Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 4.5 “Fallen Idol” and 4.6 “Defending Sly’s Life”

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!

This week, Jake learns an important lesson about how ruthless and heartless the music business actually is.  Meanwhile, Sly is forced to defend a lifetime of bad ethical choices.

Episode 4.5 “Fallen Idol”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 14th, 1995)

Never meet your idols!

Jake learns that lesson the hard way when his hero, faded rock star Zane Walker (Julian Stone), wanders into Sharky’s.  Jake is stunned to see Zane.  Jake is overjoyed when Zane agrees to listen to the Dreams play.  And Jake is stunned when Zane steals Jake’s latest song and releases his own version of it.  The song becomes a hit in record time.  (Apparently, it only took about a week for Zane to steal the song, record it, and then release it.)  Jake and the Dreams crash Zane’s press conference, with Jake still convinced that Zane is going to give Jake credit for writing the song.  Instead, Zane smirks and takes all the credit for himself.  Tiffani and Sly suggest suing Zane.  Jake replies that it’s not about the song.  He can write a hundred good songs.  But he’ll never get another idol….

Wow, what a depressing episode!  I mean, Jay Anthony Franke really poured his heart into his performance and it’s good that the show taught kids about the importance of copyright laws but still…. let’s move on to something happier.

Episode 4.6 “Defending Sly’s Life”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 21st, 1995)

The episode opens in a court room.  All of the Dreams are in costume.  Sam is a court reporter.  Jake is a judge.  Tiffani and Tony are lawyers.  Poor Mark and Lorena are forced to wear unflattering bailiff’s uniforms.  Meanwhile, Sly is wearing an orange jumpsuit because apparently, he’s on trial for being the most greedy, selfish guy on Earth.  Tony is his lawyer.  Tiffani is the prosecutor.

Is this a dream?

No, it’s a clip show.  Each member of the Dreams testifies about how Sly has been both a bad and a good friend.  Why are they in court?  It’s never really explained and I actually appreciated that.  It was a nice break from the usual “Remember that time that we played Sharky’s?” format of most clip shows.  Interestingly enough, we even get clips from the first two seasons despite the fact that there’s no way Sam, Lorena, and Mark could have remembered any of that stuff.  But at least the show is acknowledging that Matt Garrison and his sister used to be members of the Dreams.

(If I may briefly go off-topic, I always found it weird that, after Matt left, the Dreams went on without him.  I mean, Matt started the band.  He named the band!  Was he okay with the Dreams continuing to perform his songs and under the name he came up with even after he left?  Did Jake and the other band members even ask?  After he moved, they could have at least come up with a new name for themselves.  I would have suggested something like Jake Sommers and Funtime Quartet.)

Anyway, after all the Dreams testify about all of the sneaky things that he’s done, Sly testifies about the time that he helped Tiffani get off the steroids that he had previously given her.  Apparently, that’s enough to convince Judge Jake to rule that Sly is not the most selfish person on Earth and Sly is allowed to go free.  What would have happened if Sly had been found guilty?  Who knows?  I just like the fact that this totally weird episode came out of nowhere and will probably never be mentioned again.  This is something that you won’t ever see on City Guys or One World!

Next week, the recently acquitted Sly is rude to multiple people, therefore proving that Jake shouldn’t have been the judge.

2 responses to “Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 4.5 “Fallen Idol” and 4.6 “Defending Sly’s Life”

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 2/27/23 — 3/5/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 4.7 “Secret Admirer” and 4.8 “Old” | Through the Shattered Lens

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