Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 9/18/22 — 9/24/22


A lot of show returned this week.  Here’s a few thoughts on what I watched:

Abbott Elementary (ABC, Wednesday Night)

“What the Hell, Gritty!?”  I swear, I have been laughing at that line for days now.

Abbott Elementary started its second season this week, with a great episode that found Janine adjusting to being single, Gregory becoming a full-time teacher, Barbara, Melissa, and Jacob going out of their way to help their students, and Ava acting like Ava.  Though the whole mockumentary format isn’t as innovative as it was during the early days of The Office (and, even then, it wasn’t really that innovative), Abbott Elementary has a lot of heart and it’s frequently hilarious as well.

By the way, I don’t get Gritty either.  What the Hell is that thing?

The Amazing Race (CBS, Wednesday Night)

Yay!  The Amazing Race is back!  I wrote about the first episode of the new season here!

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Realizing that he was only a few steps away from being cast as Ice Cube’s best friend in the latest Are We There Yet? sequel, Al got himself a Young White Avatar, a white rapper with whom he could collaborate behind the scenes.  Unfortunately, Yodel Kid died of a drug overdose before the Grammys but his debut rap album, Born 2 Die, still won the award.  Meanwhile, not wanting to work on rehabilitating the reputation of the author of I Was Wrong, Earn tried to track down D’Angelo and spent several days sitting in a cell as a result.  It all makes sense if you watch the episode.

Yodel Kid and Benny, the show’s YWAs, were both obnoxiously believable.  Benny, especially, was a Twitter trend waiting to happen.

The Bachelorette (Tuesday Night, ABC)

The cringiest season yet came to an end.  Rachel got engaged to Tino and Tino promptly cheated on her.  This led to Rachel apparently fleeing the studio with Aven.  Gabby, meanwhile, got engaged to Erich, who then explained that, while he did just go on the show for business purposes, he also totally fell in love with Gabby.  So, I’m sure that engagement will be a successful one.

Seriously, it’s kind of sad that the whole raison d’etre for this season was to make up for Gabby and Rachel having to deal with Clayton’s foolishness during The Bachelor but Gabby and Rachel still basically ended up even more emotionally traumatized than they were before.  This whole season was just icky.  I liked this franchise better when it wasn’t so eager to show everyone that it’s in on the joke.

Big Brother (All The Time, CBS and Paramount+)

This season is nearly over.  Yay!  All of the show’s major villains have been voted out of the House and guess what?  It’s all really boring now.  I’ve been writing about the show over at Big Brother Blog.

Cobra Kai (Netflix)

I finally watched the latest season of Cobra Kai on Netflix and, of course, I loved it.  Terry Silver was a wonderful villain and the season continued to do a great job of balancing comedy and melodrama.  Johnny discovering the gig economy was a classic moment.  Give William Zabka all the Emmys.  This really is an example of a show that should not work but it does.  As opposed to The Bachelorette, it’s self-aware without being smarmy about it.

Dynaman (Nightflight+)

I watched the second episode of this Japanese action series on Friday.  Go Dynapink!

Full House (Sunday Night, MeTV)

Becky and Jesse brought the twins back home from the hospital and Jesse promptly forgot which was which.  Dumbass.

This was followed by an episode where Danny was named the most eligible bachelor in San Francisco.  Technically, he’s the most eligible widower and he’s got three daughters who will never accept anyone unlucky enough to become their stepmom.  Run!

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

I watched an episode of Inspector Lewis on Wednesday.  Though retired and in love with Dr. Hobson, Lewis still couldn’t resist helping Hathaway solve another case.  It was a sweet episode, due to Lewis and Hathaway’s friendship.  Still, Hathaway was sporting a new hairstyle in this episode and I was not a fan.

Law& Order, Law & Order: Organized Crime, Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

All three of the Law & Order shows returned this Thursday with an epic crossover event.  A brutal murder led to an investigation into human trafficking which led to a terrorist bombing which led to a Russian businessman getting gunned down in the streets of New York, apparently on orders of Putin himself.

It was, perhaps, a bit much.  Law & Order always goes for the big targets when, sometimes, it might be nice to see the shows return to dealing with everyday crimes and less international concerns.  That said, the show handled the crossovers well and it was interesting to watch all of the detectives working together on one case.  Anthony Anderson has left the franchise so a good deal of time was spent introducing us to Cosgrove’s new partner, Detective Jalen Shaw (Mehcad Brooks).  Jeffrey Donavon and Mehcad Brooks worked well together.  Certainly, they had a better partnership chemistry than Anderson and Donavon did.  (Anderson’s a good actor but he seemed bored during the previous season of Law & Order.)  Donavon’s closing monologue was well-done, even if the ultimate suggestion seemed to be that everyone should just move to Toronto.

Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head (Paramount+)

No, Beavis, the girl with the blue hair likes you!

