Grounded for Life

Grounded for Life is an American sitcom television series that debuted on January 10, 2001, as a mid-season replacement on Fox. Created by Mike Schiff and Bill Martin, it ran for two seasons on the network until being canceled only two episodes into its third season. It was immediately picked up for the rest of the third season by The WB, where it aired for two additional seasons until the series ended on January 28, 2005.

Grounded for Life
Logo of grounded for life.jpg
Created by
  • Bill Martin
  • Mike Schiff
Theme music composer
  • Dean Ween
  • Gene Ween
  • Spek
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes91 (2 unaired) (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Camera setupFilm; Multi-camera
Running timeApprox. 22 minutes
Production companies
DistributorCarsey-Werner Distribution
Original network
Original releaseJanuary 10, 2001 (2001-01-10) –
January 28, 2005 (2005-01-28)
External links

The show starred Donal Logue and Megyn Price as Sean and Claudia Finnerty, an Irish Catholic couple living on Staten Island, New York with their three children: Lily (Lynsey Bartilson), Jimmy (Griffin Frazen), and Henry (Jake Burbage). The show also stars Kevin Corrigan, Bret Harrison, and Richard Riehle. The show has featured guest stars such as Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Mila Kunis, Wilmer Valderrama (cast of That '70s Show), Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson (cast of The Kids in the Hall), Mike Vogel, Natasha Lyonne, Vincent Pastore, Miriam Flynn, Stephen Root, and Elizabeth Berridge (Kevin Corrigan's real-life wife).


The show, set in an Irish-Catholic neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, is about the comedic interplay of the Irish-American Catholic Finnerty family. One of the show's central aspects is that Sean and Claudia Finnerty had their first child and got married when they were 18 years old. Thus, although their most senior is a teenage daughter, the parents are relatively young and not complete with their "wild" years. (In an episode where Sean goes to fetch Lily from the police station and is mistaken for her drug dealer, his father quips, "That's what happens when you're 18 and don't know what a rubber is!") The show features an unusual style of storytelling, often starting with a scene at the end of the story or sometimes in the middle and filling in the gaps with flashbacks. Its main concepts are an Irish/Italian Catholic family with one daughter and two sons, surviving endless catastrophes, and utilizing flashbacks to explain each current situation further.

The opening sequence is set to a guitar theme, performed by the band Ween, that also serves as the music between scenes. The first sequence, used for the first 11 episodes of season 1, showed the family playing basketball. The twelfth episode ("Jimmy Was Kung-Fu Fighting") onwards showed a mix of scenes from Season 1. The sequence was updated each year to include scenes from the current season. The opening sequence was later truncated, as cast names were shown after the sequence, over the episode itself.

Music is essential in the production of the series, as musical cues introduce and conclude flashbacks. Episodes are also named after songs or are a play on song names or lyrics. Each episode has slightly different music in the opening sequence, differing at the end of the sequence.

Two episodes from Season 3, "Oh, What a Knight" and "Part-Time Lover," did not air on primetime, but can be seen in syndication on ABC Family.

Cast and charactersEdit

Main castEdit

Original cast of Grounded for Life, seasons 1–2.

Donal Logue and Megyn Price portrayed Sean and Claudia Finnerty, a Staten Island couple who were married and expecting by age 18. Sean was an electrician in the underground of the New York City Subway, but he later became the owner of a bar with his brother Eddie. Claudia worked as a hostess in a Soho restaurant. Later, when her daughter Lily decided that college wasn't for her, Claudia realized the importance of education and looked into college options for herself, regretting that she couldn't have gone right away after high school.

By their early 30s, Sean and Claudia had three children (later four). Lily (Lynsey Bartilson) is a high school student who can often get overwhelmed by the desire to be popular, although she always comes around at the end of the episode realizing what she has done. When Lily was single, she spent most of her time searching for a boyfriend, often hanging out with her next-door neighbor Brad O'Keefe, whom she later dates. She also dated the drummer of Sean and Eddie's band, Dean Peramotti; they went steady until Lily's birthday when she asked him to tell her something he loves about her, and he couldn't. After Dean left, Lily found Brad sitting outside because his dad locked him out, she told him what happened, and Brad listed everything he loved about her. This was when Lily realized that she shouldn't have turned down Brad for so long, as he was always in love with her. On several occasions, Lily has been drunk, ever regretting it the next morning, including a college party at which she bumped into Claudia, and they both promised to keep it from Sean. Lily was shocked to discover she was born before her parents were married but later realized she was proof of their love.

