Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Spent Christmas Vacation with 'thirtysomething's' Final Season

When I should’ve been eating too much and being positively merry and jolly during the Christmas/New Year's break, I was instead sick in bed with what my doctor suspected was the swine flu. Its symptoms plagued me for eight days. (If you wish more details on my “Flu-ey Little Christmas,” go here.)
So while my husband and three kids were enjoying Christmas dinner with my brother’s family and my parents, when they were out seeing movies (I again missed out on seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with my daughter) and sledding in the snow, I was in the house feeling like crap.

One small bright spot during the cruddy past week was the fact that I had the fourth and final season of thirtysomething on DVD to keep me company, that and my dog Max who was chillin' on his new L.L. Bean dog bed.

A huge thirtysomething fan, I’d never seen the fourth season because, when it originally aired, I was a senior in college and, frankly, I didn’t have time to watch a lot of TV, plus I did some editing at my college newspaper on the night when thirtysomething was on TV. (This was a looonnng time before DVRs.) I have a vague recollection of a newspaper colleague of mine telling me one night that she was in a hurry to leave the newsroom so she could go to her apartment to watch Ellyn's wedding.

Even when the thirtysomething repeats were aired on Lifetime years later, I never was able to see Ellyn get married, Nancy be told her ovarian cancer was in remission, Gary die in a car accident, Elliot and Nancy pack up and move to California, and Hope and Michael come to the brink of divorce as the drama's marquee pair had become cold and distant with one another soon after the birth of their son Leo.

It was, by far, the saddest two dozen episodes of the show I’d seen, with those post-Gary’s death ones bringing tears to my flu-ey eyes. Sure there were moments of lightness, but they were few and far between in this solemn swan song for the top-notch drama which portrayed life in the ‘burbs on the cusp of fortysomething as dark and plagued by thoughts of mortality and “what-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life” ruminations, much more so than it had in its previous three seasons.

Though I’ve waited all this time to finally see the last season, I’m glad I saw these 23 episodes at the age I am now because now I have much more perspective than I did when I was in my early 20s when the show first aired. The episodes proved more meaningful and, frankly, disturbing on many levels.

Now, if only the folks at Shout Factory who gave new life to thirtysomething would be able to get the third and final season of Once and Again released on DVD . . .

Image credit: Shout Factory.

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