Growing Pains was a TV staple of my childhood. Along with Full House, Who’s the Boss?, and The Cosby Show, Growing Pains was part of the late 80s/early 90s boom of family-oriented sitcoms. Shows that parents and kids could enjoy together, this particular genre of sitcom contained some moral message for the audience to learn as a character or characters learned it as well.
And while Growing Pains certainly did have more of an edge than Full House, the overall message about the importance of family and togetherness was always in full force.
With the traditional multi-camera situation comedy in a current state of hibernation, it’s nice to know that we can still access solid TV series from the past on DVD. The second season of Growing Pains is hilarious and shows the family sitcom in top form, and there are plenty of great moments, laughs, and touching moments to be had.
The series made Kirk Cameron a teen heartthrob, and helped to strengthen ABC’s line-up of family shows that was up against The Cosby Show and Family Ties over on NBC.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite episodes from season two:
Call Me – Some of my favorite lines from this season are in this episode that finds Ben in hot water after he’s caught calling an adult chat line. Plenty of laughs and a fairly edgy storyline for a family series, this is one of my favorite episodes from the series as a whole.
Employee of the Month – Olivia d’Abo of Wonder Years fame guest stars as Mike’s ditzy co-worker at the World of Burgers. Another great episode where Mike tries to do good, it backfires, and Jason and Maggie think he’s just gone and screwed up again. As always, everything works itself out in the end. I especially like when the family goes to visit Mike at W.O.B.
Dream Lover – Carol having sex with the captain of the football team? Well, not quite. But that’s what she wants people to think. Aside from having a storyline that allows Carol Seaver to get out from under her “nerd” persona, it also has some great moments featuring Coach Lubbock (Bill Kirchenbauer).
Thank God It’s Friday – In an era of Blossom, Webster, and other series that contained “Very special” episodes, this one is right up there. When Mike, Boner, and Eddie go to a party with a group of older kids, they soon discover that cocaine is also a guest! It’s definitely a classic special episode that includes an important message from Kirk Cameron at the end about peer pressure.
Jimmy Durante Died For Your Sins – Yes, the nose job storyline is a sitcome cliché – see Wings, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and other series as well – but what makes this episodes special is the scene between Carol and Mike in the plastic surgeon’s waiting room. It’s a rare moment where we get character growth between the two siblings, and it’s a touching moment as well.
Confidentially Yours – The story with Jason and Maggie is slow and uninteresting, but the B-story with the kids is worth watching. It’s a classic series of events that has Carol, Ben, and Mike working together to dupe their parents, which of course backfires with great flourish at the end of the episode. Good stuff!
This season also features Sam Anderson (Bernard on LOST) as Dewey High’s Principal Dewitt (love him), and a special appearance by Kirk’s sister Candice, who played D.J. Tanner on Full House. Kirk also guest-starred as the Tanner’s cousin on an episode of Full House in 1988.
For family-friendly laughs I highly recommend Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season on DVD! Now, bring on season three!
Growing Pains: The Complete Second Season is available April 26, 2011!
What’s our favorite episodes, moment, or character on Growing Pains? Leave a comment and let us know!