Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 2/12/23 — 2/18/23

This week I decided to get a head start on my retro television reviews and I ended up watching and writing up reviews for three months worth of Hang Time and California Dreams.  I am exhausted and I have dueling theme songs stuck in my head.

Here are some thoughts:

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

“Fire!”  This week’s episode of Abbott Elementary was a classic and, after two somewhat uneven episodes, a return to form.  I loved Ava’s response to the fire.  I would have done the same.  “Wait, you went to a spa?”  Well, where else should she have gone?

Accused (Tuesday Night, FOX)

This week, the accused was a father-turned-vigilante, on trial for the murder of a man who molested his daughter.  The idea had the potential to be interesting but the execution was flat.  The episode’s big guest star was Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who gave a credible performance but who was also a bit on the dull side.

California Dreams (YouTube)

I watched six hours of California Dreams this weekend.  I will never get the theme song out of my head.

The Devil Next Door (Netflix)

This is a Netflix docuseries about John Demjanjuk, a retired auto worker in Detroit who was accused of being Ivan the Terrible, a notorious Nazi concentration camp guard.  While Demjanjuk was indeed a former camp guard, there’s still some debate over whether he was also Ivan The Terrible.  It was a fascinating and disturbing story.  With Demjanjuk now dead, we’ll probably never know for sure whether or not he was Ivan but that doesn’t change the fact that this rather mild-looking elderly man was a participant in the most monstrous crimes in history.

Fantasy Island (Tubi)

I reviewed Fantasy Island here!

Hang Time (YouTube)

I watched and wrote up reviews for 15 hours worth of Hang Time episodes this week.  I’m exhausted but, on the plus side, I won’t have to watch the show again until June.

The Love Boat (Paramount+)

I wrote up the first season finale of The Love Boat here!

Night Court (Tuesday, NBC)

In this week’s episode, a bunch of children led a protest in Abbie’s courtroom.  My goodness, it was truly an embarrassing episode.  Night Court doesn’t know if it wants to be goofy or edgy and the lack of focus is really becoming an issue.

Night Music (YouTube)

This was a live music program from the 80s.  The episode that I watched on Friday night featured Stevie Ray Vaughn, Van Dyke Parks, and David Sanborn.  The music was great!

The Super Bowl (Sunday Night, FOX)

I watched it for the commercials, as the game didn’t really interest me and I didn’t have any real feelings about either one of the two teams playing.  However, I will say that everyone that I know is pretty happy that the Eagles lost.  And while I don’t have anything against the Eagles as a group of individual athletes, I do kind of resent the Philadelphia Parking Authority, as a result of having watched too many episodes of Parking Wars.

The Watchers (Netflix)

I watched the first four episodes of this Netflix miniseries on Tuesday night.  The mystery was intriguing but, like so many Ryan Murphy-produced programs, it felt like there was way too much padding and I kind of started to lose interest in it all as the story progressed.  Fortunately, both Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale were well-cast.

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 4.1 “Two Too Much” and 4.2 “My Valentine”

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!

Welcome to season 4!

Episode 4.1 “Two Too Much”

(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on September 9th, 1995)

I have to admit that I’ve now reached the point where I automatically smile as soon as I hear the opening of the California Dreams theme song.  Over the past few months, I’ve come to appreciate California Dreams with its (mostly) good cast, its occasionally clever writing, and even its inoffensive music.  Of course, compared to City Guys and One World, anything is going to look good but California Dreams is a surprisingly entertaining show.  It has its own enjoyably odd but mellow vibe.

The fourth season gets off to a good start with a ballet class!  Yay!  Of course, Sam and Lorena are in the class.  But so are Mark and Sly, largely because they both think it’ll be a good place to pick up girls.  And so is Tony, due to Sam ordering him to take the class.  Jake, however, thinks that ballet is stupid and doesn’t understand why Lorena doesn’t want to spend all of her time watching him ride his motorcycle …. uh-oh, I think I see where this is going and I’m not happy about it because I’m one of the few people who thinks that Jake and Lorena were a good couple.

