The nighttime drama series "Family" had quite a pedigree: created by acclaimed screenwriter Jay Presson Allen, executive produced by the team of Leonard Goldberg and Aaron Spelling with Mike Nichols, and featuring James Broderick and Sada Thompson as the ever-suffering heads of the Lawrence household of Pasadena, the show received Emmy nominations or wins for nearly every one of the four-and-a-half seasons that it ran on ABC. But life lessons didn't come lightly for "Family"'s stable of writers, including Edward Zwick who penned this finger-wagging episode in which Kristy McNichol's "Buddy" falls under the influence of a bragging female disco dancer who takes the 16-year-old to her first nightclub. Brought home in a squad car, grounded Buddy has to learn to accept responsibility for her own actions--but asks her father for an hour's freedom the following day: "The only way I'm going to get your respect is by earning it." McNichol excels in serious scenes like this--she always seemed older than her years, anyway--yet I never quite bought the sibling bond between she and older brother Gary Frank (nor older sister Meredith Baxter Birney, who is MIA in this episode). Quinn Cummings was a weak addition in the fourth season as little orphaned Annie, and one quickly tires of Thompson's waxworks-like smile and subdued manner, but the show has an almost compulsively watchable tidiness.
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