Monday, 9 June 2014


thirtysomething DVD
A few weeks ago I saw a familiar face on an episode of The Good Wife and although I couldn't quite place her, as soon as I heard the slightly husky voice I remembered who she was.

It was Polly Draper, the actress who played Ellyn in the phenomenally successful series thirtysomething in the 80s and 90s. SUCH a great show!

If you've never heard of it (too young? Grrr...) or didn't watch it, it was about the lives of 7 friends - two couples (the perfect Hope and Michael, and troubled Nancy and Eliot) and three singles (perennial Peter-Pan Gary, arty Melissa and the beautiful Ellyn).  Mostly it was about the sort of things we all talk about - marriage, children, sex, dating, relationships, so it was very easy to relate to.  It was like real life but with better writing.

Thirtysomething was one of the shows that you either loved or hated. I loved it, it resonated with me - after all I was the perfect demographic - and Ellyn was my favourite character. She seemed the most interesting of all of them, and I wanted to be like her - driven, professional and sexy.  I might have managed one of those.

So after being reminded of the glory days of thirtysomething, I couldn't resist ordering Series 1 on DVD and last night I sat down, glass of wine in hand, to watch it.

Oh my god, as soon as I heard the first few notes of the theme tune it felt like going home.  Have a listen:

Once the theme tune was over, the biggest impression was that the picture and sound quality was pretty rough compared to what we're used to these days.  Everything looks fuzzy and sounds echoey.  Amazing how much even the standard picture has improved, never mind HD.

And then there's the clothes! It was all about the baggy clothes, high-waisted trousers, ill-fitting jackets, HUGE baggy trousers - yards and yards of material all gathered in at the (high)waist; shoulder pads - SHOULDER PADS - even under silk dresses; big earrings; soft tailored jackets which were worn with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow (for men) or cinched in at the waist with a wide belt (for women). I loved that look, I may have even worn it to work once or twice, back in the days when I actually had a waist.

In all honesty, 80's fashion was such a strong look but it flattered very few people. Especially if, like me, you already had wide shoulders and still wore shoulder pads. I must have looked like an American footballer. Not a good look, I'm sure, but back then....well, I thought I looked ace!

So far I've watched the first four episodes and really enjoyed the trip down memory lane, although watching them as a fiftysomething makes it a somewhat bitter-sweet experience.  A lot has happened in the intervening years - marriage, divorce, children, etc. - and the person I remember from those original thirtysomething days was a lot happier.  Might have been something to do with all the sex I was having back then. Sigh.