I should give a note about season five at the outset. This is the only season of California Dreams that’s never been released on DVD. As a result, I’m dependent on whatever quality I can find the episodes in online. As can be seen from my screenshots, that may not always be the best, so I apologize in advance, but know there’s really nothing I can do.
We open to discover Jake dressed as a pirate and doing some really horrible stereotypical rendition. Turns out Jake has a job at what I assume to be a seafood restaurant since they seem to be trying to plagiarize Long John Silver’s gimmick. It’s never quite explained why he’s doing it, whether for a television commercial or if the restaurant is that stupid and makes him greet every customer like that, but he’s there and he’s doing it god damn it!
Turns out the tape belongs to Sly and Tony, who have a stupid subplot this week about looking for a video to send in to an America’s Funniest Home Videos rip-off, and they’re sure Jake dressed as a pirate will win! I would say this is idiotic and nobody would find this funny, but, in the Bob Saget era of the show, this might have been considered hilarious.
In any case, Jake comes in and makes them hand over the tape, which will send them looking for a new subject the entire episode.
Jake tells Tiffani he quit the job because he doesn’t like to do stupid shit even though he frequently participates in the antics of the band. He needs a job, though, because he suddenly doesn’t have enough to pay for his motorcycle insurance even though this has never been an issue before. Lucky for him, Tiffani anticipated Jake would be no good at acting like a pirate and found Jake a job to apply for: as a motorcycle mechanic.
And Sly and Tony decide that Mark will be their target the rest of the episode as he pretends french fries are walrus tusks. No, guys, Mark isn’t funny. He’s just pathetic. You’d be better off tracking down Dennis Garrison and getting him to wave at the camera for a few minutes than to get Mark to do anything. This is what the producers thought would make a good subplot, though, so we’re stuck with it for the duration.
Jake, Tiffani, and Mark, for some reason, all visit the garage, where Jake finds the manager is a beautiful woman named Mel. She doesn’t want to hire Jake at first because Mark’s practically drooling all over her (another reason not to take Mark within the proximity of any woman), but she changes her mind when Jake knows exactly what’s wrong with the motorcycle he’s working on and hires him.
At the loft, Sly and Tony try to plan a trap for Mark that will get him wet because getting Mark wet is sure to be hilarious enough for them to win money and shit. Yeah, I guess there may be enough people like me out there who take pleasure in Mark receiving pain. Unfortunately, the sink backfires and drenches Sly instead. Somehow I see where this subplot is going.
Jake’s cancelled on a date to work late so Sam and Lorena decide to be shitty friends and insist that Jake is cheating on Tiffani with Mel, because it’s that kind of episode. I don’t understand this at all. Jake’s never shown a proclivity to cheating. This is some of the worst writing I’ve seen on this show. Jake’s cheating because of pretty girl? Give me a break. Tiffani thinks it’s equally stupid and tells them she trusts Jake and shit, which will probably last about through to the next commercial break.
At school, another of Sly and Tony’s hilarious traps for Mark backfires and sends confetti all over them because that’s funny and shit.
Jake apologizes to Tiffani for missing the last date but insists he’ll be there for their date today.
Sam and Lorena continue to be shitty friends, rinse and repeat. I swear, this plot is so predictable. What’s worse is Lorena dated Jake. She of all people should know their suspicions are completely out of character. After all, he broke up with her rather than cheat on her with Tiffani. But we need an excuse for a contrived plot so there you go.
At Sharkey’s, another stupid trap doesn’t work in the bathroom and this is the result. Hell, did they throw some dynamite in there? And what was there plan if someone used the toilet before Mark? There’s just too many variables in this stupid Wile E. Coyote rip-off plot.
Sam and Lorena continue to be shitty friends by putting a lie detector cushion on Jake’s chair that will send a jolt through when he lies because that’s totally a thing. Apparently, Jake thinking Mel is pretty meas he’s fucking her and shit. This means that it’s time for a ridiculous costume plot, which we haven’t seen on this show in a while actually.
Yes, the girls show up at the garage dressed as ZZ Top, because that’s what all bikers look like apparently. They literally wander around the garage until Mel asks if she can help them, and, I have to admit, their voices aren’t terrible for once and they do pass for old motorcycle people, so it might be one of the better dress-up plots to come out of the Engel-verse.
In any case, Tiffani’s about ready to give up when Mel falls and Jake catches her in his arms. This is obvious proof they’re fucking, so Tiffani confronts him and Mel fires Jake for having dumb ass friends. Jake storms out, saying he can’t believe how stupid this has all been.
At school, Sam and Lorena apologize for being really shitty friends, and Tiffani says she’s to blame as well even though she wasn’t having those thoughts until Sam and Lorena started whispering them to her. In any case, they want to come up with a zany scheme to get Jake his job back, but Jake won’t talk to Tiffani, saying she just doesn’t get it.
Also, yet another of Sly and Tony’s traps apparently backfired, as Sly gives some advice to Tiffani: that Jake’s not mad about the job but about the lack of trust. Besides this being out of character for Sly, which shouldn’t surprise me given how many characters are acting different from normal this episode, I’m calling bullshit on the advice: it’s possible for Jake to be mad about both the job AND the lack of trust. People can be mad about two different things at once you know.
At Sharkey’s, it’s revealed that Mark re-rigged all of Sly and Tony’s traps to get them so he could win the contest, which I call complete bullshit on. First of all, it’s Mark, and I don’t believe he’s smart enough to do that. Second of all, how did he re-rig the sink in the loft if Tony was adjusting it right before Mark came in? This entire stupid subplot makes no sense, but what’s new for the Engel-verse?
Meanwhile, Jake’s still avoiding Tiffani, but she reveals she figured out about the lack of trust, and Jake gives the moral of the episode: they’re just going to have to trust each other that they won’t fuck every person of the opposite sex they see, which…wow, really shallow moral there, guys. I think everyone who doesn’t abuse their significant other learns that lesson at some point but, you know, I guess some people needed Peter Engel to give them that bit of wisdom.
In any case, the reset button is pressed, the band sings plays a song so Jake can sing to Tiffani (once again highlighting how superfluous Mark is in this show since he’s playing guitar this time with Jake singing), and our episode ends with me thinking that, even though this was a really dumb episode, it’s at least a better start to the season than many of the episodes in the last season.
“Whenever I Think of You”
A repeat from a previous season, this is just as easy listening-tastic as it was the first time around. I mean, it absolutely sounds like one of those bad early nineties love songs that were bound to end up on horrible compilation records from Time Life Music, so I guess it does what it set out to do. What else can one say that I didn’t say before, other than that this is what’s passing for a rock band’s song well into the era of grunge, pop punk, and adult alternative. Yeah, I’m not sure the producers were actively listening to the radio at this point.