What Lisa Watched Last Night #81: California Dreams 3.15 “Junior Achievements” (directed by Patrick Maloney)

Last night, as the world froze outside, I battled insomnia by watching yet another old episode of California Dreams.

Why Was I Watching It?

Last night, Texas was hit by a cold front.  So, there I was, wide awake at 3 in the morning, curled up on the couch in my beloved Pirates t-shirt and panties and shivering as the wind howled and the temperature outside plunged into the low 30s.  I figured that maybe watching something silly on YouTube would help me get a little sleep.  So, I figured why not watch a show from sunny, always warm California?

Unfortunately, as I’ve explained in my previous California Dreamsrelated posts, there aren’t any old episodes of Saved By The Bell: The New Class on YouTube so I had to watch California Dreams instead.

What Was It About?

It’s flu season in California.  Instead of doing the smart thing and staying home and resting, the very sick Tony (William James Jones) continues to go to school and work.  Fortunately, Tony’s girlfriend Sam (Jennie Kwan) is from China and therefore, using typical California Dreams logic, is capable of brewing a magical tea.

Meanwhile, the economics teacher at Pacific Coast High School is handing out $500 to his students and demanding that they use it to start a successful business.  While Jake (Australia’s Jay Anthony Franke) and Mark (Aaron Jackson) struggle to sell music lessons, Sly (Michael Cade), Tiffany (Kelly Packard), and Lorena (Diana Uribe) go into business selling Sam’s magic tea.  However, their greed angers Sam’s ancestors.

Naturally, lessons are learned.

What Worked?

The commercial shoot was amusing.  Anyone who has ever appeared in a student film will be able to relate to it.  I especially liked the fact that Tiffany’s response to Tony’s direction was to repeat the line in the exact same way as before.

I liked the way that Jake’s student delivered the line, “A public debut might be a bit premature…”

What Did Not Work?

Wow, California Dreams — ethnic stereotype much?

I have to admit that I’m a bit confused about PCHS.  In some episodes, it’s portrayed as being this school where there’s little to no discipline and the student body is absurdly powerful.  And then, in an episode like this one, it’s suddenly full of teachers who just randomly hand out money, demand that their students start and run a successful business, and sentence people to summer school on a whim.

As well, you have to wonder how the teacher could punish Jake and Mark for not charging for their lessons while then giving Sam an A just because she was pretty much forced, by a random set of circumstances, into doing the right thing.  I mean, how exactly is that integrity?

Seriously, California must have a really powerful teachers union.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Back when I was in college, I had a role in a student film where I was required to spend a lot of time in bed while wearing a black negligee.  The script didn’t call for me to cough but I did so anyway because I felt that’s what my character would do in that situation.  “Lisa, don’t cough,” the director said.  I glared back at him and said, “Well, excuse the fuck outta me for trying to give a good performance.”  Everyone laughed and assumed I was joking so I just went with it.

Lessons Learned

Back in the 90s, you could do a lot with $500.

3 responses to “What Lisa Watched Last Night #81: California Dreams 3.15 “Junior Achievements” (directed by Patrick Maloney)

  1. I caught you, Lisa Marie! Jay Anthony Franke is NOT from Australia! I don’t care if he does live here! He lived in Texas for a while, but you don’t see anyone calling him “Texan actor Jay Anthony Franke”, do you now? We’ll claim a lot of imports as our own, but Jay Anthony Franke isn’t one of them. His showbiz career has sunk into a black hole and for all I care, so can he.

    Speaking of black holes, that’s where logic disappears at every opportunity in “California Dreams”. I mean, I know that it’s basically a stupid 1990s sitcom aimed at an undiscerning teen audience, but judging from these scripts, the writing on the show is the result of an experiment where 100 monkeys are each given a typewriter in the hope that one shall produce a masterpiece.

    Unfortunately, one monkey produced the script for this episode of “California Dreams”.

    1:10: What are all of these sick children doing at school?

    1:19: Sylvester is such a capitalist whore.

    2:30: Somehow, I don’t think these rich brats need any “start-up” money, but since the teacher is handing out 500 dollars left, right and centre, why don’t these kids buy some ACTING LESSONS?

    3:08: What in the hell did Blowjob Features say?

    3:43: Hey, Bowman Impersonator! You want some oil? Forget about Jake’s hair, how about we just wring the grease from that top you’re wearing? Seriously, she looks like she’s been dragged through an oil slick. Or maybe it was just fashionable back in the 1990s to wear clothes that look like they hadn’t been dried after being washed.

    4:40: Supply and demand…Capitalist Whore Tiffani!

    4:48: Your great, great grandmother was a Commie.

    5:30: Monopoly Money!

