Retro Television Review: One World 3.13 “Hitting On A Guy”

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

On January 6th, 2001, One World aired not only the finale of their third season but also the final episode of the series.  All stories and shows must come to an end and we have reached the end of One World.  For one last time, here’s the One World theme song.

Does anyone else find it weird that the show never bothered to update their opening credits, despite the fact that Brandon Baker hit a major growth spurt and cut his hair after the first season?  Seriously, it just seems incredibly lazy.

Episode 3.13 “Hitting on a Guy”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on January 6th, 2001)

Dave and Karen have been named the Foster Parents of the Year!  Marci decides to throw a big party for them at …. can you guess where? …. Miami’s “hottest under 21 club,” The Warehouse!  Unfortunately, the kitchen crew refuses to work for the party because they haven’t been paid for the week.  (Why would Marci, who is just the assistant manager, have to deal with payroll?  Where’s The Warehouse’s owner?)  Fortunately, the entire family decides that they’ll do the cooking themselves.  But …. IT’S THEIR PARTY!?  Who cooks at their own party!?  What type of party is this?

Meanwhile, Jane is dating a nice guy named Ralph but he reminds her of her former foster brother, who was also named Ralph and who was abusive.  Because she’s thinking about the Bad Ralph, she beats up the Good Ralph.  Jane comes to terms with her anger and apologizes to the Good Ralph.  Good Ralph says thanks and then runs off.

Having lost Good Ralph, Jane still shows up at the Warehouse party and gives a speech about how thankful she is for the Blakes.  Dave rewards her by giving her a piece of Cake and that’s how the series ends.

And I have to admit that I was a little bit moved by all of the Blake kids giving their testimonials, though I honestly doubt I’ll remember anything about any of them a week from now.  I was also surprised that the show did not end with Karen giving birth.  I imagine that any other TNBC show would have.  In the end, One World ended with a lot of unanswered questions.  Will Ben ever find success as a musician?  Will St.  Neal ever get into college?  Will Sui ever make the Olympic team?  How long until Maci gets fired from her job at the Warehouse?  Will Cray ever come to terms with having a black grandfather?  (Seriously, that whole episode was weird.)  Will Jane ever find a stylist who understands how to make her hair look good?  Sadly, these questions will never be answered.

One World is a show that attempted to bring some edge to the TNBC brand.  Occasionally, it came close to succeeding.  Usually, it was a bit too much like California Dreams with juvenile delinquents instead of a rock band.  One of the huge problems with the show was that the Blakes themselves had very little chemistry.  Watching the actors perform opposite each other, it was hard to believe they even knew each other’s names, let alone lived together.  Alisa Reyes and Michelle Krusiec (who played Marci and Sui) were the strongest performers on the show but they were rarely given enough to do.

Staring next week, I’ll be reviewing something new in this time slot.  Until then, we’re all living in one world!

Retro Television Review: One World 3.11 “Roots” and 3.12 “Say Cheese”

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

This week, with the end of the series in sight, the Blakes confront the past.

Episode 3.11 “Roots”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on December 2nd, 2000)

When Dave and Karen go out of town for the weekend, the Blake children decide to turn their house into a Bed & Breakfast.  Like, how the Hell do you even do that on short notice?  It’s like the Blakes decide to do it and then, an hour later, they’re full booked and Marci has a registration desk set up.

Meanwhile, a far more serious storyline is taking place.  With the help of St. Neal, Cray tracks down his grandfather and is shocked to discover that his grandfather is black.  Cray is so shocked that he runs out of the Warehouse.  (Of course, their first meeting was taking place at Miami’s “hottest under 21 club.”)  Cray explains to Neal that he’s not a racist.  He was just shocked to discover that he wasn’t the same ethnicity as his adoptive parents.  However, anyone who has been watching this show knows that Cray is not Caucasian because he’s clearly not.  (In real life, Brandon Baker is half-Filipino.)  So, it’s kind of hard to believe the Cray was that stunned to discover that he was a person of color.  Fortunately, it turns out that Cray’s grandfather has the patience of a saint and forgives Cray for running away from him because of his skin color, which …. I mean, that’s really fucked up, isn’t it?  Cray’s grandfather comes over for dinner and explains that Cray is a fourth black, a fourth Puerto Rican, and half-white.  Again, his grandfather seems like a very nice man but again, Cray ran out of the Warehouse specifically because his grandfather has black skin.  WHO IS THAT FORGIVING!?  The grandfather tells Cray about his family and tells him that he’s always missed him.  (“Awwwwww!” the audience says.)  Cray accepts his black grandfather and says that he loves him.  (“Awwwww!” the audience repeats itself.)

