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Life Goes On HD online

Life Goes On  HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Series / Drama
Original Title: Life Goes On
Duration: 1h
Video type: TV Series
A modern All-American family deals with the struggles of life and love in mid-western suburbia.
Complete series cast summary:
Bill Smitrovich Bill Smitrovich - Drew Thatcher 83 episodes, 1989-1993
Patti LuPone Patti LuPone - Libby Thatcher 83 episodes, 1989-1993
Chris Burke Chris Burke - Corky Thatcher 83 episodes, 1989-1993
Kellie Martin Kellie Martin - Becca Thatcher 83 episodes, 1989-1993
Tracey Needham Tracey Needham - Paige Thatcher 40 episodes, 1990-1993
Chad Lowe Chad Lowe - Jesse McKenna 35 episodes, 1991-1993

This was the first television series to have a major character with Down syndrome, "Corky" Thatcher played by Chris Burke who has Down syndrome in real life.

One of the first shows to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its social implications. In its later seasons the show depicted a relationship between Kellie Martin's character Becca Thacher and Chad Lowe's character Jesse McKenna. Becca and Jesse dated, and were often shown kissing. Jesse had HIV/AIDS and Becca did not. The show used this relationship and the character of Jesse to address issues of bigotry and unwarranted hysteria regarding the disease. Moreover, the show helped to inform its audience about the facts and myths surrounding HIV/AIDS (for example: the various ways one could or could not contract HIV/AIDS) and urged people to practice safe sex, avoid drug use involving needles, and to get tested.

In her autobiography, Patti LuPone says she and her co-star Bill Smitrovich, who played her husband in the series, heartily disliked each other, so much so that by the fourth season that they weren't even speaking to each other off the set and that she was amazed the series lasted as long as it did.

The theme song, The Beatles' "Ob La Di," which contains the line "Life goes on," was sung on the show by the cast members.

Monique Lanier left the role of Paige so she could have a baby she was replaced by Tracy Needham



Reviews: [20]

  • avatar

    Morad

    Every week I watched "Life Goes On" and it was the best show ever. Kellie Martin was the breakout star; she was great. Her boyfriend, Jesse McKenna, played by Chad Lowe, was wonderful. Corky was terrific. There is only positive about this show. It was great and I wish some network would rerun it now.
  • avatar

    Zut

    "Life Goes On" focused on the daily life of the Thatcher family, particularly Corky (Chris Burke), a young man with Down's Syndrome. When the show began in 1989, 18-year-old Corky was mainstreamed into a normal high school as a freshman, which meant that he was in the same grade as his younger sister Becca (Kellie Martin). At first, Becca was embarrassed about the idea of going to school with her brother, but eventually she accepted him as a fellow high school student (and served as his primary source of emotional support during school). As a developmentally disabled person trying to function in a difficult world, Corky dealt with many struggles and hardships. The show was not all about Corky, of course: viewers also saw the other members of the Thatcher family face their own problems.

    In my mind, the most impressive thing about Corky was his optimistic view of life, as well as his perseverance. No matter how many obstacles or drawbacks he faced, Corky always bounced back with a positive attitude. Chris Burke was very realistic in his portrayal of Corky, of course (since Burke actually has Down's Syndrome), but he also made the character very charming and likeable. There was another young person on the show (other than Burke) who showed a lot of promise from the very beginning: Kellie Martin. Even though she was only 13 when the series began, Martin immediately displayed a natural talent for acting. As the character Becca became more confident and mature, Kellie developed into an actress seemingly capable of taking on any dramatic role.

    After four years, ABC canceled "Life Goes On" in 1993. The Family Channel and PAX both reran the series, but unfortunately it is not currently on cable. I would love to see reruns of this great show again, particularly on a network like ABC Family (which is the successor to the Family Channel). Also, I think the talented Kellie Martin should star on another TV series, especially since she has not done much acting over the past couple of years (since her two-year stint on "ER" ended in 2000).
  • avatar

    Wrathmaster

    This show ran entirely on Sunday evenings at 7:00pm(6:00 pm CST)and while its ratings always kept it on the cutting block--in fact,it seemed like the show wasn't even going to make it to a fourth season,with the network opting to let it run almost in mid-cancellation--the show's fan base and the general reaction to it was almost always positive. As a sibling to someone with a developmental disability(though not Down's Syndrome),I found it quite edifying that a warm,realistic television show that could be best described as a "dramedy" could be made around a person with a disability. The Thatchers have done well raising down syndromed Corky(the wonderful Chris Burke)into a bright,well-meaning and responsible young man. His struggles are actually often in tandem with the struggles of the parents(Bill Smitrovich and Patti Lupone)and the non-disabled but highly different daughters(Kellie MArtin and Paige Needham),rather than the central focus of. Three strong(maybe more like two-and-half)seasons,followed by a forced last season or so may've diluted the full quality of this show,but it was still a pleasure to follow this story and would be intrigued to see these shows again,probably on cable.
  • avatar

