Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Educators
Episode Reviews | Comments from Educators | Complete Program Catalog
Order Programs on DVD or VHS | Off-Air Taping Rights | Lesson Plans and Discussion Guides

Episode Reviews


"Action! Not Apathy"
Students all over the country are searching for meaningful ways to get involved in their communities. With a pounding hip-hop beat and the quick-cutting camera techniques of music videos, In the Mix: Action! Not Apathy speaks directly to them. It highlights youth from around the country who are getting involved in town governments, school boards, community environmental issues, and voter registration. Every subject can be taught through youth activism. Here are three of the many projects highlighted in this episode of In the Mix.

In math class, students can learn measurement and mapping skills by duplicating a Dallas, Texas, project to ensure that liquor stores are more than 300 feet from neighborhood schools. Students can then alert local officials to the zoning violations. Middle schoolers can apply these and other real-life situations to a hypothetical city in the CD-ROM Sim Town to learn how cities, institutions, and businesses must follow rules and regulations to coexist.

Language arts students could write mission statements and press releases for student representatives who appeared on a local cable network's community affairs panel. Or have them read about activists' fight against the odds – in novels like The Day They Came to Arrest the Book and California Blue, or Ron Kovic's autobiography Born on the Fourth of July for older teens – and write a political poem or speech in the main character's voice.
In social studies, students could see what Marcus Molinaro, the 20-year-old mayor from Tivoli, N.Y., and his Teen Advisory Group are doing to tackle problems facing teens in their town, including drug abuse. Have them check out what teens are doing about issues on the Global Kids, Inc. Web site. If drug prevention is the goal, students could design a peer intervention program, make a video for classmates, or train student liaisons to solicit help from local organizations.

If you're still looking for projects after watching the program, have students ask adult friends for stories from their past, surf the Internet, bring in newspaper articles or music, posters, or bumper stickers – anything that might stir their collective consciousness. After choosing a direction for action, encourage students to organize and make connections in the community. You'll need students with a range of skills: reporters, photographers, and PR people to contact media, or videographers and directors to make a video for the community access cable network. You can even assign your local headbangers to write a theme song. Students will learn that we all give in different ways.
- Gail Bush, Maine West High School, Des Plaines, Ill. Library Media Specialist
CPB Teachers' Digest

"Alcohol: What You Don't Know"; "College: A Crash Course"; "Twisted Love: Dating Violence Exposed"
305.235 Teenagers – Conduct of Life
Ages 13-18. Three sampled titles from a multipart PBS series explore timely teen topics. Alcohol: What You Don't Know consists of quickly paced profiles of recovering teenage alcoholics, peer-education awareness participants, and drunk-driving victims, among others. College: A Crash Course encourages teens to begin their college search early, as it glimpses a college freshman who is dissatisfied with his campus choice and a high school junior who is just beginning her college quest. College admissions counselors offer helpful tips, as do students and other experts. Finally, Twisted Love: Dating Violence Exposed introduces two teenage victims of emotionally and physically abusive dating relationships who relay their experiences with impassioned candor. Marked by modishly jerky camera movements, occasional black-and-white footage, and revealing interviews, this teen friendly series, featuring ethnically diverse, urban teenagers promises to grab and maintain interest.
- Sue-Ellen Beauregard
Booklist

"Careers: Focus on Your Future"
331.7 Occupations||Vocational guidance
Ages 13-18. This addition to the PBS series In the Mix Specials [BKL D 1 96] explores the "hottest" careers. A youthful host visits with a soap opera actor, an attorney, an automobile designer, a physical therapist, and others who discuss their qualifications and daily routine. Black-and-white footage, jerky camera angles, and other hip techniques orient this lively program to teens.
- Sue-Ellen Beauregard
Booklist

