Written by Senora Bicho
Melrose Place originally aired from 1992-1999. The show was created by Darren Star as a spin-off from his already popular teenage drama Beverly Hills 90210. Star knows how to do TV and went on to develop the mega-hit Sex and The City. Melrose Place is also one of the many shows produced by the late, soap-opera genius Aaron Spelling. The combination of these two television giants proved to be very successful.
Melrose Place began as Beverly Hills 90210 with adults. It was about a group of people who all lived in an apartment complex on Melrose in West Hollywood. Everyone was nice to look at and they were the best of friends, this equated to a boring show with low ratings. Spelling then called on an old friend, Heather Locklear as Amanda Woodward, to spice up the show. She was initially brought in as a guest star but they were smart enough to realize that the show couldn’t survive without her. She was the only aspect of the show to earn a Golden Globe nomination for years 1994 to 1997. With her addition, the show was changed to a good, old-fashioned, down-and-dirty soap with skyrocketing ratings.
Season Three contains plenty over-the-top storylines and outrageous behavior. The season starts off with Michael (Thomas Calabro) getting run down and ending up with amnesia. Who would dare to run over Michael, the conniving, bad boy doctor? His ex-wife Jane (Josie Bissett), his wife Sydney (Laura Leighton) or his fiancée Kimberly (Marcia Cross)? One of the great lines of the season is delivered by Michael after he gets his memory back and realizes it was Kimberly that ran him over, “Kill me or love me but make up your damn mind!”
Locklear helped to save the show but Cross was always my favorite. They turned her devilishly evil and flat-out crazy. In this season, she kidnaps Jo’s (Daphne Zuniga) baby under the guise that it was a stillbirth and her downward spiral results in her blowing up the apartment complex in the finale. The explosion was originally scheduled to take place during the finale, but the Oklahoma City bombing took place early in the month so it was put off until the start of Season Four. Matt (Doug Savant) the sole gay character finally gets a love interest. Savant and Cross have both gone back to their soap roots with the now popular Desperate Housewives.
Jake (Grant Show) is almost blown to smithereens on his boat, thanks to guest star Kathy Ireland, and survives to break more hearts and protect those he cares about. He also finally finds the family he has been desperately looking for in his father and his brother Jake (Dan Cortese). Alison (Courtney Thorne-Smith) deals with the aftershocks of her newly discovered child abuse and calls off her wedding to Billy (Andrew Shue). When Billy moves on, she turns to alcohol for comfort. Billy doesn’t do much this season but move from girlfriend to girlfriend until he finally weds Brooke, a new addition this season, played by Kristin Davis who later went on to bigger fame in the aforementioned Sex and The City. Jack Wagner, familiar to soap fans from his long run on General Hospital, also joined the cast as Amanda’s new on-again, off-again love interest and the hospital chief of staff. The finale is nice and juicy and leaves you wanting more with the explosion at Melrose Place, Jake and Jess falling from a building, and Matt set up for murder.
I was a huge fan of the show when it originally aired but would not have thought about purchasing any of the seasons. Watching Season Three reminded me of all of the reasons I enjoyed the show: crazy storylines, fun dialogue, attractive stars, and interesting characters. What I noticed this time around though is how the women looked: healthy. Don’t get me wrong they are thin, beautiful women running around in their mini-skirts, cut-off shirts, and tight clothes, but they actually have arms, stomachs, and no protruding bones. I miss those days of normal looking actresses and it makes Calista Flockhart, Ellen Pompeo, and others look even more unattractive.
The Season Three DVD set includes three “Too Hot for TV: Special Features.” “Melrose Place According to Jake” offers insights from Star and Spelling along with an interview with Show. “Melrose Place: 7 Minutes in Hell” highlights key quotes and scenes from the season. “Everything You Need to Know About Melrose Place: Season Three” features comedians Michael Colton and John Aboud who star in VH1’s The Best Week Ever and I Love the ’90s. They provide commentary on the storylines and scenes from the season and a few chuckles. However, none of these extras are particularly interesting or add anything of value to the set.
If you loved the show, then you should still get a kick out of it now, and if you never saw it but love campy drama, it is definitely worth checking out. Melrose Place holds up and brings laughs along with clever writing.