The facts: the original Melrose Place is probably my favorite television show of all time. I could write an essay on why, but let's just leave it at "it is" for now. I have waited patiently for a decade, and now at long last my beloved Melrose has been remade for a new generation...but will it be any good? That is what I will explore here each Tuesday night (or Wednesday evening) in the Melrose Memo. I understand that those of you coming here for comics, movie or general geek news probably have little to no interest in hearing my thoughts on this program, but people--it's Melrose Place.
Now, as my friend Sean would say, read on if you wish, but do not allow me to spoil the elaborate mythology of this show for you; in other words, watch before reading!
Here we are again. How have your last few months been?
Anyhow, Melrose Place has returned with all-new episodes for the spring, though you wouldn't necessarily know it from the lack of promotion or fanfare. Yeah, most of The CW's pick-ups for next season have been announced and MP is not among them as of yet. Additionally, in contrast to the magazine coverage and TV commercial blitz when the season kicked off, there's been little to nothing on this return.
So yeah, getting back into the Melrose spirit feels a bit like watching the walking dead shamble their way to a final rest, but by criminy, I ain't giving up! This could all still turn around, the ratings could reverse, the renewal could come and if there's any justice I could still see Grant Show on my television screen again without having to watch that ABC sitcom with the chick from Dharma & Greg!
We're gonna keep riding this Melrose train into the station, folks, so grab your tickets and, if it's NJ Transit, be ready to stand for the remainder of the trip.
One final pre-show note: I watched Gossip Girl earlier this week and man if that two-plus month layoff didn't kill any momentum that sucker had going. Honestly though, it could help MP as the distance between the first half of the season and this new direction may work. Let's see...together!
-And we've got problems right off the bat as the recap of last episode/the first half of the season completely omits the murder mystery that was the center of the show as well as its resolution. C'mon guys, I understand that you want to put that era behind you, but what about people who may be tuning in for the first time or gave up a few episodes in and have returned who are now going to have no clue about what happened with Sydney's killer, Violet, etc.? Sloppy.
-The final scene of the mid-season finale with Jonah and Ella in bed ended with some great potential as it seemed like both characters were going to be given a much-needed new lease and the interminable Jonah-Riley relationship treadmill was finally going to end--no such luck. Right off the bat, Riley texts Jonah and he's not even man enough to call her back from the hotel room, needing to run back to the apartment. I was so pleased with the seeming clean break from this shit and am quite disappointed it's immediately getting dragged back in.
-I love how Jonah keeps alluding to Ella knowing "exactly what she wants," since bi-sexuals are notorious for that (apologies to any and all of my bi-sexual readers).
-Hey, it's Billy Campbell! No, not the beloved original Melrose Place character played by Andrew "Sadly I Would Be One of the Best Actors on this Show" Shue, but the fiercely-bearded actor who was on The O.C. and some other junk. And...oh my...seriously? After 18 long years there is finally a Melrose Place character named Ben?! Forget all the bad stuff I said!
-"I'm not sure putting flowers in a hospital room where somebody is on oxygen is a good idea." -New nursing student Megan on David's visit to Lauren in recovery.
-Having Lauren repeat "Such a jerk" like three times and then not having Michael walk in is such a swing and a miss I can't even begin to express my disappointment.
-Why is there no police tape or indeed any sign of anything at the apartment complex where Violet drowned a lady last night? And did they clean that pool?
-Ok, points for the cameo by the BPRD and Goon comics.
-"What's she wearing?" "It's a mumu." "It looks like an Indian tribal outfit." "It's an Indian tribal mumu." -Megan and I on Riley's wardrobe.
-"Is it sad that I'm paying more attention to the way her giant earring is swinging back and forth?" -Megan praising Riley's performance.
-I am shocked that when Ella said she had somebody to cater Amanda's party she had Auggie in mind. Seriously, this woman has the rolodex of a third-grader. I hope somebody needs a hooker or art thief so she can find Lauren and David work too.
-"I killed Sydney! What? Too soon?" -Megan on what she was hoping Jonah's revelation to David would be (sadly it was just that he slept with Ella).
-Wow, Top Chef and Dr. Drew references in one Ella speech? These writers have been keeping up on their TiVos over the break!
-See, this is what I'm talking about: Riley tells Vi she's "so sorry about what you went through last night," meaning the aforementioned drowning of the woman who killed her mother, but as neither the recap or a single fucking character has mentioned it up to this point, new viewers would have no idea what she's talking about! It definitely feels like they've just given up...
-Heather Locklear looks better in her dress than Katie Cassidy does in hers. Day-um. What were you thinking, Richie Sambora?
-Jeez, the people putting this show together just have no idea how to write Amanda, and no amount of magic on Locklear's part can overcome that. There's no way the real Amanda would give a shit that her nerd boyfriend didn't propose to her or even fall for a guy like Ben in the first place. They only know how to script her as an over-the-top bitch and have no insight into any other aspects of her character whatsoever; it's like they just watched a clipshow of her reaming Alison out and then figured, "Yep, got it!" but there's much more to Amanda than that.
-On the flipside, I think the same powers-that-be have way too much faith in Ella to carry the show, and it's sad what she's become given how strong a character she started out as. I know I sound like a broken record, but she can't be the "bitch" of the show when she is terrified of her own shadow and allowing Jonah to play her like a chump. They need to either give her back her claws or bring in a new alpha female (not Amanda) to bump her from that spot. Katie Cassidy is certainly capable of playing either part, but not with the material she's being given; don't believe the hype.
-"You're here?" "No, it's an illusion!" -Megan giving what should have been Jonah's response to Riley's dumbass question.
-Why is Jonah dressed like The Joker?
-Good lord, even Riley and Jonah's "good times" back in college sound lame.
-Not only is David the best character on the show even if he's only in it for about five minutes, his extreme beatdown on that sleazy dude who drugged Lauren was the total highlight of the episode! Still wish he had some interest in the death of his stepmother/baby mama and maybe what the fuck happened to the brother/son he left with Vi the night before, not to mention a reaction to that steplover being Sydney's killer he spent most of the season relentlessly searching for.
-"No, she's literally a whore!" -Megan, concerned the guy wasn't properly conveying his thoughts to David before being pummeled into unconsciousness.
-"Your kidney is in your back, you dumb shit." -Nurse Megan, who just will not let up on this poor guy as Lauren is assaulting his ribcage and he complains of a bruised kidney..
-Both Megan and I noticed that Auggie's portrayal of "drunk" mostly just involves dropping his eyes a bit and then continuing to speak with a complete lack of emotion or inflection.
-David and Lauren basically have their own separate show going that's better than the main one by far.
-I was sure when Lauren told Jonah he should crash at David's apartment she was angling for a threesome.
-"I want to remember you smiling, so that's why I watched you hysterically crying last night before I left." -Megan mocking Auggie's goodbye note to Riley he wrote before he and Violet skipped town (and the show).
-It would have rocked if Auggie and Vi didn't leave on camera and next episode somebody just mentioned they left as an aside, like when Duke came out of his coma in the G.I. Joe movie.
-Do they really think a fucking art theft mystery is going to have better legs than the murder mystery they completely lost faith in? Ugh.
-Man, maybe the most frustrating thing is that no matter how bad this show gets, they still manage to always make next week's episode look awesome! I'm now psyched for an hour of David, Michael and Amanda being rad, but I'm sure we'll get at least 45 minutes of Jonah, Riley and Ella talking in circles and going nowhere instead. Sigh. Whatever, I remain forever optimistic.