American Dreams - Season 1

NBC (ended 2005)


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Episode Guide

  • Pilot
    Episode 1

    Meg Pryer's lifelong dream is to dance on the iconic 1960's television series, American Bandstand, and along with her adventurous confidante, Roxanne Bojarski, the 15-year-old's persistence pays off when they find themselves on camera, dancing amongst a variety of teen idols. While his younger sister realizes her dreams, J.J. Pryor, questions his own childhood ambitions as he struggles to decide between striving for a Notre Dame football scholarship and making a life-altering change. Family patriarch Jack Pryor, concerned with his children's defiant behavior as well as with wife Helen's influential new friends, watches his idealistic family buckle under the era's social challenges on the eve of the decade's watershed event.

  • The End of the Innocence
    It's Thanksgiving week in 1963, but, in the wake of the J.F.K. assassination, no one feels thankful. Even Meg's selection as a Bandstand regular seems hollow to her-- especially since best friend Roxanne wasn't chosen and the resentful Roxanne isn't going easy on Meg. Meanwhile, East Catholic High's football team has a hole at running back without J.J.; and Helen gets together with the worldly Rebecca Sandstrom at Temple University.moreless
  • New Frontier
    New Frontier
    Episode 3
    To Meg's utter amazement she is asked to dance by Bandstand regular Jimmy Riley, before he is whisked away by another regular Teresa. J.J. quietly rejoins the football team. While Henry's son Sam earns a track scholarship to almost-all-white East Catholic High. Jack invites Sam to dinner to meet J.J., seeing that they're both now on the track team. Meg is informed by Teresa to be wary of Jimmy Riley. J.J. gets upset when he finds out Beth applied to Stanford. Helen tries to find a class that will fit her busy schedule at Temple. A rumor starts circulating about Meg and Jimmy Riley "doing it", which Roxanne thinks is great,because it means Meg's important now. J.J. hears Beth's father call him a "Catholic kid from West Philly" to his country-club friends. Meg is asked out on her first date by Jimmy Riley and she readily accepts. While J.J. dominates the competition in his return to the gridiron.moreless
  • Pryor Knowledge
    Pryor Knowledge
    Episode 4
    Jack surprises Meg with the announcement that Jimmy stopped by the shop and asked to take her out and he is allowing her to go. Patty takes a liking to a new boy who is also a finalist in the spelling bee competition. She listens in as Roxanne gives Meg some dating tips and takes one to heart, a little too much. Rebecca invites Helen and Jack on a double date with her and her economics-professor husband Leo. Meanwhile J.J. won't take Beth to a mixer, because he can't dance, that is until Meg teaches him. Jack can't stand Rebecca's out spoken boyfriend and wants to end the night early. Meg and Jimmy's first date goes from bad to worse, as she first talks on and on about cars and later accidentally bloodies his nose. Beth tells J.J. she would rather go alone to the mixer. Not being able to reach her parents, Meg accepts an offer from Sam to walk her home, only to be stopped by the police. With the family looking on, Patty loses the spelling bee, only to be outed by Roxanne who knows she blew it on purpose and offers some helpful advice.moreless
  • The Fighting Irish
    The Fighting Irish
    Episode 5
    Jimmy (still sporting a shiner from their first date) asks Meg to be his partner on Bandstand. A Notre Dame recruiter is interested in J.J., but when J.J. doesn't show Jack will have to carry the ball for his son. Patty wants a new water heater and goes around timing everyone's showers to show they need one. Beth tries her best to get through to J.J., but he brushes her off and while Jack is meeting with the recruiter, he gets drunk with Tommy. Helen walks out on the doctor, when she firsts goes in about birth control. Meg thinks her and Jimmy are destined to be a real couple,but he says he only wants to be friends. Jack gives J.J. the cold shoulder over his blowing off the recruiting meeting. Helen returns to the doctor a second time and it goes much smoother. Things change at the big game, when the team needs a big play, J.J. fakes an injury, before scoring the game winning touchdown on the play Jack taught him.moreless
  • Soldier Boy
    Soldier Boy
    Episode 6
