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In the '90s, The WB aired this drama about a pastor, his wife, their seven kids, and their dog. The pastor, a good-natured fella, dealt with the problems of both his family and his flock, which were often related, with various degrees of success.

This show had an interesting mix of old-fashioned TV family entertainment and Soap Operatics. It stretched the limits of preacher's kids' misbehavior in later seasons.

The show lasted from August, 1996 to May, 2007. It was the longest-running and highest-rated show on The WB by far, loved by many viewers and providing Snark Bait for many others (it was likely one of the few shows on the network to attract audiences outside the valued 18-49 demographic). It got renewed for an eleventh season off the ratings of its intended series finale (to the distress of fans of Everwood); it ended shortly after The WB did.

It also gave us Jessica Biel, for which many straight males of the world will be eternally grateful.


This show includes examples of: Edit

  • Absentee Actor: Most of them - Stephen Collins and Beverley Mitchell are the only cast members to appear in every single episode.
  • Axes At School: "See You In September" has Simon getting suspended because his mother packed a knife with his lunch.
  • Babies Ever After: Taken to ridiculous extremes in the 10th season finale, in which Lucy, Mary, and Matt's wife were all pregnant... with twins.
    • Inverted come the start of season 11, with Lucy having miscarried her twins.
  • Born in An Elevator: Kevin and Lucy's daughter.
  • Broken Aesop: Quite a few of the show's lessons don't hold up to scrutiny. See the episode where the parents tell their 7-year-old daughter she's not allowed to play pretend anymore...because it might lead to her confusing fantasy with reality, and then killing someone. Really.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Anytime a character even so much as tiptoes near the "dark side", they will see the worst possible consequences of it.
  • Casting Gag: Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks both starred in a Star Trek: TOS movie, and each had ample screentime with James Kirk himself, William Shatner.
  • Character as Himself: In this case, the ever suffering Happy the Dog...plays Happy the Dog. He got starring billing for his stirring role playing a common housedog, though his Emmy submissions always seemed to be rejected.
  • Character Filibuster: There is something in the air of the Glen Oak Parsonage that prevents people who live there too long from Ever. Shutting. Up.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Averted; Barry Watson survived his Hodgkins Lymphoma and returned to the show.
  • Compound Title:
    • "Boyfriends..." "...And Girlfriends"
    • "Chances..." "...Are"
    • "Sin.." "...And Expiation"
    • "Goodbye..." "And Thank You"
  • Creepy Twins: Unintentional example: Sam and David. The ultimate in Dull Surprise.
  • Dawson Casting: Beverley Mitchell (born in 1981) as the younger sister of Jessica Biel (born in 1982).
  • Death by Sex/Death by Childbirth: Wilson's wife, the mother of little Billy.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Stephen Collins and Barry Watson (the latter also penned an episode).
  • Discriminate and Switch
  • Double Standard: In the Season 9 opener, Ruthie pulls down the pants of a male friend in school when he won't give her a ride to school and also pay attention to her. She refuses to apologize, and Annie won't hear of her being punished for it, instead speaking of the kind of loose pants he was wearing and the favor he wouldn't do. One can only imagine the fate of a boy who did anything similar to a girl.
  • Dull Surprise
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: There was an episode which involved Annie and Mary breaking down and crying about how much they hated math.
  • Family Theme Naming: Reverend Camden and his wife Annie give all their children Biblical names: Matthew, Mary, Lucy, Simon, Ruth(ie), Samuel and David.
  • Firemen Are Hot: Mary's love interest Ben. Even Ruthie basically wolf-whistles at him. Then comes his cop brother Kevin for Lucy...
  • Flanderization: Annie's overprotective/controlling attitude and nosiness, Lucy's clinginess and sensitivity, Ruthie's sneakiness, Simon's Wangst, Mary's flakiness…pretty much everyone over time, actually. But being a Long Runner will do that to you.
    • Mary's was essentially done deliberately to demonize her and to shame and insult Jessica Biel, not only having her become a sheltered fundamentalist's view of "lacking in moral fiber" but also draining her intelligence away.
  • French Jerk: Guy, a French exchange student, drives Eric and all the kids crazy.
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: In one Christmas episode, where Annie trades her mother's cross for a jukebox for Eric's prized record collection and Eric trades the records for an expensive chain for Annie's cross. Fortunately, the antiques dealer catches on and shows up at the end to set everything right.
  • Good Parents: The father leaned towards being the Overprotective Dad, and the mom leaned towards being My Beloved Smother, but they are both loving and supportive Christian parents. They always stuck together as a family no matter how many things their children do wrong.
  • Happily Married:
    • Eric and Annie
    • Kevin and Lucy
    • Matt and Sarah
    • Mary and Carlos, though they did break up at one point
  • It's All My Fault: Lucy believes this when her friend is killed in a car accident.[1]
