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Grounded for Life
The cast
Format Sitcom
Created by Bill Martin
Mike Schiff
Starring Donal Logue
Megyn Price
Kevin Corrigan
Griffin Frazen
Lynsey Bartilson
Jake Burbage
Bret Harrison
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 91 (List of episodes)
Running time 22 minutes
Original channel FOX(2001-2003)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Original run January 10, 2001 (2001-01-10) – January 28, 2005 (2005-01-28)

Grounded for Life is an American television sitcom that debuted on January 10, 2001 as a mid-season replacement on the FOX Network. It ran for two seasons on the network until being cancelled only two episodes into its third season. It was immediately picked up for the rest of the third season by the The WB Television Network, where it aired for two additional seasons until its cancellation on January 28, 2005.



The show is set in an Irish neighborhood of Staten Island, New York and is about the comedic interplay of the Irish Catholic Finnerty family. One of the central aspects of the show is that Sean and Claudia Finnerty had their first child and got married when they were only eighteen years old. Thus, while they have three children, including a teenage daughter, the two parents are themselves relatively young and not out of their "wild" years (in one episode where Sean goes to pick up his daughter at a police station and is mistaken for her drug dealer his father quips "that's what happens when you're 17 and don't know what a condom 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 Catholic family with three children - one girl and two boys - surviving one catastrophe after another, utilizing flashbacks to further explain current situations they find themselves in.

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 eleven episodes of Season 1, showed the family playing basketball. From the twelfth episode ("Jimmy Was Kung-Fu Fighting") onwards, it 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 and over the episode itself.

Music is important in the production of the series, with musical cues used when going into and out of flashbacks. In addition, episodes are named after songs or, in many cases, are a play on the name or lyrics of songs. Also, 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 list


  • Sean Finnerty (Donal Logue) - Initially worked in the city subway lines as a laborer. In the later seasons, he owns and operates a bar with his brother, Eddie, which is called the Red Boot Pub. A Red Boot Pub dartboard can be found in the Finnerty household in the living room. Father of three (later four) kids, Sean also deals with his judgemental father, his irresponsible brother, and the head nun/principal at his children's school, Sister Helen. Sean is often getting into antics with his carefree brother.
  • Claudia Finnerty (née Bustamante) (Megyn Price) - Claudia got pregnant in high school and ended up marrying Sean Finnerty. She has a job as the hostess at a Soho restaurant and in the later seasons takes classes at Wadsworth college . She gets pregnant at the beginning of the fifth season and gives birth to a girl named Gracie.
  • Eddie Finnerty (Kevin Corrigan) - The single carefree brother/uncle. Prior to opening a bar with his brother, his jobs were shady and possibly illegal (e.g., when he brings a box in to the Finnerty home, and refuses to divulge the contents of the package, but tells Sean when he shakes it "That's not smart"). Various plots revolve around him arousing chaos with his brother and sister-in-law (such as when he shoots porn in their living room). Eddie often (harmlessly) alludes to a sexual fantasy/crush on Claudia.
  • Lily Finnerty (Lynsey Bartilson) (14-18 yrs old) - The airheaded teenager is often at odds with her parents. Although she first finds him annoying, she later falls in love with her next door neighbor, Brad O'Keefe, after losing her virginity to him on her 16th birthday. Lily meets a boy named Dean in the episode "Bang on the Drum" and begins to date him from then to the eleventh episode of season three in which she gets together with Brad on Lily's sixteenth birthday. They continue to date throughout the rest of the show, and their relationship, and its problems, is often the central point of the episodes.
  • Jimmy Finnerty (Griffin Frazen) (12–15 years old) - The black sheep of his family, Jimmy's choices are not always accepted by his parents (such as choosing to become a vegetarian.) Thus, he often confides in his Uncle Eddie.
  • Henry Finnerty (Jake Burbage) (8–12 years old) - The youngest son of the family, Henry, disappeared at the beginning of the fifth season when actor Burbage left to move back east with his family. He is actually never seen during the fifth season, but he is, however, mentioned several times, notably in the episode "Hello, Goodbye" when Claudia says to Walt that Henry is "...around here someplace,". [1]
  • Brad O'Keefe (Bret Harrison) (14–18 years old) - The sweet, smart but socially inept neighbor, who later becomes Lily's boyfriend at the end of the third season. He is a science nerd and is part of the school club the "Sciencenauts".
  • Walt Finnerty (Richard Riehle) - is Sean and Eddie's father. He's a widower and often comes to the house or the bar to see his kids and grandkids. He's very judgemental, especially of his own sons and is shown to be all but the ideal father and lacks in parental skills (scaring his children when they were young or making his two grandsons digging a deep hole for no reason).
  • Gracie Finnerty (still an infant at end of series) - The series finale ends with Claudia giving birth to Gracie, bringing the number of Finnerty children to four at the end of the series. She was born on Lily's high school graduation day, in June 2005.


