Recap: Melrose Place begins with a jazzy opening that gives viewers the impression that they're in for a hip, edgy night-time soap featuring a crop of well-toned twenty-somethings who've taken up residence in a shitty - I mean trendy - apartment complex. The dreamiest resident looks to be Jake Hanson, the human link between Beverly Hills, 90210 and this exciting new spin-off. Squeal!
In the middle of the night, a young woman who the camera is only filming from the knees down and is therefore identifiable only by her colorful cowboy boots, strides over to the Melrose Place mailboxes, removes her name from one of the boxes, then gets into a cab with her suitcases.
The next morning, Alison Parker wakes up and tells her roommate, Natalie, that it's her turn to make coffee. When she gets no response, she peeks into Natalie's room and is shocked to find the room completely stripped bare. She moans, "Oh God..", then rushes next door to inform Matt that Natalie is gone...and when it's clear that Matt couldn't give a rat's ass, she moves on to Jake's apartment to see if Natalie might have stopped in for a quickie. When that too proves fruitless, she heads over to Jane's and Michael's place to report that Natalie sneaked out in the middle of the night and stuck her with the rent. She implores Michael (who's the building manager) to stall the landlord until she can come up with the cash, but he tells her that he can't/won't stall, this being real life and all, then unhelpfully adds that if she wants to get a sense of what real human suffering is, she should swing by the ER, where he works long shifts as a doctor. Alison wrings her hands worriedly about having to find a new roommate asap.
Rhonda, the peppiest of the Melrose Place occupants, tells Alison she's on her way to teach cardio-funk, but first wanted to tell her that she witnessed Natalie sneaking out of Melrose Place in the middle of the night...and that she did fuck all to try to stop her, and didn't think to inform her (Alison) what was happening while it was happening. Alison moans about how much trust she put in Natalie to share expenses, then says if she doesn't find a roommate in the next three days, she'll be living in her car.
Alison drives to work while writing up a newspaper ad for a roommate, which looks like it's even more distracting than texting and driving. She arrives at her workplace, D&D Advertising, accidentally dings the BMW that pulls up next to her, and gets admonished by the car's owner: a homely middle-aged account executive named Hal Barber. Alison wanks him about what a brilliant PR man she heard he is...and by the time they arrive at her reception desk, he's so charmed by her earnest cuteness that he's no longer miffed about her dinging his car.
To emphasize the fact that this new show is a spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210, Kelly Taylor parks her BMW around the corner from Melrose Place and tells Donna and David to hang back while she drops by Jake's apartment to see whassup about him not returning her many phone calls. David whines about how sick he is of hearing about Jake, while Donna points out that if he wanted to see her he would have called her back by now. Kelly says she just wants to make sure that nothing bad happened to him, and insists he's not the kind of guy who would just blow her off without an explanation...even though he totally is and clearly did.
Kelly knocks on Jake's door while another Melrose Place resident, Sandy Harling is suntanning by the pool. Sandy, an aspiring blonde actress from South Carolina who delivers all of her lines in a weird, oversexed sultry tone laced with an exaggerated southern drawl, informs Kelly that Jake isn't home at the moment...then nosily asks her who she is and what she does. Kelly sheepishly admits that she's still in high school and isn't doing much other than loafing around the beach this summer, and Sandy looks visibly amused when she tells Kelly she'll be sure to tell Jake she stopped by, then purrs, "Bahhh naaw."
Alison is getting groceries out of her car when she's startled by a '90s style dreamboat with a thick head of unruly hair. He introduces himself as Billy Campbell, tells Alison he's a friend of Natalie's and therefore knows she just skipped town, and is looking to rent her old room. Sounds like an easy solution to a problem the writers decide instead to drag out unnecessarily. Billy rambles on for a looooong time about how he doesn't want to move back in with his parents 'cause of how it would only exacerbate his current sexual repression on account of not being able to bring any one night stands home. Alison gets visibly annoyed by his oversharing, says she's definitely not interested in having him as her roommate, and snappishly tells him to leave. Billy leaves her with his phone number in case she changes her mind - but she somehow decides she's currently in a position to be picky about her roommate options and snaps, "Don't count on it."
