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I thought Muldoon sparked with Josie early on in the tail end of S3. That faded fast, as Richard stuff became literally all Jane or Jo did. I was over it fast. To me he was best as a device to toughen Jane.

 

I loved how they began evolving Kimberly into a functional, liberated and slightly cracked sex kitten/radio therapist post-bomb. I think that was perfect and could've gone on years.

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3. Jane Andrews Mancini Mancini (Josie Bissett)

I'm a big believer that when you're going to have such larger-than-life characters as Kimberly, Amanda and Michael, you're going to need to balance that out with a few more down-to-earth characters. To me, Jane (along with a few others) is that type of character. I've generally always liked her. It's interesting to me that Jane is remembered in this thread as a bitchy character, as she was only that character for a very brief stint in early season 5. More than anything, the word 'victim' comes to mind when I think of Jane. I felt bad for her, because I felt that she kept being victimized. Jane is also one of several female characters on the show that - in my opinion - suffered from a string of terrible love interests (Chris, Richard, Alex). 
 

I liked how they included a married couple at the start of the show, and how they upended (at least my) expectations by not even having their marriage survive the first season. I vividly remember Jane (in a red outfit, which I randomly remember) confronting Kimberly (and/or Michael) at the hospital towards late S1/early S2. One of my favorite Jane scenes. Back then, Jane was done with Michael. Period. I wish it had stayed that way. Next was Robert, whom I actually liked. Although he is not blameless in falling for Michael's trap, I wish Jane would have given him another chance (lord knows she gave Michael plenty of other chances). Then came Chris, who turned out to be a horrible creep, followed by Richard, who turned out to be an even bigger creep. I agree that Richard/Jane in late S3 were somewhat interesting, but that waned quickly and the whole Jane/Richard/Jo triangle was the worst. I will say that I was shocked when Richard actually raped Jane. I'd seen plenty of storylines about women who had been raped in the past, but I don't think I had ever actually seen it unfold in the present. I remember thinking that the show had really crossed a line that it couldn't uncross. I'm surprised that the whole thing didn't turn into a much bigger deal on the show. It does pave the way for the colder, bitchier version of Jane in S5. The buried alive story was a bit over the top for my taste. I was never a big Jake/Jane fan (am I correct in remembering they were together for a hot minute during the Sydney/cult storyline in S3, before their relationship in S4/S5?). I'm not sure if that actually had anything to do with the characters, or that it simply bothered me that their names are only one letter apart. I liked the return of a more mellow Jane in her exit storyline, when she found her birth mother. As I said before, while I liked seeing her again in S7, I feel like the storylines were dumb. Her getting back together with Michael after everything was downright frustrating, Alex wasn't much better, and I personally wasn't feeling her rushed ending with Kyle, although she deserved a good guy for once, which Kyle definitely was.

I always liked Jane much more in the non-romantic storylines. I absolutely loved her dynamic with Sydney, whether they were friends or foes. I also really loved following her career trajectory. This was back in the days when people were allowed to work in a place that was not either an advertising agency or a hospital. From working at a boutique, to working for Kay, to starting her own line, to fusing into Hart-Mancini, to owning her own boutique, it is the sort of career path that I was expecting to see when I started watching a show about 8 twentysomethings. When she returned in S7 and started working for AWA, only to end up working in a flower shop it was just disrespectful to the character's history. Speaking of disrespecting history, there were two moments in S7 (when she and Michael were going to adopt Michael/Taylor's baby; when she ended up pregnant with Michael's child) when it would have been nice to hear a reference to the child she and Michael had lost in S1. I know somewhere in this thread someone mentioned not having seen S1 initially, and being shocked to find out about the baby). 

Finally, I'm a bit obsessed with character names on television shows, and I found it quite off-putting that Jane kept being referred to as Jane Mancini throughout the show's run (although I guess at least we know her maiden name. There is a bigger offender here coming up). I don't think she started making it as a designer until after she divorced Michael. If she had made a name for herself in the design world, it would make at least some sense that she wouldn't want to change it. But after that whole ordeal with Michael I just dind't understand why she would keep the name. It led to both Syd and Jane being Mrs. Mancini (wasn't there an episode title referring to that fact at some point), which always felt a bit idiotic to me.

