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!
Let’s return to Manny High, with the neat guys who are smart and streetwise!
Episode 2.9 “Big Brothers”
(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 7th, 1998)
It turns out that the students at Manny High are required to take on “community service projects!” I mean, it’s not bad enough that they already have to deal with bullies, drug dealers, and gun violence. They also have to do give back to the community. While Dawn signs up to spend time with a grouchy old man, Jamal and Chris are assigned to be big brothers to a 10 year-old delinquent named Ernesto.
Ernesto, incidentally, is played by Brandon Baker who would later go on to play Cray on One World. On One World, Cray was a fairly annoying character but that had less to do with Baker’s performance and more to do with the fact that he always got the worst lines of every episode. While the scripts for City Guys were often full of cringey dialogue, they were still marginally better than the scripts for One World and that works to Baker’s advantage. He’s actually not bad Ernesto.
Of course, Jamal and Chris totally screw up being big brothers. Is there nothing that those two didn’t screw up? However, eventually, they realize that Ernesto is an aspiring artist. Meanwhile, Dawn’s old man is former architect. The three of them decide to have Ernesto hang out with the old man. Problem solved!
Meanwhile, L-Train is somehow assigned to be a teacher’s assistant for Driver’s Ed. L-Train turns out to be a harsh and demanding teacher but it turns out that it was all for the best as everyone passes, including Al and Cassidy! Yay! Everything works out for everyone! That’s what happens when you roll with the city guys. As improbable as it may be that L-Train would end up teaching a class, the episode does give Steven Daniel a chance to show once again that he probably had the best comedic timing of the entire cast.
Episode 2.10 “Over The Speed Limit”
(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 14th, 1998)
Cassidy gets hooked on speed! Well, it’s not really speed. It’s diet pills that also provide a burst of energy but they also lead to Cassidy missing class and generally overacting and …. what? Yes, you are correct. This is indeed the same basic plot as the I’m So Excited! episode of Saved By The Bell. Cassidy says that she needs the pills because she’s both starring in a play and going to school. Of course, she ends up having a speed-induced meltdown during the premiere of the play. It was, needless to say, totally unrealistic.
Meanwhile, Al and L-Train got a radio show of their own and started to become more popular than Chris and Jamal. However, Al and L-Train’s egos got the better of them, allowing Chris and Jamal to continue to dominate the airwaves or whatever the Hell it is that they’re supposed to be doing in the school radio station. To be honest, I’ve never quite understood how the whole radio station thing works. I mean, are they hosting the show during class time or are they showing up at school super early in the morning so that they can entertain everyone before the bell rings? Or are they hosting their show while everyone else is eating lunch? Add to that, it seems like Al and L-Train had a point. Why should Chris and Jamal be the only people hosting a radio show?
Perhaps that question will be answered next week. Perhaps not. We’ll see!