I’ve probably seen every episode of of all four years of “30 Something” — a show that aired when I was “30-something. ” It’s one of the reasons I like “Brother and Sisters” so much — Ken Olin is the director (and occasional cast member, playing Holly’s boyfriend from the 60’s who just so happens to be her daughter Rebecca’s father) while his wife in real life, Patricia Wettig (who played Timothy Busfield’s wife on “30 Something”) stars as Holly. It took me weeks to place Olin on Brothers and Sisters. He looks much older and heftier — while Wettig pretty much looks the same to me (as do Sally Fields and Calista Flockhart.)
Apparently, “30 Something” wasn’t a hit (you could have fooled me, especially since it had a four year run.) This Tuesday, for the first time, it’s going to be available on DVD, thanks to a company called Shout Factory. More here.
Unlike critics, I don’t see it as a show that defined baby-boomers — I think the movie “Big Chill” gets those dibs. I think of “30 Something” more like a precursor to “Six Feet Under.” I didn’t think of their weekly dramas as self-indulgent. To me, the show that encapsulated self-indulgent and self-absorbed characters was Seinfeld, which I never watched because the principals were neither attractive nor likable.
I have no desire to re-watch “30 Somethng” since I’ve already seen all the episodes, but I hope those of you who missed it the first time around will watch it. It was always a highlight of the week when it aired.
If I hadn’t seen every episode, I’d order the DVD. If you missed it back then, and you were in your 30’s during the late 80’s, it’s definitely one you should pick up. Rather than buy it, just rent if from Netflix. They should have it the same day.
Where are they now? According to the Gainesville Sun:
- Patricia Wettig (Nancy): The three-time Emmy Award winner plays Holly Harper on ABC’s hit drama “Brothers and Sisters,” with earlier credits including “Alias,” “Prison Break” and “The Practice.”
- Ken Olin (Michael): Olin is executive producer of “Brothers and Sisters” and plays David Caplan on the show alongside Sally Field and Olin’s wife, fellow “thirtysomething” alum Wettig.
- Polly Draper (Ellyn): She stopped in Ocala earlier this year, as her sons — Nat and Alex Wolff — co-headlined Kidfetti. The boys anchor The Naked Brothers Band, the subject of a popular Nickelodeon series inspired by a documentary Draper made about her pre-teen sons’ band. The 2005 documentary included appearances by all “thirtysomething” leads.
- Timothy Busfield (Elliot): He has served as producer and director for TV episodes including “Lipstick Jungle,” “Ed” and “Lie to Me.” As an actor, he played C.J.’s boyfriend Danny on “The West Wing” and Cal Shanley in “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”
- Peter Horton (Gary): Horton is usually found behind the camera. He has directed episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Shield,” as well as the pilot for “Dirty Sexy Money.” He co-starred in the short-lived sitcom “The Geena Davis Show” and appeared in an episode of “Brothers and Sisters.” He is executive producer of “Body Politic,” a TV drama starring Brian Austin Green slated for 2010.
- Mel Harris (Hope): On the big screen, Harris played Maggie Johnson in the 2009 Eddie Murphy comedy “Imagine That.” On TV, she has appeared in “Saints & Sinners,” “Close to Home” and “House M.D.”
- Melanie Mayron (Melissa): Also an Emmy winner for “thirtysomething,” she directed many episodes of Draper’s “The Naked Brothers Band.” She served as a director of the HBO series “In Treatment” (an episode that featured Horton), as well as directing — and appearing in — “Lipstick Jungle” episodes. Mayron also developed an all-natural diaper cream called Mayron’s Good Baby.