Wednesday, January 11, 2017

RIP, Alan Thicke

     At some point in the midst of finals and the wedding in which i participated just before going to Europe,  Alan Thicke left this world.  He had  a relatively varied career - singer, composer of TV theme songs, talk show host, actor, and I don't know what else. I knew him primarily through watching reruns of his sitcom Growing Pains.

     Growing Pains initially featured two parents and three kids. (At some point the brought in a fourth and maybe even a foster kid.) The only kids in the series to which I paid any attention were the oldest two - Mike and Carol. The character of Mike could have been loosely patterned after my brother -- a bit of a cool jock trouble-maker. carol's character, on the other hand, so eerily resembled me that one might have thought the creators of the show had bugged our home for character development ideas were it not for the fact that the show predated me by a few years. Carol Seaver was the quintessential brainy nerd.

    The Seaver parents were so much cooler than my own parents were that I wanted to escaped to the land of TV and be adopted by them. There were many people, both real-live people and fictional characters, whom I would have paid my entire inheritance (which may not be much; I know neither how much money my parents have, what they plan to do with it when they make their final exits, nor, for that matter, if I'll even outlive them).  Suffice it to say I would have given anything to be spirited away by the Witness Protection Program to the Seavers' set that pretended to be their house.

     Part of my affinity for Mr. Thicke would undoubtedly be a "Canadian pride" thing. I'm U.S.-born but hold dual citizenship due to my father having been born a bit unexpectedly on a trip back across the northern border for a family funeral after his parents had already relocated to the U.S. I'm American to the core, but there's a part of me that clings to things that are and people who are Canadian as well.

    With the deaths of both Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, among others,  it's been a rough season for celebrity deaths. Still, I didn't want to let Alan Thicke's passing go without any notice. I hope you're still out there somewhere, Mr. Thicke.


  1. I grew up watching Growing Pains. A lot of my friends were crushing on Kirk Cameron, with no clue that he would grow up to be a religious nutjob.

    1. It came across to me as a waste when such a cute young man as Kirk Cameron went so extreme in the religious department. From what was said about him by actors who genuinely liked him who worked with him, he was really confused about the characters he played versus the person he was or wanted to convey to the public that he was. He didn't seem to get that drama, even comedy-drama, isn't worth watching without occasional conflict, including a character coming into conflict with his own values and occasionally acting against them. The, "Mike Seaver can't say this line because it would be disrespectful to his parents" bit got old really fast, which was when Alan Thicke apparently told Cameron that he probably needed to be a pioneer in the new genre of Christian media. By Cameron's standards, however, a person couldn't even really make a good film of the Bible because who would go against his or her consciences to play characters such as judas or Herod or Delilah or Caiaphus or any of the bad guys? Would they have to create droids to play such characters because actors' egos were so involved with the actions their characters would be allowed to commit in the name of drama at any time it went against their personal values?

      By contrast, it seemed rather mild in the egoistic confusion of one's character versus oneself when Lisa Whelchel refused to allow her character to lose her virginity. She was tackling merely one issue in the entire continuum of Judeo-Christian commandments versus turning her character from a previously obnoxious snob into some sort of Mother Teresa once she found a more personal relationship with the Lord. I've watched a bit of footage recently of Whelchel, and I've found her to be much more likable and relatable than I have in the past. I still think her brand of religion is extreme for me, but at the same time she seems genuine and relatively non-judgmental of others who don't share her precise views.