    Roxanne is positive Meg is the "Blurry Girl" in a teen magazine dancing with Jimmy Riley. Jack and Helen are in New York for a reunion of Jack's World War II unit. Beth tries in vain to reach J.J. but he cuts her off again. Later Meg meets Jay of Jay and The Americans as he performs their hit "Come a Little Bit Closer" at a Bandstand rehearsal. He and Meg hit it off as do Roxanne and Carl the drummer. They plan a party for that night at the Pryors' house. Meanwhile in New York, Helen is approached by a man who claims Jack saved his life during the war. Patty finds out about the party and wants to impress her spelling-bee foe Kevin by inviting him to party with Jay Black. J.J. and Will find Jack's Medal of Honor while moving the last of the stuff from Meg's new room to the garage. Jay suggests to Meg and Roxanne they go some place else instead for the party. Beth and Kevin both show up, while J.J. and Beth have a fight, Patty and Kevin wait awkwardly for Meg to get home, which she never does. Meg realizing too late she hurt her sister's feelings, tries to make amends. Lastly Jack relates the story behind the medal to the whole family.moreless
  • Cold Snap
    Cold Snap
    Episode 7
    Meg is angry to hear Luke, the new record shop employee, talking bad about the music she's about to buy. Elsewhere, a sudden cancellation of his deal to supply a hotel with all there new TVs, forces Jack to examine his family's financial outlook and question his own business philosophy. Sam, who is still adapting to life at East Catholic high school deals with a prank gone too far by the football team, while J.J. looks on, unable or unwilling to intervene. While Roxanne uses her Bandstand connections to start her own business of selling autographed 45's, starting with Marvin Gaye. Discovering Luke slipped her a Bob Dylan record instead, Meg rushes back to the store to conmfront him. The prank gets Tommy suspended and he threatens Sam until J.J. intervenes, which draws a nasty response from Sam. Michael shuts down Roxanne's new business, while Jack tries in vain to still make the big Hotel sell, but it's all for not as Mr. Healey refuses to buy them. Lastly, the bitter cold of the night doesn't stop East Catholic from pulling out a last minute victory in the biggest game of the year.moreless
  • Black and White
    Black and White
    Episode 8
    While preparing for the city championships, J.J. discovers some of Philadelphia's police officers have offered his teammates money to throw the game (although Tommy denies it at first), forcing him to question their integrity, as well as that of his police officer uncle Pete, who stops by the house for a sudden strategy session. Meanwhile, Meg who shows signs of affection for Luke, a record store clerk at the Vinyl Crocodile and Patty's new piano teacher, is upset with Roxanne's sudden interest in him. Turns out Roxanne was only pretending to like him, long enough so Meg would get jealous and admit she liked him. Elsewhere, Helen leaves the family for a rare girls' night out with new age classmate Rebecca. Meanwhile Jack (still saddled with the TVs from the busted hotel deal), prompted by Henry's suggestion, expands his customer base to include a few black customers and Sam deals with backlash from his former friends over the impending game.moreless
  • The Home Front
    The Home Front
    Episode 9
    As the Christmas season takes place, Meg decides to spend more time with Luke, venturing to the rough streets of North Philly (with Roxanne) to hear him play with a local Church choir. Meanwhile, J.J. catches the eye of a slightly older and more experienced country club employee and sneaks out of the house, just as Meg is sneaking in. Catching on to both of his older children's escapades, Jack implores a slightly uneven standard of discipline, by grounding Meg, but saying virtually nothing to J.J., upseting the family's growing feminist Helen. Patty finds out that Will broke the Virgin Mary, and replaces it with a slightly larger version. Elsewhere, Henry enjoys the recent success his advertising ideas have brought the store, but a few choice words from an over-eager friend leaves Jack concerned he might leave.moreless
  • Silent Night
    Silent Night
    Episode 10
    With Christmas a day away, Meg and dance partner Jimmy Riley are voted one of "Bandstand's" favorite couples landing them a date under the mistletoe for their first kiss, which hurts her budding relationship with Luke. Meanwhile, J.J. receives an early Christmas present with his acceptance into the University of Notre Dame, which prompts him to reconsider his break-up with longtime girlfriend, Beth. Elsewhere, Jack's military expertise is called upon when a local boy serving in Vietnam goes missing and Henry looks for a raise during the store's holiday rush.moreless
  • I Wanna Hold Your Hand
