Episode 24: To Live and Die in Malibu


Two important thoughts after this episode: 1) Michael Mancini is great; 2) I don't like Brooke -- no, I don't mean I don't like her because I'm supposed to not like her. She's just not a good character. Anywho...

The Matt Slot goes to...oooh, it's a toughie, but I have to give it to Jane again! Although Jane and Matt got roughly equal screen time, at least Matt got to kiss Amanda on the cheek!

Jake, Jess, and Sydney:

Half-brother Jess (didn't they say "Jesse" last week?) arrives at Shooter's, the Only Bar in Town, where he meets Syd. Jake isn't there yet, so Syd obligingly takes him to Jake's pad. Jake is surprised when Jess arrives, lets him enter, and politely shuts the door on Syd's face. Jess says that he's worried about himself -- he feels he's too much like their mom. (He wakes up with a crazed desire to watch Regis and Kathie Lee.) He lacks control, and he's come to L.A. to seek stability from Jake! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (Excuse me a moment ... stability from Jake ... that's too funny. Go see a therapist, pal!) Jake offers him a job at Shooter's in the interim.

At the bar, Jake asks Syd to show Jess the ropes (and whips and chains). They engage in small talk. Syd asks about Jake's wild, young days and his old girlfriends. When Jess asks why she's so curious, Syd tells him the truth. Well, about 90 percent of the truth. She does mention that she ran off with another man (the good ol' Accent), which caused the breakup. Jess says the "Hanson boys" are famous for holding grudges and don't forgive 'n' forget. Syd replies as only Syd can: She and Jake are perfect for each other, and he hasn't figured it out yet. (Uh, excuse me? Ms. Anders? You have a 2 o'clock appointment. It's Reality calling!)

Jo shows up and complains about Alison (more on that later). She tells Jake she's starving but doesn't want to have dinner at Shooter's -- the Yak Parmesan just isn't what it used to be. Reluctantly, Jake agrees to let Syd and Jess close the bar that night. As they're locking up, Syd apparently leaves (Jess is currently sleeping in the back room). As soon as she "goes," Jess starts searching through Jake's files. But Syd didn't leave, and she catches him in the act! Jess says that he just wanted to be sure his little brother was handling finances okay. Syd doesn't buy it; she knows he's up to something, and she says so. She warns Jess she'll tell Jake; Jess, in turn, advises her to mind her own business. After all, who's Jake going to believe? (Smart thinking, guy, and you don't even know anything about Syd's background!) The next day, Jess and Jake ride the wild surf on the beach. Jess tries to plant seeds of doubt about Syd, but Jake seems to shrug it off. Jake invites Jess to move into his place.

Amanda, Michael, Kimberly, Alison, Billy, Brooke, and Jo:

Amanda is not doing very well. The chemotherapy has had a rough effect on her body. (Heather Locklear needed a personal trainer to show her how to look weak and emaciated.) Outside her hospital room, Michael tells Matt how worried he is; he blames himself for encourging her to try the new therapy. Matt tells him to get some sleep. Thanks, Matt! Bye! Back at the beach house, Kimberly confronts Michael about her discovery. Michael tries to (what else?) weasel his way out of it, saying that he was taking care of a very sick patient and that Amanda might die. Kimberly throws Amanda's lingerie at him: "So she willed you her WonderBra?" Michael says Amanda is co-dependent and obsessed with him. Kimberly seems satisfied with the explanation (yeah, right) and offers herself to him for a kiss. Then she bites his tongue -- oh, sorry, that was his lip. (If this show were on at a later time, it would've been the tongue.) Michael yells, and wants to know why she did that. She says, "Love hurts."

At D&D, Jo is complaining to Billy about Alison's leadership skills. Just then, Alison shows up and chews Jo out about the location for an upcoming shoot, saying "Your butt's on the line." Billy says, "Gaaah, hey, Alison -- I think we need to talk about yer management skills." Alison gives him a dirty look and tells him and Brooke to check out the new location for the shoot that Brooke has just volunteered -- her family's estate. (Brooke comes from a family with money.) Brooke says it's East Coast-looking. Yeah, it's about as East Coast-looking as California ever gets. She's being very coy and superior with Billy, often referring to him in private as "Campbell." At the estate, she takes him over to a small courtyard: "This is where I lost my virginity." Yow! Billy says, "Ahh, shouldn't there be a plaque somewhere?" At that point, a young, doofy-looking man walks over. Brooke introduces him as Lowell Gross -- her fiance! D'OH! Gross hands Billy his cellular phone; Billy stares dumbfounded at it.

