I hate to post on celebrity deaths. It feels like capitalizing on a terrible, personal experience that should be left sacred to friends and loved ones. But I have to say something about Alan Thicke. It must be plain to see from this blog’s existence that I grew up watching reruns. Growing Pains, while frequently lampooned on this website, was nearest and dearest to my heart.
In some ways, the Seaver children’s lifestyle mirrored my own. I grew up in an upper-middle class home with two professional parents. I even had one parent, who like Alan Thicke’s Dr. Seaver, worked from a home office as a mental health services professional. It could be for this reason alone that Alan Thicke is so close to my heart, but my appreciation does not stop there.
I’ve watched a lot of television family sitcoms over the years and, in my mind, Alan Thicke accomplished what no other TV actor of the 80’s sitcom golden era had successfully been able to do. He gave us a character who was wholly comedically funny and was also a good dad. Think of all the great TV dad’s, Ward Cleaver, Mike Brady, Steven Keaton, or maybe even Danny Tanner if we are feeling particularly generous.
Now how many of those guys cracked good jokes where the timing was just right and the writing wasn’t too smarmy? How many of those guys would you want to have a cup of coffee with? How many of those guys would you trust to be in a Robin Sparkles video? And how many of those guys did ALL of those things while being genuinely good parents to their TV kids (while also still seeming like a human being)?
In a blog full of jokes, I’ll put all joking aside and say Alan Thicke is my gold standard for modern TV sitcom dads. Maybe Growing Pains can’t be considered “modern” anymore, but I’m still holding all TV dads to this standard. Alan Thicke’s Jason Seaver felt like Andy Griffith’s Andy Taylor with a Ph.D. I can laugh at sitcoms even when they’re not trying to be funny because they usually get human nature so wrong. But Alan Thick got it right.
Also, “They said they didn’t go to the bathroom and they don’t want to,” will always be a funny line.