Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 11/13/22 — 11/19/22

I’ve been on vacation this week.  Here’s what I watched.

(Yes, that’s not my best intro but seriously, I’m tired.  I always take some time by myself after my birthday so that I can reflect on the year and plan the next one.  It’s a tradition that is the result of having watched too many movies and read too many books about women who retreat to a lake house for a holiday and achieve enlightenment or, at the very least, write a really great book.  Unfortunately, that always seems to work better in movies than in real life.  In real life, I’ve spent a good deal of time inside because the average temperature this week has been close to freezing.  As a result being stuck inside for hours at a time, my original plans of watching next to no television and only going online to host my weekly live tweets were quickly abandoned.  When I did go outside, I got caught out in the rain more than once and I also banged up my knee and probably nearly broke my neck when I tripped over a tree root while exploring the surroundings.  The sun has occasionally peeked through the clouds, mostly just to remind me of the fact that I cannot tan to save my life.  I’m now catching a cold, and I’m no closer to being enlightened than I was before.  This has not been my best-planned getaway, though it will make a great book someday.  Anyway….)

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)


This episode will always be remembered for the broken eggs and Barbara’s reaction to the way one of the mothers dressed.  However, I think this episode deserves to be remembered for the brief moment when Ava has a serious conversation with Barbara about that mother.  I always like the episodes where we discover that Ava actually does kind of care about her job and other people.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race here!

California Dreams (YouTube)

Being stuck inside, I watched a few episodes of California Dreams so that I could write and schedule a few reviews in advance.

City Guys (Tubi)

Being stuck inside, I watched a few episodes of City Guys so that I could write and schedule a few reviews in advance.  Hmmm …. that sounds familiar.

Graffiti Rock (YouTube)

I watched the only episode of this 80s dance show on YouTube on Friday night.  A young Debi Mazer and an adorable Vincent Gallo were amongst the dancers!  It was fun to watch.

The Greatest American Hero (Weekday evenings, ACE TV)

This is an early 80s show about a klutzy teacher (William Katt) who is gifted a red suit by a group of aliens.  The suit turns the teacher into a superhero but, because the aliens didn’t give him any instructions, he’s not really sure how all of his powers work.  He fights crime with his girlfriend (Connie Selleca) and a drunk FBI agent (Robert Culp).  One of his student was played by a very young and handsome Michael Pare.

I watched an episode on Thursday while I was having dinner.  The teacher battled criminals while preparing for an IRS audit.  It was actually a pretty cute show.  William Katt was as likable here as he was as poor, doomed Tommy Ross in the original Carrie.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

It was a good dinner service but Chef Ramsey still had to send someone home.  At least he was polite about it this week.  I’m really liking this season of Hell’s Kitchen.  I could honestly see any of the chefs winning.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

This week’s episode of Law & Order dealt with a murder that was linked back to Iraq War burn pits.  Considering that Price and Mouron are the two most self-righteous prosecutors in the history of this franchise (and that’s saying something!), I was cringing a bit at the thought of them relitigating the Iraq War.  But this episode was actually fairly well-handled.  I never would have expected that Cosgrove and Shaw would become my two favorite characters on this show but they’ve managed to do it.  I think that’s because Cosgrove and Shaw does their job without complaining, whereas Price always has some moral dilemma going on.  Seriously, McCoy needs to bring in somebody new.

Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)

Stabler’s going to give himself a heart attack if he’s not careful.  CALM DOWN, STABLER!

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

The squad was hunting a serial rapist and murderer who targeting transgender women.  Greg Grunberg played one of the victims’s father, an NYPD detective who was not comfortable with his child’s identity and who was trying to hide evidence that would have confirmed that she was transgender.  Eventually, however, he did the right thing and handed over the evidence that allowed the D.A. to get a conviction.  Grunberg, as always, gave a good performance.

Magnum, P.I. (Weekday Mornings, Charge TV)

On a chilly and rainy Monday morning, I watched a two-part episode of the original, 1980s Magnum P.I.  Magnum and his friends were being stalked by a KGB agent named Ivan.  The episode ended with Magnum executing Ivan in cold blood.  Ivan totally deserved it.

Night Flight (Night Flight Plus)

Friday night, I watched two episodes of this 80s entertainment digest.  One episode was about the early days of rap and while the other episode that profiled Sade.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Too Close For Comfort (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

This is an old 80s sitcom, about a grouchy old man who lived on the second floor of a San Francisco townhouse.  His daughters lived on the first floor.  A bizarre manchild lived on the third floor.  This show has been on Tubi for a while and also on Antenna TV.  On Tuesday, after spending the first part of the day hiking and trying to meditate, I decided to unwind by shuffle dancing to The Chemical Brothers.  Then, after that, I collapsed in front of the television and watched two episodes of this show on Antenna TV.

