Melrose Place, The Recaps! S1, Ep2: Friends and Lovers

 

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Okay, they fixed the credits. Grant Show is naked in front of the refrigerator; everyone has a new set of round-lensed sunglasses and a bodysuit under jeans. Andrew Shue looks less coked out in his action headshot. Essentially, this is the “Melrose Place” I remember.

4616! The big, white CAPS follow-up credits let us know that we shall once again be treated to “90210” guest stars, and the simple-yet-beautiful pool is seriously making me want to go swimming.

What are the odds that someone with the last name “Saldana” guest appears on this show the night after I watch “Guardians of the Galaxy?” Anyway, I guess that “Melrose Place” is going for a theme in its openings, as Allison is Goldilocksing that the coffee is too strong. Billy is wearing scrubs for some reason, in keeping with his career fluidity. Allison whines that Billy is reading her paper before her. Pipe down Allison; I could see if he was mucking up your crossword puzzle, but he’s just educating himself.

Oh nm, I think Billy’s just wearing a baggy blue V-neck. He reminds Allison that her job description does not include having sex with Bad Parking Boss, but she is still worried about getting fired.

Jake has a Bad Shower Experience, possibly uses Mane and Tail shampoo, and while clad in just a towel (DRINK!), storms over to the Mancinis’.

There are so many things to say about this scene, that it boggles the mind:

 Jake ACTING up a storm, pounding on the door, yelling at Michael, and doing this really intense thing with both his forehead and index finger.

Michael dressed like he’s going to work at either Staples or Target.

Amy Locane wandering down the stairs in babydoll lingerie, more Lucy from “Dracula” than ever.

Michael and Jake doing their best to turn an exchange about calling a plumber into something really tough.

Jake is sporting Peter Petrelli’s hairstyle, while Amy Locane’s low-riding, pale-blue scrunchie reminds us that she’s Still Kinda Ingenue, and once again instead of a Grant Show/Hot Blonde hookup, we get a super-boring conversation. On the plus side, Amy Locane invites him to Shooters for a free beer later.

Michael makes a cheese sandwich of some nature and the best way I can explain it is to tell you to think of any “Disgusting Food from the ‘70s” cookbook/blog, and you’ll be well on your way.

Holy crap, only four minutes in? Jane talks about a dream while putting on a jacket that looks like an umbrella from the Museum Store at Roosevelt Field.

 Yada yada, doomed Mancini “love” scene. Michael’s a dick, and not in the fun way yet.

Oh Lord. D&D scene; Allison stands up to BPB and says “harassment” with emphasis on the first syllable. And turns out that someone else has filed charges against BPB.

Billy’s quit Arthur Murray to get his 179th job in as many minutes, so as to drive a cab! He shows up at Allison’s job and they flirt.

Not sure what is going on here, but Amy Locane is getting rejected by someone who is not Ileana Douglas, but in that vein (a casting director?), and NotIleana says, “Boobs. All I see is cleavage.” And while Amy Locane is rocking a Kelly-Bundy-esque top and looking gorgeous as always, I literally see barely any cleavage whatsoever.

Kelly’s here to let Jake know that Erin was born. Amy Locane mocks her because bitches be jealous.

Grant Show at the unemployment office, wearing another denim shirt, but this time over a black t-shirt, rather than under a leather jacket.

Billy picks up some girl and his cab and I KNOW that I know this actress, but if I venture into the Internet right now, this blog won’t get finished until next May.

They have a conversation about LA as Billy drives and does not look at the road at all. She jumps into the front seat and tells Billy that he looks just like Springsteen, and they realize that they were both at The Boss’s concert, back in the day. “Sexual tension” ensues.

Unemployment office. Jake sticks up for the woman on line in front of him. Kelly wanders in as the clerk calls security on Jake and calls him “Punk.”

Kelly’s card is declined, as she tries to save Jake…somehow, and finds out that Jake has “priors,” as he’s lived “a colorful life.”

Billy and That Chick. They creepily try to make eating fruit into something sensual, then fall on the couch making out. Allison comes home to cockblock, but they go into his room.

Allison spackles in overalls while getting butthurt over hearing Billy’s bedroom activities. He comes out of the room and she gives him shit. And once again the show is like “Christopher Returns” from “Gilmore Girls,” as Allison sadly says, “I thought we were going to paint.”

Next morning. Billy lets Allison know he didn’t have sex with Marcy (Mercy?), and Billy calls Allison out on her jealousy. Ma/ercy eats Allison’s grapefruit, and lets everyone know that she’s a dental student. Then she and Billy make out.

Unemployment office. Jake yells at Kelly for bailing him out and says that they’re from different worlds! Kelly says that she understands him. He storms off.

Ma/ercy is lighting candles all over the place at Billy’s place. She fluffs up her hair, and is surprised/disappointed to see Allison walk through the door, not Billy. Allison is nice and a gracious host. Jk, she’s bitchy like normal. Ma/ercy calls Allison out on being possessive of Billy, especially since Billy only moved in a few days ago.

Billy comes home with groceries that awesomely include the Standard Baguette, only in plastic, updated for the ‘90s. Ma/ercy comes up to kiss him, and Billy gets rightfully creeped out by Allison’s glaring at them from the couch.

Jane, writing at her desk. Michael comes up and they argue about their dead romance.

Allison storms into their apartment to yell about Marcy — officially, thanks Allison! She says that she hates being treated like she’s not even there, which helps Jane and Michael Understand Each Other. Then Allison rudely asks if she can stay there tonight, and I’m sorry but really? If you ARE jealous, like everyone but you seems to recognize, then fine. But don’t say you’re not jealous, then try to keep yet another couple from “making love,” as you creepily keep saying. You live 10 feet away.

Meanwhile, Jane’s wearing a different Museum Store umbrella as a shirt.

