luxken27: (Kids Inc - beautiful dreamer)
LuxKen27 ([personal profile] luxken27) wrote2011-02-07 09:15 pm

California Dreams/Kids Inc | Oneshot: Nice Guys Finish First

Title: Nice Guys Finish First
Author: [personal profile] luxken27
Fandom: California Dreams/Kids Incorporated crossover
Genre: Comedy, Friendship, Romance
Rating: T
Warning: Light innuendo
Word Count: 4,742
Summary: When a gorgeous new girl begins attending Pacific Coast High, she unwittingly becomes the prize in a bet laid between Sly, Tony, and Mark. A riff on the subplot of episode 3x17, “Tiffani’s Gold.”

Link(s): | DW | AO3

Author’s Note: Written for StacyFan81, who suggested the idea of a KI/California Dreams crossover on the Kids Inc Forever forum. I hope you enjoy this!

This was actually a really fun story to write! And it fell into my lap at the perfect moment ~ having just finished my ficlet serial for Valentine's Day, I was looking for something else to work on, and my current projects just weren't holding much interest for me :-/ It was a random visit to Dawne's Kids Inc forum that launched me on this particular path, and I haveta say - it's been a lot of fun =)

California Dreams was a teen sitcom that ran on Saturday mornings during NBC's "TNBC" block from 1992-1996. It was the show that followed Saved by the Bell, and was structured quite similarly, in terms of characters and storylines. (SbtB was *THE* teen show of the 90s, and its popularity survived even after the original cast moved on. I remember watching it, especially in 1995, because the boy who played Stacey McGill's love interest in the BSC movie had a regular role on SbtB, and I wanted to check him out before seeing the movie, LOL.)

The fact that I immediately fell in love with California Dreams should come as no shock, considering it was a show about a group of teenagers who played in a band. Rewatching it now, it's seriously like the 90s version of Kids Inc, with the only exception being that the Dreams played original music, while the Kids mostly played cover songs.

I mean, hell, even the character tropes were the same:

It's no surprise these two shows mesh so well, considering how much they have in common :P

California Dreams also had a lot in common with Saved by the Bell - both centered around a focal group of kids with a badass, a nerd, and a zany comic relief guy (played by a token minority), along with a rich, smokin' hot girl (played by a token minority), a cute girl-next-door type, and a brain (played by a token minority). California Dreams also boasted their very own Bruce Patman, which was amusing. There was lots of inter-group dating (the three major relationships on the show were Jake/Tiffani, Tony/Sam, and Jake/Lorena, with most of the shippers embracing the first couple as their OTP).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my favorite cast member was Matt Garrison, who only appeared on the first two seasons. Oh, Brentley Gore was such a dreamboat *sigh* The Garrisons were the main focus of the show for the first season, before things shifted onto the band members, starting in the second season. Much like Ryan on Kids Inc, Jake Sommers turned into a juggarnaut character, replacing the original male lead early on and becoming the center of the universe for the entirety of his run (which, for the Dreams, lasted the last three years of its five-season run).

StacyFan81 suggested this crossover on the forum, after noting that Stacy Ferguson guest starred on a random third season episode in 1995. I had no idea about this, so I immediately went and hunted down said guest appearance:

and the muse started churning =)

Of course, the first thing I did was gather up all the available episodes of California Dreams that had been posted to YouTube. There are surprisingly many, especially considering the first four seasons have been released on DVD. Since there's not much featuring my precious Matt, I kinda sorta found the place to order the first two seasons and did so. I arranged the episodes in a playlist, and then I had to go back and figure out the original production order, so the storylines would make some sense *facepalm*

So. Even though this is the final episode of season three in air time, it was actually only the third episode that was produced. This all happened before Sam and Tony hooked up, and Lorena and Jake (whose timeline *really* got screwed by the order of airing...but I digress).

Probably my favorite character of the last few seasons was the shy, quiet, "affable loser" Mark Winkle, the unfortunate cousin of thinks-he's-God's-gift-to-women Sly Winkle, who was Matt Garrison's best friend from the beginning. Poor Mark was the only character who didn't have a love life on the show, and he was usually treated as secondary comic relief, behind the zany antics of Tony. It's a shame, because Aaron Jackson was a real cutie back in the day, and he had decent acting chops - he should've had a chance to shine, instead of always being in the background.

So, I gave him one here =)

The premise of the story is that Stacy (from Kids Inc) has moved to Pacific Coast, CA (where Dreams is set - maybe right down the beach from Bayside? :P) at some point in high school. Since, in my head-canon, Stacy grows up to be a model, she's already blossoming into those looks and that attitude in HS, and hence, becomes the unwitting object of desire and perfect prize in a pissing contest devised by Sly, Tony, and Mark.

However, that's where the premise from the original episode ends - instead of Stacy's character falling for Jake, like every other girl in the school, Mark has the chance to make his play after watching his friends fall flat on their face, and he puts his brains to good use in the process.

Besides the obvious way these two universes come together, there are a couple of other comparisons I tried to make as well. The Jake/Tiffani ship was the Big One on the show, and it has all the same hallmarks of the Ryan/Stacy ship (except that, you know, it actually happened in canon - twice). Mark joined the band in season three after moving from New York, so he wasn't aware of Jake's and Tiffani's relationship, because they'd broken up at the end of season two - but the attraction was still there, which is why Mark was contemplating it at the beginning of the story. Its only after seeing a pairing just like his bandmates that it dawns on him - Jake/Tiff is not just speculation on his part.

To me, Mark really *can* be compared fairly to Ryan. Ryan was sort of a combination of Jake's badassery and Mark's nerdiness, all rolled into one, which is what makes him such an appealing character. And, well, considering how Mark sort of hero-worships Jake at the beginning of his run (because, well, everyone hero-worshiped Jake during the series to some degree), it has to be an ego boost to be compared to him, especially by a pretty girl =)

I also did my best to pull in inherent characterization of the Dreams characters, beyond Mark's descriptors while he's thinking about them. I thought this episode - and, in particular, the two scenes I pulled from it as a basis for this fic - did a good job of highlighting the characters' main traits: Tony and Sly one-upping each other with jokes and insults, both thinking they were Hot Stuff when, in reality, they weren't, Lorena using her sex appeal and Sam her wits to get the better of them, and, of course, Jake being a badass, even while eating :) In a lot of ways, Mark is the hardest to write, because his characterization is thin and inconsistent, the most background of the main characters by a long stretch.

I had a lot of fun writing this, and reliving a show that I remember seeing quite a bit of, both first-run and in syndication. There's the possibility that I might write more for these characters, who feel as old and familiar to me as the KI cast. If you venture to read it, I hope you enjoy it! It's some feel-good fluff for the brain, for sure :)

Tomorrow I'll begin posting my Valentine's Day ficlet serial, so stay tuned for that! It's going to be fluff overload around here, LOL!!
ext_13288: pre-raphealite (misfits)

[identity profile] 2011-02-08 03:42 am (UTC)(link)
OMG I totally used to watch this show (because it was after Saved by the Bell).

You seriously should rename your journal Memory Lane or something, lol.
ext_13288: pre-raphealite (shera)

[identity profile] 2011-02-08 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
Oh yeah, it was just one of those cute shows that I was interested in watching after Saved By the Bell, which I was totally hooked on back in the day. Watching these videos really brought back memories.

LOL at the soulless weasel tag on Sly. Sooo true.