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Life Goes On is an American television series that aired on ABC from September 12, 1989 to May 23, 1993. Reruns aired on The Family Channel from 1992 until about 1995, FX from about 1995 until about 1998, and PAX (now Ion Television) from 1998 until about 1999. The show centers on the Thatcher family living in suburban Chicago: Drew, his wife Elizabeth, and their children Paige, Rebecca, and Charles, who is known as Corky. Life Goes On was the first television series to have a major character with Down syndrome (Corky, played by Chris Burke, who has Down syndrome in real life).

Life Goes On
Life Goes On.png
The cast of Life Goes On. Clockwise from left: Kellie Martin, Patti LuPone, Bill Smitrovich, Chris Burke, and Arnold the Semi-Wonder Dog.
Created byMichael Braverman
StarringBill Smitrovich
Chris Burke
Kellie Martin
Patti LuPone
Tracey Needham
Michele Matheson
Theme music composerLennon–McCartney
Opening theme"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
Performed by Patti LuPone and the cast of Life Goes On
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes83
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Toots Productions
Warner Bros. Television
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseSeptember 12, 1989 –
May 23, 1993

Contents

Cast and charactersEdit

MainEdit

Drew is the husband of Libby Thacher and the father of Paige, Corky, and Becca Thatcher. He is a Special Olympics coach, and formerly worked for a construction company before going into the restaurant business.

Corky is the middle child, and his siblings include older sister Paige, and younger sister Becca. Despite having Down Syndrome, he is high-functioning, takes mostly regular classes in his school. He occasionally struggles, and indicated that mathematics was his hardest subject, but he improves through tutoring sessions.

Becca is the younger sister of Corky and Paige. She is attractive, but quite nerdy. At school she is socially awkward, especially around her crushes such as Tyler and Jesse.

The wife of Drew, mother of Corky and Becca, and Paige's stepmother. She is very supportive of Corky, and has also sung and acted. She is proud that Corky and Becca take part in their church's drama group, and that Becca is in her school's Drama club.

Drew's daughter, and Libby's stepdaughter. The elder half-sister of both Corky and Becca, Paige frequently dates men of whom her father does not approve. She is very caring of Corky, but has a love-hate relationship with Becca.

RecurringEdit

Tyler was the first boyfriend of Becca in the show, and was Corky's best friend.

Jesse was the second boyfriend of Becca.

OverviewEdit

The drama featured the Thacher family, whose son, Charles "Corky" Thatcher (played by Chris Burke), has Down syndrome, while their daughter Becca (played by Kellie Martin) did well at school but was socially awkward. Tony Award-winning stage actress Patti LuPone played the mother Elizabeth ("Libby") and Bill Smitrovich played the father Drew. Eldest sister Paige Thacher was played by Monique Lanier during the 1989–1990 seasons and by Tracey Needham during the 1990–1993 seasons. Becca's boyfriend and Corky's buddy, Tyler Benchfield, was played by Tommy Puett. Jerry Berkson (Ray Buktenica) was Libby's quirky boss. In the last two seasons, Becca's boyfriend Jesse McKenna was played by Chad Lowe.

Executive Producer Michael Braverman first cast Chris Burke in the 1987 television movie Desperate, based on Braverman's favorite book, Lord Jim. After seeing Burke's work, ABC executives asked Braverman to create a show around Burke.

The show is set in the Chicago suburb Glenbrook, Illinois, which is named after the high school which one of Braverman's children attended at the time. The name itself is a blend of the real suburbs served by the school, Glenview and Northbrook.

Each episode's opening credits end with a shot of Arnold, the family dog (billed as "Arnold the Semi-Wonder Dog"). Apparently forgotten by the family in their rush to get ready for the day, he sits in the kitchen with his empty food bowl in his mouth and lets it drop to the floor. The show's producers received a constant trickle of letters each week from viewers who thought this was cruel, so in the final episode's opening credits, a bag of dog food spills out of a nearby cabinet.

Early seasonsEdit

During the show's first year, the main focus was on Corky. Much of the show examined the challenges of a family whose son had Down Syndrome. The Thatchers sought to have Corky interact with regular society after spending years socializing him amongst other kids with Down syndrome in "special" classes. Indeed, this need to integrate Corky into normal society was the main storyline in Season 1, as the Thatcher family opted to enroll Corky in a regular high school despite the principal's demand that Corky be placed in an alternative program for those with Down syndrome.

In addition, during the first three seasons, episodes included Tyler Benchfield (Tommy Puett), Becca's high school crush, who also had a brother with Down syndrome.

