Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 11/20/22 — 11/26/22

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!  Here’s some thoughts on what I watched this week!

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race here!

The Brady Bunch (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

One of the Brady kids needed to make a movie for his Thanksgiving project.  The entire family helped!  Needless to say, Mike took it all way too seriously.  The movie itself looked awful but I’m sure the Brady kid — I think it was Peter — got an A.  No one ever had the courage to stand up to those Bradys.

California Dreams (YouTube)

Surf dudes with attitude….

Catholic Mass (Sunday Morning, The CW)

I always feel a bit weird watching Mass on television.  This Sunday, I felt even stranger about watching it while wearing a bikini and getting ready to lay out on the deck of my cousin’s place at Lake Texoma.  But, I did promise my sisters that I would try to go to Mass on Sunday so I did what I had to do!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (Apple TV+)

Erin and I watched this classic on Wednesday.  She wrote about why she loves this special a few years ago.

Cheers (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

I haven’t seen many episodes of this show but I’ve read all the online praise and I am an unabashed fan of Frasier Crane.  The episode that I watched on Sunday was a Thanksgiving episode.  A bunch of barflies decided to spend Thanksgiving together.  Needless to say, it turned out to be a bit messy but also funny and even kind of heart-warming.

City Guys (Tubi)

They’re the neat guys.  I wrote about them here.

Football (FOX, NBC, CBS, Thursday)

The family was watching football so I joined them, kind of.  I cringed with every tackle and I felt terrible for the teams who lost.  I mean, what a sucky way to spend Thanksgiving.  Personally, I think they should allow for tie games so that everyone can be a winner!  But apparently, that’s not the way that football works.

Frosty Returns (Friday Night, CBS)

Frosty’s back!  But an evil businessman is going to destroy him with something called Summer Wheeze!  The 90s version of Frosty The Snowman tries a bit too hard.  I prefer the original.

Frosty the Snowman (Friday Night, CBS)

Yay!  Santa was able to bring Frosty back to life!  Seriously, I first saw this special when I was little and I was traumatized by melting Frosty!  Trauma aside, I love these old Christmas specials.

Full House (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

I watched two episodes on Sunday.  The first episode was from season one and it featured the Tanners having their first Thanksgiving since the death of Danny’s wife.  This was actually one of the better episodes of Full House.  This was followed by a much later episode of Full House, in which DJ finally got a boyfriend and started to show some independence from her overbearing family.  Good for her!

Gilligan’s Island (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

A bank robber (played by Larry Storch) somehow ended up on the island.  He menaced everyone with a gun, tried to hide his money, and then left without offering to help anyone else return to civilization.  I haven’t seen many episodes of Gilligan’s Island but apparently, this was a fairly common occurrence on the show.  For the record, I only watched this episode because I thought it was going to be Thanksgiving-themed but it wasn’t.

Happy Days (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

Upset that her family was more interested in football than fellowship, Marion Cunningham told the story of the First Thanksgiving.  To be honest, Happy Days is one of those popular old shows that I just don’t get.  The extremely enthusiastic “live audience” drives me crazy.  That said, this was an okay episode.  The cast got to dress up like pilgrims.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (NBC, Friday Night)

I love Boris Karloff!

The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

MeTV aired a Thanksgiving episode of The Love Boat on Sunday.  It was from season 6 so it’ll be a while before I get to review it as a part of my retro television reviews.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

I woke up early on Sunday morning and I watched six episodes of this show — that’s three hours! — as I had breakfast, cleaned up around the lakehouse, and packed for the trip home.  The episodes were a bit random.  It started with the Senior Prom episode, in which Zach realized that he still had feelings for Kelly.  This was followed by the infamous Graduation episode, in which the entire school rallied to help Zach avoid summer school despite the fact that they didn’t owe Zach a damn thing.  Then it was time for the “Time Capsule” clip show, in which a bunch of loser students gathered in Belding’s office to watch a VHS tape that had been left behind by Zach and the gang.

Time then moved backwards.  Suddenly, Zach was meeting Slater for the first time, Zach and Slater were competing to take Kelly to the school dance, and Zach was pretending to be Candy in order to get Screech to do his homework.

All of these episodes were, of course, pretty dumb and cringey.  But they made for nice background noise.  At this point, I think I have ever episode of this silly show memorized.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

WKRP IN Cincinnati (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)

“Oh my God!  They’re turkeys!”  Jeff introduced me to the Thanksgiving episode of this classic sitcom a few years ago and, since then, watching it has become a Thanksgiving tradition.  Poor Mr. Carlson!

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 2.13 “Schoolhouse Rock” and 2.14 “Save the Shark”

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!

Surf dudes with attitude, kind of groovy….

