Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.3 “Alley Oops” and 3.4 “Face the Music”

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 get this over weight.  No, no …. I’m not at all second-guessing my decision to sit through every episode of City Guys.  Not at all …. this is definitely the best decision that I’ve ever made.

Episode 3.3 “Alley Oops”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on September 18th, 1999)

Oh God.  This episode not only features a lot of bowling but Ms. Nobel gets a storyline as well.

Even though it’s never been mentioned before, it turns out that Jamal, Chris, Al, and Dawn are all on the same bowling team.  What?  Like seriously, where did this come from?  Anyway, it turns out that the team would be great except for the fact that Dawn is a terrible bowler.  Okay, that makes sense.  There’s never been any indication that Dawn would be a good bowler.  And since Dawn has never been portrayed as being a member of the group’s “inner circle,” you have to kind of wonder how she ended up on the team in first place.

Anyway, there’s a big game coming up against a Puerto Rican team that is led by the flamboyant Lupe Guadalupe (Jose Urbina).  One of the interesting things about City Guys is that for all of its “Open up your eyes, we’re all the same” rhetoric and liberal posturing, it was a show that had absolutely no problem making fun of people of either Asian or Spanish descent.  Lupe and his team all speak with exaggerated accents and randomly drop Spanish words into their conversation, which the live studio audience finds to be hilarious.  On the one hand, Lupe is a stereotype.  On the other hand, he’s also the best character in this episode because he never stop taunting the City Guys.  Lupe is the better bowler and he knows it and he makes no apologies and it’s impossible not to enjoy the exaggerated rituals that he goes through before rolling the ball down the lane.  Considering that this show often acted as if Jamal and Chris were the center of the universe, it’s good to see a character who doesn’t have any respect for them and who is actually better than them at something.  Go Lupe!

Anyway, realizing that she sucks, Dawn fakes a wrist injury so that L-Train can take her place on the team.  L-Train is a great bowler and it looks like the City Guys might win the trophy!  But then Dawn cheers too hard and the cast on her wrist flies off.  Everyone really she wasn’t actually injured and an important lesson is learned about something.  I don’t know what the lesson was to be honest.  I don’t bowl.

While this was going on, Ms. Nobel developed a crush on the new substitute teacher, Mr. Washington.  But then she saw Mr. Washington with a younger woman and she assumed she was his girlfriend.  It turns out she was just his sister so yay!  Ms. Nobel’s getting it tonight.

Let’s move on….

Episode 3.4 “Face The Music”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on September 18th, 1999)

“Lionel,” Ms. Nobel tells L-Train towards the end of this episode, “I think you learned an important lesson tonight.  Before you show your songs to anyone, you should copyright them.”

Finally!  A lesson that all of City Guys‘s audience could take to heart!

Anyway, in this episode, it’s revealed that L-Train is a huge fan of the blues, a songwriter, and a follower of Slick Willie (Sherman Hemsley), a veteran bluesman.  Much as with the bowling league, all of this kind of came out of nowhere but, by this point, I’m kind of used to that as far as City Guys is concerned.  L-Train, Chris, and Jamal go to see Slick Willie perform at the local blues club.  L-Train lets Slick Willie see one of this songs.  Slick Willie steals the song and puts it on his next album.

Didn’t the same thing happen to Jake on California Dreams?

This felt like a bit of a throw-away episode, as if Peter Engel called the writers into his office and said, “We’ve got Sherman Hemsley for a day, find something for him to do!” and the writers panicked and just recycled an old California Dreams script.  It’s funny that a show about copyright law basically stole its plot from another show.  How much you want to bet that we’ll never hear another word about L-Train being an aspiring blues musician?

Eh.  You’re disappointing me, City Guys!


2 responses to “Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.3 “Alley Oops” and 3.4 “Face the Music”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Mare’s Week In Television: 12/4/22 — 12/10/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 12/5/22 — 12/11/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

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