This is the first time I’ve watched Eight is Enough, so I figured why not start with the pilot? The show is about a family with eight kids (hence the title). Within the first ten minutes of this pilot, one of the kids gets arrested in a drug bust. Her parents immediately hire a lawyer and try to get her a light sentence. But oldest son (played by Mark Hamill in the pilot) freaks out and says that hiring a lawyer and will make her look “bad” to her friends because they’ll think she ratted out her boyfriend (who incidentally was the one who the drugs belonged to anyway. Very special rule #42: the drugs never belong to the regular cast member).
You’d think that maybe the important part of this episode was the teen daughter whose boyfriend had a ton of narcotics on him and her subsequent felony arrest for “obstruction of justice.” But no, the main item of importance seems to be Mark Hamill’s disagreement with his father. He even decides it’s time to get his own apartment (triggered by this incident specifically).
So all 7 of the other kids call a meeting to discuss Mark Hamill leaving the nest. Their dad gives this whole big speech about how he won’t apologize to Mark Hamill because he did nothing wrong. And the kids basically say they don’t really care one way or the other. The daughter who got arrested thinks her dad is doing the right thing by hiring a lawyer for her and not even providing one for her boyfriend (as Mark Hamill suggested) so it’s good to see she’s no idiot. But really, this whole meeting is about how the other 7 kids want Mark Hamill’s room. Vultures.
One of the kids, Mary, is part of a study on the waking cycle of bats. She wakes up super early to get to the lab and finds her mother in the kitchen. (Their father is so stressed out about Mark Hamill leaving the house that he’s grinding his teeth and keeping her awake.) They get to talking and Mary says that sometimes the kids at school make fun of her for being part of such a big family. And Mary’s mother tells her that about half of the kids were accidents.
Uh, what? What kind of conversation is this! Look, I’ve never been a parent but I feel like the Parenting 101 class probably tells you not to discuss the merits of hiring a criminal lawyer for one of your children with the rest of your children at-large. But even if that’s not the case, I’m pretty sure telling one of your children that she (and possible 50% of her siblings) are the result of unplanned pregnancies is at least a no-no.
Also, am I supposed to believe this woman is a high school student? I just looked her up on IMDB and she was 23 years old when this aired. Is this the original Dawson’s casting? So the just kind of leave that half of you were unplanned bit hanging and they don’t really resolve the felony arrest plot line either. But Mark Hamill and his dad do make up.
So..surprisingly this was NOT a very special episode. Whoops, my bad. In my defense, this series’s description sounded like a 1970s version of 7th Heaven. And I am super shocked that a teenager’s felony drug arrest was not grounds for some seriously high stakes lecturing.
Please join me tomorrow for the Letter “F” as I continue fumbling my way through Blogging from A to Z.