Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.9 “In This Corner” and 3.10 “El-Trainmania IV”


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 go back to Manny High and see what’s happening with the neat guys.

Episode 3.9 “In this Corner”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 16th, 1999)

When this show began, Jamal was an amiable goofball who wasn’t particularly good at sports.  Then, at the start of season 3, he was suddenly transformed into a baseball phenom.  And now, with this episode, Jamal is suddenly an aspiring boxer.  The only problem is that Jamal’s father doesn’t want him to box because apparently, “Uncle Eddie” was blinded in the boxing ring.  When Jamal gets a black eye while sparring, Jamal’s father forbids him to fight in the upcoming tournament.  Jamal leaves home and moves in with Chris.

(Seriously, Chris and Jamal — don’t let anyone tell you that y’all spend too much time together.)

For some reason, Ms. Nobel decides to get involved.  She encourages Jamal’s father to support Jamal’s dream of becoming a slow-witted, punch drunk fighter with CTE.  Jamal’s father does show up, just in time to see Jamal get knocked out in the ring.  Once Jamal wakes back up, he announces that he is retiring as a boxer.

“Hey, Jamal,” Chris says, “since you won’t be training anymore, how about taking a brother out for pizza?”

You’re not a brother, Chris!  Add to that, Jamal probably has a concussion now.  

In the episode’s B-plot, Al accidentally sells some blue boxing gloves to a dorky kid named Martin.  It turns out the gloves belonged to a friend of Ms. Nobel’s so now, Al has to figure out how to get them back.  The loyalty that everyone at Manny High has for their principal is kind of weird.  Most students don’t like their principal.  Anyway, Al gets the the gloves back by setting Martin up on a date with “Dawny Dawn” and “Cassy Cass.”  

Whatever.  This was a dumb episode.

Episode 3.10 “El-Trainmania IV”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 16th, 1999)

First, Jamal wants to be a boxer. Now, L-Train wants to be a pro wrestler!  At least in L-Train’s case, this development kind of makes sense.  L-Train’s always been portrayed as a fighter and an athlete.  Anyway, L-Train’s new focus on wrestling comes into conflict with his previous commitment to read to underprivileged children.  One of the children decides that he wants to be violent just because L-Train is violent so L-Train decides to abandon being a pro wrestler.  In fact, L-Train’s story so closely follows Jamal’s boxing story that it’s strange that both episodes were apparently aired on the same day.  Did no one say, “Maybe we should move this episode around to make it less obvious that we’re running out of ideas?”

In the B-plot, Chris and Jamal start doing restaurant reviews on their radio show.  Apparently, a good review from Chris and Jamal can make or break a restaurant.  Seriously?  It’s just a high school radio program, people!  Anyway, Chris and Jamal give a review to a bad Greek restaurant so Ms. Nobel forces them to eat there because apparently, Manny High could just run itself and Ms. Nobel had time to waste on the silliest issues.

*sigh*  What a disappointing trip to Manny High!  Hopefully, 2023 will be better.

One response to “Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.9 “In This Corner” and 3.10 “El-Trainmania IV”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 12/26/22 — 1/1/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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