    Laitchai

    Life Goes On was a wonderful show. It never failed to make me cry or laugh. The relationships between the family were heartwarming. I wish it had run longer. I'll never forget the time that Corky rescued a pig and was hiding it in the house! I wish they'd do a reunion show.
  • avatar

    net rider

    I couldn't wait to see this show every week. It was one of those things I was looking forward to every day of the week. If I had a bad day, I thought about the fact that the show would be coming on and my day would be better. A series that would make you laugh and cry, depending on the episode. Corky was my hero !!! The fact that he dealt with life the way he dealt with should be an example for everyone. You think you got a bad day ? Put yourself in Corky's shoes. Or his family's for that matter. Not too mention the fact I had a bit of a crush on Kellie Martin...... This is definitely one of those groundbreaking shows that I would watch again. We can all learn from this.
  • avatar

    Vuzahn

    Life Goes On was pretty much about just that...LIFE. Whoever cast the show did one whale of a job. The Thatchers are a blended family, which includes him (Bill Smitrovich) and her (Patti Lupone), his daughter and their son and daughter. But the Thatchers aren't Ozzie & Harriett or Father Knows Best, they live in the real world and their son, Corky (brillantly portrayed by Chris Burke) has Downs Syndrome. They are torn between protecting Corky and giving him the opportunity to mainstream and live a real life. Unfortunately, the writers weren't up to the task after the first season and started straying from what I thought was a brilliant concept. They turned a first rate series into a soap opera in prime time taking the story line into the life's tragedies (fatal car crashes and HIV), instead of keeping the focus on the day-to-day struggles of raising a family while dealing with a child who is challenged and the effects on each family member as Life Goes On.

    But with its shortcomings, it is still better than 99% of what is being offered viewers now. Wish it were still on the air. But, unfortunately, as has been their history, ABC can't deal with a winning series.
  • avatar

    Roram

    I remember watching my first prime time drama at the age of six years old with my mother and younger brother. My mother was a huge fan of "Life Goes On", the show which focuses on the Thatcher Family. She somehow got me so interested in the show that it became the first program I watched on a regularl basis. The story revolves around the two parents who guide their wayward daughter Paige, the blossoming Becca, and Charles, or Corky, their first and only downs-syndrome child. The breakout star of the show became Kellie Martin, whose portrayal of Becca captured the hearts of many awe-struck spectators every Sunday night on ABC. Her first boyfriend, Tyler, dies in a car crash and her second boyfriend was HIV positive. Words (and especially not mine) can not do this show justice. The emotion is just to pure and real that you feel Becca's pain over Jesse and vice versa. It was an incredible show. ABC, of course cancelled it in it's fourth season. "Life Goes On" and "My So-Called Life" will always be my favorite dramas for the 90's and I suppose I will always hate ABC for cutting them down in their prime. You can check out re-runs of the show if you get PAX and see a very different (and blond) Kellie Martin scrubbing for surgery on ER.
  • avatar

    Sardleem

    When I saw Chris Burke's smiling face on the screen for the very first time, I knew that I was seeing a barrier being broken down. At last someone had gotten the great idea of portraying the life of the Developmentally Disabled on screen and the sacrifices that parents all over the world make daily to keep children in their families and try to give them as normal a life as possible.

    The only thing that I didn't like as the series moved on was that it left the focus of life with Corky Thatcher to life with Becca Thatcher, portrayed by the more popular actor. It lost out on what could have been some very interesting story lines by doing that. The only thing that rather redeemed that switch was the storyline that dealt with Corky getting married.

    Otherwise, the producers of this show are to be congratulated. Without this series there may not have been movies like "The Other Sister" or a hero for so many of the Developmentally Disabled named Chris Burke, who proved that what so many of them want could be done.
  • avatar

    Kelerana

    This show was a GREAT show, it was about a middle class American family who had to deal with a great deal of different "drama's" that life threw at them to include everything from business problems (they owned a restaurant) to marital problems, to coping with mainstreaming their son w/ down syndrome, to their daughter being in love with a man who has HIV / AIDS and then eventually what he had to deal with and what they as a couple had to deal with.

