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FOX's Tribes (1990)

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@victoria foxton Thanks. I'm working my way through week six (early April 1990) and I have to say things are gelling a bit better. The main stories remain Anny's pregnancy, the deconstruction of the Cox family, and the building tension within the Pressfield household over Chris' growing friendship with his new stepmother, Pamela. 

After being visited by a truancy officer at Toppers', Anny makes the decision to return home and try to talk things out with her parents. The confrontation between Anny, Matt, and her parents, Carl and Sophie, is fairly strong for the show. Anny proves to be as stubborn as her father, Carl, and remains determined to keep her baby and raise the child as a single mother even if she is only fifteen years old. As the conversation builds, Carl's motives become increasingly clear until he flat out states the obvious; he doesn't want to get stuck with Anny's kid the way he got stuck with his sister Bobbie's. Matt, the said child the Kubiaks were stuck with, warns his aunt and uncle that they run the risk of not only losing their daughter, but also their grandchild. The acting isn't always the strongest, and sometimes the dialogue can be a bit clunky, but the situation is well crafted. 

In reference to @danfling's point regarding the "Ryan's Hope" connection, the Kubiaks are a working class ethnic family, seemingly second and third generation, that contrast the upper middle class white collar Cox clan and the well off, but not untouchable, Pressfield family. Carl can be Johnny Ryan-lite at times. Anny is definitely a young woman in the mold of a Ryan girl; she wants to study law. Bobbie Kubiak is definitely a less complex Delia with Matt filling the role of the abandoned John Reid. After deciding not to have an abortion, Anny informs Lorraine, and the audience, that she wants to be a supreme court judge one day. Timing is everything.  

As a follow up, Anny plans to leave town by bus in order to escape her tryannical father, but soon learns you can't go far on thirty bucks. Before she can depart, Sophie and Carl show up at Lorraine's apartment, where Anny has been staying, and makes amends offering her the opportunity to return home and attend the local school which caters to the needs of teenage moms. As a further olive branch, Sophie (a seamstress) has brought a dress for Anny to wear to the Father-Daughter Dinner that evening. 

The Father-Daughter Dinner is shown. Despite this being an opportunity for stories to intersect, sadly it doesn't occur. The show  has a limited number of female characters. Carl and Anny's arrival is one of the final moments of the episode, but we never have to see any of the actual fallout. There are moments of snickering, but there is no opportunity for Carl to defend his daughter or for Anny to react to returning to the school environment. 

Also at the Father-Daughter Dinner are Stacey and Melinda Cox with their dad Ian. This is the first family get together since an aborted dinner several episodes earlier where a process server arrived to deliver Virginia divorce papers. The lead up to the dinner is a ride for the Cox girls. Stacey is adamant she won't go, and Virginia has to coax her into going by refusing to let her use the car. Stacey ends up squirming out of the original plan (Stacey and Melinda going together with a dress prepared by Sophie Kubiak) and instead jets off leaving Melinda in a lurch. At the dinnner at Westdale High, Stacey arrives late wearing a provocative outfit (her shoulders are exposed, oh the horror!) Stacey goads Ian into an argument and only becomes further hurt when she realizes Ian doesn't want Stacey to make a scene because of his business connections. Stacey's rebellion continues to be a thread as Virginia Cox arrives next day for a PTA meeting to discuss dress code only to find Stacey wearing yet another provocative outfit. In the second time in this show's short run, a mother refers to their daughter as a tramp (Sophie Kubiak said something similiar to Anny upon learning she was pregnant). Later, Mr. Stevens, the science teacher, also confronts Stacey about her sullen attitude. 

While Stacey attempts to lash out, Melinda seeks solace from Billy, her boyfriend, who in a beautifully awkward moment tells Billy he cannot know what its like to lose the heart of his family a year after his mother's death. It is a tender moment for the couple, but its only a piece of the larger triangle developing now that Melinda has begun spending time with Billy's best friend, Matt Kubiak. When Matt Kubiak arrives to drop off Stacey's dress, Melinda hitches a ride with her knight in shining armor. While Melinda is at the dinner, Matt and Billy work on mounting a picture of Melinda and Billy. Later, when Melinda stops by Matt's place, it isn't clear whether she has come to see Matt or Billy as she is aware both of them are at Matt's. The two friends, one girl trope is rarely used anymore so I appreciate it. 

The final thread that is getting attention is the growing tension between Billy and Chris Pressfield over Chris' decision to try and build a relationship with their new stepmother, Pamela. Billy has finally convinced Chris to join him, Pete, and some young woman to attend a showing of "Rocky Horror" only for Chris to accept an invitation to go see an exhibit with Pamela at the museum. Billy, of course, flips when he learns that Chris is abandoning him for Pamela. Later, there is a nice scene between Bill and Billy about Chris' social isolation and how neither of them real understand him. Chris is much more sensitive and reserved than either his father or brother, which has also deflated Bill's plans to turn Chris into a salesman. Billy's latest plan to get Chris out of his shell is to throw a party at the Pressfield house to bring people to Chris.  Later, Billy blows a gasket when he spots Pamela and Chris sitting in a booth at Topper's, but Pamela pushes a reluctant Chris to accept Billy's offer of planning the party. 

It's by no means a perfect show, but it has a lot more depth than I initially expected it would. 

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