- Men are under stress -- trying to live up to their potential and bear up under the pressure of taking care of their families.
- Women are under stress -- trying NOT to fret about not having it all and worrying about the pressure our husbands are under, and the kids and everything.
- This stress affects our relationships -- with coworkers, spouses, and friends.
- We probably worry too much and don't spend enough time enjoying the moment. I loved the realization that Hope came to in the Thanksgiving episode "We Gather Together" where she is seeing herself as in a dream and realizes, "I died of frustration?" I didn't write it down verbatim, but the idea was that she let herself get so frustrated with the little problems of her everyday life that she was forgetting to enjoy life along the way. And in true TV fashion, she had an epiphany and ending the show smiling and laughing. But the truth of it hit me squarely.
- Friends and family are important -- frustrating, but worth it.
- The late 80's were so stereotypical it's almost funny. I mean, of course that was what thirtysomething was supposed to be. When it ran, that wasn't supposed to be a theme or a lesson, but the walk down memory lane watching it more than 20 years later is definitely noteworthy.
I think that when I watched it in college, I was peeking into life -- possibly my future life, but even more than that I was able to get involved lives of people who didn't have the context of reality for me. It was pure fiction. But now -- as a (barely) thirty-something, it does have context. And for me that is one reason I like it -- and also why I see why some didn't like it when it was released.
For me, art does reflect life. When I watch TV or movies or read books, I enjoy using the lens of fictional characters to process my own life. Some want their entertainment to be truly escapist, and if that is you, you probably don't want to check out this series. If you want to think and relate (and laugh at the 80s), then take a look.
Doing a quick Google search, I came up with some great posts looking at the DVD release. Check them out if you can't get enough:
Videogum is doing an episode by episode recap of the new Season 1 DVDs, complete with clips and still shots. He introduces the posts this way: "When it came out, as far as I was concerned, it was a stupid-boring show for old people. Except that now I am one of those old people. And so, out of some misguided sense of curiosity, over the next few weeks, I will be recapping the first season of thirtysomething here...." It's pretty funny (and a little PG-13/R-rated in spots). I've linked to the category, but the recap of Housewarming, episode 2, is pretty hilarious poking fun at the 80's in general, which is the best part of the recaps (written by a non-thirtysomething parent who was a child in the 80s).
Susan Reimer at the Baltimore Sun actually was a thirtysomething back then, so she writes "Looking Back at thirtysomething" in the opposite perspective.
Michelle Slatalla of the New York Times looks back at 1987 as portrayed in thirtysomething with her 11-year-old and 18-year-old daughters and husband.