Melrose (same old) Place

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.
 

Melrose cast

Melrose Place

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. 

Soap Opera Weekly: Read at Joe’s 8/31/09

The good news about the Daytime Emmys was that the show moved at an entertaining clip. The bad news was the lack of actual clips. In fact, soaps seemed to be pushed to the margins a bit. Sure, the first award went to ALL MY CHILDREN’s Vincent Irizarry as outstanding supporting actor, but after that the broadcast felt like game shows, talk fests and SESAME STREET dominated. Tons of attention was devoted to other programming, as if to prove to casual viewers that daytime has more to offer than “just” soaps. Hence the recurring bits with SESAME STREET’s Elmo and Gordon, and the obsessive cut-aways to JEOPARDY!’s Alex Trebek. The ultimate insult came at the very end, though, when BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL was announced as Outstanding Drama and then the credits rolled. Viewers barely got a glance at the stage as the B&B folks gathered. That was sort of disgraceful, especially in light of all the time wasted by hostess Vanessa Williams. Did she really need two song-and-dance numbers? No, she did not. This is not the Oscars, which needs production numbers to sell the show to overseas markets that demand such spectacle. This is the Daytime Emmys! We don’t need no stinkin’ songs; we got…er, Elmo!

But back to the good stuff. I cover GENERAL HOSPITAL, so I was particularly pleased by Julie Marie Berman’s supporting actress win, and the victory of Robert Guza Jr. and the writing team! Irizarry had the best speech. He hit all the bases — by turns touching without being maudlin, and funny yet respectful. The other great “speech” came from DAYS OF OUR LIVES’ Darin Brooks, whose expletive-laden stream-of-consciousness was mostly bleeped out. And the look of horror on his face when he realized that he’d blown all his time was priceless! The tribute to GUIDING LIGHT was terrific, but over way too soon. Just like the show itself. Probably everyone will agree that Tamara Braun taking the statue for supporting actress was the biggest surprise. That’s no diss on her, it’s just that she wasn’t in Salem very long. But obviously she made an impression.

I am no fashion maven, but even I noticed the amorphous white blob that seemed to be eating the dresses worn by GH’s Kirsten Storms and GL’s Kim Zimmer. My colleague Mala noticed it, too, and we shared theories via IM. (I feared an alien symbiote was lurking backstage and attaching itself to the couture.) Mala also explained that the cravat sported by B&B’s Ronn Moss was unrelated to the poofy white infestation. Sadly, I missed YOUNG AND RESTLESS’ Stacy Haiduk and her “escort/accessory,” Mr. Kitty during the red carpet preshow.

The CW was totally committed to using the awards broadcast to launch its fall lineup. I’m calling that a good thing. Since the entire network is aimed at young women, this means CW execs saw the awards as a good platform to reach young women. And maybe there will be some cross-pollination from MELROSE PLACE and 90210 and GOSSIP GIRL and VAMPIRE DIARIES to Y&R and DAYS and GH.

When I flipped over to MAD MEN at 10 p.m., I was delighted to see a daytime connection: Peyton List (ex-Lucy, AS THE WORLD TURNS) was back as Roger Sterling’s scandalously young wife. Welcome back, Peyton. Though I have a feeling that scene with John Slattery’s Roger in blackface is going to generate a firestorm! I have to admit the episode was rather boring overall, so why not add a minstrel show to the pot-smoking and pill-popping?

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/1909

So … what just happened on the two-hour season finale of 24? We know what appeared to be about to happen, but did it? Kim was just about to donate stem cells to save Jack’s life. And Renee was about to murder Alan Wilson. Well, the show was officially renewed for another season this week, so I’ll have to say that yes, Jack’s operation was a success, and no, Renee did not pull the trigger. I’d love to see Annie Wersching’s (ex-GENERAL HOSPITAL) character back next season. Day 8 will be filming in New York City this summer. In an atypical move, 24 devoted its final half-hour slowly tying up plot threads — including the political intrigue at the White House — but it did not resolve all of them. It was all rather low-key and, dare I say it, plodding. After yet another day of complicated action whipsawing through a single day, one could look at it as a chance to catch one’s breath and look back at what happened.

