It looks like last night was my last time watching the rebooted MELROSE PLACE, because the clichés are so overwhelming that it feels like I’ve already seen it all before.
Let’s start where the show did, with Riley’s fashion shoot. Designer Anton V. supposedly chose Riley as the…er, face of his his jeans because she’s real” and “not a model,” but then he dispatched her to a photo shoot where she was given the standard overblown hair, makeup and wardrobe that transformed her into somebody who was indistinguishable from a “real” model. Instead of a teacher with finger paint on her shabby dress, Riley looked just as plastic and fake and generic as any other jeans model on the planet. Anton completely sabotaged his own campaign. And what about that shoot? “Photojournalist” Jo Reynolds (the returning Daphne Zuniga) was booked as the photographer, but even as Riley gushed about Jo’s soulful images from Darfur, Jo was shooting bland, windswept pictures of Riley that looked, yes, exactly the same as every other jeans ad ever. “You’re a real woman!” Jo shouted. Or at least, the kind of real woman who hangs out topless at the beach. When a half-naked Riley bristled at Jo’s facile manipulation and stormed off the set, it proved Riley had really big…principles! We’ve seen it all before, so why bother?
Perhaps Riley’s plot was a cliché for the same reason that her fiancé, Jonah, was dispatched to the famous Paramount Pictures lot to meet a megaproducer Andy, who was talking to “Johnny” (Ooooh! “Johnny Depp”? The Johnny Depp?) on his cell, and dropping the name “Leo” (As in “DiCaprio,” maybe?). Of course Andy told Jonah he loves everything about his film — and only wants to completely change everything! Cliché, cliché, cliché. Why, it’s just like ENTOURAGE! Oh, those Hollywood types are all the same!
Which is the problem. Everything about this MP is more of the same. Apparently the-powers-that-be are banking on the target audience of preteen girls being so young they have no frame of reference for a nighttime soap beyond 90210, GOSSIP GIRL and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. Well, the legendary newspaperman H.L. Mencken famously noted, “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” (He didn’t know from Nielsen ratings, though…)
Finally, I leave you with the laugh line of the night, courtesy of Colin Egglesfield‘s Auggie: “Riley, I don’t know if you know this, but it’s kind of impossible to hate you.” Uh, no, it’s not. It’s actually quite easy to hate Riley. And her little show, too.