Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 4.3 “Principal Tiffani” and 4.4 “The Dateless Game”

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!

Surf dudes with attitudes….

Episode 4.3 “Principal Tiffani”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on September 30th, 1995)

Earl Boen returns as Principal Blumford!  The last two times that Blumford appeared, he was given dialogue that deliberately harkened back to his days of appearing in the first two Terminator films.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen here but Principal Tiffani is still an important Blumford episode because this is the episode where it becomes clear that Tiffani and Blumford are having a secret affair.

Seriously, how else do you explain Blumford’s decision to appoint Tiffani to the role of “student principal?”  In fact, I’m not even sure that there is such a thing as the student principal program, despite the fact that both Saved By The Bell and California Dreams did episodes about it.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  Why would a student be put in charge of the school for a week?  In this episode, Blumford not only names Tiffani as student principal but he also expects her to run the school during mid-terms week.  I mean, shouldn’t Tiffani be studying for her mid-terms?  And why make Tiffani principal as opposed to someone who actually wants the job?

I think we all know the answer.

At first, Tiffani struggles with her new position.  No one will listen to her.  Then her other boyfriend, Jake, gives her a lesson in how to yell at people.  Tiffani takes his lessons to heart and goes mad with power, handing out detentions and forcing troublemakers to stand in the corner of her office in time-out.  Eventually, the entire school rebels and, on cut day, Tiffani discovers that the halls are completely deserted.

The entire school goes to Sharky’s, of course.  The Dreams, minus Tiffani, perform.  I imagine there’s nothing better than getting hired for a sweet cut day gig.  Eventually, Tiffani and Blumford show up at Sharky’s but Tiffani has learned to not be such a martinet so she lies and says that students had her permission to go to Sharky’s.  She then orders all of them to start studying, which they do.

Blumford pretends to fooled by Tiffani but, obviously, he knows what’s really going on.  Technically, Blumford could have gotten in trouble for giving an important role like student principal to someone who was obviously unqualified for the job but the hearts wants what the heart wants.

This was a very romantic episode.

Episode 4.4 “The Dateless Game”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 7th, 1995)

Speaking of romance, it’s time for Jake and Tiffani’s first anniversary!  They’ve only been dating for 2 episodes but whatever.  Everyone acts like they’ve been together forever.  (Actually, Lorena specifically says that Tiffani and Jake have been a thing for 3 months.)

However, before Jake can celebrate their anniversary, he decides help Sly and Mark out with their plan to take part in a charity dating game.  When the third bachelor fails to show up for the event, Jake agrees to take the stage with Sly and Mark.  Of course, despite his best efforts to pretend to be a shallow burn-out, Jake wins and it turns out his date is scheduled for the night of his anniversary!  Instead of just coming clean to Tiffani, Jake attempts to go on both dates at the same time.  That was a pretty dumb idea on Jake’s part and it helps to explain why Tiffani has been cheating with Blumford.

Needless to say, Jake’s dumbass plan explodes in his face.  Fortunately, the Dreams know how to fix the situation,  They hold a dating game of their own so that Jake and Tiffani can see that they belong together.  Tony is the host and William James Jones totally throws himself into the performance.  For some reason, the fake dating game is held at Sharky’s.  As far as I could tell, no one was ordering food during the dating game.  If Sharky’s goes out of business, blame it on the Dreams and their constant drama.

These two episodes felt very much like they belonged more on Saved By The Bell than California Dreams but no matter!  This cast long ago proved that they had the chemistry necessary to transcend even mundane material and that’s certainly what happens here.  Jake and Tiffani forgive each other and the audiences says, “Awwww!’ but somewhere, Principal Blumford’s heart is breaking.

One response to “Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 4.3 “Principal Tiffani” and 4.4 “The Dateless Game”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 2/20/23 — 2/26/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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