Corky eventually got a job as an usher at a local movie theater. He later found a girlfriend, Amanda Swanson (Andrea Friedman), who also had Down Syndrome; they married by the series' end.

Later seasonsEdit

By the second season, the writers had begun to expand the show's scope beyond Corky, and the third and fourth seasons centered on Becca and a new character named Jesse (Chad Lowe). Jesse, a junior, met Becca through the school's theatre department. As the two became friends, Jesse told Becca he was HIV-positive. Tyler became a less prominent figure in Becca's life, and was jealous of Becca's closeness with Jesse. The character of Tyler was soon written out of the show; he was given the memorable sendoff of dying in a car accident with Corky as a passenger.

Much to the surprise of those around them, Becca and Jesse began a relationship despite his HIV. The writers began to explore life with HIV through Jesse's character, and the difficulties the disease causes with romantic relationships. The relationship between Corky and Becca, previously portrayed as close, was also explored, as Corky briefly turned his back on his sister for dumping a mutual friend in order to date Jesse.

The fourth season's first episode, in which a 40-something Becca (Pamela Bellwood) tours the house she grew up in while remembering the events of 25 years earlier, establishes that Jesse would ultimately die from AIDS and that Becca would move on to marry a man named David. The series itself ended ambiguously but on an upbeat note, showing Becca five years later, married with a son, named Jesse.

EpisodesEdit

Season 1 (1989–90)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Pilot"TBATBASeptember 12, 1989 (1989-09-12)
22"Corky for President"Kim FriedmanPaul WolffSeptember 24, 1989 (1989-09-24)
33"The Baby-Sitter"Rick RosenthalJule SelboOctober 1, 1989 (1989-10-01)
44"Break a Leg, Mom"Rick RosenthalMichael BravermanOctober 8, 1989 (1989-10-08)
55"Becca's First Love"Rick RosenthalJule SelboOctober 15, 1989 (1989-10-15)
66"Paige's Date"Jerry JamesonJoe ShulkinOctober 22, 1989 (1989-10-22)
77"Paige's Mom"Gene ReynoldsRonald RubinNovember 5, 1989 (1989-11-05)
88"Call of the Wild"Georg FenadyLinda CowgillNovember 12, 1989 (1989-11-12)
99"Corky Witnesses a Crime"Kim FriedmanTom O'BrienNovember 26, 1989 (1989-11-26)
1010"Ordinary Heroes"Gene ReynoldsPaul WolffDecember 3, 1989 (1989-12-03)
1111"Pets, Guys and Videotape"Mel DamskiStar FrohmanDecember 10, 1989 (1989-12-10)
1212"Corky's Crush"Gene ReynoldsJule SelboJanuary 14, 1990 (1990-01-14)
1313"Thatcher and Henderson"Rick RosenthalMichael NankinJanuary 21, 1990 (1990-01-21)
1414"The Return of Uncle Richard"Kim FriedmanMichael BravermanFebruary 4, 1990 (1990-02-04)
1515"Brothers"Jerry JamesonRonald RubinFebruary 11, 1990 (1990-02-11)
1616"Corky Rebels"Gene ReynoldsPaul WolffFebruary 18, 1990 (1990-02-18)
1717"It Ain't All It's Cracked Up to Be"Kim FriedmanStar FrohmanMarch 4, 1990 (1990-03-04)
1818"Pig O' My Heart"Michael BravermanMichael NankinMarch 25, 1990 (1990-03-25)
1919"Becca and the Underground Newspaper"Rick RosenthalJule SelboApril 1, 1990 (1990-04-01)
2020"Save the Last Dance for Me"Larry ShawJudith FeinApril 15, 1990 (1990-04-15)
2121"With a Mighty Heart"Paul WolffPaul WolffApril 29, 1990 (1990-04-29)
2222"The Spring Fling"Larry ShawRonald RubinMay 13, 1990 (1990-05-13)

