CWR Virtual Cultural XChange – China/USA
Growing Pains – 80-90s American TV Sitcom In China
By Emily Sun – CWR/VCX Student Correspondent
City University of Hong Kong – Hong Kong, China
CWR/VCX Student Correspondent
City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China
As Long As We Get Each Other
Show me that smile again
Oh, show me that smile
Don’t waste another minute on your cryin’
We’re nowhere near the end
We’re nowhere near
The best is ready to begin
Do you feel familiar with this song?
This is the song at the beginning of a popular American sitcom – Growing Pains, which was popular not only in US in 1980s-90s, but also in China those years. At that time, this drama had been translated into Chinese and dubbed into Chinese. When I was still a primary school student, I always enjoyed watching this TV drama with my parents.
Cast of Growing Pains
The first time Growing pains was played on Chinese TV channel was about in 1980s, and once it was played in China, it became popular with Chinese people. It impressed Chinese people deeply. No only young people, but also some old people who did not like American dramas at that time even talked about Growing Pains. As far as I know nowadays, Mike, the oldest son of Seavers in that drama was several young Chinese girls’ idol at that time. I think it was the same with that in America those years.
Let’s just have look at other Chinese audience’s memories of this sitcom:
Lucky Dreamer (nickname):
I was born in 1986. I began to watch Growing Pains when I was very young. I was very interested in that large refrigerator in the Seavers’ kitchen at that time. I even thought that it had many supernatural functions. And I also hoped our family could also own one.
Growing Pains, what a perfect name! But sometimes I wonder why it wasn’t named as Growing Gains. Isn’t it the message that this drama tries to convey to us? The audience can learn some valuable things from each episode of this drama.
The first time I watched Growing Pains, I hoped I could have an elder brother who was just like Mike. The second time I watched Growing Pains, I hoped I could have a younger brother who was just like Ben. The third time I watched Growing Pains, I hoped I could have a friend who was just like Bona. The forth time I watched Growing Pains, I hoped I could have a girl friend who was just like Kate. The fifth time I watched Growing Pains, I hoped I could have a wife who was just like Maggie…….
But the meaning of Growing pains is far more. Growing Pains presented Chinese audience a totally new American family education: the children and the parents danced together at home; they share their opinions with each other about a movie or pop music just like friends. Moreover, it brought the concept of soap drama to Chinese audience at that time.
Also, here are some Chinese audience’s memories:
As a young girl at that time, after watching this TV drama, I began to have a primary image about American family: it was true that something was different from Chinese family. Anyway, Mike was so cool~
I c sea (nickname):
It was hard for us, the only child in China, to learn the happiness of some brothers and sisters living together. However, I admired them so much when I watched it.
When I watched this drama in my childhood, I promised to be a father like Jason Seaver!
Some years later, about in 1994, there was a sitcoms made in China whose style was similar to Growing Pains, named I Love My Family （我爱我家）. This is the first sitcoms in China. In this comedy, the stories mainly happened in a family in which a couple, a daughter, a housekeeper as well as a lovely grandfather. It became very popular quickly in China since it was played on TV. Lots of actors and actresses became famous by this sitcom.
Let me just show you some photos of this sitcom.
All the Families are Having Supper
I Love My Family Episode 12 – Cheating
Now I grow up, and also experienced some growing pains. As a university student now, I still like to watch Growing Pains on Internet. In my opinion, In Growing pains, no matter the style of the actor’s dressing or the music they sang may represent a period of times. It may bring us lots of memories about the past.
Nowadays, there are more and more sitcoms both in America and in China. However, in my heart, also in lots of Chinese audience’s heart I think, both Growing Pains and I Love My Family are greatest TV drama forever.