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!
Time for this again.
Episode 4.4 “Presumed Innocent”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on September 30th, 2000)
Jamal is convinced that Louis (Mike Bowman), a student who we’ve never seen before, is a skinhead. Louis has a shaved head and appears to have a bunch of new tattoos on his neck and hiding under his short-sleeved shirts. Jamal also says Louis was super aggressive the one time that they played basketball. “He was always trying to foul a brother hard,” Jamal says, “If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck and walks like a duck,,,,”
“Then shucky ducky quack quack!” L-Train exclaims.
Later, in class. Jamal tosses aside a backpack and claims the chair that in which it was sitting. That backpack belonged to Louis and, in Louis’s opinion, so did the chair. Louis proceeds to call Jamal a …. JERK! That’s right. He used the word “jerk.” I considered whether or not to give everyone a trigger warning before revealing what Luke said but I decided to take the risk and just reveal what Louis said, as ugly as it may be. Now, in Manny High, calling someone a “jerk” is obviously the worst thing that you can do. Ms. Noble is able to prevent Louis and Jamal from getting into a fight in the classroom but later, Jamal discovers that someone has spray-painted “JERK” on his locker. Jamal immediately accuses Louis, telling him, “You’ve messed with the wrong brother.”
Louis laughs and says, “At least now you’ll always be able to find your locker.”
Bad move, Louis! Jamal throws the first punch, Louis throws the second, and then Ms. Noble finally runs up and shouts, “Stop …. or you’ll have to fight me!” Realizing that neither one of them has the skills necessary to defeat a middle-aged high school principal, Jamal and Louis stop fighting. When Jamal says that Louis tagged his locker, Louis replies that Jamal doesn’t have any proof. “This ain’t Judge Judy!” Jamal replies.
Inspired, Ms. Noble decides to have a mock trial so the students can decide whether or not Louis defaced Jamal’s locker. (And to think, some principals would have just punished both of them for fighting in the hallway.) Chris represents Jamal while Cassidy and Dawn are assigned to defend Louis. Ms. Noble serves as the judge and the other students serve as the jury and are probably bored to death. I mean, seriously, this is a lot drama over a locker that’s been defaced with one of the mildest insults known to man.
(Add to that, this was already done in that episode of Saved By The Bell where Ms. Bliss’s tacky sweater got paint on it and Screech was put on trial.)
When Chris turns out to be a terrible lawyer, Jamal resorts to sending Al to get proof that Louis is a skinhead. Al returns with a picture of Louis at a bus stop with several other bald people. When Jamal (having fired Chris) enters the photos into evidence, even Ms. Noble looks like she’s ready to sentence Louis to life imprisonment. Louis explains that all of the people in the photos have cancer, “like me.” And he also reveals that his tattoos aren’t skinhead tattoos. They’re marks that are used to guide the radiation. Louis gets mad and walks out of the classroom.
“Case dismissed,” Ms. Noble says, which doesn’t really make any sense because Louis could have still defaced Jamal’s locker while also having cancer. The two things are not mutually exclusive.
“I can’t believe I judged Lou by how he looked,” Jamal says, “I mean, me, a brother!”
Chris and Jamal go to the cancer clinic and apologize to Louis. We never find out who wrote “Jerk” on Jamal’s locker.
Actually, this isn’t a terrible episode. Mike Bowman (who, as far as I know, is not related to me) did a pretty good job as Louis and the show’s message was ultimately a worthy one. There was even a slightly funny B-plot about Al and L-Train trying not to use any slang on their radio show. City Guys is definitely not my favorite show to review but this episode was okay.
Episode 4.5 “The Third Wheel”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 7th, 2000)
Al’s birthday is coming up and Dawn wants to celebrate it without L-Train coming along. However, when Al tries to tell L-Train that he’s not invited to celebrate his birthday with him and Dawn, L-Train mishears and thinks that Al is complaining about Dawn being clingy. Al gets upset. “I have to choose between my best friend and my girlfriend.” Al, are you really so stupid as to not know that you spend your birthday with your girlfriend? Apparently so. Anyway, Dawn and L-Train realize that Al is too stupid to choose between them so they collaborate on the party, which is a pretty simple solution. You have to wonder why it took so long for them to come up with that.
Meanwhile, Chris and Jamal want to put on a horror-themed radio show and, of course, Cassidy and Ms. Noble decided to get involved. Doesn’t Ms. Noble have a wedding to plan?
This episode was dumb and I don’t want to waste any more time on it.
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