This kind of opinion is bound to be a little unpopular since Kirk Cameron, aka Mike Seaver, was considered to be one of the best parts of the TV show Growing Pains by a lot of people, especially those that happened to think that Kirk Cameron was a cool guy. The unfortunate part of this is that Mike Seaver was definitely a jerk that hurt a lot of feelings on screen and it sounds off since he became kind of a primadonna on the set and it flowed right into his character. There’s no hiding the fact these days that Kirk is a very religious individual, and that’s all well and good. But when one allows their personal life to dictate how a TV show is going to go then it might classify as a problem. There have been enough articles and people stating that it wasn’t that big of a deal to think that it was downplayed heavily in order to avoid harming anyone’s career, but getting back to the show, Mike Seaver was the typical eldest kid of a two-parent home that wasn’t too bright but was somehow charming to a lot of people.
The fact that he was a typical teenager shouldn’t automatically earn him the designation of the worst character, especially since there were so many like him in other shows. But the fact is that Mike was the kind of character that was a bit dimwitted at times even if he wasn’t the epitome of idiocy. On this show in particular he was the kind of guy that couldn’t help but follow one pretty face after another and act as a slightly less arrogant version of Zack from Saved by the Bell. In fact, he might have been a bit of an inspiration for the character of Zack since Growing Pains did emerge years before Saved by the Bell. It’s a thought, even if it might not be a connection.
But the biggest reason that Mike was the worst character is that he was typical. As the eldest kid, he took the lead the most, got into trouble the most, and was essentially the reason his parents sat up at night worrying a lot of times. Obviously, the other kids caused their fair share of problems, but it was kind of easy to map out what Mike was going to do, say, and how he would react to the world around him after a while since he had his set expressions, reactions, and it was kind of tedious after a while. Some might say that doesn’t make a character the worst on a show, but when he’s one of the only predictable characters and it’s easier to expect something fresh and exciting from everyone else, then yeah, it’s easy to say that from a developmental standpoint that Mike was the worst since he didn’t really change that much throughout the course of the show. Like it or not, while predictability can be a boon at times, it can also be extremely boring. When it’s seen in a character and how they react to the world around them on screen it’s usually kind of boring to see since there’s nothing to really get out of this.
Those who would argue are likely those that have forgotten or never watched that many sitcoms, since after a while a lot of them tend to blend together no matter how much a person likes one or the other. There’s usually a set number of things that a person will see in a sitcom, and ticking off all the boxes is pretty easy. Depending on what type of sitcom it is, there will be recognizable elements that will be seen in the next sitcom and the next one after that. Some go off the beaten path and do their own thing, and a few of them even get lucky enough to be remembered after the first season, but the typical sitcom is going to have at least one kid that’s going to have a serious attitude that makes them appear a bit arrogant at times and far less than sure of themselves when they’re challenged and can’t come up with an immediate answer to whatever life throws at them. Mike Seaver fits that mold, and in some cases, he fit it too well since he appealed to the fans, but he also fell flat after a while.
He went through most of the challenges that he needed to in order to appeal to the fans, he made the mistakes that were common and were hot button topics in the news at the time. And he definitely acted like a male teenager was expected to act at that point in time. For those that want to bristle and ask “Well, how did they act?”, I will gladly explain, not to soothe feelings, but to remind people that there was a time when certain behaviors weren’t cool or acceptable but were still fairly normal for a teen growing up in the world. Mike Seaver acted like a jerk, he chased women because of their looks, and yeah, he learned his lesson a few times. But he was the worst character because he was a by-the-book sitcom teen, which was insanely boring.
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