ABC (ended 1991)
Rate Show
298 votes
  • show Description
  • When thirtysomething debuted in 1987 it was attacked by some critics as being a self-indulgent examination of the minutiae of yuppie life. Before the first season was over, some of those same critics were covering their tracks by calling it "the most improved show on television." Producers Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz had teamed up before on Family and would go on to create My So-Called Life, Relativity and Once and Again. Often using feature-film techniques, their brand of what could be called "reality" television tackled not only the small subjects, but the big ones too, all the way from life to death, as they followed their characters on the road from the idealism of youth to the search for security and responsibility as they glided toward middle age. And it was even funny sometimes. After its network run came to an end in 1991, thirtysomething became a staple rerun on many other networks.moreless

  • Latest News
  • Episode Guide
  • S 4 : Ep 23


    Aired 5/28/91

  • S 4 : Ep 22

    Melissa in Wonderland

    Aired 5/21/91

  • S 4 : Ep 21

    A Stop at Willoughby

    Aired 5/14/91

  • S 4 : Ep 20


    Aired 5/7/91

  • S 4 : Ep 19

    Out the Door

    Aired 4/30/91

  • Cast & Crew
  • Timothy Busfield

    Elliot Francis Weston

  • Polly Draper

    Ellyn Warren

  • Mel Harris

    Hope Murdoch Steadman

  • Peter Horton

    Gary Sheperd

  • Melanie Mayron

    Melissa Steadman

  • Photos (1)
  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (13)

    • Elliot: We won't always have to deal with sleazeballs like Teller. We'll deal with higher-class sleazeballs.

    • Ellyn: It feels weird to be in the park without tear gas.

    • Hope: This is not what I needed to hear today! Why did you tell me this? Michael: What? I didn't have an affair! Hope: Are you sure?

    • Hope: Thank God you're here. Michael: I feel the same way.

    • Gary: I was a baby once? Hope: Once.

    • Michael: The statute of limitations is up on parental war crimes.

    • Gary: Dirtbag. Michael: Crybaby. Gary: Wimp. Micahel: Academic.

    • Michael: Hey wait wait wait! Hope's in there [the bathroom]! Gary: That's why I'm goin' in.

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (138)

    • In 1989, writer/director Marshall Herskovitz and writer Edward Zwick won (in a tie with fellow thirtysomething episode "Therapy") a WGA Award (TV) at the Writers Guild of America, USA Awards in the category of Episodic Drama, for this episode.

    • Music: "Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi

    • In this episode only, Janey Steadman is played by Jade and Lauren Mortimer. In this and the episode "South by Southeast," Ethan and Brittany Weston are played by Jason and Rachel Nagler.

    • Several brief clips from this episode are used in the opening title montage for the first season, which makes its debut in the next episode, "The Parents Are Coming." They include Michael and Elliot talking (about infidelity) in a crowded public place; Michael mock-hanging himself with his tie; Hope attempting to breastfeed Janey in a restaurant; Hope and Michael nose-to-nose in bed; Janey in the bathtub with Michael looking on; Hope crying on Michael's shoulder; Ellyn, Hope and Janey in the park; Michael, Hope and Melissa goofing around on the bed; a crying Hope embracing Michael; Michael peering though a craked-open door at Hope rocking Janey; Melissa and Gary with Hope and Michael in the Steadman kitchen; and a shot of Janey laying in a crib that pans upward to Michael and Hope.

    • This pilot episode only features a "cold" opening without the regular title sequence or theme song. The superimposed credits list the cast in order of appearance: Ken Olin, Mel Harris, Polly Draper, Peter Horton, Timothy Busfield, Melanie Mayron and Patricia Wettig. It's the only time the principal cast is not listed alphabetically.

    • Melanie Mayron and Patricia Wettig are credited but don't appear.

    • Lacey Craven and Brittany Craven make their debuts as Janey.

    • This is the first episode featuring parents of the principal characters (Shirley Knight and George Coe as Hope's parents Ruth and Ted Murdoch.) Relationships with parents will be a frequent, recurring theme in this series.

    Show More Notes

    Trivia (35)

    • Janey is referred to as "Jane" here.

    • Melissa gives her age as 31.

    • Hope and Michael begin to call their baby "Janey" in this episode and the name sticks.

    • In the dialog, it's mentioned that Hope and Michael have been married for "five or six years" and that Mr. and Mrs. Murdoch have been married for 32 years.

    • Nancy and Elliot have been married for 12 years. Hope and Michael have been married for 5 years.

    • Ethan is 6 and Brittany is 3.

    • Michael's father died of brain tumor, as did writer Marshall Herskovitz. Herskovitz won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for an episode.

    • Elliot tells of Janine winning $109,000 on a quiz show and quitting her job.

    Show More Trivia

    Allusions (15)

    • Hope: After all, tomorrow is another day.
      This is the famous last line spoken by the character Scarlett O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone With the Wind and later repeated famously by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett in the 1939 film of the same name.

    • A brief clip of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood featuring Betty Aberlin as Lady Aberlin is seen.

    • This episode is an allusion to the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest.

    • This episode title is an allusion to Steppenwolf's 1968 song "Born to be Wild".

    • The model for "The Mike Van Dyke Show" is of course the very popular The Dick Van Dyke show, which ran from 1961-1966 and has always been considered a classic of the family sitcom genre.

    • A fantasy sequence has Melissa appearing on a game show, "Beat the Biological Clock," hosted by Monty Ovary (Jeff Altman). This is an obvious reference to the show Beat the Clock, hosted by Monty Hall.

    • Michael: Tuesday night, our house, you'll come over to supper, then we'll watch Harold and Maude.

      Harold and Maude (1971), starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort and directed by Hal Ashby, was a film about the very odd relationship between a young man and a much, much older woman. Michael is obviously using the reference here simply to needle Melissa, but it does point up her overriding concern that her friends will not approve of her relationship with a younger man.

    • Elliot: So the pigrims came to Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Bay was filled with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

      Elliot updates the story of the pilgrims by adding the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, cool-talking, pizza-eating amphibian characters from a 1987-1995 cartoon show. The show gained tremendous popularity among children and spawned three feature films, video games and tons of other related toys, as they were one of the advertising industry's most successful examples of the marketing of a television tie-in. The four characters were each named after a Renaissance artist (Leonardo, Donatello, etc.)

    Show More Allusions
  • Fan Reviews (4)
  • About the series

    By JordanWelch, Feb 19, 2015

  • The best tv drama of the 1980's! The drama is about seven friends from Philadelphia, who survives the yuppie angst in the 1980's. It involves two married couples (The Steadmans and The Westons), their friends Melissa (Michael's cousin), Gary, and Ellyn.

    By RaineRP, Aug 13, 2006

  • Rediscovery on Lifetime

    By rockerreds, Feb 18, 2006

  • I use to love this show.

    By sweathoneyglaze, Oct 28, 2005