‘Growing Pains’ Reboot: Kirk Cameron Is Still Patiently Waiting
The 1980s and ’90s brought some beloved family sitcoms on ABC that usually aired on either Tuesday or Friday nights. ABC sprung these off a string of previous family ensemble shows, with the basic progenitor being The Brady Bunch in the late ’60s. In 1985, another ABC family show in a similar vein took off: Growing Pains.
Thanks to an appealing cast, and sharp observations about family life, it kicked off numerous imitators in ensuing years. At the center of the success was teen star Kirk Cameron who could have been a superstar, yet chose a different career trajectory.
Decades ago, Cameron became a devout Christian, something that courted some controversy. Despite his unwavering beliefs, he still banters ideas with his former TV friends for a Growing Pains revival.
A look back to the Seaver family on ‘Growing Pains’
Kirk Cameron played the oldest son of the Seavers: Michael Seaver. His younger brother, Ben, was played by Jeremy Miller. Then, of course, there were the sisters, Carol and Christine. They were played by Tracey Gold and Ashley Johnson, respectively.
The parents, Jason and Maggie, were played by the late Alan Thicke and the still living Joanna Kerns.
According to NBC’s Today, the surviving cast has all been in contact with one another about doing a reboot. A reboot might not be the right word for it, however, since the show did two reunion movies already back in the early 2000s. The Growing Pains Movie in 2000 and Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers in 2004 served as official vehicles to update the characters.
Even so, 16 years is a long time. Knowing what the grown Seaver kids are doing now could be interesting, if problematic without Alan Thicke alive. The cast continues discussing story ideas of late on how to address his passing.
Alan Thicke was apparently working on a reboot back in 2015
Closer Weekly recently interviewed Jeremy Miller who is working closely with Cameron and Gold to reboot the series. He revealed Alan Thicke worked out an outline for a reboot five years ago, just before his untimely passing in late 2016.
He apparently did try to sell the idea to ABC, yet they showed no immediate interest. Now a reboot might have a different set of ears as a way to honor Thicke. Said Miller above: “I have a dear friend who is a brilliant writer, he’s put together the first season scripts. I believe that they’re brilliant. It’s very respectful and honoring of Alan, which is my whole reason for wanting to do this in the first place.”
As for Cameron, his input is also critical toward making such a reboot a success. His involvement now is a bit of reparation for ostracizing himself from showbiz for so many years due to his Christian beliefs.
He converted to Christianity when still working on Growing Pains. At the time, he began to alienate those involved with the show because Cameron insisted they change scripts to eliminate anything racy.
Kirk Cameron feels sorry about shutting outcast members
After Growing Pains ended, Cameron refrained from speaking to any of his fellow castmates for years due to wanting to remove himself from the showbiz community. Nowadays, he looks back on that as being a mistake, or at least not alienating his friendships with those he worked with for so long.
Reaching back out to Miller and Gold above was the best move Cameron could make. His beliefs have hurt his career at times (not including the Left Behind movie series), if still continually working in creating family-friendly entertainment.
Being a part of a Growing Pains reunion in the next year or two might go over well in the times we live when nostalgia for such shows is ramped up. With the purpose of the show being to honor Alan Thicke’s Dr. Jason Seaver’s character, it now has a sense of urgency most other reboots never muster.