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'Melrose Place' recap: Riley goes topless, Jonah lives 'the dream'

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melrose-place_lA whole lot of conflict moved into Melrose Place this week. Riley and Jonah were finally fighting; Lauren and David were going at it (no, not in the way we hoped), and old-time Melroser Jo Reynolds came back with her own brand of nastiness. Someone even destroyed that sparrows nest, the only sweet sign of nature in this whole apartment complex!

Riley and Jonah started with their usual nauseating banter over breakfast — “I don’t need to see your name in the opening credits to know I’m marrying the perfect guy,” Riley swooned, as she headed off to her modeling shoot and Jonah went for his big meeting at Paramount.

Each had unexpected outcomes for the big day. Riley went on her first shoot and encountered a bitchy, demanding photographer — Jo was back with a vengeance. Since we last saw her in the ’90s, it seems Jo had worked with a photojournalist who then sold her soul for fashion photography. She bullied Riley into posing topless and badgered her about being too young to get engaged. “Nobody really wants to teach public school and marry some guy who can’t pay the bills,” Jo snarked, in a way that wasn’t edgy but just plain mean. No wonder Riley stormed off the shoot.

Jonah met with studio exec Andy, who name-dropped Johnny and Leo and said cheesy not-even-feasible-in-Hollywood lines like “welcome to the dream, my friend.” He said he loved Jonah’s short film Living in Reverse and wanted to develop it into a feature with Cameron Diaz, only without the reverse chronology, the black and white parts and basically anything Jonah had liked about the original. Jonah was shell-shocked, until Andy’s development executive Kendra turned up. She flattered his ego about his original film and soothed his nerves that they can work on the kind of film he wants to do “on your terms.”

Oh, also, Kendra was hot – a movie geek who has perfected that sexy-librarian-takes-off-her-glasses move (actress Jenna Dewan is Channing Tatum’s wife). Kendra reminisced about their shared hometown of Philadelphia and suggested that Jonah come work on script ideas “over drinks” later.

Jonah came home to find Riley at Auggie’s apartment drinking tea (zzzzz) and telling each other how great they are. Jonah got a little fired up (finally!) and confronted Auggie, who let it slip that he and Riley had kissed. Jonah was fuming, and ditched Riley to go meet Kendra for that drink after all.

David discovered Lauren had a past-due tuition bill and offered to loan her the money. But Lauren grew suspicious and tracked him to a mansion where he was in the midst of his latest jewelry heist. They got into a huge fight back at his place…and MAN was that some sexy sparring! When, when, when are these two going to fall into bed? I thought that argument was going to segue into clothes ripping, but alas…not yet. Next week, please? We need something juicy to happen before Amanda Woodward comes back.

Meanwhile, Auggie gave Violet a ride on his motorcycle and finally got around to helping her assemble some furniture. (Insert your own “wooden performances” joke here. Man, these two are painful to watch.)

Ella’s outfit for the fashion shoot deserves its own recap paragraph (refresh your memory here). What a tangerine nightmare: that huge crazy hat, grandma’s scarf, huge knotted belt, and a one-shouldered orange dress with a white zipper. I usually like her style, so WHAT was that about? Maybe a not-so-subtle attempt to distance herself from Riley’s “real people wear real denim” angle. This was certainly not what real people wear.

Fashion aside, Ella was something of a heroine this week, when she stuck up for Riley with Jo: “Selling out? Weren’t you the one who traded in the refugee camps for a 12-page spread in Vogue? Maybe Riley wasn’t the only one out there posing today.” Jo even came by Melrose Place to apologize to Riley, told her Anton is using one of the shots, and revealed that she’s off to document poverty in Latin America. After that stiff and awkward “I used to live in this building” speech, I have to say, “Good riddance, Jo.”

Jo’s quick exit reminded me of this show’s continuity issues. Last week we ended with a big confrontation between Michael and Violet. This week, Michael was nowhere to be found and Violet was back in her own little world. Before that, the cops were everywhere investigating Sydney’s murder and now they’re gone. I understand that producers want to resurrect characters like Jane and Jo, but if they only appear as one-offs then it’s not helping us get further into the juicy characters that we want to see more of (for me, that’s David, Lauren, Ella and yes, even Michael).

On the flip side, I surprisingly realized there is one thing I love about Violet: how she sneaks up on people and freaks them out. I like to imagine it’s like that with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz on set too, creeping out Katie Cassidy at the craft services table. This week, I loved that Jonah called Violet out on lurking poolside: “What were you doing out here, gauging the pH levels?”

What did you think of this week’s episode? Wasn’t that fight scene between David and Lauren more like foreplay? Think Jonah will cheat on Riley with Kendra? Anyone going to defend Ella’s outfit?

Photo Credit: Michael Desmond/The CW

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