Over at the neighborhood bar, Shooters, Jake is flirtily playing pool with a sexy lady...and Sandy, who waitresses at the bar, advises him to stop flirting with every woman who has a pulse until after he resolves things with his high school girlfriend. Jake assures Sandy he's never doinked Kelly, but Sandy chides him for his generally shitty judgement when it comes to women, then poutishly reminds him he once callously dumped her after a meaningless roll in the hay. When he chuckles at the faint memory, she tells him that Kelly is clearly pining for him...and that if he doesn't resolve things with her, he's going to have to deal with the consequences. Jake rolls his eyes and tells her to save her southern belle sultry-talk for her acting classes.
Alison gets a predictable parade of weirdos who stop by her apartment in response to her ad for a roommate...and in the next scene, Michael shows her the eviction notice the landlord is about to issue if she's unable to come up with the rent. He suggests she bounce a check to buy herself more time, which I thought was pretty boneheaded advice for a building manager to be giving a tenant.
Alison arrives at Shooters and runs into Sandy, who gives her some unsolicited tips on how to sexily troll for men at a singles bar. Alison tells her to shut it with her southern belle bullcack and asks her if knows a disheveled dork named Billy Campbell...then glances across the bar and notices him playing pool. She goes over, says hey, and tells him that since she's gone from desperate to a day closer to being homeless, she's now agreeing to let him move in. He tells her he already found another place, then chuckles and says he's kidding and that he can move in tomorrow. He asks if he should bring some champagne to toast what will soon become the show's most relentlessly tedious on again/off again romance, but Alison wearily tells him to just bring the check.
Jane slides into bed and starts kissing Michael's feet, which...ew. He complains about how tired he is from working the night shift at the hospital, but then summons the energy to start smooching her. Alison interrupts their foreplay to drop off the rent check in full, then introduces Michael to Billy, her new roommate. Michael welcomes him to the building and tells him there's three rules he needs to follow in order to stay on his good side: pay his rent on time, don't knock on his door before 8:00am, and refrain from peeing in the pool.
Rhonda bugs Sandy - looks like these two dullards are roommates - to get out of bed so they can girlishly gabble about Alison's hot new roommate. Sandy tells her she already knows all about Billy Campbell from Shooters last night, and nonsensically purrs, "Anythin' worth knowin' happens aht naaht."
Alison walks in on Billy as he's stripping off his shirt...and she blushes at his naked pecs and tells him it's going to take some getting used to living with a strange guy. She lays down some boundaries, e.g. not entering each other's bedroom without knocking, and limiting sleepover doinks to one night a week. She also makes it clear she doesn't want him touching any of her food in the refrigerator, all of which is labelled with post-its...and Billy protests that rule 'cause he may get a hankering to snack on her peanut butter once in awhile - and for some reason isn't capable of going to the supermarket to buy his own jar. Alison steers him over to the bathroom and decrees that, by far, the most important rule of the house is that the toilet seat must always remain down.
Rhonda runs into Matt and tries to get him interested in hearing about Alison's hot new roommate. When Billy happens to walk by at that exact moment, she exuberantly welcomes him to the building, then introduces him to a disinterested Matt.
Billy puts a tape in his ghetto blaster and attempts to salsa, and Alison giggles as she watches him awkwardly bust a move. He looks mortified when she makes her presence known by knocking on the door, and asks him what exactly he does for a living. He tells her he's a novelist - in the Normal Mailer vein - then asks her what she does. She tells him she's "a conduit of information" at D&D Advertising...and when he correctly guesses that she answers phones, she admits that, yep, even though she's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, she spends her days working the phones at the D&D reception desk.
