Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past! On Thursdays, I will be reviewing City Guys, which ran on NBC from 1997 to 2001. The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!
This week, Chris meets a princess and L-Train becomes Mr. History.
Episode 4.8 “Kodak Moment”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 14th, 2000)
Chris, Al, and L-Train are standing at a newsstand when a blonde (Kristen Miller) with a fake British accent runs up and kisses Chris.
“Do you always kiss strangers?” Chris ask her.
“I do if they’re cute,” she replies.
“Wooooooooooo!” the audience replies.
My immediate reaction was to assume that Chris was being set up by a human trafficking ring and that he would soon be finding himself in Hostel-style situation. And, to be honest, I didn’t really have an objection to that because Chris is a pretty stupid character and, considering everything that has happened to him over the course of the last four seasons, it’s kind of hard to see what else was really left for the show to do with him. He’s served his purpose so why not use Chris as a cautionary tale?
However, it turns out that the blonde is actually Princess Sarah, a member of European royalty who just wants to lead a normal life but who can’t get away from the paparazzi. Poor thing. Who cares? Anyway, Chris and Princess Sarah go on a date but then Chris sees Sarah kissing another man and he decides the best way to react is to work with Al and L-Train to get a picture of the princess that they can then sell to the press. But then Princess Sarah puts on a fake mustache so she can sneak onto campus and explain to Chis that the man was her ex-boyfriend and she was just kissing him to say goodbye. Chris forgives Sarah but he forgets to call off Al and L-Train. Al sneaks into Sarah’s hotel room and takes a lot of pictures. Chris learns a lesson about privacy and I get a migraine. To escape the paparazzi, Sarah returns to the UK because, as we all know, the British tabloids are notorious for respecting the privacy of the rich and famous.
(If Sarah were played by a British actress, this episode would perhaps be a bit less annoying. But the fake accent on top of all the usual City Guys foolishness just makes the whole thing unwatchable.)
Meanwhile, Jamal, Dawn, and Cassidy try to catch a ghost on camera. Ms. Noble eventually joins them. It’s meant to be a parody of the Blair Witch Project. It turns out that there isn’t really a ghost at Manny High Instead, there’s just Ms. Noble and the janitor playing a practical joke on the students. What? Didn’t Ms. Noble just get married? Why isn’t she on her honeymoon?
This was dumb. Let’s move on and meet Mr. History.
Episode 4.9 “Meet Mr. History”
(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 20th, 2000)
Ms. Noble remembers that she’s supposed to be a teacher so she assigns everyone a research report. The students have to track down an old person and interview them. Chris and Jamal don’t know any interesting old people so they turn in an interview with Jamal’s fictional Uncle Jesse. Ms. Noble is so impressed that she arranges for Uncle Jesse to appear on a local television show. Uh-oh. Time for L-Train to dress up like an old guy and go on television! Of course, L-Train is in no way believable as an old guy so everyone ends up getting yelled at by Ms. Noble. Chris, Jamal, and L-Train attempt to apologize to the producer of the television show but end up getting their apology broadcast to the entire city. The show presents the apology as being the right thing to do but there’s no way that Chris, Jamal, and L-Train aren’t going to get mugged the next time they get on the subway. The entire city of New York now believes them to be a bunch of …. well, jerks! (As well all know from the mock trial episode of City Guys, jerk is the worst thing you can call someone in New York.)
Meanwhile, Dawn and Cassidy go into business with Al and it goes about as well as L-Train’s glowing basketball idea. No one on this show ever learns anything!
These city guys are getting dumb.