Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 11/27/22 — 12/3/22


Here’s a thought or two on what I watched this week:

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

With Janine struggling with food poisoning, Ava was forced to leave her office and teach Janine’s class.  I loved this episode.  Ava is a wonderful comedic character but Janelle James never allows her to turn into a caricature.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

We have our final three and I couldn’t be happier with the three teams that made it!  I’ll be rooting for Derek and Claire but, honestly, I could be happy with any of the teams winning.  I wrote about this week’s episode at Reality TV Chat Blog!

Bachelor In Paradise (Hulu)

I got caught up with the latest season’s finale on Sunday.  This season didn’t do much for me.

California Dreams (YouTube)

I watched two episodes of California Dreams and then I reviewed them!  They’re here on the site, somewhere….

City Guys (Tubi)

I watched and reviewed two episodes of City Guys.  I did it all for you!

Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields (Netflix)

I watched this 3-part Netflix docuseries on Monday.  It deals with a stretch of land near Houston where it appears several different serial killers have been dumping the bodies of their victims.  As a Texan, this was a story that I’ve read quite a bit about and it always disturbs me, both because of the unbelievable tragedy involved and also the suggestion that there are multiple serial killers out there, all using the same stretch of highway.  The docuseries took a look at some of the victims but there’s been so many of them that it would probably take several seasons of Texas Killing Fields to tell all of their stories.  I was particularly touched by the story of Kelli Cox, who — as I would later be — was a student at UNT when she initially disappeared.

The docuseries also featured the efforts of Tim Miller, the father of one of the victims, to get justice for his daughter.  Miller is convinced that she was murdered by his former next-door neighbor and while you always do want to exercise caution when it comes to making accusations, he does make a pretty good case.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

Eh.  There wasn’t a dinner service during this week’s episode.  That disappointed me.  The chance to witness people trying to send out raw food at the dinner services is pretty much the main reason why I watch this show.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (Hulu)

On Tuesday, I watched the episode with the Paddy Bucks.  It occurred to me, as I watched it, that It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia managed to predict crypto fraud.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Tuesday Night, CBS)

Yay!  Rudolph put those snotty reindeer in their place.  This is such an old special but it’s a classic and I love it.  Some television exec is probably going to try to do a new, updated version at some point in the future.  That’s just the way of the world now.  But the original is the one that has all the heart.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

Sami played a pretty good game but it came to an end this week.  It still freaks me out that his job is cremating dead pets.  I wrote about this week’s episode at the Reality TV Chat Blog.

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 2.14 “21 Jake Street” and 2.15 “Can’t Buy Me Love”


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!

I do have to say that, having now watched several episodes of City Guys and One World, I actually appreciate California Dreams a bit more.  It was one of the better shows to be produced by Peter Engel, one of the crown jewels of the Engelverse.

Episode 2.14 “21 Jake Street”

(Originally aired on December 25th, 1993, directed by Don Barnart)

Wow, this episode premiered on Christmas Day?  Really?  How many families put off unwrapping presents so they could watch the latest adventures of the California Dreams?

There’s a new girl at PCH and all the male members of the Dreams want to date her.  However, the only guy that she’s interested in going out with is Jake.  Soon, Jake is dating her and …. WAIT A MINUTE!  Isn’t Jake dating Tiffani!?  Have we not gone through several episodes that have featured Jake dating Tiffani?  Yet now, Jake is dating a new girl and Tiffani isn’t even upset about it.  Once again, it appears that this episode was shown out of its intended order.  NBC was notorious for doing this with their morning sitcoms and, as a result, the continuity of California Dreams, City Guys. Hang Time, One World, and Saved By The Bell was always a mess.  At the time, it’s possible that no one noticed or cared.  Back in 1993, it wasn’t like people could hop on Twitter and demand to know whether Jake and Tiffani were still a couple.  And honestly, there are worse things in the world than sloppy continuity.  It’s just that, when you binge one of these shows, screwed-up continuity jumps out at you in a way that it might not otherwise.