Episode 2.13 “Schoolhouse Rock”

(Dir by Miguel Higuera, Originally aired on November 27th, 1993)

Sting is performing in California and it’s the hottest show in town!  Unfortunately, because Sly is an idiot, he spent all of the Dreams’s money before he could buy tickets for the band.  However, Sly has a chance to redeem himself!  Sting’s opening act has had to cancel and Sly decides that the Dreams should audition for the gig….


Would Sting really have such a hard time finding a new opening act that he would be forced to hire a garage band that no one outside of their high school has ever heard of?  According to this episode, he would!  All the band has to do is find a way to get into the office of Sting’s manager.  And what better way to do that than for Tiffani to pretend to be a Swedish massage therapist while Tony and Jake pretend to be window washers and….

No, I’m not lying!  That’s how they get in the office.  Tiffani speaks in a Swedish accent while Tony and Jake slip through an open window.  Sting’s manager is impressed with their moxie and he says he’ll give them an audition.  The only catch is that it has to be at 3:00 pm and the Dreams cannot be a minute late.

Unfortunately, Ms. McBride, the insane home economics teacher, has been promoted to vice principal and she’s an insane disciplinarian.  She’s a former Marine who will not tolerate laughter or a messy locker.  Tiffani and Jake end up in detention!  Can they break out of detention and make the audition?  Will Sly be able to trick to the manager into coming down to the the high school so the band can perform in the gym?  And will the show end with the manager praising the band but saying that Elton John has already agreed to be Sting’s opening act?

Yes, yes, and yes.

This was a dumb episode that basically recycled an old Saved By The Bell plot but, at the same time, it’s also a good example of why California Dreams is so well-remembered after all these years.  Yes, it’s dumb but the cast really gives it their all and they’ve got enough chemistry that they can get a chuckle from even the lamest of jokes.  Ms. McBride is a cartoonish villain but then again, that’s the way most teenagers view their vice principals.  Finally, the song that the Dreams perform at the audition is actually pretty good.  For once, their music has a bit of an edge to it.  The Dreams are rocking instead of just popping!  (Don’t ask me what that means, it just came to me and I liked the sound of it.)  Add in an enjoyably weird subplot about clog dancing and you’ve got an pretty entertaining episode of California Dreams!

Episode 2.14 “Save The Shark”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, Originally aired on December 4th, 1993)

Sharky’s, the band’s favorite hangout, has been sold!  Tony is the new manager!  The Dreams are playing every night!  Matt is dating the new owner’s daughter.  However, the new owner is a land developer who is planning on tearing down Sharky’s and replacing it with condos!

Whatever is the band to do?  How about staging a protest?  Maybe they can occupy Sharky’s!  They can’t tear the place down if the Dreams are inside of it, right?  Well, maybe not.  Tony’s presence doesn’t seem to be stopping that wrecking ball.

Fortunately, Matt figures out that Johnny and the Himalayas, a band that he loves, got their start at Sharky’s and, as result, Sharky’s is declared a historical landmark.  Take that, land developer!  The land developer not only agrees to not tear down Sharky’s but he also allows his daughter to continue to date Matt.  His daughter was a terrible actress so hopefully, this was the only appearance of her character.

The episode ends with the ghost of Johnny Himalaya appearing and congratulating Matt.  Matt is surprised but happy.  Personally, I would be worried about the fact that Sharky’s is haunted!  What have you done, Matt!?

Like the episode that preceded it, Save The Shark was dumb but it was saved by the chemistry of the cast.  It took them a while but, towards the end of the second season, the Dreams ensemble really stared to click.

Next week: Jake hooks up with an undercover cop!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 11/13/22 — 11/19/22

I’ve been on vacation this week.  Here’s what I watched.

(Yes, that’s not my best intro but seriously, I’m tired.  I always take some time by myself after my birthday so that I can reflect on the year and plan the next one.  It’s a tradition that is the result of having watched too many movies and read too many books about women who retreat to a lake house for a holiday and achieve enlightenment or, at the very least, write a really great book.  Unfortunately, that always seems to work better in movies than in real life.  In real life, I’ve spent a good deal of time inside because the average temperature this week has been close to freezing.  As a result being stuck inside for hours at a time, my original plans of watching next to no television and only going online to host my weekly live tweets were quickly abandoned.  When I did go outside, I got caught out in the rain more than once and I also banged up my knee and probably nearly broke my neck when I tripped over a tree root while exploring the surroundings.  The sun has occasionally peeked through the clouds, mostly just to remind me of the fact that I cannot tan to save my life.  I’m now catching a cold, and I’m no closer to being enlightened than I was before.  This has not been my best-planned getaway, though it will make a great book someday.  Anyway….)

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)


This episode will always be remembered for the broken eggs and Barbara’s reaction to the way one of the mothers dressed.  However, I think this episode deserves to be remembered for the brief moment when Ava has a serious conversation with Barbara about that mother.  I always like the episodes where we discover that Ava actually does kind of care about her job and other people.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race here!