This was a funny episode and I was kind of happy that old Beavis and Butt-Head didn’t make an appearance.  (They’re funny characters but kind of depressing to think about.)  I wish Beavis could escape from Butt-Head’s influence.  I cringed with Beavis broke his arm.  How are these two still alive?

Monarch (Tuesday Night, Fox)

Well, I guess they really did kill off Susan Sarandon’s character.  Tuesday’s episode dealt with her funeral.  To be honest, I get the feeling this show is going to run out of gas in another few episodes, just because it’s trying a bit too hard to be a campy, guilty pleasure.  Still, the second episode had its share of entertainingly weird moments.  The Susan Sarandon hologram was brilliant.  Also, every episode needs to have at least one scene of Trace Adkins shooting a rifle in the air and yelling, “THAT’S ENOUGH!”

Night Flight (Nightflight+)

On Friday, I watched one episode about 80s comedy and one episode about “the pretty boys of rock.”  It was an interesting history lesson.

Survivor

Yay!  Survivor’s back!  I wrote about the first episode here!

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 1.7 “Guess Who’s Coming To Brunch?” and 1.8 “It’s A Guy Thing”


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, the California Dreams confront racism and misogyny!  Let’s see how it goes.

Episode 1.7 “Guess Who’s Coming To Brunch?”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 24th, 1992)

During a performance of “Rain” (which is the first vaguely good song to be featured on this show), an amp blows out.  It’s going to cost $300 to replace!  Sly suggests that the band take a job writing an advertising jingle but Matt’s all like, “No, man!  It’s about the music!”  Matt, we’ve heard your music.

Fortunately, Tony has a new girlfriend and she comes from rich family!  Her father (played by the same actor who played Zach Morris’s Dad during the Good Morning Miss Bliss incarnation of Saved By The Bell) offers to pay for the amp but he has a condition.  “Stop dating my daughter.”

“Ohhhhhh!” the audience gasps.

Tony’s black and his girlfriend (and her father) are white.  When the girlfriend’s father says that the relationship will never work because “you two are from different worlds,” everyone knows what he means.  This leads to a discussion about race, which was probably quite progressive for 1992 even if it seems rather anodyne by today’s standards.  Tony’s girlfriend explains that her father can’t be prejudiced because he gives money to all the right causes.  Way to call out white liberalism, California Dreams!

Of course, this discussion about race takes place while everyone tries to write a jingle for Uncle Slappy’s Root Beer.  “We can’t lie in the jingle!” Tiffany argues.  Has Tiffani never watched a commercial?  This band deserves to fail for being annoyingly naïve.

The episode ends with the band playing a song called “One World,” which I was disappointed to learn was not the One World theme song.

Episode 1.8 “It’s A Guy Thing”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 31st, 1992)

In order to force Sly and Tony to confront their own misogyny, Tiffani and Jenny trick them into falling in love with a non-existent French girl named Monique.  Kelly provides the French-accented voice over the phone.  Jenny wears a wig whenever Monique needs to be seen.  It’s kind of a dumb plan but Sly and Tony are both fairly stupid characters.  That said, Sly and Tony do eventually learn that Monique is just Jenny in a wig and somehow, this all leads to a boxing match.

Meanwhile, Mr. Garrison tries to figure out how to fix the family washing machine, in a storyline that I’m pretty sure was eventually reused on an episode of One World.  Speaking of reusing plotlines, the whole fake girlfriend thing was originally used in Saved By The Bell.  Remember when Zach pretended to be a Southern blonde in order to get Screech to do his homework?

This episode features Matt announcing, “Let’s do another tune!,” which is the funniest line in the script.  I’m always amazed at how the Dreams can produce that perfect studio sound while performing in their garage.

The Dreams dealt with some pretty serious issues this week!  What will they deal with next week?

Retro Television Review: One World 1.7 “Runaround Sui” and 1.8 “Crushes, Lies, and Zuckerman”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing One World, which ran on NBC from 1998 to 2001.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

The Cast of One World

Last week, One World went to some pretty dark places, what with the Blake children having to work in a hospital and then Ben discovering that his new girlfriend was an alcoholic.  Did things ever get better for the Blakes?  Let’s find out.

Don’t forget …. we’re living in One World….

Episode 1.7 “Runaround Sui”

(Directed by Chuck Vinson, originally aired on October 24th, 1998)

There was a lot going on in the Blake House in this episode, almost as if the show mashed three separate scripts together at the last minute.

First off, Marci got her driver’s license but Sui wasn’t there to support her because Sui had a new boyfriend, the totally hot Riley (Riley Smith).  Unfortunately, Marci got mad because Sui started acting like Riley was more important than her own sister.  To be honest, as the youngest of four sisters, I could relate to this storyline.  Sometimes, I was Sui and sometimes, I was Marci.  And sometimes, I was the one instigating trouble for fun, just like Jane.  Eventually, Sui and Riley broke up and the two sisters made up.  Yay!

