Good Vibrations: California Dreams

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Hello and welcome back to the randomness! This is the closing ceremonies of ‘fake band’ month! This last ‘fake band’ has left a strong impression on my brain.  A lot of my childhood was spent watching this television show after school and during the summer months.

Here is the rub.  I have such strong memories of the cast, some of the music but none of the episodes.  Even weirder, I have strong memories of watching this show after school on the Superstation aka TBS but turns out…never aired on TBS. Then I thought it aired on Disney Afternoons with Brotherly Love. Nope. Did not air there either.

It was a NBC Saturday morning teen show.

Huh. My strong memory has failed me.

The show was California Dreams. It aired on the teen block for NBC Saturdays. I have no recollection of watching it there.

California Dreams was created by Brett Dewey and Ronald B. Solomon and was produced by Peter Engel of Saved by the Bell fame (sensing a trend here).  It aired from 1992-1996 for an impressive 78 episodes. Why impressive? Teen shows like this back in the day did not last long. Look at Saved by the Bell! Not that many episodes exist out there (Ignoring Miss Bliss and the College Years of course).

The show stared out with the Garrison Family and their kids who had started a band. This family would not even last past season two.  They reworked the show to write out the Garrison family and include people who did not really have a connection to the Garrisons. The show now only covered a set a friends that just happen to be in a band called California Dreams. The show centers on this band and the teen issues they face together. There are pairings that I do remember. Mostly Jake and Tiffani because I’ve always had a thing for the bad (secretly good) guy and sweet girl (hmmm….).

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The reason I am not going in deeper into this show is because it is a common set up. The Disney Channel still uses this.  I have seen this show many times as a kid. I have strong feelings about this show. I see the opening credits and I go back to a very happy place of being carefree and only worrying about getting my homework done.

That might be why I have such a strong connection to this show.  It is not the content that I remember it is the idea of the show. It was in my life during a time where I was purely a kid. I had no real worries and my biggest activity was riding my bike around town with my best friends. Going to the pool. Going down the shore. I hear the theme song to this show and I go back to that place.

So, I think this band and show holds a place in my heart. Not for the reasons I gave for the other bands but for the feeling it conjures.

I did find a YouTube video that had ALL of their songs (over 40 songs!!!).  I started to listen to them and a few do ring a few bells. None are covers and they are not that bad. It is very 90’s soft inoffensive rock.  Luckily, I am a secret fan of that type of music (Hello Boz Scaggs!).

I think my top three favorite are ‘She’s Not You’, ‘Must be Love’ and ‘Don’t Wake Me Up (California Dreams)’. I highly recommend that you check out the songs. I am still going through them as I write this and it is really catchy and creative.

The show is available on Shout! DVDs and the songs are available online (many fans still exist for this show).  Check out the theme and some of their songs below.

That concludes this look into California Dreams. A show that I have no real recollection of but I have strong feelings for. Reminds me of a first crush. You have strong feelings about the event but do not remember why you had that crush in the first place. That is my relationship with the show and band of California Dreams.

Since I do not have access to episodes and I am poor that is all for California Dreams. To conclude this month of ‘fake band’ love I will be looking at another band that evokes strong feelings in me.Just a little British band that is back on tour as we speak. Some might argue that they were not fake but let us not kid ourselves. This band followed The Monkees formula to success.

Hope you enjoyed and I will see you tomorrow!

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Mad Men: A Love Letter

January Jones as Betty Francis, Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris and John Slattery as Roger Sterling - Mad Men _ Season 7B, Gallery _ Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

January Jones as Betty Francis, Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell, Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris and John Slattery as Roger Sterling – Mad Men _ Season 7B, Gallery _ Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Welcome back to the randomness! Today, my dear friends, I am writing a love letter. No, not to my boyfriend (Applications still accepted. Do not forget your cover letter!).