"Dealing With Death"
Grades 7-12
In this episode from the In the Mix series, teenagers talk frankly about their personal experiences with the death of someone they love, either through illness, suicide, or violence, and how they are coping with it. The video stresses that in order to cope with loss, it is essential to talk about it and express your feelings. These young people are using their creativity to express their feelings-- writing, video production, art work, and photography-- and discussing their experiences with others. Each teen offers a different insight into how they feel and how they have had to learn to cope. The video features music and creative video techniques to capture the attention of viewers, and is technically well done. The presentations are made entirely by teenagers and do not appear scripted or artificial. These frank discussions about a painful subject could be used with support groups, by individuals, or as a part of a unit of study on death and grieving.
-- Tammy Snipes, Great Falls High School, SC
School Library Journal

"Depression: On the Edge"
During those angst-filled teenage years, depression is a common problem. However, when hopelessness and frustration become too much to emotionally handle, some kids still opt for the permanent non-solution of suicide. Another solid installment in the award-winning PBS series In the Mix, this video addresses the symptoms and the treatment of depression in a clear, understanding, and teen-friendly way. Plenty of sound bites from a variety of kids who have struggled with suicidal urges demonstrate that anyone, anywhere, at any time can need help. Although the segment featuring the newly popular alt-rock band Third Eye Blind shows that teens can be much more articulate than rock stars, their anti-suicide song "Jumper" is currently receiving such heavy airplay on both pop and alternative stations that it's a great hook to involve teen viewers. The accompanying discussion materials are a good source for further exploration. Recommended. 
-- E. Gieschen
Video Librarian

"Politics: Action! Not Apathy"; "School: Making the Grade"; "Alcohol: What You Don't Know"
Grades 8-12
Here are three more titles in the critically acclaimed PBS series, a newsmagazine show for the MTV generation. Each video covers topics of interest to high school students. Alcohol discusses the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. Two reporters on the show, both over 21, take part in an experiment to show the effects of alcohol. After having several drinks over a four hour period, they take a sobriety test. Although neither one registers a .10 blood-alcohol level, legally drunk, they are both highly affected by the alcohol. One reporter drives a car through an obstacle course with a police officer. She runs into numerous traffic cones, demonstrating in a low risk situation how tragic it could have been if she had been driving in regular traffic. The reporters also interview teen alcoholics in a treatment center, and several other teens who almost died from alcohol poisoning or car accidents caused by drunk driving. The message is loud and clear – don't drink and drive. Politics: Action! Not Apathy explains why it is important for teens to find out about the candidates in an election, and to exercise their right to vote. It is assumed that many viewers will not be over 18, but there are other ways that teens can get involved in government. The show profiles the 20-year-old mayor of a village in New York State, who explains that he is interested in what the youth in his community want. There are other examples of teens who have made a difference in their communities. One group of students expose a toxic waste dump by filming a documentary, and showing it on TV in their town. Another group of teens protested against liquor store that were illegally located within 300 feet of their school yards. School: Making the Grade offers a tantalizing view of schools that make a difference in their students' lives. A group of students attend a small private school in New York, where the classes are discussion based, rather than textbook driven. They have been empowered by their teachers to have original thoughts, rather than regurgitate facts and figures. Another example of student empowerment is demonstrated by students who attend a school board meeting to express problems with lack of security and outdated textbooks at their school. The topics are interesting, and the reporters are articulate. The subject matter may fit in with a high school life-skills or drug abuse prevention curriculum.
- Marcia Herman, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS School Library Journal

"School Violence: Answers from the Inside"
Ages 14 - Adult. Prompted by an e-mail from a teen viewer concerned about school violence and hosted by Kellie Martin, this program visits a culturally diverse suburban high school (location not given) to study its proactive approaches to the problem. Teens interviewed in hallways, cafeterias, classrooms, and on school grounds speak candidly about the cliques, hierarchies, and stereotypes that deter students from commingling, and prompt student outbursts and violence. Successful school programs to help thwart teenage violence, such as peer mediation groups, mentoring programs, and conflict-resolution training, are examined as well. Quick camera cuts and pans lend an MTV feel to this appealing production that is a Selected Videos for Young Adults 2000 choice. This forthright program will surely spark classroom discussion and also serves as an idea springboard for enacting similar strategies. "Gun Violence", another In the Mix series special, tackles a volatile teenage issue as well.
-- Candace Smith
Booklist