Meanwhile, Jane was upset because she felt that Ben was changing his entire personality to impress Alex’s rich parents.  Jane may have had a point but then again, Ben never had much of a personality to begin with so who knows?  Jane eventually confessed to “liking” Ben but, as we established last week, that’s too bad.  Ben has a girlfriend now and they go to AA meetings together.

Finally, Neal attempted to learn how to ride a bike.  His family was totally supportive but only after they totally made fun of him.

This was a bit of a disjointed episode but at least Sui and Marci, the two characters to whom I most relate, got to take center stage for once.

Episode 1.8 “Crushes, Lies, and Zuckerman”

(Directed by Chuck Vinson, originally aired on October 31st, 1998)

Neal has been having so much trouble getting a date that he’s decided that he doesn’t care about dating anymore.  Sui decides to test Neal’s resolve by setting him up with her friend, Kate (Tasha Taylor).  Neal really likes Kate, especially after he discovers that she likes movies as much as he does.  Unfortunately, Kate doesn’t like “gangbangers” and Neal is a former gang member!  At first, Neal lies about his past but then Sui accidentally mentions that Neal has changed a lot since he was “growing up on the streets and being in a gang.”  Neal gets made at Sui.  Sui responds, “Sometimes I think you have the IQ of rayon, which is not one of the smarter fabrics.”  It’s a good line, admit it.

Meanwhile, Marci deals with an annoying waitress who wants to be her best friend and Jane discovers that, rather than date anyone other than Ben, she’d much rather hang out with Cray and watch Scream while eating candy.  Cray decides that he’s in love with Jane, which is hella awkward for everyone involved.

Fortunately, things works out for everyone.  Neal gets back together with Kate.  Cray realizes that he’s too young for Jane.  Jane agrees to marry Cray in five years if they’re both single …. wait, what?

Watching this episode, it occurred to me that one problem with One World was that the characters were always talking about how they used to be criminals but, for the most part, all of them came across as being the type of people who wouldn’t even run the risk of jaywalking.  These were the least edgy delinquents ever.

No one died or revealed an addiction in these episodes so I guess things are looking up for the Blake family.  We’ll see if it continues next week.

Retro Television Review: City Guys 1.7 “Red Ferrari” and 1.8 “Rock the Vote”


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!

Last week, I reviewed two episode of City Guys that actually weren’t that bad.  Let’s see if that trend continued!  But first….

How smart and streetwise are these neat guys?  Let’s find out!

Episode 1.7 “Red Ferrari”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 18th, 1997)

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that TNBC was notorious for showing the episodes of their shows out-of-order and that certainly seems to be the case with City Guys.

In Red Ferrari, Chris and Jamal are once again antagonistic acquaintances, as opposed to the best friends that were just one episode ago.  Chris is once again angry with his parents, despite coming to a new understanding with his father in the previous episode.  El-Train is again the school bully, despite trying to turn over a new leaf two episodes ago.  As well, Jamal drops by Chris’s apartment for what appears to be the first time, despite the fact that we already saw him spending several days there during the second episode.  Obviously, one doesn’t necessarily watch a show like this with the expectation of a great deal of effort being made to maintain some sort of continuity.  But seriously, the City Boys timeline is messy enough to be distracting.

Anyway, this episode finds both Chris and Jamal in a whiny mood.  Jamal is whiny because he’s poor and no one wants to go on a second date with him.  Chris is whiny because he’s rich and his parents have apparently  forgotten about his birthday.  With his parents going out of town, Chris decides to get revenge by throwing a huge party and (shades of Ferris Bueller) driving his father’s prized red Ferrari.

Can you guess what happens?  If you said that it was the same thing that happened on Saved By The Bell when Zach drove a car that he shouldn’t have been driving, you’re right!  The car gets side-swiped.  Chris and Jamal have to figure out how to get the car fix before Chris’s parents come home.  Of course, Chris’s parents come home early anyway.  They didn’t forget his birthday.  They just wanted to surprise him!  And it turns out that the Ferrari is Chris’s birthday present!

Anyway, Chris and Jamal confess what happened.  Chris’s parents get into an argument over whether Mr. Anderson could stand to lose a few pounds.  (He looks pretty good for a guy in his 40s.)  Jamal asks Chris if his parents are always like that.  “They’re on good behavior because of my birthday,” Chris says and the episode ends, leaving us to consider the Hell of Chris Anderson’s everyday life.

Ugh.  That’s kind of depressing.  I’m not sure anything was learned from this episode so let’s move on.

Episode 1.8 “Rock the Vote”

(Directed by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 25th, 1997)

Ugh.  It’s a student council election episode!

Yes, every TNBC show — from Saved By The Bell to this one — had a handful of shows that revolved around an absurdly powerful student  council.  In City Guys, Dawn and Cassidy are running for student council present.  Jamal manages Dawn’s campaign.  Chis manages Cassidy’s campaign.  Dawn is too focused on the issues.  Cassidy is too focused on fluff.  School bully El-Train is so offended by their shallow campaigns that he runs for student body president, using the fact that he’s been in high school for nearly six years as the basis of his campaign.  This episode ends on a weird note, in that we don’t actually learn who won the election.  So, hey …. thanks for watching!

