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With the first volume of episodes showing up in 2006, it was beginning to look like GROWING PAINS was going to be another one season wonder for DVD. If the span between seasons one and two is any indication, season seven of GROWING PAINS should be making its debut in 2036. Of course, by then, it’s highly doubtful that the DVD format will still be around. Let’s just hope that future volumes will show up in a much more timely fashion.

Running between 1985 and 1992, GROWING PAINS remains a personal favorite amongst the goody-goody "family friendly" sitcoms that were on the air during my youth. Personally, I found the majority of "family friendly" sitcoms from that era to be fairly nauseating and completely unwatchable- not that the situation nor the subsequent "family friendly" sitcoms improved any as I got older. The sickeningly sweet or saccharine quality of most "family friendly" sitcoms was and is a genuine turn-off, and something left me screaming in terror anytime one of those horrifying shows came on the air. Now, I’ll admit there are times the GROWING PAINS is a bit too cutesy for its own good, but the sweetness factor of this show never comes close to putting its audience into a diabetic coma.

GROWING PAINS revolves around an upper middle class family residing in a suburb in Long Island, New York. Alan Thicke stars as family patriarch and psychiatrist Dr. Jason Seaver, who moves his practice into his home after his wife decides to resume her career. Joanna Kerns portrays Maggie Seaver, the mother of three and journalist, who returns to the working world after taking a fifteen-year hiatus to raise her children. 1980’s teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron is eldest son Mike Seaver, a good kid at heart, but with a penchant for scheming and getting into a bit trouble- of the variety that could generally be resolved at the end of a half hour episode. Tracey Gold portrays brainy, sensible daughter Carol Seaver, who takes her share of good-natured ribbing from her brothers for being a bit nerdy. Finally, there is Jeremy Miller as youngest brother Ben Seaver, who is a bit smart alecky, as well as being something of clever schemer, just like his older brother. The cast of GROWING PAINS also includes Josh Andrew Koenig and K. C. Martel as Mike’s friends.

GROWING PAINS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON ($30) comes to DVD in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-two episodes that were broadcast during the show’s sophomore year: Jason And The Cruisers, Fast Times At Dewey High, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Call Me, Employee Of The Month, Dream Lover, Do You Believe In Magic?, Jason's Rib, The Kid, The Breakfast Club, Choices, Higher Education, Some Enchanted Evening, Thank You, Willie Nelson, Thank God It's Friday, My Brother, Myself, Jimmy Durante Died For Your Sins, Carnival, The Awful Truth, Born Free, The Long Goodbye and Confidentially Yours.

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise GROWING PAINS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Season two looks little different than season one, owing to the fact that GROWING PAINS was shot on videotape almost a quarter of a century ago. The image has modest crispness in close-ups, but longer shots have the mushiness one associates with videotape productions from this era. On a twenty-five inch television in 1987, GROWING PAINS looked just fine. On a sixty plus inch hi-def display, well… the flaws become somewhat more noticeable. Colors reproduction is respectable, but strongly saturated hues can be a bit smeary. Blacks and whites are just fine. The sitcom lighting is flat and the contrast displays the limitations of NTSC broadcast video. Digital compression artifacts are noticeable, but not too problematic.

All of the episodes that constitute GROWING PAINS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON feature Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Dialogue driven, the sound quality is perfectly adequate. The sound is undistorted and the fidelity is unremarkable. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks are provided, but English and French subtitles have been included.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features. No supplemental content has been provided.

Five years since the last release, I am glad that GROWING PAINS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON has finally shown up DVD. Fans will definitely want to pick a copy. Hopefully, future seasons will arrive on DVD sooner, rather than later.


Growing Pains: Complete Second Season



DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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