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….

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

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 2/13/23 — 2/19/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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