Growing Pains: It’s Not Easy Being Green

Don’t you just love it when TV Shows name themselves after grammatically correct versions of songs by Muppets? No? Well, maybe that’s just me. Leonardo-Dicaprio-growing-pains-cast

Anyway, this title works two ways. First, there’s an evergreen tree that Alan Thicke is really struggling with. Second, Kirk Cameron is super jealous that his girlfriend (and IRL future-wife) is going to be spending the holidays modeling bikinis in Jamaica. I find this offensive both within the show and in meta-terms. It’s offensive in the show because she is a model and this is a super great opportunity for her. It’s the equivalent of a fictional Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and this woman lives on Long Island. She obviously hasn’t done well enough for herself to transition to the city or LA or wherever, so like please celebrate that this is her break through moment and be a supportive boyfriend, okay???

dda169b6d2ab4f4c7dcbf24e68de0085_600x400It’s also meta-offensive because Kirk Cameron basically ruined a struggling actress’s Growing Pains career because he found out that she had once posed for Playboy. He seemed to cast her out of Growing Pains by throwing his weight around. I’m not sure of the exact details, but I know this has been widely reported, so Google away, people. Also the way they wrote her out of the show was terrible. The actress I am referring to is Julie McCullough and she played this wonderful love interest for Kirk/Mike Seaver. So great was their chemistry that the writers even had them engaged to one another, but right about this time Kirk discovered her “transgressions” and being the loving Christian that he is, decided to crucify her for them. So they wrote this woman out of the show by having her leave a beloved sitcom star at the alter with nothing but a Dear John letter. So basically the audience could think nothing other than “Wow. Julie is such a bitch.”

Honestly, I’m not trying to advocate for Playboy, but I am advocating against slut-shaming or forcing your own beliefs on another person. And the reason that I find this so particularly annoying in the context of this episode is that I remember from hearing boys talk in high school that the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition accomplished many of the same goals as Playboy.

But Kirk/Mike isn’t upset with Kate for showing off her assets, he’s upset because he’s worried that the photographer is a lech. It turns out that he’s right about that, but we only get to discover that he is correct in his suspicions because he gets a little stalkerish and shows up in Jamaica unannounced. At first, Kate is happy to see him because she thinks he’s come down to surprise her for the holidays. But when she learns that he showed up because he’s worried about the photographer trying to make out with her, she tells him off. So I like Kate is basically what I’ve learned from this episode. And I end up liking MIke too because he pretty much realizes that he has been a huge jerk, and that trusting someone also means accepting that you can’t control everyone who makes a pass at her.

In other news, Alan Thicke is a control freak about the Christmas tree, so his wife (Joanna Kerns) sets up an alternate tree for the kids to decorate. He realizes he’s been a total loser and forgotten that the meaning of Christmas is togetherness, not trees affixed in their stands with a level. So then adopted-Leo DiCaprio (yes it’s the Leo DiCaprio season, everybody!) and the rest of the children throw a ton of tinsel at this thing and we all learn to love again. 

And you’d think that like everything was great with the whole relations between genders and whatnot, except that Carol has been in a jealous spiral similar to Mike’s–and hers does not end in the same manner. She’s jealous of her boyfriend’s assistant for being too hot. And so she breaks up with him. Like an asshole. Then at the very end of the show, he sends her flowers and tells her that he fired his assistant because he loves Carol.

I really hope this assistant has a good lawyer because I would sue the pants off someone who fired me for being too hot on CHRISTMAS EVE of all nights. Also, I don’t like woman-on-woman violence, Carol Seaver, and I’m making a note of this. However, I will give you a pass because it’s so clear that you are in the throes of anorexia nervosa right now. It breaks my heart to see someone so malnourished and know in part it’s because a show that I grew up loving made her the brunt of fat jokes for years even though she was never overweight. And even if she was, it’s not only cruel but also lazy writing. And that’s not cool.

Very Special Lesson(s): Fat jokes are evil. It’s not nice to destroy your coworkers careers. Don’t sneak around checking up on your significant others. And calm down about the Christmas tree.

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