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Life Goes On: The Complete First Season

Bill Smitrovich , Patti LuPone , Gene Reynolds , Georg Fenady    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Life Goes On: The Complete First Season + Eight Is Enough S1 Comp
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

When Life Goes On first aired on ABC in 1989, it wore its ground-breaking bravura on its theoretical sleeve: The dramedy focused on a hard-working but deep-loving Midwest family, the Thachers, with a small twist. Son Corky, 18, had Down syndrome, and the actor who played him, the charming, sweet-faced Chris Burke, also has Down syndrome. And while many of the plot points revolved around Corky and the challenges he faced being "mainstreamed" into a regular high school, his sweet temperament and determination, and the ongoing trials of the rest of the members of the family, made for a compelling and well-rounded TV saga. The Emmy-nominated Kellie Martin (who would go on to star in ER) plays plucky sister Becca, the 14-year-old initially mortified that her older brother would be in her freshman class, but she rallies, believably, and becomes a key source of emotional support for Corky. The other cast high point is Patti LuPone, who in the '80s was one of the premiere stars of Broadway musicals, and who plays the loving but sometimes battle-scarred mom, Libby, to steely perfection. The Complete First Season contains all 22 episodes, plus some great extras, including commentaries by Burke and series creator Michael Braverman. In the end what made the Thacher family so special was that it was really just like every family; sometimes there are curve balls, and sometimes there are wild moments of joy. And always, life goes on. --A.T. Hurley

Product Description

This heartwarming family drama broke ground by addressing difficult social issues including Downs Syndrome and AIDS is on DVD for the first time. The show centers around the Thatchers: Drew, Libby, Becca, Paige and Corky.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show. Bring on seasons 2-4 :) March 27 2013
By Melissa
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
DVDs came in perfect condition and I never had any problems.

The show itself is a great family show that I have missed for many years. A really good down to earth show about a family who's son has Down syndrome and his day to day struggles, as well as their teenage daughter who is struggling to make it through highschool with all the normal teenage girls troubles.

I cannot wait for seasons 2-4 to be released.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome DVD Box Set March 21 2010
Format:DVD
I would definately suggest this to all others!
I can't wait till you's receive The Complete Second Season!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  67 reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sunday dinner with the Thatchers Feb. 8 2006
By A. Gammill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I've got great memories of watching this show on Sundays night over dinner with my family. They really don't make t.v. like this anymore, and that's a shame. The Thatchers were a believable family, albeit a very unique one.

I do think the first season was a bit uneven, as the show struggled to become more than just a soapbox for accepting different people (i.e., Corky's Down Syndrome). And they never could seem to figure out what to do with oldest daughter Paige (who was played by another actress in seasons 2-4). But it's still engaging family drama that never gets TOO preachy.

The best part about the first season has to be Kellie Martin as Becca. The part was smarter and better-written than any teenage role I can recall. Martin just got better as the series went on; it's a shame she would only do one more series (the short-lived CHRISTY) before becoming the queen of t.v. movies throughout much of the 90's.

I hope that this set sells well so Warner will be able to release the remaining seasons of Life Goes On.
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spend time with the Thatchers May 7 2006
By Robin Orlowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Family dramas had existed since the invention of television-but 'Life Goes On' really attempted to deal with real life.

14 years after the passage of laws requiring special education, this was the first series realistically examining a person with a disability as lead character that audiences intentionally were supposed to empathize with.

Nineteen year old Charles "Corky" Thatcher has Downs Syndrome (as does the actor Chris Burke who plays him). Many plots of this award-winning series involved Corky adjusting to being mainstreamed in a regular school after previously having attended a special school.

Younger sister Becca (Kellie Martin-in her breakout role) loves her brother, but also wrestles with her own challenges of wanting to support family while wanting to fit in with her peers who don't take easily to the `weird'. Winning the affections of Tyler Benchfield (Tommy Puett) is her recurring goal throughout the 1989-1990 season. She also gets an EXCELLENT `star' episode in "Becca and the Underground Newspaper" , learning the hard way that publishing everything and anything you find out without first doing fact-checking is irresponsible journalism. Tyler is admittedly hot for the era, but the writers wanted Becca to also be daring.

