Grounded for Life
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 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Camera setupFilm; Multi-camera
Running timeApprox. 22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseJanuary 10, 2001 (2001-01-10) –
December 3, 2002 (2002-12-03)
NetworkThe WB
ReleaseFebruary 28, 2003 (2003-02-28) –
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 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.

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 starred Kevin Corrigan, Bret Harrison, and Richard Riehle. It 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 characters

Main cast

Main article: List of Grounded for Life characters

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 works as a hostess in a Soho restaurant. Later, when her daughter Lily decides that college isn't for her, Claudia realizes the importance of education and looks into college options for herself, regretting that she couldn't have gone right away after high school.

By their early 30s, Sean and Claudia have 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 leaves, Lily finds Brad sitting outside because his dad locked him out. She tells him what happened, and Brad lists everything he loves about her. This is when Lily realizes that she shouldn't have turned down Brad for so long since he was always in love with her. On several occasions, Lily has been drunk, regretting it the next morning, including a college party at which she bumps into Claudia, and they both promise 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 go to a Ramones concert, and Jimmy is 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 discovers she is pregnant at the start of season five, and in the season finale—at Lily's graduation—she goes into labor and delivers 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 have 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) (starring: seasons 1–2, recurring: seasons 3–5) 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 him.

Brad O'Keefe (Bret Harrison) (recurring: seasons 1–2, starring: seasons 3–5) 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 get back together. In one episode, Brad is upset when his parents split up, so the Finnertys decide to celebrate his birthday at their house. Unfortunately, during the party, he discovers that his mother had a fling with Eddie. In the end, his parents reconcile.

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 cast

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 date until she leaves 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 get along and are always fighting. He is busted for having an affair when Sean challenges him to a tennis match and then notices that Dan has been useless all the weekend "tennis lessons." Connie discovers this, and they break up. Connie then has a brief fling with Eddie, but she and Dan soon get back together.

Finnerty household

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 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.


Main article: List of Grounded for Life episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
115January 10, 2001 (2001-01-10)May 23, 2001 (2001-05-23)Fox
222September 26, 2001 (2001-09-26)May 8, 2002 (2002-05-08)
3135September 17, 2002 (2002-09-17)December 3, 2002 (2002-12-03)
8February 28, 2003 (2003-02-28)May 9, 2003 (2003-05-09)The WB
428September 5, 2003 (2003-09-05)May 7, 2004 (2004-05-07)
513September 17, 2004 (2004-09-17)January 28, 2005 (2005-01-28)


The series began as a single-camera comedy when it was ordered by Fox in May 2000 as a midseason replacement.[1] The series' early episodes reflect this in their style and the late addition of a laugh track; by September, the network was reworking the series into a multi-camera sitcom.[2] In December 2000, Fox cancelled the sitcom Normal, Ohio and announced that Grounded for Life would premiere in its place in January 2001.[3][4]

Upon the looming threat of a writers strike, and impressed by the early ratings, Fox ordered seven additional episodes in February 2001 that would be delayed to the Fall in the case of a strike.[5][6] In May 2001, Fox renewed the series for a second season, with five of the additional ordered episodes airing as part of the second season.[7] In December, Fox cut the episode order of the second season by two episodes.[8]

In May 2002, Fox renewed the series for a third season consisting of 13 episodes.[9] However, after airing the first two episodes of the season, Fox continually delayed the series' return. Finally, on November 18, Carsey-Werner announced that the series would be moving to The WB within the same season, with an additional six episodes ordered; Fox would receive a cut of future syndication profits in exchange for the move.[10][11] Fox aired three more episodes before the series went on hiatus in December. The WB premiered new episodes beginning February 28.[12]

The WB renewed the series for a 22 episode fourth season in April 2003.[13] The network delayed the additional six-episode order to air within the fourth season, creating a larger 28 episode season. In May 2004, the network renewed the series for a 13-episode fifth season.[14] On October 26, the network announced that it would not order a full season, effectively cancelling the series.[15]


Nielsen Ratings

Season Ep # Time Slot First Airdate Last Airdate Rank Viewership Network
1 (2000–2001) 15 Wednesday 8:30 January 10, 2001 May 23, 2001 #87 8.9 Fox
2 (2001–2002) 22 Wednesday 8:30 September 26, 2001 May 8, 2002 #96 7.2 Fox
3 (2002–2003) 13 Wednesday 8:30 (1–5)
Friday 9:30 (6–13)
September 17, 2002 May 9, 2003 #95 8.10 Fox/WB
4 (2003–2004) 28 Friday 9:00 September 5, 2003 May 7, 2004 #187 2.79 WB
5 (2004–2005) 13 Friday 8:30 September 17, 2004 January 28, 2005 #145 2.7 WB

Awards and nominations

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,[16] 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,[17] Teen Choice Award,[18] 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


United States

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Grounded for Life" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The series aired in syndication on ABC Family on an intermittent basis since 2005,[19] 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[20] 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 aired reruns of the show from 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"
 Italy Fox Goes by the name I Finnerty, meaning "The Finnertys"
  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; titled "Consemnați pe viață"
 Serbia HBO Comedy Currently airing
 Montenegro HBO Comedy Currently airing
 Sweden TV3
TV4 Komedi
Aired with the english title "Freaky Finnertys".
No longer aired.
 Turkey ComedyMax Currently airing
 United Kingdom Trouble
Trouble closed 1 April 2009; no longer broadcasts on ITV1

Home media

The entire series of Grounded for Life has been released on DVD; Anchor Bay Entertainment originally held distribution rights to the series, releasing all five seasons in individual sets between 2006 and 2007. For the first two seasons, Anchor Bay opted to release in their originally produced episodes of 20 and 17, respectively, as opposed to the original broadcast of 15 and 22 episodes. The new opening credits introduced in the second season still remain intact for the five restored episodes on the Season One set.

