Picks and Pans Review: Do You Know the Muffin Man?

updated 10/23/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/23/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CBS (Sun., Oct. 22, 9 P.M. ET)

A

Those of us who look to television as an escape wince when TV explores themes like sexual abuse of children. But when you realize that 39,000 American kids under the age of 6 will be abused this year, reasons to make dramas like this one become abundantly clear. And Muffin, despite its strange title, deserves kudos for handling a very delicate subject with sensitivity. The producers say Muffin is fictional, but the story seems to have been inspired by a recent preschool case in California. Here, we meet the Dollisons, an ail-American family that is torn apart when it is discovered that the youngest son is being abused in his preschool, run by a kindly old husband and wife. Good performances are turned in by Pam Dawber and John Shea as the parents and Stephen Dorff and Brian (Family Ties) Bonsall as the kids. Anthony Geary and Matthew Laurance, as a slimy defense attorney and a good-guy prosecutor, also shine in their roles. Muffin is socially responsible, well written (although the director all but gives away what should have been a surprise plot twist) and well cast. A silly subplot involving Satanism only bogs down an otherwise fine work.

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