I’m having a real MOMENT with the first season of Melrose Place right now. I’d already seen it during its first run, but when it debuted in the summer of 1992 I was 14 years old and the trials and tribulations of people in their EARLY TWENTIES seemed so, like, old and weird and grown-up (obvs I watch it now and feel like I’m a hundred and think being “23” sounds like a made-up thing). I recently found myself in the dark place known as Between Shows to Marathon and found MP on Netflix Instant and thought … eh, why not?
Season 1 is special because it’s BA: Before Amanda (mostly—she is introduced toward the end of the season). After season 1, Mels turned into a darker twisty soapworld of so much backstabbing and husband stealing and meanymeanness. Still good—but different. S1 was about a fully positive and loving group of early-20somethings who supported one another and spent all their free time at the pool and the local bar (Shooters, I wanna hang there) and dealt with every hard-hitting topic that you could cram into 32 (32?!?!?!) episodes.
All of the women are mutually supportive and the guys want their girls to be happy and everyone is looking out for one another (and making out with one another) and even though they have these HARD ISSUES, they have their FRIENDSHIPS, ya know? It’s what I miss in the later seasons (that I am sure most other people love more): the fact that they all really LIKED and TRUSTED one another. I miss that positivity! I can’t think of any other dramas meant for adults (but watched by everyone) that have that posi-friend vibe. It seems like it’s reserved for shows specifically for teens (My So-Called Life, The OC, Felicity), or for dumb comedies (Friends).
I had to put the brakes on my effusive #MP tweeting because I think I was getting out of control, but in the first 17 episodes alone we had the characters dealing with: abortion, stalking, spousal abuse, gay-bashing, sexism, race issues (stemming from the L.A. riots), miscarriages, adultery, depression, children you didn’t know you had, mild anorexia, cokeheads, health care, dating a single mom, and escaping your drunk husband in New York. I know. I mean…I KNOW!
And all of it was set in the deliciously dreamy cheeseball setting of West Hollywood in the ’90s, with cultural references (and of course fashion) of the times that I revel in: Everyone wore really dangly earrings. “Working out” was a new “thing” that people were getting into (“I read about Madonna lifting weights!”).
They talked a lot about credit cards and the national debt (!!!). Jake refuses to do coke with an old girlfriend and she cackles in his face and says, “You’re so Nineties!” Lots of great old Levi’s with a giant belt, sheer-sleeved jackets, patchwork backpacks, cowboy shoe-boots, ankle-length skirts, so many crop tops…really gleefully good-slash-bad.
You guys … Melrose Place is a really good show. ♦