September 9, 2009

Cross-ing Over

Back in July of 1992, my friend Ron and I embarked on a cross-country drive, with our final destination a pre-O.J. killing spree Brentwood, California. Yes, we were going out to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood and so, shortly after graduation from college, we loaded up Ron’s station wagon and set out to join some fellow Orangemen who had set up shop in the Golden State a few months earlier.

Of course, the timing of our trip coincided with a very important night in pop culture history. As we crossed into the state of Oklahoma on the evening of July 8, 1992, we knew we were going to settle in to watch the debut of Melrose Place, the spin-off from Beverly Hills, 90210 that was premiering that night.

And so, after pulling into a motel at the edge of an Indian reservation in the middle of nowhere, which Ron later discovered, much to his chagrin, was a “dry reservation” – his quest for some liquid refreshment to accompany our TV viewing for the evening took him a good 1-1/2 hours – we met overworked Michael and his granola wife Jane, speech-impaired Billy and his sad-sack roommate and possible romantic partner, Alison. We reconnected with biker dude Jake, fresh off a short stint on 90210 where he romanced Kelly Taylor, and “token gay” Matt. Then there was “the other Vanessa Williams” and Southern chick, each of whom received maybe a line or two of dialogue, tops.

It was simultaneously “unwatchably awful” and “fantastically glorious.” Over the months that followed as we ourselves attempted to put down roots in Los Angeles, we made sure to bloc out two hours each week to not only watch the Aaron Spelling double-header, but also to play a form of “Spelling Rotisserie” where we wagered on things like “Over/under on Billy saying Alison’s name” (20 would be considered low)and “Lines of dialogue for Matt versus lines of dialogue by cleaning ladies, waiters and busboys” (Matt never won) and enjoyed every cheese-tastic moment of the show.

Of course, eventually the show lost its appeal… for me the breaking point was when Dr. Kimberly Shaw (who had gone insane after being assumed dead following a car crash, and subsequently listened to the advice of a demonic homeless-looking man in the mirror that only she could see, and blew up the apartment complex where all the characters lived… then was sent off to an insane asylum where many other multiple-personalities emerged) suddenly gets a job as a psychiatrist and counselor at the hospital.


I can stretch the bounds of credulity only so much, Melrose Place… I’m out.

The doctor will see you now… wait, where are you going?

And so though I missed most of the last three seasons of the show, last night I could not help myself but to tune in to see what the latest incarnation of the show was going to look like… and it is sheer crap.

From the police interrogation where the primary suspect in a murder tells the investigating officer, “I don’t like douchebags,” only to be released – no questions asked, when his neighbor lies to police, saying he had been with her at the time of the murder --- to the struggling filmmaker who proposes to his girlfriend after we watch a video montage of their relationship that he couldn’t possibly have footage of unless he had hired a camera crew to tail the two of them for the past five years --- to Ashlee Simpson, who at least got more lines than Matt ever did, though it’s quite clear she’ll be the second coming of Kimberly Shaw before too long – i.e., cuckoo!

Whatever… I’m already out.

Anyone for Glee?

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