The following story originally appeared on my first website, jwilsonsworld, on 3/11/2007.
ABC's After School Special: Bite-sized life lessons for young people. In the 1970s one show that I absolutely could not miss was the ABC Television Network's After School Special, that program would come to teach me a lot about life and the world around me. The After School Special would often times take on difficult subjects, subjects that I might be too afraid to approach my parents with, and brought them out in the open for discussion. The After School Special took on those subjects and also made them understandable at a child's level while at the same time never talking down to us. Subject matter like divorce, alcohol and drug abuse, school bullies and death were all topics that were tackled and handled in a very effective and honest manner. And unlike most television programming for children they didn't always take the easy way out, just like in real life every story didn't have a happy ending and we were shown that to. In the After School Special we had a program that was designed to talk to us kids about the more serious problems and concerns that we might have in our young lives, and most importantly it did it in way we could understand. The After School Special would continue educating and entertaining young people for nearly two decades until finally it was done in by the very tv stations that had once championed it. With the rise of the afternoon talk show, intelligent, educational children's programming was no longer profitable. But long before that I had already stopped watching. By the early 1980s I no longer needed the wisdom of the After School Special, I had by then reached my early teens and like every other teenager since the beginning of time I suddenly knew everything. Looking back, I do miss those times when the world was simpler and all it took was a one-hour tv special to make you feel better about the world and your place in it.