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!
This week is all about romance and total defiance!
Episode 3.4 “Blind Dates”
(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 1st, 1994)
Oh my God, Sly has been talking to a girl on a brand new thing called the Internet! When he meets Allison (played, quite well, by Nikki Cox), he is shocked to discover that she’s blind. Allison brings out Sly’s rarely seen good side and Allison appreciates that Sly is too much of a jackass to treat her differently just because she’s blind. At first, Sly is worried about taking her to the school dance but then he takes her anyway. Yay!
Meanwhile, Tony and Sam also get on the internet and both of them think that they’ve found their soul mate. But it turns out that they’ve just been talking to each other. By the end of this episode, Tony and Sam have begun their relationship. This is a huge moment in the history of California Dreams because, in the end, Tony and Sam had most (and maybe the only) stable relationship on the show.
Unfortuntely, as we’ll see next week, things wouldn’t last as long for Sly and Allison, which is a shame because Nikki Cox and Michael Cade had tons of onscreen chemistry and they were a sweet couple. Oh well. Such is life.
Episode 3.5 “Yoko, oh no!”
(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 8th, 1994)
It’s time for another Battle of the Bands!
In this episode, we meets the Dreams’s rival band, Total Defiance. We’re supposed to dislike Total Defiance because they’re constantly making fun of the Dreams and their manager is an obnoxious girl named Rosie who has a crush on Mark Winkle. The thing is that Total Defiance, which appears to be a rap/heavy metal hybrid band, actually does appear to be a lot better than the Dreams. From what little of what we’re allowed to hear from them, their sound is a bit more interesting than the California Dreams. I mean, let’s be honest. The California Dreams did have a few good songs but, for the most part, Rosie has a point when she says that the Dreams are a generic pop band. Jake may wear a leather jacket and talk about being a rebel but, even after Matt Garrison leaves the band that he founded, the Dreams still specialized in coming up with mellow, feel-good tunes that really could have been sung by anyone. Total Defiance was all about taking risks. They were the true rebels!
They were also all about giving the Dreams a hard time. When Rosie dismisses Lorena as just being a “groupie,” Lorena tries to prove them wrong by auditioning for the band. The good thing is that she gets to wear a really pretty dress when she auditions. The bad thing is that she can’t carry a tune. (See? There’s something else that Lorena and I have in common.) Blinded by love, Jake insists that Lorena be allowed to sing with the band. However, when Lorena hears the rest of the band talking about how bad her voice is, she fakes laryngitis so they’ll perform without her. As a result, the Dreams not only win the Battle of the Bands but everyone also learns an important lesson about being honest. Yay!
I liked this episode because it was a Jake and Lorena episode and those are always my favorites. They were a cute couple. That said, Total Defiance should have won the Battle of the Bands and if Tony Manero had been there, he would have handed the trophy to them at the end of the contest.