Jack’s trouble-magnet daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) was back, which meant she was in some kind of trouble. The bad guys threatened to kill her unless daddy Jack busted frenemy Tony out of federal custody. In a big change from previous seasons, Kim managed to save her own bacon and then actually contribute to finding her lost dad. Sure, there was chaos and mayhem all around her, but she did think for a change, and saved the assassin’s laptop, which contained valuable information. Tony, meanwhile, kept his cohorts from killing Jack by hatching a plan to use the pathogens in Jack’s contaminated blood to synthesize a new bioweapon. (Paul McGillion, best known as Dr. Beckett on STARGATE: ATLANTIS, played Levinson without the familiar Scottish accent, so it took me a second to recognize him as the doctor who analyzed Jack’s spinal fluid.) I loved that development. Jack himself became the threat! That was an ingenious inversion of the usual formula, in which Jack is our savior. And it also echoed the theme of the Senate hearings that opened the series: Is Jack Bauer more of a threat than the terrorists? Jack’s methods made him a monster, but is he our monster, or simply an uncontrollable force? Are we justified to use criminal techniques against criminals? Can we sink to their level and still call ourselves superior? Do the ends justify the means? This irony could have been explored a little more extensively, but at least it was there, indicating the-powers-that-be were not just paying lip service to the torture question for the early episodes. Recognizing the threat he posed, Jack tried to self-immolate with a flare in a puddle of gasoline, but Tony stopped him. (So why was Tony previously shooting at him?) The Big Bad was finally unmasked this week, and he turned out to be the force behind a lot of bad things that happened over the past few seasons. Alan Wilson (portrayed by Will Patton, known for portraying particularly evil slimeballs), was blamed for ordering the beloved David Palmer assassinated; he was the power behind the crooked President Logan; and he had Tony’s wife, Michelle Dessler, killed. It was that last crime that motivated Tony to spend almost five years trying to get close enough to Wilson to kill him. I must say, Tony really went through a lot to accomplish this goal — so much, in fact, that I kind of doubt this was the ending they originally had in mind. Tony’s involvement with the CIP device and the biological attack on Washington were both pretty unforgivable — even for a man avenging his wife and child (Michelle was revealed to be pregnant when she got blown up). It’s hard to believe 24 would set up Wilson as this tremendous baddie and then kill him offscreen. I’ll bet he shows up again on Day 8. Jack actually used what he believed to be his last minutes on Earth to have a philosophical discussion with Renee about the use of coercion. Jack warned it is a slippery slope. He said he knows in his mind the law in right, but in his heart he cannot accept it. In an even more shocking move, Jack summoned the Imam to seek forgiveness, and the Muslim holy man was beneficent, giving him absolution for all of his sins. What a bold choice by TPTB that was!

It was graduation day on GOSSIP GIRL, but the gang was more concerned with uncovering the identity of Gossip Girl herself. She chose now to deliver some of her most devastating gossip bombs ever, prompting Serena to actually fight back by unmasking her. Fingers were pointed, tears were shed, and in the end GG revealed that her motivation for the scorched-earth e-mails was to burn off all her reserves of secrets and give everyone a fresh start in college. The true identity of GG was never explicitly revealed, but the person widely rumored to be GG was clearly seen in the ending bar scene. (If you don’t know, I won’t ruin it for you, since the show seems determined to make it a continuing subplot.)

The key revelations of the night: Chuck learned that Blair slept with his Uncle Jack on New Year’s, and Blair heard about Chuck and Vanessa’s tryst. Chuck’s Beast continued to be powerless before Blair’s Beauty, and by the end of the episode he had to concede defeat and declare his love for her. What’s that, a happy ending for the Upper East Siders?