 

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On 1/28/2020 at 6:51 PM, Gray Bunny said:

I loved when Jasmine Guy was briefly on the show in Season 3, and had they written it in such a way, they could've kept her character longterm or brought her back, just as they were able to bring Peter Burns back. I loved the tension between her and Amanda. I also liked Alycia Barnett (Anne-Marie Johnson) too. 

 

I agree with you about Alycia. One of the better guest stars the show has had. Would have loved to see her in other storylines. I have a slightly different take on Caitlin, much as I love Jasmine Guy, which I'll get into in my Peter post (or probably will already at least touch upon in my Amanda post)

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4. Alison Parker Armstrong Hanson (Courtney Thorne-Smith)

(Side-note: has the show ever been consistent in the spelling of Alison/Allison's name? I feel like every time I convinced myself it was Alison, I saw something that said Allison, and vice versa.)

 

I really love the description of Alison, at least in the early seasons, as the heart of the show. Although the show has clearly always been an ensemble show, I remember thinking back in S1 that there were three characters that you could reasonably think of as the show's "main character". Jake transported us from 90210 to MP. Billy was the new guy, through whose eyes we got to know the other characters. But Alison was the first character (save for Natalie) whom we saw on the show. (Another side-note: I briefly mentioned the alternate endings earlier, but I also LOVE the idea of Natalie returning at the very end to find that everyone's gone. Much more of a full-circle moment than we ended up getting). I could see how Alison would possibly not be everyone's cup of tea, especially when compared to much flashier characters like Amanda or Kimberly, but like Jane, she was a much more down-to-earth character that this show needed to balance the crazy. Having said that, I also loved her turn as a drunk in S3.

I always loved Billy and Alison, and I am truly sad they did not end up together. I kept expecting Billy to dump both Sam and Jennifer and go to Atlanta to win Alison back, especially when she kept getting mentioned all of a sudden. Much like Jane, I feel like Alison suffered from terrible love interests aside from Billy. I never felt her romance with Keith, even before he went crazy. S2 gave us Steve, who wasn't much better. I liked seeing Brian Bloom on the show, but his character was never a good match for Alison, and the sports star she met in rehab (I forgot his name) always seemed like an absolute creep. Her romance with Hayley in S4 made absolutely no sense (I hate when shows have their good-looking female characters fall for men that could have easily been their father), but I surprisingly grew to like it over time. As a matter of fact, I think aside from Billy, Hayley is my favorite love interest for Alison. Much has been said about the marriage to Jake in S5, and I can only agree whole-heartedly. I'll never understand how the show completely ruined two core characters by having them completely isolated from everyone else. It is even more ironic because back in S1, they decided they were better off as friends. If only they had followed their own advice.

I always loved the more career-driven Alison from earlier seasons. Obviously, her career suffered from her alcoholism, but her decisison to be content as a waitress at Shooters is completely infuriating (as I'm typing this, I'm wondering who ever thought it was a good idea to have a recovering alcoholic working at a bar... was that ever addressed on the show? I can't remember). Although it seemingly made little sense to break up Jake/Alison, as they were both leaving the show, I was always glad they did. I loved the small send-off she got with Billy at the airport and the idea that she would be re-focusing her career over in Atlanta. 

I also really loved the storylines surrounding Alison's family. The reveal about her father was very soapy, but I thought it was quite well done. I also loved the scenes between Alison and Meredith, and wished the show had done more with that (although having Meredith come on to Billy was a bit much). The one thing that bugs me, as a name nerd, is that Alison's mother never got a first name. I believe every other parent got one, so why not her. Another soapy storyline, and on that CTS mentioned in an interview she liked a lot, was her temporary blindness following Kimberly's bomb. I have to say that storyline was a bit too rushed, as well as a bit too obvious, for my taste. I would have liked more of an aftermath between Alison/Kimberly, as she was one of the only characters who actually suffered from the bombing (and also one of the few characters who hadn't interacted with Kimberly very much yet).

