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7th Heaven

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7th Heaven is a U.S. television series about a minister's family living in the fictional town of Glenoak in California. The series was created by Brenda Hampton. On air since 1996, it was announced on February 14, 2005 that WB had renewed 7th Heaven for a 10th (2005-2006) season, making it the longest-running family program in television history.

The central characters are Reverend Eric Camden, his wife Annie, and their seven children. Originally the family consisted of five children (Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon and Ruthie), but in the third season, Annie gave birth to twins, Sam and David. Three of the children, Matt, Simon, and Mary, moved away from home and appear irregularly. Nevertheless, the house is always full; Lucy, her husband Kevin, and their daughter Savannah all live with the Camdens, as do frequent long-term house guests.

Each episode deals with a moral lesson or controversial theme that the family deals with either directly or indirectly. Some range from the traumatic (e.g., Eric's sister came to visit and the children found out that she had a drinking problem) to the somewhat trivial (e.g., in one episode, every child acquired an addiction, with even Ruthie being addicted to gum). Beyond the moral lesson in each show, there are also longer-running story arcs. In the later seasons, Eric had to deal with his wife entering menopause and his youngest daughter Ruthie needing a training bra. The topics are usually approached from a very conservative point of view. Homosexuality has, so far, not been a theme in the series.

The part of eldest daughter Mary was gradually written out of the show after the actress who portrayed her, Jessica Biel, posed for semi-nude photographs for Gear magazine which the very conservative producers of the show did not like; she had been dissatisified with her "goody goody" image. Mary was sent to her grandparents' house for some tough love to counter her rebellious behavior. However, Mary's "hard year" which led to her being sent to her grandparents had started before the photos were taken. Mary eventually ended up as a flight attendant before eloping with Carlos Rivera, an old boyfriend from season 3. She and Carlos are the parents of a baby boy, Charles Miguel.

Although originally produced by FOX in 1996, the show is now produced by the WB television network, on which it has always aired. Its producers, including Aaron Spelling, consider it wholesome family viewing, incorporating public service announcements into the show. Factually, the show is reliant on the very special episode concept, attempting to introduce contemporary social issues to lend greater emotional resonance to episodes. This has led to heavy derision by critics and Television Without Pity.

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