102 - Attack of the Killer Parents

Episode 101--"thirtysomething"


Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick


Marshall Herskovitz

Air Dates

9/29/87, 12/22/87, 10/23/90

Guest Stars

Old screen capture from a VHS tape

New screen capture from the DVDs that finally came out


Hope and Michael Steadman, Nancy and Elliot Weston, Gary Shepherd, Melissa Steadman, and Ellyn Warren are introduced as thirtysomething friends, relatives, and colleagues with an array of domestic troubles.


The pilot establishes Gary and Melissa as having dated and broken up, Elliot as having had an affair, Nancy as the long suffering mother, Ellyn as the anti-maternal career woman, Michael and Elliot in a stressful business together, and Michael and Hope as a married couple with a new baby who are hopelessly out of touch with how good their lives are. Basically, the plot revolves around the stresses of Hope and Michael's life as parents, homeowners, and career people.

Notes (contributions by Matt Minton)

  • Janey is referred to as "Jane";
  • Hope and Michael were married by a minister and a rabbi both, and it was raining on their wedding day.
  • There's a Beowulf sign in the background on Michael's side of the office.
  • Elliot slept with Sheryl Eastman six times;
  • No opening sequence--the credits appear over Hope and Michael's flashbacks and ill-fated attempts to make love with a new baby in the house;
  • It's intimated that Michael's brother (Brad) has a business that's doing well;
  • Grendel was quite visible in this episode, in many of the shots;
  • The sleeping bags Michael was looking at were North Face, the same kind I own;
  • You can see cars going by at night outside of Michael and Elliot's glass window. Dan Lerner was the director of photography.
  • Tim Russ who had a bit part as the camping store salesman is now starring on Voyager as the Vulcan Security Chief Tuvok.
  • Michael complains about having to pay $278 for a stroller.
  • Continuity Goofs

    Music Thoughts



    Prelude to a Dream Sequence


    "I make plenty of money when I'm not going bankrupt." --Michael

    "Feels weird to be in a park without tear gas." - Ellyn at the start of the scene in the park (from Matt Minton)

    "Do all babies radiate light or is it just her?" --Hope regarding Jane (AAARRGGHHH!!!!!! This has to be the worst line ever delivered on television in the fifty year history of the communication medium.) But, to be fair, Jan has offered a credible defense:

    "I think you have to be a parent to understand that Hope's question is not one of the worst lines ever delivered but one of the truest.

    "In my eyes, my children do seem to radiate---if not light than a magnetism that draws my eye to them in a crowd. During the school play and concert, other children melt into the background of my child's stage presence-----BUT I realize that every parent feels this way and so I have the sense to keep my opinion to myself.

    "While we squirm with embarrassment to hear a parent make this kind of comment out loud, Hope's private comment to Michael can be understood by every husband and wife who marveled together over the unique, beautiful child they have created."

    Sylvia has an additional perspective on the quote:

    "While Jan is right about why Hope-the-parent said that (I agree, it's terrible) line, I think what's so nauseating about it is the self-absorbed, self-congratulatory delivery. She seems to feel she's made some original discovery, and doesn't include Michael in it. It's somehow all about Hope, and, finally, not even about Janey."


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    The dashed line marks the point where Lisa Stevenson Blackwell's original version of this page ended, and where Bob Fahey began adding material.

    *Scene edited in Lifetime version. - Luiza Hirsch (Luiza@gmx.org) has both the Lifetime versions and the unedited versions aired in Germany. She writes: "It's true that Gary says "I guess she'll lose the weight" or something to that effect. Probably the only thing Lifetime was artistically and morally justified in cutting out."
    My own view is that people sometimes really do say things like this. It isn't nice, but it would be dishonest to leave it out.

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