What Lisa and Evelyn Watched Last Night #82: California Dreams 3.16 “The Treasure of PCH” (directed by Patrick Maloney)


Last night, my BFF Evelyn and I watched yet another episode of the 90s sitcom, California Dreams.

Why Were We Watching It?

As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts about California Dreams, I started watching this show because all of the old episodes of Saved By The Bell: The New Class were taken down from YouTube.

Actually, last night was my fourth or fifth time to watch this particular episode.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been meaning to do a write-up on The Treasure of PCH and each time, I’ve ended up not having time to get it written.  However, since this feature is called What Lisa Watched Last Night, that meant that each day I tried to write this review, I also had to rewatch the episode the night before.  Last night, as I sat through the Treasure of PCH for yet another time, I promised myself that I would not let this day end without writing the review you’re currently reading.

Evelyn was watching with me because I asked her too and she’s the best!  That said, she did say that she’s never going to forgive me for making her watch this episode.  (Then again, she said that after the last episode we watched, as well…)

What Was It About?

Fueled by their mellow take on California reggae (yeah yeah yeah), the California Dreams are rich!  Well, they’re not really rich but they are making more money than they’ve ever made before.  Lorena (Diane Uribe) is concerned that the Dreams are getting greedy.  Jake (Jay Anthony Franke) argues that the Dreams don’t care about money.

Jake’s belief is touching but rather odd, especially when you consider the fact that, in the previous episode, the Dreams dishonored the memory of Sam’s (Jennie Kwan) grandmother in order to make money and the fact that, in the very next episode, Tiffani (Kelly Packard) would be driven to abuse steroids in order to make money.  In fact, just about every episode of California Dreams seems to be about the Dreams doing something weird and/or stupid to make money.

Maybe Jake just isn’t that smart.

Anyway, Lorena bets Jake that greed can tear people apart.  They proceed to come up with a plan to test everyone’s loyalty.  Will the Dreams prove Jake right or will they behave in the exact same way that they behave in every other episode of this show?

What Worked?

I always enjoy the Lorena-centric episodes, just because Lorena’s the character that I tend to have the most in common with.

I actually appreciated the fact that Lorena and Jake’s plan fell apart because they made a fairly believable mistake. Admittedly, it’s a pretty stupid mistake but, for the most part, this episode is about people acting stupid.

“Gotta find the money…gotta find the money…”  I have to admit that I laughed at that.  That said, for someone so intent on finding the money, Sly (Michael Cade) didn’t really seem to be looking as much as he was just randomly running about.

“DIAMONDS!”  Jay Anthony Franke’s delivery of this line was so over-the-top that it was oddly charming.

What Did Not Work?

“Surf dude with attitudes…”  Seriously, the blandness of that song never ceases to amaze me.  (And who is that old guy fishing?)

It’s difficult to take the show’s lesson seriously when that lesson is more or less dependent upon everyone acting like a total idiot.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Since this episode was pretty much dependent upon everyone acting like a total and complete idiot, I would like to say that there weren’t any “Oh my God! Just like me!” moments in the entire show.

However, I do really like diamonds…

Lessons Learned

Greed can tear apart even the best friendships…or something like that.

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3 responses to “What Lisa and Evelyn Watched Last Night #82: California Dreams 3.16 “The Treasure of PCH” (directed by Patrick Maloney)

  1. You are lucky to have such friends who indulge you; but then, we are really the lucky ones.
    Keep (California) dreaming, you will always be forgiven :)

  2. There’s some real substance to this episode, as it harkens back to the fantastic parables of Greek mythology. Jake and Lorena are like Zeus and Hera, gazing down from Mt. Olympus, testing the character of the mere mortals who populate Pacific Beach High School, by manipulating them into a series of challenging tasks. In the mythology of old, if the gods deemed the mortals unworthy, a natural disaster such as a tidal wave or earthquake would destroy the entire nation and everyone on it, reminding us that the Republic of California, too, is susceptible to such catastrophes. Jake and Lorena, standing in for Zeus and Hera, respectively, have entered into a wager where…

