YMMV / 7th Heaven

  • Acceptable Lifestyle Targets: From the list of the Trope page:
    • Smokers (several episodes were dedicated about how bad that is).
    • Drug users (a recurring subject, also featuring legal drugs if you include the episodes about smoking, alcoholism / underage drinking / DUI, and sniffing glue).
    • Any form of sexuality that wasn't within marriage. Many teen pregnancies (Wilson, Corey, Sandy, Frankie, a classmate of Matt, a classmate of Simon, and many other one-episode characters) and otherwise unplanned pregnancies (Julie, Annie herself, subverted with Lucy) were featured, as well as STD scares (including a significant one by major character Simon) to accentuate (over-accentuate, some might argue) the dangers of this.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Are the Camdens genuinely selfless people who want to help improve the lives of others in the name of the Lord, or a bunch of busybodies who have no sense of boundaries and a total lack of respect for other people? Or are they just so nosy because they have little fulfillment in their own lives that they have to find trouble in others?
  • Anvilicious: The parents' speeches about the moral lesson of the episode often run on very long.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • Lucy's almost one-sided feud with Roxanne because she believes the latter is trying to steal Kevin from her.
    • Mary's descent into "decadence" over the first quarter of Season 5, before being Put on a Bus.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Lucy. Either she grew up a mature, helpful mother and minister or a whiny, self-absorbed clone of her mother.
    • Simon. Fans either loved his angst and thought of him as The Woobie, or wished he'd shut up and were glad when he was written out of the show in Season 8.
    • Is Ruthie an adorably precocious child and the Only Sane Man in the family or a spoiled, mouthy brat who gets away with her behavior by virtue of being (at first) the youngest.
  • Character Shilling:
    • Annie. The show did its best to depict her as the ideal mother. But she forced four of her children (two of whom were underage at the time) out of the house and into the garage, because they opposed to Mary moving into the garage. Also she is frequently called "kindhearted", though her occasional displays of anger, and her looking down on people for doing anything she deems morally reprehensible in her eyes, seem to undercut this.
    • Lucy. Often exalted for her purported maturity, security, and good nature, she often proves to be insufferable when it came to men (often suspecting them of cheating on her, or having something to hide), insecure about her self-image, and often didn't seem to be the perfect picture of mental health (partially contributing to her scrappy status amongst some fans).
    • Inverted with Mary. She's constantly portrayed, post Season 4, as unreliable, irresponsible, and the "rebel" of the family. Not being completely sure about your future and drifting from job to job is a phase many teens and young adult go through; the show portrays this as disturbing and severely demonizes Mary for it.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes:
    • Mary in Season 5 goes on a downward spiral doing many things her parents raised her to avoid: losing job after job because of negligence, underage alcohol drinking and DUI, smoking marijuana. Her parents, as many discussions between them reveal, don't know how to handle this. In the end, they don't know any other solution than to decide she is no longer welcome to live in their home and to put her on a plane to Buffalo, NY because they think her grandfather is the only one who can put her straight.
    • Simon, after his accidental vehicular manslaughter, can't handle this emotionally, despite the strong reliance on religion instilled in him by his parents, and also goes on a downward spiral.
  • Critical Dissonance: Played with. While many Christian and family-oriented critics and viewers praised the show's family friendliness and somehow became the number-one show on the WB, there are many people who just can't understand what all the bother was about, often criticizing its acting, dialogue, writing, and overall plot arcs.
  • Critical Research Failure: There's never really a mention of Simon getting charged with anything after committing vehicular manslaughter. Nothing, not even a misdemeanor. Apparently because it was an accident, Simon gets off scot-free. According to California Penal Code 192(c), even a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter conviction is punishable by up to a year in county jail, and Simon, then about 17, could be charged as an adult. However, he could've been put on probation and do community service hours, though this is never mentioned on the show.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: The Season 9 episode Vote has numerous characters hearing "Blah, blah, blah" every time Eric or Annie say an extremely long Character Filibuster, which would definitely bring smiles to the haters of the show.
  • Dysfunctional Family:
    • The parents' actions sometimes put other people's lives in danger - Eric insisting to detox his alcoholic sister at his house instead of professional detox, even knowing the potential life-threatening dangers; Annie refusing a medically necessary Caesarean section during the twins' birth - and they were completely blind to this and really thought they were always helping people.
