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Tread Perilously – ‘Desperate Lives’

Tread Perilously is a podcast in which hosts Erik Amaya and author Justin Robinson watch the “worst” episodes of popular TV shows, attempting to determine if they would continue to watch the series based on the most off-key moments.

This Week: Desperate Lives

Tread Perilously‘s month of reactionary PSA television continues with the 1982 TV movie Desperate Lives.

When high school guidance counselor Eileen Phillips spots 10th Grader Scott Cameron stoned to high heaven on their first day of school, she decides to get serious about the drug problem on campus. But the school administrators are so apathetic, even a girl running out of a second story window while high on PCP cannot get them to change things. Will Eileen’s continued pressure — and her decision to bring down a local pusher — offer a ray of hope? Also, is she actually the main character or is it Scott?

Erik realizes he chose the wrong anti-PCP movie. Justin uses the film as proof that both he and Erik grew up breathing poisoned air. He also accuses special guest star Helen Hunt of having “HOA face.” Justin recalls the best ways to transport Warhammer miniatures. Erik gets close to understanding the anxiety epidemic. The depiction of Scott’s “middle class” family leads to a discussion about the middle class and the obvious family issues the film’s script is avoiding. The pair try to recall if they’ve ever been to the Newhall Playland, and the power of the 1980s once again makes itself known.

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