American Dreams

The BEST episodes of American Dreams

Every episode of American Dreams ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of American Dreams!

The death of John F. Kennedy introduced viewers to American Dreams. This series featured Meg Pryor and her Irish Catholic family living in Philadelphia. Meg's life changes when she is chosen to dance on American Bandstand and look beyond her strict father's view of life in order to become her own person.

Last Updated: 10/28/2022Network:NBC
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The Home Front
star
9.20
5 votes

#1 - The Home Front

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired 12/1/2002

As the Christmas season takes hold, 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, JJ 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. Angering 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.

Watch Now:Amazon
One in a Million
star
9.00
2 votes

#2 - One in a Million

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/14/2004

The family continues to mourn the news of JJ. Beth, worried about Helen and suggests she go and sees a psychiatrist. Jack is angry with Beth for suggesting it but Helen eventually goes. Meg is not sure what to do when she is asked to speak about JJ at an assembly. JJ is found alive by a Frenchmen but when he learns that he kills American soldiers, JJ must escape to save his life. A city wide blackout occurs during a meteora shower. Chris takes Meg to watch it. At home, Beth goes in to labor during the blackout and later delivers John Pryor III.

Directors: Jim Chory
Watch Now:Amazon
Act of Contrition
star
8.80
5 votes

#3 - Act of Contrition

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired 3/2/2003

In the first track meet of the season, JJ (Will Estes) and Sam (Arlen Escarpeta) 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 (Brittany Snow) and Luke (Jamie Elman) try to figure out exactly what to call their relationship with the help of confidents Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies) and record storeowner Mr. Greenwood (guest star Art Garfunkel). Elsewhere, Helen's (Gail O'Grady) classmates lead her to believe that their professor, Mr. Witt (guest star Robby Benson), has a crush on her. Musical guest star India.Arie portrays Nina Simone performing at the Vinyl Crocodile record store. Tom Verica, Sarah Ramos and Ethan Dampf also star.

City on Fire
star
8.80
5 votes

#4 - City on Fire

Season 1 - Episode 25 - Aired 5/18/2003

In the season finale, racial tensions begin to flare in North Philly sparking a massive riot, while an oblivious Meg (Brittany Snow) 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 (Arlen Escarpeta), visiting him at the new store, and finds herself in the middle of the urban chaos. Elsewhere, an angry Nathan (guest star Keith Robinson) who helped incite the violence, urges the enraged rioters forward, while Pete (guest star Matthew John Armstrong) and the rest of Philadelphia's finest race to quell the disturbance. Meanwhile, a defeated JJ (Will Estes) returns from Lehigh after being kicked off the football team and makes a surprising announcement to Jack (Tom Verica) and Helen (Gail O'Grady) about his future, while Michael Brooks (Joe Lawrence) reveals the possibility he might be leaving ""Bandstand"" for a new record-producing gig in California. R&B sensation Kelly Rowland

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Soldier Boy
star
8.67
6 votes

#5 - Soldier Boy

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/3/2002

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 American's as he performs their hit ""Come a Little Bit Closer"" at a Bandstand rehearsal. He and Meg hit it off as does Roxanne and Carl the drummer. They plan a party for that night at the Pryor's 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.

Directors: Bill D'Elia
Writer: John Romano
Watch Now:Amazon
Silent Night
star
8.67
3 votes

#6 - Silent Night

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired 12/15/2002

Advance Preview With Christmas a day away, Meg (Brittany Snow) and dance partner Jimmy Riley (guest star Jesse Hutch) 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 (guest star Jamie Elman). Meanwhile, JJ (Will Estes) 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 (Rachel Boston). Elsewhere, Jack's (Tom Verica) military expertise is called upon when a local boy serving in Vietnam goes missing and Henry (Jonathan Adams) looks for a raise during the store's holiday rush. R&B singing star Ashanti (""Foolish"") guest stars as 1960s pop sensation Dionne Warwick singing ""Walk on By"" on ""American Bandstand."" Gail O'Grady, Arlen Escarpeta, Ethan Dampf and Sarah Ramos also star.

Directors: Randy Zisk
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
What Dreams May Come
star
8.67
3 votes

#7 - What Dreams May Come

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/7/2004

As the Pryor's await news on JJ, Jack goes to Washington D.C. to try and find more information. Chris tells Meg about an anti-war rally in Washington D.C. and Meg convinces her father to let her to go to Washington D.C. Melanie invites Sam and his family to Thanksgiving diner, however Sam does not extend the invitation to his family and goes by himself. Helen is haunted by flashbacks of JJ while Patty and Will have a hard time going on with life. As the family sit downs to Thanksgiving dinner they recieve a package that announces JJ's fate.

