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Television Review

Teens Analyze Their `9-11' Fears

November 17, 2001|ELIZABETH JENSEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — The kids' faces say it all in "9-11: Looking Back ... Moving Forward," a special edition of "In the Mix," the PBS series for teens, airing today at 3 p.m. on KCET.

There's the slight embarrassment when they talk about how they cried in front of their parents the day the World Trade Center towers fell and the knowing nods as they listen to peers voice emotions that before the attacks they might have found "corny," in one student's words.

The teens articulate their feelings with such unflinching honesty that a guidance counselor who dispenses advice almost seems unnecessary to the show. "In the Mix" talked to students at Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School, which formerly sat in the shadow of the towers, as well as teens in suburban Tarrytown, N.Y., many of whom had family members who worked at the site.

Talita, 17, says the only thing that has helped her is "to lie to myself, which is pretty dumb." Tania, 14, relates the shock of hearing her parents unable to answer her questions, because, "whoa, you know, my parents usually have answers to everything."

Then there's 12-year-old Byron, whose father escaped. His dad answered his questions, he says, which "makes it easier to cope, although it's still hard," as his hands reveal worry..

More heartbreaking is the school-to-school video conference with teens from Oklahoma City, as one student recounts the guilt she felt, after the bombing there, for being able to go on with her normal life. A New York teen asks how his peers' feelings changed over the months and years.

Overall, the program is a powerful window into how teens are coping in the aftermath of the attacks.

"In the Mix" can be seen today at 3 on KCET.

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