    It was a great show, i was just a kid when it was on, but i just loved it and my family greatly related to it in many ways, my father having a sister who has down syndrome, and us coming from a regular middle class American family who've seen the ups and downs this glorious ever evolving and continuing life has brought us.

    It wasn't always easy to watch. It wasn't always hard. But it was always consistently a caring, warm, relatively honest depiction of middle class American life at that time.
  • avatar

    Rko

    This show debuted when I was in the 6th grade, and it quickly became one of my favorite TV shows. I remember feeling bowled-over when seeing the opening credits and theme song for the first time - it was one of the funniest, most realistic portrayals of a regular family I had ever seen. The same can be said for the rest of the show. Being only a few years younger than Becca, and nerdy like her, I completely related to her trials and tribulations. At the time I didn't think the inclusion of a Down Syndrome character was that big of a deal, but looking back I realize how groundbreaking it was for a family show to portray a main character with a mental disability. I enjoyed Corky just as much as Becca.

    The first three seasons were great, and it stayed on track as a unique family show that focused on Corky and his challenges going to a regular school and trying to live a regular life. However, the fourth season took a sharp turn as it focused 90% of its time on Becca's boyfriend Jesse, who had AIDS. At the time, AIDS was just starting to become a mainstream cause, though there were still many misconceptions about the disease. I'm glad the show, never afraid of being edgy, portrayed a character with AIDS, but I wish he wasn't the focus. I actually grew tired of Becca and Jesse's constant dramas every week, and wasn't surprised when the show ended. It was kind of depressing for me to see Becca's life constantly consumed by Jesse and his AIDS status, and I wish the writers let her have a bit more fun during the last days of her high school years. The final episode, which wrapped up the Becca/Jesse storyline, was particularly strange and I wish they had went full circle and focused on Corky instead.
  • avatar

    MrDog

    The other day I watched an episode were Corky was a bit depressed because he wasnt creative like his sister and mother. So his father talks to him and explains that creative can also be to make people happy. Corky looks at him and learns another thing about life. In his somewhat naive way he is wiser than many people, even if he has downs syndrome. During the series tune at the start they sing happy ever after in the market place etc., and there is a short picture of the caracters. Corky sits in bed making his bag ready for school, and he looks at the camera who probably is one of his parents, and smiles that smile. Another great/entertaining thing is Tyler (Beccas friend who always needs tutoring to be able to play sports) wearing those big 80+s sneakers and washed jeans and of course the mullet head hair style. GREAT for this but most for depicting a really nice family and their struggles, good times and hardships.
  • avatar

    Dondallon

    Growing up I used to watch this show, nearly every Sunday night. I still remember trying to finish up last-minute stuff, have my shower and get ready for school the next day in time to watch "Life Goes On" (and on many occasions, "America's Funniest Home Videos" after that) Often I would be running late, and would watch "Life Goes On" in my parents bedroom, practically still dripping wet, wearing a bathrobe, with my hair wrapped up turban-style in a towel to air-dry as my dad ironed his work clothes, and I watched the show.

    I have LOVED "Life Goes On" for its entire run! It is a poignant and touching family drama, starring Bill Smitrovich and Patti LuPone as "Drew" (Smitrovich) and "Libby" (LuPone) Thatcher, a middle working-class couple, who are dealing with the issue of "mainstreaming" their 18 year old son, Charles "Corky" who has Downs Syndrome into a regular, public high school as a freshman, and all the challenges and trials, tribulations, and triumphs that go along with it.

    Drew and Libby have their hands full, raising Corky and their 2 other children, twenty-something Paige (Monique Lanier in Season 1, Tracey Needham in Season 2-4) who is Drew's child from a previous marriage, and 14 or 15 year old Rebecca "Becca" while trying to make ends meet on Drew's construction worker salary, and Libby's income as a secretary/clerical worker in an advertising agency.

    Towards the end of the first season, Drew buys a diner, and quits his back-breaking construction work to run the restaurant, and things start looking up for the Thatchers.

    Growing up I LOVED watching "Life Goes On", especially because of Kellie Martin, and Monique Lanier. Though I liked Tracey Needham, I was IMMENSELY disappointed when Monique left, and the role of Paige was recast with Tracey. Because up until then, I LOVED Paige best, and then Becca. After Monique left and Tracey assumed the role, it changed and I LOVED Becca best.