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For Richer, For Poorer
star
8.67
3 votes

#8 - For Richer, For Poorer

Season 3 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/23/2005

JJ and Beth began searching for the perfect house, but JJ recieves a letter from Vietnam and gives away their money for a house. As their wedding day approaches, the family is busy preparing. JJ learns that Helen is involved with an anti-war movement while Patty falls for Beth's cousin. Meg continues to struggle with Chris who keeps showing up. When Meg realizes her true feelings it's too late as Chris has left town.

Directors: Eric Laneuville
Writer: John Romano
Watch Now:Amazon
California Dreamin'
star
8.67
3 votes

#9 - California Dreamin'

Season 3 - Episode 15 - Aired 3/16/2005

Meg & Roxanne go to Hollywood for a special ""American Banstand"" episode. While the girls are there, they meet up with Barabra Eden a.k.a. ""Jeannie"". J.J. goes for an interview with an Engineering company in the hopes of following his dream of becoming an Astronaut. Meanwhile, Sam realizes the he has more in common with Nathan's date then Nathan does and Pete & Shelley decide to have an ""open relationship"" where they can see each other and other people. Jack decides to tell a reporter his reasons for leaving City Council. ~Graciem

Directors: Jim Chory
Writer: Liz Tigelaar
Watch Now:iTunes
Pryor Knowledge
star
8.60
5 votes

#10 - Pryor Knowledge

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/20/2002

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 competetion.She listens in as Roxanne gives Meg some dating tips and takes one to heart,a little to 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 accidently 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 o

Watch Now:iTunes
High Hopes
star
8.60
5 votes

#11 - High Hopes

Season 1 - Episode 24 - Aired 5/11/2003

JJ, 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. And 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.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Fighting Irish
star
8.60
5 votes

#12 - The Fighting Irish

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/27/2002

Jimmy (still sporting a shiner from their first date) asks Meg to be his partner on Bandstand. A Notre Dame recruiter is interested in JJ, 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's walks out on the doctor,when she firsts goes about birth control.Megs 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.

Directors: David Semel
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The End of the Innocence
star
8.56
9 votes

#13 - The End of the Innocence

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/6/2002

Advance Preview It's Thanksgiving week in 1963, but, in the wake of the JFK assassination, no one feels thankful. Even Meg's selection as a Bandstand regular seems hollow to her---especially since best friend Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies) wasn't chosen. And the resentful Roxanne isn't going easy on Meg (Brittany Snow). Meanwhile, East Catholic's football team has a hole at running back without J.J. (Will Estes); and Helen (Gail O'Grady) gets together with the worldly Rebecca Sandstrom (Virginia Madsen) at Temple University.

Directors: David Semel
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Stewart's Charge
star
8.50
4 votes

#14 - Stewart's Charge

Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/28/2004

Jason Mraz (Dion) and Fefe Dobson (Tina Turner) are the guest impersonators on Bandstand, where Roxanne wants a hairstyling job. She also has boy woes: Lenny's return has clearly rattled Luke. Meanwhile, Beth makes a decision about her pregnancy; Nathan (Keith Robinson) is drafted, and Sam tries to get Meg to talk to Drew about his CO status; JJ's unit goes on a mission with a by-the-book new corporal (John Sloan); Jack considers his political options over coffee with Will's former teacher, the former Sister Grace (Robyn Lively); Will might be made to repeat fourth grade; and Patty uses hamster chips to get closer to Carl (Wes Robinson).

Directors: Randy Zisk
Writer: Joshua King
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Another Saturday Night
star
8.33
3 votes

#15 - Another Saturday Night

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/12/2003

Saturday Night hits Philly as the Pryor women go exploring. Helen heads to New York with Uncle Pete's girlfriend to see a show and a new emerging side of womanhood, beset with temptations. Patty, starting high school, learns new lessons in social skills in trying to make friends. Meg, completely broken off from Luke, goes to her first college party, with serious consequences. Roxanne starts at the Vinyl Crocodile with Luke still in the background as JJ continues with military training. In addition, Sam finds out how his cousin Nathan really makes his money

Watch Now:Amazon
The Commencement
star
8.33
3 votes

#16 - The Commencement

Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired 3/9/2005

As Meg prepares to graduate she considers taking her relationship with Sam to the next level but is chocked to find that many people are against it. Jack continues to struggle with the City Council and ultimately ends up quitting. Patty's essay wins the Campbell Soup essay contest but nobody believes her because she sent it in under another student's name. JJ takes the job coaching football but begins to wonder about his future and possibly even becoming an astronaut. Roxanne becomes worried that she may not graduate when she can't pass the presidential fitness exam.

