American Dreams

The WORST episodes of American Dreams

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

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: 5/11/2022Network: NBC
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Tidings of Comfort and Joy
star
6.00
3 votes

#1 - Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired 11/21/2004

Helen occupies her time helping Beth care for John Pryor III. However, Beth is angry with Helen after she invites her father (Beth's) to see the baby. Meg continues with her anti-war movements but is shocked when Chris and his friends want to burn down an army recruiting center. Luke's girlfriend from San Francisco comes to visit but doesn't realize Luke wants to break up with her. Roxanne then becomes afraid that Luke will suddenly dump her one day. Nathan continues to spend time with an elderly veteran. As a result, when he dies he leaves Nathan his boat. Sam realizes that he handled things with Melanie wrong way and invites her to his house for dinner. The Pryor family must continue through the holiday season without JJ. What they don't know is JJ is still alive and fighting for his way home. After the family leaves for Christmas Eve mass, the Pryors receive a phone call and learn that JJ is on his way home. In a tearful reunion, JJ is reunited with his family and meets his son for

Directors: David Semel
Watch Now:iTunes
Chasing the Past
star
6.40
5 votes

#2 - Chasing the Past

Season 2 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/21/2004

Roxanne begins to question her relationship with Luke. Meg lets Patty drive the family car after Patty blackmails her. Meg ends up crashing the car. After Beth tells her parents about her pregnancy they give her two options. JJ and his squad rescue American POW's. JJ thinks one may be Danny O'Conners brother.

Directors: Don Attias
Watch Now:Amazon
Leaders of the Pack
star
6.50
4 votes

#3 - Leaders of the Pack

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 10/10/2004

After Meg unsuccessfully tries to recruit other students for her play, Chris makes her an offer that involves breaking and entering in exchange for his and his friends' participation. Meanwhile, as Jack prepares to embrace alternative voting groups for his run as city councilman, Helen tries to understand Donald's alternative lifestyle, and invites him over for dinner. When Beth hears that another pregnant woman's husband is killed in Vietnam, she and JJ, have yet another awkward conversation. Meanwhile, dating Melanie causes Sam to feel like he is from the wrong side of the tracks, and Roxanne moves in with the Pryor's after she learns that her mom is not only remarrying, but moving, too.

Directors: Dave Attias
Watch Now:iTunes
Home Again
star
6.50
2 votes

#4 - Home Again

Season 3 - Episode 10 - Aired 1/2/2005

JJ has trouble readjusting to life at home. Meanwhile, Meg is accepted into college, but the two most important men in her life aren't pleased. Nathan gets his first look at the boat he inherited.

Directors: Mark Piznarski
Watch Now:Amazon
So Long, Farewell
star
6.75
4 votes

#5 - So Long, Farewell

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired 10/24/2004

While JJ is in Vietnam he meet Gunnery Sergean Finch. Father Cassidy discovers Meg's plans to add an anti-Vietnam aspect to the play and forbids her to do the play as it is. Jack is aproached by the pastor about getting a colored person on the police commision. Luke returns to Philadelphia with shocking news for Roxanne. Melanie becomes increasingly jealous of Sam and Meg's friendship. At the last second, Meg decides to do the play as she wrote it.

Directors: Tom Verica
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Charade
star
6.80
5 votes

#6 - Charade

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired 10/3/2004

NICOLE RICHIE GUEST-STARS AS LEAD SINGER OF THE EXCITERS, HAYLEY WESTERNA AS A SINGER IN THE LAIR - When the Pryor's meet their new neighbours, they are surprised and shocked to discover that Shelly Pierce is a single mom, a Playboy Bunny, and that her son, Chris, is old enough to attend East Catholic. As Meg continues her anti-war campaign, she is reprimanded at school by a progressive nun who decides that a better way for Meg to get her message out is to direct Shakespeare's play "Henry V", with a modern day twist. As Patty becomes obsessed with winning the Campbell's Tomato Soup essay contest, she seeks Donald's help, which causes some discomfort for Helen. Meanwhile, Sam is recruited for basketball at Penn, which concerns Henry, but provides a new girlfriend for Sam - in the form of his tutor. When Jack's campaign for city council begins to affect his family and professional life, he finds himself faced with questions only he can answer. Meanwhile, J.J.'s excitement to be with his new squad and return to combat is dampened when he is ordered by the mysterious government man, Stevens, to report to the U.S Embassy instead for further training.

Directors: Robert Singer
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Fear Itself
star
6.83
6 votes

#7 - Fear Itself

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired 4/13/2003

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 JJ'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.