    • The relationship between Matt and Mary had subtle incestuous undertones - or not so subtle in the pilot episode, when Mary asked her brother to give her a French kiss and his going for her mouth was only interrupted because their father walked in (who didn't really say/think anything of the situation...)
    • Mary's character completely changed in Season 4/5 (this was really ironic since in earlier seasons, she was actually the only family member who seemed to have a firm head on her shoulder), possibly brought on by the writers/producers and the actress not getting along - from academic and athletic excellence to an arrest for vandalism, underage drinking / drinking while driving, doing marijuana. The parents' reaction was to put her on a bus (or in this case, plane), after which point she became the butt of the family.
    • The twins' always repeating each other / not speaking right was treated as being cute, but at the level they had this, they actually seemed to have a developmental disorder.
  • Ear Worm: The title song: 7th Heaven... When I see their happy faces smilin' back at me...
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: "Never, ever commit a Felony Misdemeanor, because it will scar you for life." And the one that goes, "Because the Felony Misdemeanor from high school is still following you, you better go to college when your parents tell you to, or you will end up being sent away from your family after an angry, teary intervention."
  • Glurge: Infamous for this. While the show ostensibly advocated for Christian values, viewers also noted the show's tendency to debase other viewpoints, with the show becoming increasingly conservative over time. Television Without Pity in their book "752 Things We Love to Hate" believed the show advocated for blind faith in government leaders, no career women, no birth control, antifeminism, no drinking and smoking, and no privacy under the guise of "Christian values".
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The Season 4 episode Talk to Me (involving Eric counseling a young girl who had been molested) falls into this after the release of a recording in which Stephen Collins (who played Eric) admitted to having sexually molested 3 young girls.
    • The Season 4 episode Yak Sada includes a well intended story line in which the Camden women protest the social standing of women in Afghanistan. Given that this episode aired in 1999, it's downright bizarre watching the reverend have to pause and think to come up with the group repressing them - the Taliban.
    • The Season 2 episode I Hate You opens up with Simon asking Eric where he was at the Kennedy assassination, which he considers the "world's greatest "Where Were You When..." question" which comes back to bite him in the butt when 9/11 came around only a couple of years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Martin's introduction has him skulking around the Camden house and then bizarrely coming inside and helping himself to food despite not knowing anyone there. His actor Tyler Hoechlin later played Derek on Teen Wolf, a character infamous for his habit of stalking teenagers and appearing in people's rooms with no warning.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • The Season 2 episode Who Knew? involves Matt coming home with a joint (which he got from a friend, though Matt didn't actually want it), which is accidentally found by his father, who then suspects almost all of his children of having brought the joint into the house. The plot could've been averted if Matt had just thrown away the joint immediately after getting it (he never wanted to smoke it anyway, so why keep it?).
    • Part of the Season 6 episode Relationships involves Annie's (brief) job as a teacher being threatened by a student's parents after she indirectly suggests that they should divorce. The problem is that Annie could've told the principal that it was a misunderstanding, considering that the student didn't mention her parents during the conversation, and Annie believed that it was between her and a little boyfriend. Even more so, she could've told the parents of the same thing beforehand, and much of the plot would've been avoided.
  • Large Ham: Stephen Collins in numerous episodes (Who Knew? comes to mind).
  • Moral Event Horizon: Many fans thought Annie crossed it when she threw the twenty-something Matt and Lucy and the then underage Simon and Ruthie out of the house and forced them to live in the unfinished (read: no furniture or plumbing) garage apartment until they agreed with her opinion that Mary coming home was a good thing. Ironically, Mary eventually became The Scrappy and general "disappointment" of the Camden family in later seasons and Annie would pretty much cringe if you even mentioned her name.
  • Narm: Notable examples include:
    • The episode Sin... has Simon getting suspended for three days from school for...using the middle finger. Also, Simon wangsts over thinking he's not Annie's son anymore because of the gesture. Plus, Annie stating that using the middle finger isn't "part of nature", insults the people who use it as not "clever" or "smart", and also a "guy thing," something reiterated by everyone in his family. But the real funny moment of the episode...the dramatic strings and multiple jump cuts on Annie and Matt's faces when they see Simon and later, Ruthie flip the bird.