Nielsen Ratings

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 TBA TBA WB
Season 5 13 Friday 8:30 September 17, 2004 January 28, 2005 #145 2.7 WB


United States

  • Back-to-back reruns of all five seasons of Grounded for Life air on ABC Family. at 4-5pm weekdays.
  • On November 16, 2009, MTV began to air the show at random during the week. Unlike ABC Family's airings, these airings contain the ending during the credits and the same episodes are aired more frequently.


  • In Germany the series goes by the name of "Keine Gnade für Dad" meaning "No Mercy for Dad".
  • In Belgium the series is broadcast on the Flemish channel VT4 in English, with Dutch subtitles.
  • In Sweden the series has been broadcasted on TV3 and currently the entire five seasons are airing on TV4 Komedi.
  • In Ireland the series was broadcasted on RTÉ 2 up until the show's cancellation in 2005.
  • In Bulgaria the series is broadcasting on BTV Comedy (the former GTV )
  • In Finland the series goes by the name of "Perhe paketissa" meaning "Family in a package" and is broadcasting on TV Viisi in English, with Finnish subtitles.


  • In Israel the series was broadcast on HOT3, under the title "ככה זה בחיים" (Kacha Ze BaChayim) meaning "That's How Life Works".


DVD releases

Anchor Bay Entertainment has released all 5 seasons of Grounded for Life on DVD in Region 1.

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Bonus Features
Season 1 20 February 7, 2006 March 5, 2007 Bonus features include audio commentaries by creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, stars Megyn Price, Lynsey Bartilson and Richard Riehle, and writers Chris Kelly, Jim O'Doherty, David M. Israel, Greg Thompson, and Aron Abrams; interview with creators; season one highlights, featurettes, bloopers. This set includes more bonus features than any other DVD box set due to its bloopers, highlights, and interviews.
Season 2 17 May 16, 2006 March 3, 2008 Bonus features include bloopers, commentary on one episode with creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, stars Megyn Price and Lynsey Bartilson, interview with Ashton Kutcher and with Kevin Corrigan, Season Two Highlights.
Season 3 13 August 8, 2006 TBA Bonus features include 6 Commentary Tracks by creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, stars Lynsey Bartilson, Miriam Flynn, and Chris Hogan, and writers Chris Kelly, Ned Goldreyer, Greg Thompson, and Aron Abrams; and also includes the 2 episodes that never aired.
Season 4 28 November 7, 2006 TBA Bonus features include commentary on 5 episodes by creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff; stars Donal Logue, Lynsey Bartilson, Bret Harrison, and Griffin Frazen; and writers Chris Kelly and Erica Rivinoja; letter from the creators, included in every season DVD set, is listed as a bonus feature for this set.
Season 5 13 September 25, 2007 TBA No bonus features included, but "letter from the creators" listed as a "season 5 feature" on the box.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote


Season 1

Lily B. Good

Henry: Dad said we couldn't get a cable box, they're too expensive.
Eddie: Your dad and I live in two different worlds.
Jimmy: Uncle Eddie, it's stolen isn't it?
Eddie: 'Stolen' would be a word from your dad's world.

[referring to Sean throwing chicken at a car when he sees Brad and Lily making out in it]

Claudia: [giggles]
Sean: It's not funny! I didn't know what else to do.
Claudia: How is throwing chicken even an option?!

Claudia: Walt, why are my children on a chain gang?
Walt: I am teaching these boys how to dig a hole
Sean: Why?
Walt: A good hole can serve a boy in a lot of ways. It helps them focus, lets them sweat, and makes them appreciate a warm bed at night.
Claudia: How much is there to teach about a hole?
Walt: That's the kind of attitude that leads to substandard holes.

Sean: Well there was more than just chicken.
Claudia: Biscuits?
Sean: NO, no.
Eddie: So you still have the biscuits?
Sean: No, there were no biscuits! I'm talking about an additional incident.
Eddie: I can't believe you didn't get biscuits, they come with the chicken.
Sean: I didn't get any biscuits! Look I went out to get a bucket of chicken, I got a bucket of chicken.
Eddie: You would have had to specifically asked them to leave the biscuits out!

In My Room

[in Christina's room]
Christina: Hey, Lily, this is weird, you're online.
Lily: No, I'm not.
Christina: Yes, you are. Your screen name just popped up on my buddy list, see?
Lily: No way! Uh, somebody signed on with my name!
Christina: No!
Lily: Yes! Send them an instant message. "Lily, what are you doing?"
Christina: They're not answering.
Lily: Type "Are you there?" This is so freaking me out!
Christina: Totally!
[person on lily's screen name types 'Yes...just hanging know, just keeping it fresh.']
Christina: Yes, just hanging around, you know, just keeping it fresh?
Lily: [furious] Oh, my God. It's my dad.
Christina: How do you know?
Lily: It's him.
Neighbor: How's it goin' Mr. Finnerty?
Sean: Ah, you know, keepin' it fresh.
Lily: Did he really say keeping it fresh?
Claudia: [shaking head] I'll talk to him.
[end flash back]
Christina: Should we sign off?
Lily: No, move over.

Walt: Back in my day we used to play Cowboys and Indians. Of course that was when you were allowed to say Indian. You can't say Indian anymore.
Henry: I'm not allowed to say bite me.
Jimmy: Be quiet.
Henry: Bite me, Indian!