Directors: Mark Piznarski
Beyond the Wire
star
8.33
3 votes

#17 - Beyond the Wire

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/11/2004

Helen begins to feel the pressure of being a working mom as she tries to juggle her professional and home life. When Drew comes over for dinner it is obvious that Jack doesn't like him. After watching a film in school Patty wants to buy her first bra but nobody has time to go with her. JJ experiences life on the front line as he fights in Vietnam.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The 7-10 Split
star
8.33
3 votes

#18 - The 7-10 Split

Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired 1/4/2004

While Meg is on a date with Drew she runs in to Danny O'Conner who asks her out on date. Jack and Henry are shocked to find out that the store has been robbed. As Will prepares to leave the hospital he reminds Helen that she promised he could have a pet. Before Will's homecoming, Helen sends Patty to the pet store to get Will a pet. While there she meets Carl, a boy who works at the pet store. Sam struggles with the decision to chose between Yale and Howard University. In Vietnam, JJ runs in to Jimmy Riley, Meg's old dancing partner. Meanwhile Roxanne is crushed that Lenny hasn't called and turns to Luke for support. After Meg's date with Danny she comes to a decision about her relationship with Drew.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Long Goodbye
star
8.33
3 votes

#19 - The Long Goodbye

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/30/2003

As JJ prepares to leave he and Beth celebrate their engagement. Beth and her mother can not seem to agree upon anything while JJ and Meg continue to fight about Drew. Will is still in the hospital. Roxanne continues to tour with Lenny. Roxanne decides that she loves Lenny but she can not continue to tour with them.

Watch Now:Amazon
Ticket to Ride
star
8.33
3 votes

#20 - Ticket to Ride

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/16/2003

In a surprise turn of events Roxanne announces she is dropping out of school to be on tour with Lenny. Meg and Sam finally go on their first date but ends in disaster as Meg storms out of the restaurant. JJ tells the family where he has been stationed. As Will's surgery appropoaches Helen becomes nervous. Meanwhile Henry must decide whether or not to confront his wife's former employer about money they are still owed.

Watch Now:Amazon
Life's Illusions
star
8.33
3 votes

#21 - Life's Illusions

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/26/2003

Meg attends a free speech rally with Drew at the college. Roxanne's new relationship with Lenny is tested after he throws a party at her house. JJ is tempted to cheat on Beth with a mysterious woman he meets at a bar. JJ also recieves some exciting news. Beth finally recieves her ring from JJ and they set a date for their wedding. The Walker family must deal with the tragic loss of the matriarch in their family.

Watch Now:Amazon
Past Imperfect
star
8.25
4 votes

#22 - Past Imperfect

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/9/2003

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, JJ 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.

Directors: Mark Piznarski
Watch Now:Amazon
The One
star
8.25
4 votes

#23 - The One

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired 3/16/2003

MEG STRUGGLES WITH HER FEELINGS FOR BOTH HER EX-BOYFRIEND AND FAKE ONE ; WAYNE BRADY GUEST STARS AS JACKIE WILSON -- Making an appearance to sign autographs at the Vinyl Crocodile, Meg (Brittany Snow) struggles with her lingering feelings for ex-boyfriend Luke (guest star Jamie Elman) and rekindled interest in ""Bandstand"" partner Jimmy Riley (guest star Jesse Hutch). Meanwhile, Jack (Tom Verica) moves forward with Henry's (Jonathan Adams) suggestion as he investigates the possibility of opening a second store. Prompted by interest from his brother Ted (guest star Christopher Cousins), he decides to make this a family venture enlisting the help of younger brother Pete (guest star Matthew John Armstrong), thus leaving Henry out of the deal. Elsewhere, JJ (Will Estes) pushes Sam (Arlen Escarpeta) to forget about the former teammate's accident and run his best for the rest of the year. Jackie Wilson (Wayne Brady) performs ""Baby Work Out"" on ""American Bandstand."" Vanessa Lengies, Gail O'Gra

Watch Now:Amazon
Old Enough to Fight
star
8.25
4 votes

#24 - Old Enough to Fight

Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired 2/22/2004

Roy Orbison (Chris Isaak) plays on ?Bandstand, while Nancy Sinatra (Jennifer Love Hewitt) has schlepped her boots to Vietnam, where JJ sees her perform. He could use some cheering up: He's been traumatized by killing a Vietcong soldier. Back in Philly, Meg runs away from home (but not far); Henry's business plans hit a snag; and Will starts delivering newspapers by himself. Also: Tyler Hilton sings the Beatles' I've Just Seen a Face and Days of Our Lives regulars have cameos: Alison Sweeney (as Miss USA), Farah Fath (a Playboy Bunny), and John Aniston and Frances Reid (customers in Pryor Electronics).

Directors: Oliver Goldstick
Writer: Elodie Keene
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Truth Be Told
star
8.25
4 votes

#25 - Truth Be Told

Season 3 - Episode 11 - Aired 1/9/2005

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?

Directors: Emily Whitesell
Writer: Josh Reims
Watch Now:Amazon

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