Kelly returns to Jake's apartment...and when he finally answers the door, she asks him why he hasn't returned any of her calls. He grunts, "Been busy" and Kelly tells him he owes her an explanation, then reminds him that during his brief stint on Season 2 of Beverly Hills, 90210, he had told her he wanted to make things work. Jake tells her he didn't think that that entailed planning their future together, then bitchily asks, "What do you want me to do? Spend my summer hanging at the Beverly Hills Beach Club?" and Kelly's like, "I dunno" and says she just really hates that he's avoiding her. When she starts to stomp off, he rushes over and pretends to be all confused about how he should be dealing with their budding romance. Kelly snarls, "If you think I'm a stooopid, lovesick teenager making a fool of myself, just tell me and I'll leave!" and Jake looks fake tortured by what his obvious retort at that should be and says he just wants to do what's right...then nonsensically adds, "Sometimes you have to lie to yourself to keep life running smoothly." He moans, "I haaaaate moral dilemmas" and Kelly poutishly asks, "What's wrong? Don't you think I'm pretty?" He assures her she's beautiful, then throws caution and all good sense to the wind and asks her out to dinner at Shooters tomorrow night. Kelly breathlessly exclaims, "Oh Jake!" and the two share an intense smooch.
Rhonda, who continues to be overly interested in Billy's status as Melrose Place's newest resident, razzes Alison about having a male roommate, and Alison complains about how much she hates living with a guy.
Rhonda is teaching another of her cardio-funk classes when she notices a guy shamelessly checking out women's asses in their form-fitting, '90s workout leotards. After the class, the ogler ambles over to Rhonda, introduces himself as Daniel, and invites her out to dinner at Cafe Luna on Friday night.
Hal Barber stops by the reception desk to boast to Alison that he just scored an account with Canyon Country Cooling. He tells her he needs people in their twenties to fill out a questionnaire to provide feedback for the company...and Alison tells him she'd be happy to oblige.
Rhonda drops by the clothing store where Jane works and gushes about her date with Daniel on Friday night, and says she's going to need a skimpy new outfit to wow her potential new mate.
Over in the 90210, Kelly tells Donna she needs her to provide cover with her mom so she can dine at Shooters with Jake - but Donna scrunches her big face and says she doesn't think he's right for her. Kelly dreamily says she can't stop thinking about him...specifically his voice, hands, and the lustful way he looks at her. She declares, "I want him" and is somehow under the impression that he really needs her in his life.
Alison arrives home to find Billy doing the tango with a mop...and, yep, there's a rose clenched between his teeth. She asks what in blazes he's doing, so he explains that since he can't fully support himself with his imaginary writing career, he got a job as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray after lying about having any ability to dance...or even the ability to perform dance moves non-stiffly. He asks Alison if she'd like to help him practice, and she gives him a hard no on that, and exits the room cackling to herself about the spectacle she just witnessed.
Jake and Kelly strut down the street, his arm around her shoulders, as they make their way to Shooters. Sandy takes their drink orders and teases Jake about his underage girlfriend by offering to bring a round of chocolate milk. A few seconds later, Steve, Donna, and David enter the bar...and when a visibly annoyed Jake asks what they're doing here, she tells him she told Donna where they'd be 'cause she needed her to cover with her mom. She then gets up, grabs Donna by the hand, and pulls her aside to ask whaddup with her interrupting her date and bringing along Steve and David...and Donna insists that Jake is too old for her, and says she doesn't approve of her lying to her mom. Steve and David, meanwhile, join Jake at his table and inform him that any guy Kelly dates has to also put up with her idiot friends, and David smugly adds, "And there's a lot more where we come from." A miffed Sandy flounces over and declares to Jake that she's just decided to start dating high school boys, then proceeds to get flirty with Steve...and looks genuinely intrigued when Steve tells her his mom is washed up actress Samantha Sanders. She coos, "I'd do anythin' to meet her!" and Steve perks up at that and hands her his phone number. Jake suggests to Kelly that they go elsewhere, so they quickly leave...but once they're outside, he changes his mind and tells her she should probably go home with her friends. He says he doesn't want to complicate her life with his real world problems, then hops on his motorcycle and rides home.
Jane prepares a late supper by candlelight for Michael...but when he arrives home from the hospital, he tells her he's beat - but then looks more interested in burying his nose in a medical book than he is kissing her hello. When Jane complains about their total lack of quality time in this pilot, he tells her that whenever things get rough at work, he cheers himself up by thinking about her. Jane seems placated enough with that, so the two sit down to dinner...but a few seconds later, the landlord calls to angrily inform Michael that he just received a bounced check from one of the tenants.