Season 2 (1990–91)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
231"Honeymoon from Hell"Rick RosenthalMichael BravermanSeptember 16, 1990 (1990-09-16)
242"Corky and the Dolphins"Rick RosenthalJule SelboSeptember 23, 1990 (1990-09-23)
253"The Visitor"Michael NankinMichael NankinSeptember 30, 1990 (1990-09-30)
264"Becca and the Band"Kim FriedmanSusan WaldOctober 7, 1990 (1990-10-07)
275"The Banquet Room Renovation"E.W. SwackhamerWesley BishopOctober 14, 1990 (1990-10-14)
286"Halloween"Kim FriedmanLiz CoeOctober 28, 1990 (1990-10-28)
297"Chicken Pox"Charles BravermanDavid M. WolfNovember 4, 1990 (1990-11-04)
308"La Dolce Becca"Miles WatkinsStar FrohmanNovember 11, 1990 (1990-11-11)
319"A Thatcher Thanksgiving"Charles BravermanMichael Nankin & Michael BravermanNovember 18, 1990 (1990-11-18)
3210"Libby's Sister"Rick RosenthalLiz CoeNovember 25, 1990 (1990-11-25)
3311"The Buddy"Roy Campanella IIBrad MarkowitzDecember 9, 1990 (1990-12-09)
3412"The Bicycle Thief"Mel DamskiDavid M. WolfDecember 16, 1990 (1990-12-16)
3513"Isn't It Romantic?"Michael LangeMichael NankinJanuary 6, 1991 (1991-01-06)
3614"The Bigger Picture"Jerry JamesonStar FrohmanJanuary 13, 1991 (1991-01-13)
3715"Last Stand in Glen Brook"Larry ShawMarti NoxonFebruary 3, 1991 (1991-02-03)
3816"Head Over Heels"Dick RogersLiz CoeFebruary 10, 1991 (1991-02-10)
3917"Corky's Travels"Rick RosenthalDavid M. WolfMarch 10, 1991 (1991-03-10)
4018"Thanks a Bunch, Dr. Lamaze"Michael LangeBrad MarkowitzMarch 17, 1991 (1991-03-17)
4119"Ghost of Grandpa Past"Kim FriedmanMichael BravermanMarch 31, 1991 (1991-03-31)
4220"Arthur"Michael NankinMichael NankinApril 7, 1991 (1991-04-07)
4321"Lighter Than Air"Michael BravermanDick LochteApril 28, 1991 (1991-04-28)
4422"Proms and Prams"Kim FriedmanLiz CoeMay 5, 1991 (1991-05-05)

Season 3 (1991–92)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
451"Toast"Michael LangeMichael NankinSeptember 22, 1991 (1991-09-22)
462"Hello, Goodbye"Jerry JamesonBryce ZabelSeptember 29, 1991 (1991-09-29)
473"Out of the Mainstream"Kim FriedmanBrad MarkowitzOctober 6, 1991 (1991-10-06)
484"Armageddon"Michael LangeCharles Pratt Jr.October 13, 1991 (1991-10-13)
495"Sweet 16"Michael LangeToni GraphiaOctober 20, 1991 (1991-10-20)
506"Life After Death"Larry ShawThania St. JohnNovember 3, 1991 (1991-11-03)
517"Dueling Divas"Kim FriedmanCharles Pratt Jr.November 10, 1991 (1991-11-10)
528"Invasion of the Thatcher Snatchers"Michael NankinMichael NankinNovember 17, 1991 (1991-11-17)
539"Loaded Question"David CarsonBrad MarkowitzNovember 24, 1991 (1991-11-24)
5410"Triangles"Kim FriedmanTBADecember 1, 1991 (1991-12-01)
5511"The Smell of Fear"Michael LangeThania St. JohnDecember 15, 1991 (1991-12-15)
5612"Struck by Lighting"Larry ShawCharles Pratt Jr.January 5, 1992 (1992-01-05)
5713"Jerry's Deli"Larry ShawE.F. WallengrenJanuary 19, 1992 (1992-01-19)
5814"The Room"Michael LangeTeleplay by: Michael Nankin & Toni Graphia & Thania St. John & Charles Pratt Jr.
Story by: Michael Nankin & Toni Graphia
February 9, 1992 (1992-02-09)
5915"The Wall"Michael LangeBrad MarkowitzFebruary 16, 1992 (1992-02-16)
6016"The Blues"Michael NankinToni GraphiaFebruary 23, 1992 (1992-02-23)
6117"The Fairy Tale"Michael LangeThania St. JohnMarch 1, 1992 (1992-03-01)
6218"Hearts and Flowers"Larry ShawCharles Pratt Jr.March 15, 1992 (1992-03-15)
6319"Corky's Romance"Kim FriedmanE.F. WallengrenMarch 29, 1992 (1992-03-29)
6420"More Than Friends"Bill SmitrovichBrad MarkowitzApril 26, 1992 (1992-04-26)
6521"Confessions"Michael LangeToni GraphiaMay 3, 1992 (1992-05-03)
6622"Consenting Adults"Michael NankinCharles Pratt Jr.May 10, 1992 (1992-05-10)

