Michael runs an ad agency with his friend Elliot, whose marriage to Nancy is beginning to show the cracks of age, as is the friendship between Hope and her best friend Ellyn.
Michael's best friend, Gary, on the other hand, is trying to get on with his womanising life, and get over the mutually-destructive affair he had with Michael's cousin, Melissa.
People tell me I'm supposed feel sorry for these vain, vapid and vacuous people.
I have no idea why that thing would be the American TV series It was a curious thing to bond over. debuted in September 1987 on the US channel ABC, so is this month marking its own passage into thirtysomething-dom.
It all sounds like just another soap, but is given a unique atmosphere by the production team (the Bedford Falls company, also responsible for 'My So Called Life') whose intelligent scripts, believable characters and frequent dips into the slightly surreal world of the character's minds places the series as one of the highlights of the late 1980s.
Throughout season 1 and season 2 Elliot's and Ellyn's names are spelled incorrectly in the opening credits.
"Ellyn" is not corrected until the first episode of season 3 (3.1 "Nancy's mom") and "Elliot", not until the fourth episode of season 3 (3.4 "new baby"). I only knew one guy who liked it and he was a wimp.
Because, for all the faults of the characters, and for all the often dull domesticity of the episodes, there was something perhaps hopeful about the show.
Never trust anyone over 30 had been a mantra for two decades before that, but just maybe there was a chance that when I did get to that far-off, impossible to predict future, dreams could still be alive.
I was sitting in working-class Wigan and looking at liberal, yuppie Philadelphia, and wondering to myself if this is where my life would lead, a vision of the future as equally fascinating and horrifying as, perhaps, that offered a few years earlier by the sci-fi movie Threads and its vision of the bleak, post-apocalyptic aftermath of a nuclear bomb falling on Sheffield.
Thirtysomehting finished its run in 1991 but it opffered A curious conjunction there, perhaps. Teenage me, given a choice between a future 15 years or so hence that was either ploughing the barren fields in the hope of growing a few potatoes to feed my radioactively deformed children, or sitting around wearing a waistcoat and a beard and working for an advertising agency while secretly yearning to finish my novel, would have plumped for the life, I think.