Melrose Place, The Recaps! S1, Ep6: Second Chance

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Melrose Place at night! Everyone from the complex is playing poker at Allison and Billy’s place. That’s really cool that they’re doing that, but I feel like they could maybe have carried another table a few feet because everyone is squeezed around it like a table version of a clown car, but upon further investigation, it might be an actual poker table.

Everyone is drinking Coors Original from the bottle. Was this when it was still only a West Coast thing? If so, that is a pretty cool touch as far as product placement goes. Although having just suffered through Jane and Michael calling each other “Mom” and “Dad” at the end of the last episode due to Jane’s pregnancy, I must question why Jane appears to have a beer, as well.

Rhonda’s water-only sobriety is not helping her win, as she begs them to take an IOU or when that doesn’t work, tickets to go see a “very hip” dance troupe. The uncultured buffoons all scoff at that, but eventually allow it.

Allison pushes all her chips in the middle, but as Lauren Graham is not available for proclamations of love, says “I am going for broke” instead of “I’m all in.” Unless you don’t say that in this version of poker. Bryan, if you’re reading, let me know plz!

Billy teases Allison about her poker face, until Allison makes me LOL with her disproportionate reaction as she spits: “Will you just shut UP, Billy?!” Weird music tinkles in the background as she and Jake eye each other until Jake folds. As luck and comedy would have it, both Jake AND Allison had been bluffing, and both had crappy hands! Allison applauds her own victory.

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Then goes on to say that in college, she was the “cram queen.” Heh. She is actually talking about working well under pressure and never studying for tests until the night before. Everyone literally leaves to get away from her braggadocio, but she has to out-dick herself by giving Rhonda back the tickets, saying, “Oh come on. What am I gonna do with these?” I’m kind of glad that no one bothered to bring his/her glasses and bottles to the sink. 

Daytime. Rhonda interrupts Matt while he’s swimming (DRINK!), wearing possibly her most epic workout clothes yet. What isn’t going on with this outfit? Fringe? Check. Plaid? Check. Fishnet? Tube socks? High tops? Mismatched sleeves on a hoodie? Checks to all!

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Rhonda begs Matt to come with her to see that dance troupe because her friend Theresa is performing in it, as it turns out. Matt is all, “Dance puts me to sleep.” Rhonda says she needs him, and Matt is like, “FINE.”

Allison drinks coffee at her and Billy’s awesome kitchen table in her likewise-awesome lavender director’s chair. She’s wearing an extremely flattering, simple rust-colored blouse with no shoulder pads and a straight black skirt with a big-buckled belt. Oh, Early ‘90s: such a bipolar time for women’s fashion. Anyway, it’s Jake at the door, who with arms crossed the entire time, invites Allison to his place later for “a proposition.” As he leaves, sex music starts to play as Billy shows up to the door post-shower, while buttoning up his shirt (SIP!) and asks if Jake wanted his money back. Allison says “Something like that,” and follows Jake with her eyes.

Dance recital. Rhonda’s friend is the lead, and Rhonda is envious of Theresa’s “perfect body,” as IF hers isn’t. Matt enjoys the show much to his surprise, says that Theresa is fantastic, and asks why Rhonda’s kept her such a secret. Rhonda looks concerned.

Melrose Place. Allison is wearing her second blue sweatshirt in as many nights, but this time it’s a pale v-neck that she’s paired with really short denim shorts as she lusts after Jake, who is pacing around and talking about how he didn’t grow up in the most loving and supportive environment. Allison responds, “Who did?” I get that they’re bonding and Allison’s empathizing, but that is a weird response. Jake goes on to talk about how his mom married a drunk named Hank and when it came down to choosing between Jake or Hank to live in their trailer, she chose Hank. Then out of nowhere, this hilarious music starts playing in the background to make us get sad, but it sounds even more like “The Brady Bunch” than the Mexican restaurant in the last episode.

This story is all Jake’s way of saying that because of his troubled youth, he never graduated high school and is taking the GED soon. He wants Allison to help him study. Poor Allison, getting all sexed up in her fancy sweatshirt for nothing. Jake explains that for the first time in his life, he feels like he has a future. “I don’t know what it is yet,” he says, and Allison responds that she doesn’t know what her future is, either. Okay, but this is about Jake; focus please, Allison!

Dance recital curtain call. Everyone bows while the audience cheers. The female dancers are all wearing my bathing suit from 1996. The men are shirtless, which is perhaps why Billy was putting on a shirt before despite being in the doorway, lest things go into sultry overdrive.

