I can’t believe Grounded For Life is 20 years old.
Donal Logue and Megyn Price star as Sean and Claudia Finnerty. They had their first child at 18 and two more along the way. Sean’s brother Eddie and their father Walt are always at the house too. The idea is the Finnerty’s had their first child Lily at such a young age that they aren’t done being stupid kids themselves. Instead of having to stay in their room for two weeks as punishment for missing curfew, they’re grounded until all of these kids are grown up and out of the house. The worst punishment of them all!
Ground For Life is part Roseanne, part Married with Children, part TGIF. There is definitely some adult humor. Lily becomes more sexual as the show goes on. Claudia is a hot mom. Eddie films a porn in the house during one episode. Then the show is also very real. Lily and the other kids growing and dealing with peer pressure and dating. Sean and Claudia trying to justify their own self medication while steering their kids away from it. Then there are the silly sitcom moments like the barbershop is closed so lets do haircuts at home.
I’ve always been a fan of Logue. You might know him from Gotham or Blade. I know him from a very little seen movie called Tao of Steve. He is fantastic as an imperfect father trying his best. The most terrifying moment of being a new parent is realizing the real adults aren’t coming and the manual hasn’t arrived. Back from the hospital, late at night, someone’s mom or another family member leaves and it’s just you and the baby. Hope you don’t mess this up! Donal Logue plays a dad who had to give up waiting for the real adults to show up and is fumbling his way through. Despite many episodes of mistakes there is never a doubt he loves his wife, he loves his kids, and he will always be there for them even if it can’t be in the most perfect ways.
20 years ago I thought Lily was the star of Grounded For Life, and in some ways I think she was being pushed as such. Young attractive redhead who gets put into various stories about sex and experimentation. As an adult though, Claudia is the hot next door mom we all wished we had while growing up. The actress would be 20 years older now but through the time capsule of TV, Price is a star. Beautiful, funny, sarcastic, and with an “it” factor that should have made her a bigger star.
Though I should be thankful for what Grounded For Life did get, this was a midseason replacement on Fox (which isn’t a ton of faith) but plenty of successful shows debuted that way. Two episodes into the third season, Fox cancelled the show but the WB immediately grabbed it and then renewed the show through a fifth season. The series ended with a total of 91 episodes which is just shy of the golden 100 number for syndication. That’s not enough to stop this family though and it appeared in syndication on ABC Family, MTV, and now on most streaming services. You can find it now on one of The Retro Network’s favorite streamers, the Tubi app.