"Self-Image: The Fantasy, The Reality"
Grades 8-12
Media images of skinny women and muscular men distort reality for some impressionable teens. Girls fixated on their bodies may become anorexic or bulimic. Those that do usually need professional help. Boys may need help to withdraw from steroids used to build coveted muscles. Articulate, lively teens explain what they look for in dates and friends: people with positive self-images, interesting ideas and pleasing personalities, not an obsession with looks. There are interviews with representatives of YM magazine and the Ford modeling agency, medical opinions from doctors, and warnings from girls recovering from eating disorders and a former steroid user. These, together with lively hosts, suggestions on getting help, and dynamic audio and photographic techniques make a winning mix that will grab the audience's attention and lead to discussions about these issues. Counseling sessions and health classes can use this addition to the PBS series to introduce these topics.
- Anisra Gordon, Lincoln High School, Ypsilanti, MI
School Library Journal

"Sex: Everyone's Doin' It...Not!"
Gr. 7 - 12. This new entry in the In the Mix series features quick camera cuts, jumpy editing, upbeat music, and dual teenage hosts. According to this title, media images and other influences convince teens that most of their peers are sexually active. Interviewed teenagers of both genders tell why they regret their decision to engage in sexual intercourse at an early age. Like another series title, School Violence: Answers From The Inside, which was a Selected Videos for Young Adults 2000 choice, this fast-paced exploration of a controversial topic will prompt further discussion in both school and group settings. 
-- Sheila Anderson
Booklist


"Sex: Everyone's Doin' It...Not!"
Grades 7-12
Female and male multiethnic teens discuss their sexual experiences, why they started, and why they didn't, and how they feel about teen sexual activity. Two congenial hosts reflect on their comments and underscore the main points. All the experienced teens regret becoming sexually active while so young. They talk about pressure from older kids and the romantization of sex by movies and advertisements. A few film and ad segments illustrate the points. The speakers agree that sex usually destroys relationships rather than bringing the partners closer. Two girls were worried about their health and were tested for STD's. They, and the others, feel lucky to have avoided problems such as STD's, including AIDS, and pregnancy. One girl talks about the stigma of having a bad reputation. A young couple describe their strong relationship without sex. Finally, there are suggestions on how to say no and a reminder that drinking can lead to situations that a sober teen would avoid. Comments are brief and to-the-point. Another right-on program from this informative, fast-paced, straight-talking series. 
-- Anitra Gordon, Lincoln High School, Ypsilanti, MI
School Library Journal

Sex: Everyone's Doin' It...Not!"
***1/2
Audience: J, H, P. The latest entry from In the Mix, the outstanding multi-award winning series produced for PBS, addresses issues surrounding teen sexuality. Combining interviews with a group discussion, the program explores the contrast between the "Hollywood version" of teen sexuality and the real-life personal responsibilities that accompany being sexually active. Teens talk about their personal experiences, discuss the various triggers that may lead adolescents to engage in sex (including the influences of drugs and alcohol), and consider alternative ways of showing affection. In addition, viewers learn what is involved in being tested for sexually transmitted diseases and are told about resources available for more information. Providing a hard-hitting, peer-based approach to a sensitive subject, this insightful discussion starter is highly recommended. 
-- L. Stevens
Video Librarian