And the board was set up for next season:
•Jenny was crowned the new queen bee, and her first act was to ban headbands.
•Rufus finally proposed, and Lily accepted.
•Georgina announced her intention to attend NYU with Dan — and become Blair’s roommate.
•And then there was Scott, who’s really… Oh, but you already know who he is, right? If not, then I’ll never tell. XOXO…

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/12/09

GOSSIP GIRL unleashed its “backdoor pilot” for a spin-off that centers on Lily’s adventures as a teen back in the 1980s. It was framed as a flashback in which the current Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) recalled the first time she was arrested, when she was played by Brittany Snow (ex-Daisy, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Meg, AMERICAN DREAMS). Lily got herself kicked out of boarding school and went to Los Angeles to move in with her father — portrayed by ’80s teen icon Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink) — and ran afoul of her booze-loving mother Cece, played by Cynthia Watros (ex-Annie, GL; ex-Libby, LOST). Of course, straight-arrow Lily had a wild-child sister, Carol (Krysten Ritter; Jane, BREAKING BAD), who wanted to be an actress. Lily was starting to stray from the well-planned, monied path that her parents had mapped out for her.

In other words, the characters are just cardboard clichés (I didn’t tell you that Dad is a workaholic, but did I really have to?), and what passes for a plot is mostly just an excuse to showcase period fashions (one imagines the target audience squealing and rolling their eyes during Lily’s fashion show) and music. Ska band No Doubt appeared onstage as a band called Snowed Out (Get it?) and performed a cover of Adam and the Ants’ “Stand and Deliver.” The dialogue was not better than the plot and characterization, with painfully on-the-nose lines like, “Is this the moment where you fall in love with me?” delivered at precisely the moment that viewers know the “bad boy” (Is there currently any other kind of romantic hero?) has fallen for the “good girl.” Yeesh.

All of this was in service of the age-old theme that we all become our parents once we become parents ourselves. I suppose that can be interpreted as a pro-parent message; anyone who doesn’t understand just hasn’t had a kid yet. But I prefer to think of it as lazy storytelling. The modern storyline was much more interesting, even if it did deal with prom hijinks. Chuck engineered the perfect prom for Blair, based on a scrapbook she’d been keeping since childhood. (I’ve decided that instead of Chuck becoming a wuss-bunny around Blair, it’s more like what happens when Superman is around kryptonite; he can’t help becoming weak as a kitten, no matter how much he doesn’t like it.) How ironic that Blair realized she was growing up in the very same episode that the series went juvenile in the ersatz ’80s.

In the season finale of HOUSE, M.D. (That’s really what it’s called, you know…) House realized that he has secretly been taking Vicodan for months, and he didn’t really sleep with Cuddy. So Wilson brought him to an asylum, where he was committed. How’s that for a bromance move?

Yes, Kim is back on 24, and that means she’s in danger. Worse, it means she’s a danger to others; specifically her father, Jack. I actually feel sorry for Elisha Cuthbert, who gamely keeps returning to this cursed character. It seems there’s literally nothing Kim can do that won’t get her pilloried by fandom. She’s just an odious character who can do nothing right. So once again she’s doing what she does best: causing Jack agita as a pawn of the baddies. Yup, that was Karim Prince (ex-Stan, GENERAL HOSPITAL) as the EMT whom Jack prevented from administering morphine so he could torture the bad guy with the gushing neck wound. You gotta love Jack putting the squeeze on a bleeding man — and using his patented sleeper hold on Tony. Then, when Tony woke up, Jack beat the snot (and blood) out of him! Nobody commits like Jack. (Well, maybe House, now, eh?)

I just wanted to point out that in THE AMAZING RACE 14 finale, siblings Tammy and Victor won the $1 million, just as I predicted/hoped. Jaime and Cara came in second place. What could possibly suck more than finishing second for $1 million? The gals had a great attitude, but c’mon! Luke and Margie completed the top three. It’s always great the way the previously eliminated teams are all there, cheering on the winners. I’ll let Phil sum it up: “You ran an amazing race.”

