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, one season ends and another begins. Will City Guys never end!?
Episode 3.25 “Mom on the Rocks”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on June 10th, 2000)
The third season comes to an end with …. mid-terms!
Mid-terms? Does school never end in the world of City Guys!? Is there no summer in New York City? Still, Ms. Noble assures everyone that they’ll be fine if “you’ve kept up with the school work.” I’m not sure how they’re supposed to keep up with anything when Ms. Noble is constantly giving them community service assignments but whatever. Someday, these students will graduate and discover that none of them have the slightest idea how to live without Ms. Noble telling them what to do.
Dawn is directing the school’s ballet (which is called, I kid you not, Cinderella In The Hood) and she needs an extra dancer. L-Train volunteers (“Can I get jiggy with it?”) and this, of course, leads to a lot of “Oh my God, a man is wearing tights” jokes. Jamal and Al also volunteer to work crew, mostly so they can hit on the dancers. (From my experience, this was actually a pretty accurate reflection of what the crew usually did during high school dance performances. Of course, it was also my experience that the stage crew tended to get in the way and no one would be caught dead checking any of them out.) Isn’t Al dating Dawn? I guess this is another case of NBC showing the episodes out-of-order. Anyway, if you couldn’t guess that two dancers are going to end up with broken toes and Jamal and Al are going to end up having to replace them, then you obviously didn’t see the episode of Saved By The Bell where Zack discovered he was one credit short of graduating.
(Of course, the dance is being performed on the roof of the school! How is that even practical? Does Manny High not have an auditorium?)
Dawn has more problems than just the fact that she’s apparently not a very good ballet director. She’s also agreed to tutor Chris and Cassidy on Biology but when they show up at Dawn’s house, they discover that Dawn’s mother (Jennifer Savidge) is an alcoholic! The next day, at school, Cassidy shows Chris all of the AA and Al-anon pamphlets that she’s spent the night collecting. Chris suggests that maybe they should stay out of it. “We have to do something!” Cassidy exclaims. Why, Cassidy? Why do you have to do something? It’s not your problem. To me, this is more evidence of the influence of Ms. Noble. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to leave people alone and let them deal with things on their own schedule.
Anyway, just as you probably guessed that Al and Jamal were going to end up wearing tights, you probably also guessed that Dawn’s mother is going to show up for the performance drunk. Dawn gets embarrassed but luckily Ms. Noble is there to tell Dawn that she shouldn’t have tried to hide her mother’s problem in the first place. Wait? What? Go away, Ms. Noble. Seriously, what was Dawn supposed to do? Walk into school and tell everyone that her mother was an alcoholic? Add to that, this is season 3 of this dumbass show. After three years of Dawn relentlessly pushing herself to always be the best and basically having a panic attack over the least little thing, how did it never occur to anyone that maybe Dawn had issues at home? It’s not Dawn’s responsibility to tell anyone. If anything, it seems like everyone else failed in their responsibilities towards her.
Ms. Noble also mentions that Cassidy and Chris got Dawn’s mother some coffee. Dawn’s mother then shows up, magically sober, and says that she’s willing to go to AA. Screw AA. It looks like all she needs is coffee!
This episode was cringe city. Let’s move on to the fourth season.
Episode 4.1 “Kickin’ It”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on September 23rd, 2000)
The fourth season begins with the school year already in swing. Al is a star soccer player and….
Wait. Let me re-read that to make sure I didn’t get that wrong.
Since when — in all of the episodes that have preceded this one — has Al ever shown any athletic ability? Then again, the show randomly turned Jamal into a baseball superstar so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Al is suddenly New York’s best teenage soccer player. Unfortunately, Al is so good at soccer that his coach encourages him to focus more on playing than studying. Fortunately, Ms. Noble catches him and L-Train giving a weakass oral report on Abraham Lincoln and she not only tells Al to get himself together but that he’s getting an F on his report. (L-Train, meanwhile, is just an innocent bystander who also gets an F because he was unlucky enough to be partnered with Al.) Al realizes that he needs to do better in school so he tells the coach not to give him any more special treatment. (That would definitely happen, as teenagers are notorious for refusing special treatment.)
Meanwhile, Ms. Noble wants to lose some weight because her high school reunion is coming up and she is looking forward to seeing an old boyfriend. Cassie, Chris, and Jamal make it their duty to help Ms. Noble get in shape. Cassie is so excited when she hears that Noble want to impress a man. Uh, kids — WHY DO YOU CARE!? SHE’S YOUR PRINCIPAL! NO ONE CARES ABOUT THEIR PRINCIPAL! And, seriously, doesn’t Ms. Noble ever get tired of having to share every aspect of her personal life with her students?
Anyway, the kids decide to crash Ms. Noble’s high school reunion so that they can tell her ex-boyfriend about all the success that Ms. Noble has had in her life since she was in high school and …. actually, you know what? This is too stupid to even detail. I mean, the reunion is held on the freaking roof of Manny High, for God’s sake. This is such a dumb show and I’ve still got 51 more episodes left to review. So, I’ll just wrap things up that Ms. Noble and her boyfriend head off to the auditorium, where I assume they’re going to spend the entire reunion having nostalgia sex. As a result, we now know that this school has an auditorium and there’s absolutely no reason why everything has to be done on the roof.
As for next week’s episodes, I’m sure something will happen that will annoy me.
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