File this under the heading “Sometimes God and/or TV producers answer your prayers”: Yesterday afternoon, I was working on a blog item about my not-so-secret obsession with the CW’s frothy but low-rated Melrose Place and how the show would be a zillion times better if it got rid of Ashlee Simpson-RefluxWentz and the actor I affectionately refer to as Dude Who Plays Auggie (DWPA). Then, shortly before sending it to my editor, my colleague Michael Ausiello broke the news that both actors were leaving the show.

If I were a smart/superstitious person, I’d have dropped everything and started writing about how Melrose would also be more enjoyable if I hit the MegaMillions next Tuesday and waited to see if the universe would grant two unpublished wishes in a row. If I were a kind and gentle person, I’d have deleted the item I was working on, which complained about the fact that Simpson-Wentz’s face had failed to register a single, genuine human emotion over the course of the show’s first seven episodes, and how DWPA had only escaped dead-heating with Jessica Simpson’s sister for “least valuable cast member” by virtue of his permanent “Blue Steel” facial expression. (DWPA had impressively used “Blue Steel” to convey arousal, sadness, anger, and confusion during his series run.) Also: There was that one time he took his shirt off after going for a run. Yeah, that.

But I’m neither superstitious nor a saint. And while I am genuinely stoked that the absence of Simpson-Wentz and DWPA after episode 12 will mean more time for deliciously self-absorbed Ella (Katie Cassidy), conflicted/unspeakably beautiful Lauren (Stephanie Jacobsen), and (yes to the yes-y’all) bitch of all bitches Amanda Woodward (Heather Locklear), I also hope that Melrose‘s producers are a little more thoughtful in their casting choices going forward. I mean, watch the embedded clip of Simpson-Wentz below — from 6:09-6:29 she proves unable to convincingly drink a Red Bull (!), and from 0:49-2:39 and 7:40-8:04 she aims for seductive psychopath, but winds up delivering more of a drunk junior-high student imitating Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction — and tell me if it wouldn’t have been better (and cheaper) to affix some pipe-cleaner arms and corn-husk hair to a curtain rod and cast it as Violet.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Have these two cast deletions given you hope for the future of Melrose? Should Simpson-Wentz be banned from pop culture altogether? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Melrose Place
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