I am an absurdly big Melrose Place fan. I have seen every episode in the neighborhood of 10 times each. It’s a show close enough to my heart that it’s practically involved in my circulatory system, so I’m pretty emotionally invested in the remake. But I have some concerns.
1. Gasp-inducing, OMG scenes don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t exist anymore
Melrose Place arrived with the episode “The Bitch is Back.” If you don’t remember having your mind explode when Kimberly ripped that wig off, well, maybe you were busy on April 27, 1994. I have watched tens of thousands of hours of television since then, but that will always be one of my biggest eyeball-popping moments of viewing. And there were a lot of those on Melrose, from the building blowing up, to Bruce hanging himself in Amanda’s office, to Richard’s hand coming out of the dirt, to zombie Brooke in the pool — and I don’t think those kinds of jaw-droppers really exist anymore on TV. That’s not a bad thing, considering how, you know, stupid and self-defeating it can become. Lost (which, of course, is radically superior in terms of objective quality) sometimes surprises me, but that’s sort of the show’s M.O. Gossip Girl‘s increasingly feeble attempts to create such duhn-duhn-duuuuuuhn moments have made the show less and less fun — I’m still waiting for someone to give a fart about Lily and Rufus’ love child. These almost campy, and sometimes straight-up campy, stories just seem stupid now. Spoilers are in, stunners are out: Like the Y-drop necklace it popularized, MP‘s calling card just isn’t in style anymore.
2. And minus those histrionics, Melrose is a little boring
Lots of low-level, amateur fans probably think of Melrose as a homogeneous unit of soapy ridiculousness. False! Early Melrose is extremely, almost comically earnest. It came out around the same time as The Real World, and there was an intense early-’90s vibe of social responsibility. Matt is a social worker! Stalker Keith is an environmentalist! Jo photographs homeless people! The characters go bungee jumping — as evidence of how cool and x-treme their lives are. On a Very Special Episode, Jo and Jake get tested for HIV. Hey, you guys, ectopic pregnancies are really dangerous. It wasn’t until most of the way through the second season that things got fantastically crazypants, which is the Melrose most people remember; the heyday. But then seasons 6 and 7 went back to being pretty blah, thanks to weird new characters no one cared about. (Cooper? Eve?)
3. They already remade Melrose Place, and it’s called The Hills, and I am kind of tired of it, and so is everyone else
Let’s see, we’ll spin off this high-school show and make something about twentysomethings. Say, a naive, relatively wholesome girl who tries to make her way in Los Angeles but finds herself repeatedly foiled by a two-faced bleach-blond vixen. She dates a string of doofuses; her brunette friend is the “edgy” one. Everyone seems to have a lot of money and be getting promoted all the time, except no one appears to do much work. There’s an aggressively present, on-trend pop soundtrack, lots of glamorous establishing shots of L.A. hotspots, and the acting is sometimes really, really bad. People break up and make up with abandon, and tenuously connected new characters appear, oh, all the time.
So, PopWatchers: Reason for concern, or is this just too close to my heart and I’m being paranoid? What other things should we be worried about? What can the producers do to avoid these and any other pitfalls?
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