To be honest, TNBC was always at its worst whenever it tried to deal with racial subject matter.  One World had the most diverse cast of any of the TNBC shows but the characters were still often just stereotypes.  TNBC shows were required to wrap up their stories in 20 minutes and that’s not really something you can do when it comes to dealing with race in America.

Episode 3.12 “Say Cheese”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally  aired on December 16th, 2000)

Jane’s birthday is coming up so Dave wants to get a picture of the entire family together.  This leads to everyone discussing the past three years and …. you got it.  It’s a clip show.

I think this was originally meant to be the final episode of the show and it would have been a nice note to wrap up on.  However, because TNBC always showed episodes out-of-order, there would be one more episode of One World.  We’ll review that one next week and then, it will be time to move on to another show!

Retro Television Review: One World 3.9 “Jane Cops Out” and 3.10 “Marci’s In Hot Salsa”

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

Wow, I’m nearly done with this show!  Yay!

Episode 3.9 “Jane Cops Out”

(directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 18th, 2000)

Ugh.  It’s a Jane episode.  I actually liked Jane during the first season and for the first half of the second season but she’s been pretty much unbearable during the third season.  There’s a difference between being edgy and just being annoyingly rude.  Of course, if I was living with the Blakes, I’d probably develop a bit of a bad attitude as well.

Anyway, in this episode, Jane gets a job at a SCUBA gear store and starts dating the owner’s grandson, a rookie cop!  Jane is copping out …. oh wait, that’s what the title says!  Jane freaks out over dating a cop because she’s a former criminal.  The cop freaks out because all of his coworkers have arrested Jane in the past.  Jane being a criminal is a bit like Neal being a genius or Ben being an alcoholic, in that it’s one of those plot points that’s never really been that convincing but which the show tends to randomly bring up.

In the B-plot, Dave’s snoring is keeping everyone awake.  Eh, who cares?

Episode 3.10 “Marci’s In Hot Salsa”

(directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 25th, 2000)

I’ve often stated that Sui is my favorite character on this show.  Marci is a close second.  Unfortunately, Marci rarely seems to get to do much.  With this episode, she finally get to be at the center of the main plot but it turns out that the plot is pretty much lifted from the “Dancing Isn’t Everything” episode of California Dreams.

Feeling that she doesn’t have any one thing that she’s good at and worried that she’s destined to be the average member of the family, Marci decides to make dancing her thing.  She enters a salsa contest that is, of course, being held at the Warehouse, Miami’s “hottest under 21 club.”  I would think this would be a problem, as Marci is also the assistant manager of the Warehouse and usually, employees are not allowed to enter contests that their employer is sponsoring.  But no matter!  By this point, The Warehouse pretty much only exists to cater to the whims of the Blakes.

Marci enters the contest with one guy but discovers that there’s another guy who is a far better dancer.  Will Marci stay loyal to her original partner or dump him for the better dancer?  You can probably guess exactly what happens in this episode but I still liked it because it featured a lot of dancing and the audience applauded when Marci said she was looking forward to death of Fidel Castro.

In the B-plot, Neal is grounded when he comes home late.  (Was he grounded for helping Jane cheat on the SATs?  Anyone remember that?)  But he sneaks out and goes to a baseball game while Dave and Jane go to a modern art show.  Dave says he doesn’t understand modern art.  That’s because Dave’s a moron.

Just three more episodes to go!

Retro Television Review: One World 3.7 “Dad Strikes Out” and 3.8 “Sui’s In For Stormy Weather”

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

We’re all in this together now!