    • Camden house guest Jane going up to Eric's parents and telling them that she's married to their adoptive son George comes off as random and hilarious, plus confusing on the part of the parents.
    • The Season 1 episode Last Call for Aunt Julie, in which she was revealed to be an alcoholic and then underwent detoxification, is simultaneously overacted and underacted, giving it a laughable feel to it.
    • A literal student court at the kids' school having to either expel or simply punish Mary for her actions in Season 4. Though there is a principal there, it's still pretty silly.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The high school gym incident, for Mary. Even years after said incident, her parents and siblings will never let her (and the audience) forget that Mary covered the gym with TP because of basketball. Most people would just forgive and forget, but not the Camdens (at least for the "forget" part).
    • For Dr. Hastings (Aunt Julie's husband), his involvement in Matt's near-death during birth. Being an inexperienced intern at the time, he nearly killed Matt during the delivery (though luckily pulled through, though spent a month in the ICU). Even though Eric and Annie do forgive him, and the incident did lead to Dr. Hastings becoming a better doctor, Eric will occasionally drop that little incident into conversation, though Dr. Hastings doesn't seem to mind anymore.
  • Padding: Each episode contained shots lasting almost a minute of people doing mundane chores (especially Annie putting groceries in the fridge), Happy the dog walking around the house, exterior shots of the Camden house (or other Glenoak buildings), cars driving down Glenoak roads, etc.
  • Pandering to the Base: What some assumed the show creators were doing — essentially crafting a show to appeal to a demographic that most other shows have nothing but venom for. Things like the above-mentioned point in Fridge Logic don't make much sense... unless they're less trying to reflect what they see as reality and instead prey on the fears of the religious (that "Christ has been taken out of Christmas"). Considering the sheer amount of Narm, you could almost interpret the show as a Stealth Parody or Take That! that kept itself low-key enough to be loved by the people it was actually mocking. It wouldn't be the first time a character meant to mock conservatives ended up being popular with them. See The Simpsons, Family Ties, and All in the Family.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Back when he was first introduced to the show as Lucy's future husband, fics doing this with Kevin were a dime a dozen. Here's an example. The trend died down a bit after season 8, thankfully.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Kevin wasn't liked as Lucy's boyfriend by the fans initially.
    • Simon's girlfriend Cecilia (Ashlee Simpson) wasn't too well-received among fans either.
    • Simon's later fiancee, Rose, even less; probably due to that she was an Alpha Bitch and controlling of Simon.
    • Many viewers dislike Lucy, seeing her as very bland, self centered, and whiny. Additionally, she could be seen as being too jealous or too dependent on men (especially in earlier seasons).
    • Many dislike Ruthie as well, and see her "cute" antics as bratty. Also, her tendency of being the Only Sane Man of the family is extremely annoying, especially if most of the family consist of adults. And fans often wondered why she seemed to get much more material favors by her parents than her other siblings (in a familiy with 7 children, living on a minister's budget, mind you): she was the only child that went to private school, and she got to go to Scotland for half a year.
    • Robbie is not certainly loved by the fans due to him taking Mary's place in the family and for being a meddling Jerk Ass.
    • There are many fans that dislike Annie for reasons listed in the Unintentionally Unsympathetic section below.
  • Seasonal Rot: Many fans thought the show started going downhill around the time Season 6 started. Ironically enough, Season 6 was the last season to feature the entire original cast.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Likely unintentional; every time someone criticizes the main characters (pick any), it could elicit this trope in the eyes of either fans or haters of the show. An example being in Season 6, when Lucy tells Robbie's date about her family and their frequent problems, which quickly freaks the woman out and causes her to practically run away from Lucy; this scene alone would make this woman a One-Scene Wonder to the show's hatedom.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Numerous members of the show's Hatedom have criticized the program as too saccharine for its own good. Check the IMDb user reviews for further proof.
  • Tear Jerker: For a show full of narm, there actually were some truly heartbreaking moments:
    • The death of Annie's mother early on in the Season 1. Her father also passes away in Season 8 and it at first seems like narm, until you realize the actor who played Annie’s father passed away in real life.
    • The ending of the episode Lost has a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming by reuniting a kidnapped child and his family, but shifts into Tear Jerker territory when the usual ending credits are replaced with photos and details of actual missing children.
