Paul Wesley Web mobile version
American Dreams

One family’s journey through the times that changed our nation.

as Tommy DeFelice

Premiered on September 29, 2002
NBC Network
Created by Jonathan Prince, Josh Goldstein
Also starring Gail O’Grady, Tom Verica, Brittany Snow, Will Estes
Genre: Drama / Music

A nostalgia-drenched show about 1960s life for a Philadelphia family, frequently featuring cameos by 21st-century entertainers portraying singers and other figures of the period. Daughter Meg is a regular dancer on ‘American Bandstand.’ This isn’t a surprise, since Dick Clark was one of the executive producers. Though generally well-received, critics carped about inaccuracies. The biggest one: ‘Bandstand’ moved to L.A. in February 1964, less than three months into the ‘Dreams’ time line.

01×03 – NEW FRONTIER
aired October 13, 2002
Henry’s son Sam earns a track scholarship to almost-all-white East Catholic. Guess who’s coming to dinner at the Pryors’ house? Meanwhile, Meg attracts the attention of “Bandstand” stalwart Jimmy Riley, and the ire of a rumor-spreading regular named Teresa. J.J. returns to the football team and fights with Beth over college applications. And Helen takes a literature course.
01×04 – PRYOR KNOWLEDGE
aired October 20, 2002
Meg goes on her first date, with Jimmy Riley. But first, Roxanne gives her some dating tips, which Patty overhears. Jack and Helen are also stepping out: Rebecca Sandstrom has invited them to dinner with her and her economics-professor husband. Meanwhile, Beth won’t be able to make Patty’s spelling bee because she has to get ready for a mixer at Swarthmore. This is troubling for JJ because she doesn’t want him to go with her.
01×05 – THE FIGHTING IRISH
aired October 27, 2002
A Notre Dame recruiter is interested in JJ, but he’s preoccupied with Beth, so Jack will have to carry the ball for his son. And Jimmy Riley asks Meg to be his regular partner on “Bandstand.” This could be the start of something big. As Roxanne puts it, “Jimmy Riley has been blessed with one of the great pickup lines of our time—Will you dance with me on ‘Bandstand’?—and he’s not going to waste it on somebody he isn’t crazy about.” Meanwhile, Helen gets birth-control pills.
01×07 – COLD SNAP
aired November 10, 2002
Usher appears as Marvin Gaye, who performs “Can I Get a Witness” on “Bandstand,” and inadvertently assists Roxanne’s start-up autograph business. Meanwhile, a snooty record-store clerk uses subterfuge to turn Meg on to Bob Dylan; Sam is the victim of Tommy DeFelice’s locker-room prank, which also involves JJ; and Helen receives encouragement from her lit professor at Temple.
01×08 – BLACK AND WHITE
aired November 17, 2002
The city-championship game is coming up, and JJ is understandably outraged when he hears rumors that “some guys” are paying to ensure an East Catholic loss. Meanwhile, Roxanne is taking a surprising interest in record-store clerk (and Bob Dylan fan) Luke Foley, and Meg isn’t quite comfortable with that; two of Helen’s Temple classmates invite her to a folk-music concert (at the record store where Luke works, as it happens); and Henry hits on a marketing strategy that Jack would never think of to unload the small TV sets they’re stuck with at the store.
01×13 – THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
aired February 2, 2003
Beth won’t forgive J.J. for his dalliance with Colleen, which bugs him a lot when he’s sober, and more so when he’s not. Meanwhile, Roxanne angles to write the “Backstage on Bandstand” column for “Teenzine”; Meg and Sam become record-swapping friends; Henry worries about Nathan’s on-the-job attitude; and Helen baby-sits Prof. Witt’s 6-year-old son while he’s in New York for a Freedom Summer organizational meeting.
01×19 – WHERE THE BOYS ARE
aired March 30, 2003
LeAnn Rimes guest stars as Connie Francis, singing Francis’s 1961 hit “Where the Boys Are” on “Bandstand,” but the pop star Meg’s concerned about is Bobby Darin. He’s also appearing on the show, and she has been assigned to be his “intern.” It would be a nicer job if Darin were a nicer guy. Meanwhile, Prof. Witt offers Helen a ride home from Temple; Henry and Pete face off—at a poker table; JJ is just itching to have his cast removed; and Jimmy Riley announces that he has enlisted in the Marine Corps.
01×20 – THE CARPETBAGGERS
aired April 6, 2003
Patty walks in on Meg and Luke while they’re making out, and drives a hard bargain. But Meg is more concerned about how “experienced” Luke is. And things might be heating up again between JJ and Colleen. Meanwhile, something Jack learns during a confrontation with Nathan at the new North Philly store makes him worry about Helen’s voter-registration work. Helen’s concerned about it, too, but for a different reason. And Nathan has some advice for Sam: Quit the track team.
03×10 – HOME AGAIN
aired January 23, 2005
Van Hunt impersonates Jimmy Ruffin on “Bandstand” in an episode in which Beth and JJ get married. Unfortunately, the love nest she has found is a bit beyond his reach. Meanwhile, Jack is offered his first bribe as a city councilman; Melanie invites Sam to spend part of the summer with her in Paris; and Patty looks on Beth’s boy cousin as something of a sociological experiment. But she also thinks he’s cute. Hunt sings Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.”
03×11 – TRUTH BE TOLD
aired January 9, 2005
Chris is questioned by police about the recruitment-center bombing, and has a special date with Meg. And Beth and JJ plan their wedding, but a problem arises: Which church? Meanwhile, Henry presses city councilman Jack for funding for Angela’s school; members of Sam’s track team decide to show their solidarity with civil-rights icon James Meredith; and Patty’s wracked with guilt for having sabotaged a fellow student’s science-fair project.
03×12 – FOR RICHER, FOR POORER
aired January 23, 2005
Van Hunt impersonates Jimmy Ruffin on “Bandstand” in an episode in which Beth and JJ get married. Unfortunately, the love nest she has found is a bit beyond his reach. Meanwhile, Jack is offered his first bribe as a city councilman; Melanie invites Sam to spend part of the summer with her in Paris; and Patty looks on Beth’s boy cousin as something of a sociological experiment. But she also thinks he’s cute. Hunt sings Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.”