Christmas is twelve weekdays away, which means it’s time once again for the 12 Days of Christmas Episodes. Twelve days. Twelve shows. More merriment than you can handle. I was expecting something very different from the inaugural entry on this year’s Christmas Countdown. When you think Melrose Place, you think of sexy escapades and double crossing and crazy plot twists. Well, my friend, this is Season One. It took a while for the show to be about things and this episode mostly features young adults being pleasant to one another. Let’s go!
Melrose Place – “A Melrose Place Christmas”
Original airdate: December 16, 1992
As I was saying, this is before Melrose Place became a guilty pleasure. Specifically, it’s before Heather Locklear joined the cast. I can’t tell you how disappointed when the cast list (in alphabetical order) jumped from Thomas Calabro to Doug Savant. Eventual mainstay Marcia Cross does appear, but she’s still just a pleasant co-worker who is a long way from ripping off her wig.
Also, here’s a thing I learned during some cursory research. Season One of Melrose Place is thirty-two episodes and ran from July to May. How is that even possible? You know if people are cranking out thirty-two hours of primetime TV in ten and a half months, it has to be the highest possible quality. Still, this is a fascinating look into a show that hadn’t figured out why it existed yet.
Allison has surgery for a reason that is not addressed in this episode. Guys? You had thirty-two episodes to fill. You could have used exposition. There’s a worry that the surgery will leave her unable to have children, but she ends up being OK. Like, one scene later. They introduced tension and then immediately dispelled it. Billy takes care of her even though the first thing he does is give her a bunch of Christmas lights to test. That’s a cool part of recuperation. Electrical testing. Billy decorates the whole complex and gets Allison an expensive necklace because they have very different ideas about their relationship.
Jake and Jo get a Christmas tree that’s much too big. She hates Christmas and he keeps trying to make out with her after she says no on multiple occasions. So that’s the fun uncomfortable part of this episode. There really isn’t much conflict or tension in the episode, but Jake definitely comes off as a “don’t leave your drink unattended” kind of guy.
Matt makes a big meal for everybody and also his dad comes to see him to address an argument they had. They talk about it so vaguely that I never figured out what was going on, but the Internet tells me it was about Matt being gay. And I knew that about Matt, but their argument really dances around the topic. It’s like they could only say the word “gay” so many times in a season and didn’t want to waste a use on an episode where Matt is a tertiary character.\
Dr. Michael loses a patient and has to tell the family, which has him thinking he should give up medicine. But then he and future psychopath Kimberly Shaw deliver a baby and he understands the circle of life. He invites Kimberly to the Melrose Place Christmas Party. Everybody enjoys dinner and Jo even finds something to like about Christmas. It’s a weird episode where not much happens but almost all of it is pleasant. It’s crazy to think that at one point the premise of this series was “good-natured young people know one another”.
Oh, there’s also a plotline about Rhonda going away for Christmas which is resolved when she goes away for Christmas. She clearly only had time to shoot two scenes.
Best Line: “I used to think of friends as people you met in high school or college. Not people you met in an apartment building.” – Jo Reynolds, offering up a toast. It’s a dumb line, but I kinda like it.
Christmas Tree Shopping – Jo and Jake kick off the episode at the Christmas Tree farm and end up with one that’s far too big for the apartment. And changes position in said apartment at least once, though that seems to be a continuity error.
Trimming the Tree – For a dude who loves Christmas as much as Jake, he half-assedly decorates with a few strands of tinsel and claims it’s minimalist.
Gift Exchange – Billy gives Allison an expensive necklace. We don’t see any other gifts.
Christmas Dinner – Matt makes a ridiculously elaborate dinner with every holiday food you can imagine. It’s far too much for a small gathering of skinny people.
Christmas Decorations – Everybody is entranced by Billy’s light display. We also see some stray decorations at the hospital.
A Christmas Miracle – Michael and Kimberly deliver a baby despite having only witnessed the procedure previously.
Holiday Cheer-O-Meter – So, this was kind of dumb and plotless, but it was remarkably enjoyable to watch. A lot of that comes from the way it’s nothing like what you remember of Melrose Place. Shortly after this episode, Marcia Cross became a regular and Heather Locklear joined the cast and it became a full-on crazy soap opera. But at this point, it wasn’t really anything and I found it kind of soothing. There’s a decent amount of Christmas content so I think I can give it a 7.