Episode 10: El Syd


It's Outrageous Behavior Week on Melrose Place! Most of the characters were guilty of ridiculous behavior that would be unconscionable outside the camp confines of this show. Over the past few years, we've seen books devoted to the philosophy of Winnie the Pooh and even Star Trek. One day, some enterprising writer will publish "The Tao of Sydney."

During the post-theme opening credits, we're treated to first-person shots of the streets of Los Angeles at night, but the camera in the moving car wobbles back and forth, back and forth.... OK, who let Alison drive?

The Matt Slot this week belonged to...Shelly! After her successful sacking of Jake, she was nowhere to be seen! If she only signed for a specific number of episodes, then they may be spacing her out. Matt just slips his way into a couple of other people's plots, as you'll soon see...

Jo, Jane, Jake, and Richard:

A hung-over Jake is dumping a hoard of beer bottles into the recyclable bin outside Melrose Place. (Say, if Jake got trashed at Shooter's, what the heck are the beer bottles doing at Melrose?) Matt, collecting his mail, opens up a letter and finds out that he passed the medical exam. Hurrah! This is another example of the show's unique space-time properties: Last night, Jake had sex with Shelly, while Michael was boosting Matt's test score. This morning, Jake has a big headache (OK), while Matt is getting his test results in the mail! (Whaaat?!)

Jo comes down the stairs, bags packed. She and Jake snipe at each other; Jake is particularly ugly. She tells him that she had canceled the Hawaii trip as soon as she learned that Richard had sent Jane away. She had wanted to spend the time with Jake, but Jake had other activities in mind...a blonde ambition! Jake, noticing the bags, comments that she's obviously changed her mind: "You're going to sleep with Richard -- or is it Dick now?" Yow! That line was inevitable. Jo slaps him: "Bastard! You know I can't come up with a crude nickname for Shelly!" She walks off, as a laughing and thoroughly unpleasant Jake says, "Aloha!"

OK, OK, Jo and Jake's commitment to a "serious relationship" lasted all of, what, two hours? They break up, they get together, they break up, they get together... Can the writers finally drop this yo-yo plot and move on?

Some time later, we see Fashion Boy lounging on a deck chair at some fancy Hawaiian resort, The Jack Lord Hotel. He gets a phone call -- it's Jo! Immediately, he apologizes for his earlier behavior and says, "I miss you." Jo replies, "I guess that's what I needed to hear." When he asks how soon she can get to Hawaii, she says she's calling from the other end of the patio! He looks up, sees her, and says, "You nut, you!" Jo, looking a bit depressed, says it's all over with Jake. (I've heard that before.) Richard says the trip will be all business. Uh huh...

That night, Jane phones a bare-torsoed Fashion Boy at the hotel. She can't resist commenting about the ruse to get her to New York ("I had to ride the F line, Richard! It was hell!"), but she tries yet again to patch things up. She talks about the wonderful relationship they had. "Is it too late?" At this point, Jo saunters into Richard's view, looking mighty hot in a clingy satin nightie. He hems and haws, telling Jane that this isn't a good time for this conversation! He hangs up the phone, as Jo descends on him. She yanks off the towel around his Action Center, saying, "I've been thinking, Richard -- I'm through taking things slowly." Oh yeah, Jo? What was Jess? A carefully thought-out relationship?

Billy, Alison, Brooke, and Hayley:

Alison is swimming in the huge pool at Stately Armstrong Manor. She dogpaddles over to Big Daddy, who matter-of-factly asks her if she'd be interested in marriage! "Really? My God!" The phone rings (a lot of phone calls this episode -- was AT&T a sponsor?). Before picking it up, Big Daddy says, "That's Paris." (For his next example of ESP, Hayley will name the color of your shorts.) Alison Gapes over the offhand proposal! Hayley asks her to think about the idea. The caller is Jean-Claude Van Damme: "He's coming by later today to kick my head in."

