[Julie Klausner is a former writer for Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins and author of the forthcoming book, I Don't Care About Your Band. Also she's great, so what better person to recap this season of the rebooted Melrose Place? (No one is better to do so.)]
Who likes Reggaeton? I am kidding, of course. Everybody loves Reggaeton. Which is why this week’s episode of Melrose Place begins with a montage to a hot Reggaeton track! Wait. Is Sean Paul Reggaeton? Or is he Dancehall? He is a treasure.
So, this is what we get to see with our eyes while we hear wonderful Reggaeton in our ears. Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is splashing her flipper hands in the pool they found her dead mother in the first episode. Riley boringly gets ready for her teaching job and Jonah is boringly singing in the shower. Muppet Baby Heather Locklear, Ella, walks through Lauren’s kitchen, late for a music video shoot, because 1) they still do those and 2) Ella seems to go in and out of all her neighbors’ apartments at her will, without knocking. And David–Michael Mancini’s son–breaks into his dad’s house to steal his key card hospital ID, and gets caught.
David shares a tense moment with Michael, who must be praying to the devil and smearing human placenta on his neck every night to look as freakishly good as he does. David tells his dad he knows he killed Sydney because she threatened to report to the medical board that Michael faked her death back in the 90’s, when everybody thought she’d been hit by a car. This sets off the first of sixty thousand flashbacks in this episode, but the best things about this particular one is that first, Michael is wearing the kind of wig you get at a Halloween Superstore when you’re going as Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor (which, for me, is every year).
And second, there are a TON OF LIES in the dialogue. I don’t mean the kind of lies that are serious; the “Bush Lies, Everybody Dies” lies, if you remember that funny bumper sticker. The flashbacks betraying Michael faking Sydney’s death back in the day are just dumping grounds for the kind of inconsistencies that pepper the “Fuck You I’m Aaron Spelling” -style make-em-up’s-as-we-go-along’s of the series.
For example: viewers of the original Melrose Place were led to believe Sydney was killed at her wedding by a totally random character speeding along in her car. I think the name of the character was Brooke Langton. Do I have to Google it? Okay, the actress’s name was Brooke Langton. She played a character named Sam, who was a random Melrose tenant, and she hit Sydney with her car out of nowhere, at the end of Season Five.
But not according to the CW! In this flashback, Sydney, who’s on a bloody stretcher, tells Michael that she was roughed up by “someone from her past,” and he agrees to fake her death to help a sister out, and we know it’s a flashback not just because of his Nutty Professor bangs, but because he dates her toe tag “1997.”
Meanwhile, Ella, the PR person, has to deal with a PR crisis at her PR job. The important rock band Boomkat is in need of a new music video director right away. Their director quit because the lead singer went bats, so Ella calls on Jonah to come in and pinch-hit.
Boomkat, by the way, is a real band, if you insist on being technical and calling it that. It is fronted by the great actress Taryn Manning, of Crossroads fame, and the other main member of Boomkat is Taryn’s brother, whose name is Kellin Manning. Apparently, Taryn and Kellin’s parents think they can just put letters together and make up “word names,” and God bless the whimsical creativity born to those of humble intelligence. According to Boomkat’s Wikipedia entry, they have two albums out. One is called “Boomkatalog.”
So, Ella gets Jonah that Boomkat-directing job. She walks into his and Riley’s apartment to tell him as such, because that’s her “thing.”
She sees them fighting, because Riley hasn’t changed her Facebook status from “in a relationship” to “engaged.” I am too bored to be angry about the reach for any kind of drama in that situation, so I’ll move on.
Meanwhile, Lauren, the hooker/med student finds Ashlee in Sydney’s old apartment, which has been taped off as a crime scene by the police. Ashlee is trying on Sydney’s old clothes in her walk-in closet–also taped off by the police–the FASHION police! She does a remarkable combination of arm-crossing acting AND face-acting.
Doing both kinds of acting at once must entail incredible coordination. It must be like singing and dancing at the same time! Not like she’d know.
Back at the hospital, Lauren, in her hooker scrubs, crosses paths with Michael Mancini, which was only a matter of time, given as both characters are into doctorin’. She’s vying for a job working for him, and mentions she knows David. Michael’s like, “Oh.” because he hates David, and then he flashes back to recently, when Sydney showed up and he wasn’t wearing a wig. She threastened him by telling him she knew what he did last summer (1997) when he faked her death, and also she’s been in prison and she’s mad.
Meanwhile, Ashlee asks Riley to zip her up in Sydney’s dress, and makes all kind of face-acting faces before flashing back to when she moved in and Sydney wore the dress she’s wearing now, and she made all kinds of face-acting faces by the pool.
