In the 1980’s, the family sitcoms were a blend of classic sitcoms with the then modern era.
Elyse and Steven Keaton (Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross) are 1960’s hippie flower children. Their children are the exact opposite. Eldest daughter Mallory (Justine Bateman) is the classic teenage girl who thinks more of boys and clothes than grades. Oldest son Alex (Michael J. Fox), who has added the middle initial of P. to his name is the quintessential 1980’s Republican. Younger daughter Jennifer (Tina Yothers) is an eight year old who just wants to be a normal kid. In 1986, producers added a fourth child, a son named Andy (Brian Bonsall).
Set on Long Island, Growing Pains introduced audiences to new sitcom family: The Seavers.
Dr. Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) is a psychiatrist who works out of his house. His wife, Maggie (Joanna Kerns) is a journalist. Their first-born, Mike (Kirk Cameron) is the typical under-achieving slacker teenage boy. Their eldest daughter, Carol (Tracey Gold) is the exact opposite of her elder brother: a type A perfectionist. Younger son Ben (Jeremy Miller) is the average kid. In 1990, fourth child was added to the Seaver household, Chrissy (Ashley Johnson).
In the final year of the show, future superstar Leonardo DiCaprio joined the cast as Luke Brower, a young man from a troubled home who is taken in by the Seavers.
What I like about these shows, besides being classics in their own right, they still speak to audiences. The 1980’s was an interesting decade in America. While many aspects of the culture had not changed, others had changed dramatically. This shift was reflected in the sitcoms that audiences sat down to watch every week.
Do I recommend them? Of course.