California Dreams (YouTube)

Being stuck inside, I watched a few episodes of California Dreams so that I could write and schedule a few reviews in advance.

City Guys (Tubi)

Being stuck inside, I watched a few episodes of City Guys so that I could write and schedule a few reviews in advance.  Hmmm …. that sounds familiar.

Graffiti Rock (YouTube)

I watched the only episode of this 80s dance show on YouTube on Friday night.  A young Debi Mazer and an adorable Vincent Gallo were amongst the dancers!  It was fun to watch.

The Greatest American Hero (Weekday evenings, ACE TV)

This is an early 80s show about a klutzy teacher (William Katt) who is gifted a red suit by a group of aliens.  The suit turns the teacher into a superhero but, because the aliens didn’t give him any instructions, he’s not really sure how all of his powers work.  He fights crime with his girlfriend (Connie Selleca) and a drunk FBI agent (Robert Culp).  One of his student was played by a very young and handsome Michael Pare.

I watched an episode on Thursday while I was having dinner.  The teacher battled criminals while preparing for an IRS audit.  It was actually a pretty cute show.  William Katt was as likable here as he was as poor, doomed Tommy Ross in the original Carrie.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

It was a good dinner service but Chef Ramsey still had to send someone home.  At least he was polite about it this week.  I’m really liking this season of Hell’s Kitchen.  I could honestly see any of the chefs winning.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

This week’s episode of Law & Order dealt with a murder that was linked back to Iraq War burn pits.  Considering that Price and Mouron are the two most self-righteous prosecutors in the history of this franchise (and that’s saying something!), I was cringing a bit at the thought of them relitigating the Iraq War.  But this episode was actually fairly well-handled.  I never would have expected that Cosgrove and Shaw would become my two favorite characters on this show but they’ve managed to do it.  I think that’s because Cosgrove and Shaw does their job without complaining, whereas Price always has some moral dilemma going on.  Seriously, McCoy needs to bring in somebody new.

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

Stabler’s going to give himself a heart attack if he’s not careful.  CALM DOWN, STABLER!

Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)

The squad was hunting a serial rapist and murderer who targeting transgender women.  Greg Grunberg played one of the victims’s father, an NYPD detective who was not comfortable with his child’s identity and who was trying to hide evidence that would have confirmed that she was transgender.  Eventually, however, he did the right thing and handed over the evidence that allowed the D.A. to get a conviction.  Grunberg, as always, gave a good performance.

Magnum, P.I. (Weekday Mornings, Charge TV)

On a chilly and rainy Monday morning, I watched a two-part episode of the original, 1980s Magnum P.I.  Magnum and his friends were being stalked by a KGB agent named Ivan.  The episode ended with Magnum executing Ivan in cold blood.  Ivan totally deserved it.

Night Flight (Night Flight Plus)

Friday night, I watched two episodes of this 80s entertainment digest.  One episode was about the early days of rap and while the other episode that profiled Sade.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Too Close For Comfort (Weekday Afternoons, Antenna TV)

This is an old 80s sitcom, about a grouchy old man who lived on the second floor of a San Francisco townhouse.  His daughters lived on the first floor.  A bizarre manchild lived on the third floor.  This show has been on Tubi for a while and also on Antenna TV.  On Tuesday, after spending the first part of the day hiking and trying to meditate, I decided to unwind by shuffle dancing to The Chemical Brothers.  Then, after that, I collapsed in front of the television and watched two episodes of this show on Antenna TV.

In the first episode, the grouchy old man and his wife were shocked to discover that a runaway girl named Sam was living with the manchild.  Sam explained that she had run away from home because her father was overprotective and didn’t understand her and wouldn’t let her go out with her friends.  The problem was that the actress playing Sam appeared to be nearly 40 years old so it was difficult to sympathize with her.  I mean, just get a job and move out if you can’t take it.  You’re an adult.  Anyway, the grouchy old man explains to Sam that her father loved her and Sam went home.  Yay!

This was followed by an episode in which the manchild and one of the daughters graduated from college.  The manchild got a job as a mall security guard.  Good for him.

The Twilight Zone (Weeknights, MeTV)

On Tuesday night, I watched The Obsolete Man.  In this episode, an authoritarian government official ordered a man to commit suicide.  Before dying, the man revealed the official to be a coward.  The official was then ripped apart by his former supporters.  This is usually described as being one of the more heavy-handed episodes of original Twilight Zone but, in this time of general government overreach, there was something satisfying about watching the smug government representative get outsmarted.

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 2.11 “Vote of Confidence” and 2.12 “The Year of the Woo”

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, it’s all about family!

