Hey folks, Valkor here. Growing up, the regular family pasttime in the house of Val was to grab our dinner, stretch in front of the TV and watched some of our favorite sitcoms – that's if Momma Val allowed it. But watching sitcoms back then not only gave us an opportunity to laugh together as a family, but to also discuss the subject matter as well. And thanks to the folks at Warner Home, I get to relive some of those past moments with one of my all-time favorite sitcoms – Growing Pains: the Complete Second Season.
The Growing Pains series focused on family the Seavers, an upper-class family who lived in Long Island. The cast included Alan Thicke as Jason Seaver who was a work from home Psychiatrist and househusband. Next is Joanna Kerns as Maggie Seaver, she's just returned to her job as a news reporter. The show states she used to work for Newsweek, but after having the kids she moved on to something more local. Next up we have the children, starting with the oldest, ever cool and ever popular Mike Seaver played by Kirk Cameron, the nerdy, yet super cute Carol Seaver played by Tracey Gold, and last but certainly not least you have the rambunctious little scamp Ben Seaver played by Jeremy Miller.
The show followed the day to day goings on of the family, but as the title dictates, it mostly centers on the wacky and sometimes real-life trials and tribulations of the children and how the parents respond to said situations. Often times the children try to handle their conflicts on their own, but most times they look to the parents to give them sound advice. The series, as a whole, went on for seven seasons and later introduced a fourth Seaver child – Chrissy Seaver played by three actors. First there's infant Chrissy played by Kristen and Kelsey Dohring, and six year old Chrissy, played by Ashley Johnson. But that's a story for another review, right now let's focus on the family five and highlight some of season two's episodes:
Employee of the Month – In order for Mike to get a car, he must first show he's responsible enough. So he gets a job working at "World of Burger" and even makes it as employee of the month, which in turn earns him the car of his dreams. But when he gets fired for covering someone else's keister, Mike chooses to hide the truth from his family, thinking he'll lose the car.
My Brother, Myself – Puberty has hit Ben like a ton of bricks and he's having difficulties dealing with these new feelings. So he looks to his big brother Mike for the answers. But that may get him in deeper trouble as he learns that Mike doesn't really know as much about women as he thinks he does.
Choices – Carol is given the opportunity to skip the tenth grade, which pleases every one… except Mike. But when Jason and Maggie learn why she's doing it – because she doesn't wanna end up like her mother, they do their best to show her the error in her ways.
Dream Lover – Carol is tired of being miss goody two shoes, so she starts a rumor that she's been sleeping with the captain of the school's football team whom she's only been tutoring. Things get even crazier when Mike gets beat up defending her honor.
The DVD set consist of 3 discs with 22 episodes in total, no special extras and an insert giving you a brief synopsis of each episode. And with that, let's dive right in to the TOV Breakdown.
As far sitcoms go, to me, Growing Pains ranks pretty high and is truly one of my favorite shows that I watched without fail each week. The series is consistently funny, clever, and charming, though it takes a pause at times to teach a serious life lesson. Season two of the series kept the funny flowing and once I started watching I couldn't stop until all 22 episodes were done. And as I write this, I wanna watch it again. It's that good and has really held up well through the years. In fact, I think as an adult I enjoy the series even more so because there's a lot of important stuff that I missed. The casting is beyond perfect! Though Kirk Cameron's Mike Seaver usually takes the spotlight, he never really outshines the rest of the cast; unlike say Steve Urkel from Family Matters, who was put to the forefront, overshadowing the family the show was supposed to follow, Growing Pains gave equal time to each member of the family. Looking at the cast individually, other than Bill Cosby's "Heathcliff Huxtable" from the Cosby show, Alan Thicke, in my eyes, was the coolest TV dad. He was tough, yet fair, he listened as well as preached to his kids right and wrong; sure he hit a few snags and he has a slight temper, but who wouldn't want Jason Seaver as a dad; a guy who could not only be your father but also your buddy. Joanna Kerns... the crush I had on her is almost equal to that of Joyce DeWitt from Three's Company. Sure I tuned in for the fun of the series, but I never wanted to miss a chance to lust over Maggie Seaver. Kirk Cameron played his role as Mike Seaver to a tee, and honestly how can you not have fun being that guy? Mike Seaver is what every guy, at that time, wanted to be – just a laid back dude who gets all the chicks. Tracey Gold performs well as the super smart Carol Seaver, though her shrilling whine is a bit annoying at times, she's still a fun character to watch. But Jeremy Miller as Ben Seaver, now this guy is a crack up! His antics are random, boisterous, and completely off the wall. Plus in almost every episode he's constantly eating something. It's too damn funny!
Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season hits the shelves on April 26th and it's a definite can't miss. Like a fine wine, the show has aged well and the laughter never grows stale. I highly recommend checking it out. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving this DVD box set a perfect 5 and it's Valkor tested, TOV Approved.