This was the first I recall seeing Danny McMurphy (Larry Payne) on this show, it was such a realistic and moving episode. Its heart wrenching to imagine the story, difficult and awkward but so touching, it was just a great episode.
Another reviewer faulted this episode for sentimentality. But for this viewer, that's the very reason why this episode works.
A disabled youth is shown living in a filthy box with his feline companion, celebrating his birthday (the birthday "cake" is a dinner roll) by making a wish for someone to love him. Voila - Jonathan the angel appears! That right there should tell you what the rest of the episode has in store.
The homeless boy Arnie is played by John Franklin who starred as the demonic child leader Isaac in "Children of the Corn." Franklin has "Growth Hormone Deficiency" which causes him to look a lot younger than his biological age. Franklin was in his late teens in this episode.
The entire story pulls at the heart strings. Arnie is living on the steets to escape a violent father. Meanwhile, an unhappy boy won't leave the house because he wants his parents back (they separated). In the end, he not only gets both parents back, he gets a new brother in Arnie.
There are right and wrong ways to make a tear-jerker. Michael Landon, who wrote and directed, did it right.
A perfect example of Landon sentimentality that critics just killed him for. I don\'t know who the bozo is that plays Arnie but he gives one of the hammiest performances I\'ve ever seen. Argueably the worst episode of any show in the history of television. Stay away from this episode unless you really need a good laugh!
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