Archive for December 2009
Melrose Place may have ridden a rocky road in the ratings, but Katie Cassidy is flying high playing resident bad girl Ella Simms. After receiving numerous shout outs from TV Guide for her multifaceted portrayal of an ambitious Hollywood publicist with a glossy exterior and a hidden soft side, Cassidy ended the year on a high note when pop culture bible Entertainment Weekly named her one of the year’s breakout TV performers (see scan below). What’s not to like? With a bright, mischievous grin and a lithe body boasting legs that go on forever showcased by a killer wardrobe, Katie lights up the screen in every scene she’s in. Best of all, she’s got the acting chops to deliver pitch-perfect line readings. Amanda Woodward knockoff? We think not. Katie’s made Ella an original. Congratulations to her and here’s hoping the show’s new tone boosts the ratings when it returns in early March.
The current commercial for the upcoming Melrose Place episodes got me thinking about ways that producers can spice things up to get the ratings to climb. Although Heather Locklear’s return as Amanda managed to give the audience numbers a bump, her presence has yet to prove as potent as it did for the original show back in the ’90s. Could it be that today’s coveted demographic of viewers ages 18 to 34 aren’t as impressed by big, bad Amanda Woodward (as Sydney would put it) or has Locklear’s material so far not been up to snuff? I vote for the latter explanation, but it may not matter if the show remains on hiatus until spring as was rumored this week in blog comments on TV by the Numbers, which has a funny index that measures the probability of a TV series getting canceled. Don’t expect me to explain it because statistics aren’t my thing, but suffice it to say the show seems to be in a tenuous position and needs to strike a collective chord among the CW target audience the way The Vampire Diaries has. I’m no script doctor (except maybe in my fantasies), but I have some ideas on how Melrose can spruce things up and I’ll share them in the coming weeks as we Melrosers make do with repeats and the umpteenth showing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” My first suggestion picks up on a smart casting move they made to set the stage for Jonah and Riley’s breakup: the introduction of the film producer babe, Kendra, played by Jenna Dewan Tatum. On a show loaded with gorgeous girls, Jenna made a memorable impact and I think she should be promoted to regular cast member. I figure producers always planned to get Jonah together with Ella (the amazingly talented Katie Cassidy) and Kendra’s two-episode stint started the leak that broke the damn, leading Jonah to fall into bed with Ella in the last episode. This being Melrose Place, however, we can’t expect them to live happily ever after and remain interesting to watch so there needs to be an obstacle to overcome and keep things spicy. A return visit by Kendra would give Katie Cassidy, who’s a force to be reckoned with, a formidable adversary. One of the formulas for success on nighttime soaps is catfights. Not just the physical ones, although those are always fun to watch, but ongoing battles of wiles that divide viewers into camps, just like Joan Collins and Linda Evans did back in the ’80s on Dynasty. I can see Kendra and Ella having some good bitchy confrontations over good guy Jonah and neither of them would need to play the role of villainess nor heroine. Jenna’s portrayal of Kendra was smart, sexy and self-assured and she had great chemistry with Michael Rady. Her dark-haired beauty would contrast nicely with Katie’s leggy blonde style and the fireworks would fly. Keeping their storyline in the world of movies is a natural given their respective connections to the biz (and their interest in Jonah’s career, of course). And if they end up in a lily pond a la Dynasty’s Krystle and Alexis, so be it.
Photo: copyright 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Already feeling withdrawal symptoms from lack of your weekly Melrose Place fix? Me too. At least we can look forward to a faster pace, skimpier outfits and steamier plot developments after the holidays from the looks of the CW Network’s new preview clip posted to YouTube. A very hairy-chested Jonah is gonna get quite a workout from a lingerie-clad Ella. Riley, meanwhile, is working for Amanda, who is hell-bent on making her pay for ruining the Anton V press party. I’m guessing the bare-chested guitar player in Lauren’s living room is David giving her yet another romantic surprise. I wonder if he can expect some competition for Lauren’s attention from the new guy at the hospital played by former “Cougartown” hottie Nick Zano? Stay tuned, Melrosers!
Footage is copyright 2009/2010 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Drowning Pool
December 8: The tide has turned on Melrose Place now that it’s been revealed that Michael’s wife Vanessa (Brooke Burns) killed Sydney (Laura Leighton). Just as I predicted in my November 24 post, last night’s episode showed how Vanessa showed up at Sydney’s and their heated confrontation erupted into a vicious catfight in which Mrs. Mancini stabbed Syd, who stumbled to the Melrose courtyard in an effort to escape only to be tossed into the pool by Vanessa. The murderous Mrs. Mancini had been playing it cool all this time, letting everyone around her take the heat for her crime. Michael had hidden Syd’s bloody necklace in his car to protect his family (more like his reputation, if you ask me), but when Vanessa visited him in jail all bets were off and the two swapped accusations and threats. Doctor Mike immediately asked David to take little Noah out of the Mancini home so Vanessa couldn’t take him out of the country. Like clockwork, the killer Amazon showed up at Melrose and confronted Violet, who was looking after Noah while David (Shaun Sipos) rescued Lauren from an accidental drug overdose (more on that later). A determined Vanessa made a fatal mistake pulling a gun on Violet to reclaim her kid since Violet (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz) knew that she had killed her mom, who as it turned out had made amends with her long-lost daughter just before her murder. The vengeful women struggled and wound up in the pool (where else?). Vanessa hit her head and bled to death while a crazed Violet held her underwater to deliver a dose of poetic justice. Amanda, of course, arrived just in time to witness the scene and provided the cops a self-defense excuse for Violet, who now owes her a favor big time.
