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Grounded for Life was an Americanmarker 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 was set in an Irish neighborhood of Staten Island, New Yorkmarker 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 is a truncated, as cast names were shown after the sequence 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 airhead 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,". [53318]

  • 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. Gracie was originally to be named Rose, but it reminded everyone too much of the female character from Titanic. She was born on Lily's high school graduation day, in June 2005. Actress Megyn Price, who played Claudia Finnerty, named her first born baby Grace.


Season Ep # First Airdate Last Airdate
Season 1 15 January 10, 2001 May 23, 2001
Season 2 22 September 26, 2001 May 8, 2002
Season 3 13 September 17, 2002 May 9, 2003
Season 4 28 September 5, 2003 May 7, 2004
Season 5 13 September 17, 2004 January 28, 2005


United States

  • Back-to-back reruns of all five seasons of Grounded for Life used to air on ABC Family. On October 3, 2007, the show was replaced by 8 Simple Rules. On November 2nd, 2009, it replaced What I Like About You at 4-5pm weekdays.
On November 16, 2009, MTV began to air the show at 7-8pm weekdays.


  • In Germanymarker the series goes by the name of "Keine Gnade für Dad" meaning "No Mercy for Dad".
  • In Belgiummarker the series is broadcast on the Flemish channel VT4 in English, with Dutch subtitles.
  • In Swedenmarker the series has been broadcasted on TV3 and currently the entire five seasons are airing on TV4 Komedi.
  • In Irelandmarker the series was broadcasted on RTÉ 2 up until the show's cancellation in 2005.
  • In Bulgariamarker the series is broadcasting on BTV Comedy (the former GTVmarker )
  • In Finlandmarker the series is broadcasting on TV Viisi in English, with Finnish subtitles.


  • In Israelmarker 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.

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