    This is a BEAUTIFUL series, and one of the many nostalgic highlights of my childhood and adolescence.

    When I think of my childhood and preteen years, I think of shows like "Punky Brewster", "Life Goes On", "Perfect Strangers", "Who's the Boss?", "Head of the Class" and many more! But "Life Goes On" (and a few very select others), had and still does have a very special place in my heart! I CAN'T WAIT until the other 3 seasons are released on DVD! BRING ON SEASONS 2, 3 & 4!!!!!!!!!
  • avatar

    Yggfyn

    WHEN WE THOUGHT of writing a review for this LIFE GOES ON Series, we didn't realize that it had been on for a total of four years. Looking it up in IMDb records refreshed our memory. With all due respect, working on the Police Department, afternoon shift with rotating days off, preempted us from being home every Sunday, when it aired.

    THE SERIES DELIVERED in the area that it promised. Being a far cry from depictions of "typical" American families from previous times, this story of the Thatcher family; who, like every family, have their share of bumps in the road of life.

    THE CAST WAS particularly well chosen; as everyone in the "Thatcher family" has both convincing attitude and appearance. The cast consisted of: Bill Mitovich (Drew Thatcher, Father), Patty LuPone, (Libby Thatcher, Mother), Chris Burke, son Corky), Kellie Martin (Becca Thatcher, Daughter) and Tracey Needham (Paige Thatcher, daughter).

    THE ONGOING STORYLINE chronicled the day to day struggles of the family at all levels. E.G., Father's construction business goes under and he regroups his energies into operating a restaurant. The Mother faces up to the inevitable changes in life as one ages. Becca struggles with the trials of an adolescent's coming of age.

    BUT THE MOST groundbreaking and innovative element was introduced in the character of Corky. It is that the younger Mr. Thatcher is a Son; who just happens to be a Down Syndrome teen. Actor Chris Burke, who portrayed Corky, is in real life, so afflicted.

    THERE COULD WELL have been a tendency for the production team to gravitate toward being preachy and maudlin. This they tastefully avoided and instead they gave us a straightforward, bold and realistic dramatization of a family whose love and devotion for each other, holds them together; all the while they were weathering economic chaos, social set backs and coming to grips with with the cold, cruel treatment that some gave to Corky.

    WHEN ALL IS considered and LIFE GOES ON is evaluated as a complete series, it surely will be rated as an all time top dramatic series! AND TO THINK, it was on ABC, not on that pretentious tax glutton, PBS.Now, what would Newton Minow say?*

    NOTE * Newton Minow (1926-) a politically active Chicago lawyer, was appointed as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in the Kennedy Administration. In a speech before the National Associatoion of Broadcasters in 1961, he referred to commercial TV as a "vast wasteland."
  • avatar

    Adaly

    Remember this show ? It was a great show about a kid who had downs syndrome and the difficulties he had to deal with.

    It also talked about other real life problems like aids, teenagers in general and things that had a lot of depth and meaning. Yet it was very entertaining.

    All the actors were excellent and gave their characters layers.

    Fast forward to today, all we get are superficial shows like Lost,Prison Break and DS !! They are all about special affects and no substance.

    What happened to American TV series ? I haven't like one single TV series that has come out the last 10 years from USA. And the shows I liked in the 90s has gone down the hill big time the last couple of years.

    I doubt I will ever like an American TV series again(or a Hollywood movie for that matter)
  • avatar

    Gunos

    I, too, wish that there were re-runs of this wonderful program (but on one of the broadcast TV channels, since I don't have cable). There were so many episodes that brought tears to my eyes, just because they portrayed what were so true-to-life happenings. I never missed an episode and would purposely stay at home between 6:30-7:00 PM on Sunday nights so that I could watch it. My very favorite episode was the one where Corky hides quite a large pig in the house, attempting to save it from being slaughtered (I think). That was hilarious. Showing how much a person (namely Corky) with Down Syndrome can accomplish, was a real ground-breaker for TV. Also, Chad Lowe, who portrayed a young man who was HIV positive, was wonderful, for the same reason.