As usual Steven Daniel transcended the material as El-Train but, otherwise, this episode was ruined by the fact that it was about a student council election and no one in their right mind should take any of that crap seriously.  The only show that correct portrayed the student council were the early seasons of Degrassi, in which the council mostly planned dances and got caught up in pretty drama that no one else cared about.

Well, these two episodes of City Guys were pretty disappointing.  Hopefully, next week will be better for the neat guys!

Retro Television Reviews: The Love Boat 1.3 “Ex Plus Y / Golden Agers / Graham and Kelly”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Wednesdays, I will be reviewing the original Love Boat, which aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986!  The series can be streamed on Paramount Plus!

Love!  Was it exciting and new this week?

Episode 1.3 “Ex Plus Y / Golden Agers / Graham and Kelly”

(Directed by  Adam Rafkin and Stuart Margolin, originally aired on October 8th, 1977)

The third episode of The Love Boat is all about age differences, growing together, and growing apart.

For instance, it’s love at first sight when Julie spots Jim Wright (Charles Frank).  I mean, hey, his name is even “Mr. Wright!”  And it turns out that, even though he looks like he’s 40, Mr. Wright is actually only 30!  And he likes Julie too!  The problem, however, is that Jim has been hired to serve as a tour guide for a group of elderly tourists.  And those tourists (led by Edward Andrews) simply will not leave Mr. Wright alone!  Every time Mr. Wright tries to spend some time alone with Julie, the old people show up.  Obviously, the show means for us to sympathize with Julie and Jim but I think I’m actually on the side of the old people as far as this is concerned.  I mean, they didn’t pay money so that Jim could have a vacation.  They paid Jim to be their tour guide and, unless he’s going to refund their money, that’s what he needs to concentrate on.  He and Julie can fall in love once Jim is off the clock.

While Julie pursues Jim, 12 year-olds Kelly (Kristy McNichol) and Graham (a very young Scott Baio) pursue their own romance.  Or actually, it’s Kelly who pursues the romance.  Graham likes Kelly but he’s also immature and not sure how to talk to girls so he always ends up doing or saying something silly or stupid whenever he and Kelly are on the verge of having a “real” moment.  On the one hand, this was actually a fairly realistic storyline, at least by Love Boat standards.  On the other hand, Baio and McNichol looked so much alike that any scene featuring the two of them was like that picture of the two Spider-Men pointing at each other.  Graham also ended up with a very convoluted backstory to explain why he was traveling with a British grandmother (played by Hermoine Baddeley) despite being a kid from Brooklyn.  It was one of those overly complicated and distracting things that could have been solved by simply not casting a British stage actress as Baio’s grandmother or not casting a very American actor as Baddeley’s grandson.

Finally, Robert Reed and Loretta Swit played a divorced couple who found themselves on the same cruise.  At first, they dreaded seeing each other but then, eventually, they agreed that they still had feelings for each other.  Surprisingly enough, the story did not end with Reed and Swit getting back together.  Instead, they just grew as people and were now ready to let go of the bitterness that was holding them back in their new relationships.  That was actually a pretty good story and I appreciated the realistic resolution.  However, before making peace with his ex-wife, Robert Reed came across as being so angry and so bitter that it was actually kind of scary to watch.  It turns out that the Love Boat has skeet shooting.  If you don’t think the sight of Robert “Mr. Brady” Reed with a rifle wouldn’t be terrifying, this episode is here to prove you wrong!

I have to give this episode a mixed review.  Two of the stories worked better than I was expecting but this episode suffered from the miscasting of some of the passengers.  Still, the ship and the ocean looked as lovely as ever and really, that’s the important thing.

Retro Television Reviews: Fantasy Island 1.2 “Bet A Million/Mr. Irresistible”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Tuesdays, I will be reviewing the original Fantasy Island, which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1996.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

Welcome to Fantasy Island!  Who will have a fantasy this week and what will be left of them?

Episode 1.2 “Bet A Million/Mr. Irresistible”

(Directed by John Newland and Cliff Bole, originally aired on February 4th, 1978) 

In the second episode of Fantasy Island, a bit more was revealed about the resort.

First off, it only costs $6,000 to travel to Fantasy Island and have a fantasy.  (In the pilot, it cost $60,000.)  I assume that, with inflation, it would cost a bit more today but still, $6,000 seems like a pretty good deal for something that could potentially change your life.  However, we also learn that Mr. Roarke doesn’t always charge full price.  In fact, it appears that he often allows people to come to the island for free.  Tattoo thinks that is a little bit foolish and it is.  I mean, it’s a big resort.  I imagine it must not be cheap to run the place.

Secondly, in this episode, we discovered that Fantasy Island has a house band.  They play in the lounge and they are totally funky.  Check them out:

Finally, in this episode, we are introduced to the Fantasy Island casino.  Apparently, if a visitor “breaks the bank” at the casino, they can play for a chance to win the island itself!  However, Mr. Roarke insists on being at the table if anyone plays for the island and Mr. Roarke has magical powers so you can be sure that he’s never going to lose.