Episode 3.7 “Dad Strikes Out”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 4th, 2000)

Occasionally, the writers of One World would suddenly remember some otherwise forgotten fact about their characters and build an episode around them.  In this case, they suddenly remembered that Dave is a public high school teacher.  At the start of this episode, Dave announces that the teachers are on strike and the high school is closed until further notice.  Dave says that the strike is going to go on for a long time.  So, I guess the school year is canceled and everyone will have to repeat their senior year.  St. Neal is especially upset about this and who can blame him?  He was supposed to graduate at the end of season 2!  Is he ever going to get out of that school?

At the mall, the kids decide to harass the new guy working at Corn Dog World, just to discover that it’s their Dad.  (This family is the worst!)  Since Dave is humiliating himself by taking on another job while on strike, St. Neal announces that all of the kids will get jobs as well.

Cray, who is 13, gets a job searching for alligators in the sewer.  Do they usually hire 13 year-olds for that type of work?  Jane gets as job as a dog walker.  Sui gets a job as a perfume sprayer at the mall.  Marci keeps her job as the assistant manager of Miami’s “hottest under 21 club,” The Warehouse.  Ben plays guitar on the street.  St. Neal makes money as a tutor.  Considering he’s been a senior for three years now, I imagine he knows all of the answers.

The kids also help their parents save money by doing home repairs.  “Is that roof safe?” St. Neal asks.  “I don’t know,” Jane replies, “that why I sent Cray up there.”  Okay, I will admit that line made me laugh.

Meanwhile, Ben dates a smart girl in order to win a bet with Marci.  But then he falls in love with her for real.  He begs her to forgive him when she finds out the truth and eventually, she does.  (“Awwwwwww!” the audience says.)  I’m sure we’ll never hear from her again.

Episode 3.8 “Sui’s In For Stormy Weather”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 11th, 2000)

This episode starts with Neal and Ben making their debut as film critics on the local cable access channel and …. wait, what!?  Like how the Hell did this happen!?  THEY’RE IN HIGH SCHOOL!  What’s weird is that there’s no backstory that explains how Neal and Ben ended up with this gig.  Instead, Marci says, “I can’t believe you guys get paid to be movie critics” and everyone watching is just supposed to accept it.

To be honest, this is type of thing that would normally make me stop watching after the first few minutes but, because the title promised that this was a Sui episode, I stuck with it.  Considering that she’s both the coolest and the best-dressed of the Blake children, Sui has definitely not gotten enough storylines during season 3.

When Sui learns that there’s an opening for a weather girl at the station, she auditions for it and gets the job.  The manager of the studio is named Randy Gekko, which automatically tells us not to trust him.  No one decent person has ever been named Randy Gekko.  And sure enough, Randy is soon pressuring Sui to wear a bikini while reporting on the weather and telling her that he can make her a star if she cooperates.

To the show’s credit, Sui immediately realizes what Randy is doing and that it’s wrong.  One of the reasons why Sui is the best character on the show is because, while she’s often materialistic and a little flighty, she’s also smarter than people realize and she’s willing to stand up for herself.  (Full disclosure: Of all the characters on this show, Sui is the one to whom I tend to relate.)  In this case, she humiliates Randy on the air by announcing to the channel’s viewers (there must be at least half-a-dozen of them) that her boss is a sleaze.  Way to go, Sui!

In the B-plot, Cray considers piercing his ear to impress a girl.  It was a dumb plot and it had no place in a Sui episode.

Retro Television Review: One World 3.5 “One of Our Own” and 3.6 “Crushed”

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

The Blake family is growing!

Episode 3.5 “One Of Our Own”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on October 21st, 2000)

This episode opens with the Blake family once again using the Warehouse, Miami’s “hottest under 21 club,” as their own private dining room but throwing a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Cray’s adoption.  As usual, Jane makes it all about herself by announcing that she wants Dave and Karen to adopt her.  Karen is thrilled and also takes some time to remind everyone that she’s frequently nauseous because that’s a storyline now. 

What’s odd is that, when Jane asks why Karen keeps throwing up, Dave replies, “She’s pregnant” and apparently, it’s the first that anyone in the family had heard about it, even though everyone knew about it in the previous episode.  So, this is another example of TNBC showing episode out of order and not caring about continuity.  Respect your audience, TNBC!