David got a call from a desperate Lauren (Stephanie Jacobsen), who had been slipped a sex-enhancing drug by one of her hunky but creepy regular johns at a hotel. When last seen, Lauren was fighting for her life at the hospital where she works as David stood by her side. I wonder how she’s going to explain the overdose to her bosses? Will David provide her an alibi? More important, will he find out that he may be Noah’s father if what we saw in Vanessa’s flashback about Sydney is true? Luckily for Laura Leighton fans, Syd’s flashback appearances are likely to continue despite the resolution of her murder mystery since she had some dirty business dealings with Amanda (Heather Locklear) involving stolen priceless artwork. Amanda is determined to find a piece worth $19 million and Violet may play a role in helping her track it down now that Syd’s dead. They could always try a séance. Amanda’s protégé Ella (Katie Cassidy), meanwhile, was having a far better day as things changed dramatically between Jonah and Riley. Jonah proposed the lovebirds elope in Vegas and Riley’s subtle lack of enthusiasm got on his nerves. Ella, who’s working overtime to get back in his good graces, set up a pitch meeting for him with a hotshot Hollywood producer who bought the concept. Ella delivered the good news just as Jonah and Riley were having a big blowout over her apparent desire to delay their impending marriage. A fed-up Jonah decided Riley can keep her reticence and rewarded Ella with a long-delayed tumble in the sack. Looks like Jonah’s life is about to get a lot more interesting. Riley meanwhile, rejected a well-muscled Auggie’s last-ditch effort to distract her from her breakup woes, sending the Augster back to the bottle. Violet, who had spotted Auggie’s lip lock with the hapless Riley, burned a painting of the hunky chef she had been laboring over. How will she and the Augster exit Melrose after the holidays? Is this really the end of Riley and Jonah? Will Ella remain faithful to Jonah? Stay tuned, Melrosers!
Photos: Copyright 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
It looks like the December 8 episode of Melrose Place will shed some light on what Amanda has been looking for since she returned to Los Angeles. The Melrose Place Facebook fan page has a preview of scenes from the episode that show Amanda (Heather Locklear) speaking with Sydney (Laura Leighton) in what appears to be a flashback set in a church. Amanda looks like she’s incognito in a monk’s robe. Syd doesn’t look thrilled to be hearing from her. I’m guessing Amanda is broke and is on the hunt for a key or a number for a bank account with some big payoff that Syd somehow swiped from her. I wonder if Peter Burns, Amanda’s former doctor lover, was the person she was speaking with on the phone at the start of last week’s episode? Maybe he’s waiting for Amanda to find the money and return to their island paradise. In other Melrose news, it looks like David may be inadvertently exposing his baby brother to danger by bringing him to visit crazyhead Violet. Will Michael’s amazonian wife Vanessa arrive on the scene in a murderous rage? I still say she killed Sydney. For more stills from the episode, visit the Melrose Facebook: www.facebook.com/MelrosePlace.
Photos: Copyright 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Jonah’s Downward Mobility
December 1: Jonah and Riley’s financial problems seem to get a small reprieve when Ella gets him a job at WPK as an IT guy. Help from Ella (Katie Cassidy) comes with strings, as usual, and she convinces him to hack into Amanda’s computer files to find out what Empress Woodward has planned for the miniskirted media manipulator. Ella’s pleased as punch to learn that Amanda (Heather Locklear) is reasonably happy with her performance and relieved when Amanda later tells her she’s impressed by her cyber snooping. Ella, however, lands in the doghouse with Jonah when he reads her kiss-up email congratulating Caleb on swiping Jonah’s directorial credit on the Lady Gaga wannabe’s music video. When Ella tries to spin it in her favor, he quits and fires her from his life. Later that night Jonah (Michael Rady) gets home to find his expensive video camera broken thanks to Riley’s never-ending interference in Violet’s troubles. Turned out Violet’s cute but crazy adopted brother Levi tracked her down all the way from Oregon (via Twitter, no less) and showed himself to be as creepy as Miss Foster when he pressured her into resuming their twisted romance by reminding her about his paying back the money Violet (Ashlee Simpson-Wentz) stole from their adoptive dad. Riley (Jessica Lucas) paid off Violet’s debt to loony Levi (with the money Violet had returned to Riley for bailing her out when she had been jailed). Levi resents Riley’s intrusion and breaks into her pad to get information about his rival for Violet’s affection, Auggie. The meth addict gets violent and trashes the place. When Violet shows up with a bat, Levi splits, leaving Jonah with broken dreams along with his busted video camera.
Amanda drops in on Michael (Thomas Calabro) and wastes no time in interrogating him about a certain memento that Sydney was keeping for her. The great white shark sees right through the blonde barracuda’s sneaky routine and suggests that his thieving son David may know where the loot is given that he was bangin’ Syd, too. David doesn’t take kindly to Amanda’s threats to expose him as a thief when she shows up at the Melrose complex, so her search continues. Michael’s on the hunt, too, for Sydney’s missing bloody necklace after his wife tells him she caught David in their garage. David turns the necklace over to Detective Rodriguez but his stealing it from Michael’s car makes it off limits as evidence, so he teams up with Lauren, whom Michael was trying to use as leverage against his vengeful son, to set the good doctor up. Lauren (Stephanie Jacobsen) tells Michael she and David are going out and Dr. Mancini takes a page from his son’s playbook, breaking into his apartment at Melrose only to be caught in the act by the cops. David later gathers the Melrosers by the pool for a celebratory toast to the fact that Michael has been arrested for Sydney’s murder. Will Mrs. Mancini (Brooke Burns) bail out her cheating spouse? David’s happy mood is dampened somewhat when Amanda shows up with the bad news that she plans to move into Syd’s penthouse and interfere with the Melrosers lives as only she can.
Photos: Copyright 2009 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.