I confess, back when “thirtysomething” was on TV (in the late 80s), I tuned in. (And now, I’m thirtysomething, and they’re releasing a 20th anniversary DVD. Oh time, you fickle mistress, you.) Despite relatively lackluster ratings, the haters were loud in their view that the whole endeavor was nothing more than a yuppie whine-fest populated with characters plagued by self-absorption of epic proportions. And sure, it could get a little tedious. Dinner parties. Shopping for babysitters. (And camping gear, and strollers.) Remodeling sagas. Princeton sweatshirts that appeared whenever the occasion was too casual for shoulderpads. The fact that nothing much really ever happened–and that it went down at a snail’s pace. All of which may well be true. But, if it was just a boring woe-are-we-for-all, why the vitriol? And why, with the release of the DVD, have so many (yours truly included) chosen to weigh in?
I think it has to do with the fact that something about it rang true, and continues to ring true today. (And not just that remodeling is one of life’s greatest sucks.) The conflicts, particularly between the women, had a lot to do with choices: defending what we’ve chosen for our lives–and what we’ve chosen to leave behind; judging our friends’ choices; interpreting the fact that our friend has chosen something different as her judgment–and rejection–of what we’ve chosen for ourselves; the distance that grows when we feel like–because we’ve chosen different things or believe we would choose differently were we in her shoes–we can no longer relate to the women to whom we’re closest.
The choices themselves may change, but will those conflicts ever get old? I don’t know, but, the reappearance of “thirtysomething” has taught this thirtysomething one thing for sure: I will. Sigh.