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/28/09

I have to say, the season finale of HEROES felt very slapped together, as if the-powers-that-be decided to cut bait and get out of Volume 4 by any means necessary. Sure, there was a significant death — Nathan — but c’mon, the junior senator from New York has been a constant target throughout the series. Remember when he was apparently assassinated at the end of season two? Or seemingly blown up at the end of the first season? Most importantly, why didn’t Claire simply give him a quick transfusion and bring him back to life? Noah was shot to death back in season two and later revived with an IV of Claire’s blood. So why wouldn’t she save her biological father?

That was just the biggest reason that the finale felt way too rushed and anticlimactic. All the specials who were captured were released, and the government denizens who hunted them had the tables turned, but still. I was left feeling rather … meh.

There were great moments, such as the revelation that Sylar moved the “off switch” from its usual spot in the back of his head. (As I expressed last week, I’m relieved that he’s not immortal — as far as we know.) Parkman is even more powerful than we thought (and for once a painting of the future did not factor in the finale), but can his conditioning of Sylar last? Parkman transferred all of Nathan’s memories into the baddie, but is he “really” Nathan? Peter now has the chameleon power, and Hiro’s power to stop time appears to be killing him. And, in case you were confused, the body burned on the funeral pyre at Coyote Sands belonged to James Martin, the original shape shifter. The Building 26 team was dissolved and replaced by an all-new Company led by Noah. and all was forgiven.

As is customary, the next story began with a brief teaser. Volume 5 is called “Redemption,” and picks up six weeks later, with a water-based character who resembles Tracy drowned a former government agent in his home, calling him “number four.” Meanwhile, in his Senate office, Nathan/Sylar claimed he was not feeling like himself, and was fascinated by a clock. Using his original Sylar power to sense how things work, he realized the clock was running fast and fixed it. Uh-oh… Well, those two teasers are not exactly going to keep me on the edge of my seat until next season…

GOSSIP GIRL took a page out of LAW & ORDER’s playbook by spinning a story out of real-life events. Serena’s new beau, Gabriel, turned out to be a financial swindler, much like Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend was suspected of. Blair thought he was having an affair with Poppy, but no one realized the socialite was actually his partner. Meanwhile, Blair and Nate are a couple again. Nate rented a place in Murray Hill. Chuck scoffed at the neighborhood, but it’s close to the WEEKLY offices, and seems nice enough to me! As if he hasn’t already stirred up enough trouble, Chuck sprung Georgina from juvie. This oughtta be good…

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/1/09

It’s April Fool’s Day once again, but I’m not the type to post outrageous made-up junk and then laugh that I fooled people with a rumor on the Internet. That’s just a waste of time. You’ll get from me what you always get: My honest opinion of what I’ve been watching lately…

After watching THE MENTALIST for quite some time, the show finally included some mental…. er, stuff! Jedi mind tricks at last! Hypnosis was basis of this week’s crime, and although it was easy enough to figure out that a hypnotist had mesmerized someone else into committing a crime, it was not easy to figure out which hypnotist did it, because so many people turned out to be trained. In any event, I enjoyed seeing the mechanics (and myths) of hypnosis worked into the storyline. Poor Rigsby (played by the hulking Owain Yeoman, late of WITHOUT A TRACE, so I have to ask: Does Vanessa Marcil (ex-Brenda, GENERAL HOSPITAL) have more to do than just look sexy as Eric Close’s girlfriend? Because this episode just reminded me of her role in The Rock.