Marcy over-inserts herself into Melrose Place, as they randomly all have a barbecue. Steve is there, and Amy Locane talks his ear off, referring to Charles Nelson Reilly, as the show once again keeps up to date with what the young people were into, thenadays.

Steve invites Amy Locane to “a high-school party,” but they get interrupted by Marcy who introduces herself as Billy’s “lover — (she) can say that, can’t (she)?” Steve speaks for all of humanity when he says no.

Amy Locane accosts Jake at his place, but he tells her that it’s none of her business, while she takes her normal 10 times the length of time to say sentences over any other person in the world.

Michael studies in a more aggressive way than I’ve ever seen anyone study, while Billy worries as he sees Marcy charming Rhonda and Steve. Jane comes up and gets Billy to realize that he does not at all love Marcy. He vents to Allison, who calls Marcy aggressive.

Billy has a random fantasy involving Dr. Ruth and Marcy dressed like a Backstreet Boy.

Nighttime. Michael tries to fix the plumbing, as Jake comes home and saves the day. They have a really long and boring conversation about relationships, then Jane comes out and passive aggressively says “Good night.” Michael sits there holding his tool and looks thoughtful.

Billy watches a science show about spiders, realizing that he’s dating a black widow. Marcy tells him, “I think I love you,” and talks about blowing off school.

Next morning. Allison once again acts as though Billy’s her husband, and he comes out of the shower with his hair slicked back into an even more intense mullet than usual. He and Allison have some more back and forth regarding their relationshipnotrelationship.

The “90210” kids! While I know that Steve and Kelly are both also there, all I can see is Donna’s tangerine and purple ensemble. 

Jake rides up on his motorcycle, and gives Kelly $200 to go away. She throws it back at him, and he gets right back on his motorcycle, as slow jam music plays in the background.

Shooters! Billy walks in dressed like (Where’s?) Waldo, says “I’ll have what he’s having,” buys Jake a beer, and seeks relationship advice. Amy Locane is bartending. Jake finally asks her out (relatively) properly, but she rather awesomely turns him down, saying she has way too much respect for herself to be someone’s second choice.

Oh boy. It’s a Billy/Marcy scene, as she sidles up to him in a bright cherry-red ensemble like no one did better than an Aaron Spelling cast member. But he says “We need to talk. REALLY talk!” And you can probably fill in the rest of the blanks. Hopefully, because I’m not in the mood.

Jane/Michael scene (and I just now realized the “Mary Poppins” shoutout there). Michael is working at his desk in a room that’s really messing with my head, like it was either a used bookstore or some forgotten crawl space room in my godmother’s house — anyone’s guess, but it’s freaking me out, yet keeps me blissfully distracted from this boring-ass scene. When does Sydney get here, again?!

On the positive side, I will say that it’s entirely possible that Josie Bissett is the only person in the universe who could look quite so lovely in a baggy lavender sweatshirt.

Jake pounding on Kelly’s door…somewhere? Her hotel? Her room number is 59, in a shoutout to Josh. He apologizes for how he’s treated her, and both actors do some IMO really nice work in this short but sweet scene.

Billy and Allison paint, and talk about the demise of his three-day relationship with Marcy. Then the show ends with a pan out from the window, as if it were a scene of Angelus stalking the Summers house in Season 2 of “Buffy.”

~ THE END ~

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Melrose Place: The Recaps! S1, Ep1: Pilot

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So unlike “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Melrose Place,” its Spelling Spinoff, was never an obsessive rewatch for me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I watched pretty much every episode up until around the time that Kristin Davis showed up. No offense to KD, who was my favorite on “Sex and the City.” “Melrose Place” just didn’t have my heart the way “90210” did, especially considering that the MP people were both older than me and way more worldly than my straight-edge, virgin self.

I’m not sure if that’s why its theme song operated as like some kind of mind wipe for me, but for YEARS, the “Melrose Place” worked as the stump-everyone theme song; like, even if people remembered what the credits looked like, they (and I) could not hum it to save our lives. Even people who were really into the show! It’s just so similar to the “90210” theme, minus the “bonk bonk” from Brandon.

So it’s nice to rehear the theme, as the pilot opens with it. Back in the day, it was soooo cool — all the shots of California, but the slicker side to “90210’s” beach-focused opening. And whoa, one of the first shots shows full-on ass through a jean hole, and not even a jean hole at the bottom but in the middle of the cheek. Was this on FOX?

These are weird, old credits — pilot credits?

Anyway, the pilot of “Melrose Place” opens with Courtney-Thorne Smith (Allison) waking up. CTS had my good will already back in 1993 thanks to “Summer School” and even more especially, “Lucas.” Allison was poised to be my favorite, but probably would have been anyway based on the fact that she’s wearing a man’s shirt, not lingerie, has vaguely messy hair, and very little makeup on. In SpellingLand, that’s like veering on dirtbag.

Allison wakes up and immediately starts calling for I guess her roommate Natalie, and who does that? Wakes up and immediately starts yelling for her roommate, unless she’s had a nightmare or just heard a loud noise? I don’t actually think “It’s your turn to make the coffee” constitutes a valid reason for so much bellowing at 7:30 a.m., as the radio VO helpfully informs us. She storms down the hall with really fit legs, but there is NO TIME for gam envy, because she opens her roommate’s door (BOUNDARIES, Allison!) and gasps in horror when she sees that her Natalie’s room has been ransacked! “Oh my God,” she mutters.

