It was a mini thirtysomething reunion when Ken Olin, Patricia Wettig, and Timothy Busfield — three of the stars of the groundbreaking 1987–91 drama — appeared together at the recent New York Stage and Film 2018 Winter Gala.
Shooting the TV show “was such a fertile time,” Patricia, 67, who’s been married in real life to Ken, 64, since 1982, told Closer. “All the actors, producers, directors, and writers really were thirtysomethings then. It was one of my favorite creative times ever.”
Neither a soap opera nor a procedural — there were no cops nor DAs in the group of Philadelphia yuppies who formed the show’s core — thirtysomething dealt with mature issues of marriage, divorce, sexuality, and parenthood. But the set was far from gloomy.
“My favorite memories are the serious moments we had when I would break up laughing,” says Timothy, 61, who played Patricia’s unfaithful husband. “Even though her character had cancer and we had a divorce going on, I couldn’t help laughing all the time.”
Though Ken says “it was relatively boring” on the set, there was some offscreen drama with co-stars Timothy and Peter Horton. Quips Ken, “They were both in the process of getting divorced when the show started, so that helped.” (Peter was married to Michelle Pfeiffer from 1981 to 1988, and Timothy has been wed to Melissa Gilbert since 2013.)
The bonds that were forged on the thirtysomething set have endured through the years. “We were able to do something we loved,” says Ken. “It was something we felt really strongly and personally about, and we maintained relationships with a lot of people on the show.”
In fact, Timothy and Patricia are playing a married couple yet again in an upcoming Netflix movie. “Acting with Patty is so great,” Timothy gushes. “I would do a thirtysomething reboot in a minute!” Not that anybody’s planning one yet. “I don’t know who’d want to see it,” Timothy says. “It’d be sixtysomething. Who cares about that?”
Agrees Ken, “There’s no way sixtysomething would be quite as interesting. But the plot could be about our children — they would all be thirtysomething now!”
So what do the stars miss most about the show? “We miss looking like that!” says Ken. “Yes, we would like to take off about 30 years of age,” Patricia adds. “And that’s about it.” “You’re still really beautiful,” Ken tells her sweetly. “But I wish I was as thin as I was then!”
For more on thirtysomething, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!