GOSSIP GIRL’s Eric pointed out that the Humphrey breakfast scene — everyone gathered in the kitchen to nosh while talking about their upcoming busy days and then rushing off — smacked of a sitcom. Me, I was reminded of an old teen soap that GG exec producer Josh Schwartz is mighty familiar with. (I won’t mention a name, but its initials are O.C.) Chuck Bass was back on familiar ground, setting up Vanessa to catch Blair leaving Nate’s place. Then he told Blair that Nate was still dating Vanessa. I prefer this trouble-making version of Chuck to the lovesick puppy who brought Blair flowers in previous weeks. This is the Chuck who wanted to post a sex tape with Vanessa on the Internet to get back at B. and Nate. He settled for snogging Vanessa in front of them instead. Well, as far as we know he settled; he did share his bed with V., so it remains to be seen what else he might share with the net. Chuck’s machinations even brought us a glimpse of the wicked old Blair, who reacted to the news that Nate had dumped Vanessa by asking, “Was it awful?” with a hopeful gleam in her eye.

Globe-trotting socialite Poppy Lifton didn’t quite view things so favorably when she blew back into town and pointed out that Serena is in exactly the same place as the last time she visited. Sure, that made it easy for Poppy to catch up, but also made the show sound like it’s standing still. Which it kind of is; there’s been lots of sound and fury, but Serena is still status quo. She’s not quite the same person who broke up and made up with her high school boyfriend and feuded with her frenemy last season, but she’s still doing virtually the same thing. Poppy was once again played by Tamara Feldman (ex-Natalie, DIRTY SEXY MONEY), and she introduced a her (extremely tall) new boyfriend Gabriel, played by Armie Hammer (who can be seen on REAPER this season as Morgan, the son of the devil). Poppy encouraged Serena to break out of her rut by hosting a bash for Jenny’s birthday. The problem was, Little J did not want a fancy, catered Sweet 16 party, like S. and Lily had planned. Too bad. Birthdays are not about what the celebrant wants; birthdays are about the party that others want to throw. So Serena leaped into action — and mortified poor Jenny with a society soiree. “I liked my social grave,” Jenny sighed. “I dug it myself.” But S. was adamant, even when Jenny complained, “I didn’t want this.” Well, Little J may not have started it, but she did her best to finish it by posting it online at Gossip Girl and flooding the joint with so many kids that the cops showed up.

HEROES’ Claire and Nathan were on the run from authorities in Mexico. As part of the night’s theme, Claire spent time with her biological father while Peter came to understand more about his mother in New York. Claire must have gotten a haircut as a disguise, since Hayden Panettiere’s bangs make her look a lot older. Nathan was initially funny as he tried to assure her that he was still in control and win survival money in a drinking game with frat boys. He almost won, but passed out. Then Claire stepped up to challenge the winner — by taking off her shirt and downing 22 consecutive shots of tequila. Needless to say, she drank the party boy under the table in no time. Back in their seedy motel room, Claire told her daddy that her tissue-regeneration power clears her liver — which may be true, but of course is not the reason she doesn’t get drunk; she stays sober because her dead brain cells regenerate. But she can be forgiven for that mistake, since she hasn’t spent much time in school lately. The next morning, Nathan was sober in more ways than one: He admitted he had overreached with this anti-powers campaign and was now in over his head. And that, like many an absentee father, he was trying to win her affection with presents — in her case, a “Get Out of Concentration Camp Free” card. But like an adult, he vowed to take responsibility and clean up his mess. Meanwhile, in New York, Angela seemed to think it might be too late to clean up her mess. Still, she resolved to try — and needed her sister’s help to do it. Sister? How big is this family?

Uncharacteristically, this episode used a couple of old songs, Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” and The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” to nice effect. Usually HEROES just relies on the musical talent of Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman — otherwise known as Wendy and Lisa of Prince’s Revolution fame.

