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.