The casino plays a huge role in one of this episode’s two fantasies.  Fred Wade (Henry Gibson) sells hotel supplies for a living.  His friends call him “Mr. Hotel,” which he apparently considers to be a compliment.  Fred and his wife (Jane Powell) come to Fantasy Island.  Their fantasy?  A chance to talk to wealthy hotelier Otis Hayden about a resort that Fred wants to build and run.  (It seems like it would have been smarter to actually make running the hotel the fantasy but what do I know about the hotel business?)  Mr. Roarke informs Fred that, if he wants his fantasy to come true, he’s going to have to approach Hayden in the casino and play some card games.  Fred admits that he doesn’t have any money.  Mr. Roarke explains that Tattoo has totaled up all of Fred’s assets (including his house and his car) and, as such, Fred has $40,000 to play with.  Fred agrees to do so because this isn’t creepy at all.

Things don’t go so well.  Fred meets Hayden and makes his pitch.  But, in the process, he loses $30,000 and, the next morning, Hayden leaves the island without talking to Fred about his plans.  Fred nearly gives up on his dreams but then he decides to bet his remaining money at the casino.  With his wife at his side, Fred has an early run of luck.  He wins over a million dollars.  He gets to play for the ownership of Fantasy Island!  And …. he loses the final hand.

Not to worry though!  This is Fantasy Island!  Just as Fred and his wife are preparing to leave the island, words comes through that Hayden wants to build the resort.  And Hayden sends Fred a cashier’s check for $49,000!  Fred learns a valuable lesson about never giving up hope.

Meanwhile….

Gangly Chuck Sheffield (John Schuck) wins a free trip to Fantasy Island in a contest.  His fantasy?  He wants to know what it’s like to be irresistible to women.  It’s not that he doesn’t love his fiancée, Stephanie.  It’s just that Chuck doesn’t want to get married and then spend the rest of his life wondering.  To me, it sounds like he’s just looking for an excuse to cheat.  However, Tattoo sympathizes with Chuck.

In fact, Tattoo looking for love was a major subplot during this episode.

Mr. Roarke gives Chuck the “love root,” a cologne that makes Chuck irresistible to every woman that he meets.  Again, Tattoo thinks that it’s a wonderful idea.

And, at first, Chuck thinks it’s a wonderful idea.

However, Chuck soon has every woman on the island fighting over him and all of their boyfriends want to beat up Chuck!  Chuck learns to appreciate the life he has, despite the power of the love root.

Surprise, surprise!  It turns out that the love root is just scented water and that the entire contest was fake.  Stephanie arranged for Chuck to go to Fantasy Island so that he wouldn’t have any lingering regrets once they got married.  I would not do that for my boyfriend.

Anyway, this episode of Fantasy Island was fairly silly but at least Mr. Roark and Tattoo got to do a bit more here than they did last week.  Henry Gibson and Jane Powell were sympathetic as the couple with a dream.  John Schuck was a good actor but not even he could redeem Chuck.  Seriously, Stephanie, you deserve better!  The important thing is that the resort looked lovely and, since it only costs $6,000, I know where we’re all going on our next vacation!

Retro Television Review: Hang Time 1.5 “Oh Captain, My Captain” and 1.6 “Earl Makes The Grade”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Mondays, I will be reviewing Hang Time, which ran on NBC from 1995 to 2000.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

The season has finally begun.  Julie won one game.  Michael lost one game.  Danny and Sam are now a couple.  Will Deering High continue its winning/losing ways?  Let’s find out!

Hang Time!

Episode 1.5 “Oh Captain, My Captain”

(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on September 30th, 1995)

In order to shake up the team and hopefully have a winning season, Coach Fuller decides to switch around everyone’s positions.  I have to admit that, while watching this episode, I was forced to reflect on how little I actually know about basketball.  For instance, I was stunned to discover that the players have specific positions.  I honestly thought that everyone just ran around the court and tried to steal the ball.

Chris isn’t happy about having to switch positions because he thinks that it might make it more difficult for him to get a college scholarship.  (Chris is like 5’7 so maybe it would be a good idea for him to at least consider other options.)  Chris resigns as team captain.  Coach Fuller appoints Danny as the new team captain.  Teams have captains?  I’m learning a lot from this show.  Eventually, Chris learns to put the team first and Danny hands the captainship (or whatever it’s called) back over to him.

In the B-plot, Michael gets a job working at Earl’s farm.  Chaos ensues but Michael learns an important lesson about how difficult farm work is.

This episode had one good joke, in which Mary Beth sent Coach Fuller a legal summons because her father gave her an attorney for her birthday and she figured she should make use of her presents.  