Episode 2.11 “Vote of Confidence”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on November 13th, 1993)

Pacific Coast High School is in the midst of campaign fever!  Who will be elected student council president?  Will it be the crazy environmentalist who says that she’s going to transform the cafeteria into a vegetarian paradise?  Or will it be Harvey, a rich kid who announces that his motto is, “I already have money!  Now, I want power!”

Or will it be Jake!?  Yes, Jake is running for president because he’s feeling inadequate when compared to his older brother Kyle.  Kyle is an Olympic hopeful who is currently attending Harvard and who was apparently also the presidents of the PCHS student council when he was in high school.  How come we haven’t heard anything about Kyle before?  Jake’s brother being an Olympic hopeful seems like something that would have been mentioned earlier.

Jake campaigns by riding his motorcycle through the school’s hallways and singing a country song about how “I’m a regular guy who does what he says.”  It’s not a bad song and Jake appears to actually be singing in the scenes in which he performs, as opposed to just lip-syncing.  In other words, this is the episode that establishes that Jake was actually too talented to be a member of a lame band like California Dreams.

Unfortunately, before Jake announced his candidacy, the Dreams agreed to play Harvey’s victory rally.  The Dreams withdraw from Harvey’s rally but — uh oh! — Sly already spend the two hundred dollars!  Harvey agrees to forgive the debt on the condition that Tiffani go on a date with him.  Jake is surprisingly okay with this, considering that he’s been dating Tiffani for a few episodes.  Perhaps this episode was filmed before Jake and Tiffani became a couple and was shown out-of-order.  Once again, NBC just didn’t care.

Anyway, Jake realizes that he ran for President for the wrong reasons and he resigns from office.  Harvey becomes president in his place.  Yay, rich people!

Episode 2.12 “The Year of the Woo”

(Dir by Don Barnhart, originally aired on November 20th, 1993)

The Dreams have a gig in Burbank, for which they’ll get paid $1,000.  But, the van’s transmission is shot!  Fortunately, Sam’s family had just sent her $800 in “lucky money” that she can use to buy a plane ticket to go back to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year.  Why couldn’t they have just bought her the tickets?

Anyway, the Dreams convince Sam to pay for a new transmission, with the promise that they’ll pay her back with the money they make from the gig. However, it turns out that Gus the Mechanic isn’t good at his job. Not only does the transmission still not work but he refuses to refund the money.  (Huh?)   Now, Sam has no money and cannot return to Hong Kong. The Dreams are the worst people in the world.

With the help of Tiffani, The Dreams win back the $800 in a poker game but it’s too late for Sam to book a flight.  So, they throw a really cheap party at Sharky’s and they fly Sam’s parents out to California.  (Oddly, Sam’s parents speak in English, even when they’re talking to Sam.  It’s a bit odd that they don’t just speak to each other in Chinese, seeing as how that’s presumably how they spent the last 16 years communicating with each other.)  Sam’s excited but, before she can spend any time with her family, she still has to sing a song with the Dreams.  Imagine having to work at your own party.

This episode was not terrible.  One thing that set this show apart from other Peter Engel shows is that the cast actually had chemistry so they’re kind of fun to watch, even when the story itself is pretty stupid.  That said, the main theme of this episode — again — seemed to be the Dreams are only willing to do the right thing as a last resort.  Even though they fly Sam’s parents out to California with their poker money, there’s still no scene in which the Dreams themselves realize that guilting Sam into paying for the van was kind of a jerky thing to do.

Oh well!  At least everything worked out in the end!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 11/6/22 — 11/12/22

It’s my birthday and I’m up at Lake Texoma so, needless to say, I haven’t been watching much television.  That said, we just got hit by the first cold front of the season and both freezing temperatures and rain are on the way so, for the upcoming week, I may not be doing much other than staying inside and watching old TV shows.

Anyway, here’s a few thoughts on what I watched this week:

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

With Quinton and Mattie getting eliminated, we are now down to five teams!  To be honest, I get the feeling that Aubrey and David are going to come out of nowhere and somehow manage to win the final leg.  That said, as a Big Brother watcher, I am rooting for Claire and Derek and, as a dancer, I’m rooting for Luis and Michelle.  I wrote about this week’s episode at the Reality TV Chat Blog!

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Atlanta came to a conclusion this week with an episode that somehow managed to wrap up the show’s themes while also feeling just like another episode of Atlanta.  The show ended with a celebration of the relationships between the main characters and a hint that we might all just be in a sensory deprivation tank.  It was a great ending for a good show.

California Dreams (YouTube)

I wrote about California Dreams here!

City Guys (Tubi)

I wrote about City Guys here!

Fantasy Island (Tubi)

I wrote about Fantasy Island here!