Allison waltzes out of her apartment in her nightshirt, and goes to Matt’s apartment, who’s already waiting with a cup of coffee for her, but she’s all Lorelai Gilmore in “Christopher Returns; i.e., something ain’t right in Whoville. “Natalie’s gone! She took off!” she cries, and when Matt worries that she’s kidnapped, Allison makes me LOL by exasperatedly saying, “Oh come on, Matt! Who’d want Natalie?” Then there’s some banter about space aliens, and Allison scampers away…

…to Jake’s! Who spun the show off in the first place, as he creepily dated Kelly Taylor on “90210,” and here he is with his shirt off, like hilariously Masters of the Universe looking (which is not an insult; Grant Show kind of is like a Hollywood superhero, but more on that later). He’s all, “Why is it that whenever a girl doesn’t show up in her bed, they assume she’s at my place?” Paraphrased, you get the point, but what you cannot see is the downright bizarre way he’s leaning into Allison and saying it all like “Do YOU want to come in and be that girl?” but Allison gets even more points in my book by remaining completely unphased, and staring straight into Jake’s aggressive sexuality with NO FEAR, as she obsesses some more about her roommate, and runs to the next neighbor’s apartment, holding her shirt in front of her in the weirdest way possible.

To be unsnarky, this is actually a really fun way of introducing the show and all the characters, of which the complex itself is one — kind of like Tokyo in “Lost In Translation!”

Ohhh, it’s Jane! Who bears the distinction of having kissed one of the same men as Jenny Lewis, back during one of IIRC Jenny’s last acting gigs. Allison exposits that Natalie stuck her with the rent, and Michael shows up, also shirtless.

Allison: no money. Michael: no power to waive her rent, despite his and Jane’s being the managers (I think? Seriously, my eyes and ears glaze over when it comes to anything business. Quite possibly why I’m poor.) Anyway! Allison: plucky, needs roommate. Jane: sorry.

Vanessa Williams! Not the singer, the actress, looking great as usz in an early-90s workout outfit — of which there are many, and I totally miss. She says that it’s easy to find a roommate, lets us know that she teaches aerobics, lives with Amy Locane, and literally runs off to work, ’cause, endorphins.

The more things change; the more they remain the same — as Allison does the ’93 version of texting and driving by writing her ad while she drives her car among many ‘80s/early ‘90s cars. Not cool, Allison.

Kind of cool misdirection, as you keep expecting her to get into an accident. As luck would have it, she does not, but she parks at the same time next to another dude, and when she opens the door to get out, it slams into his (empty) passenger side! And don’t get me wrong; she’s been driving like a selfish jerk, but this dude like RUNS out of his car in this uber-aggressive manner, YELLING, and it’s kind of scary. Also, I rewound and he’s like at the VERY edge of the parking space right next to her car; she parked first, and he tore in after she’d clearly parked in an organized manner. And Allison is extremely apologetic.

Turns out, yelling car dude is some VIP at D&D (like our town’s liquor store!) Advertising Agency. Allison is the new receptionist, and I remember that I did always love her clothes, back in ’93 when it was super-sans irony. Right now, she’s rocking first of a billion tight-black-Kelly-Bundy-but-work-chic dresses, with a red blazer on top. But not quite as matronly as all the “90210” blazers, more Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” minus the leather aspect.

Whoaaaa. I don’t know WHY it’s always so weird for me whenever “90210” people show up on MP, but it is. Kelly, Donna, and David pull up to a restaurant that’s awesomely shaped like a hamburger, with a huge outdoor patio. Kelly’s being stalky to Jake, and Donna totally calls her on it.

Weird overall porn vibe, between the music and Amy Locane’s slowwwww, pretty creepy delivery and movements (I do like this actress and character, but this scene is hilarious), all of which is to establish that she and Kelly are both Jake’s Ladies, only Amy Locane is sophisticated and worldly, whereas Kelly is still just a high-school girl, and feels outleagued.

It’s Billy! He was my crush, back when the show was on. Like I said, I was innocent, and he was really sweet. Plus, while I was no longer reading Teen Beat, and it was pre-Internet, I was pop-culture savvy enough to know that Andrew Shue was a truly great guy IRL.

So basically, I’m not going to make fun of his acting. So many others did, and I always thought it was mean. Let he among his who’s had a successful, years-long acting gig cast the first stone! Also, I’m an underdog fan, and IMO, Andrew Shue : Melrose Place as Shane Kippel : Degrassi. *Waves to Rebecca if you’re reading ;)*. Both started out as ostensibly weaker links, but seemed real and were endearing. Then before our eyes, they grew so much as actors and when all is said and done, are Xanders of the show <3

Okay, back on track. We’re only 10 minutes in.  Good Lord. Billy talks about kissing girls on his squishy bed since the eighth grade (as you do), and Allison’s Very Exasperated. Oh, she’s also bought Life cereal. And clearly has not read The Gift of Fear, as she lets Billy just follow her around in the dark. Long story shorter, he wants to be Allison’s roommate. Though she is kind of awesome when she mocks his aforementioned junior high romances. He is very pushy and asks to take a look at the place.

Also, Allison has “Pizzerias,” a chip I don’t remember.

Billy hits a sore spot with Allison when he calls her her mother, then gives her his phone number.

Shooters! Jake plays pool with a maxi-cleavage chick, while Amy Locane comes over and calls out Jake on his playerdom, and especially Kelly, who as she rightfully points out, is not even 18.

Obligatory “How dare you try and be my roommate!” interview scenes, first with a purple-mohawked chick showing up at Allison’s, smoking a cigarette. Allison prissily tells her it’s a no-smoking place, and mohawk lady gets indignant, as she’s “down to a pack a day.” Next up, a blonde chick who is not Daphne from “Party of Five,” but might as well be. She also uses the phrase “making love,” so it’s good that Allison shuts the door in her face.

Not going to touch on the trans-phobic, ageist clips that follow. Actually, I kind of just did.

Michael shows up and gives Allison an eviction notice that the owner sent.

Shooters. Amy Locane is wearing that sheer black shirt over a bra that I still do miss from the ‘90s. Oh, Allison is looking for Billy and as luck would have it, there he is, playing pool. She tells him she wants him to move in. In true ‘90s tradition, Allison would go from pretty to slamming if she just took off that stupid blazer. I hang my own head, as I too wore a ton of blazers in the ‘90s, and what was UP with that?

