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!
If I can turn it in tomorrow, it’ll be alright….
Episode 3.11 “Marriage Go Round”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 23rd, 1999)
It’s marriage class! The class — which, of course, includes Jamal, Chris, L-Train, Al, Dawn, and Cassidy — is divided into couples. Ms. Nobel assigns the couples and, for a few weeks, they pretend to be married and deal with any complications that come up. Ms. Nobel also decides what the complications are going to be. Why does Ms. Nobel get all this power?
Anyway, Jamal gets mad because Chris is “married” to Jamal’s previously never seen or acknowledged girlfriend. (Apparently, Jamal broke up with the white girl who had the racist father.) Jamal spends the entire show worrying that he’s going to lose his girlfriend and then he does lose his girlfriend but who cares? We’ve never seen this person before. Meanwhile, L-Train is assigned to marry a girl who thinks that she’s too good for him, Al is assigned to marry Dawn, and Jamal is assigned to marry Cassidy. Considering that Chris is supposedly in love with Cassidy, wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to be jealous of Jamal than for Jamal to be jealous of Chris?
As you may have noticed, this episode was recycled from an old episode of Saved By The Bell. It wasn’t that good of an idea when Saved By The Bell did it. It’s even dumber when it gets the City Guys treatment.
Episode 3.12 “Movin’ On Up”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 30th, 1999)
Rock TV (that’s this show’s version of MTV) is holding auditions for the cast of the latest season of Reality House (a.k.a. The Real World). Chris, Jamal, L-Train, Al, Dawn, and Cassidy show up late for the auditions and then get into a loud argument about who is to blame. The producer is so impressed by their argument that he hires them on the spot! As he puts it, they’ve got “in-your-face, New York attitude!”
The Gang becomes reality stars!
They move into a loft but apparently, there’s not enough conflict and Chris and Jamal overhear the show’s producer talking about cancelling the season. Chris and Jamal decide to manufacture conflict to keep the season going. Isn’t that what the show’s producers are supposed to be doing?
Seriously, as a committed reality TV fan, this episode offended me. Why would you ever cast a reality show with an uneven number of men and women? Why would you pick people who already know each other? Why would you not toss someone in specifically to start conflict? Where’s the naïve newcomer from the Midwest? Where’s the frustrated artist with terrible personal hygiene? Where’s the girl who won’t shut up about being a virgin? Where’s the frat boy with a drinking problem? I mean, no wonder no one is watching this show!
While the gang appears on reality TV, Ms. Nobel deals with a terrible new assistant named Marcy. It was pretty dumb. Even dumber is that Ms. Nobel somehow got involved in telling Chris and Jamal how to behave on the reality show. Why does Ms. Nobel get involved in everything? Is running a high school really that easy of a job that she can just spend all of her time hanging out at the diner and the reality show loft?
The episode ended with the TV show still going and everyone still living in the Loft so I guess this reality show angle is going to be the new thing. I guess we’ll find out for sure next week!
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