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Shoot the Moon
star
7.00
5 votes

#8 - Shoot the Moon

Season 2 - Episode 15 - Aired 3/7/2004

Meg is upset with Roxanne after finding out that Luke and her have been dating secretly. Uncle Pete gets cold feet as his wedding approaches and does not attend his wedding. JJ is surprised to see a friend of his from basic training in the untouchables. Later in the episode he is killed. Meg is offered the chance of a lifetime by Colin. Meg and Jimmy Reily reunite during a magazing interview. Sam and Angela don't like Henry's new lady friend.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Can't Hold On
star
7.00
4 votes

#9 - Can't Hold On

Season 2 - Episode 16 - Aired 3/14/2004

Liz Phair impersonates Jackie DeShannon, singing ?Walk in the Room? on ?Bandstand.? Off the set, Beth (Rachel Boston) is off to Hawaii to meet JJ for some R&R. It won't be either restful or relaxing. Meanwhile, Meg takes a job in WFIL's newsroom, where she sees a news clip that disturbs her greatly (she's also disturbed by something Beth tells her); Lenny (Johnny Lewis) is back in Philly with a newly released single and no idea about Roxanne and Luke (Jamie Elman); Nancy's replacement at the travel agency is a bachelor (Hank Stratton) who's very forward with Helen; Patty meets creepy Carl (Wes Robinson) at a pool, where she also meets a cute lifeguard; and Henry's frustrated because his new partner, Jack, doesn't treat him enough like a partner.

Directors: Tom Verica
Watch Now:Amazon
Long Shots and Short Skirts
star
7.00
6 votes

#10 - Long Shots and Short Skirts

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 9/26/2004

BRANDY GUEST-STARS AS GLADYS KNIGHT, GAVIN DEGRAW AS SINGER IN THE LAIR, AND BEN TAYLOR'S ACTING DEBUT - Meg and Sam continue to find themselves at odds with their parents after their court date, as the uncertain future of Sam's scholarship hangs over Henry's head. Meg's arrest is leaked to the papers, compromising the integrity of Jack's bid to run for city council. Back at school, Meg and Roxanne learn that the new headmaster is enforcing the school's dress code, so they organize a mini-skirt protest. Meanwhile, Beth continues to work at the Lair, and has caught the eye of Cal, an aspiring singer/songwriter. When Helen asks Beth to join the Blue Star Women, an organization that donates necessities to the wives of soldiers at war, she expresses her concerns of not being J.J.'s wife. In Vietnam, J.J. is in a military hospital where he learns that the rest of his squad was not so fortunate, and that Beth is pregnant.

Directors: David Semel
Clear and Present Danager
star
7.00
3 votes

#11 - Clear and Present Danager

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired 10/31/2004

Jack and Helen prepare to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary by going out of town. Roxanne decides to move out of the Pryor's house and in with Luke. Nathan begins to serve the rest of his jail time by working in a VA hospital. During his time there, he gains a respect for the veterans. JJ and his squard are captured and must figure out a way to escape. Meg considers laying your anti-war antics to rest but changes her mind at the last minute. Chris and Meg share their first kiss while painting a peace sign on the school but are caught and sentenced to 2 week suspension.

Directors: Lev L. Spiro
Starting Over
star
7.00
4 votes

#12 - Starting Over

Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired 1/30/2005

Prom is on the brain in this episode of American Dreams. With senior prom soon approaching, Roxanne and Meg scramble with their preperations. Patty is invited to prom which she rubs in Meg's face but is later upset when her date asks somebody else. Roxanne works to convince Luke to shave her beard off, while Meg prepares to face the prom on her own. JJ comes to her rescue after having a fight with Beth, that begins when JJ confesses his gamble that he lost. While at prom, JJ is offered a job at the high school. Meanwhile, Mr. Pryor feels the pressure from his bribers, and struggles to make a choice, which effects his family more than he knows.

Directors: David Semel
Watch Now:Amazon
No Satisfaction
star
7.00
3 votes

#13 - No Satisfaction

Season 3 - Episode 16 - Aired 3/23/2005

With Ted, Jack's brother in the hospital he faces a tough decision to pull him of the respirator that is keeping him alive. Meg and Roxanne are excited for The Rolling Stones concert but are surprised to find where their seats are. Patty wants to become cool after being teased by some students at summer school about being a nerd. She receives a makeover from Meg and Roxanne and goes on bandstand but ultimately decides she likes who she is. Meanwhile, JJ is doing well at his job and able to use his knowledge from Vietnam to help him.

It's My Life
star
7.00
1 votes

#14 - It's My Life

Season 3 - Episode 17 - Aired 3/30/2005

When Chris returns, Meg finds out that he has been drafted for the war and is going to Berkeley to avoid it. Meg must decide between being with Chris or being with her family but her decision is made even harder when Jack threatens to disown her if she leaves. Roxanne begins to cut hair at the Vinyl Crocodile much to Luke's dismay. JJ begins to feel overwhelmed at work when he volunteers to help on a project. Nathan is given a second chance by Mr. Pryor when he allows Nathan to do deliveries again. Helen decides to accompany a mother to pick up her son's coffin.

