THIRTYSOMETHING: CLASSIC 80S TELEVISION

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FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

This is a show that I fell in love through reruns just a few years ago. Though I won’t be buying it on DVD, I’m glad that it’s still attracting some notice.

It was one of the best written (and well acted) programs of the 80s.

Although THIRTYSOMETHING was in many ways a pioneer of dialogue heavy dramas with introspective characters, cast member PETER HORTON said that he’s not sure the show could be made the same way today.

The actor, who played GARY SHEPHERD on the late 80s show, feels that it lacks a certain… something.

“In this market there are so many choices to have something to stand out. Like, ‘I’m a father but I’m a meth dealer.’ There’s always a but attached to a plot. Thirtysomething was just about people in their 30s.”

The first season of THIRTYSOMETHING, which premiered on ABC in September 1987, is now available on DVD, with the remaining three seasons to come later. The show wasn’t a huge ratings success, but its devoted followers – and critics – lauded its realistic look at the life of a group of baby boomers creeping into middle age.

The cast explained that the making of the show was life imitating art: The world they were living in as thirtysomethings was the same one they portrayed. Even more so for actors KEN OLIN and PATRICIA WETTIG, who were married in real life. (Their characters were wed to different actors on the show.)

“Definitely during Thirtysomething we got much better at working together,” commented KEN.

He and PATRICIA laughingly confess that they once cleared the set during an argument while taping.

“We were more volatile in our thirties,” she admitted.

They sometimes face the same challenges now: KEN is an executive producer, recurring director and cast member on PATRICIA’S show Brothers & Sisters on ABC.

“The last (Brothers & Sisters) episode I directed we had a fight where the first assistant director came over and said, ‘Do you want to keep shooting or would you rather go get a drink?’ ”

Despite the occasional marital spat, PATRICIA and KEN appreciate working together because they’re so invested in their work.

“To spend that much time on something it’s nice to be able to go home and talk to someone who is equally present in your work.”

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