Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 1.11 “The College Girl,” 1.12 “Bye Mom,” and 1.13 “Old Friends”


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!

Today, we wrap up season one of City Guys!  Can you feel the excitement?

Episode 1.11 “The College Girl”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 22nd, 1997)

Chris meets Alison, a girl in a NYU sweatshirt and gets a date with her by lying about how old he is.  He claims that he’s an undercover cop.  She believe him because the episode wouldn’t work otherwise.  The next day, after their date, Chris discovers that Alison is the new student teacher!  At first, Chris tries to convince her that he’s working undercover to break up a drug ring and to prove it, he arrests El-Train!  Eventually, Chris comes clean and Alison dumps his lying ass.  You go, Alison!  Chris learns an important lesson about always being himself and also about how it’s never too late to apologize.

Meanwhile, Dawn freaks out when she’s voted the school’s worst dancer.  She gets Jamal to teach her how to dance.  This subplot would have worked better if not for the fact that Caitlin Mowery (who played Dawn) was clearly a better dancer than Wesley Jonathan (who played Jamal).

It was a pretty dumb episode but I did laugh at the fact that, even after the lie was exposed, El-Train continued to believe that Chris was an undercover cop.

Episode 1.12 “Bye, Mom”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 29th, 1997)

Jamal is failing English so Ms. Noble tutors him by taking him up to the roof and explaining the plot of Romeo and Juliet to him.  This leads to Jamal having childhood flashbacks to his recently deceased mother teaching him how to play the piano.  When Ms. Noble has to go into the hospital, Jamal worries that he’s going to lose her and he’s forced to deal with his own unresolved feelings about the death of his mother.  For the most part, this was a heartfelt episode and Wesley Jonathan did a good job of capturing Jamal’s fear.

That said, this episode also featured an excruciatingly unfunny guest turn from Garry Marshall, who played the school’s vice principal and who didn’t leave a single piece of scenery unchewed.

Episode 1.13 “Old Friends”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on December 5th, 1997)

Remember that video yearbook that Chris and Jamal were supposed to be working on?  Well, the show finally returned to that theme in the final episode of the first season.  With the school year coming to an end, Chris and Jamal are trying to finish things up.  Unfortunately, Mike (Victor Tugunde), an old friend of Jamal’s, has been released from juvenile detention and Jamal would suddenly rather hang out with Mike than with Chris!

Then the video camera disappears and guess who stole it!  Jamal realizes that he’s moved on from his old friends and Chris …. well, I guess Chris gets to know all of his classmates as he interviews them for the video yearbook.  The season ends with Chris and Jamal playing basketball on the school courtyard where they first met.  It’s not a bad ending for a first season, to be honest.

Next week, season 2 begins and Chris and Jamal go from editing the video yearbook to running the student radio station.  The city guys keep rolling.

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