I’ll admit, I’m more than a little excited about the possible DVD release sometime soon of the last season of Once and Again — ABC’s 1999-2002 drama about the daily trials and tribulations of a blended and extended family — and not just because of that season’s fantastic exploration of two teen girls falling in love.
The tumultuous, grudge-riddled relationship between sisters Lily (Sela Ward) and Judy (Marin Hinkle) always reminds me of my own with my sister. Lily’s efforts to embrace but not smother her children and boyfriend’s children resonates with a lot of moms and stepmoms, I’m sure, as does Karen’s (Susanna Thompson) heartbreaking struggle as a newly divorced mother to let go of her marriage and her attempt to control her children. The awkward, tentative friendship between quasi step-sisters Grace (Julia Whelan) and Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood) is familiar to all of us who’ve tried to make the best of a situation we didn’t necessarily choose, and pre-teen Zoe’s endless frustration at being left out of everything is like every annoying little sister you’ve ever known. And of course, Jessie’s confusion about her feelings for classmate Katie (Mischa Barton) reminds me of more than one crush I had in high school.
The show had more in-depth, realistic, and complicated women in one episode than almost the entire primetime lineup does these days, and they were played by equally talented, interesting and relatable actresses.
Which has me wondering: now that it’s been five years since the show ended, what are the women of Once and Again up to these days? So I did a little research, and a little then-and-now photoshopping, to catch us all up.
Meredith Deane (Zoe), 17
Classic O&A quote: “It’s not fair!”
Evan Rachel Wood (Jessie), 19
Classic O&A quote: “I just think that sometimes things happen between people that you don’t really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life.”
Mischa Barton (Katie), 21
Classic O&A quote: What’s so great about hiding who you are?
Julia Whelan (Grace), 23
Classic O&A quote: “Y’know, I have this weird feeling that growing up is overrated.”
Marin Hinkle (Judy), 41
Classic O&A quote: “In my life, a third date turns into a 12 step program.”
Susanna Thompson (Karen), 49
Classic O&A Quote: “Just because a person has feelings for you, doesn’t mean you have to return those feelings.”
Sela Ward (Lily), 50
Classic O&A quote: (when her daughter asks if Lily knows what it feels like to be so alone): “No, honey, I don’t. I’ve always been too afraid to find out what that feels like. I’m so glad that you’re not.”
For more Once and Again goodness, read (or re-read) TelevisionWithoutPity’s length O&A episode recaps, check out the show’s wikipedia entry and order the DVDs of the first two seasons. You won’t be sorry!