    Okay, I can’t keep up this crap any longer, and Jay Anthony Franke is certainly no Laurence Olivier. This is typical “California Dreams” crap where logic isn’t just subdued, it’s strangled with barbed wire, beaten with a sledgehammer and thrown into a woodchipping machine. As we know from previous episodes, the members of California Dreams are seriously loaded. I imagine the last two words of the previous sentence also describe Patrick Maloney’s state when he directed this episode, but I digress. I’ve no idea what’s going on with Tony and his one drumstick. Presumably, he gave the other one away as a souvenir at the band’s last gig at Sharky’s and forgot to replace it. Still, they could’ve replaced him with a drum machine and nobody would’ve cared.

    Billy Buckman (or is it Buchman?) is a Loud Talker, but for some reason, the California Dreams seem to think there’s something wrong with Billy’s hearing. Could it be that Billy speaks rather loudly because he’s just plain obnoxious? The funniest thing about the doofus who plays Billy is that when he tries to hit on that girl, he adopts the speech patterns of Christopher Walken.

    It’s also amusing when the California Dreams get excited about getting paid a thousands dollars per gig. No acting is required from the cast at this point, because they know that in real life, they’ll never again be paid a thousand dollars to sing anything.

    I took an interest in Jake’s manservant from the dream sequence, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that at one time, this poor fellow was performing classic plays in front of discerning audiences, or appearing in Hollywood movies from the Golden Age. As it turns out, the bit-part actor in question is one Robert Munns, and when you look at his CV, it boggles the mind how this unfortunate character wound up doing a walk-on part in “California Dreams” in order to make ends meet. No, his acting resume isn’t filled with glorious role in the finest motion pictures ever made, but at the same time, you wouldn’t think he’d have to lower himself to play Jake’s butler in a dream sequence from a crappy 1990s sitcom.

    “Robert worked his way through high school as a mortician’s assitant, served four years in the U.S. Air Force in photo intelligence, completed his BFA at the University of Texas at Austin, recieved his MA and Ed.S degrees from the University of Iowa. He has been a teacher, counselor with Vietnam vets, dealing with anger management and post traumatic stress disorder, and does volunteer work with hospice.”

    All I can say is that Robert Munns is no stranger to misery, so maybe making an extra few quid as a walk-on in “California Dreams” wasn’t so bad after all.

    Another thing I noticed was that during the dream sequence, Blo..ahem…BJF is tottering about in nosebleed heels, but later in the show, is seen running around in barefeet. Could it be that BJF did some real damage to her feet from wearing stripper shoes?

    Tony makes an astute observation that back in 1953, fifty cents could get you into the picture theatre. What Tony doesn’t know is that back in 1953, picture theatres also tended to be exquisitely-crafted art deco palaces with the capacity to seat several hundred patrons in cushioned seats with armrests…as opposed to the movie house shown in “California Dreams”, a poky little porno theatre with room for only a few dozen audience members to squeeze into tacky yellow folding chairs that you’d expect to see used as weapons in a pro wrestling match.

    Art imitates life as Kelly Packard sifts through the garbage like a desperate bag lady.

    (By the way, is that the same pier where Michael Sarrazin and Jane Fonda…oh, nevermind).

    I’ve no idea what Miss Packard is doing with her legs as she’s reaching over the counter at Sharky’s about eighteen minutes into the episode.

    All told, a really dumb episode(dumber than usual). The California Dreams are already loaded, but as this episode (once again) proves, they’re just a bunch of insatiable whores. However, I would suggest that greed doesn’t always drive people apart, but sometimes, draws them together. Human beings tend to be quite good at forgetting about the despicable actions of others, as well as those committed by themselves, so long as a big fat spoonful of dough is at stake and they can work together in order to screw over a common enemy. They know that, by casting aside whatever differences they may have with their traditional rivals, everybody can have a piece of some ill-gotten gains, so long as they all work together. It’s the way that governments and armies have been working for centuries. Way to deep for “California Dreams”, I know, but I’m just underscoring the simple-mindedness of the crap taught to us by The Dreams.

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