    The Beatles' arrival in America sends the country and the Pryor household into a frenzy, except for a concerned J.J., who receives word that Notre Dame has denied him a full scholarship. Determined to afford his son's college education, Jack seeks financial help from his successful and slightly distant older brother Ted, despite Pete and Helen's concerns. Ted offers to pay for J.J.'s first year in South Bend in exchange for 50% ownership in the shop. Meanwhile, a confused Meg attempts to classify her relationship with Luke, employing Roxanne's "perfect plan", which is to simply have Luke introduce himself as Meg's boyfriend, to determine if the record store clerk is in fact her boyfriend. Patty's put in a tough position when she has to teach Will the twelve apostles or she won't get to watch The Beattles on Ed Sullivan that night.moreless
  • Great Expectations
    Great Expectations
    Episode 12
    Meg gets two "C"'s on her report card and Helen, more concerned about it than Jack is, thinks it would be a good idea for Meg to accompany her to her Temple class. Meg dislikes the idea, but not as much as she dislikes the fact that Luke agrees with her mother. Roxanne is also at odds with her mother, so she stays with the Pryors. Meanwhile, Beth notices J.J. talking to Colleen; Jack hires Henry's nephew, Nathan; and it seems that there's a bullying problem in Will's third-grade class.moreless
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
    In the aftermath of his confession to Beth, J.J. struggles to put their relationship back together again, but quickly realizes that it might be too little too late. Elsewhere, Meg strikes up a musical friendship with Sam as they decide to save money by sharing records - causing problems with J.J. who quickly reminds his sister about the trouble she faced after her previous interactions with Sam. Meanwhile, Jack entrusts his new employee -- Nathan, the nephew of Henry with delivery duty, but later questions his decision when Nathan fails to return. Helen volunteers to baby-sit for her professor and gets to know him better, while Roxanne fights for a coveted position writing the "Backstage on Bandstand" column for Teenzine magazine.moreless
  • Heartache
    Episode 14
    Preparing for the East Catholic High School Valentine's Day dance, Meg tries to convince boyfriend Luke of the importance of the holiday, while Roxanne waits for a brave boy to ask her to the dance . Meanwhile, a health scare sends Jack to the hospital, while J.J. searches for forgiveness from Beth. Elsewhere, Patty braces for her own Valentine's Day festivities as she makes arrangements for her first coed party.moreless
  • False Start
    False Start
    Episode 15
    In the first track meet of the season, J.J. and Sam square off to determine who will race one of the fastest runners in the city, creating a new-found relationship between this unlikely pair. Meanwhile, after their break-up, Meg and Luke try to figure out exactly what to call their relationship with the help of confidants Roxanne and record store owner Mr. Greenwood. Elsewhere, Helen's classmates lead her to believe that their professor, Mr. Witt, has a crush on her.moreless
  • Act of Contrition
    Act of Contrition
    Episode 16
    Helping a classmate recover after the sudden loss of her unborn child, Helen is caught off-guard when she learns the truth behind the woman's loss, forcing her to wrestle with her own feelings. Elsewhere, Henry is prompted by Nathan's comments about his future as he presents Jack with a new business endeavor. Meanwhile, Meg helps a friend in love when she agrees to question Bandstand producer Michael Brooks about his feelings for Roxanne. A competitive J.J. attempts to step up track abilities in order to catch new rival Sam.moreless
  • Past Imperfect
    Past Imperfect
    Episode 17
    Celebrating a Pryor family tradition, Jack and Uncle Pete make their annual trip to the cemetery to tend to their father's grave, only to be joined by an unexpected visitor - their brother Ted. After impressing him with her musical knowledge, Bandstand producer Michael Brooks asks Meg to help him put together an upcoming special. However, when she is drafted as part of the cemetery expedition, Meg asks Roxanne to fill in, offering her best friend a chance to spend time with her latest crush. Elsewhere, J.J. receives some disturbing news from the doctor regarding his broken leg. Helen volunteers to help register voters for the upcoming election, working closely with Professor Witt, while Sam decides to join his cousin Nathan at a local rally.moreless
  • The One
    The One
    Episode 18
    Making an appearance to sign autographs at the Vinyl Crocodile, Meg struggles with her lingering feelings for ex-boyfriend Luke and rekindled interest in "Bandstand" partner Jimmy Riley. Meanwhile, Jack moves forward with Henry's suggestion as he investigates the possibility of opening a second store. Prompted by interest from his brother Ted, he decides to make this a family venture enlisting the help of younger brother Pete, thus leaving Henry out of the deal. Elsewhere, J.J. pushes Sam to forget about the former teammate's accident and run his best for the rest of the year. Jackie Wilson performs "Baby Work Out" on "American Bandstand."moreless
