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!
This week, we explore just how stupid one show can get.
Episode 3.23 “Fast Times At Manny High”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on February 12th, 2000)
One of the strangest things about City Guys has always been the students worshipful attitude towards Ms. Noble. Ms. Noble is the school’s principal. She’s the authority figure. She’s the disciplinarian. In what world do teenagers actually like authority figures? I mean, I know that authoritarianism is all the rage today and that there’s a lot of high school and college students out there who are desperate to have someone telling them what to do. But City Guys is a show from the 90s. Weren’t the 90s supposed to be about rebellion? I was thinking about this as I watched Fast Times At Manny High because I noticed that Chris and Jamal have a picture of Ms. Noble hanging on the wall of the radio station. Seriously, it’s creepy how obsessed the students are with their principal. Of course, it’s possible that City Guys just wasn’t very realistic in general. I mean, just consider the fact that Chris and Jamal had a popular radio program, despite having next to no on-air charisma or chemistry.
Anyway, in this episode, Ms. Noble decided that all of the students should fast for one night. If the students go for an entire night without eating, a corporation will donate $500 to a hunger charity. All of the students agree because, of course, none of them have the guts to tell Ms. Noble to stop trying to run their lives. However, it turns out that the fast is not as easy as anyone thought it would be. I mean, they’re going 9 to 10 hours without eating! OH MY GOD, SUCH COMMITMENT!
For some reason, the fast is held on the roof of Manny High. (I really worry about that roof, to be honest. I once snuck out onto the roof of my high school and I got yelled at because apparently, the roof was in really bad shape and, despite the fact that I barely weighed 100 pounds, there was a risk that it could collapse underneath me. Meanwhile, at Manny High, they’re using the roof for carnivals, fashion shows, protests, radio contests, and fasts!)
Anyway, the kids screw up the fast. (It’s almost as if they’re irresponsible teenagers!) Jamal and Chris sneak off to go on a date with two of their listeners and then, while sneaking back into the school, they end up in Noble’s classroom.. Al and Dawn sneak off to celebrate their anniversary, in Noble’s classroom.. (Yeah, that relationship is still going on.) L-Train tries to sneak food into the fast and ends up eating in Noble’s classroom.. Cassidy sneaks off the roof to try to sneak a rewritten term paper into Ms. Noble’s classroom. Of course, they’re all too stupid to pull it off and the corporation announces that they will not be donating $500 to the homeless. Ms. Noble is very disappointed in all of them, even though L-Train explains that he had to break the fast because he was getting so hungry that he was thinking of eating Al.
(Maybe Ms, Noble could just donate $500 to the charity herself. I mean, she is the one with a job.)
The kids feel guilty and they all agree that they have to do something to help. L-Train says that he can’t do anything until he gets some food. L-Train …. IT’S ONLY BEEN 6 HOURS! I used to go weeks without eating until I got yelled at by my doctor,
Anyway, the rule-breakers agree to cook breakfast for the kids who did fast and apparently, this inspires the corporation to donate $500 to charity so I guess everything worked out.
Stupid episode. Let’s move on.
Episode 3.24 “Harlem Honey”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on March 11th, 2000)
“This is New York Diner, no place is finer!” Jamal says as he answers the phone at his Dad’s restaurant. Already, we know that this episode is going to suck.
Anyway, Jamal’s father (Ivory Ocean) is upset because his latest girlfriend has dumped him. In order to cheer him up, Jamal and Chris go online and, using the name Harlem Honey, start sending romantic emails to Jamal’s father. However, when Jamal’s father says that he wants to meet his new girlfriend, Jamal and Chris decide to recruit Ms. Noble to pretend to be Harlem Honey and….
Sorry, I was silent screaming. Anyway….
Remember how I said Fast Times At Manny High was a dumb episode? Well, it’s brilliant compared to Harlem Honey. What teenager — no matter how lonely their father may be — is going to set a parent up with their high school principal!? Anyway, Noble refuses but fortunately, L-Train’s aunt is single but then Ms. Noble changes her mind and she and Jamal’s father pretend to be in love and…
Yes, I was silently screaming again.
Can we just move on from this episode and pretend that I never saw it? That sounds good to me!
Next week, the third season of City Guys ends!
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