I was prompted to respond to the letter by Gene and Marsha Newman on Nov. 24. They indicated their anger at Channel 13 for airing an episode of "Beverly Hills 90210." They felt the program promoted irresponsible sex among teenagers.
I say: Get your facts together before you criticize. The episode in question dealt fairly and openly about AIDS, sex and teenagers. First, the episode dealt with whether or not two of the main characters should have sex. It showed the questions they had, the peer pressure they felt, the parental pressures, etc. It showed all sides, reasons for them to "do it" and reasons not to "do it."Further into the show, these two characters, along with two others, attended a fictional AIDS benefit. While there, one of the comedians stated that "70 percent of teenagers are sexually active," then the comedian went into the audience to ask teens if they were active. The four characters of "90210" were asked the question, two of them said yes, they were sexually active. The other two characters said they were virgins and were going to abstain until marriage.
The comedian then praised the two who were virgins, saying it took a lot of strength and courage to keep to their convictions. Then the comedian went on to remind everyone about AIDS and that if the teens were active they should take precautions.
The show then went on to deal with the pressures teens face about sex and AIDS. The two characters who were contemplating sex decided to wait, and the show gave good reasons why they chose to wait.
The show in no way said that sex is "just fine and dandy" or that "it's cool." In fact, it showed that sex is a grown-up, responsible act that should not be entered into lightly. They showed that abstinence is the best way to prevent AIDS, and if you can't abstain, then you should take precautions.
"90210" has been a good show to showcase the concerns that teens face. It may not present them like every parent wants it to be presented, but it is one of the few shows on the air that will openly discuss issues such as AIDS, birth control, etc.
Channel 13 should be praised for having the courage to air shows that deal clearly with controversial subjects.
Salt Lake City