Big thanks to Chris Ryerson for spotting and providing the text. (And pointing out that we don't really know if Hope took the job in Washington or not in the episode "california.")

Note: While these excerpts (this is not a complete text) are from a review of the movie "'Til There Was You," there are sections that are relevant and might be of interest to fans of thirtysomething. Also, the writer is rather critical of the Bedford Falls family of productions (thirtysomething and My So-Called Life) so please keep that in mind. This is just for informational purposes and, face it, we're desperate for print resources that relate to the show. With that in mind…

'Til There Was You is looking for love in all the wrong places

By Robert Wilonsky


It lasted a mere four seasons, but thirtysomething lives on. Its legacy began the moment the show went off the air in 1991: The yuppie-angst fantasy created by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick continues to spawn even now, its children looking almost exactly like the parents. First came My So-Called Life (the failed series about teensomething troubles), then Relativity (the failed series about twentysomething love) and now, on the big screen, 'Til There Was You -- or thirtysomething: the next generation. The film was directed by thirtysomething's producer and sometime director Scott Winant and was written by Winnie Holzman, the show's story editor and author of many teleplays; even our pal Michael Steadman (wait . . . Ken Olin) stops by to wink and wave hello, welcoming friends back to the old neighborhood….

Herskovitz and Zwick thought of the thirtysomething universe as an imperfect world populated by flawed characters who were, nonetheless, somehow irreproachable. The men exorcised their own fears and fantasies through such characters as Michael and Hope (or the tortured Jewish ad man and the shiksa ice-queen writer/housewife), Elliott and Nancy Weston (would-be adulterer and cancer-stricken saint), Ellyn Warren (ambitious single girl) and Gary Shepherd (college teacher battling his inner child). The creators exaggerated real life until it became the stuff of real drama, every episode a crisis adding up to a season of misery adding up to a lifetime (or is that Lifetime: Television for Women?) of sentiment. 'Til There Was You turns "the stuff of real life" into the stink of whimsy. The actors never have a chance to act; they merely react.

"We're interested in the stuff of real life," the two men wrote in the introduction to a book of thirtysomething scripts. "Small moments examined closely showing the way people really talk, and dream, and even fantasize." But thirtysomething only pretended to be genuine: It pushed the hot buttons (divorce, illness, miscarriages, extramarital affairs, children), but they never really burned. There were virtually no sad endings. And Holzman, as story editor and writer, ensured there were no rips in the silk fabric that held these people together; she made the female characters a little tougher, perhaps, but in the end, Hope still didn't take that job in Washington because Michael didn't want her to. (Holzman had her shot at greatness with My So-Called Life -- but, finally, it was no more an honest depiction of high school life than Square Pegs.)

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