48 Hours: For Better, For Worse

48 Hours has shaped up nicely as one of the more serious and open-minded of the current prime-time news magazine shows; this season, the series has done solid reporting on everything from breast cancer to Nashville’s country-music industry. There was also April’s eye-popping, depressing look at the spring-break saturnalia held annually at Daytona Beach, Fla. Folks, if the inarticulate, beer-guzzzling airheads interviewed in that episode represent the college youth of America, we’re in profoundly deep trouble.

Anyway, the series has proven its worth, and it’s therefore too bad that this expanded version of the show finds 48 Hours at its most shallow. As its title suggests, this editon is about marriage: A squad of 48 Hours reporters fans out all over the country to file reports on unions that are happy, unhappy, odd, and intolerable.

There is, for example, the engaged couple so petrified of divorce that they take a course called ”How to Fight,” so that they won’t hurt each other’s feelings too badly. There’s a guy with three children from a previous marriage and the woman with three from hers; newly wed, they’re living out, as correspondent Victoria Corderi observes, ”a real-life episode of The Brady Bunch.” There’s also the woman who hires a private eye to find out whether her boyfriend is married — he is, and she gets pretty cheesed off.

There are, in fact, too many reports over the course of two hours, and they’re too one-sided; most of the time, only one member of a squabbling couple agrees to talk to 48 Hours, so you can never be sure whether the person you’re hearing is telling the whole story — or even the truth. C

48 Hours: For Better, For Worse
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