Spend your summer on the beach, or watching TV?

Everyone has had some drama in their life, I suppose, even those in television. Apparently, in the late seventies, a group of friends in the industry had a bit of a shared relationship crisis, involving a beach house and a lot of breakups. And as such people do, they just had to share with the rest of us.

Have I tipped my hand? Perhaps you've gotten the idea that I think this attempt is trite and overwrought. Well, ha! It's certainly overwrought, but it's not all that trite. As a made for TV movie, apparently shown over two nights, adding up to a full 200 minutes, it's long, very long. There's quite a few characters, and all their stories are explored sufficiently, but it plays like a four episode soap opera rather than a movie... Does this matter? Well, consider how you're likely to see it. If, as I have, you found it in rotation on cable, there's little choice but to watch it all at once. It's apparently also available on videotape, for those who want to pace themselves, and don't have a PVR (Tivo, for most of you).

Our collection of white bread producers, agents, and such bounce between moments of angst and catharsis. There's a true feeling of comaraderie between the characters. They hang loose, fight, make up, and generally work through their difficulties over the summer. These aren't easy issues for them - nor for most people that have to go through them - and the resolution of storylines is the same sort of mix you'd see in real life. Again, it's inspired by actual events.

There's a scene of sexual harassment in the workplace which seems odd to me, probably because I was too young at the time to understand the issues of the day. It's interesting to see this delay between the rise of the sexual revolution and an actual respect for women. This minor story arc does get resolved a bit more reasonably, but there seems to be an assumption about appropriate behavior in there that no longer exists now.

How strange that we have three stars from four-letter TV shows: David Ogden Stiers from MASH, Jeff Conaway from Taxi, and Billy Crystal from Soap. How Bonnie Franklin from One Day At A Time fits into it, I'm not sure... In general, the cast does a good job, especially the recognizable faces. Stiers, in particular, really could have pursued a more dramatic career.

The production values are a little uneven (listen to the audio at times). It's a bit hard to keep track of who's who until storylines get a little further on. The glimpses of old TV stars and the seventies fashions and hair are entertaining for a while, but they can't sustain the movie.

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