Creepy bed scene with Jane and Michael. She asks him if he doesn’t get horny anymore and they frolic, but are thankfully interrupted by Allison with her rent and introduction of Billy.

Vanessa Williams is spying through the blinds, and barges into Sandy’s (that’s Amy Locane’s name) room, pulling up the shades and saying that it’s almost noon. She and Allison should just save everyone a lot of trouble and move in together. Personally, I’d have to totally bitch slap a roommate who barged into my room, yelling and judging me for sleeping late. Rhonda (Vanessa Williams) is sad that Sandy already knows who Billy is, but as a 20-year on-and-off waitress, especially given where I work in my small town, I appreciate how Sandy’s like, “I work at Shooters and no one knows things before I know things!”

Obligatory shirtless Billy, as he and Allison “banter” about living with strange members of the opposite sex, and they discuss boundaries. Allison has the unmitigated gall to talk about how knocking on doors is important, and then to be all :o that her hot, 20-something male roommate that she’s clearly not throwing a leg over might possibly be having sex from time to time. They agree on “one night a week,” for both of them.

Allison shows him the refrigerator, and she has Post-Its on all of her food, with designated shelves. There is interminable back and forth regarding baths and peanut butter, which I think is supposed to indicate underlying sexual tension.

Rhonda’s in another awesome workout outfit, and bugs Matt (who’s in the pool) about Billy. She asks him to go to a movie on Saturday, but he exposits that he’s leading a “drug-free” talk at the shelter where he works. They refer to “Yours, Mine, and Ours” as a young person naturally would do in 1993, and fight over who’s going to get Billy.

Weird-ass scene of Billy dancing to Latin music, and we find out that he’s a writer when Allison shows up. He compares himself to Norman Mailer, though he’s not even drinking iced tea.

Oh man: the ‘90s when our economy was so much different. Billy mocks Allison for being a receptionist, and while nothing besides waitressing has proven to me more than answering phones that the majority of our populace is deeply stupid, I’d still kill for her job. This scene is the worst; I can’t even go any further.

Kelly Taylor! Wearing one of those awesome culottes dresses from this time. Jake does his now-standard aggressive door jamb sexuality thing. Kelly pouts away, so Jake does what any guy in SpellingLand would do: yell at her and grab her by the arm. Overall, this scene is making Jennie Garth a worse actress, and I don’t think she’s a bad actress at all. Okay, THIS scene is the worst. But the cheese is delivered in spades, which is pretty awesome. Still not worth recapping though. Bottom line: Jake asks Kelly out to dinner the next day. And innuendos “I don’t think either one of us is gonna get off that easy.”

Awesome Workout Outfit again on Rhonda, who is seriously obsessing over Billy. Weird establishing shots montage, then Rhonda’s aerobics class. All joking and corny mustaches (on the guy who’s clearly there to mack on her) aside, I’d totally go to Rhonda’s classes. She’s a fun motivator.

Moustache Man is named Daniel, and he asks out Rhonda. Her reaction is actually super cute and endearing. I never understood why (SPOILER) Rhonda was taken out of the cast after the first season. Perhaps wardrobe could simply no longer afford her, especially as workout outfits grew more scarce.

Ew, it’s the creepy bad parker, here to give Allison orders. End scene.

Rhonda shows up at Jane’s boutique, needing clothes for her date. Again, jokes aside, I do think that this pilot does a pretty tight job of establishing the characters of a fairly sprawling cast). Jane exposits that she and Michael never see each other, after Rhonda envies her being married. It’s a cute scene.

MORE WEIRD! As we get a Kelly/Donna scene. Kelly wears that denim vest that we all inexplicably wore in ’92-’94, and Donna sports unprecedented balls, as she tells Kelly she doesn’t approve of Jake.

Was Billy supposed to be a coke addict, or did the MP creators really think that young guys just sort of acted this way in general? Regardless, he dances with a mop and carries a rose in his teeth, all alone in the apartment until Allison comes home.

Oh okay, we find out that Billy teaches dance at Arthur Murray. Allison’s laughter is super bitchy, but again a sign of the times — where anyone should be ashamed by such a job, even if it wasn’t “just” to supplement his Norman Mailer aspirations. What could be hotter as a day-to-day job than teaching dance?

Billy says he was hoping that Allison would be his dance partner. She responds, “Billy, I live with you, but I don’t have to dance with you,” as if in some alternate universe, that’s a really clever thing to say, then stalks off whilst cackling.

Kelly/Jake date. She’s wearing another awesome babydoll dress (fitting!), and they’re at Shooters. Because nothing says romance like a sports bar where your wannabe boyfriend’s hot other chick is working. Obviously, I have great and abiding love for that setting, but come on, Jake. How did Kelly get in here, anyway? Sandy shows up in 1 second flat and snarks about getting a chocolate milk for Kelly. As IF any waitress wants to make chocolate milk ever, much less on a busy weekend night. Turns out she was just kidding anyway, and Kelly orders a Coke; Jake orders a beer. In television tradition, “beer” is all the info needed.

Steve Sanders and David! Joining Donna, and seriously, who IDs at Shooters? They’d get fired from Townhouse in less time than it would take to see Allison sporting another blazer.

Hey, Sandy heard me! Steve asks for “whatever’s on tap,” which is still more specific than “beer,” and Sandy drawls about needing to see some ID.

“Kelly, you’re hurting me,” Donna unsettlingly foreshadows Ray, as Kelly pulls her into the more intimate…pool room.

Steve and David are now at Jake’s table, trying to act tough. Jake is predictably and dreamily unimpressed. Amy Locane comes over and announces in her per-usz deeply bizarre cadence, that if Jake’s going to date high-school girls, she’s going to date high-school boys, as “Melrose Place” manages to outdo even itself, on the creepazoid level.

She hits on Steve and IMO they should have married them off, if only so that she could be Sandy Sanders, pulling her overall porny vibe full circle.