Alison drops in on Shooter's (The Only Bar in Town). She asks Jake where Jo is; she was obviously hoping to talk to her. Jake tells her that Jo has flown to Hawaii for a romantic fling with Richard. In perhaps the best line of the week, Alison says, "What?! I can't believe the stuff I missed since I moved out of the building!" She tells Jake about Hayley's pseudo-proposal. He comments on the weird in-law situations this creates! Alison hasn't said "yes" yet: As great as Big Daddy is, his proposal "wasn't romantic -- not like Billy's." Jake wonders if she has totally gotten over her feeling for the Doofus, and suggests she put her emotions to the test. (Jake giving advice on relationships? Jake??)

Alison knows that Billy is working late that night, so she goes to D&D. He's working on the account for the Friar Brothers Winery, which Alison is quite familiar with from her alkie days. He says he's heading out there with Brooke to make a presentation. "Daah, I'm hopin' the monks will sign my copy of 'Chant'!" They chit chat, then she tells him she has something very important to say...but Brooke walks in! (Does everybody work late?) Alison leaves, politely but quickly. When Brooke asks Billy what's up with Alison, he says, "She didn't get a chance ta say!" Brooke coos, "Oooo, maybe there's trouble with her and Daddy!" "Hey, daaah, you said you were ovah that." "You're right, all that matters in our little secret that's growing inside me." Ewwww. "Can you tell I'm pregnant?" "Gaaah, yeah!" Brooke is showing already?! Call The Exorcist!

Later, the Brookster is suffering from morning sickness. She can't go on the trip. Alison turns up at Billy and Brooke's apartment, saying the unseen, unheard Board of Directors has named Alison to fill in for her! Billy and Alison leave, Brooke Grimaces--then barfs!

At the manor, Brooke is highly upset! Big Daddy is putting all of Big Mommy's stuff into boxes! "You're replacing my mother! This is Alison's idea, isn't it?" He says that's not true. He needs to make room for Alison in the house; he loves Alison very much." "But (sniff, mumble) didn't you love my mommy, too?" He says bluntly, "Your mother's dead, Brooke" -- it's time to move on. As Brooke's lower lip continues to quiver, Daddy gets another phone call: Billy and Alison's plane is missing! Repeat after me: Plot Device -- Plot Device -- Plot Device --

Cut to Billy and Alison: Apparently, the little plane they were on crashed gently in a field. (It's probably the neatest crash in aviation history.) The pilot, who had been working futilely on repairs, says he'll trek the several miles to the nearest town and get help. Alison asks if there are any wild animals around. He chuckles, "Just some marmots," and leaves. Alison asks Billy, "What's a marmot?" "Daaah, probably anudda name for Bigfoot." Alison confesses that she arranged to be Brooke's replacement for this trip -- she needs to test her feelings for Billy. He cuts her off, saying "Brooke's pregnant." Alison Gapes! "But that's impossible!" "Nope, she's pregnant. I can't wait ta see da stork!" As Alison continues to talk about her feelings for Billy, he says, "I don't know what you want from me." "You idiot! I want you to hold me and kiss me and tell me you love me." "I can't -- not even if I wanted to." Alison walks over to the other side of the campfire.

(OK, what was that scene all about? Alison seems so much in love with Big Daddy, yet after two minutes alone with Captain Cro-Magnon, she's willing to throw it all away for the sake of a hug?)

A worried Brooke and Big Daddy await word of their loved ones. (Yeah, real anxious moments, right.) Brooke says, "I'm pregnant, Daddy, with Billy's mutant love child." He's surprised ("Billy? Billy Who?"), but says he's very happy for her. Brooke then suggests that she and Billy have to move out of that "little apartment" of his. Why don't they move into the guest house on the grounds? He says he'll consider it. They hug, but he looks extremely concerned! About the pregnancy? The idea of them living in the guest house? Or...something else?

In the morning, Alison apologizes to Billy for the stuff she was saying, although she meant it when she called him an idiot. She now knows what she's going to do. As the pilot returns with a vehicle to take them home, Billy quickly grabs Alison's head and kisses her: "You evah tell Brooke about this, and I'll kill you."

Billy and Alison arrive at the manor that night to a joyous reunion with, respectively, Brooke and Big Daddy. Hayley says he made a mistake in the way he proposed to Alison, so he drops to one knee and offers her a ring -- in front of Billy and Brooke, no less! "Will you do me the honor of becoming my partner in life? Will you marry me?" "Yes! Yes, I'll marry you!" Brooke Grimaces; Billy looks away.

