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program reviews

Boston Public

Moral Rating: Avoid
(Avoid)
Primary Audience: Teen to Adult
Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hr.

    TV CREDITS

    Starring: Chi McBride, Anthony Heald, Fyush Finkel, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jeri Ryan, Nicky Katt, Sharon Leal, Michael Rapaport, Rashida Jones, Loretta Devine

Show Synopsis: (from the producer) BOSTON PUBLIC explores the personal and professional lives of a group of Boston high school educators.

Viewer Comments   

Questionable—Most of it is OK, but the last few episodes have started to expound on the homosexual lifestyle. It has been revealed that one of the senior boys on the show is gay, and while his mother and her love interest, the vice principal initially abhor the idea, they have since turned toward dealing with their intolerance and are attempting to “understand” the behavior. The school play that is in production also centers around a gay theme, and the school is losing some funding because of it. The Boy Scouts are "wanting back in" to hold meetings in the school, holding that since the school seems to be tolerant of homosexuality, then they should be tolerant of other views too. Of course, this is seen negatively. You can tell from the direction the show is moving that this is going to be a soapbox championing homosexuality, which is clearly non-Biblical. C+
   —Greg, age 39

Usually OK—This is the latest show from David E. Kelley, creator of "The Practice" and "Ally McBeal". Thus far, I must say that I'm fairly impressed. If there is one thing for which I am always on the lookout, if for no other reason than that most television shows today lack it, it is intelligent and clever writing, which captures something profound. So far, the writing this Fall 2001 season has been quite good, and at times incredibly good, especially if compared to most other dramas out there. I sincerely hope that this show does not “descend” to a level quite beneath itself, like the once-great Ally seems pretty clearly to have done, in terms of content and quality. So far as I can tell, one trademark of very good writing is balancing a portrayal of life-as-we-wished-it-were and life-as-it-actually-is. Thus far, the writing team, (I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that there is a team doing the writing), has done a great job. One of the most memorable scenes from an episode this season occurred when the character played by actor Jeri Ryan was questioning her class about “creationism” vs. “evolution”. She challenged them to consider the possibility that they are not mutually exclusive scenarios for the “beginning” and perhaps they occurred in consonance with each other. But that part of the scene, though not wanting in depth, was not the great moment. The momentous event came a few seconds later. When the students looked somewhat dumbfounded at the idea the teacher offered, the teacher (ie, Ryan) asked something to the effect, "Oh, come on. Don't tell me you've never considered it." The students continued to sit in silence, and the scene ended with something very close to the following: "Oh, I see the problem with this class. You've stopped wondering." The students had lost a sense of wonder, which is just two shakes away from entering into a life of indifference and resignation (so I think). The show has many memorable and well-written scenes. It moves a bit fast, almost like a blur sometimes, but that is a complaint reserved for nearly every show on television, hence it's no special demerit of Boston Public. I hope for more great lines, scenes, and moments capturing something great, profound, or deep-seated from this show. Hopefully, my hope will not be in vain.
   —Jeremiah Kier, age 25

Usually OK—I think this is an awesome show. It deals with real problems that real people have. It deals with drugs, diseases, sex, etc, in a practical, realistic manner…
   —Allen, age 19

"…Plenty of offensive material / Disturbing portrayal of authority…"
   —The Parents Television Council

"…cynical, exploitative sensationalism…lowers the bar for adolescents taking mental notes about their expectations and standards for high school life…"
   —Steven Isaac, "Plugged In", Focus on the Family

Young people express their opinions…

Usually OK—I am a big Boston Public fan. I never miss a episode of it because if you do, you miss everything. But Boston Public is a good show for teenagers because it shows schools and it shows how unappreciated teachers days can sometimes be. I know there are great teachers, and I know they influence people, even though they don't have a lot of money, and this show shows that. Even though the school here [Winslow High] is a exagerrated school with stuff happening each week [kids dying, gay guy wins prom queen, anorexic or pregnant girls], it's a interesting show.
   —Mark, age 15

Usually OK—Boston Public is a good show. Many people have written negative comments about it, but I believe that it discusses and handles current issues in a mature and careful manner. They have discussed many topics, from homosexuality to teen pregnancy, from drug use to school violence. This is not a show for preteens, but for teens and adults, I recommend it highly. I am a Christian teenager, but I am a Methodist… I'm a little more liberal than many. So I beg of you, don't let the fact that it discusses homosexuality turn you off. This is a very informative show, and it discusses the consequences of reckless behavior. This is a good show!
   —Emily, age 14

Usually OK—The show is fine. It does depict some immoral behavior, but it neither glorifies it nor neglects to depict the consequences for such behavior.
   —Laura, age 17