Anyway, Jane’s adoption hits a snag when it turns out that Jane’s father is still alive and he’s in prison!  Though initially reluctant to see him and concerned that she won’t have a place in the Blake family after the baby is born, Jane eventually visits her father and gets him to sign over his parental rights.

While Jane thinks about being adopted, Neal falls for a cheerleader who has just moved to Miami from Tallahassee.  “If you ever miss your friends,” Neal tells her, “I can teach you how to use the spell check on my computer.”  Smooth, Neal!  Neal tells the cheerleader that he designs “CD-ROM games and DVDs” for fun.  “I’ve been to the DMV!” the cheerleader responds.  Eventually, Neal realizes that he and his new girlfriend have nothing in common.  Wait a minute …. doesn’t Neal already have a really rich girlfriend?  Remember the first episode of season 3, when her father didn’t want them to date but Neal won his over with is integrity?  Did the show already abandon that plotline?

This episode was cringey, in the way that most TNBC shows were whenever they attempted to deal with serious subjects.  It was a bit overwritten, a bit overacted, and a just a bit too much.

Episode 3.6 “Crushed”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on October 28th, 2000)

With this episode, we are reminded that Ben still has a gig playing the guitar at Miami’s “hottest under 21 club,” The Warehouse.  One of the strange things about the Warehouse is that, for the hottest club in Miami, it’s almost always deserted.  No one seems to hang out there.  In fact, the Warehouse seems to only exist so that the Blakes can celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.

As for the actual plot of “Crushed,” it’s basically a redo of several Saved By The Bell plots.  Cray has a girlfriend but he worries that Ben is trying to steal her away from him.  Of course, the opposite is true.  Cray’s girlfriend would rather go out with Ben and who wouldn’t?  Ben is a hundred times hotter.  Meanwhile, Jane becomes a semi-amateur wrestler, using moves that she claims she learned in jail.  (Sigh.  After three seasons, the writers still hadn’t figured that none of the cast of One World were believable as people who had spent even a day behind bars.)  Anyway, Jane is asked to throw a match, because professional wrestling is totally real, you all!  

This was all pretty dumb.  Sui and Marci are the coolest characters on the show but they were given nothing to do.  Meanwhile, Jane’s hair is still annoying the hell out of me.

Retro Television Review: One World 3.3 “The Two Year Itch” and 3.4 “The Race Car”

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

This week, Jane makes a new friend and Cray gets a new car!  That’s life when you’re living in one world.

Episode 3.3 “The Two Year Itch”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on October 7th, 2000)

Early on in this episode, Sui’s purse is stolen.

“My life was in that purse!” Sui says.

“You mean like your money and your ID card?” Marci says.

“No, I mean my gum!”

This is a joke format that One World used quite frequently and it always felt incredibly awkward.  It’s certainly not a reflection of how real people talk.  Perhaps that’s understandable, given that this is a TNBC show.  But One World was also meant to be edgy and realistic, a step away from the silliness of Saved By The Bell.  The show’s combination of corny jokes and real world issues was strange at best and cringey at worst.

As for the rest of this episode, it follows Jane as she tracks down Jessie, the runaway who stole Sui’s purse.  It turns out that Jessie is a homeless teenager who is struggling to survive, just as Jane once was.  Jessie has an attitude, just like Jane once did.  Jane decides to take Jessie home with her.  Jane arranges for Jessie to crash in the hippie van that the family refurbished last season but Jane also goes out of her way to try to keep the Blakes from discovering that Jessie is there.  Why?  Because this is a stupid show.

Anyway, the Blake kids see Jane sneaking around and keeping secrets and they decide that she must be on drugs.  An attempted intervention leads to the Blakes discovering that Jessie has been living in the van.  Jessie runs away but later, she decides to go to social services and “enter the system” so she can find a family like Jane’s.  It’s a good thing that the American foster system is known for being efficient and well-managed.

In the B-plot, Cray is selected to appear in an orange juice commercial.  Cray becomes totally focused on getting an agent and pursuing a show biz career.  Dave asks Cray why he’s behaving like this and asks, “Why can’t you just rob a liquor store like other child actors?”  In all fairness, Brandon Baker is actually kind of funny as he lets fame go to his head.  But again, he gets tripped up by One World‘s dumb joke structure.  When he finds out that he’s being replaced as the spokesman for the orange juice company, we get this gem:

“You are being replaced.”