No, I am writing a love letter to the television show “Mad Men”.  If you have been under a rock for the past couple of years (like Emmy voters) Mad Men is a show about Don Draper and friends working in an advertising agency in the 1960s to the 1970s.  That is the general gist of the show, but it is so much more. If you have not seen it before please take this time to watch the whole series on Netflix. I will be here for you to come back and freak out with me.

For the rest of you fans…I will continue.

I remember sitting in a cubicle waiting for the day to end. I was finishing looking for specific streets when I noticed an ad on the top of the MapQuest page. It was for a new show called Mad Men. It’s red and black lettering and mysterious cut out of a man on a couch made me click.  That is when I went down the rabbit hole.

Seven seasons, six DVDs, numerous hours theorizing with my mom and here I was.

May 17, 2015. Sitting on the couch anxiously waiting for the finale to start. Biting my lip and praying that it will not go the ‘it was all a dream’ or ‘Don goes like Tony Soprano’.

Matt Weiner. Thank you for that ending. It did not disappoint. After that amazing finale, I had to sit down and write my feelings down per character.

People Just Come and Go, and No One Says Goodbye?

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Pete Campbell

 Pete had the ending I did not expect.  It was happy. I was expecting that damn gun he got in place of the extra ‘Chip n Dip’ to go off but instead he ended up back with his better half.  He is going to a better place especially since he never wanted to be in Manhattan. He wanted out and he got out. Happy trails Pete. I hated you, but I was not happy to see you go either.

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Roger Sterling

 I think the series ended for him when he sold off SC&P to McCann. He became the dinosaur that was only referred to by others to be polite.  I adored his quick wit and your inability to settle down. Yes, even though he ended up with someone I doubt it worked out for long. I will miss you, Roger. I hope you appear to Don singing something completely inappropriate.

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Joan Harris nee Holloway

 Oh, Joan. She has been through so much. Joan has grown so much in these seven seasons. She went from someone only wanting to get married to be provided for to someone who could, not only be a single mother but also provide for herself.  Joan was one of the many women in that era that paved some of the roads for my mother’s generation to be what they wanted to be in life. You are forever immortalized in my mind as a truly amazing woman.

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Betty Francis 

Betty deserved better. She did not deserve to die. She went from being the clueless homemaker to someone that was taking control of her life. Doing what she wanted to do and becoming the woman she knew she could be. Now she is dying. I guess she is still amazing since she chose how she wanted to go. She made that hard decision and she is sticking to it. She is leaving on her own terms. I can respect that. I went from being bored to rooting for her at the end. Either way Betty leaves behind a daughter that will have all the adventures she wanted to have. Life goes on.

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Peggy Olson

Peggy is someone who grew the most, but she was designed that way.  She always had it in her to raise in the advertisement industry. What eluded her was love. Yes, her story was finished in a nice little bow but I am happy that she was happy. She had her work, a person that loved her and Don (they were soulmates, but that is for another blog entry) was on his way home. She has the whole world at her feet. It was just up to her to keep going down that route.  Peggy is one of those characters I will never forget.

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Don Draper

He did not fall out a window. He also made a world famous ad that people still talk about to this day. Congratulations. While I completely despised him for most of the show, I was happy to see you make it to the end. I just hope that he truly put behind all that self-destructive behavior and found true peace. Also, I hope he kept that partnership with Peggy going (soulmates alert…just saying).

All of these characters had such a profound effect on me. It showed me how far we have all come, but we still have a long way to go. These characters were so flawed and made me want to throw them out windows (oh wait…HEY!) but I still loved them because I saw that they were human. The situations may have been insane, but those characters continued to be human and completely relatable.

Thank you, Matt Weiner, for creating the show. Thank you, writers and directors, for writing and directing such amazing characters. A thank you to the crew for bringing the world I never got to experience in real life. Thank you to the actors for taking all these elements and bringing these characters to life.

Thank you.

I will never forget this show.

It shall forever be on my Netflix list and in my Blu-Ray collection.

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What did you all think? What would you say to these characters? Tell me below! Until then…the randomness has come to an end. Enjoy.