Release Date: May 21, 2013 (Warner Archive)
Color / 1987-1988
Packaging: Viva Case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 26
Running Time: 624 minutes
Running Time of Features: N/A
Subtitles and Captioning: English and French Subtitles
Special Features: None
The Seaver family is back on DVD again! It seems that this series has had "growing pains" of its own as it has tried to make it onto DVD, but seven years after the release of the first season, Warner Archive is "sharing the laughter and love" of another season with Growing Pains - The Complete Third Season. The three disc set contains all 26 episodes of the 1987-1988 season of the series, where the kids are all growing up and people are moving on. In the third season, we get to see Coach Lubbock lose his job (and get a spinoff), Mike graduate from high school, Maggie getting fired from her job after choosing her family over work, and before all is said and done, an even bigger change is going to come to the Seaver home. You can enjoy all of that in this season of Growing Pains!
As this is a Warner Archive release, you won't be able to find it in stores... but you will be able to find it to purchase online at the Warner Archive website.
The third season kicks off with a Seaver family vacation to a tropical paradise in the two-part episode "Aloha," but unfortunately, nobody is happy. Mike has a new job in "Taking Care of Business," but Jason isn't so pleased with Mike's new boss, a former friend who goes back to the pilot episode. Maggie is on the hunt for a new job in "Not Necessarily the News." In "Michaelgate," Michael is nominated for student-body president and he may just win. Ben wants a new bike in "Big Brother is Not Watching," and his means of trying to get it create some big problems. In "A Star is Born," Mike decides to be part of a school play as a means of getting closer to the female lead. The Seaver house is burglarized in "Gone But Not Forgotten," and they will certainly not forget it.
In "Who's Zoomin' Who?," Carol's friends convince her to dump Bobby for the new kid in school (played by the one and only Brad Pitt). Ben gets a tonsillectomy in "This is Your Life," and while under anesthesia, he is replaced by a new Ben, played by the one and only Danny Cooksey. Alan Hale, Jr. also guest stars. Mike decides to audition for a play on Broadway in "Broadway Bound," where Dawn Wells guest stars. In "The Scarlet Letter," Carol gets an A+ that she knows she didn't earn, and is willing to go to any extreme to get rid of it. The series tackles the issue of suicide when Jason notices that something isn't quite OK with a classmate that Mike brings home from school in the very special episode "A Reason to Live." In "Nasty Habits," Mike's habits could keep him from graduating. An engagement rocks the Seaver house in "The Marrying Kind." In "State of the Union," Jason and Maggie start to realize they're spending too much time apart with Maggie's new job. Carol tells Maggie a deep secret in "The Mom Who Knew Too Much," but she feels betrayed when Maggie relays that secret to Jason.
Mike's Hawaiian romance is in the mainland US in "Great Expectations," and he decides to visit her since she'll be so much closer to Long Island... even if that closeness is Los Angeles. Jason and Maggie are chaperoning Mike and Carol's high school dance in the two part episode "Dance Fever." Maggie struggles to tell her boss that baby #4 is on the way in "Bringing Up Baby." In the two-part episode "The Obscure Objects of Our Desire," memories keep popping up all over the place during spring cleaning. There is a disturbance at Dewey High School after Coach Lubbock is fired in the two-part episode "How the West Was Won," but don't worry, he'll land on his feet with another job in his spinoff (which is actually teased in the closing tag of the second part). High school has finally come to an end for Mike in the season finale, "Graduation Day."
The episodes seem to be unedited, with most running around 24 minutes or so. A few run about a minute shorter, but I don't think there is anything wrong with them. There don't seem to be any music replacement issues either, which is particularly evident in the two-part episode "Dance Fever," which has a ton of classic Motown music. Runtimes are as follows:
1. "Aloha (Part 1)" (24:08)
2. "Aloha (Part 2)" (24:16)
3. "Taking Care of Business" (24:25)
4. "Not Necessarily the News" (24:26)
5. "Michaelgate" (24:20)
6. "Big Brother is Not Watching" (23:17)
7. "A Star is Born" (24:22)
8. "Gone But Not Forgotten"" (24:06)
9. "Who's Zoomin' Who" (24:18)
10. "This Is Your Life" (24:20)
11. "Broadway Bound" (24:22)
12. "The Scarlet Letter" (23:21)
13. "A Reason to Live" (24:21)
14. "Nasty Habits" (24:22)
15. "The Marrying Kind" (24:12)
16. "State of the Union" (24:29)
17. "The Mom Who Knew Too Much" (24:20)
18. "Great Expectations" (23:27)
19. "Dance Fever (Part 1)" (24:20)
20. "Dance Fever (Part 2)" (24:20)
21. "Bringing Up Baby" (23:59)
22. "The Obscure Objects of Our Desire (Part 1)" (24:29)
23. "The Obscure Objects of Our Desire (Part 2)" (24:18)
24. "How the West Was Won (Part 1)" (24:20)
25. "How the West Was Won (Part 2)" (24:17)
26. "Graduation Day" (24:10)
The set uses that standard Warner Archive packaging of a Viva case. The cover artwork has a cast photo with a purple color scheme, and there is another publicity photo on the back, along with a brief description of the series. Inside, you'll find the three discs, which have the series logo on a purple and white background. Unfortunately, there is no indication of which episodes are on which disc anywhere inside this set.
Also, it is worth noting that the initial copies of this set seem to be on pressed DVDs, as is common for most initial pressings of season sets for Warner Archive titles lately.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The menus on this set are plainer menus than the ones on the first two seasons, but they do the job. The main menu simply has the same artwork that is seen on the cover, and has a Play All option along with a list of all of the episodes. Chapters are placed throughout each episode.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video quality of the episodes on this set is fine, but once again, it leaves something to be desired. I'm not sure quite how to describe the problem. The video just looks a bit dull at times (although in all fairness, it never looked any better in syndication either). The audio quality is fine, and it is a Dolby Digital Stereo track. There are no subtitles or captions on this set, unfortunately.
Like most Warner Archive releases, there are no special features on this set.
I always felt like this was one of the best seasons of the series, and I'm glad to finally see it on DVD. What many people may not realize, though, is that this was the season that teen heartthrob Kirk Cameron started to become the Kirk Cameron that we know today and was sometimes described as taking the show hostage... literally. In the upcoming years, he'd slowly start making demands that included requesting script changes (due to scripts that he deemed to be too "adult") and eventually lead to the firing of Julie McCullough and the resignation of the production team of Dan Guntzelman, Mike Sullivan, and Steve Marshall at the end of the sixth season. It certainly changed the tone of the series (this can particularly be seen when comparing to the slightly more adult themes of the spinoff Just the Ten of Us, which was ironically on the more family friendly TGIF lineup), but it didn't hurt the show too much over the next few seasons (it hit it like a ton of bricks in the final season though).
It has been a rough road for this series on DVD... seven years ago, we saw the release of the first season, and two years ago, we saw the release of the second season. Now, we're up to the third season... but there are still four more to go. The series has even become a bit scarce in syndication. For many years, it aired reliably on The Disney Channel (with family friendly edits and skipping all of the important episodes because they were "too controversial"), but lately, it has become hard to find. However, I'm hopeful that we'll finally be able to see those seasons released very soon. It seems that once series fall into the hands of Warner Archive, that whole problem of slow releases seems to go away. I'd still like to see all of the episodes on DVD, including that seventh season, so hopefully we'll get there soon.