Monday, July 11, 2011

Melrose Place: a reflection

Two months of Melrose Place (old and new) on the Netflix instant queue streaming through my xbox and here I am....Kinda sad I finished, and kinda wishing they never did the reboot at all.

One of the few shows FOX has ever kept on the air that I actually enjoyed, even though I technically wasn't supposed to be watching it when my mom and stepdad were. Melrose Place lasted 7 seasons, ending in 1999 I believe. I was in elementary school when it first aired but I still watched. I didn't know what was going on half the time but many things stayed in the back of my mind that I remembered as I rewatched for the first time since the original airing of the show: Michael and Jane as the apartment managers, Allison's roommate bailing and her getting Billy to pay half the rent before starting a romance that never quite gets to flourish, Sydney stirring everything up through blackmail and many other things, Jo and Jake, Jake owning Shooters, Amanda Woodward arriving as the queen bitch who is out to make everyone's life a living hell, Kimberly's crazy antics and more.

My favorite characters then remain my favorite now. Sydney Andrews is a character most hated or loved to hate, but I adored her. She messed up everything, did everything wrong, fell into every bad situation possible from hooking to stripping to being murdered. She came onto the show in season 1 as a recurring character, Jane's sister, and later became a regular until the end of season five when she was killed on the night of her wedding while taking wedding photos before the reception. While the show was still worth watching in the final 2 seasons, without Sydney it was a little less fun...even if they brought in Lexi Sterling to later being the slutty redhead in her place.

Also departing in season 5 was Jake Hanson, played by the very handsome Grant Show. He dated just about every female lead on the show in his five seasons and was one of the few who actually received an HEA ending to his run when his ex and his son he only found out about a few seasons prior come back into his life.

It is hard to say if it is the crazy situations such as the antics of Kimberly, Michael, Sydney, Lexi or Taylor that kept the show so addicting, or maybe it was the relationships such as Amanda and Peter--whose chemistry was off the charts when they first met and were on and off again throughout the series since season 3. So much so that they fake their own deaths in the season finale to escape both of their bad situations and start over fresh in a tropical paradise. *sigh* So romantic. Or maybe it was the characters themselves, more so than their antics. I know any scene that put Peter, Michael, and Sydney in the same place at the same time had me laughing uncontrollably. Peter's sarcasm, Michael's idiotic schemes, and Sydney's presence alone made for fun dialogue and enjoyable TV.

The way the show ended was pretty much a fitting ending full of hope for the characters we had come to love. Peter and Amanda escaped the law and were together finally without anything to get in their way, Kyle and Jane were together and very much in love despite the fact that Jane was carrying Michael's baby and Kyle knew it. Michael got all of Peter's money and was once again chief of staff at Whilshire Memorial, Megan and Ryan were married and reunited with Ryan's daughter. And Lexi was, well...she was probably wishing she could steal Amanda's ability to go out with a bang.

Then the reboot comes along eleven years later and ruins several storylines either by continuity errors and dismissal. The only characters to come back to the show in the reboot were Amanda, Sydney, Michael, Jane and Jo. There were odes to past characters, Michael kept a computer file on past tenants such as Allison and the others. However, the building underwent quite the renovation from the ground up. Plausible, I guess...but it didn't even get that remodeled after Kimberly blew half of it up. No word on HOW Sydney came to owning the building or how soon Lexi sold it after everyone but her got their HEA (or so we thought) in the original finale.

Sydney Andrews died in season 5 of the original series. Samantha was fighting for control of the car from her convict father when they ran her over. It may have been bought that Michael really did fake her death for her, and she had supposedly spent time in jail because of it, but there are soooo many issues that make it not plausible.
-Sydney tells Michael in the flashback where he fakes her death that it was done by someone in her past that will kill her husband if she stays "alive." First of all, it was a freak accident and what connection did she have with someone that escaped from jail for Sam not Syd? AND She finally found love with a man who loved her for her as she was. It is ridiculous that Sydney would allow that to die over such a phony pile of garbage they cooked up to get her back. And then her husband, Craig, couldn't handle life in LA without Sydney with him and killed himself holding the watch she engraved to him as a wedding gift. It makes his whole story arc after the accident meaningless. Not to mention they bring her back to life to make her an alcoholic (which she claims started after her first marriage --to Michael, and she was not much of a drinker on the show after that marriage that I could recall having just watched it prior to the reboot, and a drug addict...which seemed weird for her as she didn't even touch the drugs Kimberly prescribed to her except to drug her sister with them.) and then they kill her in the first episode. I was SO disappointed to see my favorite character brought back to be murdered once again.
-Jane's return has no mention of what happened with Kyle or her baby. Um? hello?
-Jo apparently left the doctor she went to Africa with, did something really great with her talents and went back to fashion photography? Lame. Also she comments that Amanda embezzled from D&D but unless I am having a total brain fart, I don't remember that storyline at all.
-Michael is in yet another marriage he destroys through adultery and even manages to be the reason WHY Sydney was murdered (a second time). He's still up to no good. But it is nice to see one character never changes.
-Amanda is brought back to save the show (again) but this time even Heather Locklear couldn't do it. She's apparently dumped Peter for good, ruining the gorgeous ending of the original show and since Amanda and Peter were pretty much soulmates and always gravitated back to each other it seems off base. Her fortune is gone. No word on if she, like Sydney, went to jail for faking her death (or confessing to a past murder) since she is using the same name and is one of the three owners of WPK.

Not only are the original character storylines kinda out of wack, but the new characters are too. Violet is Sydney's daughter? Please, she resembles Lexi more and is psychotic enough to have been Kimberly's. Not to mention Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is not a very good actress AT ALL. The only characters I cared about were Ella, David and Lauren. The rest I found annoying.

Although you could see that they were trying to match up characteristics of the original cast with the new ones. Ella was the new blond bombshell to replace Amanda (and they even made Amanda the big bad bitch villain to antagonize her....Ella's not Allison Parker, we've seen that story and it is tired.) David was the swave, dashing character like Jake, but Auggie rode the motercycle this time around. However, Auggie was the cook kinda like Kyle was, but the only couple to start the show together like Kyle and Taylor/Jane and Michael was Riley and Jonah. Riley was a mixture of Jo and Samantha and possibly even Megan, it seems like. Jonah was clearly a resurrection of Billy Campbell with his big dreams and inner child. Violet was left having to channel all 3 of the crazy/blackmailing redheads (Sydney, Kimberly and Lexi). Lauren channeled Sydney and Megan's hooker-ing ways as well as being the doctor of the cast.
But.... still, it was a nice try to bring it back. It didn't work. And it was painfully obvious it wasn't going to work. The writing wasn't as clever or witty for one thing. And from the beats of agonizing Ke$ha songs every other ep (okay I counted at least three in the 18 eps that were made), to the trying too hard to draw in the younger crowd through facebook, twitter and modern technology and just jumped in too deep and found itself floating face down in the pool before it had time to live again...hey, kinda like Sydney. See what I did there?