Otherwise, this episode had a bit too much basketball for me, which is obviously kind of a silly complaint to make about a show that’s about basketball.  I have to admit that this show doesn’t do much for my rebellious spirit.  The main lesson was always to listen to the coach and put the team first.  Bleh.  BE A REBEL!

Episode 1.6 “Earl Makes The Grade”

(Directed by Howard Murray, originally aired on October 14th, 1995)

Deering High has a game coming up against their hated rivals, Valley High …. oh wait a minute. Sorry, Valley High was Bayside’s rival. Deering High is going up against Dover High. Earl, however, is flunking history. He has to pass his big midterm if he’s going to play. Unfortunately, a new girl is distracting Earl from studying. She’s making him stay up late and kissing him whenever he tries to study. It turns out that it’s all a plot to keep Earl from playing in the game, like that time Valley stole Screech’s lucky beret right before the big chess match. After Earl’s new girlfriend framed him for cheating on the test, Coach Fuller declared, “You let your team down, Earl.”

Good Lord, is it a team or is it a cult?

Anyway, everything works out due to the TNBC law of people always doing obviously stupid stuff. Immediately after Earl gets kicked off the team, Earl’s fake girlfriend started making out with a player on the other team in Deering High’s gym, right in the middle of the Deering/Dover game. Anyway, once it becomes clear that Earl was framed, he’s allowed to rejoin the team and Dover gets destroyed. Yay!

The B-plot dealt with a prank war between Julie and Danny. Remember the Bayside/Valley prank war?

My point is that this was pretty much a Saved By The Bell episode that got reused on Hang Time. That said, Robert Michael Ryan gave a pretty good performance as Earl and you actually did feel sorry for him when he discovered how cruelly he had been treated. Earl was just too innocent for this world.

Will Deering continue to win their games? Check back next week to find out!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 9/11/22 — 9/17/22


Though I’ve been busy getting ready for October, I still found time to watch a few things!

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Donald Glover’s wonderfully surreal series has returned for its fourth and final season.  The first two episodes aired on FX this week.

The first episode was strange, funny, and more than a little creepy.  Darius’s attempts to return a gift that he didn’t need led to him being pursued by a knife-wielding white woman in a wheelchair.  Al’s attempt to honor the memory of a recently deceased singer led him on a scavenger hunt and it also served as a rather moving meditation on just what exactly it means to be famous and whether or not anyone actually pays attention to the lyrics of the music to which they listen.  Finally, Earn and Van found themselves trapped in some weird section of Atlanta where they kept running into people that they had dated.  Along with letting everyone know that the show had returned from Europe, this episode was a perfect example of the show’s dream logic.

The second episode is one that I’m still processing.  The ending presents the viewer with a bit of a litmus test.  Who do you feel bad for, Earn or the woman whose life he ruined?  Is it possible to feel bad for both of them?  Even if it’s possible to do so, should you feel bad for both of them?  Reading the reactions online, I was reminded of something that Spike Lee pointed out about Do The Right Thing, in that black audiences were outraged that the police killed Radio Raheem while white audiences were usually more upset about Sal losing his business.  It was a thought-provoking episode.  It was also one that finally gave audiences a look into Earn’s mind, revealing not only why he dropped out of Princeton but also that he was the victim of childhood abuse.  (That might explain the nightmare that he had a the start of the third season.)  The episode ended with Earn celebrating his elaborate revenge while also realizing that he he needed to return to the therapy.

The Bachelorette (Tuesday Night, ABC)

So, after the end of the first part of the finale (seriously, of all the seasons to drag out, why this one?), Gabby is pretty much stuck with Erich and Rachel is stuck with Tino.  I don’t see any of this ending well.  To be honest, Erich has every right to be concerned about the idea of getting engaged on a reality show.  And Aden had every right to be worried about what his relationship with Rachel would be like once the show ended.  But, as many have pointed out, everyone knows what they’re getting into when they sign up to appear on this show.

So, in short, I have sympathy for no one but Meatball.

Big Brother 24 (24/7, CBS and Paramount Plus)

The season’s nearly over!  I’ve been writing about all of it at the Big Brother Blog!

The Challenge (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The Challenge came to a two-hour conclusion this week.  Enzo and Tyson …. well, neither one of them was the winner.  It’s always strange when the people who dominate a reality show don’t end up winning.  Instead, Danny and Sarah won.  I was happy to see that two Survivors won the game but still, it’s kind of like who cares?

The Emmys (Monday Night, NBC)

Eh.  The Emmys never really do much for me and I have to admit that I largely had the show on for background noise.  (I was actually watching two movies — Flight 93 and then Seven — while occasionally checking in with the Emmys.)  I was happy that Amanda Seyfried won but Yellowjackets losing to Succession and Barry losing to Ted Lasso pretty much ruined the night for me.  As well, how did Bob Odenkirk not win an Emmy?

Jimmy Kimmel getting dragged for his stupid “passed out” routine was the most entertaining part of the night.  Many have correctly pointed out that he intruded on Quinta Brunson’s moment.  Technically, his joke would have intruded on any winner’s moment but the fact that it occurred while the first black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series attempted to give her acceptance speech definitely made matters worse.