“By a big star?”

“By JoJo the Wonderchimp.”

Seriously …. So.  Cringey.

Episode 3.4 “The Race Car”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on October 14th, 2000)

The Warehouse, Miami’s “hottest under-21 club,” is holding a contest.  Whoever can keep their hand on a car for the longest amount of time wins it!  Cray wins the car, despite the fact that Marci is assistant manager of the Warehouse and Cray should have been disqualified for being a relative.  Since Cray is only 13, he needs to find someone to drive him around all the time.  St. Neal refuses to do it.  Ben can’t do it because his license is suspended because he keeps parking in handicap spots.  (The audience laughs, even though it’s really not funny.)

Jane agrees to drive Cray around but Jane also leaves the keys in the car.  When Neal and Ben decide to take the car for a joyride, they get approached by a cop who demands to know if they own the car.  When Neal attempts to explain that the car belongs to his “little brother,” the cop accuses Neal of being a gang member and arrests him.  When Ben attempts to explain that Neal is not in a gang, he gets arrested as well.

While Neal and Ben languish in jail, Sui and Marci get ultracompetitive over a tennis game and opening up a jar of pickles.  Naturally, Sui is the ultimate winner because Sui is the coolest character ever.

During this episode, Karen mentioned several times that she was pregnant.  This was a plot development that I has forgotten and, from the amount of times that it was mentioned during this episode, I’m guessing the writers had only recently remembered it as well.

The episode ends with Neal telling off the racist cop while also defending good cops and making it clear that the bad cop was just an aberration, which is the type of ending that would get this show slammed by the AV Club today.  Back in 2000, though, the audience loved it.

Retro Television Review: One World 3.1 “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” and 3.2 “Push Comes To Shove”

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

It’s time for the third and final season of One World!

Episode 3.1 “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on September 23rd, 2000)

At the end of season 2 of One World, Neal and Jane were both facing an uncertain future.  Having been caught cheating on the SAT, they had been banned from retaking the test and they were both going to have to figure out a way to get into a good college with no SAT score.  It was a pretty dark situation.  Neal even said that it was now going to take him a little bit longer to achieve his dreams.  I was curious to see how the show would handle this situation in season 3.

The first episode of season 3 handled the developments of season 2 in much the same way that most TNBC shows handled any sort of unexpected drama.  They ignored it.  Over the course of the first episode of season 3, no mention was made of the SAT or college.  Neal is apparently still in high school (though he was a senior last season) and he’s got the highest GPA of anyone in his class.  Once again, his future is bright!  Jane, meanwhile, is no longer talking about college but she does now have a really awful spiky hairstyle.  Seriously, I want slap whoever it was who decided to dye her hair that color of yellow.  It totally washes out all of her features.

As for Ben, Cray, Sui, and Marci …. well, they’re pretty much the same.  Marci is still materialistic.  Cray is still dorky.  Ben is still dumb,  And Sui is still way too cool for this show.

The first episode featured a guest turn from James Avery, playing Mr. Richard, the father of Neal’s girlfriend, Kate.  (Yes, there is a joke about how he “looks like the guy from Fresh Prince.”)  Mr, Richard is a successful and wealthy attorney and a Harvard graduate.  When Neal mentions that he used to be in a gang, Mr. Richard forbids Kate (Tasha Taylor) from dating Neal.  Neal confronts Mr. Richard and accuses him of being prejudiced.  (“Ohhhhhh!” the audience says.)  Mr. Richard tells Neal to watch his mouth.  (“Ahhhhh!” the audience responds.)

Later, Kate sneaks into the Blake home and tells Neal that she’s willing to defy her father but Neal says that he won’t go against her father’s wishes because he still has the same integrity that caused him to get banned from taking the SAT.  (No, Neal doesn’t bring up the SAT.  That’s just me wondering what happened to that whole storyline.)  Mr. Richard is moved by Neal’s integrity and decides that he’s okay with his daughter dating a former gang member who was will basically never be able to get into a good college.

