Picks and Pans Review: Family Secrets
Shrinks were invented for people like the one played by Stefanie (Hart to Hart) Powers in this tale of three generations of women. Stefanie plays a bitch, one so unbalanced and unbearable that it's no wonder her mother (Maureen Stapleton) and her daughter (Melissa Gilbert) devote considerable dialogue to advocating birth control. With it, this family would not have existed; neither would this reunion; neither would this show. No such luck. Six months after Grandpa's death the three women get together for a whinefest. They complain about everything, even food. Stefanie is a hard-to-take vitamin junkie. "I just don't eat red meat anymore," she sneers. "I read an article about it...You are what you eat." Daughter Melissa retorts: "I'd rather be a roast beef than a tuna fish sandwich." And mother Maureen puts Stefanie in her place: "You should talk. Go smoke another cigarette." And the whining goes on. Melissa: "You know, for a modern career woman, you're pretty uptight." Stefanie: "I'm uptight because I don't want you running off with some redneck Casanova." Or Melissa: "After all, I am a bastard." Or Maureen to Stefanie: "I did something to upset you. I knew I would. I just didn't know what it would be." Calling Dr. Freud. Calling Dr. Jung. Calling Dr. Brothers. All three actresses are talented and very likable. What a shame they ended up in this made-for-TV misery. Because the whining does end for a few moments at the end of the show and the women hug, the network calls this a heartwarming special for Mother's Day.
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