  • Where the Boys Are
    Where the Boys Are
    Episode 19
    In the midst of a special memory lane "Bandstand," Meg copes with a hostile Bobby Darin, while attempting to help roving columnist Roxanne land an interview with the hit singer. In the midst of the chaos, Jimmy Riley surprises his dance partner when he shares the big news that he joined the marines. Elsewhere, Jack, Henry, Nathan and Pete spend a rainy day playing an allegedly friendly game of poker. Helen receives a friendly ride home from her professor while J.J. spends a rainy afternoon drowning his sorrows in beer.moreless
  • The Carpetbaggers
    The Carpetbaggers
    Episode 20
    As Meg's recently rekindled romance with Luke begins to heat up, she grows concerned over his level of "experience" in matters of love. Prompted by some sagely wisdom from Roxanne, she attempts to broaden her sex appeal with shocking results. Elsewhere, Jack decides to rethink Nathan's employment status after learning of Helen's brush with danger, and his involvement in her defense during the recent voter registration drive. Meanwhile, J.J. re-ignites his romance with Colleen as he prepares to celebrate his 18th birthday and Helen agonizes over her own secret from that fateful day with Professor Wit.moreless
  • Fear Itself
    Fear Itself
    Episode 21
    Meg and Roxanne are chosen for East Catholic's Prom Committee. Their assignment: get "cool" seniors onto the "Bandstand" set so they can take candid photos known as "senior snaps." Success, Roxanne gushes, will make them "the coolest sophomores in history." But they don't have permission from "Bandstand" to do it. Meanwhile, Will's Soap Box Derby is coming up, but he's afraid of the hills, and J.J.'s afraid of testing his newly healed leg; Patty has joined the Robins, and is very competitive about earning badges; and Jack hires Sam to do a job at the Girard Avenue store.moreless
  • Secrets and Lies
    Secrets and Lies
    Episode 22
    J.J.'s senior prom is coming up but he's not going because Colleen has made him another offer. Then he hears from Beth. In other prom-related doings, Meg's new friend Carol invites her - but not Roxanne - to a pre-prom sleep-over at her house. Meanwhile, Patty's afraid that no one likes her (there's some reason for this: she has a reputation as being a "know-it-all"); Nathan puts Henry in another delicate situation at the Girard Avenue store; and Jack runs into Professor Witt near the store and senses that there might be something between him and Helen.moreless
  • Down the Shore
    Down the Shore
    Episode 23
    June 19, 1964: Jim Bunning's on the mound for the Phillies and the Pryors have just begun their annual Wildwood vacation. Roxanne isn't with them because she's still mad at a still-distressed Meg. But her rich new friend Carol has invited her to her beach club at "the Crest." And Meg returns the favor, getting Carol and her friends into a Bandstand beach "hop" featuring the Kinks. Meanwhile, Helen finally tells Jack about Professor Witt's advance. Back in town, J.J.'s at home---with Beth while Henry's minding the North Philly store. The neighborhood is steaming and the city pool hasn't opened yet.moreless
  • High Hopes
    High Hopes
    Episode 24
    J.J., tender ankle and all, arrives at Lehigh to begin football practice. And Roxanne, who's still on the outs with Meg, meets someone she has been on the outs with for eight years: her father. Meanwhile, Meg gets her learner's permit and wants Luke to teach her to drive. The Girard Avenue store is about to open, but the timing could be better: riots in Harlem have prompted the Philadelphia police to consider a curfew for North Philly.moreless
  • City on Fire
    City on Fire
    Episode 25
    In the season finale, racial tensions begin to flare in North Philly sparking a massive riot, while an oblivious Meg makes final preparations for her sweet sixteen birthday party. Unaware of the violent situation building around her, Meg attempts to save her friendship with Sam, visiting him at the new store, and finds herself in the middle of the urban chaos. Elsewhere, an angry Nathan who helped incite the violence, urges the enraged rioters forward, while Pete and the rest of Philadelphia's finest race to quell the disturbance. Meanwhile, a defeated J.J. returns from Lehigh after being kicked off the football team and makes a surprising announcement to Jack and Helen about his future, while Michael Brooks reveals the possibility he might be leaving "Bandstand" for a new record-producing gig in California.moreless