Matt asks Rhonda if she wants to go backstage and despite forcing Matt to go with her because of Theresa in the first place, Rhonda acts weird until finally agreeing. Backstage, Theresa flirts with Matt and Rhonda tries to cockblock, but ends up agreeing to take Theresa out on the town…

…to Shooters! Matt, Rhonda, and Theresa sit at a table. Theresa delivers about seven lines of dialogue while holding a slice of cucumber in her hand, and we learn along with Matt that Rhonda did not return Theresa’s call about auditioning in LA for her dance company. Theresa delivers all her lines like she is trying to hypnotize everyone, including her own self. She belittles Rhonda’s cardio funk class, but Rhonda’s answer is still no.

Jake and Allison sit on the floor and study around a table. I like sitting on floors myself, but MAN, does the couch behind Jake look super comfy.

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Thank you, “Melrose Place,” for allowing Allison to read aloud not only the entire math word problem, but also every single multiple-choice answer. Jake says he’s fried, but Allison does not accept that. She gets up to make another pot of coffee and says, “The only way to cram is to cram.” Jake gets the answer correct!

Matt and Rhonda return to Melrose Place, as Matt tries to get Rhonda to audition for the dance troupe. Rhonda says it’s too late; once you’re over 21, they put you out to pasture. Matt hilariously amps up the Shakespearean-esque drama and goes, “Don’t you believe in FATE, Rhonda!”

Morning. Billy shows up at Jane and Michael’s to ask if they’ve seen Allison, because she didn’t come home last night. Michael suggests that she met a guy at Shooters and went home with him and Billy’s like, never in a million years! Rhonda comes by and agrees that Allison probably had a one-night stand.

Sandy comes out and tells Billy to grow up; Allison’s a grown woman. But Billy and Jane head inside to call 911 (?!?!), until Allison steps out of Jake’s place in last night’s clothes 😮 Everyone is scandalized, until Allison says it’s not what they think. Then she thinks better of it and says that it’s nobody’s business. I kind of have never liked her more, as she saunters away and Sandy gets mad as per usz that Jake’s (apparently) sleeping with women besides her, despite his once again showing no interest in Sandy.

For a change of pace, this time it is Billy walking into the kitchen and judging Allison, who is taking aspirin on an empty stomach. She tells Billy that she and Jake just talked, and they exhibit what is supposed to be sexual tension, but I’ve gotta say that even though everyone is making incorrect assumptions, and even though back in real time, my crush was on Billy, I always thought that Jake and Allison had awesome chemistry and worked well together. So I sort of wish that they were hooking up, even though I’m happy for Jake that he’s feeling hopeful about his GED.

Rhonda’s cardio funk studio, which is empty as Rhonda stretches and Theresa walks in. Rhonda says she’s decided to audition after all. Theresa rudely calls Rhonda’s classes a waste of her time, but then Rhonda just as rudely tells Theresa that her group was lacking funk and fun, so she came up with something better for her audition. Now, I agree with Rhonda and think she has a naturally charismatic style, which is one reason I don’t like Theresa’s dismissing her classes. But still, insulting the choreography of a group you haven’t even gotten into yet, Rhonda? There is some endless back and forth, then a montage of them dancing it out. All is well until Theresa says that Rhonda shouldn’t eat pasta for dinner and leaves for rehearsal. Sexy music plays as Rhonda looks thoughtful.

Shooters in the daytime. Sandy is working, natch, as Billy walks in, sits at the bar, doesn’t order anything, and just whines about Allison and Jake while Sandy rushes around, clearly busy. I think that Sandy should start jumping in Billy’s cab and yammering in his ear the next time he works. Then not pay.

Sandy responds that Allison and Jake are total opposites, so it was inevitable. Um. Okay. Then there is this super-bizarre bit where she’s trying to imagine how it happened, and they Magic-Mirror spin back to the night “they all went out,” whenever that was. Allison is wearing a black shirt with a see-through back and boxy-yet-tight ‘90s jeans. She hilariously leans against Jake’s door jamb and says she rented “9 1/2 Weeks,” but her VCR is broken — can she watch it at Jake’s? Jake says sure. Cut to Allison seductively eating a cherry tomato? I thought it was a strawberry at first, but I think it’s a cherry tomato! She leans into Jake, and rather than each nibble at this mystery fruit, they make out with it just kind of rolling around between their tongues.

Back in present-day Shooters, Billy scoffs at Sandy’s theory. We then get Billy’s version of what happened: Jake answers his door, shirtless, and brings Allison into the bedroom, where he points at the ceiling and says that he’s terrified of spiders. A HUGE, hairy spider lurks above. “Oh, Jake,” Allison admonishes him. “They’re harmless and they eat mosquitoes.” Cue the sexy music, as Jake passionately kisses Allison. That was a pretty funny scene. But Sandy’s not buying it, saying that Jake loves spiders, and keeps them as pets. He does? They both lie that they don’t care that Jake and Allison slept together, and Sandy walks away with a tray of beers and mugs that I at no point witnessed her retrieve.