"Corky for President" is a good episode because Corky runs for president---without realizing that the girl whom he sincerely had a crush on encouraged him to run to only toy with his emotions. She did not feel the same way about him. At the same time, it showed Corky seriously campaigning and sincerely believing that he could be president.

Another memorable episode is "The Baby-sitter" because Corky gets a job as a babysitter, taking care of children. This is important because people with disabilities ourselves are historically portrayed as children, needing other people to take care of us. Corky himself is considered responsible and capable.

"Ordinary Heroes" is a pivotal episode because Drew decides to quit his construction business and instead open up a restaurant. The current owner of the property the Thatchers are interested in won't sell because of Corky's disability, but the Thatcher family restaurant ultimately comes into fruition.

Then, Corky is paired up with none other than Shannen Doherty herself when a teacher has students do a `marriage' project ("Corky's Crush").He subsequently develops a crush on her-while she has the hots for another guy. I still get a kick out of this episode because both Kellie Martin and Doherty now look so different from how they once looked.

"Corky Rebels" is an important episode because it communicates that some families smother their members with disabilities under the guise of protecting them They don't want to acknowledge us as being independent. Corky's `fight the power' act looks somewhat campy now, but ironically aired at a time when disability activists demanded greater freedoms for people with disabilities and passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The Return of Uncle Richard" reminds us that those upcoming freedoms will not leave the world in a free for all. Drew Thatcher (Bill Smitrovitch) mends fences with his estranged brother Richard so Corky still will have a guardian if something bad were to happen to his parents.

I have a different disability and am a young adult in a much different era, but this series continues to address so many similar issues. It grows ever more relevant for me and other people with disabilities. Many of our experiences continue being reflected in the series scripts without being condescending, overdramatic, or disempowering.

Extras include commentary by both Chris Burke and the series creator Michael Braverman. During this season only, Paige Thatcher, Drew's daughter from a previous marriage, is played by Monique Lanier. This series was good in it's time, but grows ever more cherished with age. It's a scathing indictment of current television that other series have yet to make a similar cultural impact, particularly concerning people with disabilities, our families, and friends.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Family Show of all time comes to DVD...Finally! March 7 2006
By Sean Pasek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Oh-blah-dee, Oh-blie-dah, Life Goes On!

I grew up with many family shows such as Little House on the Praire, the Waltons, and so forth. But, Life Goes On will always be my favorite.

Life Goes On put realism and just a touch of grit into television as it attempted to broadcast to families the changing times, the new issues facing teenagers, and the plights of an American family constantly struggling to make do.

Life Goes On is the first television series to have a down-syndrome actor as one of its stars. Chris Burke (Charles "Corky" Thacher) is simply wonderful. You will see over the course of four seasons how his acting range really blossoms. He was originally going to be the focal point of the show.

Life Goes On is about the Thachers...a semi-middle class family living in Glenbrook Illinois which is a suburb of Chicago. It is the story of a hard-working family that faces one plight after another...just like life!

Drew Thacher (Bill Smitrovich) is the father who is working as a construction worker. He's tired of "just getting by" with the hard physical labor and the small checks. He plays a father who loves his children and is always trying to find a way to get ahead; to get on top of things. His life-long dream is to be the owner of a restaurant. Over the course of the first season we find out if he can achieve this dream or not...and if so, what are the costs?

Libby Thacher is wonderfully played by stage performer and Tony award winner, Patti Lupone. She works for an advertising agency run by Jerry (who becomes a favorite character played by Ray Butenika). Libby is tired of doing all of Jerry's dirty work...taking his clothes to the cleaners, washing his car, getting him coffee, etc. She feels she can do more than this, but Jerry is stingy and tries to cut financial costs and corners wherever he can.