I'm really glad to hear that CTS has worked pretty steadily following her departure from MP, and I hope to see her in another show soon. I might need to watch Ally McBeal, According To Jim or Two And A Half Men now. Also, I'm happy to hear that's she's always spoken lovingly about the show.      

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3 hours ago, Brolden said:

I might need to watch Ally McBeal, According To Jim or Two And A Half Men now. 

 

Not even CTS is worth going through that kind of hell.  Trust me.

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36 minutes ago, te. said:

@Brolden I'm pretty sure the show was consistent with spelling it "Alison", but I might be wrong.

 

I just saw that IMDB has it spelled Allison. Maybe that's what kept throwing me off.
 

10 minutes ago, Khan said:

 

Not even CTS is worth going through that kind of hell.  Trust me.

 

Which one? Or all three?

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@Brolden Love your assessment of Alison. When Melrose started out, it was indeed Alison, Billy, and Jake as the main characters. Jane & Michael usually had stand alone storylines that were wrapped in one episode (as nearly all storylines were during the first half) or weren't featured at all, just as Matt, Rhonda, and Sandy had intermittent storylines. What I loved about the first season and to a lesser degree the second season, is that we really got to know the characters. Especially Alison and Billy. We understood their values, their ambitions, their hopes in a romantic partner, etc.

 

Despite her raging alcoholism (which was actually pretty organic to the character and all she suffered leading up to it) and her brief stint being a corporate monster, Alison was always one of my all-time favorites. The ad-exec-turned-Shooters-waitress is one of the biggest WTF's for character development.  

 

Seeing all the back 'n forth misses in the 3rd and 4th season between Billy and Alison is aggravating as a viewer because you knew they were meant to be together in the end, just as Jo and Jake should've been endgame. 

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IMDB is (as it often is) wrong. It was always Alison in print and official media.

 

We don't view Jane as a bitch. She was a victim for the first three years, something the press and cast openly discussed. The introduction of Richard and Mackenzie/Hart was a plotline specifically created to toughen her up, per TPTB interviews at the time. I remember many. They went too far with it in late S4 and S5, but the complexity remained upon her underrated return.

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2 hours ago, Brolden said:

 

I just saw that IMDB has it spelled Allison. Maybe that's what kept throwing me off.

 

Probably - I remember back in the 90s people kept spelling it Alison / Allison which made me take notice on her name plates on D&D etc and it was always spelled Alison from what I can remember.

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5. Jake Hanson (Grant Show)

 

I really like S1 Jake. The "bad boy" with the heart of gold. It's interesting to me how the character seemingly falls within the same archetypical realm as Dylan McKay, and yet both Jake and Dylan are very much their own character. I liked a lot of Jake's standalone stories in S1, like when he found out about David, or when an ex-girlfriend showed up with the message that she had AIDS. I also really liked seeing Jake's struggles, especially when it came to what he wanted to do with his life. On a show that had so many characters that were very career-driven (Alison, Amanda) or had big dreams (Billy), it was nice to see someone who didn't quite figure out what he was meant to do. I remember him being very self-aware, knowing that he was better off working with his hands instead of his head, but also knowing that that provided him with fewer opportunities in life. Once Jo entered the show, she really brought out the best in him. I absolutely loved Jake/Jo, and just like with Billy/Alison, I'm very sad that they didn't end up together. I loved how, even when they weren't dating, he was always there for her (like when she had/gave up her baby).

I always found it quite funny that by season 3, Jake had been with nearly every female regular on the show: Sandy, Jo, Amanda, Sydney, Jane. He'd had that one-off with Alison in S1, which was obviously expanded upon in S5. There's a hilarious moment in one of the cast interviews where Grant tells Daphne "I kissed you the most and I liked it the most", upon which Courtney, Heather, Laura and Josie are all like "Hey!" 🤣. Although I totally bought that Jake would hook up with Amanda, I never bought that as a longer-lasting relationship, as she was so high maintenance. Especially when her father got involved, I would have expected Jake to bow out. The Jake/Jane and Jake/Sydney relationships were not terrible, but they always paled in comparison to Jake/Jo. As I have said in my previous post, I, like many of you, did not enjoy the Jake/Alison marriage in the slightest.

