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 YouTube!
C.I.T.Y. …. this show is never going to end….
Episode 4.10 “Keep On The Download”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 21st, 2000)
To be honest, I guess it’s kind of silly that out of all the things that I dislike about City Guys, it’s Chris and Jamal’s radio show that tends to annoy the most.
I mean, I know I spend a lot of time complaining about the way all of the student’s worship Ms. Noble but if there’s anything that truly makes me want to throw something across the room, it’s definitely the sound of Manny and Jamal announcing, “Hello, Manny High!” The whole radio station thing has never made sense to me and I’ve always had a hard time with the idea of Chris and Jamal becoming radio superstars with their stale schtick. It also doesn’t help that I’ve never really understood just when exactly Chris and Jamal are doing their show. Are they broadcasting during class hours? Are they broadcasting during lunch? Why does it sometimes seem as if they go several days without even thinking about their radio show just to suddenly have it once become the center of their lives a few episodes later?
This episode establishes that every school in New York City apparently has its own radio station. Adam and Malik are the radio hosts at Washington Prep and they’ve managed to get an interview with a rapper named Dr. Deej. After they taunt Chris and Jamal with their success, Chris and Jamal react by trying to get Dr. Deej to appear on their show. When Jamal can’t get Dr. Deej to return his calls, they decide to just have Chris pretend to be Dr. Deej.
Yes, that’s right. The very white Chris pretends to be a rapper. “Yo, yo, yo,” Chris says, “the doctor is in this house, pass me the scalpel, crunch me an apple….” (Don’t get mad at me, I’m just transcribing.) The real Dr. Deej calls in to ask how he can be on Chris and Jamal’s show when he’s actually on Adam and Malik’s show. Uh-oh!
Having been humiliated, Chris and Jamal go over to Washington Prep, break into the booth, and steal the sign with the radio call letters. Being two huge idiots, Chris and Jamal bring the sign to the roof of Manny High so that everyone can celebrate their thievery. Ms. Noble sees the sign and is not amused. When Chris and Jamal say that its just part of a prank war, Ms. Noble informs them the pranks have gone too far and they’re both off the air. YAY!
Wow, I’m glad that radio stuff is over with. Let’s move on….
Oh wait, we’re only halfway through the episode.
Adam and Malik announce that they will be broadcasting an on-air funeral for the Chris and Jamal show. So, Chris and Jamal break into Washington Prep during the middle of the night and they try to sabotage Adam & Malik’s DJ booth. While trying to move some wires around, they short out an amp. (Wow, that really escalated.) Because they’re both extremely stupid, Chis and Jamal break into Washington Prep a second time and attempt to leave a new amp in the DJ booth. (I’m not sure why, since their stated goal was to sabotage Adam and Malik and they managed to do just that.) This time, a security guard catches them and, instead of calling the cops, he calls Ms. Noble.
Anyway, the situation is resolved by letting Adam and Malik use Manny High’s DJ booth until their booth is repaired. And apparently, Ms. Noble is going to let Chris and Jamal back on the air as well. I’m not really sure why. I guess it pays off to break into other schools.
While this is going on, Dawn becomes so obsessed with winning a trophy in the Academic Bowl that she alienates all of her smart teammates and is instead forced to compete with Al and L-Train on her team. Bizarrely, the Academic Bowl is held on the roof of Manny High and Ms. Noble is the host. The final question is to list one of the three nicknames for catfish, which really doesn’t sound like an Academic Bowl question. Because L-Train knows all three of the names, Manny High wins. L-Train announces that he’s going to take the trophy to a pawn shop. Ms. Noble, who is so quick to get involved in every aspect of her students’s lives, has no problem with L-Train selling the most prestigious trophy the school has ever won.
Okay, can we move on now? Yay!
Episode 4.11 “Havoc
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 28th, 2000)
Chis is apparently a guitarist now. He’s so good that the Screaming Skulls want him to be their new lead guitarist! But Chris is already in a band, a jazz fusion band with Al, L-Train, and Jamal. (Their band is called the — *snicker* — Jazz Posse! I went to a college with a world-famous jazz band and even my jazz-obsessed classmates would not have been caught dead listening to a band called the Jazz Posse.) How can he be in two bands at the same time? Actually, quite a few musicians are in multiple bands at the same time but most of them aren’t as dumb as Chris. Chris he has to make a choice between either being in a world famous rock band or continuing to play on the roof of Manny High.
Jamal acts as if Chris is being selfish for wanting to play with his new band as opposed to spending all of his time with his high school friends. But, honestly, Jamal kind of sucks. Never once does he congratulate Chris or even acknowledge that it’s cool that Chris now has proof that he has a possible future as a professional musician. Instead of being happy for Chris, Jamal immediately start complaining about him not wanting to be in the high school jazz band. I find it hard to believe that the Al, Jamal, and L-Train couldn’t find someone else to play guitar in their little band. Is Chris the only guitarist at Manny High? To the show’s credit, Cassidy actually does call Jamal out for his behavior. Cassidy goes to Chris’s first gig as a member of the Skulls and discovers that Chris has been replaced by the band because their old guitarist came back.
The next day, Chris lies to everyone at school and says that he’s still in the Skulls. How exactly does he think he’s going to keep this a secret, as the Skulls have been portrayed as being a pretty famous band? Chris shows up at the Jazz Posse’s next performance and asks to rejoin the band. He apologizes for leaving them earlier, despite the fact that Chis has nothing to apologize for and Jamal was the one being a jerk about it. So, I guess Cassidy calling out Jamal was just something that was done to pad out the episode because no one acknowledges that any musician would rather join a successful band than play in a high school jazz band.
The Jazz Posse plays a show on the roof of Manny High as the end credits roll. Why does everything have to be on the roof?
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