Paige is Drew's daughter from his first marriage. She is out of high school, and a bit of a leaf blowing in the wind. She doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. The role of Paige is played first by Monique Lanier who has a softness and sweetness in the character. She is replaced from the second season on by Tracey Needham. Paige has a special relationship with Corky, and she has the usual big-sister/little-sister issues with Becca. She also begins the show with an estranged relationship with Libby.

Corky is the oldest son who is suddenly moved from attending a special school to a public school, as he is high-functioning, and the Thachers feel he is entitled to a "regular" education as they attempt to mainstream him. Corky finds himself the target of many high school taunts and practical jokes (particularly Russo). Tyler Benchfield is, at first, Corky's only friend. Tyler is a jock who has a special place in his heart for Corky, as we discover that Tyler has a brother with down-syndrome also. Tyler attempts to protect Corky and to help him fit in. Becca, the youngest daughter, is not thrilled at having Corky at her school, but quickly changes her tune.

Kellie Martin would soon take center stage in Life Goes On. Her acting ability is tremendous, and the writers quickly discover that the meat of their story is in the character of Becca (Rebecca) Thacher. She is a brilliant, straight "A" student with glasses and skinny legs who dreams of Tyler, her life-long crush. She's feisty and has a knack for throwing out intelligent comebacks or quips to her parents or to those who try to put her down. We quickly find that Becca is an intelligent girl with an even bigger heart. Subsequent seasons will demonstrate this fact when she meets Jesse (Chad Lowe), a boy she quickly falls in love with, but discovers he is HIV+, which sets up one of the most powerful relationship dynamics in television history.

This is a show about real values. This is a show about real problems...money, integrating into high school, issues facing the rearing of a down-syndrome child, broken dreams, etc. You find as a viewer that you relate with the Thachers. Their world is far from perfect, but the love is always there, and in the end, it's the most important glue to holding a family together.

The entire cast is wonderful. I loved this show when it was on. I was sorry to see it go. Chad Lowe would later win a much deserved Emmy for his performance as Jesse McKenna as Life Goes On would tackle one of the biggest issues in society...AIDS and how it affects a high school boy; how he deals with the prejudices of those around him, and why a "normal" girl would want to have anything to do with him.

Life Goes On will touch your heart, make you laugh, and make you cry because there is a tenderness and sweetness behind the realism. Life Goes On proved that family television can do both!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding program for Down Syndrome's and their families July 3 2006
By Cynthia Ovalle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
My sister has Down Syndrome---and when this show was airing---she never missed an episode.

She is now 46 years old, lives with me and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's ---which doctors/researchers are discovering in Down Syndrome's who live into their 40' and 50's.

I have tried numerous things to engage Cathy Sue--in an effort to keep her mind as alert as possible. Sadly, she seems to have lost interest in most of the things that she dearly loved. The Dodgers; Cops TV show; arts/crafts and oldies music.

When I found this show on DVD--I immediately ordered the series for her---and she just perked right up! She remembers the show, the theme song, the characters and of course, Corky Thacher!

In fact, whenever she sees Corky on her big screen TV------ she forgets that it's TV and tries to touch Corky on the screen.

I enjoy watching Cathy Sue---while she watches Corky.

I recommend this wonderful program to anyone with kids of any age......the show's story and characters present an ideal opportunity to teach children about "special people".

It goes without saying---anyone with a Down's adult who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's-----should try shaking up the memory cells and purchase this program.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Show Nov. 18 2006
By Kristi Branstetter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This show came out about the time I started getting involved with the disability rights movement in 1989. This show was on the air when the Americans with Disabitiles Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This was and is the only television show based around a person with a real disability. I wish there were a lot more television shows like this using people with real disabilities. This show did a lot to break down barriers for people with disabilities, particularly people with Down Syndrome and other types of mental retardation. I cannot wait for the remainder of this wonderful television series to come out on DVD. I strongly recommend everyone read Chris Burke's book "Some Kind of Hero."
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