dolby Digital Stereo. Dialog comes off okay, with the volume not too high and a fairly decent clarity. There aren’t any sound effects to be speak of as it is a show built off vocal laughs and the occasional odd noise in the background (which could really just be some audio hiss). Got to love that canned audience track. Subtitles are provided in English and French.
A little Where are they Now? for Growing Pains. Kirk Cameron makes a fine living doing Christian films and Jeremy Miller basically took a retirement from acting. Tracey Gold unfortunately had a difficult life in Growing Pains and after where she battled with anorexia. Since then, she’s been basically an activist trying to help others with eating disorders and doing one-off television roles. Alan Thicke is still one of the best tv dads ever and Joanna Kerns found a career in directing television episodes.
Growing Pains while influential and quite popular in the day, has not aged particularly well at all. I found myself cringing at various moments where I would have possibly would have laughed twenty years ago (though it is hard to imagine so). The video and audio are fairly average and there are no extras at all, not even a trailer package for other WB owned television shows. If you loved this show as a child or teenager growing up, go grab the first season before thinking about this one. At least that way, I can’t be held responsible after you buy this one. Let’s go share the laughter and love somewhere else.
Jason and the Cruisers
Fast Times at Dewey High
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Employee of the Month
Do You Belive in Magic?
The Breakfast Club
Some Enchanted Evening
Thank You, Willie Nelson
Thank God It’s Friday
My Brother, Myself
Jimmy Durante Died For Your Sins
The Awful Truth
The Long Goodbye