Jake lets us all know that Sandy’s an actress, and Steve…whose lap she’s sitting on…starts talking about his mother.

I’m sorry, but this scene is even harder than usual to take seriously, as aside from David Silver and kind of Donna, the whole “90210 kids are KIDS and MP adults are ADULTS,” is so absurd. Kelly flounces back from her convo with Donna and it’s clear that she’s supposed to be the kid to Sandy’s adult, but I mean, come on now. And this is Kelly, not even Andrea or Dylan.

Needless to say, I’m enjoying the hell out of this pilot rewatch :-D

And I really really love Kelly’s dress.

Jake gives a weirdly delivered speech about how Kelly’s Too Young, and is also wearing a denim top, though I can’t tell if it’s a vest or a shirt, as obviously, it’s underneath a leather jacket. Kelly storms away, and Jake gets on his motorcycle.

Back at Melrose Place. Jane opens a bottle of wine and can I just express my dismay at how very young she looks to me? Back in the day, she was the elder!

I like Jane’s dress too, in structure, though not as much the color and pattern. Early ‘90s were a weird time that way, but by ’99, they’d figured it all out for at least two years; then it fell back to crap.

I feel like I should rewind, but kind of don’t want to Basically Allison is being shrewish again, some more, and Billy is once again without a shirt. Allison’s wearing an awesome moon-bedecked terry-cloth bathrobe.

New scene! Jane’s in the pool, and Allison’s stopping next to it as they have a conversation. Then Jake comes by and scoops Allison into his arms, but she tricks him and makes HIM fall in the pool! Because it was 1992, and What Couldn’t Women Do?

Boring conversation with Allison and Bad Parking Boss.

I can’t even jump down the rabbit hole of explaining Matt’s costume in the next scene, as he eats a green apple and talks to Rhonda, who is not wearing a workout outfit, but still by far the best-dressed on the show.

Now we’re at a party with Allison and Bad Parking Boss, which probably relates to the aforementioned, non-recapped scene. Bottom line is that Allison’s wearing a nice, very flattering black-and-white dress, sans culottes, that you can only now find on a lucky day at the thrift shop. And I’ve yet to determine whether it’s sociologically intentional, but Allison’s creepily flirty with this man in all of their scenes together.

Rhonda’s on a date with Daniel (Moustache Man, plus with that very specific “I’m cooler than most people” gold hoop earring from back in the day). He harkens back to my earlier words when he complains about the economy. If ONLY, 1993. Rhonda looks insanely gorgeous, and is incredibly charming, as is Moustache Dude, telling her that she’s so charismatic, but it turns out that he’s just using her to sell his stupid vitamins :(

Bad Parking Boss is grabbing Allison by the arm (DRINK!) as he takes her back to her apartment, and she says that she had an amazing time; thank you. The addition of alcohol and the presence of a hot lady in a dress makes BPB even creepier than usual. He says “Btw, you’re smart and all that, but also SEXY.” To which Allison responds, “Oh trust me, I’m not.” And between that and her response earlier to Billy (Jake? It’s been a long hour and a half) that “(she’s) not cute,” I’m wondering whether this is the ‘90s SpellingLand version of female self deprication, or signs of a deeper character issue. The fascinating thing about this show is that it really could go either way.

BPB leans in and basically acts like a sexually predatory Joker/Miss Hannigan in “Sign,” and not in the good way.

But, lo! Here is where all of Allison’s misgivings about having a platonic male roommate are put to rest, because who comes to the rescue, but Billy Campbell! Hahaha he’s near naked yet again, and tells BPB that “(he’s) her husband, slimeball.”

Allison self loathes again, saying “God, I am so STUPID!” She and Billy bond on the couch, and despite(?) all of the cheese, I’m viscerally reminded of why I loved this show so much, back in the day.

Kelly “most unsupervised high school kid in the ‘90s” Taylor creeps out from the shadows to knock on Jake’s door, wearing an outfit that is 1,000 times better than any outfit she ever wore on “90210,” not counting all the baby doll dresses. It’s a red I’m guessing bodysuit (MISS those, they were ubiquitous back then!), paired with a skirt that I can only describe as “funky” (said in Cindy Walsh voice, ’cause, age). I remember reading an interview with Jennie Garth back in the day, after her workout DVD came out. She was asked what body part she was most fond of, and answered “My tummy.” Then she was asked what part she liked least, and I vividly recall that the workout included “(embarrassed pause),” before she answered, “My tush.” This was before asses were all the rage, and IMO, Jennie was ahead of her time!

Back to the plot! Kelly asks to come in but Jake’s like if you walk through this door, you and I both know what’s going to happen, and Kelly’s like so? Rather than a hot Grant Show/Jennie Garth hookup, “Melrose Place” gives us an interminable scene where it’s established that Jake and Kelly are from different sides of the tracks. Don’t worry, Kelly. In a few months, you’ll have an even older man — Dylan!

Billy’s almost naked on the bed (DRINK!), and Allison graciously tells him that he can stay. Underlying Sexual Tension is firmly established, so to speak.

Michael SCATS, which I capitalize not to disrespect scatting, which is awesome, but to seriously wonder after SpellingLand, where kids were the oldest things ever, between the business deals, gambling, Lucille Ball, and scatting. In a couple of characters, I’d really appreciate it; like this past week, Previously.TV fans questioned “Degrassi’s” Imogen and Jack’s Phyllis Diller reference, but others (me included) thought it totally fit their characters. But on “90210” and “Melrose Place,” there’s just this weird (yet awesome) old-person vibe running through every one of The Youngs.

Michael serves Jane breakfast in bed. ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS, Jane.

Aw, I remember why I always had such a heart for Jane. She says: “I’m lonely, Michael. I thought people got married to avoid that,” and props to Josie Bissett, as she seems genuinely distressed. She doesn’t want Michael’s “fresh-squeezed orange juice;” she wants their old life back.

