CBS’ “Schoolbreak Specials” seem to enshrine a sweetness-and-light world long forgotten (except, perhaps, by buffs of old Andy Hardy movies). “What About Your Friends,” the third hourlong original drama aired this season, is also the first to sport an entirely African-American cast and crew. Director/writer Gina Prince’s story line, sweet and endearing in itself to be sure, and nicely paced, has no particular ethnic relevance. Bright high school girls fuss about college applications and prom gowns anywhere and everywhere.
Best friends Temple (Monica Calhoun), Alex (Malinda Williams) and Breena (Lark Voorhies) had vowed since the eighth grade that they would all enroll at Spelman College after graduation. Yet when the time comes, sad Alex’s parents can’t afford the tuition, and bright Breena pulls down a full scholarship at UCLA, where boyfriend Reggie (Tyrin Turner) is also heading. Terrified Temple faces a solitary future at Spelman, abandoned and unfriended.
The closed circle, firm and impenetrable throughout the high school years, is now falling apart and all three girls are convinced that they will never replace it with new friends. How they learn to face up to this life-threatening chasm is the crux of the story; a bright California sunset over the final lines hints that everything is going to come out just dandy. You weren’t worried, were you?