American Dreams would dance its way into our living rooms on September 29, 2002. The show revolved around the Pryor family during the 1960's. The father, Jack was played by Tom Verica, Emmy nominated actress Gail O'Grady played the mother and their kids JJ, Meg, Patti and Will were played by Will Estes, Brittany Snow, Sarah Ramos and Ethan Dampf respectively.
The center of the show is Meg; she's the young high school student who winds up being a regular dancer on American Bandstand, along with best friend and rebel Roxanne, played by Vanessa Lengies. The two would often be seen at Bandstand where they would be dancing to some of the music of the 60's. Of course the show would be smart and hired current musical acts to play the oldies artists. This would allow for great cross promotion with fans of the current singers. Some of the acts to appear included Alicia Keyes, Macy Gray, Kelly Clarkson, LeAnn Rimes, Vanessa Carlton, Third Eye Blind, Ashanti, Alanis Morisette, Nick Lachey, Joss Stone and tons more.
American Dreams was produced by Dick Clark, who also was the man behind the success of American Bandstand. A lot of times Dick would be featured on the show in older clips, while a stand in actor played the roles in the studio while Meg and Roxanne were dancing.
The first few episodes of the show would deal with the assassination of JFK. But the show would also have the Pryors dealing with tough themes like racism in America in the 1960s, the Vietnam war, a son missing in action, another son with polio and a daughter coming of age.
In the earlier years American Dreams appeal was the innocence of the times. Meg looked at the world and wanted to change it. She didn't care that most people didn't have black friends, instead she and Sam, played by Arlen Escarpeta, got along from the very start. There was much flirtation between the two and in season three it looked like they might finally start to date. But that would change when their families told them it was wrong. It shocked most people when JJ told Meg not to do it.
But the real loss of innocence on the show came when new next door neighbors arrived. Shelly, a former Playboy bunny moved in with son Chris. Shelly immediately got along with Jack's brother, but it was Meg's relationship with Chris that took American Dreams into a completely different area. Chris played the role of the rebel, he smoked pot, drove a motorcycle and would later take the virginity of Meg. This just totally ruined the show. Meg was much too innocent for this. We expected it with a slut like Roxanne, but not Meg. Even with JJ, he got his girlfriend Beth pregnant and then married her, we could accept this, but Meg having sex was just wrong.
We hated the episodes with Chris. We can take his mother in small doses but Chris must leave...and he did. But he also took Meg along with him. Season three ends with Chris heading for California to hide from the draft and Meg joins him, much to the disappointment of her entire family. Damn you Chris, leave our Meg alone. Okay we really love this show.
Milo would go on to have major success on the TV show "Heroes".