Pool time! I don’t even know how to explain Allison’s outfit; it involves biker shorts in a specific shade of blue that I haven’t personally seen since shopping at Sugarplum for a prom dress, but Billy’s unprecedentedly clothed.

Rhonda and Matt talk about her bad date, and she expresses sadness that they can’t just be together. Was this before Matt was out, show-wise? Either way, he makes it clear that they have no “strong physical attraction,” but it’s obvious that they love each other a lot, and out of all the characters on the show, probably have the strongest bond. Also, can I just say how extra-more this scene made me love Rhonda? She’s the personification of vulnerable, and while I understand — and she does too, in her eyes — that it’s not like that, really love how she conveys that she wishes she and Matt could just be with each other.

Then Amy Locane shows up in an animal-print bikini, and kicks off her…slippers? Crocs before crocs? Some sort of foot covering.She jumps in the pool to tackle Jake. Jane reads a magazine, poolside (thought not Jane magazine). Sandy and Rhonda chicken fight, while Michael sits in a hat and sunglasses, yelling for kids to get off his lawn. Until Jane pulls him into the pool!

Allison joins Billy at the grill and is her normal life of the party self, as she worries about her boss, until Billy scoops her off, and jumps both of them into the pool!

~ THE END! (Complete with super-weird ending-credit shots, and one last shot of a nearly naked dude, via Grant Show, staring into his refrigerator.) ~

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“90210” Is Once Again On My DVR!

Beverly-Hills-90210-6

Weird as it may be, my high school could have a five-year reunion reunion! And that was the last time that I wrote about “90210.” It was during about a year-long stretch wherein I had access to SOAPnet and a DVR – a heady combination if ever there was one. I don’t remember exactly how many eps of “90210” aired a day, but the number was not small, as far as these things go.

Several years went by where I went cold turkey, as I had no access to “90210” for various reasons including, but not limited to, SOAPnet’s demise. But recently, it has made a blessed reappearance – or perhaps I’ve just noticed its appearance – on TVGN! As well as another network that I can’t think of right now (sorry, other network!).

The lineup was rather wild for a bit, like it was anyone’s guess which cast member David Silver was sleeping with on a day-to-day basis – Claire, Val, Donna after she finally gave it up in Season 7 (I think?), only to break up with him like a week later for forging her signature on a check.

Now, each network has settled on some major gloriosity in the forms of Season Two summer episodes and Season Three senior year. I’m back off the wagon, and it’s filled with laughter and tears – not always for reasons intended by the show :-D It’s been fun getting back on the “90210” roller coaster — here are some observations from the rewatch!

1. I really dig Cindy Walsh.

It will never not be bizarre that I’m now a peer of “The Olds;” i.e., the teens’ parents, discluding Nat and Iris. I always forget whether Danny Drennan or Tara Ariano coined that term; both have written BRILLIANT recaps of the show. Now I’m the same age as The Olds. I can only hope that a) I have the mental and emotional fortitude to still go on hot-tub vacations when I get the $$$ and chance, and b) by the time I’m a peer of David’s grandparents, I too have rocking pool parties. But I digress from the point, which is that Cindy is awesome. Aside from that weird Season One storyline where she almost hooks up with that guy from her past, she is like, constantly just a good person. Probably my favorite Cindy moment is when she writes that letter to Dylan, urging him to make the first move in repairing his relationship with Jim, and come to the wedding that she graciously agreed to host for Jackie and that cheating bastard Mel.

2. TVGN commercials > SOAPnet’s.

I’m a messy person who likes things to be clean and at least relatively neat. I’m also a huge procrastinator. But over the years, I’ve found varying degrees of success with a system: I put on something dramatic and cheesy – a Lifetime movie or a “90210” usually – and clean during the commercials. If I get into the cleaning and miss a scene or two, no biggie, and hearing it in the background is oddly soothing. But as a result, I’ve heard/seen a lot of commercials targeted towards my specific demographic. Many are downright horrifying. Whereas SOAPnet ads filled me with rage, TVGN’s seem to have some sassiness and pizzazz to them. A self awareness rather than a pandering, which I appreciate if someone’s going to try and sell me laundry detergent. Perhaps I just prefer today’s advertising climate; perhaps I’ve mellowed, but I definitely enjoy cleaning kitty litter more these days.

3. I’ll (almost) never pick a post-Season Four episode over a pre-.

I love Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and I love Valerie. Had she been in any S1-4 episode, it would probably be my favorite one. As it is, she’s my favorite part of the latter half of “90210.” But I just need my Brenda. And it’s not just that. I adored Kelly and love Jennie Garth, but once Brenda left the show, they to paraphrase Danny Drennan (for sure, this time!), totally saintified Kelly and it was uber-annoying. And it’s like, enough with the fashion shows. Not to mention the business plots. Speaking of which:

4. Aaron Spelling clearly though that teenagers were as interested in big business as he was.

Granted, I’m not the most shining example of monetary success. Perhaps I should have been taking notes during Jim Walsh/Dylan scenes, rather than playing with my cat and/or heating up Lean Cuisines. But holy moley! I always remembered that the latter half of this show consisted largely of people buying the Peach Pit After Dark from each other, but even the early seasons are full of financial intrigue!

5. Have I mentioned that I love Brenda?

Because I do. But I will also say that watching her dropped-jaw, tearstained face has been an excellent exercise in self-examination and humility, seeing as I am not 17 anymore :o

6. The first summer episodes RULE.

I was aware of the post-Season One summer episodes since before I even watched the show. They were savvy marketing, as they aired during a time before TV on DVD, before the Internet, before quite as many networks as we have nowadays. While most channels were airing reruns, Fox showed new episodes of a hot television show, all beach-themed, to boot! It was brilliant. But I realize in 2014 that I didn’t realize how brilliant, back in the day. This is I think when they officially started the transition from ‘80s Afterschool Special to soap opera. And for awhile, that transition was freaking fantastic. Speaking of WHICH:

7. The Brenda/Dylan/Kelly love triangle is still so awesome.

Brenda’s reaction to the phone call with Dylan and subsequent conversation with her parents, where Jim tells her she can’t go to the party – I still FEEL that, all these years later. It’s like, she knows her doom is being sealed, because Kelly gets to go to the party! And can I just say: What a dickhead Dylan was! Albeit hilarious, because it truly takes the most unmigitated of all the galls to sit across from two best friends and tell them that they are crazy for making you choose between them. Speaking of which, I did not realize back in the day, how heavy the threesome jokes were in that scene.