Jimmy (Griffin Frazen), the second Finnerty child and first son, is the family black sheep. Jimmy is closer with his uncle, Eddie, than his father, which upsets his father at times. His choices are not always accepted by his parents, like when he decided to become a vegetarian. Jimmy is smart and wants to do well at school, but his parents sometimes unintentionally seem to hold him back. Once at a street fair, Sean and Claudia went to a Ramones concert, and Jimmy was late with his science project, causing him to be suspended. The following day he went missing and was later discovered to have sneaked back into school. Jimmy has been bullied at school; once, he fought back and was accused of being the bully. He was also briefly bullied by a girl, although it turned out that she liked him.

Henry (Jake Burbage), the Finnertys' younger son, is the family optimist. A little wild, sometimes annoying, and unfortunately gullible, he is kindhearted and gentle. Jake Burbage left the show at the end of season four (in the summer of 2004) to move back east, which is why he was never seen in season five.

Grounded for Life cast, seasons 3–4.

Gracie, the youngest Finnerty, was born in the last episode. Claudia discovered she was pregnant at the start of season five, and in the season finale—at Lily's graduation—she went into labor and delivered Gracie at the hospital. Originally they were going to call her Rose, but when too many people mistakenly thought the name was a reference to Titanic, they decide to rename her Gracie. Walt and his fiancée then say they will name their child Rose.

Eddie (Kevin Corrigan) is Sean's younger brother, a conniving, street-smart eccentric who can often act self-centered but has a good heart. Claudia and Eddie often had their differences throughout the series run. Their most extensive argument was caused when Eddie recorded a porn film in the Finnerty house; Claudia and Sean put him out.

Walt (Richard Riehle) (recurring: seasons 1–5) is Sean and Eddie's strict father. He often criticizes Sean and Claudia for being too soft on their kids. Sean and Eddie had a frightening upbringing, as Walt often scared them by telling them that their sins would send them to hell or by giving them booklets that explained what effect sins would have on them. Widower Walt has had little luck with women: he once had a woman whom Sean and Eddie didn't like; Lily and Brad set him up on a date with a woman, or whom they thought was a woman; another handcuffed him in the bar and robbed it.

Brad O'Keefe (Bret Harrison) (recurring: seasons 1–5) is the Finnertys' nerdy next-door neighbor. He had an on-off relationship with Lily. They once broke up when they realized they cheated on each other during a summer of being apart, but they eventually got back together. In one episode, Brad was upset when his parents split up, so the Finnertys decided to celebrate his birthday at their house. Unfortunately, during the party, he discovered that his mother had a fling with Eddie. In the end, his parents reconciled.

Actor Character Episode count Season
1 2 3 4 5
Donal Logue Sean Finnerty 91 Main
Megyn Price Claudia Finnerty 91 Main
Kevin Corrigan Edwin "Eddie" Finnerty 91 Main
Lynsey Bartilson Lily Finnerty 91 Main
Griffin Frazen Jimmy Finnerty 91 Main
Jake Burbage Henry Finnerty 78 Main
Richard Riehle Walt Finnerty 45 Main Recurring
Bret Harrison Brad O'Keefe 62 (credit only for 3 episodes of season 5) Recurring Main

Recurring castEdit

Sister Helen (Miriam Flynn) is the nun and principal at Lily, Jimmy, and Henry's school. She frequently tries to tell Sean and Claudia how to raise their kids, whom she is always berating at school (Lily's skirts are too revealing, Jimmy's hair is too long, etc.). Sean once heard her use the F-word.

Dean Peramotti (Mike Vogel) was the drummer of Sean and Eddie's band. He and Lily dated until she left him for Brad.

