Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.15 “Funny Business” and 3.16 “Get Your Vote On”


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!

Hello Manny High!  When last we checked in with the City Guys, they were starring on a reality show.  Let’s see what happens this week….

Episode 3.15 “Funny Business”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 6th, 1999)

Oh hey, I guess the whole reality show thing is over.  In this episode, there’s no mention of Reality House or the Loft.  There’s no cameramen chasing Jamal and Chris.  In fact, no one mentions anything about ever having appeared on reality television.  I guess this is one of those things, like the video yearbook, where they’ll explain what actually happened two seasons from now.

In this episode, Rebecca (Lisa Pepper), a Manny High graduate, returns to her former school so that she can offer three internships at her architectural firm.  Of course, Dawn volunteers.  And then Ms. Nobel randomly draws two names out of a bag for the other two spots and, of course, she draws Chris and Jamal!  I have a feeling that every piece of paper in that bag had either Chris or Jamal’s name written on it.

Chris really enjoys the internship until Rebecca orders him to be her love slave.  After Chris says that’s not appropriate workplace behavior, Rebecca threatens to flunk him unless he become her boy toy.  Chris, Jamal, and Dawn secretly record Rebecca threatening Chris and Rebecca gets fired.

Every show produced by Peter Engel did at least one episode dealing with sexual harassment but I think City Guys was the only one to feature a guy being harassed by a woman.  The episode is a bit heavy-handed and, over the past two and a half seasons, Chris has basically tried to get in the pants of every woman that he’s met so it seems like a little out-of-character that he would turn down the first woman who has actually shown any interest in him.  I mean, if we’re going to be honest, Chris is a serial harasser who apparently can’t handle having the tables turned on him.  This episode says more about Chris than it does Rebecca.

Episode 3.16 “Get Your Vote On”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 13th, 1999)

Chris has two tickets to the Taxi, Taxi, “the hottest Broadway show.”  Both Cassidy and Dawn volunteer to be his date.

“Two girls, one ticket,” Al says, “you in trouble!”

Well, Al, let’s think about it.  First off, Chris has been trying to date Cassidy since this season began and now, she’s begging to go on a date with him.  Plus, Al — YOU’RE DATING DAWN!  Remember that!?  I’m going to guess this episode was actually filmed before the episode in which Al and Dawn got together and NBC, as they often did, showed the episodes out of order.  As I’ve said before and will probably say again …. NBC just didn’t care.

The Broadway thing is only the B-plot.  The A-plot features L-Train running for reelection as Student Council president.  Jamal decides to run against him because he feels that L-Train hasn’t done enough for the radio station.

While Jamal campaigns for the presidency, Dawn and Cassidy beg Chris to pick one of them to take to the Broadway show.  “You in a player’s paradise!” Al tells Chris before reminding him that Chris has all the power over Dawn and Cassidy.  Al …. DAWN IS YOUR GIRLFRIEND, YOU WEIRDO!

As for the election, Jamal makes a lot of promises that he can’t keep and is elected over L-Train.  After Ms. Nobel informs him that the student council has no money and he’ll have to hold a fund raiser to keep all of his promises, Jamal decides to have a carnival on the roof of the school.  I have to admit that I’m kind of amazed at how strong that roof is.  I mean, they do everything on that roof!

For some reason, Jamal decides to bring a pig to the carnival.  L-Train, looking for revenge, plots to set the pig on the loose but, after Jamal offers to make him vice president, L-Train abandons his evil plan.  Unfortunately, the pig is already on the loose.  (There’s something I never thought I’d write.)  The carnival is a disaster.

“Jamal must go!” the students chant, until L-Train explains that he’s responsible for the pig getting loose.

While this is going on, Cassidy and Dawn get revenge on Al and Chris by having Cassidy’s uncle pretend to be a cop in the anti-scalping division.  After Chris tries to sell the tickets, the fake cop arrests Chris and Al and orders them to hand the tickets over to Cassidy and Dawn.  Ha!  Take that, Chris and Al!

Jamal and L-Train make up and then Jamal resigns so L-Train can become president again.  So, everything’s back to normal.  Yay! 

This episode wasn’t that bad, if you can overlook the plot.  Steven Daniel had some good moments as L-Train.  And the pig getting loose on the roof was a genuinely well-done moment.  Plus, Dawn and Cassidy got to see Taxi Taxi!

Next week …. well, who knows?  I’m sure it’ll be crazy whatever it is.

Scenes That I Love: The Viola Lee Blues Montage from Richard Lester’s Petulia


Who, you may be asking yourself, could have brought George C. Scott, Julie Christie, and the Grateful Dead all together in one movie?

The answer to that question is Richard Lester, who today celebrates his 91st birthday!  Though Lester is best-known for his work with the Beatles and with the Superman films, I think his best film was undoubtedly 1968’s Petulia.  A sharp social satire, Petulia took a look at what happened when the counter culture and the establishment collided in San Francisco.  And there’s perhaps no better symbol of that collision than George C. Scott, wearing a turtleneck and smoking cigarette while attending a Grateful Dead show.

While the band plays Viola Lee Blues, Scott wanders through 1960s San Francisco.