Nighttime at Melrose Place. Jake brings them coffee, while Allison said that all of the subjects that seemed so boring to her in high school are fascinating to her now. But if she’d been interested in them in high school, she never would have even met Marc Harmon! Allison admits that she didn’t fit in and wasn’t popular back in the day, and Jake doesn’t believe it! She said she was just focused on grades, and now regrets not partying more and taking risks. They bond, and even though there is pizza on the floor and they are drinking coffee, Allison seductively eats something with chopsticks. She then brings up the fact that everyone in Melrose Place think that they’re “having an affair.” What a strange choice of words, but even stranger is the tinkling piano music. For all the times they use the sexy stock music, now would be more appropriate than many. Allison continues to send vibes, but Jake changes the subject to algebra and Allison wonders why she EVEN bothered to wear her best pleated beige shorts.

Rhonda and Theresa leave a restaurant while Rhonda talks about the awesome carbonara sauce that Theresa wouldn’t try, and brags about her fast metabolism. Between this and last week’s Fettuccine Incident, I’m imagining a writers’ meeting wherein they try to flesh out Rhonda’s character and add “really likes pasta” to a list of her distinguishing characteristics.

Theresa continues to dig at Rhonda about not eating right for a dancer, and Rhonda’s like, I know what you’re doing. Rather than call Theresa out on projecting her own food insecurities onto Rhonda, she gets bitchy once again about how she would have had Theresa’s spot if she hadn’t sprained her ankle. Theresa is like, not even, and Rhonda responds that they’ll never know, will they? They argue again, some more, about who is jealous of whom.

Morning at Melrose Place. Billy’s made coffee! And suggests that he and Allison spend the day at the beach. She says she has to spend the day with Jake. Billy asks what’s going on and Allison says she wishes she could tell him, but can’t. Billy is very sad.

Rhonda’s class. She yells at Matt for not keeping up. Cut to them walking on the street as she apologizes, and he worries that he pushed her into “this dance thing.” Rhonda says no, she never should have stopped, and she’s better than this. He says it’s not her fault; she got hurt. OR DID SHE? Rhonda leaves Matt alone, without even a juice box.

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Bar that isn’t Shooters. Allison quizzes Jake on the state capitals. I’m more disappointed than I probably should be that Jake doesn’t respond to “Idaho” with “No, you da ho.” Allison is impressed, and rather than Jake’s doing well because he studied, we learn that Blue Collar People Can Learn Too, as he did work in a variety of states. Then he makes a “Northern Exposure” reference, and slams the book shut. He then weirdly sing-songs that if he doesn’t know this stuff now, he never will. He says he has a better idea, and it totally looks like he’s going to swoop over and plant one right on Allison a la the first Ben/Felicity kiss, but that sadly does not happen; he just gets up and tells Allison to come with him. Allison is dressed in what appears to be Gilligan’s Island Chic.

Rhonda works out in her studio, for some reason listening to no music whatsoever, despite having a boom box right there. Matt walks in wearing socks ‘n sandals, saying he’s worried that Rhonda is putting everything on the line for this dance audition.

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Rhonda tells a story about how she and her siblings were always so pressured by their parents to succeed. Rhonda was the only one who didn’t get good grades and go to an Ivy League school, but she was the one with talent. She was going to be the famous dancer. But then she got totally intimidated and skipped the audition! No injury after all! She starts to cry as she says she doesn’t think her father ever forgave her.

I seriously want to do that as a monologue if I ever audition for a play again and see if anyone notices.

Jake rides his motorcycle at night on a winding road. Allison is behind him, and I’m very happy that they are both wearing helmets, though I think her ankles could use better protection. I’m very sensitive to such things since having mine skinned off via bicycle when I was barefoot in 1983. And I know I’m a broken record, but these two have such a natural chemistry! I’m really not sure why they didn’t just make them a couple, at least for a little while. Allison expresses verbal dismay at her choice to accompany Jake on the ride, but she looks like she’s having a lot of fun. I mean, probably not as much fun as if she were wearing shuffling around at home in a bathrobe whilst berating Billy, but fun nonetheless.

