RIP Alan Thicke

Every generation has their TV dads. The ones we only see once a week for thirty minutes. They aren’t our fathers, but they still have an impact on us.

For the generation coming of age in the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s, Alan Thicke was one of those dads. He was felled today by a heart attack. He was 69.

For 7 years, Thicke played Dr. Jason Seaver on Growing Pains. The Seavers have a busy household. Jason and his journalist wife, Maggie (Joanna Kerns) have four rambunctious children and a very busy life. But something kept them together, despite the whirlwind that was going on around them.

Growing Pains, in one sense, was a typical situation comedy revolving around a family. But on the other hand, it reflected the changing times in America. Jason was a hands on dad who, like many good fathers, was only trying to do what was best for his family.

RIP Alan Thicke.

Throwback Thursday: Classic 80’s Sitcoms: Family Ties (1982-1989) & Growing Pains (1985-1992)

In the 1980’s, the family sitcoms were a blend of classic sitcoms with the then modern era.

In this Throwback Thursday post, I will be exploring two different 1980’s family sitcoms, Family Ties (1982-1989) and Growing Pains (1985-1992).

Family Ties

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).

Growing Pains

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.

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