HOLLYWOOD, CA - "Let's get one thing straight," says Chet Goodson, son of legendary game
show producer Mark Goodson, "kids today are much more mature than they were
20 years ago, 15 years ago, 5 years ago."
Sitting in an office decorated by life-size cutouts of past Barker's
Beauties, Goodson explains the motivation for bringing back the ABC
Afterschool Special, a series of made-for-tv movies targeted at teenage
"Kids today are not going to respond to a lesson in morals if it isn't
realistic.," says Goodson. "At the same time, there still needs to be an
element of entertainment."
That philosophy was the guiding factor behind the first after school special
which he wrote, produced, directed and co-stars in called "Debutante
Detention: Stop Chasing the Dragon".
The story takes the viewer into the world of Bianca, a 15 year old from an
upper class home who must deal with the everyday troubles of being a
teenager as well as managing her heroin problem.
Cheri Owens, the 19-year-old actress who plays the part of Bianca, said she
found the role to be challenging on many different levels.
"First of all, I'm playing a 15 year old which is like four years younger
than me, so I had to do like so much research for my part. I called my mom
and was like what was I like when I was like 15 and she said she didn't know
because I ran away from home when I was 14, so a lot of what I was doing was
The producer claims to have auditioned more than 300 girls for the part. A
grueling process that took over 2 and a half weeks.
"I think the toughest part for many of the girls was actually finding my
office", says Goodson. "You don't really think of the Comfort Inn as the
place where you're going to make your mark in Hollywood, but you know this
is the game. This is the illusion. This is the smoke and mirrors part of
Owens said trying to look like a person with a heroin problem who is able to
function in the everyday world was difficult, but helped her grow as an
"I've only chased the dragon once, so that doesn't really count," says
Owens. Chet was great though. He helped me really understand that Bianca
was a good person with a good heart . That she didn't want to be addicted
to heroin and she was much happier just hanging out, smoking pot and having
sex with her boyfriend and his friends."
Goodson plays the role of Mr. Shepherd, a guidance counselor who tries to
help Bianca find her way. When he discovers a wadded ball of aluminum foil
containing the highly addictive drug, Mr. Shepherd opts to send Bianca to
detention rather than call the authorities.
A grateful Bianca is more than willing to accept this punishment over jail
time and the possibility of rehab. Over the course of the detention a bond
develops between the two as Bianca sees that Mr. Shepherd is not like "every
other teacher" at Cherokee High.
"Mr. Shepherd has been there, done that," says Goodson. "He knows what
Bianca is going through. Through flashbacks of his youth, he tries to show
her the different directions her life could go in."
The result is a friendship that convinces Mr. Shepherd that Bianca
understands him far better than his wife does, and helps Bianca make the
right decisions. Decisions that Owens says could really help younger
viewers make the right choices of their own.
"I'm like so proud of the message this movie sends out to teenagers. It's
like you don't have to get that high to have fun. Everything in modulation,
Goodson says he has already written two more scripts and is working on a
third entitled, "Red Handed: Shoplifting is Naughty" the story of a Traci,
a 15 year old who gets caught shoplifting from a convenience store. Goodson
plays the part of Mr. Waynehead, the store owner who teaches Traci a
valuable lesson about life as they wait for the cops to show up.
As of this printing, ABC had not committed to airing any of Goodson's