The series was acquired by Mill Creek Entertainment in 2011 who released only the first two seasons, both in their original broadcast episodes, before making the series available in it entirety.

The series has also been made available on DVD in the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany, with all episodes consisting of their original broadcast episodes. All releases available contain the two unaired episodes from the third season.

Season Release date Additional
Region 1 Region 2 (UK) Region 2 (Germany) Region 4
1 February 7, 2006[21] March 5, 2007[22] November 8, 2012 June 7, 2010


  • Anchor Bay Entertainment (U.S.)
  • Brightspark Productions (UK)
  • Sunfilm Entertainment (Germany)
  • Visual Entertainment Group (Australia)

General information

  • 20 episodes (Anchor Bay)
  • 15 episodes (UK, Germany & Australia)
  • 4-DVD set (Anchor Bay)
  • 3-DVD set (UK)
  • 2-DVD set (Germany & Australia)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio


Special features

  • 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


  • September 13, 2011 (Mill Creek Entertainment, 15 episodes, 2-DVD set)
  • also, "The Complete First & Second Seasons" released on September 13, 2011 via Mill Creek Entertainment[23]
  • Released as "Keine Gnade für Dad" in Germany
2 May 16, 2006[24] TBA December 6, 2012 August 28, 2010 (as one)


General information

  • 17 episodes (Anchor Bay)
  • 22 episodes (Germany & Australia)
  • 3-DVD set (Anchor Bay)
  • 3-DVD set (Germany)
  • 4-DVD set (Australia, with Season 3)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio


Special features

  • 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"


  • September 13, 2011 (Mill Creek Entertainment, 22 episodes, 3-DVD set)
  • also, "The Complete First & Second Seasons" released on September 13, 2011 via Mill Creek Entertainment[23]
  • Released as "Keine Gnade für Dad" in Germany
3 August 8, 2006[25] TBA January 13, 2013


General information

  • 13 episodes
  • 2-DVD set (U.S. & Germany)
  • 4-DVD set (Australia, with Season 2)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio


Special features

  • 2-never-before-aired episodes: "Oh, What a Knight" and "Part-Time Lover."
  • Audio commentary with cast and crew
  • Released as "Keine Gnade für Dad" in Germany
4 November 7, 2006[26] TBA February 7, 2013 May 9, 2011


General information

  • 28 episodes
  • 4-DVD set (U.S.)
  • 3-DVD set (Germany)
  • 2-DVD set (Australia)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio


Special features

  • Brand-new audio commentaries
  • Letter from the creators
  • Released as "Keine Gnade für Dad" in Germany
5 September 25, 2007[27] TBA March 7, 2013 May 9, 2011


General information

  • 13 episodes
  • 2-DVD set (U.S., Germany & Australia)
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio


Special features

  • Letter from the creators
  • Released as "Keine Gnade für Dad" in Germany
Complete September 4, 2012[28] TBA TBA TBA


  • Mill Creek Entertainment

General information

  • 91 episodes
  • 13 DVD-set
  • 1.33:1 aspect ratio


Special features See individual releases

British remake

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. A six episode second season used original stories.


  1. ^ Schneider, Michael; Adalian, Josef (May 15, 2000). "ABC bets on 'Millionaire' as Fox, CBS will roll dice". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  2. ^ Oxman, Steven (September 7, 2000). "Now waiting in the wings..." Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  3. ^ Schneider, Michael; Adalian, Josef (December 12, 2000). "'Normal' no more". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  4. ^ Schneider, Michael; Adalian, Josef (December 19, 2000). "Nets re-sked, with eye on CBS". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  5. ^ Adalian, Josef (February 19, 2001). "Fox gets more 'Grounded'". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  6. ^ Adalian, Josef (March 20, 2001). "Original series segs key to Fox strike plan". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  7. ^ Schneider, Michael; Adalian, Josef (May 15, 2001). "Fox laffs in limbo". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  8. ^ Adalian, Josef (December 20, 2001). "Fox skins 3 skeins as it cuts yuks". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  9. ^ Adalian, Josef (May 14, 2002). "Four new dramas top Fox frosh". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2002.
  10. ^ Adalian, Josef; Schneider, Michael (November 18, 2002). "'Grounded' wings it". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  11. ^ Adalian, Josef (November 19, 2002). "Inside move: Fox well-'Grounded'". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  12. ^ Schneider, Michael (February 4, 2003). "WB makes room for 'Life' laffer". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  13. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 24, 2003). "'Grounded' at WB". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  14. ^ Adalian, Josef (May 12, 2004). "CBS ready to run another 'Race'". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  15. ^ Schneider, Michael (October 26, 2004). "WB Oks sitcom about sitcom". Variety. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  16. ^ "25th Annual Young Artist Awards: Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Casting Society of America". Casting Society. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  18. ^ "2001 Teen Choice Awards: Choice Comedy". IMDb. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  19. ^ "ABC Family gets 'Grounded for Life'". Chicago Tribune. 7 June 2004. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  20. ^ "MTV Acquires Grounded for Life". SitcomsOnline. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
  21. ^ "Grounded for Life: Season 1 DVD (U.S.)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  22. ^ "Grounded for Life: Season 1 DVD (UK)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Grounded for Life: The Complete First & Second Seasons DVD". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  24. ^ "Grounded for Life: Season 2 DVD (U.S.)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  25. ^ "Grounded for Life: Season 3 DVD (U.S.)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  26. ^ "Grounded for Life: Season 4 DVD (U.S.)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  27. ^ "Grounded for Life: Season 5 DVD (U.S.)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  28. ^ "Grounded for Life: The Complete Series DVD (U.S.)". Retrieved June 28, 2021.