Exclusive: 'thirtysomething' Cast Reunion on 'GMA'!

Seven stars talk to "GMA" about what series meant to a generation of viewers.

August 24, 2009, 12:12 PM

Aug. 25, 2009— -- If "Seinfeld" was the TV show about nothing, then "thirtysomething" was the show about everything.

From the very first episode on ABC in 1987, "thirtysomething" seemed like a scripted reality show, peering into the inner recesses of seven lives -- two couples, three singles -- in late 1980s Philadelphia.

The first season of the show is finally available on DVD. The whole "thirtysomething" cast -- Ken Olin (Michael Steadman), Mel Harris (Hope Steadman), Melanie Mayron (Melissa Steadman), Timothy Busfield (Elliot Weston), Patricia Wettig (Nancy Weston), Polly Draper (Ellyn Warren) and Peter Horton (Gary Shepherd) came together for a reunion on "Good Morning America."

"It's 20 years ... it's a long time," said Patricia Wettig, but "there's just a chemistry with the seven of us."

"We hadn't been together as a whole group since, really, the show," Peter Horton said. "It felt so natural and like we hadn't left each other."

It seems "like no time had gone past, except for when we see the pictures," joked Melanie Mayron.

CLICK HERE for photos of the cast then and now.

The Michael and Hope Steadman characters were at the center of the series, struggling with a new baby, a fixer-upper home that never gets fixed, and trying to keep love and passion alive when there are just so many hours in a day.

Eliot and Nancy Weston were parents to two active kids, striving and failing to reconnect after years of emotional distance.

Gary Shepherd and Melissa Steadman were former lovers, and friends, and Ellyn Warren was the quintessential, successful career gal.

"There seemed to be, out of the seven of us," a character everyone could relate to, Mayron said.

When asked to sum up their 30s in one word, Polly Draper said "survival."

"Seems like I would say 'young' now," Wettig joked, but she later said the one word for her would be "family." Her 30s both on and off the show were "so connected for me with having children."

'thirtysomething' Reunion: Cast Answers Viewer Questions

"Thirtysomething" broke television ground with innovative techniques, such as fantasy sequences and film homages, and broke cultural ground with the first homosexual couple seen in bed on network TV. It may seem tame now, but in 1989, it caused an uproar.

For four years, viewers watched as the characters loved and lost, and "thirtysomething" struck a raw nerve. It was a cautionary tale of love and marriage ... the never ending battle to balance work life and home life ...and always, a celebration of family and friendship.

When asked which cast member was most like their character on the show, answers included "all of us "and "none of us."

But they all said that creators Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovich drew from their lives and the lives of their cast.

If they talked to you for 10 minutes, "whatever they gleaned from that, they put in the show," said Tim Busfield. "They tried to write like we spoke."

"You had to be married to be in the married couples," added Wettig.

The cast members also answered questions from viewers about the series, many of whom wondered when the cast learned that Peter Horton's character, Gary, was going to die.

"They kept it really under wraps," said Olin.

"I knew at the beginning of the series," said Peter Horton, explaining that he had told Zwick and Herskovich that he wanted to leave the show at some point to pursue directing.

The cast said they appreciated how the show resonated with viewers in their 30s, as well as older and younger viewers.

The show was "so much a part of its time," Olin said. "There were a lot of people that really didn't like it … that thought it was a self-involved or precious version" of their lives.

"I think for all of us, it was so exciting to be reading a script that seemed so personal," Ken Olin said. "Ed and Marshall were really adamant about doing a television show that felt intimately observed … it was exciting."

You can purchase "thirtysomething" Season One at Amazon.com.

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