I was only twentysomething when the award-winning series, “Thirtysomething” premiered in September of 1987. When the show began, I was a newlywed with no kids, yet I was totally able to relate to the characters, because they were just so damn relatable. There was so much angst surrounding their relationships, their jobs, their kids, their homes; basically everything. And even though at the time I had not yet experienced those particular issues, the show felt real and gritty. It had the ring of truth.
ABC picked up a pilot episode of the Thirtysomething sequel
ABC has just announced that it has picked up the pilot episode of the sequel of the series. For those of us who loved the original show (and I have to assume that’s everyone) that’s amazing news!! For the few of you who have not seen the show, it is about a group of Baby Boomers in their thirties who settle into family life during the 1980s.
The sequel will reunite the original cast focusing on four of the main characters, Michael and Hope Steadman (played by Ken Olin and Mel Harris) and Elliot and Nancy Weston (played by Timothy Busfield and Patricia Wettig) and on their offspring, who are now thirty-something themselves. Other cast members may appear if the show gets picked up.
In many ways the show was groundbreaking, ahead of its time. In one episode, when Michael and Hope were in bed doing what people do in bed (besides watching television) she asked him if he had pulled out in time. I was like, “what?” I turned to my husband and he confirmed that he heard the same thing. Were you really allowed to say that on TV?
They fought about their house falling apart, religion (he was Jewish and she wasn’t), and whether she should go back to work or be a stay at home mother. They had money woes like real people did. They wondered if they should stay together or get divorced. They got sick. Really sick. Nancy got ovarian cancer and had to undergo treatment.
And they got blindsided by life. In the final season, another character, our beloved Gary, was killed in a car accident. Nancy lived but he died, reinforcing my grandmother’s adage; “In life you don’t know what to worry about.” I bawled.
There was a creepy boss who tried to date rape Michael’s cousin Melissa (brilliantly played by Melanie Mayron) and Hope’s friend Ellen (played by Polly Draper), characters who also led nuanced and complicated lives. They were successful, single women who depicted the exhausting nature of dating. It’s expected that some of the others from the original cast will appear on the show, especially if the pilot gets picked up.
I thought that I was perhaps on the young side for the show, but apparently, that was not the case. A friend of mine, who was only in college when the show aired told me that she watched it religiously with her friends and can still remember lines. When the show ended after four seasons (1987-1991) Michael and Hope had two children as did Elliot and Nancy (and I was pregnant for the second time) making their lives even more relevant to my own.
I am curious to see what being sixty-something is like for some of my all-time favorite characters. I have a feeling that once again, they will pave the way for me and all of their loyal viewers.
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Marlene Kern Fischer is a wife, mother of three sons, food shopper extraordinaire, blogger and college essay editor. She attended Brandeis University, from which she graduated cum laude with a degree in English Literature. A Founding Contributor and Advisor at CollegiateParent, her work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Her View From Home, Parent Co., Kveller, Grown and Flown, MockMom, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and Better After 50. You can read more of Marlene’s work on her site, Thoughts From Aisle Four or on Facebook.