Dan O'Keefe (Floyd Van Buskirk in season 1, Gregory Jbara in all later appearances) is Brad's father. Sean and Dan never got along and were always fighting. He was busted for having an affair when Sean challenged him to a tennis match and then noticed that Dan had been useless all the weekend "tennis lessons." Connie discovered this, and they broke up, Connie then had a brief fling with Eddie, but they soon got back together.

Finnerty householdEdit

The household that makes for the primary location for the series features exciting background props that refer to the family's interests. Throughout the series, there is a picture of Lou Thesz hanging in the living room and a real-life picture of a young Lynsey Bartilson, who plays Lily in the series. The living room also features a framed and hung vintage baseball bat, a broken guitar (used by Sean in his younger days), and a pair of crucifixes, representing the Catholic the religion of the family.

The refrigerator in the kitchen is always changing but prominently features fruit magnets and a sticker resembling a video game developer's logo Rockstar Games. Jimmy's room often changes throughout the series, especially after the Henry character departs from the show. Still, at least one piece of WWE merchandise can be spotted in any given scene in the location. The most notable example is a pillow bearing the WWE logo. However, in the last few season five episodes, the pillow is turned over, hiding the logo. Jimmy's room also features a vintage Indianapolis Speedway poster (dated May 30, 1914), a dartboard, a small basketball hoop and at times featured a "Shonen Jump" poster and posters of bands such as Less Than Jake and Green Day.

Lily's room has a computer, a snowboarding poster, and a scrapbook poster, in addition to other commonplace items that change throughout the series. In early episodes, she has several signs featuring Justin Timberlake and 'N Sync.


Ninety-one complete episodes were produced and aired between 2000 and 2005. However, not all episodes were broadcast in the exact order they were created. The first season originally had 22 episodes, five of which, before the season finale, were held back by Fox and were included as part of the second season. Seventeen episodes were produced for season two, with the five season one episodes, making it a 22-episode season. Many problems occurred during the production of season three. Nineteen episodes had been produced for season three. With Fox canceling the series and later being picked up by The WB, only 11 episodes aired through the two networks; 12 & 13 never aired, and episodes 14 through 19 were included in season four. The fourth season originally produced 22 episodes, six from season three, making it the most extended season with 28 episodes. Season five produced 13 episodes and was the only season to have all its episodes intact. The 2 unaired episodes from Season 3 were later released on the Fox-owned streaming service, Tubi.

Nielsen RatingsEdit

Season Ep # Time Slot First Airdate Last Airdate Rank Viewership Network
Season 1 15 Wednesday 8:30 January 10, 2001 May 23, 2001 #87 8.9 Fox
Season 2 22 Wednesday 8:30 September 26, 2001 May 8, 2002 #96 7.2 Fox
Season 3 13 Friday 9:30 September 17, 2002 May 9, 2003 #95 8.10 Fox/WB
Season 4 28 Friday 9:00 September 5, 2003 May 7, 2004 #187 2.79 WB
Season 5 13 Friday 8:30 September 17, 2004 January 28, 2005 #145 2.7 WB

British remakeEdit

In 2011, the show was remade by the BBC as In with the Flynns. Six episodes were produced for its first season, using stories and scenes from the US series. Another six episodes were made for a second season, this time using original stories.


United StatesEdit

The series aired in syndication on ABC Family on an intermittent basis since 2005,[1] having gone through several timeslot changes during its run on the network. When first aired on ABC Family, the tag scenes were edited out; but when ABC Family re-acquired Grounded for Life, newer prints with the tag scenes are now shown.

On November 16, 2009, MTV began to air the show at random during the week[2] Unlike ABC Family's airings, these airings are the same episodes and are aired more frequently.

In February 2015, all five seasons of the show were added to Netflix for instant play. They are presented in HD for the first time, as they were only shown in standard definition in their network and cable runs.

LAFF started airing reruns of the show in May 2016, until December 31, 2018.

On August 3, 2017, Amazon added all five seasons in HD through its Prime video service through a distribution deal with FilmRise.