Of course, some of this is the risk you take whenever you have a comedian serve as a presenter at an awards show.  That’s one reason why I cringe whenever I see a certain former SNL star presenting an Oscar or a Golden Globe because I automatically know that there’s no way he’s going to give up the spotlight without a fight.

Devil in Ohio (Netflix)

This miniseries is about a psychiatrist (in Ohio!) who allows a girl to live with her and her family after the girl escapes from a Satanic cult that is led by her father (in Oho!).  Emily Deschanel plays the psychiatrist and gives a performance that will really leave you wishing they had cast Zooey instead.

I watched the first episode on Monday morning and it felt almost like a parody of a typical Netflix show, right down to the middling performances, the unnecessary filler, and the performative wokeness.  A good deal of the show dealt with Deschanel’s daughter starting a new year in high school.  She has a crush on the editor of the school newspaper and I have to admit that I laughed out loud when he approached her and he just happened to be wearing a “Notorious RBG” t-shirt.  I’m sure that’s really a hot seller in rural Ohio.

As for the show itself, I was pretty bored and I doubt I’m going to watch more of it.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

Aunt Becky finally had the twins!  For some reason, the birth was broadcast on Good Morning, San Francisco.  Why would Aunt Becky agree to this?  Anyway, I guess Uncle Jesse’s going to have to give up his silly dreams of rock stardom and become an adult now, right?

Inspector Lewis (YouTube)

Lewis and Hobson are a cute couple but there are still murders to be solved.  And Hathaway is still struggling with all the evil in the world.  The episode that I watched this week featured an elderly professor getting run over by a car.  I hate to admit it but I watched the episode on Tuesday and, as I type of this review on Saturday, I can’t remember who the murderer was.  I just know that Lewis didn’t seem to be as a depressed as usual and that’s good thing.

The Love Boat (Paramount+)

On the one hand, this show makes me want to go on a cruise.  But, on the other hand, I specifically want to go on a cruise in 1977 and I want all of the passengers to be a mix of television actors and retired movie stars.  I need a time machine.

Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head (Paramount+)

Old Beavis and Butt-Head kind of freak me out but it was still fun to watch them serve on a jury.  That said, I was still relieved when the younger and more hopeful versions of the characters appeared in the episode’s second story.  The Freaky Friday twist was nice.  I liked how the dude waited for his girlfriend to go into the 7-11 before he smashed Beavis and Butt-Head’s heads together for a second time.  That was considerate of him.

Monarch (Tuesday Night, FOX)

This is the latest attempt at a guilty pleasure soap from a network that specializes in them.  Trace Adkins and Susan Sarandon play Albie and Dottie Roman, the King and Queen of Country Music.  Judging from the first episode, it looks like it could be fun.  Albie is known as being “the Texas truth teller” but has a history of infidelity.  Dottie is dying and has frequent visions of a burning barn.  All of the children are angry with each other for one reason or another.  Like I said, fun.

If nothing else, you have to appreciate the bizarre pairing of the unapologetically conservative Trace Adkins with outspoken Sanders supporter Susan Sarandon.  It’s fun to imagine the set of the show, with Adkins having a beer and talking about his new truck while Sarandon harangues everyone to read Das Kapital.  Anyway, this show seems like it could be melodramatic enough to hold my interest.  I’ll give it a chance.

The premiere episode ended, in true cliffhanger fashion, with Dottie apparently dying.  We’ll see if she’s actually dead or not next week, I guess.  If she is dead, will Sarandon appear in flashbacks or as a ghost?  I’m hoping as a ghost.

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 1.5 “The First Gig” and 1.6 “Friends First”


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!

The saga of California’s blandest garage band continues.

Is anyone reading this a surf dude with attitude?

Actually, wait a minute.  Didn’t I use the exact same introduction last week?  Eh. It’s the first season of California Dreams, a show that was constructed out of unused story ideas for Saved By The Bell.  A little bit of deja vu is understandable.

Episode 1.5 “The First Gig”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, Originally aired on October 10th, 1992)

Wimpy California dude Matt Garrison has formed a band called the California Dreams.  Matt plays guitar and sings.  Matt’s sister, Jenny, plays keyboards and sings.  Tony Wickes plays drums and works at Sharkey’s, the most popular restaurant on the beach.  Tiffani plays bass and surfs.  Matt’s best friend, Sly, wants to manage the band and he even gets them their first gig!  Sly arranges for them to play Randi-Jo’s birthday party.  Matt totally has a crush on Randi-Jo….

Wait, this doesn’t make any sense.  First gig?  The California Dreams have had plenty of gigs!  They’ve even got a fanbase.  Sly already is the band’s manager.  And Matt’s been dating Randi-Jo since the show began.  What the Hell!?

Well, it turns out that the fifth episode aired of California Dreams was actually the first episode filmed.  The First Gig also served as a pilot for the show but, when the show went into production, the pilot was shown during the middle of the season as opposed to the beginning.  This, of course, led to a mess of continuity errors….

