Earnest and well-acted, Abby, My Love ultimately does its young audience a disservice. This hour-long drama is about teenage Abby (Cara Buono), a smart, thoughtful girl who’s attracted to the boy next door, Chip (Josh Hamilton). They’ve been friends for years, but when Chip tells her he loves her, Abby becomes upset, and her father (Anthony Heald) tries to break up the relationship.
Soon enough it’s made clear that Abby’s father has been molesting her since she was a child. Abby has been silent about it for years, but now the thought of embarking on her first romance has brought all her agony, shame, and confusion to the surface. In a courageous moment, she tells Chip what her father has done to her. The police are called, the father is arrested, and Abby and her mother (Veronica Cartwright) go into therapy. Abby and Chip start dating.
That’s it, and that’s too little. Abby, My Love, based on a book by Lee Hadley and Ann Irwin and adapted by Paul W. Cooper, makes Abby’s dilemma seem all too easily solved. Obviously, Abby, My Love has to cover a lot of ground in just an hour while remaining within the boundaries of network standards of good taste. But the result is a well-intentioned program that never conveys the full pain and complexity of Abby’s situation. As a drama, Abby, My Love is a good public-service announcement.