Maybe you remember the feeling. The awkwardness, the uncertainty, the laughter, the sly smiles, the tentatives advances. You're a teen-ager and (gasp.) you're falling in love.
Does the known universe contain more of a dramatic staple than first love? Will the flow of poems, songs, films, books and even comic books written on the subject ever cease? Of course not - experiences like that tend to be the ones we're fondest of , the ones that bring out what we hope is the best in us. As the Beatles put it, a love like that, you know it can't be bad.
Tonight, TV takes another crack at first love in John Korty's "Forever," a two-hour film at 9 on Channel 9. If you are tired of "shoddy small-minded realism, if you want to see a winsome, small-scale project executed with great care, feel free to tune in.
Its story is simplicity itself. Cath meets Michael during the last part of their senior year in high school. The romance prgresses, they fall in love, they sleep with each other (this is 1978, in case you've forgotten) and Michael gives her a necklace with the word "Forever" on it.
Now enter the inevitable ogre, this time in the form of summer vacation. Michael goes off to a job in one state, Cath to a job in another. Suddenly, things are no longer clear. Was this really true love, or what? I'll never tell, but something happens that does feel dramatically right and proper.
Though it contains many scenes of our young couple romantically kissing in meadows, on ferries, by that ocean, even in a hot tub (guess what state this is filmed in), "Forever" pretty much lacks cloying, soft-drink commercial qualities.
Stephanie Zimbalist and Dean Butler play Cath and Michael, and John Friedrich and Beth Raine's are Artie and Erica, a parallel couple that has, how shall I put it, more than their share of heartbreaks. You like these fine young people at once, are taken by the excellent, non-hyperbolic dialogue they recite, and you want only the best for them.
The most important reason for "Forever" success, however, is the hand of director Korty, who has done a series of low-budget theatrical features, "Crazy Quilt" being perhaps the best known, as well as TV's "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman."
Korty is sensitive in the best sense. He does not force the story but lets it flow so well that we are hardly aware of his work. His care makes us feel for his characters, and in a situation like this nothing could be better.