This part wins a Useless Flashback Award for “Most Useless Flashback.” Then, Ashlee tells Riley about a crush she has on a guy we know is Auggie, and Riley suggests that she gives him a mix CD, like the one she gave Jonah of “video game songs” one time. I’m not sure if this is something rack-uppable to not understanding “kids today,” but are “video game songs” a thing? Or do Riley and Jonah make out to the theme music from Donkey Kong? Also, between you and me, I have my suspicions that one of the bombshells dropping by season’s end is that Riley and Jonah are mentally retarded. There’s just something very The Other Sister about their romance. I’m not saying I don’t approve of it! I’m just saying I want Riley sterilized as a precaution, so society at large needn’t suffer the possibility of a baby who knows all the “words” to the Super Mario theme.
Back to Boomkat! Jonah is given the task of dealing with Taryn Manning, who plays herself in this episode, and answers her trailer looking like an extra on Laugh-In . More like Laugh-At! She answers the door of her trailer and points a gun at Jonah, because she’s acting crazy.
Boomkat likes to scratch!
Jonah convinces Taryn Manning to leave her gun in the trailer even though she says she keeps it because of a stalker fan she once had. Which makes a ton of sense. Because you know how Boomkat attracts all kinds of fans, so of course they’ve had stalker fans. Jonah talks Taryn into leaving the gun behind and they move on to shoot the greatest Boomkat video in the history of Boomkat videos.
This is what it looks like.
Pretty great, right? Not according to Jonah! He tells Taryn and her backup dancers “change into their street clothes.” Ella is freaked out, but she lets Jonah pursue his Boomkat-related vision regardless.
Other things going on not related to Boomkat include the following. Riley comes to Auggie’s restaurant Coal/Cole, to ask him for a recipe she can make for Jonah. Something like ice cream salad or toast and candy casserole or other “food” dishes beloved by the likely mentally impaired. When Riley leaves, Ashlee shows up and gives Auggie not a mix tape of video game music but a pair of expensive sunglasses he refuses to take, even though we establish that he is a surfer. Some people!
Back at the hospital, Lauren catches David secretly futzing with his dad’s computer. She interviews with Michael, who expresses concern about her financial situation. She mentions that she saw David in his office before, and Michael’s intrigued because blah blah blah BOOOOOOOOOMMMKAT!
We’re back at the Boomkat video shoot! And it’s going swimmingly. Taryn is back in her Brady Bunch kitchen tablecloth dress, and is dancing around like an idiot.
Most importantly, check out the “street clothes” Taryn’s back-up dancers have changed into.
Looks like the streets these guys live on intersect Hot Topic Lane and Perez Hilton Boulevard.
Taryn hits on Jonah, as does Ella, and even though Jonah was mad at Riley for not changing her Facebook status, he still loves her, and that makes Ella annnngry, and she threatens his career saying “I hope [Riley] likes bar mitzvahs and birthday parties!” meaning those are the only gigs Jonah will get if he’s loyal to his fiancée. But the joke is on Ella, because there’s nothing Riley likes MORE than bar mitzvahs and birthday parties. Do you know why? Because there is cake at both and sometimes pony rides at one. Riley meanwhile, finishes a bottle of wine with Auggie, and they kiss, but she’s drunk and then he leaves, saying nothing happened. So then, she’s like, “Oh, nothing happened.” And “Hey, I still feel bad!” Poor Riley.
Later on, David comes home to find Michael Mancini lurking in the shadows, as he is wont to do. Michael confronts David about being in his office earlier and stealing a painting from him once, because David is, by the way, an art thief. Michael does the ol’ “Melrose Threaten,” and warns his son that he’ll be watching his every move.
Would that instead he were watching Boomkat’s every move! Look at ‘em go!
That’s the stuff!
Then, Jonah comes back to Riley and she says things like “Do you know how intimidating it is to be around you sometimes?” and he’s like, “I’m not intimidating!” And then a social worker lets herself in, moves their breakable items to high shelves they can’t reach, and helps them tie their shoes.
Lauren gets the job with Michael, and she’s thrilled, even though she’s going to have to do more hooking to keep herself in med school. We didn’t get to see her hooking in this episode, but she’ll probably hook next time. She’ll hook ‘em so hard, it will be like her Johns are watching the movie Hook, starring the great Bob Hoskins.
Ella tells Jonah that her boss, Caleb, liked his work on the Boomkat shoot, but won’t be using his name on the video. He is sad. Boo-hoomkat.
Finally, David uses Michael’s key card to log into his computer. He finds that Michael has files on all Melrose Place residents, present and past.
Those were probably Sydney’s files, because that ho’ was always up to no good. But now Big Brother is watching all forty-seven cast members who live (in? at?) Melrose Place, and by Big Brother, I mean David’s Father, Dr. Michael Mancini.
Next week: The return of Jodie Bissett! More arm-crossing from Ashlee Simpson! And will Boomkat get a file on Michael Mancini’s computer? I hope so!