    6:00: Bill Mumy had exactly the same superpower in the film “Dear Brigitte”. But instead of having Tiffani use her hitherto unknown mathematical brilliance in order to gamble on sporting events and making a fortune, which was what happened in “Dear Brigitte”, the brain surgeons from the Dreams ignore the potential of Tiffani’s gift and stubbornly attempt to make their first million by peddling some really shitty tea based upon an archaic recipe that would probably be rejected by the FDA.

    As I said, logic disappears into a black hole on “California Dreams”.

    6:32: A whole lot of mustard-coloured clothes going on in this episode. Believe it or not, that shit was actually considered fashionable in the 1990s. People need to stop picking on the ’60s, ’70s and the ’80s, and turn their attention to the 1990s–Worst Fucking Decade of the 20th Century.

    7:01: Are there any Cantonese speakers who can tell me what “Neena neena neena” means in English?

    8:23: Would you really pay for music lessons from Jake?

    8:52: The blonde girl taking music lessons from the Dreams actually sings a million times better than any of the Dreams members!

    Logic, black hole, “California Dreams”.

    9:27: Blowjob Features looks really hot with silver hair. She’s going to make an awesome GILF someday.

    9:51: If I want to imagine Lisa Marie acting in college, this episode of “California Dreams” seems to give an accurate recreation.

    10:12: Is she pretending to be sick, or giving an amazing rendition of a porno queen gagging as she attempts to deep throat an extremely large penis? The tongue, those eyes…this scene is so wonderful for all the wrong reasons. The Lisa Marie Impersonator is a strong contender to take the nickname “Blowjob Features” away from Sam.

    10:30: Uncommonly good acting from Tiffani.

    10:41: I wonder if “phlegm” appeared phonetically in the script.

    10:58: More great acting from Tiffani. I wish she were always this good.

    11:21: Good heavens, is this an episode of “California Dreams”, or have I stumbled upon an episode of “Mind Your Language”?

    11:44: That whirring sound is Margaret Hamilton spinning in her grave.

    11:59: Speaking of which, I’m turning green myself, thinking how much I’D like to be in that position, with a tall, statuesque redhead sticking me under her boot.

    12:13: Where were those boots in the previous scene?

    12:53: Jake Sommers: Raised in East Germany.

    (This explains his name!)

    14:18: Why aren’t all of these sick people at home?

    14:32: “Gosh darn it, I’ve got another dud of a “Caliornia Dreams” script on my hands, none of these kids can act, they can’t even sing, and Dustin Diamond, who assure everyone that he was the reason for the success of “Saved by the Bell”, refuses to guest star on the show…if I don’t get the ratings up, I’m going to be out on my ass…there must be SOMETHING that I can do to make this show a real hit. Hey, I’ve got it…CONGA LINE!”

    Welcome to the thought process of Mister Patrick Maloney.

    17:17: I’ve never noticed this before, but on a serious note, Jennie Kwan has really beautiful ears.

    18:02: You know, that’s a pretty good photograph of Sam’s great, great grandmother. I would’ve been the same age as Sam back in the 1990s, and my great, great grandparents would’ve been around in the middle of the 19th century. But even if that photograph had been from, say, the early 20th century, which is possible, that’s still a remarkably crisp image.

    But what’s really puzzling is that Sam has a portrait of her great, great grandmother on the dresser next to her bed. No other pictures of ancestors are apparent, mind you, not even snaps of her parents. No picture of parents, grandparents…nope, Sam just leapfrogs all of them and has a picture of her GREAT, GREAT GRANDMOTHER…and remember, she would’ve had EIGHT great, great grandmothers, not to mention EIGHT great, great grandfathers to go with them. For no apparent reason, other than maybe because she made this “miracle” tea more than 100 years ago, whose so-called “potency” is undoubtedly the result of sketchy anecdotes and Chinese whispers (no pun intended) much like legendary figures from the Wild West have their exploits embellished over the decades, this one particular member of Sam’s family tree is single out for all posterity in the coveted place atop Sam’s dresser, a most prestigious position on a piece of bedroom furniture that contains Sam’s naughty underwear, scandalous spring break Polaroids, dildos…good heavens, I apologise.

    19:53: “We cheated on the quality of our product and we cheated our customers!”

    Congratulations! Take your pick of a CEO position from any Fortune 500 listed company.

    20:20: Integrity has nothing to do with it. The teacher took one look at Blowjob Features and became putty in her hands. I’d give her an “A”, too.


  2. Pingback: What Lisa and Evelyn Watched Last Night #82: California Dreams 3.16 “The Treasure of PCH” (directed by Patrick Maloney) | Through the Shattered Lens

  3. Pingback: What Lisa and Evelyn Watched Last Night #89: California Dreams 3.11 “Family Trees” (dir by Patrick Maloney) | Through the Shattered Lens

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