City Guys (1997–2001)
8/10
City Teens
21 February 2020
Being a teenager in high school is never easy, nor is being one in the city, this is another under the radar gem that has not just been a bit overlooked but as time went on forgotten. The show to me is one of the last teen shows I've seen as I seen some episodes of this on part of my senior year in high school and even a few episodes in my freshman year of college.

Which is fitting in a couple of ways as it's a show about teens not just dealing with high school but facing and transitioning into the real world. But also this show was the last or one of the last shows for the Teen NBC block as it was shutting down for good; but also one of the last teen sitcoms of the 90's as this show was on the twilight years of the 90s and ended near the year I graduated high school.

You could say this show is pretty much "Saved by the Bell" but in the inner city. Which I don't mind because this time we don't have the bright and glossy backgrounds like in "Saved by the Bell" and here it's a little more relatable because not all of us live in California, people like myself live in the city. I really like the use of the set pieces where it's not just the school but also certain other parts you would see in a city which I felt kept the show from feeling too enclosed.

I like the theme song which I thought was solid not a favorite of mine but an enjoyable listen, it's a hip hop tune which fits the show as hip hop is one of the big tunes of the city. The characters I thought were all good, part of the unique thing about the show was the ensemble were all multi-racial, which I though was cool and something different at the time. This shows how the city consists of people of all races and walks of life but most importantly they were all characters their well-rounded and do actually have a little development. But I really like how their dynamics play out, you really feel like they all are friends sticking together thick and thin.

A couple of my favorites are Chris who is a person that is more on the upper class of things but he doesn't let it get to his head. What I like about his character is that he's kind of a dork as he can be a little cumbersome about most things; he's not very smooth as he doesn't always get the girl, and is always on a quest for coolness but doesn't succeed much. But he is always trying, and he does learn his lessons and does what is right.

Even like the buddy buddy dynamic with Jamal, both bounce and clash with one another well, really like they both support each other when needed and even have their own radio show together which shows how well both work together.

Though my favorite is Al, his character is funny as he's a wisecracker but he's also a schemer. I like how he sometimes has these scams to get rich quick or even popularity but of course most of the time those scams tend to fall flat or don't always get the desired results, however that doesn't stop the guy from trying. But I like that despite those things he has a heart to, he cares about people and what goes on around him and puts himself aside to do what's right.

The shows has some of the typical sitcomish situations in some episodes along with those GF and sometimes BFs of the week, which I'll admit is one bad thing about the show it's a bit of a fundamental problem most teen even sitcom shows have on characters hardly having any relationships mainly Jamal and Chris whom both never had a GF that stuck the long haul, the only ones that did are El Train and Cassidy whom I thought were a solid couple in the show, even Al and Dawn despite how long it lasted they had a good time. Though I can't complain about this that much and things like that happen in high school some have relationships that stick, and some don't.

However, when the show dove into real world issues which I felt is where the show was strongest, and helped remind us that despite this being a comedy show the character all still live in the same world we do. This intermix of both comedy and drama and it mixes and balances well because it knows when to be funny but also knows when the comedy hour is over.

There are plenty of good and memorable episodes that have these issues from "Jamal getting a Gun" which dealt in gun violence and trauma, "Ebony and Ivory" on racism, and an emotional episode where Miss Noble is in the hospital and Jamal is remembering his mother.

If you're into vintage teen sitcoms, like any major city this is one worth visiting.

Rating: 3 stars
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