Review: ‘Jacqui’s Dilemma’

This "ABC Afterschool Special" highlighting teen pregnancy is a docu with a difference: Along with the traditional interviews, it features a scripted vid diary that charts a sleepless, soul-searching 24 hours in the life of Jacqui, a pregnant teen.

This “ABC Afterschool Special” highlighting teen pregnancy is a docu with a difference: Along with the traditional interviews, it features a scripted vid diary that charts a sleepless, soul-searching 24 hours in the life of Jacqui, a pregnant teen.

The spec, thoroughly researched, holds up the choices available without actually telling the teen what to do. However, it fails to cover one aspect of teenage sex: AIDS.

One counselor explains that most teens are very much aware of contraception and the dangers of sex but do nothing about prevention.

Teens interviewed back up her claims. “We’ve had sex 10 times without using any protection,” a teenage girl giggles, adding with more than a hint of worry, “Pretty impressive?”

But the spec ignores AIDS, and that’s a major flaw.

The message, aside from “Don’t have sex,” is that teen pregnancy ends your dreams and drastically changes your life.

Both guys and girls are given a chance to respond. One girl wishes she could get all men pregnant to teach them a lesson.

Jacqui, played by Melissa Thompson, does well with her straight-to-camera role. Her facial expressions and tones tell the agony, worry and anticipation her character feels.

On the tech front, Jacqui’s “confessions,” directed well on film by Jan Castle, need more separation than the “real” interviews directed on video by Gary Corrigan. Perhaps Corrigan should be credited for the similarities.

It’s hard for a viewer to digest all the facts in this show, but if a teen picks up even a few them, the hour won’t be wasted.

Jacqui eventually comes to a decision on her dilemma but doesn’t share her choice. It’s a too-tame ending to a worthwhile show.

Jacqui's Dilemma

(Thurs. (27), 4-5 p.m., ABC)

Production

Taped by Planet Grande Pictures in various U.S. locations. Executive producers, Eamonn Harrington, John Watkin; director/writers, Harrington, Watkin.

Crew

Camera (video), Gary Corrigan; camera (film), Jan Castle; editor, Michael Badisher; production designer, David Morong; music, Pete Scaturro.

Cast

Cast: Melissa Thompson.
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