If one series could be blamed for my addiction to television, it would be thirtysomething. As a Baby Boomer working in an ad agency, I related to so much of the show that I felt like it was real. (Not that other TV isn’t real, Virginia.)
Perhaps at some level, I knew that a lesbian was on board. Susan Miller, who produced and wrote for the first season of The L Word and is one of the creators of Anyone But Me, was a story editor for thirtysomething. I don’t recall any lesbian content, but I’m sure the vibe was there.
The show has been on cable now and then, but never at a time I could watch. But finally, thanks to Shout! Factory, the first season of thirtysomething will be released on DVD on August 25, with the other seasons to follow in six-month intervals.
The characters in thirtysomething weren’t doctors or lawyers or cops, but regular Yuppies in Philadelphia trying to figure out how life works — and talking about it. And at the heart of the show was their realization that part of growing up is learning to live with compromise.
That sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Sometimes it was. But it was also full of friendship, joy and love.
Those who didn’t like the show thought it was whiny. Others attacked thirtysomething for its controversial storylines, like daring to show two men in bed, having a post-coital conversation (note: sky didn’t fall.). But it was unlike anything else on TV, to be sure. And it won 10 Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, a Peabody Award and many other honors along the way.
Thankfully, Shout! Factory was able to clear the music rights, so thirtysomething’s soundtrack is intact. The music was as much a part of the brilliance of the show as the writing, with people like Karla Bonoff, Rickie Lee Jones and Ray Charles on board to round out the incredible instrumentals of W.G. Snuffy Walden.
Once you watch thirtysomething, you’ll see its influence everywhere, from commercials to soundtracks to current series. (Without spoiling anything, if you saw the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy, you can thank — or curse — thirtysomething for the storyline.) You’ll also recognize the actors, including four women — Melanie Mayron, Mel Harris, Patricia Wettig and Polly Draper — who helped make 50 the new 30. May we all age so gracefully.
I’ve already preordered my DVD. Are you as excited as I am? Speak out, thirtysomething fans!