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That's Life (2000 TV series)

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That's Life
GenreComedy drama
Created byDiane Ruggiero
ComposerJay Gruska
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes36 (4 unaired)
Executive producers
  • Peter Dunne
  • W. Mark McNair
  • Peter Woronov
Running time42 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseOctober 1, 2000 (2000-10-01) –
January 26, 2002 (2002-01-26)

That's Life is an American comedy-drama television series created by Diane Ruggiero, that was broadcast on CBS from October 1, 2000 to January 26, 2002.


The hour-long series follows the life of a young Italian-American woman (Lydia DeLucca, played by Heather Paige Kent), loosely based on Ms. Ruggiero's life, and her family in suburban New Jersey. The show was set in fictional Bellefield, ostensibly a play on the combination of Belleville and Bloomfield, two adjacent older working class suburbs on the north side of Newark, New Jersey.

In the first season, Frank DeLucca works as a toll collector on the New Jersey Turnpike, while Dolly is a housewife. In the second season, Frank retires after suffering a heart attack on the job, and he and Dolly open a restaurant. Kevin Dillon played Paulie, Lydia's younger brother who was a young officer on the Bellefield Police Department who still lived at home. Debi Mazar played Jackie, Lydia's wise-cracking friend who owned a hair salon. The show mixed family situations with situations focusing on Lydia's life as a young single woman looking for both love and stable career, and for more out of life than simply raising children.

The first season revolved around the fallout from Lydia's breaking off her engagement to Lou (Sonny Marinelli, who was written out after a few episodes), enrolling at Montville State University, a local university somewhat resembling nearby Montclair State University, and moving away from home for the first time. Most of the situations were light-hearted, but plots occasionally delved into darker subjects, including Paulie's struggle to resist the temptation to fall into corruption as a police officer. In the second season, Lydia finally selects a major to pursue a career in sports medicine. Her mother Dolly successfully ran for city council of Bellefield. Paulie started dating Plum (Danielle Harris), a classmate whom Lydia befriends in the first season, and marries her.

The show developed a small fan base and received generally positive critical response, but languished in the ratings, despite the presence of well-known names in its cast, in part because it aired during the Friday night death slot for much of its run. It was cancelled at the end of the second season with numerous unresolved plot lines, including the budding romance between Lydia and one of her professors.



Season 1 (2000–01)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Pilot"Mick JacksonDiane RuggieroOctober 1, 2000 (2000-10-01)
22"The Screw-Up"Jim FrawleyDiane RuggieroOctober 7, 2000 (2000-10-07)
33"Whadda You Want from Life"UnknownUnknownOctober 14, 2000 (2000-10-14)
44"He's Very Heavy, He's My Brother"Rob ThompsonStory by : Anne McGrail
Teleplay by : Bill Grundfest & Diane Ruggiero
October 21, 2000 (2000-10-21)
55"Bad Hair Week"Jack BenderAnne McGrailOctober 28, 2000 (2000-10-28)
66"The Tell-Tale Uterus"David SemelAnne McGrailNovember 4, 2000 (2000-11-04)
77"Lydia and the Professor"Christopher MongerBill GrundfestNovember 11, 2000 (2000-11-11)
88"The Tutor"UnknownUnknownNovember 18, 2000 (2000-11-18)
99"Saint Bernadette"UnknownUnknownNovember 25, 2000 (2000-11-25)
1010"When Good Ideas Go Bad"UnknownUnknownDecember 16, 2000 (2000-12-16)
1111"Photographs"Paul SorvinoDiane RuggieroJanuary 6, 2001 (2001-01-06)
1212"Nomads"UnknownUnknownJanuary 13, 2001 (2001-01-13)
1313"Heart Problems"UnknownUnknownJanuary 20, 2001 (2001-01-20)
1414"Touched by a Biker"UnknownUnknownFebruary 3, 2001 (2001-02-03)
1515"Mr. Wrong"UnknownUnknownFebruary 10, 2001 (2001-02-10)
1616"Or What's a Heaven For?"UnknownUnknownFebruary 17, 2001 (2001-02-17)
1717"Banister Head"UnknownUnknownFebruary 24, 2001 (2001-02-24)
1818"Miracle at the Cucina"UnknownUnknownMarch 10, 2001 (2001-03-10)
1919"No Good Deed"UnknownUnknownApril 7, 2001 (2001-04-07)

Season 2 (2001–02)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
201"Larva"Michael SwitzerDiane RuggieroSeptember 28, 2001 (2001-09-28)
212"Something Battered, Something Blue"Joanna KernsJames StanleyOctober 5, 2001 (2001-10-05)
223"The Devil and Miss DeLucca"Michael SwitzerAnne McGrailOctober 12, 2001 (2001-10-12)
234"M.Y.O.B."UnknownUnknownOctober 19, 2001 (2001-10-19)
245"Bad Chemistry"UnknownUnknownOctober 26, 2001 (2001-10-26)
256"Boo!"UnknownUnknownNovember 2, 2001 (2001-11-02)
267"Plus One"UnknownUnknownNovember 9, 2001 (2001-11-09)
278"Idiots"UnknownUnknownNovember 16, 2001 (2001-11-16)
289"Oh, Baby"UnknownUnknownDecember 7, 2001 (2001-12-07)
2910"Sex in the Suburbs"UnknownUnknownDecember 21, 2001 (2001-12-21)
3011"All About Lydia"UnknownUnknownJanuary 11, 2002 (2002-01-11)
3112"What's Family Got to Do With It?"UnknownUnknownJanuary 12, 2002 (2002-01-12)
3213"Momento"UnknownUnknownJanuary 26, 2002 (2002-01-26)
3314"Behind Closed Doors"TBDTBDUNAIRED
3415"Love's Labor"TBDTBDUNAIRED
3516"Baum's Thesis"TBDTBDUNAIRED

TV ratings[edit]

  • Highest rated: 12.1 million/9.1 household rating [series debut against Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony]
  • 2000 to 2001:
  • 2001 to 2002: 6.9 million viewers[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2001 Artios Award Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Pilot Mary V. Buck and Susan Edelman Nominated
2002 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television – Music, Episodic Live Action Lisa A. Arpino
(for episode "Touched by a Biker")


  1. ^ "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. May 28, 2002.

External links[edit]