Jake and Allison stop at an overlook. Allison says that no one’s ever brought her here before. Jake says that she’s been dating the wrong guys. So we agree! Now kiss! But no, they talk some more and seriously the tension is palpable, which is aided by +night birds chirping, -sexy/“Brady Bunch” music blaring. Allison gets husky voiced and they talk about high school. Allison says, “We would have made some pair.” Jake replies, “We’re not in high school anymore.” And finally at long last, THEY ACTUALLY DO KISS!!! I totally do not remember this and am probably way more excited about it in 2015 than I should be, but that does nothing to deter it either! Jallison 4eva! Or at least until their inevitable demise, since I don’t remember their kissing in the first place!

Allison and Billy’s. Billy exposits that it’s eight in the morning, while Allison is preparing what looks to be an omelet, as she has out eight eggs (in the shell), a relatively big mushroom, two tomatoes, one huge green pepper, an entire bulb of garlic, and a bowl that looks to be holding five eggs (out of the shell).

I have so many questions.

1) Why is she doing this while already dressed up for work in her blue-and-white, men’s-cut striped shirt and navy blue pants? Why doesn’t she at least have an apron on? She is works for a fancy company that is all about image, so I’m not sure why she’d want to risk showing up to greet major clients smelling like garlic and peppers, even if she manages not to get anything on her.

2) Allison has just started chopping the mushroom, which is like the least time consuming vegetable, while all the others sit untouched. And it is eight in the morning. Doesn’t LA have a lot of traffic? What time does she have to be at work?

3) Do people really keep their eggs in a bowl when they’re not hardboiled? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, just that I’ve never seen it. Surely, she is not cooking a 13-egg omelet. Billy is not a giant lumberjack. 

4) When did Allison start eating nutritious breakfasts?

Allison apologizes to Billy for…something, and says that he’s not just a roommate (like he was worried about before and I forgot to mention); she trusts him more than anyone out here. She lets him in on Jake’s GED studying, and denies that she and Jake are “having an affair.” Why do they keep using that phrase? Billy is relieved, and decides that his sexy fantasy about Allison defending spiders is yet more evidence that he is a writer.

Billy says he was silly to think that she was hooking up with Jake, because they have nothing in common. This prompts Allison to go into a really trippy speech about walls and facades, all while keeping her arms crossed (Jake’s influence?). Bottom line: She got to know Jake better, and she likes him. Back to chopping!

Sandy acts overly invested in Jake’s sex life — DRINK! She apparently eats only frozen food and uses a lot of tissues, because she is carrying two garbage bags with ease in one hand, before Jake takes one from her. Aw, Jake. Sandy says that believe it or not, she wants Jake to be happy, because she cares for him. “(She) really do(es).” He tells her about the GED. She asks why he didn’t come to her for help and says that just because she’s an actress doesn’t mean she’s stupid, “Let’s erase that stereotype right here.” I really don’t think that is the particular stereotype leading anyone to that conclusion, but Jake savvily responds that she would have been a distraction, which makes her melt and they leave Melrose Place together, Jake’s arm around Sandy.

Dance audition. Rhonda stretches with others in the hallway. She and Matt talk about how they’re going to miss each other if she gets this job, as she would be touring. A man in red-striped high tops tells Rhonda she’s up next.

Cut to the stage and Rhonda dancing. The dance double has a completely different hairstyle from Rhonda’s, not to mention a different body type. It is awesome.

Rhonda comes back into the waiting area where Matt is waiting for her and between his forward-facing black cap that covers a vast portion of his head, tan pullover, rushed gait, and hunched shoulders, he looks like someone in a John Grisham movie trying to blend into a crowd instead of a normal person waiting for his friend. Theresa comes out to apologize and they talk about that one audition she didn’t go to, again, some more. So they’re good now, but Rhonda says even if she gets through, she’s not going to take the job, because she likes her life. She hugs Theresa goodbye while covered in sweat, then she and Matt leave.

Jake leaves a school after taking his GED, and tells a waiting Allison that he thinks he aced a test for the first time in his life. Yay Jake! Allison tells him that she doesn’t regret what happened, but they probably should just be friends, because “it’s just one of those things.” WHAT? That is total bullshit and makes no sense! Jake looks disappointed; I’m disappointed. You’re going to have to do better than “It’s just one of those things.” One of WHAT things? As a consolation prize to her vagina, Allison says she’ll buy Jake a beer.

Shooters. Jane, Michael, Billy, Matt, and Rhonda share a plate of French fries. Oh, they’re there to surprise Jake. As Allison lures him in, they all start chanting the graduation march while wearing caps, and give him one of his own. They wrap it up with applause and woos, and Jake says “Let’s party.” Everyone heads to the bar…

…except for Allison and Sandy. Sandy looks so relieved and says she knew there wasn’t anything going on between her and Jake. Allison says, “Of course not. But he is a great kisser.” She waltzes off, and Sandy looks surprised, then sad, then angry! 

~ THE END ~

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