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!
Hello, Manny High!
Episode 4.14 “Shock Treatment”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 4th, 2000)
Oh, thank God. Chris finally got a haircut. I’m not sure how I feel about the sideburns but Chris still definitely looks so much better without all of that hair dragging his face down.
Mean Dean, New York’s top radio DJ, is scheduled to do his show from Manny High but, when he calls in sick, it appears that the show might have to be cancelled. However, Ms. Noble approaches Dean’s producer and tells him that she knows two students who can fill in, Chris and Jamal! Apparently, Ms. Noble has forgotten about all of the times that she’s suspended Chris and Jamal from doing their show as a result of their history of rampant stupidity. The producer agrees to let Chris and Jamal fill in and loves listening to Chris and Jamal make jokes about their teachers. Since Dean is going to be out for a week, Chris and Jamal are hired to serve as his replacements….
I’m starting to suspect this show is not a realistic portrayal of the radio world.
Though Chris and Jamal try to keep the show light with a really bad Regis Philbin impersonation, their producer tells them that listeners don’t want nice. They want mean. So, Chris and Jamal insult all of their friends on the show. Apparently, the listeners love it and it looks like Chris and Jamal might get their own show! I guess pre-911 New Yorkers loved to turn on the radio and hear insulting jokes about obscure high school students. All of Chris and Jamal’s friends get angry and refuse to have anything to do with them so Ms. Noble decides to get involved.
“Is this the type of show you want to do?” Ms. Noble asks.
Considering that Chris and Jamal haven’t even graduated high school and they’re already the hosts of the top radio show in New York and they’re also getting paid a lot of money, I’d say that this is probably exactly the type of show that they want to do. Still, no one on City Guys can ever say no to Ms. Noble so Chris and Jamal quit their show and probably sabotage whatever hopes they may have of ever having a career in broadcasting. Instead of becoming the next Howard Stern, Jamal can look forward to inheriting the diner from his Dad and then, 20 years later, watching it go out of business due to the COVID lockdowns. Meanwhile Chris will probably either end up in jail for insider trading or as an assistant to Bill de Blasio. Either way, it’s not happy future. Thanks, Ms. Noble!
Episode 4.15 “Frisky Business”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 11th, 2000)
It’s the first day of school and everyone is shocked by Chris’s short hair. When they ask him why he cut it, he says that, when he was backpacking through Europe over the summer, too many Italian men mistook him for being a girl and tried to hit on him….
Of course, Chris had short hair last episode and no one mentioned it. On top of that, when did the previous school year end? It’s pretty obvious that NBC showed the fourth season episodes out of their intended order because who cares about continuity, right? It’s not like there are people hired for every movie and television series whose entire job is to keep track of continuity from shot-to-shot….
Actually, while we’re talking about things that don’t make sense, how did Chris backpack through Europe when he and Jamal were sent to summer school for cheating on that Chemistry midterm? At one point, during this episode, L-Train mentions that summer school ended the day before the new school year began. So, there’s really no way Chris could have done summer school and gone to Europe. My theory is that Chris paid someone to attend summer school for him. That was pretty smart of Chris. I’m impressed.
Anyway, the kids are shocked to discover that Manny High now has metal detectors and they now have to line up to enter the school. Dawn complains that nothing violent has ever happened on the Manny High campus. That’s actually not true. There’s been a lot of fights and near-fights on campus. Just a few episodes ago, someone (probably Louis) wrote “Jerk” on Jamal’s locker. Manny High is a dangerous place!
Not only do the students have to deal with the metal detectors but, after L-Train is caught with a switch-comb, the school board also decides to install transparent lockers and surveillance cameras on the roof. The students are given a list of things that they can no longer wear or bring to school. Ms. Noble tells the students that she has to enforce the rules. (HA! WHERE’S YOUR GOD NOW, STUDENTS!?) But she encourages the students to come up with a “constructive” way to protest.
Chris and Jamal go on their stupid radio show and announce that Manny High has been turned into a prison and “Ms. Noble ain’t the principal no more, she’s the warden!” Chris and Jamal call on everyone to refuse to go to class until something is done about the metal detectors. Ms. Noble responds by suspending Chris, Jamal, Al, L-Train, Dawn, and Cassidy.
Being suspended apparently means hanging out at the New York Diner. Ms. Noble, who I’m going to assume in now divorced since we haven’t heard or seen anything about her husband since she got married, shows up there as well and says, “Hey kids, how’s life in the suspended lane?” Ms. Noble proceeds to scold them for not expressing their feelings in “a proper way.”
The kids decide that the best way to handle things is to set up a metal detector at the next school board meeting, which is being held at Manny High for some reason. To me, that seems a lot more obnoxious than anything that was said on the radio but it works. I guess the kids just needed Ms. Noble to talk down to them. After being forced to walk through the detectors themselves, the school board agrees to compromise with the students, which is something that would never happen in real life.
(It especially wouldn’t happen today. Nowadays, Americans love being bossed around.)
Anyway, these episode actually weren’t that bad, at least not when compared to some of the other episodes of City Guys. Both Scott Whyte and Wesley Jonathan showed a noticeable improvement as actors in these two episodes. It helps that Chris got his hair cut. I really didn’t realize how much Chris’s long hair bugged me until I saw him with short hair.
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