7. Prostitoctor Everyone may be a slash, but no one's slash is as good as Lauren's, who is a DOCTOR slash PROSTITUTE. What a romp, writers! The recession means her father has been laid off and can't offered her med school tuition anymore. The writers turned their satirical skills to volume 11 as Lauren was bombarded with papers stamped in red reading PAST DUE over and over again, flurrying at her like she'd been accepted to Hogwarts. Her only solution was to join a harem and become a high class hooker, and not for one episode, for the entire season! There have been some close calls, but I'm still waiting for the day she accidentally brings the Prosti to hospital and the Toctor to the bedroom. Talk about bed-side manner.
6. The Writers Aren't Afraid to Get Political Melrose Place has included a clever nod not only to gay marriage, but also a peak at a sort of pro-left scientifically advanced future where two men can reproduce, in the character of Auggie, the recovering alcoholic slash restaurant chef, who so clearly is the love child of Tom Cruise and Christian Bale.
5. Fast-Paced Twists When the jokes are at their best the writers build up the momentum and then hit you with them faced and hard. A sequence from this week's episode left me literally crying and convulsing on the floor, unable to breath: At first we think Ashlee Simpson's character Violet is getting a visit from on old small town boyfriend named Levi (don't think we didn't notice that political jab! Fearless, those writers), but then things escalate from him being a little desperate to full on crazy in seconds when he breaks into her apartment, holds a knife up to her, demand that they re-light the flame of their romance, reveals that their actually adopted siblings, and that her love was the only thing keeping him off his addiction to meth. This is like the old days on SNL.
4. That Murder Mystery is Coming to A Close You'll definitely want to be there when the culprit is finally caught, and who's behind it is anyone's guess, but judging by how much this show loves it's slashies, I'm guessing Jonah, who's pretty much just unemployed slash amateur film maker. Wouldn't slash murderer look great? Maybe he was making a snuff film.
3. A Classic Tale of Morality Oh Jonah and Riley, in these hard times they just can't keep a job. And you know why? It's not the recession, it's their morals. Ha! What wit! They're so good, they're hearts so true, they love doing the right thing, and not being able to pay the bills because of it. After Jonah accidentally sees a major movie mogul having an affair he's offered the chance to turn his student film into a big budget movie! But that's not how Jonah wants to play. So he goes to work for the Gay PR, but when Ella asks him to search through e-mails that could help save her job? He's out of there. When Riley lands a national modeling campaign she's asked to tell the press she was discovered on the streets of Detroit, but Riley? She can't help but blurt out to the reporters at the big premiere that "Screw you all! My parents are rich!" Snap! Is this girl a Bluth, or what?
2. Heather Locklear Has Magical Powers While The Perfect Man may not have been funny at all, I think we should blame Hilary Duff, because on the small screen Heather Locklear is comedic gold. Her return as Amanda Woodward from the original series was a brilliant surprise as she strutted down the halls of Gay PR Where Everyone's Gay like a diamond-studded White Witch of Narnia. Her ongoing joke? She's never in the same frame as another character! Oh man, it's so funny, you always think they might slip up, but this gag is expertly blocked and filmed. The reason for all of this? Why, the soft lighting! The shower steam that blocks our screen from any sign that Locklear has aged since the first Melrose Place is particularly hysterical when she's filmed talking to the harsh high definition they shoot 23-year-old Katie Cassidy in, making the poor thing look about 45. What a great sight-gag on the politics of aging women in Hollywood. In never gets old. Trust.
1. Ashlee Simpson-Wentz The best for last, of course. This girl is such a gem, such an unexpected talent, she really deserves an Emmy. She is the new Jessica Walter, I'm telling you. Every scene, Simpson-Wentz is able to strike a comprise between subtlety and outrageous slap-stick in mere seconds, like a beautiful cross between other famous TV redheads Lucille Ball and Debra Messing. She plays her villainous character with such a knowing-turn, making us laugh both with her and at other actors like Heroes' Zachary Quinto or Lost's Michael Emerson who takes themselves so seriously. Ashlee Simpson-Wentz is a thinking-man's on screen comedienne, and here's the proof.
Melrose Place is on Tuesdays, 9PM on The CW or, whenever you want it, on your TiVo.
-- ALEX WILBURN
Previously > Degrassi: Beat It Part 2