At the hospital, the insurance guy (from last week) comes looking for Michael. When Kimberly says she's his wife and offers to help, the man says, "Oh, Mrs. Mancini! I hardly recognized you! It's so good to see you up and about!" Kimberly plays dumb when the man explains about the insurance settlement, saying that Michael tried to shield her from stress. The man understands and hands her the settlement check -- for $125 G's! In Intensive Care, Michael tells Amanda that she's out of the woods and that he loves her very much. Kimberly confronts him (again) in the hallway. She brandishes the check and says he can have it only if he dumps Amanda for good. "What's it gonna be, Michael? Cold hard cash or the bleached blonde with the dark roots?" Michael says happily that of course he's willing to give their marriage a chance to work.

Back at D&D, Billy's hair on the back of his neck stands up as Brooke approaches him from behind. She wants to take him out to lunch and she's not willing to accept a refusal. Alison pops up; Brooke immediately switches back to "I'm your bestest pal" mode. Alison starts coming on to Billy, reminiscing about their, uh, desktop interface. When she leaves, Billy thinks, "Women LOVE me! DAAAH!"

Later, the gang (sans Jake, Jo, and Syd) visits Amanda in the hospital. Hi, Jane! Alison stops in the hallway and says she doesn't want to go in. (Alison is dressing all in black now -- the producers' subtle way of telling us that she's Darth Vader's daughter.) They tell her that Jake had dropped by a couple of times while Amanda was unconscious; that's where most of the flowers came from. (Awwww...) Jane says she and Jo chipped in to pay for an (as in single) orchid. Amanda is unimpressed. She says to Brooke, "Tell Alison to put away her dancing shoes because I'm not dead yet." I Will Return, vows Gen. MacAmanda.

Kimberly visits Amanda later and gloats. Amanda couldn't care less, but she tells Michael, "I won't be put in the middle of your matrimonial machinations." (Yo, copy boy! Rewrite!)

At the Brooke Estate, Alison is being Queen Bitch to everybody, particularly Jo, who tells her that she'll never fill Amanda's shoes. Brooke introduces Billy to her dad. Alison, in a wonderful display of bootlicking, gives Brooke a permanent job on the spot. (I don't understand this. Why did she give the job to Brooke? Is her father that important?) Returning to MP that night, Jo gives Alison a hard time about her behavior. Alison says Jo isn't being professional about it: "Nice guys finish last, or hadn't you heard?"

Here we go -- great scene: Kimberly is served with divorce papers at the hospital. Panicked, she tracks down Michael, who says that it's perfectly valid and legal -- she's barren and can't provide him with the family he wants. And with the settlement money, he and Amanda will be quite comfy. Kimberly pleads, "How long have you been planning this?" "Oh, ever since you came back into my life like a refugee from 'Night of the Living Dead'!" He says he deserves an Academy Award for his performance! Kimberly is wrecked. Michael says, "Oh, honey, get a grip. You're in a hospital!"

Amanda sends Brooke flowers and asks her to come to the hospital. She tells Brooke that she will re-take D&D and shake everything up. She wants Brooke to be her spy in the interim -- if she still wants her job, that is. Later, Brooke, Lowell, Billy, and Alison go to a fancy place for dinner. Brooke starts grabbing Billy's thigh under the table! Billy excuses himself to the men's room. Brooke follows him in! She says "C'mon, Campbell, stop denying the attraction you feel" or something like that. Lowell is just a "business deal" that her father arranged, but she has no intention of marrying him. She will eventually take over Daddy's business. Billy is spared further "discussion" by the arrival of someone who has to go really badly.

Kimberly overdoses on red Tic Tacs and alcohol after writing a suicide note, saying that she needs to escape Michael. When he shows up and sees her near death, he freaks out and dials 911 -- then stops, hangs up, and breaks out into a huge grin!!

Next Week: A repeat of the First Episode! And that damn Letters to Clio again!

--Ken Hart

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