8. I still don’t know how to feel about Dylan McKay, overall.

One of my friends, back in the day went to a diner and trolled his friends by suddenly speaking to the manner as if he were Dylan. I wasn’t there, but the idea of it still makes me laugh, and now when Dylan gets especially mutter- and posture-y, it’s all I can think of. This very morning, he whispered a line that was so quintessential. Never believe yourself when you think, “It’s okay, I’ll just remember.” I didn’t write it down and now I’m mad, because it was so PERFECT!

Anyway. My boyfriend said a few days ago, that Dylan was his favorite of all the dudes. I respect his opinion, and it really made me like Dylan more, Josh’s seal of approval. But still, Dylan’s “You’re not in my bed, so why shouldn’t [insert other chick [so to speak]] be?” really grates. Just because your two gorgeous would-be girlfriends are asking you to choose between them (!!!) doesn’t mean you get to go off and sleep with a MILF rancher, especially if it means that she tells her life story for half the episode, only never to be seen again.

9. Jim Walsh scenes are actually kind of interesting, if you view them as part of the overall Shakespeareanness that was this show.

Nothing more to add.

10. I’m grateful that “90210” exists.

One day, Kelly’s eyebrows are all over the place and the next? Nowhere to be seen. That is only one example of how “90210” reminds all of us in “The graduating class of Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Three” and thereabouts that time is fleeting. But it’s really fun to look back on the old days and wonder why no one with curly hair ever parts her hair to the side, lets her bangs fall to the chin, and puts the rest of it back a scrunchie anymore. That was a really pretty hairstyle IMO, even if “Sex and the City” + society demand that we scrap the scrunchie part. NIKKI 4EVA!

*** More “90210” blogs! ***

The “90210” Survival Guide

The “90210” High School Graduation Recap

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On Days Like This

On days like this, time seems to fall away. The sun is at this one place in the sky, and everything looks golden, as if it were an episode of “Wonder Years.”

It’s almost Fall and I see my hair in the mirror, think “Wow, it hasn’t looked this specific brand of shitty since 1989,” and then I cry because wait, isn’t it still 1989?

I have no idea when I got older. All I know is that it’s not going to stop, until it does.

On days like this, I remember so hard, how it used to feel, in September. All the school supplies were fresh and new, waiting to be filled with notes of a dedicated student, while there was still time, before the inevitable ennui.

The air would be less hot; the trees would get more yellow, and it was my own personal spring time.

On days like this, Grandparents Day, I can’t believe that all four of mine are no longer here. They were for so long, and that means that my death is closer too.

Then I feel guilty, on days like this, for getting sad instead of gathering rosebuds while I may.

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5 Reasons to Watch “Girl Fight” (2011)

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It is no secret that I love Lifetime movies, the more mockworthy the better. So I was fully unprepared for how genuinely good “Girl Fight” was. Perhaps it started out as not a TV movie? Not that TV movies can’t be genuinely good, but it was startling, how much I genuinely enjoyed a Lifetime movie in a non-ironic way. While I didn’t get my cheesy fix, I was so glad to have put this on my DVR.

 

5 Reasons to Watch “Girl Fight”

 

1. The Cast

Jodelle Ferland who plays Haley, the lead girl who is a victim of an attack at the hands of her friends (so she thought), is an absolutely lovely young actress. She is so engaging and believable in a role that had to be tough to play. Anne Heche and James Tupper are fantastic as the parents. Linda Darlow is absolutely wonderful as Mary Lou, the grandmother and guardian of the queen bee and ringleader of the girls who attack Haley. All of those girls are really good and very believable, as well. It was rough material they were given, and I thought everyone did an excellent job of bringing humanity to her role, despite the varying inner ugliness of the individual girls.

2. The Sociological Examination

The attack, which was based on a real-life story, was extremely brutal. And they show a lot of it. While the girls claim it is vengeance over a Facebook post Haley made, it really is about their getting 15 minutes of fame on the Internet, as they videotape the entire, excruciating half hour. After the media catches wind, a frenzy ensues that the girls enjoy, despite being in trouble. In that way, “Girl Fight” reminded me of “Funny Games,” as it seems to encourage the audience to question our own level of guilt in feeding a voyeuristic culture.

3. The Pacing

It is rare that even the better Lifetime movies remain interesting in the second half. “Girl Fight” was engaging throughout. I actually didn’t want it to end; it was so engrossing. It brought a lot of urgency to the scenes that called for it, but took its time letting us get to know the characters. Which in turn, made the urgent scenes feel that much more personal.

4. The Dialogue

By that, I mean the dialogue I think that “Girl Fight” encourages. If I had kids around Haley’s age, I’d want to watch this movie with them. There is so much going on in terms of how chaotic life can be as a teen, especially with all of the social media. The value of friendship and choosing loyalty and kindness over popularity is highlighted, but never preachy. And it’s a good reminder that even though we as adults might still feel like we’re teenagers, or at least like it wasn’t that long ago, we don’t actually know what it feels like to be a teenager now. Haley says as much to Anne Heche at one point, who rather than get all butthurt and huffy, realizes that Haley’s right and gently says, “Why don’t you tell me?”

5. The Ending

I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s awesome and surprising and it made me realize that us old chicks sometimes can learn a lot from people half our age.

 

Thanks to everyone involved with making this movie, and to the family on which it is based, for sharing their story.