We jump ahead a day or two: At D&D, Brooke tells Big Daddy, "Marry Alison and you'll never see your grandchild." Sadly, he says, "Go ahead. I hoped you had grown up more by now." He tells her that he and Alison are about to get married, and he would have liked Brooke's blessing. "No way!" she says. He leaves, and her veneer of defiance slowly crumbles! Whatsamatta, baby, gonna cry? Huh, gonna cry, huh? Does this bother you? I'm not touching you. Does this bother you?

Hayley and Alison have a mellow wedding on the set of "Don Juan DeMarco." Accompanied by a Hispanic priest and lots of candles, they recite their wedding vows. Big Daddy: "From this day on, our lives are intertwined. We are now one." Alison: "Thanks to your constant love, you've made me a complete person." They're married! They then pass out because the candles burned all the oxygen.

Amanda, Peter, Kimberly, Michael, and Sydney:

It's another Code Blue at the hospital! (If something isn't quite life-threatening, is it Code Teal?) Before anyone can arrive, Sydney calmly walks over and puts the breathing tube back in Jack's mouth. Michael and staff use the electro-fibrillator-thingies on Jack, but it's no use. Michael says to Amanda, "He's dead -- for good this time."

The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns is pacing in his home, holding the Kimberly-less alarm bracelet. As Kim enters, he says, "Where the hell have you been?" Then he sees the cast around her hand. "Don't worry," she says. "It set beautifully." She tells him that because he's been giving her so little attention lately (as her doctor, of course), she's had to seek therapy elsewhere. He's stunned when she mentions the radio gig, which Kim hopes to make a full-time thing. Peter says if the authorities find out about this, they're both in big trouble. Amanda calls up Peter, informing him that Jack's dead. He tells her that he'll be right over, and he tells Kim to stay put.

Shortly thereafter, Michael finds Amanda in the hospital hallways, and he says an autopsy will be performed on Jack; it's required whenever there's suspicion about the cause of death. He wants to know why the breathing tube was moved: "Guys in comas don't move much. In fact, they don't move at all." The Bizarre One turns up and escorts Amanda away; Michael grabs a spying Sydney, who says she knows everything. Peter asks Amanda what happened, and she tells him the unpleasant facts. While he's a little concerned about what Sydney may do, Amanda is just happy that Jack's dead! "There was only one person in the world who scared me, and that was Jack. I'm free!"

The happiness is relatively short-lived. Michael approaches Peter in their office and tells him that they're on the same side as far as Amanda is concerned. As Peter is sarcastically reeling over the fact they could actually be (gasp!) partners, a delivery man drops off invitation cards: Sydney requests their presence at a Japanese restaurant that night. Amanda shows up; she got one, too. Michael moans, "Sydney's gonna drop her bombshell."

Sitting crosslegged at a traditional Japanese booth in the restaurant, the three await their red-headed tormentor! Sydney appears, dressed like a refugee from "Shogun"! All smiles, she tells them what she wants. Of Amanda: "I want 50 percent of what she inherits from Jack -- and the name of her clothes designer." Of Peter: Knowing Amanda's stubbornness, Syd wants him to convince Amanda that this is a Smart Thing To Do -- or lose his medical license. Of Michael: "I have no demands." Michael doesn't believe it! Syd says she's doing what Michael recently preached: showing charity toward those you care about. Amanda, disgusted, stands up and takes Peter with her. Syd calls out, "Oh, and I'll take a cashier's check!" Michael is still waiting for the other spiked heel to drop: "You don't want anything from me?" "Tell you what -- you can pick up the tab for dinner." She suggests they get sashimi: It's supposed to be a great aphrodisiac!

Even at the office the next day, Michael is jumpy around Syd: He keeps waiting for her to make some terrible demand. But no! All Syd says is Matt's having a party to celebrate his passing of the test. "You'll take me, won't you?" He nervously says yes.