In the first episode, the grouchy old man and his wife were shocked to discover that a runaway girl named Sam was living with the manchild.  Sam explained that she had run away from home because her father was overprotective and didn’t understand her and wouldn’t let her go out with her friends.  The problem was that the actress playing Sam appeared to be nearly 40 years old so it was difficult to sympathize with her.  I mean, just get a job and move out if you can’t take it.  You’re an adult.  Anyway, the grouchy old man explains to Sam that her father loved her and Sam went home.  Yay!

This was followed by an episode in which the manchild and one of the daughters graduated from college.  The manchild got a job as a mall security guard.  Good for him.

The Twilight Zone (Weeknights, MeTV)

On Tuesday night, I watched The Obsolete Man.  In this episode, an authoritarian government official ordered a man to commit suicide.  Before dying, the man revealed the official to be a coward.  The official was then ripped apart by his former supporters.  This is usually described as being one of the more heavy-handed episodes of original Twilight Zone but, in this time of general government overreach, there was something satisfying about watching the smug government representative get outsmarted.

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 2.11 “Vote of Confidence” and 2.12 “The Year of the Woo”

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, it’s all about family!

Episode 2.11 “Vote of Confidence”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on November 13th, 1993)

Pacific Coast High School is in the midst of campaign fever!  Who will be elected student council president?  Will it be the crazy environmentalist who says that she’s going to transform the cafeteria into a vegetarian paradise?  Or will it be Harvey, a rich kid who announces that his motto is, “I already have money!  Now, I want power!”

Or will it be Jake!?  Yes, Jake is running for president because he’s feeling inadequate when compared to his older brother Kyle.  Kyle is an Olympic hopeful who is currently attending Harvard and who was apparently also the presidents of the PCHS student council when he was in high school.  How come we haven’t heard anything about Kyle before?  Jake’s brother being an Olympic hopeful seems like something that would have been mentioned earlier.

Jake campaigns by riding his motorcycle through the school’s hallways and singing a country song about how “I’m a regular guy who does what he says.”  It’s not a bad song and Jake appears to actually be singing in the scenes in which he performs, as opposed to just lip-syncing.  In other words, this is the episode that establishes that Jake was actually too talented to be a member of a lame band like California Dreams.

Unfortunately, before Jake announced his candidacy, the Dreams agreed to play Harvey’s victory rally.  The Dreams withdraw from Harvey’s rally but — uh oh! — Sly already spend the two hundred dollars!  Harvey agrees to forgive the debt on the condition that Tiffani go on a date with him.  Jake is surprisingly okay with this, considering that he’s been dating Tiffani for a few episodes.  Perhaps this episode was filmed before Jake and Tiffani became a couple and was shown out-of-order.  Once again, NBC just didn’t care.

Anyway, Jake realizes that he ran for President for the wrong reasons and he resigns from office.  Harvey becomes president in his place.  Yay, rich people!

Episode 2.12 “The Year of the Woo”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on November 20th, 1993)

The Dreams have a gig in Burbank, for which they’ll get paid $1,000.  But, the van’s transmission is shot!  Fortunately, Sam’s family had just sent her $800 in “lucky money” that she can use to buy a plane ticket to go back to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year.  Why couldn’t they have just bought her the tickets?

Anyway, the Dreams convince Sam to pay for a new transmission, with the promise that they’ll pay her back with the money they make from the gig. However, it turns out that Gus the Mechanic isn’t good at his job. Not only does the transmission still not work but he refuses to refund the money.  (Huh?)   Now, Sam has no money and cannot return to Hong Kong. The Dreams are the worst people in the world.

With the help of Tiffani, The Dreams win back the $800 in a poker game but it’s too late for Sam to book a flight.  So, they throw a really cheap party at Sharky’s and they fly Sam’s parents out to California.  (Oddly, Sam’s parents speak in English, even when they’re talking to Sam.  It’s a bit odd that they don’t just speak to each other in Chinese, seeing as how that’s presumably how they spent the last 16 years communicating with each other.)  Sam’s excited but, before she can spend any time with her family, she still has to sing a song with the Dreams.  Imagine having to work at your own party.

This episode was not terrible.  One thing that set this show apart from other Peter Engel shows is that the cast actually had chemistry so they’re kind of fun to watch, even when the story itself is pretty stupid.  That said, the main theme of this episode — again — seemed to be the Dreams are only willing to do the right thing as a last resort.  Even though they fly Sam’s parents out to California with their poker money, there’s still no scene in which the Dreams themselves realize that guilting Sam into paying for the van was kind of a jerky thing to do.

Oh well!  At least everything worked out in the end!

Live Tweet Alert: Watch Sisters of Death with #ScarySocial

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, I will be hosting 1977’s SISTERS OF DEATH!

In Sisters of Death, Claudia Jennings plays a former sorority sister who has a deadly secret!  This is a drive-in classic!

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime, YouTube, and a few other streaming sites.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.