Ghosts (Thursday Night, CBS)

Poor Pete!  A trashy reality show called “Dumb Deaths” wanted to shoot an episode about his dumb death.  Fortunately, a series of weird events led to them actually doing a show about the hippie’s death.  Compared to the first season, the second season has been a bit uneven but last night’s episode did make me laugh.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

It seems like Trenton should have known better than to have his wedding reception at Hell’s Kitchen.  Needless to say, things did not go well.  Chef Ramsey kicked both teams out of the kitchen and then sent home two chefs.  And really, the two teams were so incompetent that night that they left Chef Ramsey with no other option.  I will never eat another scallop.

Law & Order (Thursday, Night, NBC)

Price and Mouron humiliated a prominent activist attorney in order to get a murder conviction.  We knew the attorney was powerful because, in her office, there was a really photoshop of her standing next to Nancy Pelosi.  I’ve finally gotten to the point where I kind of like Detective Cosgrove and Jeffrey Donavon’s performance has definitely improved over last season’s one-note characterization.  That said, there’s still a self-righteousness to Price that just makes me want to throw something at the screen whenever he launched into one of his sermons.

The Love Boat (Paramount Plus)

I wrote about The Love Boat here.

Mid-Term Coverage (All Week, All Over The Place)

Come on, Arizona …. HURRY UP!  I swear, we knew who won in Texas on election night and this state is a hundred times bigger and more populated than Arizona and Nevada combined.  If you really want to fight against the conspiracy theories, a good first step would be to not be totally incompetent at your job.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

This week, Jeanine become the first member of the jury.  That was not a shock at all.  I wrote about this week’s episode at the Reality TV Chat Blog!

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 2.8 “High Plains Dreamer” and 2.9 “Bwa Ha Ha Means I Love You”

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, Tony turns out to be a total coward while the Dreams attempt to record their first album.

But first, the opening  credits.  Again, because the post-Jenny opening credits for season two have not been uploaded to YouTube, you have to imagine Jennie Kwan in the place of Heidi Noelle Lenhart.

Episode 2.8 “High Plains Dreamer”

(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 30th, 1993)

Oh Good God.

Like all TNBC shows, California Dreams had its share of bad episodes.  In fact, technically, you could argue that the majority of them were bad.  It’s not like anyone was trying to win an Emmy for a writing or directing a show like Saved By The Bell, Hang Time, or California Dreams.  Still, even the knowledge that we’re not exactly dealing with Friends or Seinfeld here, left me unprepared for the crappiness of High Plans Drifter.

High Plains Drifter is the worst episode of California Dreams that I have seen so far.  At the movies, Tony is threatened by a bully.  Tony reacts by passing out.  Seriously, he doesn’t even get knocked unconscious in a fight or anything like that.  Someone gives him a mean look and he faints!  And then, while he’s passed out, he imagines that he’s a drifter who becomes the sheriff of an old west town.  Matt shows up as the town’s singing cowboy.  Jake is the blacksmith who promised his wife, Tiffani, that he would never pick up a gun.  Sly is the rich ne’er-do-well who owns the town.  Sam runs the town’s dancehall, which is obviously meant to be a brothel.

One gets the feeling that the cast had fun with this episode, because everyone got to wear a costume and speak with an exaggerated Southwestern accent.  But, for the most part, the humor is painfully corny (even by the standards of California Dreams) and the cast’s overly theatrical performances quickly wear out their welcome.

Let’s move on!

Episode 2.9 “Bwa Ha Ha Means I Love You”

(Directed by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on November 6th, 1993)

Jake and Tiffani’s seven-week anniversary is coming up and cash-poor Jake hasn’t even bought her a present yet!  It looks like it’s time for to Jake to set aside both his pride and his leather jacket and take a job at Maniac Music.  Jake puts on a tie and a red vest and soon, he’s the one handing out flyers and saying, “Welcome to — Bwa ha ha! — Maniac Music!”

Unfortunately, only Tony knows that Jake has taken a job.  When the other Dreams — and Tiffani — begin to wonder why Jake appears to be sneaking around, Jake’s fumbling attempts to answer their questions leads to Sam deciding that Jake must be cheating on Tiffani.  And, of course, Tiffani believes it because …. well, who knows?  This is another one of those annoying episodes where a lot of conflict could have been avoided by people just not being stupid.

Meanwhile, the Dreams record their first album!  And hey, it only takes an hour or two!  They perform in Matt’s garage and Sly hits record on the big tape recorder.  They don’t even need a producer or a mixing board or anything else like that.  Sly takes the tape and heads down to Maniac Music.  When he discovers that Jake is working there, Sly convinces him to pressure the store manager into carrying the tape.

The members of the Dreams hear that their album is for sale at Maniac Music so they head down there.  Not only do they discover that Jake has a job at the store but they also discover that all of the tapes are blank!  Sly screwed up the recording but why would the store manager agree to stock the tapes without checking to make sure that there was actually something on them?  Meanwhile, Tiffani is so mad that Jake lied to her that she refuses to speak to him.  Jake angrily quits his job.

