Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Fridays, I will be reviewing One World, which ran on NBC from 1998 to 2001. The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!
It’s time for the third and final season of One World!
Episode 3.1 “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”
(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on September 23rd, 2000)
At the end of season 2 of One World, Neal and Jane were both facing an uncertain future. Having been caught cheating on the SAT, they had been banned from retaking the test and they were both going to have to figure out a way to get into a good college with no SAT score. It was a pretty dark situation. Neal even said that it was now going to take him a little bit longer to achieve his dreams. I was curious to see how the show would handle this situation in season 3.
The first episode of season 3 handled the developments of season 2 in much the same way that most TNBC shows handled any sort of unexpected drama. They ignored it. Over the course of the first episode of season 3, no mention was made of the SAT or college. Neal is apparently still in high school (though he was a senior last season) and he’s got the highest GPA of anyone in his class. Once again, his future is bright! Jane, meanwhile, is no longer talking about college but she does now have a really awful spiky hairstyle. Seriously, I want slap whoever it was who decided to dye her hair that color of yellow. It totally washes out all of her features.
As for Ben, Cray, Sui, and Marci …. well, they’re pretty much the same. Marci is still materialistic. Cray is still dorky. Ben is still dumb, And Sui is still way too cool for this show.
The first episode featured a guest turn from James Avery, playing Mr. Richard, the father of Neal’s girlfriend, Kate. (Yes, there is a joke about how he “looks like the guy from Fresh Prince.”) Mr, Richard is a successful and wealthy attorney and a Harvard graduate. When Neal mentions that he used to be in a gang, Mr. Richard forbids Kate (Tasha Taylor) from dating Neal. Neal confronts Mr. Richard and accuses him of being prejudiced. (“Ohhhhhh!” the audience says.) Mr. Richard tells Neal to watch his mouth. (“Ahhhhh!” the audience responds.)
Later, Kate sneaks into the Blake home and tells Neal that she’s willing to defy her father but Neal says that he won’t go against her father’s wishes because he still has the same integrity that caused him to get banned from taking the SAT. (No, Neal doesn’t bring up the SAT. That’s just me wondering what happened to that whole storyline.) Mr. Richard is moved by Neal’s integrity and decides that he’s okay with his daughter dating a former gang member who was will basically never be able to get into a good college.
On the one hand, Neal has a point about giving people a second chance and judging people by their actions and not their past. On the other hand, Mr. Richard is played by James Avery, who was a far better actor than the material deserved. The character is written to just be a snob but Avery instead turns him into a father who sincerely cares about his daughter. So, despite the show’s intentions, Mr. Richard actually comes across as being more sympathetic than either his flighty daughter or the somewhat self-righteous Neal.
Meanwhile, Marci buys a bunch of clothes online but discovers that they were stolen. The most interesting thing about this storyline is that everyone is shocked to discover that you can buy things online. I guess that’s 2000 for you!
Episode 3.2 “Push Comes to Shove”
(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on September 30, 2000)
Cray has a bully! Earl (Joshua Boyd) goes from demanding the Cray bring him a sandwich to demanding that Cray bring him money. Jane counsels Cray to beat Earl up. (Has she not seen Cray? Cray’s not beating anyone up.) St. Neal suggests that Cray should turn the other cheek and remember that violence solves nothing. Neal, however, turns out to be a huge hypocrite because, when he talks to Earl, he ends up getting into a fight with him. Neal beats up Earl (off-screen, of course) but he then has an ethical crisis over having violated his principles. Good Lord, Neal’s annoying.
Meanwhile, Jane is dating Bradley Covington, the scion of the richest family in town. Bradley asks out Jane despite her terrible hair and the fact that the supercool Sui was in the same room. Bradley takes Jane to a country club and we get a badly acted scene in which Jane stands up to Bradley’s snooty cousin. That whole subplot didn’t really go anywhere.
Well, that’s not a great start to season 3. Hopefully, next week will be a bit better!