Archive for July 9th, 2017

by Adam Ferenz

When thirtysomething, because yes, originally, it was not capitalized, made its debut in 1987, the term yuppie was already known. Series such as Only Fools and Horses, and films like Wall Street and The Secret of My Success, both of which had just hit the screen, had been among the many works of fiction to popularize the term. Yet, this series, which ran for four seasons on ABC, from 1987-1991, was, perhaps more than anything, responsible for bringing the term to the forefront of popular culture. It is this fact, among others, which has often precluded it from landing on lists like this one.

Sometimes, the series is viewed as too concerned with the every day, the plots and stories too small, the characters too bound up in their foibles. Yet, it is because of that intense focus on the personal, the mundane, and the every day that the series stands out. In the era of Reagan, Iran Contra and the fading years of Dallas and the classic prime time soaps, here was a series that presented a new type of drama, focused on two advertising executives in Philadelphia, their families and their friends, a close knit circle that laughed, loved, cried, and, yes, whined, about everything from if they would land or keep an account, to what sort of parents they were, to selecting socks or disposable dishware.

Over the series four seasons, we saw people grow up, both together and apart, to learn to become better, more complete human beings, and in some cases, to become more entrenched in their selfishness, because this was a series unafraid to allow their characters to come across negatively. In my book, that is a big plus. This was not just for “villains” like Miles Drentell, the CEO of the company Michael and Elliot go to work for after their startup goes bust during the second season. This was true of every single character, male or female, young and old. This was a series that practically wallowed in their characters hiccups. (more…)

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