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!
Finally, it’s time for season 3 and the Lorena Years! But, first, we’ve got one final season 2 episode to get out of the way….
Episode 2.18 “Indecent Promposal”
(Dir by Miguel Higeura, originally aired on February 5th, 1994)
Both the 2nd season and the school year are coming to an end! That means that it’s time for prom!
Tiffani can’t wait to go to the prom. Jake thinks the prom is stupid. When Glenn, one of Tiffani’s patients from her days as a candystriper, offers to take Tiffani to the prom as a friend and to arrange for the Dreams to have a permanent summer gig, Tiffani reluctantly agrees. Jake, however, can’t shake the feeling that Glenn is going to try to make a move on Tiffani, which is just what Glenn does. Glenn kisses Tiffani. Tiffany rejects Glenn. However, Jake (who has decide to come to the prom afterall), witnesses the kiss and he gets so upset that he and Tiffani break up. This would be a big emotional moment if there had been any consistency, during season 2, as to when Tiffani and Jake were actually dating. Since the episodes were shown out of order, Tiffani and Jake would be a couple one week and then single the next. As a result, it never really seemed like Jake and Tiffani were together in the first place.
The prom didn’t work out. That’s too bad. Fortunately, season 3 is right around the corner!
Episode 3.1 “The Unforgiven”
(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on September 10th, 1994)
Finally! The third season has begun! And with it, we get a new title sequence:
This is the season that marked the beginning of what most people consider to be classic California Dreams. Frustrated with his diminished role on the series, Brent Gore declined to return for season 3. As a result, Matt was written out of the series with the excuse that the Garrisons moved. The California Dreams soldiered on without him, with Jake now at the center of the band and the show.
When the Garrisons left, foreign exchange student Sam moved in with the Costa family and became best friends with my favorite character on the show, Lorena. Lorena Costa (played by Diana Uribe) is the character to whom I most relate on this show. We’re both of Spanish descent. (My grandmother was born in Spain.) We’ve both got good hair. We both love to dance. We both tend to refer to ourselves in the third person. Lorena’s the best character ever!
Lorena is willing to allow the Dreams to practice in her loft but the Dreams still have two huge problems. They don’t have a replacement for Matt. And they need $500 to get their equipment back from a pawnshop. Why is their equipment at a pawnshop? I’m not sure but somehow, it’s Sly’s fault.
Fortunately, Sly has a solution. His musically gifted cousin, Mark (Aaron Jackson), has moved to California. Unfortunately, Mark has never forgiven Sly for ruining a performance that he was giving at Carnegie Hall. Apparently, Mark was playing the William Tell Overture and Sly yelled, “Hi-ho, Silver, away!” The only way to get Mark to forgive Sly is for Mark to give the performance again without Sly ruining things. Unfortunately, for reasons that are never exactly clear, Sly once again yells, “Hi-ho, Silver, away!”
Well, I guess that’s it for the Dreams, right? Unfortunately, Sly has booked the Dreams to play at a party being given by one of Lorena’s friends. With Mark refusing to join the Dreams, Lorena’s friend’s boyfriend is planning on beating up Sly. To save his cousin’s life, Mark agrees to forgive Sly, join the Dreams, and play the party with them.
I have to admit that I’m a little surprised that it took the Dreams that long to find a replacement for Matt. Considering that the Dreams already had a following at the end of the second season, I would imagine they would have a lot of people wanting to join the band. Maybe they’re all scared of getting on Jake’s bad side. Well, no matter. Things work out in the end!
As for the episode itself, it succeeds in doing what it needed to do. It introduces the viewers to Lorena and Mark and let’s everyone know what the show’s new direction is going to be. The humor is overly broad but the cast has genuine chemistry and Michael Cade’s portrayal of Sly attempting to fake sincerity while apologizing is genuinely funny.
I’m looking forward to the rest of season 3!