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September 23, 1986|Lee Margulies

"The New Gidget," premiering at 7:30 tonight on KTLA Channel 5, asks the heavy question: Would Gidget betray her surfing roots by going (gasp!) windsurfing?

Hey, dude, mellow out. This is, like, the '80s. That Gidget is outrageous, primo, the real thing. She'll do what's cool.

She's grown up now, too, married to Moon Doggie, caring for her teen-age niece and running a travel agency. But as portrayed by bubbly Caryn Richman, she's still cute as a button and, wouldn't you know, can still get herself in the silliest predicaments! In fact, the show tonight plays like a reversal of a story that might have been done on the "Gidget" series that ran on ABC during the 1965-66 season. Instead of the teen-age Gidget falling for an older man, a teen-age boy falls for the older Gidget.

Throw in the fact that Gidget's niece is smitten with that very same young man and, whoa, the waves of laughter roll in. Like waves in a lake.

Of course, Gidget's primary appeal, starting with the 1959 movie, has always been to kids, and that's clearly who "The New Gidget" has in mind with its juvenile humor. To them, its very simplicity may be its biggest charm.

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