Horton: 'thirtysomething' lacked big 'but'

NEW YORK - August 26, 2009 The actor, who played Gary Shepherd on the late-1980s show, says it lacks a certain ... something.

"In this market there are so many choices to have something to stand out," Horton says, "like, 'I'm a mother, but I sell pot,' or 'I'm a father but I'm a meth dealer.' There's always a 'but' attached to a plot. 'thirtysomething' was just about people in their 30s."

The first season of "thirtysomething," which premiered on ABC in September 1987, is now available on DVD, with the remaining three seasons to come later. The show wasn't a huge ratings success, but its devoted followers - and critics - lauded its realistic look at the life of a group of baby boomers creeping into middle age.

The cast says the making of the show was life imitating art: The world they were living in as thirty-somethings was the same one they portrayed. Even more so for actors Ken Olin and Patricia Wettig, a young married couple in real life (though their characters were not married).

"Definitely during 'thirtysomething' we got much better at working together," says Olin.

The couple laughingly admits they once cleared the set during an argument while taping.

"We were more volatile in our thirties," admits Wettig.

They sometimes face the same challenges now: Olin is an executive producer, recurring director and cast member on Wettig's show "Brothers & Sisters" on ABC.

"The last ('Brothers & Sisters') episode I directed we had a fight where the first assistant director came over and said, 'Do you want to keep shooting or would you rather go get a drink?'"

Despite the occasional marital spat, Wettig and Olin appreciate working together because they're so invested in their work.

"To spend that much time on something it's nice to be able to go home and talk to someone who is equally present in your work."

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