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Trowsers Rolled

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

~ T.S. Eliot

When I was a kid, every year on New Year’s at midnight, I had a tradition. I’d say, “Next year, I’ll be ten!” For example. My birthday’s in August, so on January 1st, the idea of leaping two numbers in age filled me with joy and excitement.

This last January 1st, I had a stunning and unsettling revelation. “Next year, I’ll be 40!”

Holy…I try not to swear so much in my blogs now, but please insert many “#$##@*&!” words above.

Because, wtf.

I could win a “Degrassi” trivia contest right now.

I own and sport more “Hello, Kitty” items than can be counted on two hands.

I still wish that Glintz and Brights exist when I’m in the hair dye aisle. That I’ve been fiddling with hair color since I was 13 helps me remain in blissful ignorance as to whether my hair is gray or not.

It’s stupid, I know, to fret about such things. The phrase “Do not resent growing old – many are denied the privilege” is a pretty serious and all-too-true sentiment.

Five months after I started blogging, I wrote this.

It was scary to turn 30. As a former actress, I knew that I was entering the First Decade of Undesirability. Ridiculous I know, but my clinical nature had to accept facts as facts. I also had always appreciated the idea that Jenny Lewis sang about: “…to give things their turn.” I’d lived through my kid years, teenagedom, my 20s. Now it was time for others to do that, to show up to casting calls as 20-somethings who could pass for late teens.

And it was all good. My 30th birthday was one of the most special nights of my life. Babz & Company had set up my regular karaoke-night bar with streamers, balloons, and a hell of a “Surprise!”

I wrote more than one blog about how age stuff is stupid, and being in your 30s is awesome. How silly to fear a new decade, I said.

But now as I approach another new decade, I’m intimidated.

It’s not because women in their 40s can’t rock it out. My boss is in her early 40s, and I’m hardpressed to think of a more badass woman, not to mention that she is gorgeous. My former coworker and friend is in her 40s as well – same sentiment. When my mother was in her 40s, I got annoyed when she complained about age, as she was awesome, as well. (Still is, but I’m going for a theme here.)

It’s more about the fact that I don’t even have my shit together in the slightest bit. When I turned 30, life still felt like a potential smörgåsbord.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

Maybe I didn’t dare enough, in my 30s. Because I’m still a waitress (the office work I do is more of a favor to me than anything else). I have no kids, and it’s possible now that I may never, due simply to time’s passing and also, science.

Yet I personally know at least one woman who had a baby at 40, and that baby is awesome.

In 1999, I was the resident ingénue in a repertoire theater. I remember thinking that when I was in my 40s, I wanted to be just like a couple of the actresses with whom I worked. Getting older wouldn’t be bad at all, if I could wear little clips in my hair that looked like butterflies, and invite people over to a home that was chock-full of art.

I remember being in my late 20s. “Desperate Housewives” was all the rage, and “40 (was) the new 20.”

It was comfortable feeling that way, that it wouldn’t be bad to be in my 40s, when I was in my 20s.

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
…And in short, I was afraid.

When I was 19, I met several amazing people in Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. It was pre-Internet, so staying in touch meant writing letters. There was one guy, Ethan, with whom I became friends. He was cute, but our relationship was not romantic, more about sharing ideas and Heavy Thoughts (TM “Lucas”) that usually didn’t come up in daily conversation with our teenaged peers.

The year after I met Ethan, I used to write out poems by hand that I thought were cool, and mail them to him, because he always Got It. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was my personal poem of the time. It was all about getting older, and life, and wisdom! At 19, I totally understood.

The summer that I turned 25, I was finishing up my uber-useful English BA, and took an intensive course on Hopkins, Yeats, and Eliot. Now that I was insanely older, I ruffled the virtual hair of my once-19-year-old self, and realized how much deeper T.S. Eliot’s words were than I ever could have appreciated, back when I was a kid.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo

I don’t talk to Ethan any more. No bad reason, it just doesn’t happen. I went on with life, and was a fantastic student — 4.0 GPA, baby!

In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions that a minute will reverse.

The second summer that I hung out with Ethan, we watched “My Girl 2” in his time-share.

“How sad,” I thought then, regarding the suckiness of the sequel. That summer of ’95, I was about to turn 20 and thought I’d finally, at last, figured it out. Poor Anna Chlumsky. So sad how her promising stardom was fading.

Nowadays, that poor sad sack is getting nominated for awards and stealing scenes from Julia Louis-Dreyfus – a feat that I literally did not think was possible; JLD is my comedic goddess.

Ms. Chlumsky’s not in her 40s. But JLD was when she rocked out as Christine in my favorite sitcom of all time, next to “Friends.”

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas

^^^ Perhaps^^^

But in the meantime, there are decisions, revisions, mermaids – all sorts of things to attend to. I think that the thing that scares me most about turning 40 is the realization that time really does run out. Better get to stepping.

And probably read Hamlet, while I’m at it.

 

 

 

 

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Hewlett’s Landing

Inside, there is yellow squash. There are Freihofer’s cookies, better than Entenmann’s and always on top of the refrigerator.

Even when Nanny and Pop-Pop weren’t there, they were there. Nanny tried so hard to act as the homemaker, even though part of her charm was that she wasn’t one.

At night, we went to bed in the random spare room. As “home” as Lake George felt, night-time was always weird. As the weeping willow swayed around, as the lake waited for us kids and our tuna-fish sandwiches, because the beach sometimes means other places than the ocean.

Tomorrow, we’d be back. Before then, cars would climb over the bridge. Minnows would suicide their way to the shore. Crowds would be full of families, before I realized how precious the time was.

There were epic bike rides. There was water, and holding onto the slimy and slippery dock, should you be badass enough.

But once you made it to shore, your grandparents would be there. All would be well. Things would make sense. Nanny would know to pair tuna fish with Miracle Whip and celery.

It is so weird that it can’t happen again.

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