Precisely because of the discomfort, the series ‘Thirties’ feels exactly like the life of an average thirty-something.

“We were dead a long time ago.” I’ve heard this mantra repeated more and more lately by friends my own age, i.e., in their thirties. While we used to scoff at the usual “thirty-something dilemma” in our twenties, making things difficult now seems to be our raison d’être.

I have friends who spend a year deciding whether to travel the world and then a year deciding where to go. Friends who date for a year and a half without calling it a relationship, that seems too final. Friends who like absolutely everything. red flags with potential partners, and then spend months internally arguing about whether the flag was really that red. Everyone wants kids, no one wants them now, but we’re also all afraid that the other will get pregnant first.

About the Author
Doortje Smithuijsen is a philosopher and journalist. Forfrom VolkskrantShe writes essays and reports and serves as a television critic once every five weeks.

Paralyzed by the stress of choice

Ultimately, being 30 feels like a void in which no one makes a decision, paralyzed by the combination of choice stress and the idea that these are your formative years.

The series is exactly about that void. Thirtiesbegan its fifth season this week. In the first episode, the new cast (the previous one started in 2020 and you don’t have thirty years for life) is immediately thrown into the deep end of expectations of a Friends-As a production within the reality of the OSFL.

The group of friends (two girls and four boys) throw a surprise party for one of their own. The result is extremely awkward: too few people to fill the festive void with overly cheerful behaviour. Things get really bad when the group goes to the ‘club’, to take frantic clapping photos in a back room that apparently wasn’t filled enough with extras.

A surprise party in the series ‘Thirties’.Image NGO

But it’s precisely that malaise that makes the series feel exactly like the life of an average thirty-something: like a sad variant of the holiday series that have shaped your expectations about this stage of life. Entourage with less cool friends. Yes Californication no budget. Like a party that just won’t start, or maybe it’s already over.

Complaining about a child

It’s mainly the details. Thirties is cheerfully bright at times. After fifteen years of dating, Laura is berating her boyfriend Jonas for having a child. When Jonas prepares to have sex, you can see the disgust coursing through her body. She rejects him, but the next day she excitedly tells her parents that they are “trying it.” When her sister Suus shows pictures of their trip, you see her terrified as her mother’s thumb scrolls through her phone. Yes, at thirty you still want your parents to look at you, but you don’t want them to anymore. all to see.

Some scenes in Thirties They have the character of ostentatious filler; for example, what does it matter where one of the main characters’ new housemates buys her duvet? That’s exactly what makes it indeterminate. Thirties Now it’s really a show about people in their thirties. A show about a generation that is so preoccupied with self-doubt and reflection that their lives seem largely an in-between phase.

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