Not sure why I decided to watch it in the first place but part of it is remembering all the buzz which surrounded the show when it first came out and wanting to revisit it to see how well it's stood up to the passing of time. What strikes me about the show now is how so much of the angst that people in their 30s had then has just disappeared. Not that angst has disappeared but the specific fears and pathologies that people (and society) have now are radically different.
In 2012, I am roughly the same age as the characters were in the late 80s, though the characters at the time were roughly the same age as my parents (in their 30s at the time). In many ways, the show is dated: the roles of men and women are not questioned in the same way now that they were then. So much is just taken for granted now in terms of women and careers and family life.
But what is refreshing to me when watching it how real it is in many ways: how they struggle with money but do so in a real way. It's not like TV now where everyone lives in gorgeous apartments in big cities and dresses in Gucci and Paul Smith but complains that they don't have money or can't afford to do something. Hope and Michael's house is always unfinished, they argue about money, about things they can't do because they can't afford it. Not having money has consequences, in other words.
More than this is the central struggle between pursuing one's creative pursuits and being forced to making a living in the real world. All the characters have moments when they realize that, in their 30s, they are no longer able to dream of their futures in the same way. This struck me in a recent episode when Ellen said, "I realize that I can't keep living for some idea of how my life will be one day in the future. I have to accept that this is my life now with all its flaws and drawbacks."
|The Jewish waver-chick|
But I digress: No, thirtysomething isn't perfect. It's dated at times, the characters can seem pretty self-indulgent and whiny. They are certainly middle class people with middle class problems (and, geez, every single person that ever crosses that camera is whitewhitewhite).
But perhaps because I am a similar time in my life (not quite middle aged but not young anymore) I can relate to these characters' experiences, worries, fears, and successes. And I've been enjoying watching it (slowly). If I do move on to season 2, it'll be in a while (I watch a lot more TV and movies in the winter) but I hope it continues to present interesting shifts in our cultures to think about...