As I'm typing this, I am racking my brain trying to remember what Jake was up to in S4. For some reason, I'm coming up completely empty. By the end of that season, I believe he was dating Jane, and then moved on to Alison when Jane shut both of them out after the rape. But if I recall correcly, Jane was with Richard for at least half of that season. I do vaguely remember Jess' wife showing up for a boring storyline that lasted way too long, but I can't imagine that's all he's been up to in that season. Speaking of Jess, I never bought Jake and Jess as brothers, not even as estranged ones. It never felt that they had anything in common. As a result of all of this, I feel like I slowly stopped caring about Jake after S3, which is sad, because he'd been such an important part of the show in those early days. By the end of S5, I felt like Alison could have stuck around on the show and become interesting again, whereas the moment had passed for Jake. Although I would have preferred him ending up with Jo, it was a nice touch to have him reunite with his son.

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On 1/23/2020 at 1:48 PM, Brolden said:

I started watching Melrose Place somewhere around 2012, and have watched on a weekly basis, with a few breaks between seasons. What I love about this (and HATE about binge-watching), is that a show really becomes a big part of your life as you grow with the show. It also makes me feel a bit melancholy that's it's finally over now. 

 

I thought I was the only one who watched a show on a weekly basis with breaks between seasons! 

 

I am doing that for the big 80s soaps (well, DALLAS, DYNASTY, and KNOTS LANDING and to a lesser extent, FALCON CREST) and with BH 90210 and MP, although 7 seasons of MP have taken me longer than 7 years due to some of the lows. I wanted to recreate the experience and make them last. I agree the shows stay with you for so long and that's why I've stalled with the last few episodes of Season 7. I don't want it to end. I've been watching KL for 13 years... I can't even imagine what it'd be like to not have any new episodes left!

 

Loving your write-ups. I've been wanting to go back to early MP to rediscover it and this doesn't help!  

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6. Matt Fielding (Doug Savant)

Despite Matt being treated like a side character for most of his run, I always really liked Matt. The character obviously suffered from the fact that it was not yet widely accepted to display gay relationships on a television show in the 90s. It is downright ridiculous that Matt and his many love interests were never shown doing more than hold hands. Although it is easy nowadays to frown upon any such portrayals, I am a big believer that these things need to be seen in their historical context. I was actually quite surprised at how ahead of its time some of the early storytelling with Matt was (although that did diminish a bit as the series continued). I loved that there was no "big reveal" surrounding Matt's sexuality. It's possible that I missed something, but if I recall correctly, Matt made a comment in the pilot or second episode that could be taken several ways, but other than that, his sexuality was not yet made explicit. When it was (a few episodes into the series, I believe) it was just a casual thing. Which makes total sense, because these other characters had been living with him for some time and would have obviously known, even if the audience didn't. Again, it's possible that I'm misremembering some of this, but I remember being quite impressed at the time. I wasn't watching in the 90s, but I felt like Matt, as a gay series regular, would have been a major step towards progress in television.  

Unfortunately, the show soon decided to have him marry Katya for a green card, which was honestly downright ridiculous in my opinion. I understand they weren't able to show him in a same-sex relationship, but to have him marry a woman seemed a bit like undoing all that progress. I was very happy when the show actually allowed him to have a relationship with Jeffrey. This is an opinion I haven't really heard in this thread yet, but I really loved Matt/Jeffrey, even despite the fact that they only held hands. I was glad to see him return in S3. Unfortunately, none of Matt's other relationships did much to me. Billy's friend could have been interesting, because of the ties to Billy, but it was never really picked up on. Paul was a psycho. Alan was ok, but nothing more than that. Once again, they had a gay character (Alan) marry a woman for convenience. I remember some guy Matt got close to while Alan was married, but was never much more into that relationship. Then there was the shrink (David? Dan?), who was downright creepy as well. I also remember a guy (I'm gonna say Tom?) who helped Matt while he was fired because of his sexuality. I don't think the show ever went there, but I think beside Jeffrey he had the best chemistry with DS. I feel like at some point the show just gave up on introducing love interests for Matt and saddled him with his niece instead.