Fortunately, all it takes for Jake to get back together with Tiffani is one impassion speech at Sharky’s.  Plus, the Dreams record their performance so I guess they’ll survive the whole blank tape fiasco.  Yay.

This was an incredibly busy episode.  In fact, it was a bit too busy.  Nothing anyone did made sense.  Sly was somehow allowed to remain the manager of the Dreams despite screwing up their big break.  Jake told increasingly elaborate lies to hide from Tiffani the fact that he had a job even though Tiffani has consistently been the only Dream who probably wouldn’t have made fun of him for having to wear a dorky vest.  This was an annoying episode but it was still a hundred times better than the old west episode so it had that going for it.

Seriously, that old west episode was bad!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 10/30/22 — 11/5/22

I’ve spent this week in a state of exhaustion as I’ve tried to physically and mentally recover from this year’s Horrorthon.  Here’s a few thoughts on what I watched over the past seven days.

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

The commercial was amusing and I enjoyed the scene where everyone realized that the reason they had allowed the commercials to be filmed was because they had gotten used to being followed around by cameras.  I enjoyed hearing about the shows that the characters happened to be watching when they saw the commercial.  I’m not really sure that Abbott needs a supervillain, though.

The Amazing Race (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race here!

Atlanta (Thursday Night, FX)

Al moved out to a farm and nearly got killed by a feral hog.  Brian Tyree Henry’s reactions were priceless.

California Dreams (YouTube)

Surf dudes without attitude …. kinda groovy …. I watched a few episodes and wrote a few reviews that will be dropping over the course of the next few weeks.  I’ll be glad to be done with season 2 because, as everyone knows, season 3 is when this show gets good.

City Guys (Tubi)

98 Degrees played Manny High and Chris dated a goth!  You can read about it here.

Family Feud (Weekday afternoons, Buzzr)

On Monday, I watched two episodes of this deathless game show.  They were both Halloween episodes from the 80s so everyone was wearing a costume.  I have no idea who won.  Survey says, “Didn’t much attention!”

Fantasy Island (Tubi)

I wrote about Fantasy Island and Leslie Nielsen here!

Ghost Whisperer (Hulu)

I watched an episode of my favorite guilty pleasure on Monday.  Jennifer Love Hewitt helped Hillary Duff deal with a ghost.  Meanwhile, Melinda’s dead husband continued to hang out in someone else’s body.  That was a weird season.

Hang Time (YouTube)

I watched a few episodes of Hang Time yesterday and today and I wrote and scheduled reviews for all of them.  Keep an eye out on Monday.

Highway to Heaven (YouTube)

I shared this episode on Monday.  Jonathan battled the devil for Mark’s soul.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Hulu)

I watched the episode in Sunday in which Mac and Dennis tried to create an economy based on Paddy Bucks.  Meanwhile, Frank chopped off a finger while trying to sale knives.  I fell off the couch laughing.

It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (Apple TV+)

Erin and I watched this classic on Sunday.  It’s a part of our Halloween tradition.  A few years ago, Erin wrote about this special and why it continues to appeal to us.

King of the Hill (Hulu)

I watched two episodes on Monday.  The first was the episode where Hank fights for the right to trick or treat.  The second was one of my favorites, in which Bobby buys a pack of Tarot cards and accidentally joins a coven.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

A fashion designer is murdered while crime spirals out of control in New York.  This was actually a pretty good episode, even if the mystery itself was rather routine.  It was an episode that acknowledged just how powerless people feel in the face of America’s current crime wave and it put the blame squarely on our elected officials.

The Love Boat (Paramount Plus)

I wrote about my latest voyage here.

Night Flight (NightFlight+)

I watched an episode of this entertainment news show from 1992.  The show contained a profile of Bruce Springsteen, some footage of Duke Ellington performing, and then a few comedic shorts featuring Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, and others.

The Office (Peacock)

On Halloween, I watched the first Halloween episode.  Imagine how different the series would have been if Michael had fired Creed instead of Devin.

One World (Tubi)

I binged the entirety of this show on Thursday and Friday.  Here are my thoughts on two episodes.

Saved By The Bell (Hulu)

Zach and the gang went on a mystery weekend!  It’s about as close as this show ever got to a Halloween episode so I watched it on Halloween.  Even when Zach thought people were actually being murdered, he seemed oddly unconcerned.

Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)

I wrote about the latest episode of Survivor here!

Toy Story of Terror (Sunday Night, ABC)

I watch this special every year.  I have to admit that it’s never quite as good as I seem to remember it being but, that said, how can you not love the toys?

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 2.6 “Surfboards and Cycles” and 2.7 “A Question of Math”

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, love is in the air as Jake and Tiffani realize that they could make beautiful music together.  Meanwhile, the pressure of exam season threatens the future of the Dreams!

