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Thicker than Waters

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Thicker than Waters
TV Show Information
Genre: Sitcom
Country of Origin: USA
Channel: Tube Town
First Appearance: "Homer the Father"

Thicker than Waters is a family sitcom that was popular in the 1980s. Its theme song is "Cherish That Family Smile". The show was written by David Mamet and its reruns can be seen on Tube Town.


Thicker than Waters is a family sitcom whose main characters are the Waters family: Dentist Patrick Waters, who practices out of his house; his wife; and their two children, Lizzie and Sam. The family enjoy an upper-middle-class lifestyle in the St. Louis, Missouri area.

Patrick Waters is the central character of Thicker than Waters, and his personal characteristics such as wearing patchwork sweaters and a no-nonsense parenting style are the hallmarks of the show. When Homer Simpson saw reruns of the show, he became obsessed with it to the point of watching it at every possible opportunity and wearing a sweater in the same style as Patrick's.

Homer also took notes about Patrick's parenting methods and patterned his own parenting style after the show, much to Bart's chagrin. In one episode that Homer watched, Patrick's son Sam asked for a baseball glove and Patrick, rather than giving it to him outright, made him earn the money to buy it. Sam did as he was told, got his new glove, and later won a trophy. He also thanked Patrick for not buying him the glove.

In the real world, Bart wanted a minibike, but Homer wouldn't buy it for him. Bart later asked if it would be worth anything if he got an "A" on a math test. Homer, after consulting The Super Fan's Unofficial Guide to Thicker than Waters, quoted a line about hard work leading to a surprising reward. Bart was convinced that could only mean he would get the minibike if he got an "A" on the test, so he studied hard and got the "A". But when he showed the test paper to Homer, Homer gave no reward at all, instead saying that the feeling of accomplishment was its own reward (evidently, parroting another line from the show). Angry at what he saw as Homer reneging on their deal, Bart decided to get the bike on his own and got a job—which turned out to be working for the Chinese government as a spy.


The pleasant family atmosphere portrayed in Thicker than Waters was merely a facade, as the show was beset with scandal and behind-the-scenes drama from the very beginning. According to Marge Simpson, Thicker than Waters "only got on the air because the creator had evidence the network president ran over a guy." In a TV program titled Thicker than Waters: The E! True Hollywood Story, it was revealed that Digby Sheridan, the actor who played Patrick Waters, "had enormous problems with the show." Sheridan was shown frowning at a script, berating writer David Mamet, calling the script "crap", and going into a profanity-laced tirade. Later, in a cast interview on Inside the Actor's Studio, Sheridan admitted to having slept with "everyone in the cast—including the dog." In that same interview, actress Rebecca, who played Lizzie Waters, showed distaste with her character, particularly with the fact that the hairstyle she had worn on the show had spawned a fashion craze of girls getting their hair done in "The Lizzie".

Behind the Laughter[edit]

  • Thicker than Waters is a parody of Growing Pains, a family sitcom which aired from 1985 to 1992.
  • The show's title is a pun on the saying "Blood is thicker than water" and the Waters family's last name.
  • The title is also a pun on actor Alan Thicke, who played Jason Seaver, the father on Growing Pains.
  • The Thicker than Waters theme song, "Cherish That Family Smile", is a parody of "As Long as We've Got Each Other", the theme song of Growing Pains.
  • The show's St. Louis setting is revealed in the opening credits, when the family go kite flying and their kite gets caught on the Gateway Arch.
  • Patrick Waters' sweater is a parody of Bill Cosby, who wore an almost identical sweater on The Cosby Show.
  • One episode was directed by Stephen Soderbergh.
  • David Chase was credited as Executive Story Editor. He went on to create The Sopranos.
  • It is shown in fullscreen with black bars on the sides because it is from the 1980s, when HDTVs weren't as common as in 2010.