Here we go again with another TV drama about children and divorce, the latest trend in television's attempt to be socially aware.
Only this time the program is for children."What Are Friends For?," the ABC Afterschool Special airing today at 4:30 on Channel 7, is a warm and honest account of children trying to cope with the breakup of their families.
The story is about 12-year-olds Amy Warner and Michelle Mudd, trying to live with divorce by forming a "forever friendship" pact. Both are angry victims of divorce and view the outside world and children of intact families as enemies.
Each directs her wrath at her father. Amy goes to the extreme of not even talking with her father.
Her pain is new. She and her advertising copywriter mother have just moved from New York to Santa Monica. And like many of the young and innocent sufferers of divorce she represents (about 12 million children under age 18), she is frustrated and befuddled.
She gradually realizes that her friendship with Mitchelle is more harmful than helpful. In the end, Amy learns to live with divorce and makes up with her father, and the program ends on a high note.
Narrowly focused on Amy, Michelle and a third playmate, the drama ignores boy characters. Maybe these girls have enough male problems with their fathers.
Also, the story only pays passing reference to the financial hard times that divorce usually brings. However, those are only mild objections. The program achieves the objective of dramatizing a timely -- and touching -- story brought home each year by the million children who see the breakup of their families.