But first, the opening  credits.  Again, because the post-Jenny opening credits for season two have not been uploaded to YouTube, you have to imagine Jennie Kwan in the place of Heidi Noelle Lenhart.

Episode 2.6 “Surfboards and Cycles”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 16th, 1993)

In a storyline that shows how much the second season of California Dreams owed to every single season of Saved By The Bell, the members of the band have to pick an elective.  Sly and Matt enroll in home economics so they can meet girls and are stunned to discover that their teacher is a hardass former Marine who expects culinary perfection.

Meanwhile, Tiffani and Sam enroll in auto shop so that they can meet boys.  Also enrolled in auto shop is Jake.  Jake is convinced that women don’t belong in auto shop and Tiffani and Sam quickly prove his point by revealing that they know nothing about cars.  (I would also be clueless in auto shop but I will say that my sister Melissa can fix anything on a car.)  That said, Tiffani and Jake still fall in love.  The band panics because Jake and Tiffani seem like such opposites.  So, Sly and Tony go out of their way to plant seeds of doubt in Jake and Tiffani’s mind.  When Jake insists on wearing his leather jacket to the beach, Tiffani dumps his ass.  Yay, Tiffani!

But …. oh no!  Before breaking up, Tiffani and Jake wrote a duet.  Matt wants to make the song a part of the regular Dreams set list but how can he do that if Tiffani and Jake aren’t speaking?  Looks like it’s time to take over Sharky’s and trick Tiffani and Jake into meeting for the most romantic dinner of their lives!  Somehow, it works.  I’m just wondering why Sharky was always willing to let the Dreams shut down his place of business whenever they felt like it.  That doesn’t seem like a good business model.

This episode was pretty derivative and the main message appeared to be that Matt’s a jerk who can’t come up with a song on his own.  But Tiffani and Jake actually were a pretty cute couple and they had a likable chemistry together.  That chemistry pretty much saved this episode.

Episode 2.7 “A Question of Math”

(Directed by Miguel Higuera, originally aired on October 23rd, 1993)

The entire school is freaking out about midterms!  Sam becomes a tutor but her latest student, an arrogant football star (Richard Hillman), pretends to like her just so he can get out of paying her!  Luckily, Sam gets her revenge by tricking him into buying a fake test that has all the wrong answers.  Way to go, Sam!  Ruin that guy’s future!

That most interesting about this episode is that the football star was played by Richard Hillman, who also played Kirsten Dunst’s jerk of a boyfriend in Bring It On.  This was an enjoyable episode, even if I have my doubts about whether or not everyone would go that crazy over a high school midterm.  Maybe it’s just because I’m also watching One World and experiencing first hand what happens when a cast has absolutely no chemistry but I’ve really grown to appreciate the cast of California Dreams.  They all just seem like they sincerely enjoy hanging out together and, for the most part, they’ve got enough comedic timing that they can save even a weak joke.

What does the future hold for the surf dudes with attitude?  We’ll find out next week.

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 2.4 “Sleazy Rider” and 2.5 “The Sly Who Came To Dinner”

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!

With Jenny gone and Samantha as the band’s new lead singer, it was time to once again update the opening credits of California Dreams.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a separate video for just the revised season two credits.  So, imagine the video below with Jennie Kwan instead of Heidi Noelle Lenhart.

Anyway, let’s get on to the surf dude with attitude….

Episode 2.4 “Sleazy Rider”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 2nd, 1993)

Jake has spent months working on his motorcycle so that he can win the big bike race.  Unfortunately, Jake has to go out of town so he leaves the bike with Matt.  Because Matt is a wimp who is unable to handle even the least bit of responsibility, he is unable to keep Sly from jumping on the bike, starting the bike, running over Tony with the bike, and then crashing the bike.

While Tony recovers in the hospital, he becomes convinced that Tiffani is falling in love with him.  Meanwhile, Sly tries to get everyone to forgive him for nearly killing Tony.  Strangely, no one gets mad at Matt despite the fact that Matt’s only job was to keep Sly from getting on the bike.

It’s a silly episode but I’ll give the show some credit for the title.  At first, I thought the title (a play on Easy Rider) was kind of a dig at Jake and I was like, “What did Jake do?”  But then I realized that Sly was meant to be the sleazy rider and it all made sense.

Episode 2.5 “The Sly Who Came To Dinner”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on October 9th, 1993)

This episode opens with the Dreams playing at Sharkey’s and it’s our first chance to see the new line-up of Matt, Tony, Jake, Tiffany, and Sam.  For once, they actually look like a real band and it’s understandable that an audience would actually pay money to see them.  Of course, it helps that we only hear the end of that radio song from season 1 and then Sam’s “Hey Baby” song.  As Matt would put it, those were two of their better “tunes.”

