Largely catatonic, strickly amateurish, short on the cheap and, it would appear, written on the cuff, "The Stranger at Jefferson High," an NBC movie at 9 tonight on Channel 4, works only on the level of suspended animation; it makes time not just stand still but drop dead. There's every sign this hapless clunker was moldering on the shelf for months and is tossed onto the air now merely to amortize production costs, such as they were.

An actor named Stewart Petersen, who delivers lines as if he were doing meter readings for the gas company, plays a Wyoming sheep rancher's son who moves to Los Angeles with the rest of the family after the father's death. This might have been the premise for a filma about adjustment or culture clash or, or Something -- but instead Keith Merril composed two hours of improbably and derivative spats between the Shy and Sensitive hero and the Rich and Rotten heavy played by Philip Brown.

Dana Kimmell as Brook, R. and R.'s girlfriend, an Joel P. Kenney as Beaner, the four-eyed bookworm, try to escape from the cliches they've been assigned, but the director, Lyman Dayton, is inept, tireless only in the futile pursuit of a style. He has succeeded in carving out a place he can call his own at the very very bottom of the barrel.