On the one hand, Neal has a point about giving people a second chance and judging people by their actions and not their past.  On the other hand, Mr. Richard is played by James Avery, who was a far better actor than the material deserved.  The character is written to just be a snob but Avery instead turns him into a father who sincerely cares about his daughter.  So, despite the show’s intentions, Mr. Richard actually comes across as being more sympathetic than either his flighty daughter or the somewhat self-righteous Neal.

Meanwhile, Marci buys a bunch of clothes online but discovers that they were stolen.  The most interesting thing about this storyline is that everyone is shocked to discover that you can buy things online.  I guess that’s 2000 for you!

Episode 3.2 “Push Comes to Shove”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on September 30, 2000)

Cray has a bully!  Earl (Joshua Boyd) goes from demanding the Cray bring him a sandwich to demanding that Cray bring him money.  Jane counsels Cray to beat Earl up.  (Has she not seen Cray?  Cray’s not beating anyone up.)  St. Neal suggests that Cray should turn the other cheek and remember that violence solves nothing.  Neal, however, turns out to be a huge hypocrite because, when he talks to Earl, he ends up getting into a fight with him.  Neal beats up Earl (off-screen, of course) but he then has an ethical crisis over having violated his principles.  Good Lord, Neal’s annoying.

Meanwhile, Jane is dating Bradley Covington, the scion of the richest family in town.  Bradley asks out Jane despite her terrible hair and the fact that the supercool Sui was in the same room.  Bradley takes Jane to a country club and we get a badly acted scene in which Jane stands up to Bradley’s snooty cousin.  That whole subplot didn’t really go anywhere.

Well, that’s not a great start to season 3.  Hopefully, next week will be a bit better!

Retro Television Review: One World 2.12 “A Cheating Heart” and 2.13 “Coming of Age”

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

This week, the second season of One World comes to an end!  Will we all still be living in one world once it’s over?

Episode 2.12 “A Cheating Heart”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on December 4th, 1999)

Finally, Sui gets a storyline!

When Marci sets up a charity date auction at Miami’s “hottest under-21 club,” The Warehouse, Sui is purchased by a guy named Scott (Jason Strickland) and …. ugh, this is cringey already.  Anyway, Scott turns out to be kind of dorky and Sui doesn’t really want to date him but Scott decides that he’s totally in love with her and insists that she is actually in love with him too.  Scott even befriends Dave so that he can hang out in the Blake House with Sui.  Needless to say, Scott’s behavior is stalkerish and more than a little disturbing but the show plays it for laughs.  Ugh, poor Sui.

Meanwhile, Ben is purchased by a woman with whom he has little in common and Cray is purchased by an old woman who needs him to do some yard work.  Wait a minute …. the Warehouse had an auction in which they sold someone to do manual labor for free?  This is seriously icky.

Meanwhile, Jane has suddenly decided that she wants to go to college but, after 12 years of goofing off, she knows that there is no way she’s going to do well on the SAT.  Since St. Neal is a genius, he tries to tutor her.  Jane suggests just cheating instead but Neal is like, “No!  Cheating is wrong!”  (He may be right but, on the other hand, cheating is the only way I passed Algebra.)  However, when they take the test, Neal realizes that Jane is struggling and he allows her to copy his answers.  Good for you, Neal!  Your sister deserves a future.

Uh-oh!  The SAT proctor noticed what they were doing and, as a result, their tests are thrown out and they’re both told that they will never be allowed to retake the SAT.  Jane confesses to cheating but lies and says that Neal had nothing to do with it.  Neal announces that he will not lie and will instead accept his punishment.  St. Neal says that he’s not going to give up on getting into college, even if it’s going to take him longer now.  St. Neal also asks to be allowed to see what his score would have been.

“What did we get!?” Jane asks him.

Neal replies, “Let’s just say that mom and dad would have been very proud of us …. IF WE HADN’T CHEATED!”

And that’s how the episode ends!  Seriously, what a dark world!

Anyway, my main impression of this episode is that Neal is a complete chump.  After spending two seasons working hard and trying to make something of himself and talking about how important it was to him to go to an Ivy League college, Neal threw it all away for someone who probably would have ended up dropping out of college anyways.  Call me a cynic but I doubt this sort of thing would happen in real life.