Of course, that’s not a surprise to anyone who has watched any of the shows that Peter Engel produced as a part of TNBC.  Maintaining continuity or, for that matter, any sort of consistency was never a huge concern.  And they got away with it because it was the 90s and its not as if the people watching the show could have jumped on twitter and complained about how it didn’t make any sense.

As for the pilot itself …. eh.  I can understand why this pilot would have led to a show, as the cast was good-looking in a very nonthreatening way.  But good Lord, is the music ever dull!  Fortunately, the music would improve sometime around the start of the third season but, while watching the pilot, I found myself wondering why a group of teenagers would want to start a band to play the type of music that their parents probably listened to on the easy listening station.  Judging from the pilot, the Dreams were the only teenagers in 90s America who had never heard of Nirvana.

Episode 1.6 “Friends First”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, Originally aired on October 17th, 1992)

Continuity continues to go out the window as this episode opens with Sly trying to convince Sharkey to hire the Dreams to play at his restaurant, despite the fact that we’ve already seen the Dreams playing Sharkey’s several times over the past few episodes.

While Sly tries to make money, Matt’s friend from music camp comes to visit and both Jenny and Tiffani fall for him after discovering that he’s lost over 200 pounds since his music camp days.  It leads to a typical TNBC situation in which Jenny and Tiffani learn to not let liking the same boy ruin their friendship.  To be honest, my main reaction to this episode was a strange sense of annoyance with Matt.  Seriously, he was exactly the type of kid who would go to music camp and come back as a huge music snob.  One can just imagine Matt ruthlessly critiquing every other band in the world.  “I didn’t care much for that bridge …. the pitch is not perfect …. here’s where you need to drop the chorus….”  Shut up, Matt.  It’s supposed to be about the feelings and the emotions!

Retro Television Review: One World 1.5 “Community Service” and 1.6 “The 12 Steps to Ben”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a new feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Fridays, I will be reviewing One World, which ran on NBC from 1998 to 2001.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

The Cast of One World

When last we checked in with Miami’s favorite foster family, Jane was apologizing for trying to steal a watch for her foster father’s birthday.  It was a sweet moment.  Let’s see if the show continued to build on that momentum.

Because you know what?  We’re living in one world….

Episode 1.5 “Community Service”

(directed by Chuck Vinson, originally aired on October 10th, 1998)

“This party blows!” Jane declares, “There’s no fights!  Nothing’s been broken!  No one’s fallen off the roof!”

Yes, the Blake children are throwing a party because their foster parents are out for the night.  Unfortunately, the music gets too loud so the police come by and issue them a citation for disturbing the peace.  The Blake parents convince the judge to give their children community service.  “Community service is for punks!” Jane declares.

Marci, Jane, Neal, and Ben end up volunteering at the hospital, where they learn how to help the sick.  Neal and Ben both fall in love with a doctor who, shockingly, doesn’t want much to do with teenagers who are doing court-mandated community service.  Marci nearly kills a patient when she sells him a hot dog, nachos, and a cigar.  Jane bonds with an initially hostile boy her age who is terminally ill.  This episode would have been super depressing if not for the fact that the hospital set was obviously the same one that was used in Saved By The Bell when Zach had to have knee surgery.

Fortunately, the B-plot was more fun.  Sui had to bake a cake for a class but, unfortunately, Mrs. Blake was stuck in bed with the flu.  So, Mr. Blake had to help Sui with the baking and yes, it was a disaster.  I laughed because I knew Sui’s struggle.  Baking isn’t as easy as the commercials make it seem.  Plus, Sui’s the coolest member of the family.

At the end of the show, Neal and Ben ended up delivering a baby in a stalled elevator and Jane takes the dying kid to the Warehouse so that he can experience “Miami’s hottest under 21 club.”

Episode 1.6 “The 12 Steps To Ben”

(directed by Chuck Vinson, originally aired on October 17th, 1998)

I guess Jane’s new boyfriend died after the end of the fifth episode because the sixth episode finds her in love with her new stepbrother, Ben.  Unfortunately for Jane, Ben has a new girlfriend, Alex (Jordana Spiro).  Unfortunately for Ben, Alex is an alcoholic.  Unfortunately for Alex, Ben is a recovering alcoholic and he tricks her into going to an AA meeting.  In other words, the Saturday night date is now assumed.  That’s the first sign of a committed relationship.  They’re as good as married now!

Every TNBC show always had at least a few episodes that centered around drinking.  Unfortunately, they always made it looks like everyone was having too much fun whenever they were drunk so I imagine they probably inspired most of their viewers to think, “I can’t wait until I can try that!”

Since the main plot was pretty heavy, the B-plot featured Marci and Sui selling candy bars and …. getting arrested.  These kids sure did get arrested a lot.

Wow, those two episodes were kind of heavy.  Will One World ever lighten up?  We’ll find out next week!