Anyway, the new girl is really interested in Sly’s plan to get fake IDs so that the Dreams can play in a 21-and-over club.  It turns out that she’s an undercover cop and she’s working to break a Fake ID ring!  If you only watched shows that took place in the Engelverse, you would be justified in thinking that fake IDs were the biggest problem in high schools in the 1990s.  Saved By The Bell, Hang Time, City Guys, California Dreams, they all did at least one episode about fake IDs.

The fake ID dealer is arrested.  Sly nearly gets arrested as well but he’s allowed to go free after he promises to never buy a fake ID again.  That’s not really how the legal system works but whatever.  Jake tells the undercover cop to look him up after he graduates from high school.  He says it right in front of Tiffani.  WHAT A JERK!

Meanwhile, Matt and Tony compete in an art competition.  Matt paints an abstract portrait of Sam.  Sam tells Matt that he has no talent.  Tony sculpts a bust of Tiffani and wins first prize after a large chunk of it is broken off.  Yay!  The art stuff was dumb but kind of cute.  The cast had just enough chemistry to pull it off.

Episode 2.15 “Can’t Buy Me Love”

(Originally aired on January 8th, 1994, directed by Don Barnhart)

The high school needs a new scoreboard for the gym so Tiffani decides that the perfect way to raise money would be told hold a slave auction!

Okay, technically, it’s a “servant” auction but the idea is that, once someone buys you, you do whatever they say for an entire week.  And you don’t get paid and you don’t really get any say in what you’re ordered to do and …. well, it’s a slave auction, okay?  Oddly enough, buying people was a frequent theme in the Engelverse.  Saved By The Bell, Hang Time, and City Guys all had episodes that featured date auctions.

Anyway, if that premise wasn’t awkward enough, the show’s only regular black character, Tony, agrees to be sold.  He’s hoping that he’ll be purchased by his crush.  Instead, dumbass Matt scratches his head during the auction and he ends up accidentally buying Tony!  Agck!  At first, Matt refuses to give Tony any orders but, eventually, he does ask Tony to do a few things.  Matt feels so guilty about it that he ends up becoming Tony’s servant.

Meanwhile, Sly buys the most popular girl in the school because he’s convinced that he can brainwash her into loving him.  (Good Lord, what is with this episode?)  However, the girl turns out to hate Sly so much that all of his efforts go nowhere and she ends up telling everyone in the school what a sleazy dork he is.  For some reason, we are now supposed to feel bad for Sly, despite the fact that he is kind of a sleazy dork.

Jake gets purchased by a group of cheerleaders who drive him crazy by being overly peppy.  Tiffani is purchased by Sam, who really enjoys bossing her around.  To be honest, Sam buying Tiffani (at a discount because Tiffani is the last person left to be auctioned off) is a lot funnier than you might expect.  That’s largely because Jennie Kwan had the best comic timing of any of the second season cast members.  As played by Kwan, Sam is an agent of chaos and her cheerfully destructive performance contrasts nicely with Kelly Packard’s much more earnest performance as Tiffani.

This is an episode that probably shouldn’t work but it does.  The entire premise is incredibly problematic but the cast had a strong enough chemistry that they could even gets laughs out of the dumbest of situations.  I already mentioned the comedic team of Jennie Kwan and Kelly Packard but Michael Cade and Jay Anthony Franke also make for a good team in this episode.  Sly and Jake were probably the most cliched characters on the show but Franke and Cade both brought a lot of energy to their performances and they played well off of each other.  As with so many of the second season episodes, you find yourself laughing almost despite yourself.

Next week, hopefully no one will be sold or brainwashed.  It’s supposed to be about the music, people!

Live Tweet Alert: Watch Werewolf Castle 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, Tim Buntley will be hosting 2021’s Werewolf Castle!

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.  I’ll probably be there 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.