    • The entire plot of Nothing Endures But Change, which is made even more heartbreaking when you learn that its plot (Lucy loses a friend in a car accident) is based on the real life death of Beverly Mitchell's (the actress who plays Lucy) friend in a similar accident.
      • For extra tearjerker points, read "Heaven Sent", Mitchell's memoir about said real life death, in Chicken Soup for the Teen Soul.
    • Chandler's breakdown in Smoking is also pretty sad, though it may border just a bit too close into narm territory for some.
    • On the Put on a Bus episode for Mary (Mary was turned into a bit of a troublemaker to facilitate Biel's departure), Simon and Lucy tell her that they care for her very much and want to help her in any way because they look up to her. Then Ruthie's turn comes up, and she basically lays into Mary for being a selfish sister who's let her down and angrily leaves the room. The fact that the What the Hell, Hero? speech came from the youngest, precocious sister was startling and moving (and probably mirrored the writers' feelings as well).
    • Charlotte Kerjesz's story of being a Holocaust survivor and losing her entire family. Not just Simon's reaction after hearing about it offscreen, but the lady herself telling the entire 7th grade class. Even the bigot of the week and his son are tearing up. It helps that the account was very Based on a True Story.
    • Simon Camden / The Kid is Out of the Picture. The first half is a mix between funny and heartwarming as he talks about his family and their adventures/misadventures in life, love and friendship, but the second half has him discussing, in detail, what happened between the 7th and 8th seasons: he committed accidental vehicular manslaughter and is completely haunted by his experience, and he wants to deal with his feelings with a safe buffer of distance between himself and home. The story he's telling is his way of expressing the love and gratitude he feels for his family, and how much he's going to miss them even though he needs to get away.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Mary, in the eyes of some. Check the Unintentionally Unsympathetic section below and Character Shilling above for full details, but Mary was basically sent to Buffalo for being normal (somewhat, anyway). However, her struggles at trying to find a job, getting married early without fully thinking about the ramifications, as well as her minor experimenting with drugs and alcohol makes her more sympathetic to the teen audience that the show targets. All the while, the show attempts to demonize Mary, though it becomes more and more harder to side with her family than with her.

  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Bye puts Mary on a bus to New York to live with her grandparents for her reckless and irresponsible behavior, which is considered more of a Felony Misdemeanor by most counts (see Series Page). Although Mary does some irresponsible things (leaving her baby cousin out alone is definitely a major one), these acts are closer to what many normal teenagers would do (e.g. drinking a beer, doing drugs, not paying things on time).
    • Last Call for Aunt Julie: When Aunt Julie is revealed to be an alcoholic, Eric and Annie detox her at home before she goes to rehab. But almost everyone, especially Mary, act like jerks to her, denouncing her as a "loser", despite being under the influence for much of the episode. It makes Julie more sympathetic than any of the main characters as a result. While the family's behavior would be justified if this had happened on a recurring basis, the family ultimately prove themselves to be jerkasses when someone drinks in front of them once.
    • Another example could be seen in Seasons 5 and 6, in general, with Annie during her Took a Level in Jerkass period. An example would be the episode Regrets: Annie's father Charles reveals to her that he had a daughter while in high school with his then-girlfriend, and gave the child up for adoption; the woman has recently come forward and wants to meet Charles. After the revelation, Annie's behavior could be compared to a five-year-old meeting their baby sibling for the first time, and wanting to be the only child: denying the woman's existence, holding her father at a cold distance, and trying to satisfy herself by thinking that the woman is not who she says she is (which is even more irrational considering that the woman is an innocent person in all of this, and Annie never met the woman before the conclusion of the episode). Eventually, Eric sets her straight and Annie accepts her half-sister, Lily.
    • Lucy in Season 7, when her paranoia is played up. When Kevin joins the Glenoak Police Department in Season 7, he is assigned to a female partner, Roxanne, of whom Lucy is quickly envious. The problem is Roxanne only has brief feelings for Kevin, but eventually gets over it after about an episode, but Lucy continues to voice her disdain for Roxanne for half of the season. More over, Lucy's jealous behavior is portrayed as normal in-universe, though many audience members could see that Lucy was wildly insecure about her relationship with Kevin with little justification for it, to the point where Lucy demonized Roxanne to appear normal by comparison. Also, Kevin doesn't seem to have a major problem with Lucy's irrational dislike for Roxanne, who had tried her best to get along with her.
