Alan Thicke and his semi-reality show Unusually Thicke are spurring our nostalgic cravings for Growing Pains. Let’s look back at the best moments.
Photo credit: ABC
Alan Thicke’s semi-scripted, semi-reality show Unusually Thicke is celebrating a mini Growing Pains reunion during its Wednesday episode. Not that you could forget, but Thicke played dad Jason in the show.
Growing Pains aired for seven seasons during the late ’80s and early ’90s. The show followed the ups and downs of the close-knit Seaver family, including Jason, mom Maggie, and children Mike, Carol and Ben. The show later added child No. 4 Chrissy into the mix as well.
The reappearance of the show’s major cast members on Unusually Thicke has us reflecting back on all the goodness that was Growing Pains. Here are our favorite moments.
1. Boner leaves town
Before bromances were even a thing, Mike and Boner brought it like no other TV characters had before. Capping off this beautiful relationship, when Boner left town to join the Marines, Mike really struggled with it. He went through anger and abandonment, and we were right there with him. Uh-mazing!
2. Julie leaves Mike at the altar
Okay, aside from the fact that the only reason Julie left Mike was because Kirk Cameron had discovered God and demanded actress Julie McCullough get the axe for posing in Playboy (no, seriously), this moment brings us to heartbreaking tears. We still think Julie and Mike were supposed to be forever.
3. Sibling rivalry
Remember how Mike and Ben would play video games, and Mike would try to trick his way into winning? Or the way Mike and Carol would fight over the phone? As someone with two younger sisters, let me just tell you, the sibling rivalry was almost always spot on.
4. Leo, Leo, Leo!
We could not even begin to complete this list without a little Leonardo DiCaprio love. Who could forget that moment in the series where Jason thinks DiCaprio’s character Luke is stealing the home stash of alcohol. Turns out, Luke threw it all away because his father was an abusive alcoholic.
5. Carol learns about drinking and driving
When I was first watching Growing Pains, I don’t even knew if I understood the effects of alcohol, let alone the dangers of drinking and driving. (I was only in elementary school, after all.) But this scene from the show still hits a chord in me. Lesson learned the hard way.
6. Mike schemes a D into an A
If only Mike had used all his cheating cleverness (like getting his teacher’s assistant to change his grade from a D+ to an A in exchange for a date) and applied it in class, he might have performed a lot better in school. It was a nice idea to try to weasel his way to good grades. It just didn’t work so well, of course.
7. Hello, Brad
Uh, Growing Pains was, like, the pit stop on the road to fame for today’s leading men. Don’t forget that Brad Pitt also made a stunning appearance. When Carol’s “river of passion” with Bobby runs dry, Carol dumps him for the new transfer hottie, played by Brad Pitt.
8. Innocent life lessons
“Dad, can I talk to you as a friend and not as a guy who could make my life miserable?” Mike asks before he tells Jason about a party he was at with cocaine. Mike decided not to do the drugs, which leads to a great conversation about making the right choices in life. That’s one of many important things Growing Pains taught us.
9. Grandpa Ed strikes again
Grandpa Ed was a lovable character who popped up here and there in the series. Whether he was pulling a fast one (so that’s where Mike gets it from) on Jason and Maggie by pretending he’s moving in for a month or giving the grandkids $5,000 just to see how they’ll spend it, his visits were never boring.
10. Jason and Maggie drift apart
When Maggie gets a new job in Season 3, she has less and less time for Jason, which causes distance in their marriage. Like any couple, the Seavers worked to keep their spark alive, and viewers saw it firsthand. This was a down time for them, but they made it back together.
11. Carol wants a nose job
In Season 2, Carol decides she wants a nose job, but her parents refuse unless she can raise the money on her own. When she wins a radio contest, the idea suddenly becomes reality, and the family has to face the body issues together. Every person has insecurities. In fact, actress Tracey Gold, who played Carol, struggled with severe anorexia. The topic of loving yourself was a prevalent one on the show, and it hit close to home.
12. Bike raffle gone wrong
Sure, they could fight, but the Seaver siblings could also work as a great team when they wanted to. So when Carol gets a brilliant idea to help Ben sell his bike, the family thinks they’re set — until the Babotz brothers mess everything up. The moral of the story: Family sticks together even when things don’t go as planned.
13. Maggie and Jason recall Mike’s first day of school
Mike is graduating high school, which causes his parents to reminisce about his first day of school. We see the Seaver family via flashback, including Carol, who’s as spitfiery as ever. Ben is only a bun in the oven at this point. Oh, and Jason has an awesome ‘stache.
14. Chrissy joins the fam
In the fourth season, Maggie gives birth to daughter Chrissy, who quickly went from infant to 6-year-old between seasons. The curly-haired cutie added some youthful spunk to the show, and we loved seeing her integrate into the family with a new, innocent perspective.
15. The looooove boat
For some reason, I’ll never forget this episode where Jason’s mom Irma marries Wally. There was something so romantic about the whole cruise ship scenario. Add to it Mike’s proposal to Julie, and we sank into TV show bliss.
16. As long as we’ve got each other
The opening sequence to Growing Pains became an iconic moment all in its own. Though the theme song changed slightly throughout the years, the message always remained the same: “As long as we’ve got each other, we’ve got the world spinning right in our hands. Baby, rain or shine, all the time, we’ve got each other sharing the laughter and love.”