After his fight with Lorena, Jake finds Tiffani at Sharky’s and asks her for advice.  However, Tiffani is on a date with Keith Dell, “the teen radio shrink.”  Keith, who is a hilariously mellow and understanding character, tells Jake that a successful relationship is all about compromise.  Keith then suggests that Jake and Tiffani are still in love.  “Wooooo!” the audience replies.

Determined to try to make it work with Lorena, Jake tries to share her interests.  He takes her shopping for shoes.  Then he shows up for ballet class, having exchanged his leather jacket for a pair of tights and ready to dance.  After Lorena accuses Jake of embarrassing her, Jake has a black-and-white fantasy about being married to Lorena.  Of course, it’s called I Love Lorena.  Jake becomes Desi Arnaz.  Lorena becomes Lucille Ball.  Fred and Ethel are embodied by Sam and Tony.  Even in the fantasy, though, Jake keeps accidentally saying that he loves Tiffani.  It’s actually pretty funny, largely because of the chemistry of the cast.

I’m sure everyone reading this can guess what’s going to happen.  Jake and Lorena amicably break up.  Jake and Tiffani get back together.  Tony becomes dance-crazed and puts together a wonderfully pretentious performance at Sharky’s.  As always, everything happens at Sharky’s.

Despite the fact that my favorite couple broke up, this was a good start for the fourth season.  The cast’s chemistry was as strong as ever, Jake and Lorena’s breakup was handled intelligently, and William James Jones had some funny moments as he went mad for ballet.  And who knows?  I liked Jake and Lorena but Jake and Tiffani have chemistry as well.  Maybe this breakup was all for the best….

Episode 4.2 “My Valentine”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on September 16th, 1995)

It’s Valentine’s Day!  Looking to make his first Valentine’s Day with Samantha a special one, Tony writes a love song and has Jake sing it.  After Jake finishes the song, Sly says that it was the perfect gift.  Tiffani agrees that it was very romantic.  “No,” Sly says, “it was free.”

Oh, Sly …. never change!

Tony, however, is worried that Sam will be returning to Hong Kong as soon as they graduate from high school.  Tony’s solution is to ask her to marry him.  Sam says, “Yes!”  The audience goes crazy but the Dreams have their doubts.  Lorena and Jake think Tony and Sam are too young to get married.  Sly agrees but his main concern is whether or not Tony and Sam will hire the Dreams to play at their wedding reception.  I’m not sure how that would work, considering that Tony and Sam are in the Dreams.

Tony and Sam haven’t been engaged for more than a day before they have their first fight.  Sam discovers that Tony hasn’t told his parents that they are engaged.  “If you can’t yell your parents,” she says, “your obviously too immature to get married!”

“I’m not immature,” Tony replies, “I just didn’t want them to ground me.”

Hey, it make me laugh.  I laughed even harder when Sam revealed that she hadn’t told her parents either.

Anyway, Tony and Sam break up but, luckily, they get back together a few hours later at the big Valentine’s Day dance, agreeing to date and putting off marriage for now.  I was glad about that.  Tony and Sam are a cute couple and no one should break up on the most romantic day of the year!  While Tony and Sam are getting back together, Jake and Tiffani are having an O. Henry moment as they realize that they’ve both sold their most prized possessions to get the other a present.  It’s a sweet moment for them.  Meanwhile, Lorena gets to wear a really cute red dress so everyone’s a winner this Valentine’s Day!

I own the same dress!

Next week: Tiffani is principal for a day!  I’m sure this won’t lead to any drama at all….

Live Tweet Alert: Watch The Rage: Carrie 2 with #ScarySocial


As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, I will be hosting 1999’s The Rage: Carrie 2!

That’s right!  It’s the most underrated horror sequel ever made!

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime, Tubi, and a few other streaming sites.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.

And don’t watch alone!