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!
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.