Wednesday, 29 January 2014

1980's: The Yuppie. Thirtysomething


Cast of thirtysomething

An example of how the 'yuppie' was represented in American culture during the 1980's is exhibited in the popular TV series 'thirtysomething' which ran from 1987-1991, airing 85 episodes during that period.In 2002, Thirtysomething was ranked #19 on TV Guide′s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time which showed it's popularity during the last 15 years.

The TV series depicts the lives of a group of 'baby boomer' 'yuppies' during the mid-late 1980's. They are connected by their involvement with the peace movement and counterculture of the 1960's when they were younger. Which is a stark contrast to their current, middle class lives in Pennsylvania.

An article published by Michael Hill in the Baltimore Sun states that the program 'got it right' when attempting to depict life for 'baby boomer yuppies' during the 1980's, when other shows were 'well wide of the mark'. When attempting to describe why the show was so popular for members of the 1960 generation, he stated; ''it was a perfect mirror on our lives that added the depth and nuance possible with drama, added dimensions that allow for increased insight and understanding''.

The show represented a drive (from the characters) to succeed, both financially and professionally, which is a hallmark of the definition of a 'yuppie'. Living in an urban environment (Philadelphia) and being 20-30 something individuals it also encompasses the definition of 'yuppie' as a 'young, urban professional' giving an accurate representation of what a 'yuppie' actually was.

The impact of the show did not end when it was cancelled in 1991. Thirtysomething inspired the creation of other series with ideals based on feminine sensibilities and preoccupations with the transition from childhood, to maturity (Sisters) and comedies about groups of friends, working in major cities and communicating (Seinfeld, Friends). The show's popularity and 'cult following' shows the accuracy of the representation of the 'yuppie' during the 1980's, as so many American's could relate to the characters portrayed in the show. The show also allowed the role of the 'yuppie' to be defined and explained thoroughly to members of the population who did not know what the term entailed.



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