  • Ivy League for Everyone
  • Jesus Taboo: How a show about Christians, with the lead character a minister, avoids mentioning Christ more than about three times in eleven years is baffling. You probably have Executive Meddling to blame for that.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Ruthie -- way, way back in the day.
  • Loners Are Freaks: and not being in a committed relationship is a tragedy.
  • Low Speed Chase: Simon, when a new driver, gets into a low speed car chase aided by his grandfather who has dementia but who is supposed to be helping him learn to drive.
  • Mood Whiplash: A somewhat outside-the-fourth-wall case: For a time, 7th Heaven was aired right before Angel, which one reviewer described as being akin to "Following up your glass of orange juice with a vodka chaser."
  • Musical Episode: The ninth-season Valentine's Day Red Socks.
  • New Media Are Evil: Eric gets shot by a kid in one episode. The kid likes video games. See where this is going?
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Jerkass extraordinaire Jeremy London (who, after his role on this show has only been in the news for his various drug problems and being a Domestic Abuser who managed to lose custody of his kid) as good-natured associate pastor Chandler Hampton in seasons seven and eight.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: No viewer who saw his tribute episode but didn't personally know the man can say "Staff Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan" without laughing.
  • Once an Episode: Look up and down this trope list, and chances are this trope can apply to any other trope here.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: When Eric gets shot, it's treated with all the seriousness of sprained ankle. The doctors give him a bandage and an arm sling and send him home the same day.
  • Oedipus Complex: The reverend has issues with his militaristic father.
  • Overprotective Dad: Eric towards his daughters.
  • Pick Up Babes with Babes: Matt and Simon take the twins to the promenade, thinking they'll attract family-oriented girls with good values. Unfortunately, the only girl who talks to them chastises them for having the babies out so late in the cold.
  • Plot Parallel
  • Post Script Season: The show was renewed for an 11th season three days after the series finale, leaving the writers to figure out what to do with a much smaller budget.
  • Put on a Bus: Mary, after Jessica Biel's aforementioned escape from Contractual Purity. In the series finale all of the characters leave on a bus.
  • Self -Harm: In one episode, Mary catches Nicole (a new friend of her sister's) self harming in her bathroom. Mary tells Eric (her father), who then tells Nicole's father. Eric gives him a card and a number to call so they can get help for Nicole. Nicole is then Put on a Bus.
  • (Unmarried) Sex Is Evil
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Eric and Annie. When Annie is pregnant with the twins, the younger kids don't want her to drive them to school because, as Lucy puts it, "The fact that there are five of us is already proof that Mom and Dad can't keep their hands off each other."
    • A late-season episode had them get so worked up by the sight of another couple kissing that they sneak off to their basement during a dinner party to have sex.
  • Staying with Friends
  • Teen Drama: 7th Heaven pretty much defines this trope.
  • Teen Mom: Subverted when Lucy is out babysitting the twins -- passersby assume she's their 16-year-old mother and are disgusted/shocked.
  • Very Special Episode: Pretty much every episode.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Mary drinks a beer and TPs the school gym = Mary is a fallen woman on an uncontrollable downward spiral whose recklessness and lack of reverence for the conventions of civilized society will surely spell her doom. Also, you can pass out from one beer -- so completely that the continuous screaming of the baby you're supposed to be watching won't wake you up until its parents come home. The penalty? Put on a Bus to Buffalo (the Television Without Pity recappers had a lot of fun with the idea of Buffalo as the nightmarish place you go to pay for your sins). And that's just the most significant example (as mentioned above, this was punishment for Jessica Biel's posing topless for Gear).
    • There was also that time Simon was in deep anguish over the fact that he *gasp* had sex with someone. He was majorly concerned that he might have contracted an STD, and it was played for much drama, even though he had used a condom. Do also keep in mind that he appeared to be more shaken up by having premarital sex than the time he had committed vehicular manslaughter.
    • And of course there was that whole episode where listening to rap music = being a woman-hater (even if, you know, you ARE a woman!).
  • Wild Teen Party: There have been a few of these over the show's run. The most notable party was thrown by Matt and Mary in season one when Eric and Annie went out on Valentine’s Day. It starts out like any average party but gets out of hand when more guests show up, someone sneaks beer into the Camden house, and the dog Happy gets out and hit by a car. She gets better though. Another one appears in the sixth season episode "Drunk", which was about Simon going to a party and having too much to drink.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: The Camdens' reaction to Mary's rebellion towards the middle of the series.

Notes

  1. This was based on something that really happened to Beverley Mitchell.