A Severe Case of the 30-Somethings

26 03 2010

When the show Thirtysomething was popular, I was drooling over Fred Savage in The Wonder Years and Neil Patrick Harris in Doogie Howser.  But now I can watch the first season of Thirtysomething available on the ever-addictive Hulu. But shows that were good in the past are never quite as good later on. The clothes are all wrong and no one has a cell phone attached to their brain stem and there’s just a huge cheese factor. And you ask yourself—did people really talk that way in the 80’s?  Didn’t they know how to write good dialogue?  I started to watch it, but I couldn’t even finish one episode. Seriously boring. The big issues were being a stay at home mom, the woman wanting to go back to work, finding a baby sitter that was good enough and the distance between the friends with kids and the friends without kids. Okay so?

I’ve been watching this new Canadian show Being Erica–another show obsessed about the never-ending melodramatic effects of being 30. Erica is seeing a therapist that sends her back in time to learn from and even fix past regrets. It always has a happy philosophical message at the end. I don’t think the show will last very long, because it’s just too damn happy. Her life doesn’t seem messed up enough to deserve traveling back in time to fix things. It’s not like she was a heroin addict or joined a cult or anything.

How many shows or stories are about characters struggling in their 30’s? It’s not that 30 is old. But it’s where you start to notice gravity and time. Maybe the problem is that we’re coping with 30 with a 25 year old mentality.

Thirty-something should be an official medical diagnosis.

DSM IV Thirty-Somethings

8 (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least two of the symptoms must be   9,10,11, or 14. Must be between age 30-39.

1. Frequent traveling body aches

2. Generalized varied vague complaints that are unverifiable by any testing

3. Feelings of inadequacy

4. Sensation that time is racing past

5. Generalize fatigue, not relieved by sleep

6. Inability to sleep in due back pain and/or internal body clock

7. Inability to consume the same quantity of alcohol as in previous years

8. Lack of motivation to party beyond 9pm

9. Appearance of looking like someone’s parent

10. Denial that you look as old as your friends who are exactly the same age

11. Anxiety about being carded less frequently for alcohol

12. Intense need to accomplish or nurture something (pet, project, child)

13. Disgust with current fashion trends (clothes, music), because they’re not what they  used to be

14. Feeling that you can’t wear something because it’s not age appropriate

15. A strange sense of nostalgia for the past

16. Realization that you’ll never be rich or famous

17. Manifestation of real disease processes (arthritis, hypertension, elevated cholesterol etc.)

If 30-something was a legitimate diagnosis, I could call into work, and they would know that it was highly contagious to other people the same age. They would insist that I stay home for a least 2 weeks—take an extended vacation. It would be obvious I was really sick and not just making it up.

And it would hold up as a legitimate defense in court. Not-guilty by reason of the 30-Somethings. Isn’t that really why some people drown their children or murder their spouse? Or start smoking crack? Maybe.

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