Picks and Pans Review: The Perkins Family

updated 01/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/19/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Sundays, 11 a.m. ET)

B+

Odd enough that PBS has a soap opera about your basic troubled TV family. Even odder, all the parts in this soap are played by and written by kids. A 13-year-old girl plays a 38-year-old mom who's just found a career as a writer, a 13-year-old boy plays a 42-year-old dad who's a sexist hyena, and kids play their three kids. The show is meant for children in grades four through eight, so don't expect any Susan Lucci or Joan Collins here. They tackle simpler family issues. In the first of 13 shows, already aired, one child worries about a date and Dad has traumas about his wife working. What's most amazing is that the kids improvise their dialogue as they go along—and they're surprisingly believable at it. There's even some good acting, most of it from young Betsy Bleil as Mom. A fresh and intriguing new show for kids.

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