Melrose Place Review: The Beautiful People?
MELROSE PLACE: Wednesday 3rd February, Fiver, 9pm, ALERT ME
The original Beverley Hills 90210 spin off is back and it follows the same formula as last time: bronzed tans, white teeth, implausible storylines played dead straight and more pop hits than you can shake a well-manicured hand at.
It features more slick shots of more prime Los Angeles real estate than you’d see in that god awful advert for California (you know the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger gurning at the camera) and the number of white-teethed, sun-drenched, good looking amoralistic scumbags is enough to make even the most altruistic monk grind his teeth together with envious fury. It’s practically designed to give you an inferiority complex.
The scumbags in question are brought together when their landlord Sydney is found murdered in the pool. Each of them seems to have a connection to the deceased: There’s ladies man David who along with his repulsively wealthy father (ick) happens to be Sydney’s ex lover, catty blonde head-on-legs publicist Ella who was recently threatened with eviction and a sickeningly cute couple: aspiring film maker Jonah and his school teacher girlfriend Riley.
Exactly how those last two manage to live in building in which you could fit Manchester is never explained – last I checked freelance cameramen and primary school teachers aren’t paid six figure salaries.
Jonah’s been trying to pitch his film to a producer with little success but when he catches him on camera with another woman, he promptly offers him $25k. It’s all rather tiresome as we’ve all seen this integrity vs. success storyline a million times before.
Other pretty people fill out the cast list. Medical student Lauren resorts to prostituting herself for money (here’s a tip, if you’re short on money, how about moving to a separate apartment, you know, one that maybe doesn’t have a massive pool in the forecourt), Auggie, a sous chef at a top restaurant who seems wholesome till we see him burning some evidence in an alleyway at the end of the episode and Violet (Ashley Simpson) who weirdly for the biggest name in the show, says practically nothing.
As hateful as the self-absorbed rich cry-babies are, it’s still quite absorbing. I’m quite keen to find out what exactly happened to Sydney even if the show’s going to play out like Miss Marple with supermodels instead of old ladies and there is something quite hypnotic about their whiter than white teeth. Definitely one to file under: Guilty Pleasure.