I Wanna Be Suspended

Devil with a Plaid Skirt

Preacher: Have you tried talking to Jimmy about this?
Sean: Oh, I tried, but it kind of backfired.
[flash back]
Sean: See, Jimmy, you're not possessed by Satan because...there is no Satan!
[Henry looks up devilishly,scene cuts to school]
Henry: [talking to a large group of classmates] My dad says there's no such thing as Satan, which means there's no such thing as hell, which means you can pretty much do what ever you want, so go right ahead. [complete anarchy ensues]
[end flashback]
Preacher: And you wonder why Sister Helen has it in for your family?
Sean: Out! She has it out for our family. And i couldn't have forseen that!

Action Mountain High

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Like a Virgin

Devil's Haircut

Eddie's Dead

Catch Us If You Can

Jimmy's Got a Gun

Jimmy Was Kung-Fu Fighting


Mrs. Finnerty, You've Got a Lovely Daughter

Season 2

Baby, You Can't Drive My Car

Dream On

Don't Let Me Download

Rubber Sold

Bang on a Drum

Smoke on the Daughter

I Saw Daddy Hitting Santa Claus

Let's Talk About Sex, Henry

Is She Really Going Out with Walt?

We Are Family

Mr. Roboto

Don't Fear the Reefer

Take It to the Limit

Eddie Said Knock You Out

Safety Dance


The Kids Are Alright

Swearin' to God

Eddie and This Guy with Diamonds

I Fought the In-Laws

Dust in the Wind

Oops!.. I Did It Again

Season 3

I Didn't Start the Fire

Mustang Lily

Cat Scratch Fever

Drive Me Crazy

Just Like a Woman

Henry's Been Working for the Drug Squad

Cuts like a Knife

Who Are You?

Welcome to the Working Week

Claudia in Disguise with Glasses

Tonight's the Night

Oh, What a Knight

Part Time Lover

Season 4

Your Father Should Know (1)

Your Father Should Know (2)

All the Young Nudes

I Right the Wrongs

I Just Paid to Say I Love You

S.A.T. and Sympathy

Pay You Back with Interest

Ticket to Ride

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Baby Come Back

Been Caught Stealing

(She's Got) Kegs

My Ex-Boyfriend's Back

Communication Breakdown

All Apologies

Claudia: I'm gonna kill you!
Eddie: What'd I do?
Claudia: You're a degenerate scumbag!
Eddie: Could you be more specific?

Eddie: You and Claudia, and the kids were outta town. It seemed a shame to let a perfectly good porn set go to waste.
Sean: It's not a porno set. It's our house!

Sean: You've gotta let her know you learned something from this.
Eddie: Yeah... So what'd I learn?
Sean: Not to shoot porno in our house!!

Eddie: I learned something.
Claudia: Oh, really? What did you learn?
Eddie: That what I did was wrong. And to respect you. And respect your house. And respect that you got a thing about people shooting porn in it.

Henry: Great now Uncle Eddie isn't allowed over. Now I'm gonna have a porno birthday!

I Think We're Alone Now

Can't Get Next to You


Me and Mrs. O

Tombstone Blues

Pictures of Willy

It's Hard to be a Saint in the City

Beat on the Brat

The Cheat Is On

Pressure Drop

Get a Job

Space Camp Oddity

Season 5

The Policy of Truth

Man, I Feel Like a Woman

One Is the Loneliest Number

Day Tripper

You Better You Bet

Psycho Therapy

I'm Looking Through You

Mystery Dance

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy

Tom Sawyer

The Letter(s)


Hello, Goodbye

Unidentified Episodes

:Sean: Why are you answering questions with questions?
Eddie: Why does that concern you?

Sean: Ooh, an armoire.
Claudia: That's what they call it.
Sean: (in French accent) Oh, then we should buy this "armoire"' and put it in the "boudoir" next to the "toilette". Ooh-la-la.

Henry: Why am I in church naked?
Henry: Sorry, God.

Henry: Hey, Reynolds! Do you know what the T in T-Birds stands for?... THE LOSER!!! HA!

Claudia: Sean, when did you say you got this call?
Sean: Uh...When was it? Yea, Tuesday.
Claudia: Okay, Okay. Then, why is the message on a receipt from today?
Sean: What? What do you mean? What's today?
Eddie: It 'aint Tuesday.

Eddie: Hey! I was in the ScienceNauts!
Sean: Oh yea, I remember.
[flash back]
Nun: Edward, Last month the school's electricity bill was extremely high, and I have yet to see one tomato!
[Eddie and two other boys are standing around marijuana plants.]
Eddie: Don't worry, Sister, I think I see one budding.
[end flash back]
Walt: How come I never got one of those tomatoes?

Lily: Yeah! Well...I read somewhere that compulsive shopping was a disease!
Sean: Cholera is a disease. Compulsive shopping is something a 16 year-old does when she wants to look cute for a party and someone gives her a credit card.
[Sean turns to face Claudia]

IMDB Grounded for Life Memorable Quotes

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