Amanda and Peter compare notes. Jack's lawyer Diamond is snooping around a bit too much. (Imagine the blonde guy from "Scooby Doo" all grown up -- that's Diamond!) Peter has a bizarre thought: "How do we get a lawyer out of your life and Kimberly out of mine? Sayyyyy, we work well together, don't we? Why, if my hair weren't so dry this season, you might even say we gel!" Amanda, in a forgiving mood this season, gets into a sober clinch with the man who tried to kill her last year.

At Matt's party at Shooter's (where else?), Jane reveals that she's back from New York. Who cares? Michael, who seems to have had a few beers, happily calls Matt over to the side and tells him Matt flunked by the narrowest of margins, but he fixed it! Matt is shocked! His first instinct is to say he'll confess, but Michael says that Matt's thoughtful, compassionate, and deserves to be a doctor. Matt's suspicious: "You just want me to get under your thumb for something!" "No, no -- I'm just paying you back for what you did for me [the blood alcohol tests]." Michael sees the look of shock on Matt's face: "What's the problem?"

Peter shows Amanda an advance copy of the autopsy report. Jack died of injuries sustained from the fall, not from anything that happened afterwards. Still, the skull imprint from the golf club can't be easily explained away. (Perhaps Jack Nicklaus has begun a life of crime?) Peter has a cunning plan: He asks Amanda if she really wants any of Jack's estate. "Of course not." Fine, he says -- Amanda will drop any claims to the estate in exchange for the sealing of the autopsy report. Sydney won't profit, since as Amanda astutely points out, "Half of nothing is nothing." But what if she tries a different blackmail attempt? Peter, on a scheming roll, says, "What does Sydney really want?" Michael! Amanda says, "Michael to the rescue once again." Still, they have to set up this up properly. She says to Peter, "How can I ever repay you?" Say no more! More sober sex!

(Time Out: Someone explain this to me. Amanda Parezi is legally dead, right? Sooooo, how can she possibly have any legal claims to Jack's estate? I mean, I doubt Jack left her in the will after 5 years!)

Amanda walks into the Burns-Mancini office and hands Syd 50 cents! Amanda tells her that she waived her rights to the estate for only one dollar, so here's Syd's 50 percent! Sydney Gapes! She cannot conceive that Amanda would actually part with millions of dollars! Ah, but she still has the tape! Amanda calls her bluff: "It's about as admissable in court as a blind eyewitness." (If that's the case, why were you so worried?) She tells her that Kimberly is moving into Syd's apartment in Melrose Place! Oh my! Syd wonders where she'll go. Amanda tells her, "There's a doctor with this great house on the beach." Syd says, "Wow, you're even better at this than I am." "It's about time you realized that, Sydney." I'm not worthy!

In her new apartment (damn, things move fast in Melrose!), Kimberly is happy. She tells Peter to listen in to her radio show, and she thanks him for all he's done. (Say, she's wearing the bracelet again, isn't she? OK, but won't it go off when she goes to the radio station? And how did Peter get the bracelet back on, anyway? Ewww, I don't wanna think about it.) She watches Peter walks across the courtyard -- to Amanda! "Spend the night with me," she says. "Bastard," Kim mutters from the window. Uh oh -- she's looking nasty again!

Sydney walks into Michael's home with Chinese takeout. He still worried about blackmail. Syd, disappointed, says, "I promised I wouldn't lower myself, and I won't." She tells him about the recent developments and coyly suggests that she move in here. Michael says that wouldn't be such a good idea; after all, it didn't work out before. Syd says, "Those were the happiest days of my life!" D'OH! Michael tries to dissuade yet and eventually puts his foot down -- no, she can't move in. Syd looks up at the ceiling, takes a deep breath, and says, "You let me move in or I call the medical board. There! I did it -- you're blackmailed!" Michael slumps, defeated. "You'll forgive me for this," she adds. "I swear I'll make you the happiest man on Earth!"

Next Week: "Meet the women of Melrose Place!" Jane punches Jo! Amanda and Peter sing the Serious Relationship Blues! Kimberly's in bed with a surfer dude: "I'm not just a dumb jock -- I had a whole year of college." I'm psyched for this one!

P.S.: From the dictionary: "Marmot -- any of a genus of stout-bodied, short-legged chiefly herbivorous burrowing rodents with coarse fur, a short bushy tail, and very small ears." See -- Melrose Place can be educational!

--Ken Hart

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