Growing Pains Summary:
This ABC family sitcom revolved around the Seaver family, who lived on Long Island in New York. When the series debuted in 1985, Jason (a psychiatrist) and Maggie (a newspaper reporter) headed a family of three children: 15-year-old Mike, who was irresponsible and an academic slacker; 14-year-old Carol, the brainy nerd and a bit shy; and 9-year-old Ben, who idolized his brother. In the premiere, Jason moves his practice to his home when Maggie went back to work (for the Long Island Herald, using her maiden name, Maggie Malone, as her byline). Most of the stories revolved around standard family issues (such as the children getting into all kinds of situations), though there was time to explore serious topics such as vandalism, gangs and drug use. As the years wore on, the characters changed. Mike developed a love of acting (he had tried out for a play for the sole intent of trying to woo an attractive classmate, and found his hidden talent in the process); he later enrolled in a local college and began student teaching, while keeping his acting resume updated. Carol (slightly overweight and insecure in the early episodes) blossomed into a beautiful young woman and, thanks to her academic success in high school, was accepted into Columbia University. Ben ... was just Ben. In 1988, Maggie gave birth to a daughter, Chrissy; she was "turned" six in 1990. Mike, meanwhile, found his first true love in Kate (future real-life wife Chelsea Noble), and later took in homeless teen-ager Luke (a young Leonardo DiCaprio). Jason and Maggie's parents were also seen on occassion, as was the eternally-incompetent teacher Graham Lubbock (played by Bill Kirchenbauer, whose character was so popular it was spun off into "Just the Ten of Us"). In the finale, Maggie accepts her dream job as media relations director for a U.S. senator, and they bid farewell to their home.