Episode 2.13 “Coming of Age”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on January 1st, 2000)

According to the imdb trivia page, this episode was originally supposed to air on September 25, 1999 but it was pushed back to January 1st.  I guess that’s why no one mentions the fact that both Jane and Neal have thrown away their futures.  This also means that, originally, the plan for the second season of One World was for it to end with Neal and Jane getting busted for cheating.  That would have been an incredibly depressing way to end the season.

The delayed air date explains why, in this episode, Cray is noticeably shorter than he was in the previous episode, his voice is noticeably higher, and his hair is a lot longer.  In fact, the episode opens with Cray’s birthday party and Cray announcing that he is now a teenager and he’s ready to start dating.  Jane and Ben give Cray a lot of silly dating advice.  It’s dumb.  Maybe if Ben and Jane had done a better job, Cray wouldn’t have gotten caught up with that crazy marijuana girl.

Meanwhile, Karen gets a job as a waitress at the Warehouse and the kids are forced to finally appreciate everything that she does for them.  It took two seasons but Karen finally gets to call out all of her spoiled adoptive children.  Good for her!

Anyway, this was an episode that in no way felt appropriate for a season finale.  Regardless, season two is over!  Next week, we start the third and final season of One World.

Retro Television Reviews: One World 2.10 “Tough Love” and 2.11 “Band on the Run”

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

This is the place where our dream live forever!

Episode 2.10 “Tough Love”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 20th, 1999)

Cray finally gets an episode of his very own and, unfortunately, it’s also the show’s token anti-marijuana episode,

When Meagan (Amanda Fuller, years before playing the eldest daughter on Last Man Standing) invites Cray to a party, Cray agrees.  When Meagan offers Cray a joint, Cray initially refuses but then finally agrees to take a hit.  Since this is a TNBC show, Cray automatically ends up paranoid and hungry.  He goes home.  He demands food from St. Neal and Jane.  He tells them to stop watching him.  Neal and Jane immediately figure out that he’s been messing with the weed with roots in Hell.

“When you’re high, you’re not in control!” St. Neal tells Cray, “Look at you!  Just one night and you’re already a paranoid, munchy-head fool!”

“And whatever you do,” Jane adds, “don’t watch the new Love Boat!”

“Because I smoked pot and could totally freak out?” Cray bizarrely replies.

“No, it’s just a really lame show.”

So, already, the show has revealed that it knows very little about the realities of smoking weed.  Very few people get stoned the first time that they smoke.  Even those who do don’t end up acting like Cray.  As I listened to him list all of the people who he felt were plotting against him, I found myself wondering what Meagan’s weed was laced with.

Later, Meagan asks Cray to be her boyfriend.  Cray says yes but is shocked to discover that Meagan is still smoking weed!  When the police catch Cray holding Meagan’s joint, he gets stuck with both community service and anti-drug classes.  After the rest of the Blake family decides that “Meagan has a problem,” Cray tells Meagan’s parents.  Meagan get sent to rehab.  Yes, that’s right.  Meagan’s parents find out that she smokes weed and they send her to DRUG REHAB!

Before leaving for rehab, Meagan tells Cray that she hates him.  Jane, however, assures Cray that, someday, Meagan will appreciate what he did for her.  Don’t count on it, Cray.

Meanwhile, Marci accidentally put the house for sale online.  An English couple tried to buy but, in the end, the Blakes decided that they couldn’t move.  I’m glad that worked out!

Anyway, every TNBC show had to do at least one episode where someone smoked weed and then decided never to do it again.  One World gets some credit for having both St. Neal and Jane admit to having smoked in the past as well.  (Seriously, I never bought that Zach Morris had never seen a joint until Johnny Dakota came to Bayside.)  But, ultimately, this episode was too preachy and unrealistic to work.  One gets the feeling that the writers were probably stoned and amusing themselves when they wrote it.

Let’s move on.

Episode 2.11 “Band on the Run”

(Directed by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 27th, 1999)

Because this episode features a guest appearance and two songs from the Norweigian pop duo, M2M, this is one of the episodes of One World that is not available on Tubi.  However, it is available on YouTube, though the scenes with M2M singing have been muted.  Who is M2M?  Remember that annoying Don’t Say You Love Me Song?  They’re the ones who did that.