    • Speaking of Annie's father, she's utterly horrible to him and his new girlfriend. Especially bad as the woman is nothing but nice and friendly, making repeated efforts to get along with her. While it's slightly understandable that Annie might be uncomfortable with her father dating someone new so soon after her mother's death, she just comes across like a bitch.
    • She's similarly nasty upon hearing that Eric's counseling a woman. Despite the fact that he's no doubt done this countless times, she instantly decides that this woman is pursuing her husband and proceeds to be a complete bitch to both of them, even rebuffing the woman's efforts to assure her that she isn't. It's capped off with her sanctimoniously giving Eric permission to continue counseling the woman—something she has no business interfering in.
  • Values Dissonance: Out of universe example. For conservative Christian viewers whose morals match up with those of the Camdens, there's no difference, but for the casual viewer...oh, yeah. Some subjects, such as gun control, anti-smoking and drinking, and no sex before marriage, would turn off any viewer that wouldn't bat an eye at any of those topics.
  • Wangst: Latter-day Simon. But then again, almost all the main characters fall into the trope (especially the teen characters when they say their "lives are over" because of some minor thing, e.g. not dating someone at the time or not able to drive at age 16).
  • What an Idiot:
    • The aforementioned Who Knew?.
    • ...and Girlfriends (Season 2): the Camden family doctor switches up Annie and Mary's lab results, which is pretty medically negligent to begin with, but even worse, then informs Annie, and not the 15-year-old patient Mary herself, of this purported pregnancy, which patient privacy wise, is pretty worrisome.
    • It Happened One Night (Season 3): Matt's boss at the Dairy Shack who looks, and possibly is, younger than him, fires him after he messed up an order to his own home. The problem is Matt was the only one of the employees to have a car, and given the manager's Small Name, Big Ego personality, this counts as one. Especially hilarious considering that the manager begs Matt to come back towards the end of the episode.
    • Parents (Season 5): Robbie's father Ed comes to Glenoak to see him. Within the span of about 20 minutes, they are planning on moving together. This is despite the fact that Ed abandoned his family when Robbie was young, and is shown to pretty unreliable. However, Robbie is so adamant that Ed has changed that he is willing to delude himself into thinking that he is a good person, disregarding the advice of his mother, who actually raised him and his brothers despite financial difficulties and emotional issues. Unsurprisingly, Ed leaves at the end of the episode, and Robbie realizes his stupidity.
    • Consideration (Season 6): Simon takes a driving lesson from his grandfather Charles. While driving, he is tailed by two police officers, though he doesn't pull over because Charles tells him not to because he feels that they didn't do anything wrong. This continues for several miles, and an overzealous officer in the police car suspects Simon of driving a stolen vehicle (though has no actual evidence to that). The incident is made worse by Charles telling Simon to drive a little faster, which leads into a full-out chase (albeit a low speed chase at that) through the town. This incident could've been averted if Simon had remembered that his grandfather had Alzheimer's and probably wasn't in his right mind at the time, so it would be justifiable if he did pull over and do the right thing. But alas, he didn't.
    • Sunday (Season 7): Simon and Cecilia plan to have sex, and ask their parents for their permission. Knowing how Simon's parents would feel about it, they still insist on doing so. They first ask Cecilia's father, who is understandably angry, causing Simon to flee to his home.
    • And Baby Makes Three (Season 10): Everyone allows a pregnant Sandy to go on a walk while she is having contractions, including the nurse!
  • The Woobie: If you did feel sorry for Simon despite the aforementioned Wangst. Earlier seasons Lucy had her moments as well (e.g. "Nothing Endures But Change"), and occasionally you hit upon a Character Of The Day who was this.
    • Depending on how you feel about Mary, she's The Woobie also. Not so much because she got kicked out of the house in Season 5, but because her character was set up to be successful (as an Academic Athlete) but then never allowed to experience any real success.
  • World of Ham: Almost every character overreacts to the slightest thing. Annie overreacts over Ruthie managing to get her baby twin brothers to say their first words to her, rather than Annie. Eric overthinks about then-11-year-old Simon's "going steady" with another classmate, which he believes would feed into premarital sex and teen pregnancy (which also goes under Narm). Aforementioned example in Who Knew? (see Anvilicious and Large Ham on this page).


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/SeventhHeaven