Big thanks to Chris Ryerson for spotting and providing the text.

Note: While these excerpts are from an article about "Relativity" there are sections that are relevant (ha!) and might be of interest to fans of thirtysomething. Also, this article is rather critical of the Bedford Falls family of productions (thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, and Relativity) 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…

"Relativity" (ABC; previewing Tuesday, September 24, 10 p.m.)



…And, yes, "Relativity" is as much a drama of family as its two predecessors were. Even as Isabel and Leo are becoming the loves of each other's lives (their first kiss is a sexy TV moment for the ages), their families are hovering in the wings waiting to swoop onstage in a blast of psychodrama and tsuris. The "thirtysomething"/"My So-Called Life"/"Relativity" trilogy is home-grown Bergman, as tightly layered as an onion and just as pungent. Hey, it wouldn't be a Herskovitz and Zwick show if it didn't make you cry.

There's nothing wrong with tears, if they're come by honestly. Which is where "thirtysomething" blew it (in that show, you could barely hear your sobs over the sound of Herskovitz and Zwick's self-congratulatory backslaps), and where "MSCL" and "Relativity" carry themselves so gracefully. On "MSCL," each character, from Angela to her parents to her friends, was so acutely written and sensitively embodied, you could recognize a piece of yourself (and thus, a familiar wound) in all of them. "MSCL" captured the essence of what these characters carried with them, who they were at heart, how their personalities were formed (and are still being formed), how they arrived at the choices they made. You could see it in the way Angela slowly discovered herself in her father Graham's passive-aggressiveness and her mother Patti's stubbornness. And you could see it on "thirtysomething," in the way Hope and Michael tried so hard not to become their parents but, in doing so, ended up understanding them for the first time…

OK, it's nothing new to say that even in love we're still under our parents' influence -- it's Freud's old theory that every time two people go to bed, there are really six people in the room. In the case of "Relativity," there's double that number -- not only Isabel and Leo and their parents, but Angela and Jordan and Brian and Patti and Graham, and Michael and Hope, too. With "Relativity," the "thirtysomething"/"MSCL" team continues to give us characters who are the sum of all their secret selves, their pasts and possibilities, their DNA and collective memories. This is a real TV family.


Article reproduced respectfully but without permission. No infringement intended in any way. Only intended for the personal enlightenment of readers.

Return to the Articles index

Return to the Bedford Falls index