Show Type: Drama
First Telecast: September 29, 1987
Last Telecast: September 3, 1991
Michael Steadman..... Ken Olin
Hope Murdoch Steadman..... Mel Harris
Janey Steadman..... Brittany & Lacey Craven
Elliot Weston..... Timothy Busfield
Nancy Weston..... Patricia Wettig
Ethan Weston..... Luke Rossi
Brittany Weston..... Jordana "Bink" Shapiro
Melissa Steadman..... Melanie Mayron
Ellyn..... Polly Draper
Professor Gary Shepherd..... Peter Horton
Woodman..... Terry Kinney
Jeffrey..... Richard Gilliland
Miles Drentell (1989-1991)..... David Clennon
Susannah Hart (1989-1991)..... Patricia Kalember
Billy Sidel (1990-1991)..... Erich Anderson
Since the term "Yuppie" became popular, the networks were looking for a TV show aimed at this heavy-consuming audience. Thirtysomething became that show. It was geared towards the 30-ish, self-indulgent, money-spending adult with children.
The series revolved around the relationships of two couples and three singles in Philadelphia - all of whom were friends. Michael and Elliot had worked together at a large advertising firm then left to open their own business. Michael's wife, Hope, a driven, beautiful overachiever from Princeton, wanted to be a superstar in publishing but - for now - was raising their newborn daughter, Janey. Elliot's wife, Nancy, a flower child of the 60's, had dreams of becoming an artist, but wound up raising their two children, Brittany and Ethan. Early in 1988, Elliot and Nancy would go through a painful separation.
Other cast members included: Melissa, Michael's sex-starved, photographer cousin; Ellyn, Hope's childhood friend who was also a worried career woman and Gary, a long-haired, fun-loving assistant Professor of Classics at a nearby college, who was also Michael's best friend.
No one on Thirtysomething seemed to have a stable relationship. Elliot and Nancy's breakup took an entire season, at the end of which they suddenly decided to get back together. Ethan was scared that his parents might separate again, but a greater crisis would soon evolve for the family. Just as Nancy's self-esteem was given a lift by the long-awaited publication of her children's book, Whose Forest Is This?, she was diagnosed with cancer. The following year saw her through her treatments.
Melissa and Ellyn each went through several romances with a long series of men. Melissa had so many that at one point, a gallery staged an exhibition of her work, which actually turned out to be a pictorial of her failed relationships! Ellyn, after extended affairs with Woodman and Jeffrey - amongst many others, finally got married to Billy Sidel, a man she had given up several years before.
Professor Gary Shepherd moved in with Susannah, who eventually gave birth to their child, Emma. Unfortunately, he was fired from his teaching position because the college didn't like non-conformists. This made it difficult to support his new family. Then, in early 1991, Gary suddenly died, devastating his friends and family.
The Steadman marriage became increasingly rocky as Hope was growing tired of her mother and housewife role. She had a second child, Leo, in 1990, and spent a lot of time on an environmental campaign. Michael's advertising career was up and down as Michael and Elliot's small agency went bankrupt, and they were forced to find work at a large shop, this one run by calculating and cunning Miles Drentell. Was he Michael's ally or foe - no one got the chance to really find out because the show was cancelled at the end of the season...
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