Country Channel(s) Notes
  Australia Seven Network, Fox8, The Comedy Channel Currently airing on The Comedy Channel.
  Belgium Plug TV In French; currently airing
  Belgium VTM 2 In English with Dutch subtitles; currently airing
  Bulgaria BTV Comedy (the former GTV) Currently airing
  Finland TV Viisi Goes by the name Perhe Paketissa, meaning "Family in a Package," currently airing in English, with Finnish subtitles
  France France 2, France 4 Goes by the name "Parents à tout Prix."
  Germany Comedy Central Goes by the name Keine Gnade für Dad, meaning "No Mercy for Dad."
  Hungary HBO Comedy Currently airing. Goes by the name Sorscsapás család, meaning "Setback Family"
   Switzerland 4uTV Goes by the name Keine Gnade für Dad, meaning "No Mercy for Dad."
  India STAR World
  Ireland RTÉ Two Aired up until the show's cancellation in 2005
  Israel HOT3 Goes by the name ככה זה בחיים (Kacha Ze BaChayim), meaning "That's How Life Is."
  North Macedonia Nasa TV Goes by the name Доживотно казн
  Norway TV Norge Goes by the name Familietrøbbel, meaning "Family Trouble."
  Netherlands Comedy Central Extra Currently airing
  Slovenia HBO Comedy, POP TV Goes by the name "Sami doma."
  Romania HBO Comedy Currently airing; goes by the name "Consemnați pe viață"
  Serbia HBO Comedy Currently airing
  Montenegro HBO Comedy Currently airing
  Sweden TV3
TV4 Komedi
Currently airing
  Turkey ComedyMax Currently airing
  United Kingdom Trouble
Trouble closed 1 April 2009; no longer broadcasts on ITV1

Awards and nominationsEdit

Grounded for Life has been nominated for several Young Artist Awards for best TV comedy choice, best family TV comedy series, best performance by a guest star in a TV comedy series, and best-supporting actor in a comedy or drama series,[3] it has also won a Young Artist Award for supporting young actor in a TV comedy series. It has also been nominated for an Artios Award,[4] Teen Choice Award,[5] GLAAD Media Award and an Emmy Award.

Year Result Award Category
2001 Nominated Artios Best Casting For TV, Comedy Pilot - Meg Liberman, Camille H. Patton
2001 Nominated Teen Choice Award TV - Choice Comedy
2001 Nominated Emmy Outstanding Choreography - Kenny Ortega for episode: "Mrs. Finnerty, You Have a Lovely Daughter"
2002 Won Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Supporting Young Actor - Griffin Frazen
2002 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Family TV Comedy Series
2002 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actor - Eddie Carr
2002 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series - Guest Starring Young Actor - Kevin G. Schmidt
2003 Nominated GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Individual Episode (In a Series Without a Regular Gay Character) for episode: "Relax!"
2004 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) - Supporting Young Actor - Griffin Frazen

Home mediaEdit

Grounded for Life was initially released on VHS in North America. In early 2006, Anchor Bay Entertainment began making the DVD series, with all five seasons being released by late 2007. The first season included all 20 episodes produced for that season (five of these episodes, before the season finale, were included as part of season two in the television airings). However, since the opening titles are different in seasons one and two, these five episodes still carry the season two opening titles. The season two set, therefore, contains 17 episodes. Season three includes 13 episodes, two of which did not originally air on television. All 28 episodes that aired as part of season four remain intact for the season four set and the same for the 13-episode season five set. The first four seasons were released in box set format, with two smaller-than-standard size DVD cases with a slipcover for each of the four sets. This, however, changed for the season five release when it was made available in a standard DVD case and no slipcover. Anchor Bay never released a complete series set.

Distribution company Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and commenced releasing in 2011. Season one and two were released individually and together in a set. Each containing the 15 episodes that aired on television as part of season one and the 22 episodes that aired as part of season two, as opposed to the Anchor Bay release of the first and second seasons. Mill Creek has not given individual releases to seasons three, four, and five at present. However, a complete series has been made available in a 13-disc set.

In the United Kingdom, distribution company Brightspark Productions released the first season in 2007.

