thirtysomething: Weaning

[Ed. note: In the New York Times a couple weeks ago, there was an article about the much-anticipated DVD release of thirtysomething, a “groundbreaking” (not my word) television drama from the late ’80s. By most measures, the show was not a huge success (according to that article, its highest ratings were during the first 15 minutes of a premiere), but it was a critical darling, and “thirtysomething” is now a word in the dictionary. But most importantly: when it came out, as far as I was concerned, it was a stupid-boring show for old people. Except that now I am one of those old people. And so, out of some misguided sense of curiosity, over the next few weeks, I will be recapping the first season of thirtysomething here. 2009, you guys. Anything can happen. There is no spoon.]

Whoa. Before the credits even finish rolling this week, the smoke clears and we step out of the time machine and run right into an ancient ATM machine that looks like a calculator in your grandpa’s office.

What is that thing? “You simply need to enter a 17-key password, fill out three carbon-printed forms, and the machine will send money to your home in three to six weeks!” I don’t know what all that stuff is in Hope’s hand.

“That is ancient paper. It came from trees.”
“What are trees?”
“Oh right, I forgot that you were born after the world was covered in water.”

That is a conversation between “the man” and “the boy” as they push their hovercart through the ash-covered seas. Obviously after the Apocalypse people will still be talking about this show, but it will take longer to explain. Like, one can only imagine how long it is going to take people in the future to figure out what is going on with Ellyn’s pants.



“We have determined that in the ancient 1980s, humans each made their own clothing by hand. And they were blind.”

Back at the ATM, Hope hears a couple of people talking about their insanely boring office jobs and she gets jealous. Hope wants an insanely boring office job! And that is what this whole episode is about. Hope crying because her baby no longer wants to breastfeed, and she wants to feel important again. As someone without a child (and who also, I guess I must point out every once in awhile, is not a woman), I can only imagine the weird emotional pain of weaning a child after giving literally everything you have to it for months and months and months. And as someone who spends far more time in his pajamas than it is reasonable for an adult to spend, I can also understand the itch one might feel to re-enter a professional world of busy adults. But also, not really? I mean, being able to stay at home all day without a job is a luxury that very few people in this world can afford. It’s not to be complained about in the way that Hope complains about it. Talk about her diamond shoes being too tight!

Well, as a matter of fact, that is all she does: talk about her diamond shoes being too tight. Or cry about it.

Get a grip, Hope.

She goes back to visit her old office…at The Synergy Magazine?

Sounds like a GREAT magazine. Everyone fawns over the baby, but she realizes she wants to be back in the thick of things. All longing looks and such.

You know how it is when you walk into an office of a shitty local magazine and you get so jealous of all the people who get to be at that shitty office all day doing their insanely boring work? The only good thing I can see about The Synergy Magazine is that this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Emmy for Best Acting, Marg Helgenberger, works there.

“We’re going to need to dust my face for prints.”

But Hope’s boss, Maya Angelou, gives her a totally normal look right back.

So after much babyish crying and whining (the tree does not grow far from the apple, apparently) Hope decides to go ask for her old job back. But not before talking to Ellyn in a totally normal way outside of Ellyn’s office.

What is it with Hope and Ellyn’s inability to have a normal human adult conversation that doesn’t involve creepily leaning in over each other’s shoulders, or sitting on top of cars like teenage sluts? Anyway, so Hope decides to ask for her job back. Her boss, Maya Angelou, is a little hesitant at first, although she points out that she is sure Hope could use the money. HAHA. Right. The extremely lucrative field of fact-checking for a local magazine called The Synergy. Hope calls her bank immediately:

“You’re gonna need a bigger vault. And you might just want to hire a few extra tellers for the next few days to process my deposit.”

There is an amazing moment, though when Hope returns for her first day back on the job.

“What is that?”

“That is a computer.”



But, so, Hope really gets into her job, but now she never sees her baby or Michael anymore. Meanwhile, Michael puts all the pots and pans on the floor, along with the baby, because of how men can’t do anything right when it comes to the home!

Has that ever happened to anyone? No it has not. Unless you live in 1980s Stereotypes Town. “Those three nice men who inadvertently adopted a baby are our neighbors!”

Also, I don’t really understand what Hope’s job is? Like, she’s supposedly the head of the fact checking department (for The Synergy Magazine) but she acts like she’s the next Woodward and Bernstein. It’s weird.

Hope thinks about quitting, because she’s so exhausted and misses her family and doesn’t think her work is even that good (whatever her work even is. “I’ve got to finish this proposal.” Sure. She’s head of the Proposals Dept) but she also wants to keep working, and so the episode just kind of ends. Will Hope keep working (at The Synergy Magazine) or will she return home to spend her days being a self-involved crybaby about everything? We don’t know. We are all on the edges of our seats to find out though, I’m sure.

Next Week: Michael’s turn to have a melt-down about something. It’s like melt-down ping pong this show. ))<>((.

P.S. Apparently hot dogs were the Vitamin Water of the ’80s, because this episode was all about hot dogs. Hope and Ellyn go out for what looks like the saddest lunch ever?

While Elliott and Michael work on a new hot dogs advertising campaign?

Did you know that 50 Cent had his own flavor of hot dog and he sold it for 40 million dollars? Gully.