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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:17


For adults who don't feel grown up ...


USA - 1987-91 - 85 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Described by creators Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick as a show "about growing up, no matter how old you are", thirtysomething focused squarely on members of the 'Baby-Boomer' generation; still in the process of growing up, and finding themselves unexpectedly plagued by self-doubts and disaffection as they attempted to reconcile their once youthful idealism with the desires for success that shaped the 1980s.

Interweaving both the professional and personal lives of a group of upwardly mobile families and friends, thirtysomething portrayed characters whose self-absorption, emotional angst, and desires to fulfill their dreams irrespective of the cost, were traits familiar enough for the audience to identify with, if not always sympathize with. In contrast to the high-stakes risks portrayed in most other dramas, the show turned inwards to examine the minutiae of everyday life and personal emotions to a degree that had previously been excluded from television narrative. Sometimes self indulgent and a little sentimental, thirtysomething nevertheless boasted consistently excellent writing that expertly used an undercurrent of comedy to underscore the dramatic tensions, which the ensemble cast succeeded in delivering as perfectly judged performances.

Such self-examination wasn't to everyone's taste and while some critics praised the show, others dismissed it as the yuppie angst of a group of people sitting around whining. Audience reaction too was split between viewers who either saw it as an epiphany or a stomach-turning experience. Either way, thirtysomething cleverly portrayed an accurate reflection of the self-obsessed decade.

Ken Olin as Michael Steadman
Mel Harris as Hope Steadman
Timothy Busfield as Elliot Weston
Patricia Wetting as Nancy Weston
Melanie Mayron as Melissa Steadman
Peter Horton as Gary Shepherd
Polly Draper as Ellen Warren




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