Michael storms over to Alison's apartment to inform her that Billy's rent check bounced, and that he needs a cashier's check by tomorrow. After he stomps back to his place, Billy sheepishly explains to Alison that he had hoped to get a pay check from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio by now, then breezily says, "It's no big deal." Alison tells him it's a huge deal, and that if she gets evicted, she'll wind up on the street. She tells him if he can't pay up, she's going to have to replace him with someone from the earlier parade of weirdos.
Alison runs into Hal Barber when she arrives at work the next morning. He invites her to a product launch tonight and offers to introduce her to various other executives. Alison senses no red flags with that offer and eagerly accepts his invitation.
Rhonda drops by Matt's apartment to show him the skimpy new dress she plans to wear on her date with Daniel. Matt manages to squeeze out a wow! and wishes her a fun time.
Alison and Hal arrive at the product launch party. As promised, he introduces her to various account executives.
Rhonda and Daniel are at Cafe Luna, engaging in some getting-to-know-you chit-chat. She tells him she once had a dream of being a dancer...but when that didn't pan out, she settled for teaching cardio-funk to scantily clad gymrats. He tells her he has dreams of starting his own business...and then the date takes a strange turn when he tries to convince her to hustle his line of vitamin products to her cardio-funk customers, and promises a 30% commission on every sale. Rhonda stares at him incredulously and says she's not remotely interested in doing that...and Daniel calls that "a bummer" and says he figured she'd jump at the opportunity to help him sell his wares. Sounds like a pitch you should have made while chatting her up after the cardio-funk class, dumbfuck. He tries to abruptly end their non-date by mumbling, "You don't want dessert do you?" What a rude dickwad.
After the product launch party, Alison thanks Hal for introducing her around...and he walks her to her door and coos about how sexy she is and that he'd love to come in for one last drink before calling it a night. She tells him she's tired and suggests they have lunch next week, but he barges inside and insists on getting a tour of her apartment, then leans in for a kiss. Alison pulls away and indignantly retorts, "I thought this was business!" then tells him he's making her uncomfortable and that she really really wants him to leave. He asks her if she's really blowing him off after he just spent the evening introducing her to all those executives, and she replies, "I thought you liked my ideas" to which he laughs and sneers, "Gimme a break." Suddenly, Billy storms into the living room in his underwear and demands to know what's going on...and when Hal asks him who he is, Billy points at Alison and says, "I'm her husband." Hal informs him that his "wife" has been leading him on, threatens to do whatever he can to get her canned from D&D, and storms out of the apartment. Alison moans about how stupid she was to not see that coming a mile away - no argument here - then laughs about her underwear clad roommate pretending to be her cuckolded husband.
Kelly returns to Melrose Place for the umpteenth time this episode to knock on Jake's door to ask him why he doesn't want to date her...and he declines to let her in, 'cause he's afraid he won't be able to restrain himself from taking her to bed. He tells her he needs space, has things on his mind (aka where his next pay check is going to come from), and would prefer to move forward in this spin-off without any further appearances from Beverly Hills, 90210 cast members. She says, "I understand", wishes him a good night, and sashays back to her ritzy zip code to move on with her next main squeeze: Dylan.
Michael makes Jane breakfast in bed, unplugs the phone, and climbs into bed with her. Jane shoves him away, whines about how lonely she's been lately, and says she had assumed that marriage would have precluded her from ever feeling lonely again. She tearfully tells him she just wants their old life back and that she feels in the way here...but when Michael leans in for a kiss, she immediately gets all into it and moans, "I love you."
Rhonda and Matt are hanging by the pool as Billy and Alison wheel out a barbecue and get ready to grill hamburgers. Rhonda tells Matt that her date with Daniel turned out to be a pitch to sell his vitamins...then says she wishes that he (Matt) were straight and madly in love with her, or at least open to the idea of a non-romantic coupling with a straight woman. Jake and Sandy leap into the pool, then egg on Rhonda and Matt to also jump in so the four can play chicken fight. Alison, meanwhile, stresses to Billy about losing her job, so Billy points out that it'd be sexual harassment if Hal actually did anything to get her fired. Jane and Michael decide to join the fun and leap into the pool, along with Alison and Billy...and soon everyone is splashing each other and enjoying a carefree afternoon in the Melrose Place courtyard.
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