Retro Television Review: City Guys 1.7 “Red Ferrari” and 1.8 “Rock the Vote”

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Thursdays, I will be reviewing City Guys, which ran on NBC from 1997 to 2001.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

Last week, I reviewed two episode of City Guys that actually weren’t that bad.  Let’s see if that trend continued!  But first….

How smart and streetwise are these neat guys?  Let’s find out!

Episode 1.7 “Red Ferrari”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 18th, 1997)

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that TNBC was notorious for showing the episodes of their shows out-of-order and that certainly seems to be the case with City Guys.

In Red Ferrari, Chris and Jamal are once again antagonistic acquaintances, as opposed to the best friends that were just one episode ago.  Chris is once again angry with his parents, despite coming to a new understanding with his father in the previous episode.  El-Train is again the school bully, despite trying to turn over a new leaf two episodes ago.  As well, Jamal drops by Chris’s apartment for what appears to be the first time, despite the fact that we already saw him spending several days there during the second episode.  Obviously, one doesn’t necessarily watch a show like this with the expectation of a great deal of effort being made to maintain some sort of continuity.  But seriously, the City Boys timeline is messy enough to be distracting.

Anyway, this episode finds both Chris and Jamal in a whiny mood.  Jamal is whiny because he’s poor and no one wants to go on a second date with him.  Chris is whiny because he’s rich and his parents have apparently  forgotten about his birthday.  With his parents going out of town, Chris decides to get revenge by throwing a huge party and (shades of Ferris Bueller) driving his father’s prized red Ferrari.

Can you guess what happens?  If you said that it was the same thing that happened on Saved By The Bell when Zach drove a car that he shouldn’t have been driving, you’re right!  The car gets side-swiped.  Chris and Jamal have to figure out how to get the car fix before Chris’s parents come home.  Of course, Chris’s parents come home early anyway.  They didn’t forget his birthday.  They just wanted to surprise him!  And it turns out that the Ferrari is Chris’s birthday present!

Anyway, Chris and Jamal confess what happened.  Chris’s parents get into an argument over whether Mr. Anderson could stand to lose a few pounds.  (He looks pretty good for a guy in his 40s.)  Jamal asks Chris if his parents are always like that.  “They’re on good behavior because of my birthday,” Chris says and the episode ends, leaving us to consider the Hell of Chris Anderson’s everyday life.

Ugh.  That’s kind of depressing.  I’m not sure anything was learned from this episode so let’s move on.

Episode 1.8 “Rock the Vote”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 25th, 1997)

Ugh.  It’s a student council election episode!

Yes, every TNBC show — from Saved By The Bell to this one — had a handful of shows that revolved around an absurdly powerful student  council.  In City Guys, Dawn and Cassidy are running for student council present.  Jamal manages Dawn’s campaign.  Chis manages Cassidy’s campaign.  Dawn is too focused on the issues.  Cassidy is too focused on fluff.  School bully El-Train is so offended by their shallow campaigns that he runs for student body president, using the fact that he’s been in high school for nearly six years as the basis of his campaign.  This episode ends on a weird note, in that we don’t actually learn who won the election.  So, hey …. thanks for watching!

As usual Steven Daniel transcended the material as El-Train but, otherwise, this episode was ruined by the fact that it was about a student council election and no one in their right mind should take any of that crap seriously.  The only show that correct portrayed the student council were the early seasons of Degrassi, in which the council mostly planned dances and got caught up in pretty drama that no one else cared about.

Well, these two episodes of City Guys were pretty disappointing.  Hopefully, next week will be better for the neat guys!

A Blast From The Past: Ben Affleck For Diet Coke

In the year 2001, Ben Affleck wasn’t only Matt Damon’s best friend.  He was also a commercial spokesman!

For instance, he narrated this creepy commercial for Diet Coke.  Oddly enough, he doesn’t say anything about Diet Coke but he does say a lot about his wife’s underwear and then, eventually, the underwear that he saw in “the hamper as a kid.”  Wait, what?  Weirdo.

I actually get what this commercial is attempting.  Diet Coke is a soft drink for real people and real people get married and eventually stop having sex.  But do real people tell complete strangers about it?  Of course, they do now but this commercial was before social media.

This is from the same ad campaign that featured Renee Zellweger watching her neighbor take a shower and sing.  (I shared that commercial last week.)  Since we didn’t see Renee’s face in that previous commercial and since we don’t see Ben’s face in this one, I like to think that this commercial is a sequel to the previous one.  Renee eventually married the guy across the street and then started wearing cotton underwear.  And I assume that the guy stopped singing.

Wow, this was a depressing world that Diet Coke created.

Music Video of the Day: 68 Guns by The Alarm (1983, directed by ????)

In a video that switches from black-and-white to color, the members of The Alarm are chased through London by the police.  Not surprisingly, both this song and the video were inspired by a book that the lead singer of the Alarm read about street gangs in Glasgow.

68 Guns would go on to become The Alarm’s highest-charting song in the UK, reaching the 17th position.  In the U.S., the song reached number #39 on the Hot Mainstream Rocks chart.  This was the band’s first song to appear on the charts in either nation.