The Dreams may be hot but Sly is not.  Sam says that she feels sorry for Sly as she watches him get slapped by every girl at Sharkey’s.  Matt says that he feels sorry for Sly in the same way that he feels sorry for monkeys at the zoo.  WHAT!?  Sam dedicates a song to Sly so Sly decides that Sam is in love with him.

Meanwhile, Tiffani is getting cards and flowers from a mystery fan.  Has she got a stalker!?  Who cares?  That’s just the B-plot.  In the A-plot, Sly’s family is visiting his grandmother so Sly ends up staying at the Garrison house.  Sly thinks that this will allow him to pursue Sam.  Sam, however, has a big history paper due and she’s not interested.  Sly offers to type up her paper but instead just steals a college term paper that Mr. Garrison is supposed to be grading.  Somehow, that leads to Sam getting a D-.  Apparently, the high school has very high standards when it comes to history reports.

These two episodes are mostly interesting because they’re the first ones to really take real advantage of Sly’s comedic potential and Michael Cade’s talent for physical comedy.   As I watched these two episodes, I realized that the scheme-obsessed Sly basically was Zach Morris if Zach lived in the real world.  On Saved By The Bell, Zach never had to deal with any consequences for his schemes.  On California Dreams, Sly was constantly on the verge of losing his friends and was often running for his life.  Zach ended up as governor of California.  Sly probably lost all of his money in 2008.  Poor Sly.

Will things look up for him next week?  Probably not but we’ll see.

Retro Television Review: California Dreams 2.2 “Ciao, Jenny” and 2.3 “Wooing Woo”

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, one member of the Dreams escapes and a new one shows up!

Do surf dudes still have attitude and feel mellow in Italy?  Let’s find out.

California Dreams 2.2 “Ciao, Jenny”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on September 18th, 1993)

This episode opens with Tiffani announcing that she is now working as a candy striper at the hospital!  Hey, wait a minute.  Didn’t Lisa do the same thing on Saved By The Bell?  Wasn’t there later an entire episode of One World about this?  Did Peter Engel just have an entire closet full of candy striper uniforms that he handed out to the casts of his various show?

Of course, the whole candy striper thing is only the B-plot.  The A-plot features Jenny auditioning for a place at a music school in Europe.  Jake, who is now everyone’s best friend, has decided that he’s in love with Jenny and he doesn’t want her going to California.  He even writes a song about how much he loves Jenny.  Matt helps him out with the song, which seems kind of weird since Jenny is his younger sister.  “It’s in the key of A, off-tempo,” Matt announces, “follow me for the changes!” I love musician talk.

Anyway, the song leads to some kissing but it doesn’t make Jenny stay so Sly suggests that maybe they should hypnotize Jenny so that she blows her final audition.  Jake thinks that is a super idea.  Perhaps he remembers the time that Zach brainwashed the entire school with subliminal messages on Saved By The Bell.  (“Zach, Zach, Zach….”)  Somehow, Sly learns how to hypnotize people and, just as improbably, Jenny gets hypnotized.  Eventually, though, Jake realizes this was a stupid idea and confesses what he did.  Jenny is so touched that she decides to turn down the chance to go to Italy.  Realizing that he can’t be responsible for her missing out on this opportunity, Jake breaks up with Jenny.  Jenny eventually forgives Jake for being a jerk and then leaves for Italy.

Uh-oh, the Dreams just lost one of their three lead singers!  What are they going to do now?

California Dreams 2.3 “Wooing Woo”

(Directed by Don Barnhart, originally aired on September 25th, 1993)

Jenny’s gone and the Garrisons promptly offer up her old room to a Samantha Woo (Jennie Kwan), an exchange student from Hong Kong.  Mr. Garrison says that everyone should keep in mind that Sam will probably be quiet and shy.  Instead, Sam turns out to be talkative and fashionable.  Meanwhile, the Dreams are searching for a new singer and …. oh my God!  Sam can sing!  In fact, when she auditions for the Dreams, she sounds like she’s lip-synching to something that was actually recorded in a studio as opposed to being performed in a musty garage.

Of course, no sooner has Sam joined the band than Jake, Tony, Sly, and even Matt start competing to see who can be the first kiss her.  It turns out that Sam is too clever for all of them but then again, who wasn’t?  When Sam finds out what they were planning, she threatens to leave America unless the boys agree to do something that will help them understand what it feels like to be “treated like a piece of meat.”  It all leads to Jake, Tony, Sly, and Matt putting on dresses and getting hit on by football players.  “Woooooo!” the audience says.  And so, Sam joins the California Dreams.  She would remain a member longer than the siblings who started the band and she and Tony would eventually become the longest-running couple on the show.

As for those two episodes, they both represent the extent to which California Dreams rebranded itself as a musical version of Saved By The Bell.  That said, both Jennie Kwan and Jay Anthony Franke brought some needed energy to the show.

Next week, Matt destroys Jake’s bike and Sly moves in with the Garrisons!