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Surround Me
star
7.33
3 votes

#15 - Surround Me

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 10/17/2004

Back in Saigon, JJ begins to experience other aspects of the Vietnam war including military interrogation, dating a Vietnamese girl, and deadly explosions in civilian areas. Back at home, Jack continues to approach the minority vote with help from Helen and Henry and the opposition resorts to scare tactics and dirty tricks in an attempt to foil his campaign. Meanwhile, Meg continues to work on her play with Roxanne, who is contributing in her own special way. As Meg and Chris become closer, his bad influence on her begins to show, surprising even Roxanne. Meanwhile, Cal and Beth also notice their intensifying feelings for each other.

Watch Now:Amazon
False Start
star
7.38
8 votes

#16 - False Start

Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired 2/16/2003

In the first track meet of the season, JJ 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 confidents Roxanne and record storeowner Mr. Greenwood. Elsewhere, Helen's classmates lead her to believe that their professor, Mr. Witt, has a crush on her. Musical guest star India.Arie portrays Nina Simone performing at the Vinyl Crocodile record store.

Watch Now:iTunes
Down the Shore
star
7.38
8 votes

#17 - Down the Shore

Season 1 - Episode 23 - Aired 5/4/2003

June 19, 1964: Jim Bunning's on the mound for the Phils 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 (Third Eye Blind does the impersonation). Meanwhile, Helen finally tells Jack about Professor Witt's advance. Back in town, JJ'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.

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Black and White
star
7.40
5 votes

#18 - Black and White

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/17/2002

While preparing for the city championships, JJ (Will Estes) 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 (Brittany Snow) 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 TV's 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.

Directors: Tucker Gates
Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The Carpetbaggers
star
7.43
7 votes

#19 - The Carpetbaggers

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired 4/6/2003

As Meg's (Brittany Snow) recently rekindled romance with Luke (guest star Jamie Elman) begins to heat up, she grows concerned over his level of ""experience"" in matters of love. Prompted by some sagely wisdom from Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies), she attempts to broaden her sex appeal with shocking results. Elsewhere, Jack (Tom Verica) decides to rethink Nathan's (guest star Keith Robinson) employment status after learning of Helen's (Gail O'Grady) brush with danger, and his involvement in her defense during the recent voter registration drive. Meanwhile, JJ (Will Estes) re-ignites his romance with Colleen (guest star Jessica Collins) as he prepares to celebrate his 18th birthday and Helen agonizes over her own secret from that fateful day with Professor Wit (guest star Robby Benson).

The Pursuit of Happiness
star
7.50
8 votes

#20 - The Pursuit of Happiness

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired 2/2/2003

In the aftermath of his confession to Beth, JJ 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 JJ 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.

Directors: Craig Zisk
Watch Now:Amazon
Great Expectations
star
7.57
7 votes

#21 - Great Expectations

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/12/2003

Meg gets two Cs 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 JJ talking to Colleen; Jack hires Henry's nephew, Nathan; and it seems that there's a bullying problem in Will's third-grade class.

Directors: Mark Piznarski
Watch Now:Amazon
Real-to-Reel
star
7.57
7 votes

#22 - Real-to-Reel

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired 1/18/2004

JJ befriends a Vietnamese family and later in the episode, their village was destroyed. At home, his family is creating a care package for JJ along with an audio reel. Jack goes to a conference with his brother, Pete and is shocked at his actions towards the ladies. Meg continues to date Drew and is caught making out with him in a car. Later, she goes too far with him. Patty uncovers that Helen was pregnant with JJ before she married Jack and tells Meg. Meg reveals this dirty secret in an bitter arguement. Jack bans Meg from seeing Drew anymore. Roxanne and Luke finally kiss. Henry is given money from the Muslims to start his own repair shop

Directors: Jessica Yu
Watch Now:iTunes
Secrets and Lies
star
7.60
5 votes

#23 - Secrets and Lies

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired 4/27/2003

JJ'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""); Natha 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.

Watch Now:Amazon
Heartache
star
7.62
8 votes

#24 - Heartache

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired 2/9/2003

Preparing for the East Catholic 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, Jack, prompted by his doctor, seeks a second opinion regarding his lingering sickness, while JJ searches for forgiveness from Beth. Elsewhere, Patty braces for her own Valentine's Day festivities as she makes arrangements for her first coed party.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Past Imperfect
star
7.67
6 votes

#25 - 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