In Australia, the series was made available via Visual Entertainment Group between 2010 and 2011. Seasons one, four, and five were released individually, whereas seasons two and three were released together in one set.

The Sunfilm Entertainment company began releasing the series in Germany under the title "Keine Gnade für Dad." All five seasons were released between late 2012 and early 2013.

Season 1
Set details Special features
  • 15 episodes (Anchor Bay release only)
  • 15 episodes
  • 3-disc set (Anchor Bay release only)
  • 3-disc set (UK)
  • 2-disc set (Mill Creek re-release, Germany & Australia)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Rating:
    • North America - TV-PG (Mill Creek rating)
    • United Kingdom -  12 
    • Germany - FSK-6
    • Australia -  PG 

Note: Seasons 1 & 2 were also released together by Mill Creek Entertainment on September 18, 2012.

  • Meet the Finnertys - Interview with Donal Logue
  • Claudia: Not the Sitcom Mom - Interview with Megyn Price
  • Life with Lily - Interview with Lynsey Bartilson
  • Interview with creators Mike Schiff and Bill Martin
  • Bloopers
  • Audio commentaries with cast and crew
  • Season One highlights
Release dates
North America United Kingdom Germany Australia
February 7, 2006
re-release September 13, 2011
March 5, 2007 November 8, 2012 June 7, 2010
Season 2
Set details Special features
  • 22 episodes (Anchor Bay release only)
  • 22 episodes
  • 4-disc set
  • 4-disc set (Australia - Seasons 2 & 3 combined)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Rating:
    • North America - TV-PG (Mill Creek rating)
    • Germany - FSK-6
    • Australia -  PG 

Note: Seasons 1 & 2 were also released together by Mill Creek Entertainment on September 18, 2012.

  • Bloopers
  • From Ashes to Ashton - An interview with Ashton Kutcher
  • Kevin Corrigan - He Ain't Eddie, He's My Brother - A brand new interview with Kevin Corrigan
  • Season Two highlights
  • Sibling Revelry - Interviews with Jake Burbage "Henry" and Griffin Frazen "Jimmy"
Release dates
North America United Kingdom Germany Australia
May 16, 2006
re-release September 13, 2012
TBA December 6, 2012 August 28, 2012
(with Season 3)
Season 3
Set details Special features
  • 13 episodes
  • 2-disc set
  • 4-disc set (Australia - Seasons 2 & 3 combined)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Rating:
    • Germany - FSK-6
    • Australia -  PG 
  • 2-never-before-aired episodes: "Oh, What a Knight" and "Part-Time Lover."
  • Audio commentary with cast and crew
Release dates
North America United Kingdom Germany Australia
August 8, 2006 TBA January 13, 2013 August 28, 2010
(with Season 2)
Season 4
Set details Special features
  • 28 episodes
  • 4-disc set
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Rating:
    • Germany - FSK-6
    • Australia -  PG 
  • Brand-new audio commentaries
  • Letter from the creators
Release dates
North America United Kingdom Germany Australia
November 7, 2006 TBA February 7, 2013 May 9, 2011
Season 5
Set details Special features
  • 13 episodes
  • 4-disc set (Anchor Bay release only)
  • 3-disc set (Germany)
  • 2-disc set (Australia)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Rating:
    • Germany - FSK-6
    • Australia -  PG 
  • Letter from the creators
Release dates
North America United Kingdom Germany Australia
September 25, 2007 TBA March 7, 2013 May 9, 2011
The Complete Series
Set details Special features
  • 91 episodes
  • 13-disc set
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Rating:
    • North America - TV-PG

Note: "The Complete Series" with released by Mill Creek Entertainment.

  • See Seasons 1–5 individually
Release dates
North America United Kingdom Germany Australia
September 4, 2012 TBA TBA TBA


  1. ^ "ABC Family gets 'Grounded for Life'". Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  2. ^ "MTV Acquires Grounded for Life". Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  3. ^ "25th Annual Young Artist Awards: Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  4. ^ "Casting Society of America". Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  5. ^ "2001 Teen Choice Awards: Choice Comedy". Retrieved 25 October 2010.

External linksEdit