    "Life Goes On", but unfortunately, no longer on TV - at least not here in Minneapolis.
  • avatar

    Uscavel

    Life Goes On reminds me of those movies of the week but made for a television series. It's one of those feel-good dramas starring the wonderful Patti LuPone who plays mother to Becca played by the annoying Kellie Martin, (sorry but I avoid her whenever possible!) She's just too perky for me, and Corky played by the wonderful Christopher Burke who really has a down syndrome. The first episode has him getting ready for his first day at the same high school as Becca. She falls for Tyler, the cute good-looking guy who treats Corky like another student. Also Becca has a relationship with Chad Lowe's character who has AIDS. I guess it was groundbreaking at the time and he won an Emmy for it. It's one of those dramas and there is comedy too. Of course, Patti plays the second wife and is stepmother to an older daughter who we never see.
  • avatar

    Gir

    This is my first comment at IMDB, so bare with me.

    I can barely remember this series (this was many years ago). I believe it aired on Sunday nights on ABC. There actually isn't much I can remember about "Life Goes On". (This was 10-15 years ago.)

    Corky Thatcher (played by Chris Burke) has Down's Syndrome, and Down's Syndrome is something that we all have to deal with if we or someone we know has it. As the series progressed later on, other social issues were dealt with.

    If there is anyone who enjoyed the series, maybe it would be a good idea to see this series in reruns, if it ever happens.
  • avatar

    VariesWent

    Well, it wasn't always BLAH.... In fact, ABC had propelled itself far ahead of the trendiness of NBC or the cultural prehistorics of CBS programming with this groundbreaking show. Corky, a 19 year old kid with Downs is admitted to freshman level of high school thanks to a controversial decision made in public schools in the late 80's known as "mainstreaming". There, he wings his way through a world of playful jocks, cynical smart kids and mean-spirited cheerleaders. His only help is Becca, his 14 year old sister and Tyler Benchfield, star athlete, all around nice guy who protects Corky from being teased all the while harboring the secret of having a disabled brother himself. "Life Goes On" was in fact the first show to center around a retarded (Downs is a form of retardation, so back off P.C. ers.) main character as well to feature one as the star of the show. Chris Burke did a superb job and is not blamed at all for why the show went BLAH.... First of all not every show centered on Corky. No. Usually it was the pathetic ideals that his ex-hippie baby-boomer parents pushed on us Sunday viewers. Or how older sister Paige rejects men resembling Wall Street traders for lowly artists. And who could forget Becca, the true star of the show for not being so shallow as to end her infatuation with Tyler for the AIDS-stricken Jessie who loved to paint her nude and help out in her anti censorship marches on the local record store. Meanwhile Corky was always left doing something childish that pretty much took away from his story of struggling to be normal. "Life Goes On" was a platform for the producers to launch their liberal views on an unsuspecting audience waiting to see the "ABC Sunday Night Movie" which usually was "Star Trek II". Oh blah dee BLAH BLAH!!
  • avatar

    Dilmal

    As the Beatles hit song Obla Di Obla Da opened Life Goes On with said lyric, it opened on a family show where people looked real and acted real. It was a groundbreaking show in so many ways, not the least of which it had a high functioning Down's Syndrome cast member.

    Obviously Chris Burke was limited in his casting potential nevertheless a whole group of people suddenly became visible for America. That in and of itself would have made the show landmark.

    But Life Goes On also had the first person with AIDS as a regular. Chad Lowe younger brother of Brat Pack stalwart Rob Lowe played a kid with AIDS and he was shown firstly as a heterosexual kid who caught the virus. That went a long way in dispelling the myth it was a 'gay disease'. Lowe had as normal life as possible under the circumstances.

    One aspect of Lowe's character that was not handled well, but quite frankly who knew how to handle it then. In those days it was pretty much of a death sentence eventually. Now with a lot of the advances made in medicine that is no longer the case. But when the series ended somewhat abruptly it was with gloom and foreboding for Chad Lowe's character.

    The center of the show was Kellie Martin typical American teen who carried a statue of liberty size torch for the high school hunk Tommy Puett. It sadly was never to be for them as Puett's character was killed off in the 3rd season.

    Reading here that parents Bill Smitrovich and Patty Lupone couldn't stand each other. I suspect that had a lot to do with canceling Life Goes On.

    But it was good while it lasted.
  • avatar

    Cargahibe

    Life goes on came on TV Land last weekend for a 50th anniversary warner bros. marathon. I was real little when it came on and I don't remember much about it. I watched the two episodes they should and Iloved it. I want Life Goes On to come on t.v. I wish TV Land or Hallmark channel would show it. It is a great show the whole family can enjoy. There are a lot of great characters and stories on there. It is a wholesome, heartwarming show.

    I also wish it would come on DVD. There is no channel that picks it up at all. Abc Family would even be a good channel. Another Great show that never comes on is MY so called life.