Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ABC Wednesday---T Is For thirtysomething

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.

Yeah...I was a thirtysomething...once upon a time. However, when the show "thirtysomething" debuted, I was a twentysomething. It didn't matter. I was hooked about thirtysomething seconds into it. The writing...the sets...the characters...the situations...the ACTORS...everything was perfect. I think thirtysomething is one of those shows that you either loved or detested. Me? I loved it...too much...so much so that I decided early on I wanted to be a part of these characters' lives. There were just way too many coincidences to ignore.

Let's meet them...shall we? These characters who each and every one of them manage to carry at least one piece of Mel. These people that I still consider to be my friends.

Starting on the left we have Gary Shepherd...yes...GARY...played by Peter Horton. Sharing the first name of my husband, minus an "R". Gary was a teacher...like me. He taught at the college level...and his fights with the administration were no less nerve wracking than the ones I went through during my career. He was also a hopeless Peter Pan. Never wanting to grow up...unable to accept responsibility.

Next to Gary? Well MELISSA of course! Melissa Steadman played by Melanie Mayron. I so identified with Melissa. She just wanted to be Melissa...whatever that meant for that day...she just wanted to be herself. Highly creative...quirky...an incredible photographer...never quite able to make it in "the real world." She wore the most amazing coat...huge and black with even larger white numbers all over it. Yeah...I wanted one.

Ellyn Warren played by Polly Draper. The perfectionist...the driven career woman...afraid that if she stopped long enough she would have to examine just how empty her life really was. Always choosing the wrong man...for the wrong reasons...and never able to figure out exactly why. I vividly remember an episode where she was lying on her bathroom floor...sick as a dog...ulcer flaring. I spent a lot of nights that way. I *was* Ellyn...and we shared a lot of the same wardrobe as well.

Speaking of dogs...lying in front of Ellyn is Grendel, Hope and Michael's dog.

Next to Ellyn is Michael holding his daughter Jane. Michael Steadman was played by Ken Olin. Michael was THE family man. He lay awake most nights worried about finances and if he was a good husband and father. He started his own business...it failed...but he kept fighting and ended up on top. Reminds me a lot of some guy I married.

And then there was Hope. Hope Murdoch Steadman played by Mel Harris. Yes...my daughter is named after her. And I am named after Ms. Harris! ") Never in my life has a fictional character become so close to my heart. I still wish she lived next door. Hope...was a writer...and a stay at home Mama. She drove a Jeep. She got upset with Michael because he would do whatever she asked him to, but never saw that it needed done to begin with. She was frustrated with her mother. She was the keeper of everyone's secrets. Are you seeing ANY parallels here? To this day she takes my breath away...and I can quote her lines from several episodes. Quite simply, I love her.

Rounding out the cast are Nancy and Elliot Weston with their kids Ethan and Brittany. Nancy was played by Patrica Wettig and Elliot by Timothy Busfield. Nancy desperately wanted to know who Nancy was. She feared that there was nothing past being Elliot's wife and their children's mother. The story arc where she decided to write and illustrate a children's book was beyond amazing to watch. No less impressive was the character's battle with cancer.

Elliot refused to grow up. But unlike Gary, he pretended he was a grown up. Elliot was the screw up. It was painful to watch him do it time after time after time...never really realizing he already had everything he needed. Busfield's portrayal was riveting, and to see Elliot finally grow up, and take responsibility for his actions was an incredible pay off.

Easing back into Mel's world...Christmas of 2006 Garry and I were beyond excited. We had Claire's referral picture and knew that with any luck she would be home with us by the end of the next month. That was more than a good Christmas for me. But...guess what was ALMOST equally as good? Garry found someone at Amazon selling the long discontinued thirtysomething soundtrack CD...and bought it for me. I cried...I jumped up and down...I hugged him...I popped it in the stereo IMMEDIATELY...I grabbed the liner notes and showed Hope the picture of the lady she was named after.

I watched all the episodes as soon as they came out when I was in my 20's. In my 30's, I watched them again in syndication...and taped all of them...yeah...watched 'em again. I watched them again in my 40's when Bravo picked it up. And last month? I got an email from Amazon that the first season is FINALLY coming out on DVD in August!!! Wanna guess if I've preordered it yet or not?

I can't wait to see them...because...again...remembering one of those lines that has stayed in my heart and my memory "Her name was...her name is...my name...is Hope."

Be blessed y'all,


Babooshka said...

It never really took off in the UK, but certainly had a cult following. You got me thinking now as to why it's not being repeated when we still show as far back as Hill Street Blues. A real blast from the past.

Blogging must be more fun than therapy too.

Mel said...

Babooshka---A UK show that reminded me a lot of thirtysomething was Cold Feet. I really enjoyed that one as well. And you are absolutely right...blogging beats therapy HANDS DOWN! ")

James said...

The funny thing is, when that show was on I was in my early twenties and they seemed so much older, now I'm in my forties and thirtysomething seems young.

Mel said...

James---I know what you mean. But just remember...they're all now FIFTYsomethings! ; ) Thanks for dropping by!

photowannabe said...

I guess I'm a dud. I never really watched it more than a few times. It was probably because my Hubby didn't like that type of show. Nice insightful post.

Janie said...

I heard a lot about this series but never saw it. Maybe I'll finally see it on DVD! Your character description makes me want to get on board.
Fun T!

Roger Owen Green said...

I LOVED this show!

I think I watch Brothers & Sisters now because of it. Ken Olin is behind the scenes (and recently in front of the camera) and his real-life wife, Patrica Wettig, is a star on the show. In fact, they're a couple on B&S, whereas they were in different marriages on thirtysomething.

jay said...

I never saw Thirtysomething, but I know a whole lot more about it now! LOL!

I loved Cold Feet, which Mel mentions. Oh, and I'm Fiftysomething myself, now. I think. Sometimes I can't even remember how old I am ...

Q said...

I never caught the tv bug but blogging is the best therapy!

Tumblewords: said...

Nice work! I've never been attracted to TV or that form of entertainment but you surely do a great job of making it feel like I missed something! :)

Carolina said...

Oh Mel, you always manage to touch my heart with your posts. I have never seen an episode of the show, but your description of the characters brougt them to life for me. And how you identify with them...(notice the 3 dots!), I got to know you a little bit better.
Sweet Mel, enjoy the DVD's ;-) Thirtysomething forever!

Aegina Barnes said...

We must be about the same age. I found your blog because I was searching for the line you quote at the end of this entry. I completely forgot about it for years, suddenly remembered it, and it still chokes me up. Thanks for sharing.

Mel said...

Welll...I'm now...50-something and you are more than welcome Aegina! Thanks for stopping by. ")

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