Thursday, May 21, 2009

The new Melrose Place is coming!

The CW has announced their fall schedule and in addition to leaving Gossip Girl where it belongs on Mondays at 8 and moving Smallville into the death slot known as Friday nights at 8, they have also cast the die and placed their revamp of the greatest show in television history will air Tuesday nights at 9.

Oh, did I not mention that Melrose Place is the greatest show in television history? I was sure I did at some point.

Ok, maybe that is slight (slight) hyperbole, but Melrose Place has always had a special place in my heart and always will.

I don't remember how I started watching Melrose, but I did some time during season three in 1995. By that point, the show had long since grown out of its awkward "90210, but with 20-somethings" phase and become the batshit crazy overblown drama that daytime soaps looked at at went "That is some ridiculous shit right there." I came onboard right in time for Dan Cortese to show up as Jake's grease monkey brother, Jess, Amanda to recover from cancer in the span of a few weeks, Matt to get lured into an affair with a married man who wasn't actually gay but had some sort of convoluted scheme to kill his wife and frame a male lover, and, of course, Kimberly hearing voices in her head that led her to blow up the apartment complex.

Fucking glorious.

I hung in strong through the end of season five as the show continued to get weirder and wilder (Kimberly's deranged second personality takes over a mental home where Priscilla Presley is a nurse and then tries to give Peter a lobotomy!), then tapered off because all the actors I liked started leaving. I do have fond memories of Melrose being the only show I ever got my mom to become even a slight fan of during my formative years and her getting excited when Perry King played Brooke's dad.

My Melrose fandom was not much more than a colorful trivia fact I'd throw out when meeting people for the next few years (a true test for screening potential friends). However, when I got to Connecticut College and hit my senior year, I had my own room and noticed one day that E! had begun to run Melrose reruns during the day. On a whim, I began taping the show and then playing it in the background in the afternoon when I was writing papers for Women's Lit or whatever (it made sense). The turning point, however, was when my best buddy Jordan happened to stop by one time as I was watching Melrose and became immediately entranced by the brilliance that was Thomas Calabro in action.

Jordan and I became obsessive Melrose fans, taping the show in the morning and then watching ritualistically before dinner each night. We created our own sing-a-long version of the theme song that consisted of belting out the cast members' names in rhythm with the music along with appropriately placed humming and other noises (we relished the challenge of people leaving or joining the show). We began insisting friends call us Jake, Kyle, Peter or Michael depending on the day and modeled our wardrobes appropriately. Each day, we would select a line of the day and character of the day and record them in a massive Word document I still have. We even once tried playing this drinking game and nearly died (apparently you're supposed to pick just one character to drink along with, not all of them). Jordan fell in love with a force of nature called John Enos III and his girlfriend became concerned.

In short: we were awesome.

We would add third or fourth members to our viewing circle, always girls, but they never lasted. We cycled through at least four or five hangers on who couldn't handle the intensity. Watching Melrose Place the way we watched it was a man's job.

It was a dark day in the lives of Ben and Jordan when E! decided to transfer Melrose Place reruns over to the Style Network, which our school cable system didn't get. Our blessed Wednesdays of going to the comic store, getting Subway and then kicking back with Amanda and her antics were done. We did actually purchase a "complete run" on VHS via eBay, but the seller was...less than truthful about the "complete" part.

Fortunately for me, a few years later, the first season of Melrose was finally released on DVD and my lovely then-girlfriend (now-fiancee) Megan was down with watching it. The challenge of course came from the fact that the first season of Melrose Place is pretty terrible, beginning to turn a corner only when Heather Locklear joins the cast, but even then, not so much. Fortunately for me, Megan actually enjoyed the show enough that I knew season two and beyond would blow her mind--and I was right. We went back to eBay and this time found a legit seller who had the true full run of the show on DVD.

The rest is history.

But now, wonder of wonders, the Place is coming back! Obviously I was mostly bowled over with excitement over the news, but also nervous that my beloved Melrose would be tarnished by a crappy recreation. Certainly learning that two of my very favorite actors from the original, Laura Leighton and Thomas Calabrowould be back, reprising their roles as Sydney and Michael respectively, filled me with great hope that the new kids would be steered in the right direction.

Well, today the first footage from the new MP hit the web and I am...cautiously optimistic. It definitely feels like Melrose Place. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to upload videos and Kiel is asleep, so you're gonn have to just follow this link.

Some initial thoughts:

-At 40 years old, Laura Leighton has not aged a day and is still a fucking knockout who exudes sexuality like it's her job (which it is).

-Seems like this David fella is gonna be the "Jake" of the new series. That's a tough leather jacket to fill, hombre. Wait and see approach on him.

-I like this Katie Cassidy chick. She impressed me the most of the newbies.

-Love that they're trying to recreate Billy in the form of the Jonah character, right down to job, attitude and even looks. The legacy of Andrew Shue must live on!

-Ashlee Simpson is terrible, but in a way that I could see leading to her becoming crazy and making her awkwardness for her (it's how Kristen Davis got her start).

-The sets look like Melrose Place, which goes a long way in winning me over.

-Thomas Calabro has not lost a step. Great shot to end on.

Megan was all like "the acting isn't very good," but I had to remind her that this is Melrose Place; bad acting is like three quarters of the fun!

So for those of you with no interest whatsoever in Melrose Place, strap in and get ready to skip over some posts, because I am officialy excited to get back poolside, baby!

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