As one TV critic explained, "The point of this whole 'Everwood' exercise, it would seem, is to lead to awkward but important parent-child chats." In addition to the abortion storyline, Dr. Brown's 9-year-old daughter finds a Penthouse magazine and gives it as a birthday present to a 9-year-old boy. Does "Everwood" hope to spur "awkward but important" parent-preteen chats on pornography, too?
The abortion plot unfolds simply: An 18-year-old girl is impregnated by a piano teacher who skipped town, and the girl's father wants the child terminated before her religious mother finds out. Let's offer some mild praise where it's deserved. The show did offer some nuances sure to upset the pro-aborts at NARAL. Dr. Brown explains how one can see an unborn child's organs at 54 days. He decides that he can't perform the abortion because he can't end a life. Another doctor performs the abortion, but when it's finished, the girl is somewhat distraught. The episode ends with the aborting doctor entering a confessional.
Ah, but Hollywood can't write up small-town religious conservatism without warning of its fervent menace. Dr. Abbott, the hometown doctor, warned his newcomer colleague not to perform abortions in this town, since "doing this sort of thing in this type of town can get a man killed." Dr. Abbott becomes the reluctant abortionist hero, honoring a pledge he made to his father to avoid the "horrific things" of pre-Roe America from happening again in town.
That being the case, the concluding confessional scene -- "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned" -- is meaningless, since Abbott's pledge to his Father shows he is certainly not penitent. (Who said Hollywood ever understood the Catholic faith?)
The lowest point of the show comes in an announcement between commercials. "For more information . . . contact the following local organization." Surprise, surprise. The screen showed a phone number and an Internet address for Planned Parenthood. Any attempt at a balanced presentation would at least include the CareNet system of crisis pregnancy centers to offset the abortion mill listings.
WB President Jordan Levin told reporters he didn't want this show to be a soapbox for either side of the abortion divide. This brief promotional outrage, and the harsh vibes on small-town faith, ruined the attempt to avoid the same old shrill pro-abortion notes.