Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Saturdays, I will be reviewing California Dreams, which ran on NBC from 1992 to 1996. The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!
This week, love is in the air as Jake and Tiffani realize that they could make beautiful music together. Meanwhile, the pressure of exam season threatens the future of the Dreams!
But first, the opening credits. Again, because the post-Jenny opening credits for season two have not been uploaded to YouTube, you have to imagine Jennie Kwan in the place of Heidi Noelle Lenhart.
Episode 2.6 “Surfboards and Cycles”
(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 16th, 1993)
In a storyline that shows how much the second season of California Dreams owed to every single season of Saved By The Bell, the members of the band have to pick an elective. Sly and Matt enroll in home economics so they can meet girls and are stunned to discover that their teacher is a hardass former Marine who expects culinary perfection.
Meanwhile, Tiffani and Sam enroll in auto shop so that they can meet boys. Also enrolled in auto shop is Jake. Jake is convinced that women don’t belong in auto shop and Tiffani and Sam quickly prove his point by revealing that they know nothing about cars. (I would also be clueless in auto shop but I will say that my sister Melissa can fix anything on a car.) That said, Tiffani and Jake still fall in love. The band panics because Jake and Tiffani seem like such opposites. So, Sly and Tony go out of their way to plant seeds of doubt in Jake and Tiffani’s mind. When Jake insists on wearing his leather jacket to the beach, Tiffani dumps his ass. Yay, Tiffani!
But …. oh no! Before breaking up, Tiffani and Jake wrote a duet. Matt wants to make the song a part of the regular Dreams set list but how can he do that if Tiffani and Jake aren’t speaking? Looks like it’s time to take over Sharky’s and trick Tiffani and Jake into meeting for the most romantic dinner of their lives! Somehow, it works. I’m just wondering why Sharky was always willing to let the Dreams shut down his place of business whenever they felt like it. That doesn’t seem like a good business model.
This episode was pretty derivative and the main message appeared to be that Matt’s a jerk who can’t come up with a song on his own. But Tiffani and Jake actually were a pretty cute couple and they had a likable chemistry together. That chemistry pretty much saved this episode.
Episode 2.7 “A Question of Math”
(Directed by Miguel Higuera, originally aired on October 23rd, 1993)
The entire school is freaking out about midterms! Sam becomes a tutor but her latest student, an arrogant football star (Richard Hillman), pretends to like her just so he can get out of paying her! Luckily, Sam gets her revenge by tricking him into buying a fake test that has all the wrong answers. Way to go, Sam! Ruin that guy’s future!
That most interesting about this episode is that the football star was played by Richard Hillman, who also played Kirsten Dunst’s jerk of a boyfriend in Bring It On. This was an enjoyable episode, even if I have my doubts about whether or not everyone would go that crazy over a high school midterm. Maybe it’s just because I’m also watching One World and experiencing first hand what happens when a cast has absolutely no chemistry but I’ve really grown to appreciate the cast of California Dreams. They all just seem like they sincerely enjoy hanging out together and, for the most part, they’ve got enough comedic timing that they can save even a weak joke.
What does the future hold for the surf dudes with attitude? We’ll find out next week.