Oh, and did I mention that Sylar gained shape-shifting powers and people think he’s dead? I should mention that. (But I don’t think HRG was fooled; he is The Man, after all…)

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 3/17/09

The occasion of the senior play was an excuse for GOSSIP GIRL to pile on references to classic novels (yes, books) like The Age of Innocence, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Great Gatsby, and films like The Graduate and Eyes Wide Shut. (Don’t laugh. Stanley Kubrick himself reportedly considered EWS, completed just four days before his death in 1999, to be his greatest film.) So watching the episode was almost like taking a class. A class for models. The plot had the kids staging a performance of The Age of Innocence, with events at Constance Billard School for Girls paralleling the characters/situations in the Edith Wharton book. Toss in Rachel serving as Dan’s “Mrs. Robinson” (even though her portrayer, Laura Breckenridge, looks about 5 years younger than Penn Badgley) and Chuck pursuing Elle, and the episode was practically a pop-culture quiz. Rachel was forbidden from seeing Dan and ostracized by the other teachers, just like in the 19th century New York society of Wharton’s book. Dan was reduced to passing Rachel notes (Really? He couldn’t text her? Oh, I forgot, they didn’t have Twitter in the 1870s.) Meanwhile, Blair’s fall from grace with Yale allowed her to relate to her character, Countess Olenska. Nate conveniently played Beaufort, the dashing gentleman whose family lost its fortune. (Typecast much, Julian?) Even GOSSIP GIRL’s usual weekly romantic misunderstanding was classed up by having Nate jump to the wrong conclusion after seeing Vanessa’s Cyrano act. (BTW, Marty Scorsese’s adaptation of Innocence really is, as Nate observed, heartbreaking. Rent it.)

I decided to check in on 24 this week and, no surprise, Jack was running around, growling about killing people and and generally trying to convince someone that there are traitors in the government (again). Why, oh why, will no one in power believe Jack? He’s been battling terrorists and exposing traitors in the White House one day at a time for years. You cannot even argue that Jack’s previous missions might have been classified; people like the president’s chief of staff would have access to that intelligence. To me, that general lack of faith in Jack requires the biggest suspension of disbelief. That people would willingly convince themselves that this time Jack has gone off the rails and is lying…that is infinitely more silly than believing in private armies armed with WMD and doomsday gadgets on U.S. soil. How cool was it that Sebastian Roché’s (Jerry, GENERAL HOSPITAL) character, Quinn, got to fight Jack Bauer? The next time I talk to Sebastian the first thing I’m going to say is, “Dude, you got killed by Jack frakkin’ Bauer! How cool was shooting that?” Kiefer Sutherland got another one of those scenes he demands every season, where Jack gets to take a breath and emote. Here, Jack expressed regrets about wife Teri, about his daughter Kim, “and that the world even needs people like me.” Well, we certainly need Jack (and Kiefer) on TV.

This was only the second episode of CASTLE to air, yet the show already feels like it has settled into a groove — for better or worse. Kate seems a little too familiar with Rick so soon in their relationship; it’s almost as if this episode was filmed later in the production schedule, after Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have had more time to get accustomed to each other. In fact, the relationship between the characters reminded me of BONES more than MOONLIGHTING last night, perhaps because Katic bears a slight resemblance to Emily Deschanel. (Well, from a distance, at least.) and that same sort of winking attitude. This particular episode also reminded me a lot of soaps, since YOUNG AND RESTLESS’s Michael Graziadei guested as Brent, the suspicious ex-boyfriend of a nanny who was found murdered and stuffed into a dryer. Sarah Drew (Kitty, MAD MEN; ex-Hannah, EVERWOOD) appeared as Chloe, a fellow nanny. There was also another daytime shout-out: After complaining that his own nanny spent her time drinking and watching soaps instead of raising him, Castle acknowledged that he got the plot for his first novel from watching ONE LIFE TO LIVE. (Nudge-nudge, wink-wink!) I like how Rick “investigates” cases by thinking about what would make a “good story” — thus leading the police to consider someone other than the obvious, lazy suspects. Fillion’s Rick also got off the best line of the entire night, while suggesting that Kate should get married: “You’d be good at it. You’re both controlling and disapproving.”