STUDIO: CBS/Paramount
MSRP: $54.99
RUNNING TIME: 1,432 excruciating minutes that I will never have back
•    Melrose Place: According to Jake
•    Melrose Place: Seven Minutes in Hell
•    Everything You Need to Know About Melrose Place Season 3

The Pitch

My testicles rip their way out of my scrotum and walk into the sunset.

The Humans

Heather Locklear, Andrew Shue, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Josie Bissett, Thomas Calabro, Marcia Cross, Laura Leighton, Doug Savant, Jack Wagner, Grant Show, and Daphne Zuniga.

The Nutshell

The titular apartment complex is occupied by a mish-mash of hip and happening Caucasian twentysomethings. Their lives are a smorgasbord of the activities every twentysomething should (and does) experience: bed sharing, betrayal, corporate raiding, hostage situations, attempted matrimony, kidnapping, rehab, HIV, job promotions, cult membership, mafia shakedowns, life-threatening illness that doesn’t involve anal sex. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

No matter how hard he tried to escape his past, the media just wouldn’t leave Bigfoot alone.

The Lowdown

Beloved Chewers,

I write before beginning the last episode to ensure there is a record of what has happened. After the end credits of the season finale, I’m positive my mental state will mirror that of Marcia Cross’s character, Kimberley. Presuming I even survive the ordeal.  

I have seen the model Pickman’s model was based upon. Pickman’s model witnessed this episodic atrocity and said to himself, “Shit, where’s my notepad? I should be writing this down.” You yourself may have watched an episode or two of the show and are thinking, “What is he talking about? The show was bad, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.” See, this beast doesn’t show its true colors until you’ve seen the whole season sans commercials. That is when all the pieces fall into place. It was the commercials that saved mankind when the show originally aired. They broke the spell. Now there is nothing to stop the awakening of the beast.

Early 90s fashion at it’s best.

It all begins like any other soap opera. There’s an attempted vehicular homicide with subsequent framing and amnesia. One character waltzes into a backyard barbeque and announces to the guests that when she was young, daddy wasn’t a gentleman. A kinky Aussie kidnaps a former prostitute while a crazy doctor kidnaps a newborn baby. Child care is not the #1 priority of a British nanny. An infamous porn star plays a cult recruiter. When taken separately, these events are definitely contrived, yet would still appear to be innocuous. It’s as if the writers were a group of hyperactive children tearing through a toy box. What is more innocent than a child at play? It’s when you take a step back that the glimmers of the terror these plots conjure reveal themselves.  

Take Allison for example. She begins the season by running away from her wedding to confront her father about his indiscretions. The outcome isn’t what she hoped, though there is some closure, and she loses fiancé Billy in the process. It’s no surprise she turns to the bottle for help. She rebounds with some Richard Grieco-impersonator. He only accelerates the downward spiral.  One drunken night, she hits a small boy with her car. Surprisingly, this isn’t the low point. On the way to rehab, she runs away. She winds up in front of a bar and breaks down while an adult contemporary ballad plays in the background. Apparently she had reached the nadir, because she willingly went in for the cure. The only possible reason to throw so much into one character’s story (all in the first third of the season, mind you) is to summon unknown horrors. I cannot be convinced otherwise. Call me crazy, but don’t come crying when a shoggoth devours your pet or, if you don’t have a pet, the weakest member of your family. There’s too much effort put into the overstuffed storylines for entertainment to be the writing staff’s only goal.

It wouldn’t be a Monk Christmas party without Ted Levine and Stanley Kamel putting on a show.

Pickman’s model’s model has many faces. None of them can act. There are a few that will deceive you into believing they have some chops. This will not be the case. It’s just that the other faces have lowered the bar to a level where it appears as though Doug Savant emotes. In her post-partum hysteria, Daphne Zuniga flails around like an epileptic at a late-era Tony Scott retrospective. Some of the faces come as a surprise. John Saxon pops up as Jo’s attorney in her custody battle. I hope the paycheck resulted in a warm meal or two. Doctors say cancer killed Vincent Schiavelli. I say his five-second stint on Melrose Place did. His soul was never able recover. Traci Lords has a recurring role and doesn’t dilute the talent pool in the least. The same goes for Kathy Ireland. Most horrifying of all, Heather Locklear parades her flat face around, scaring the piss out of any children in a four-mile radius.

The time has come. The final episode calls to me. With it’s viewing, the tapestry will be revealed in its entirety. I’m not sure what will become of me. I may be institutionalized. I may take up cutting.  I may wake up the next morning to find Vincent D’Onofrio suspended over my bed. The abyss lies ahead. Pray for me.

Andrew Shue enjoying the show.

The Package

We’re blessed with three featurettes. “According to Jake” has ratings war criminal Darren Star, Grant Shaw, and, from beyond the grave, Aaron Spelling talking about the character of Jake and the loves of his life.  “Seven Minutes in Hell” is nothing more than a highlight reel. “Everything You Need to Know About Melrose Place Season 3” has Michael Colton and John Aboud of VH1 fame, giving the third season the Best Week Ever/I Love the Decade From the Late 20th Century treatment. They hit with a few good jokes and make some astute observations (“It’s like a season finale every episode”), but it does nothing to salvage the DVD in any way.

2 out of 10