Season 4 (1992–93)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
671"Bec to the Future"Michael NankinThania St. John & Toni GraphiaSeptember 20, 1992 (1992-09-20)
682"Exposed"Michael LangeE F. WallengrenSeptember 27, 1992 (1992-09-27)
693"Premarital Syndrome"Michael BravermanTBAOctober 4, 1992 (1992-10-04)
704"The Whole Truth"Michael LangeScott FrostOctober 18, 1992 (1992-10-18)
715"Love Letters"Georg FenadyMarshall GoldbergNovember 8, 1992 (1992-11-08)
726"Windows"Michael NankinToni GraphiaNovember 22, 1992 (1992-11-22)
737"Babes in the Woods"Sandy SmolanThania St. JohnNovember 29, 1992 (1992-11-29)
748"Udder Madness"Kim FriedmanE.F. WallengrenDecember 13, 1992 (1992-12-13)
759"Happy Holidays"Randall William CookMarshall GoldbergDecember 20, 1992 (1992-12-20)
7610"Choices"Michael LangeToni GraphiaJanuary 3, 1993 (1993-01-03)
7711"Incident on Main"R.W. GoodwinScott FrostJanuary 10, 1993 (1993-01-10)
7812"Lost Weekend"Lorenzo DestefanoThania St. JohnJanuary 24, 1993 (1993-01-24)
7913"Visions"TBAE.F. WallengrenFebruary 14, 1993 (1993-02-14)
8014"Five to Midnight"Michael NankinScott FrostFebruary 21, 1993 (1993-02-21)
8115"Bedfellows"Michael LangeMarshall GoldbergFebruary 28, 1993 (1993-02-28)
8216"Last Wish"Joe PennellaToni GraphiaMarch 7, 1993 (1993-03-07)
8317"Life Goes On (and On and On)"Michael LangeE.F. WallengrenMay 23, 1993 (1993-05-23)

Broadcast history and U.S. television ratingsEdit

Season Timeslot (ET) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Nielsen Ranking
1 Sunday 7:00 pm September 21, 1989 May 13, 1990 1989–1990 N/A
2 Sunday 7:00 pm September 16, 1990 May 5, 1991 1990–1991 #68 (8.92 rating)
3 Sunday 7:00 pm September 22, 1991 May 10, 1992 1991–1992 #68 (9.21 rating)
4 Sunday 7:00 pm September 20, 1992 May 23, 1993 1992–1993 #66 (9.11 rating)

In Canada, the show aired on Crossroads Television System.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1993 American Television Awards[1][2] Best Supporting Actress, Dramatic Series Kellie Martin Won
1990 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Chris Burke Nominated
1993 Humanitas Prize 60 Minute Category Marshall Goldberg (For episode "Bedfellows") Nominated
1990 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Viveca Lindfors Won
1991 Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics Mark Mueller and Craig Safan (For episode "Corky's Travels") Nominated
1993 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Chad Lowe Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Kellie Martin Nominated
1990 Viewers for Quality Television Award Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series Patti LuPone Nominated
1991 Nominated
1992 Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Kellie Martin Won
Founder's Award Won
1993 Best Quality Drama Series Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Drama Series Chad Lowe Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Drama Series Kellie Martin Nominated
1994 Writers Guild of America Award Episodic Drama Toni Graphia (For episode "Last Wish") Nominated
1990 Young Artist Award Best Young Actor Supporting Role in a Television Series Tommy Puett Nominated
Kevin Telles Nominated
Best Young Actress Supporting Role in a Television Series Kellie Martin Nominated
Best Young Actor Guest Starring in a Television Series Michael Bays Nominated
Ryan Bollman Nominated
Best New Television Series Nominated
Inspiration to Youth Chris Burke Won
1991 Best Young Actor Starring in a Television Series Nominated
Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series Kellie Martin Won
Best Young Actress Supporting or Recurring Role For a TV Series Tanya Fenmore Nominated
Leigh Ann Orsi Nominated
1992 Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series Kellie Martin Won
1993 Best Young Actress Starring in a Television Series Nominated
Best Young Actress Recurring in a Television Series Kiersten Warren Nominated

Home mediaEdit

On May 9, 2006, Warner Home Video released Season 1 of Life Goes On on DVD in Region 1. It is unknown if the remaining three seasons will be released. The DVD release has a replacement theme song at the beginning of each episode, with the exception of the show's pilot. The replacement was due to high licensing costs for the Beatles' song "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." The new song aptly titled "Life Goes On" was written by composer Marc Jackson of MoonLab Music and sung by singer/songwriter Tara Johnston. The song was written specifically for the DVD release.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lowry, Brian (April 16, 1993). "CBS leads noms for Emmy rival". variety.com. Retrieved November 10, 2013.
  2. ^ "American TV Awards to 'Seinfeld,' 'Fly Away'". variety.com. May 24, 1993. Retrieved November 10, 2013.

External linksEdit