Okay, so Boner is dead. That’s pretty tragic and I’m not trying to be a snide gen x blogger/pundit type using irony by-way-of-genuine-emotion-in-order-to- seem-appropriately-disaffected-but-appropriately-concerned-or-at-least-ambivalent. No, this is a real tragedy. Well, okay, I’m speaking a little dramatically, for sure. I mean, there are millions of people out there who die every day and I can’t be getting all misty about every single one of them, especially the ones I don’t know, but Boner held a special place in my heart and I’m gonna tell you all why.
Let me set the scene. It’s the 80’s. Most of your dads were just getting around to blowing the unfettered loads in your moms that would eventually congeal and become you, but I was already existing happily. The millionaire-widower family sitcom craze (Diff’rent Strokes/Silver Spoons/Webster) was ending and the Psychologist dad and the “hey! There’s a wacky non-relative family type family member in the house” family sitcom era was in full bloom. At any given hour of any evening, people like me (kids) could be treated to episodes of Family Ties, Who’s the Boss, Alf, Mr. Belvedere and of course Growing Pains.
Growing Pains was my personal favorite and here’s why: Great cast. Ben, (Jeremy Miller) the youngest kid was hideously ugly. Way too ugly to really be on television. Carol, (Tracey Gold) the sister was, in my young mind, extremely hot (turns out she had an eating disorder and always smelled like barf on the set, but hey, it was working for her, so whatever, right? Wait, what? No…No! Hey, I’m kidding. Seriously. She was much hotter when she no longer smelled of barf and looked of visible vertebrae. Sheesh…Okay, moving on) Maggie, (Joanna Kerns) the mom, was also pretty hot and Jason Sever, played by Alan Thicke oozed that kind of laid back sensitive charm that would eventually inspire me to become a stay at home father (of course) (oh, and he also wrote and SANG [no shit!] the Diff’rent Strokes theme song. Look it up if you doubt me). The GP theme song (also penned by Thicke), “show me that smile” was pretty unimpeachable and once, in a Subway, while waiting for my Veggie Delight, I heard the entire thing, complete with three verses and a sax solo. But the real star of the show was Mike, played by Crazy ol’ Jesus’s right hand man, Kirk Cameron.
Kirk played Mike, a troublemaker. Mike was not really a good kid, as far as I remember. His grades were bad and he didn’t really try and he loved stirring up shit and when he wasn’t grounded he kind of coasted on charm. He wasn’t Theo Huxtable, who was kind of a good kid who got into dumb situations because he really didn’t know what he was getting into. Mike was a delinquent all the way. And his best friend was named Boner.
No shit, man. The dude’s name was fucking BONER. How cool is that?
Boner was dumb and awesome and at least as down for trouble as Mike. In fact, it seemed to my young mind that Boner had no sense of consequences at all, and he was far and away my favorite character on television. There was an episode that really sticks out to me where they were performing a play (this was one of those episodes where Mike really shined…”Oh, he’s a talented kid. He just doesn’t apply himself,” the grownups all whispered. “It’s a shame that all that creative energy goes into making fart bombs and shit like that.” Anyway, this wasn’t the “Our Town’ one, I don’t think, which was later, once Kirk Cameron started executive producing and forcing his own goofy brand of Christian dogma into the plotlines of the show, but I could be wrong. Maybe it was the Our Town one…anyway,) and Boner was playing some kind of lawyer. He was worried about memorizing his lines (due, I think to always being super high, and I’m not kidding. Boner was known to smoke weed) so he decided to mic up his walkman (look it up) and pre record his lines and lip synch them during the performance. Well, wouldn’t you know, at the moment he’s supposed to deliver his lines, the tape flips and heavy metal starts blasting and Boner? Well, Boner just starts air guitaring right there on stage. Fuck it. May as well rock, right? Pretty dope moment, Growing Pains.
Now, everyone in Growing Pains went on to do something awesome. Uh…Ben grew up to continue to be gross looking, Kirk Cameron is fighting satan with a midget Australian that looks like Dirty Harry (the porn guy, not the Clint Eastwood character), Carol is probably still hot, and presumably no longer smells like barf, Maggie is also probably still hot (but old as shit) and Jason, well, he disturbed me to no end when I was about ten and saw the cover of playgirl at the airport and the caption on the cover said “Inside: Alan Thicke’s Growing Pains” and all I could think of was him popping some kind of extra long, painful boner and it’s haunted me to this day. He also hosted some gameshows and provided the jizz that made Robin Thicke. Who else? Oh, the teen bum that they brought in once Mike found jesus and Ben became unbearable to look at wound up being Leonardo DiCaprio. And Boner, well Boner went to the Olympics in Vancouver and killed himself in the woods this past week. Bummer.
This one’s for you, Boner (You can’t see it, but I’m popping a single-boner salute right now. Hold it….Hold it…and done.) Have a good weekend folks, and take care of each other. Depression is serious shit. So’s barfing up your food. Neither one is cool, folks.