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Television Reviews : 'Kid Went Punk'

October 23, 1987|LYNNE HEFFLEY

Mom's a psychologist, dad's a specialist in crisis management, big brother and little sister are high achievers, but teen-ager Terry Warner, a gifted violinist, is a nerd. What's a guy to do?

In "The Day My Kid Went Punk," an "ABC Afterschool Special" airing today at 3 p.m. on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42, Terry (Jay Underwood) gets contact lenses, spray paints his hair, pierces an ear, puts on makeup and joins a punk rock band.

But guess what happens? Terry is discriminated against because of his new appearance. Coincidentally, Terry's mom, Dr. Louise Warner (Christina Belford), is about to conduct a university seminar entitled "The Punk Syndrome and How Parents Can Avoid It." How embarrassing.

Tom Warner (Bernie Kopell), Terry's dad, isn't happy either. Both are amazed to learn Terry has felt ignored and unappreciated for years.

"It's a typical middle-child syndrome," says Dr. Warner. When a local television news station reports on her upcoming seminar and shows a picture of her son, Tom tells his chagrined wife to "use it."

Dad's wisdom provides the key. Mom puts together a panel of misunderstood, non-drug-using punkers to educate the audience: "Maybe some punkers are violent, but so are some bankers and truck drivers" and "You can't judge a book by its cover."

Congratulations all around. It's the best seminar anyone has attended in years.

"The Day My Kid Went Punk," written and directed by Fern Field, is pleasant looking and awesomely superficial. Neither lipstick nor mascara can camouflage Underwood's open face and infinitely sweet smile, nor can the competent, likeable cast bring the film's one-dimensional dialogue to life.

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