Anyway, in this episode, Ben gets fired from his singing gig at Miami’s “hottest under-21 club,” The Warehouse.  He’s replaced by M2M.  (Huh?  Why would a then-hot Norwegian band end up playing at The Warehouse in Miami?)  Humiliated, Ben gets a job delivering chicken (and yes, he has to wear a big chicken suit) and trying to reinvent himself as a rapper.  Eventually, Ben starts singing boring songs about his feelings and he gets his gig back.  Yay, I guess.  As for M2M, they’re last seen going on a date with Cray, who I assume has kicked his marijuana addiction.

In the B-plot, Sui thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her and this somehow leads to Jane joining the football team.  It’s dumb and I don’t want to talk about it.  Sui’s the coolest character on the show and it bugs me that it’s been a few episodes since she had a decent storyline.  Hopefully, that’ll change next week!

Retro Television Review: One World 2.8 “Treasure of the Sierra Lotto” and 2.9 “A Walk On The Side”

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

Are we still living in One World?  Let’s find out….

Episode 2.8 “Treasure of the Sierra Lotto”

(dir by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 6th, 1999)

After the Blake kids pool their resources and buy a lottery ticket, they agree that, if they win, they’ll give the money to the poor.  Guess what happens?  They don’t win the big jackpot but they do win $50,000!  Suddenly, no one other than Jane feels like giving the money to the poor.  Jane gets so frustrated with everyone’s greed that she announces that she doesn’t want any of the money and….

Uhmmm, when did Jane become an activist?  Seriously, Jane has spent a season and a half being self-centered and greedy but suddenly, she’s obsessed with giving money to charity.  The only person who is willing to stand with Jane is St. Neal, who refused to contribute any money to the lottery pool to begin with.  So, why exactly is he even allowed to have an opinion?

(At least Neal has been annoyingly self-righteous since the first episode.  Jane apparently developed an entirely new personality from out of nowhere.)

While all of this stupidity is going on, Dave is offered a contract to pitch in Japan!  Will Dave abandon his chance to make a career comeback for his annoying foster children?  Of course he will!  What a chump.  Maybe if Dave had spent a few months in Japan and made some money, his adopted children wouldn’t have to play the lottery just to have enough money to eat.  Ever think about that, Dave!?

Anyway, Jane steals the lottery ticket and uses the money to start a free lunch program at the “hottest under-21 club in Miami,” The Warehouse!  It’s amazing that it only took Jane a day start a free lunch program and she was somehow able to do it all without any other members of the family noticing.  (Marci is assistant manager at the Warehouse so you would think someone would have mentioned it to her.)  Anyway, the Blakes forgive Jane for stealing the money.  St. Neal looks around the Warehouse says, “This soup kitchen looks a little understaffed.”  Everyone pitches in to help and…

God, I hated this sanctimonious, painfully unrealistic episode.  If you give a bunch of teenagers $50,000, there’s a lot that is going to happen but none of it is going to involve opening up a soup kitchen.  Let’s move on.

Episode 2.9 “A Walk On The Wild Side”

(dir by Mary Lou Belli, originally aired on November 13th, 1999)

Jane’s old friend from the streets, Lori (Joanna Canton), shows up and stays with the Blakes for a night.  Lori tells Jane that her foster family is totally lame and Sui, Marci, and Cray prove her right by convincing themselves that St. Neal is actually a serial killer known as the “Miami Mangler.”

Eventually, Lori tries to convince Jane to rob The Warehouse but, when Jane says that she can’t steal from the place that employs her family, Lori accuses Jane of being a sell-out.  Jane makes plans to run away from home but Ben talks her out of it.  Meanwhile, Neal is revealed to not be the Miami Mangler but instead to be an aspiring magician.  Neal does a really simple magic trick and the studio audience goes crazy.

This was a weird episode.  The whole thing about Jane being tempted to “walk on a wild side” seemed like it was taken from an entirely different episode from all the stuff about the Blakes thinking that Neal was a murderer.  Jane and Lori broke into The Warehouse after it closed.  A scene later, Neal invited Marci, Sui, and Cray to come see him at the Warehouse, again after it closed.  Why is this family always hanging out at The Warehouse after it closes?  It all made little sense.  Jane should have gone to Chicago with Lori.