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'Full House' Episode to Deal With Earthquake Trauma

December 07, 1989|JOAN HANAUER | UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

NEW YORK — The San Francisco earthquake shook up a lot of kids all over the country, and Jeff Franklin, creator and executive producer of ABC's "Full House," has written an episode to reassure them and their parents.

The "Aftershocks" episode airs at 8 p.m. Friday.

For those who are not familiar with the show--the most popular series on Friday night and the most popular of all among the 2-to-11 year-old set--it deals with a young widower with three children who has brought in two male friends to help him raise the motherless brood.

It is set in San Francisco, and in this episode, the middle child, Stephanie, 7, suffers aftershocks of fear about the earthquake and also, because of the earthquake, fears of separation from her remaining parent to whom she clings.

" 'Full House' is set in San Francisco and, of course, we were all deeply affected by the tragedy there and we didn't want to ignore the fact on our show," Franklin said in an interview.

"We wanted to see if we could be of some help to both the people in San Francisco who were chiefly affected and also everyone around the country who watched the footage on the earthquake, day in and day out."

In writing the show, Franklin consulted Dr. Robert Pynoos, director of the prevention/intervention program in trauma, violence and sudden bereavement of the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine.

"Children are not always able to articulate their feelings and problems, and that's very frustrating for parents who want to help them," Franklin said. "We wanted to say to parents, who may not feel like good parents because they are not able to solve children's problems, that they shouldn't be afraid to seek professional help."

The show includes a scene in which Stephanie sees a therapist who offers positive steps parents can take to deal with some of these fears.

"We try to put some element of the child-parent relationship into every show," Franklin said.

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