Melrose Again: Bloggin' about Melrose Place

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Why Melrose Place should rehire Victor Webster as Caleb.

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Victor Webster should return as Caleb seeking revenge against Amanda.

Happy New Year to my fellow Melrose Place fans. I realize you’re miffed about the CW’s decision to hold off on airing new episodes until March but hang in there. The last episode showed some promise that the show would head in a snappier new direction that will hopefully lift its ratings. I’m using the lull in action to brainstorm ways they can juice up their storylines and, following my December 17 post about rehiring Jenna Dewan as Kendra, I’m suggesting that the MP producers bring back hunky Victor Webster as PR stud Caleb Brewer. This blog has seen its fair share of page views based on Google searches for the sexy Canadian actor who had memorable stints on the syndicated sci-fi show Mutant X and Charmed, so I can vouch for his appeal. Aside from Victor’s obvious attributes, the character of Caleb presents Melrose Place an opportunity to claim a unique spot in the evolving depiction of gay characters on broadcast TV. More than a decade after Doug Savant’s chaste portrayal of social worker Matt Fielding on the original Melrose, producers of the CW’s reboot had a chance to present a full-bodied storyline of a single, sexy professional gay guy in as much vivid detail as those of its straight characters. On the surface, this might not seem so groundbreaking since ABC’s Brothers & Sisters regularly shows its gay couple kissing on the mouth and Showtime’s Queer as Folk , arguably cable TV’s gay equivalent to Melrose, depicted this and much more from 2000 to 2005. Nevertheless, I think Melrose dropped the ball, so to speak, by losing Caleb. When Heather Locklear returned as Amanda to reclaim control of WPK and axed Caleb, his sexiest moment had been a sly double entendre shared with fashion designer client Anton V about steak tartar while bisexual Ella swapped spit with hotties of both genders left and right. This was another example of the media’s hesitance to show a gay character with leading man potential in a sexy light. I applaud ABC’s hit Modern Family for including a gay couple as central characters, but I suspect their approachable, average looks don’t feel as threatening to the TV powers-that-be as Caleb’s smoldering sex appeal. As the recent Adam Lambert American Music Awards controversy showed, it seems good-looking gays still need to tone it down for mainstream America. Aside from this double standard, I think there’s room for a powerful storyline in which Caleb clobbers Amanda with a sexual discrimination lawsuit, sets up his own agency and recruits Ella as his VP. Having Amanda nose around for a missing painting, no matter how pricey, is a yawn, dramatically speaking. She needs someone strong and crafty to come up against and I think Caleb can bring it. And it wouldn’t hurt if he loses the shirt from time to time in the process.

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