"Soccer: Kickin' Butts"
Grades 6-12
The familiar don't smoke message is teamed up with soccer players who demonstrate their playing skills as well as their vehemently negative attitudes about smoking. Players include members of the Women's National Soccer Team as well as professional male players, school teams, and kids playing in inner city programs. There also are teen palyers who get the anti-tobacco message out through a variety of media. Players explain that smoking affects performance by decreasing stamina and reaction time. The female players have another significant emssage for young women as they relate how important being an athlete is to their self-image. And that self-image involves a strong and healthy body, which runs counter to the images of ultra-thin models and actresses that many teens try to emulate. Trainers and coaches explain the harmful effects of smoking and secondhand smoke on the brain, the body in general, as well as on athletic performance. Don't start, they warn, because the addictive power of nicotine can make quitting very difficult, a point underscored by an addicted mother who talks about her unsuccessful efforts to quit. Players and coaches stress that being a team member often helps teens resist pressure to smoke or use drugs. Action sequences maintain viewers' interest in this effective blend of sports segments and anti-smoking message.
-- Anitra Gordon, Lincoln High School, Ypsilanti, MI
School Library Journal


"Sports: Get In the Game"
Grades 8-12
The video looks at a variety of sports activities available to youth-competitive basketball, pickup teams, and individual activities such as running and inline skating. Emphasis is on doing something, as "there’s an athlete in everyone. You just have to find it!" Exercise is touted as a positive way to cope with problems. A cross-section of youth comment on the effects of sports on their respective lives, often suggesting there are alternatives to higher pressure varsity-level sports such as intra-murals. An interesting sidelight is the "watermelon ball" tournament at a school where students invented their own sport. Historical film clips of events such as a marble tournament and a jumprope exhibition remind viewers of the wide array of possibilities. Evidence supporting sports participation shows that it is especially valuable for girls, where it lessens chances of drug involvement and teenage pregnancy, and increases the chance of graduation. Also included are comments by some well-known athletes. Without being didactic, the program uses actual experiences of teenagers to motivate other youth to become involved with some kind of sport. It could be used by counselors with individual teenagers or as a motivational tool by groups such as YMCA or YWCA.
- Kathy Akey, Clintonville Senior High School, WI
School Library Journal

"Sports: Get In The Game"
Teenagers are tough to reach. Adult suggestions are generally dismissed with sarcasm or disinterest (at least in my house!). This Emmy-award winning, PBS-aired series (now in its fourth season) admirably attempts to attract teens with a hip production style and relevant topics, such as this episode on sports which is loaded with good ideas, interesting segments, and the message, "There's an athlete in everyone. You just have to find it!" Interviewed kids explain what they get out of sports: patience, strategy-building techniques, stress relief, concentration, new friendships, and self-discovery. A large portion of the show is dedicated to women's sports and its importance in their lives, with statistics demonstrating how teen girls involved in sports are less likely to use drugs, get pregnant, or drop put. The program also addresses the crucial issue of body image for female athletes. Co-hosted by NBA star Stephon Marbury, the show is fun and friendly, never preachy, and totally convincing. Highly recommended. Editor's Choice.
- E. Druda
Video Librarian

"Twisted Love: Dating Violence Exposed"
***1/2
Audience: J, H, P. Using snappy MTV-style edits, camera angles, and effects, the issue oriented In the Mix series, airing on PBS, examines some of the hottest topics affecting teenagers today. This segment deals with the painful subject of dating abuse – when a partner is either physically, emotionally, or verbally assaulted, especially on a regular basis. Hosted by young people, including Neve Campbell from the TV show Party of Five, this video is honest informative, thorough, and best of all, proactive in it's handling of a sensitive subject. Case studies are presented coherently and clearly through interview with both victims and perpetrators of a variety of ethnicities. Adult domestic abuse counselors, and a district attorney provide practical and legal options for action, and help, while peer groups aid in emotional aspects. Appropriate for a classroom, youth group, or peer counseling program, teens will gain an understanding of the issue and be better equipped to deal with it effectively. Fast pacing, articulate and concise interviews, and creative production design all combine to make this a solid choice. Highly recommended.
- E. Gieschen
Video Librarian