Matt's family storylines were always a bit hit-or-miss for me. His struggles with his parents were interesting at first, but his mother fighting him over custody of Chelsea was terrible. I never really warmed to Chelsea in general, and it didn't help that Matt's brother was never even mentioned before he suddenly died and left Chelsea to Matt. I did somehwat like the sparring between DS and Nancy Lee Grahn in that storyline, but it was obvious that Matt was on the way out at that point (I'm actually surprised to read that Matt had a deal in place for S6, even if it does help explain that appearance in the season premiere, which always struck me as odd). As I mentioned in a previous post, I always loved Matt's work at the shelter in S1. Matt was always into helping other people much more than getting personal gain. I was sad to see him fired and move on to the hospital, and it made zero sense when he suddenly revealed he had wanted to become a doctor all his life. I was also never a big fan of Michael (more on that shortly), and was sad when, for the longest time, he became Matt's sole tie to the rest of the show. In never understood why Matt stayed loyal to Michael, even after Michael has screwed him over time and again. 

Finally, the decision in S7, after both Matt and DS had been gone from the show for some time, to kill off Matt off-screen, just to launch a new storyline off of his diary made absolutely no sense whatsoever and was an insult to fans of the original characters of the show.   

 

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15 hours ago, YRBB said:

I thought I was the only one who watched a show on a weekly basis with breaks between seasons! 

 

I actually do it with every show that I watch. I love how at random moments throughout the week I find myself thinking about the storylines and speculating on what will happen next. And the feeling I get when I'm about to end a show (especially if there are flashbacks/throwbacks/surprise returns) is just something I can't quite describe. Plus: that's the way these shows were meant to be watched. 

 

I also took a bit longer (8 years) than real time with MP, because of some of the lows. And it's always funny, because I consider myself a HUGE television buff, but whenever I talk to someone, they have always seen many more shows, because they watch one season a day. Also, they shows they list are always the popular shows of the day (Game Of Thrones; Breaking Bad; House Of Cards), and I am always much more interested in shows that have long been over and would never even be considered by those people, like Melrose Place.

 

About ten years ago (before binge watching became the hot word) I watched one show (The O.C.) at a one-episode-a-day speed, but I find that that show has stayed with me much less than the others. The experience is truly so different. For the life of me, I can't figure out why EVERYONE is into binge watching these days.

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Allison with Hayley couls have lasted a lot longer than it did.  She needed a father figure given what her father had done to her...plus her being Brooke's step mom would have been ripe for story for seasons to come.

 

The change of show runners in season 4 did the most.damage to Brooke since she was newer and not yet established.  She would have fit in nicely in the season 5 back to basic approach..imho.

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8 hours ago, Soaplovers said:

Allison with Hayley couls have lasted a lot longer than it did.  She needed a father figure given what her father had done to her...plus her being Brooke's step mom would have been ripe for story for seasons to come.

 

The change of show runners in season 4 did the most.damage to Brooke since she was newer and not yet established.  She would have fit in nicely in the season 5 back to basic approach..imho.

 

Charles Pratt, Jr. has always been a very short-sighted writer.  In every series he's worked on, he'll set up intriguing storylines that could run for years, then drop 'em first chance he gets.  I think the guy must have ADHD.

 

11 hours ago, Brolden said:

For the life of me, I can't figure out why EVERYONE is into binge watching these days.

 

Me neither.  Especially given the lengths of episodes, depending on the series.  IMO, binge watching works if each episode is 10-15 minutes apiece.  Otherwise, it's a slog.

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