Episode 18: Sydney, Bothered, and Bewildered


Another episode that's setting things up for the next couple of weeks. Sydney is again great in an otherwise lame story, which unforgivably dives into the Dream Sequence Stream not once, but twice! Boo!

The Matt Slot belongs to ... Kimberly, whose deliciously psycho presence was mostly absent. A pat on the back, though, to Matt, who managed to squeeze himself into two other characters' plots! Way to go, Matt!

Amanda, Bobby, and Peter:

Amanda is happily chopping the long tresses of Bobby down to a more respectable length. "Is this some kinky fetish of yours?" he says. "Make love to a guy, then cut his hair off?" Amanda/Delilah says that since he's now an executive, he has to look more presentable. (Normally, executives on this show have to wear incredibly short skirts. None of them fit Bobby.) Amanda admits to feeling a bit guilty about Peter. Really, Amanda? Why? Just because the guy gave his all for you, and you dropped him for the first bad actor to come along? Bobby volunteers to talk to Peter, but she rules that out. She'll speak with Peter herself.

At the house of The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns, Michael arouses...I mean, arises from a rather vivid dream. (See Michael's section.) Amanda shows up and tells Peter they have to talk. Michael, never one to pass up a free bit of gossip, offers, "Cappucinos all around?" Peter and Amanda wisely go outside to chat, and Amanda says that while she never meant to hurt Peter, "I'm in love with Bobby." The Bizarre One seems unsurprised: "What was it with me? Gratitude?" Amanda says perhaps it was gratitude to some extent on her behalf; after all, he did pull her out of a couple of bad subplots. Peter's response: "Go to hell."

The next day, Peter is on the golf course when Bobby turns up. He's holding the final settlement papers that his lawyer put together to settle the malpractice suit against Peter. All they need is Peter's signature. Bobby says, "We're even." Peter gets testy: "That's all this is to you. A balance sheet." He boldly predicts that Amanda's roving eye may fall upon him again. Bobby warns, "Stay away from her." "Or you'll do what?" "Whatever it takes." (Bobby should really be played by Tim Allen. These scenes would have much more impact!)

As Amanda is leaving Dumb & Dumber for the day, Peter is waiting for her by her car. (Gee, it's nice that Amanda finally found a parking spot by the elevator. Remember when Kim was stalking her last year, and Amanda had to run a half-mile to get to her car?) He wants to know why she sent "Mr. Mook" to warn him off. "I don't know what you're talking about. And who's Mr. Mook? One of those terrible WB comedians?" She denies involvement and says she doesn't keep Bobby on a leash. Peter thinks she needs a leash, since "you got a big dumb dog to protect you." Amanda says this might be better than "picking up rabid strays" like Peter. (What is this? "All Creatures Great and Small?")

Peter visits the office of Alycia Barnett, the lawyer that Bobby used to settle the malpractice suit -- and the lawyer who helped Matt during the Paul mess at the start of the season! He turns on the Bizarre charm and tells her about life on the set of "General Hospital." ("So, they actually made Felicia an Aztec princess...") She knows that he's fishing for info on Bobby. He smoothly asks her out. She turns him down, but she's obviously interested.

Amanda confronts Bobby in his spartan offices. (What is his business, anyway? Didn't he sign papers dissolving the cable TV operation?) She's mad at him for confronting Peter against her wishes. He says, "Nobody tells me what to do!" "Nobody tells ME what to do!" Well, of course, this must be love, so they start ripping at each other's clothes.

Matt and Alan:

As Matt is studying medical papers that diagnose the damage to Mariel Hemingway's career, Alan arrives with a bottle of champagne and some good news: He's just gotten a small part on a soap opera that might lead to a regular role! He'll play a doctor who falls in love with a reincarnated, split-personality space alien. He wants to celebrate with Matt over dinner, but Matt says he has to finish his studying. Alan is a bit miffed; something good has happened, and he wants to share it with someone. Matt admits that he gets "a little obsessive": "Give me an hour to finish. My part in this episode is almost over, then we can go out."

Billy, Alison, and Brooke:

Hey, no high-level meeting at D&D this week! The employees riot without Amanda, Billy, and Alison to guide them! In the MP courtyard, Brooke accuses Alison of stealing the Weekly World News! She calms down, and Alison offers to be a sympathetic ear for Brooke's troubles. Brooke is skeptical: "Why would you care?" "I'm your father's widow. We're family." Brooke says that she's been trying so hard to make her marriage with Billy work (oh, yeah, the fake pregnancy bit was a great way to build trust), yet all Alison has to do is snap her fingers and Billy is right there for her. Alison says she actually uses this ultrasound whistle that only dogs can hear. It works great with Billy. As Brooke continues to whine, Alison takes pity and offers to help. She'll even work on some of the files that Brooke was supposed to complete for Amanda. Brooke is EVER so grateful. Alison leaves as Billy appears. When he asks Brooke what's up, she says, "Alison -- what a sap!" She says she'll take her time getting ready for the office today; after all, Alison is doing her work for her! Billy stares at her. (Subtitle: Billy is annoyed.)

A day or two later, Billy confronts Alison in the office and tells her to stop doing Brooke's work. (She's been working overtime for no extra pay and she's worn the same outfit to work twice in the same month!) He tells her there's no point in playing Brooke's games. "Daah, ya nevah know wat's gonna get her upset!" Cut to Brooke, who watches behind the office window as Alison plays with Billy's tie as they talk!

Billy escorts Alison back to her place that night. (He doesn't return home with his wacko wife?) As they switch on the lights, they see that the apartment has been completely trashed! Besides all the broken and torn things, there's some writing on the walls: "Slut," "Lying Bitch," "Shue Sucks!" Billy is outraged! Also, Alison's one photo of herself with Hayley has been destroyed! (Alison, don't you have the negatives? Or is Perry King prohibited from future appearances?) A fuming Billy wants to confront Brooke, but Mahatma Alison pleads with him to calm down first. Billy can't understand why she's trying to protect Brooke. Alison says it's because that's what Hayley would want. "Daaah, Alison, yer right about one thing," he says, leaving. "I definitely married da wrong woman. It shoulda been you."

The next night, Brooke is happily cooking dinner, pretending that everything is peachy keen. Billy, with Oprah-like dexterity, asks, "So, why did you trash Alison's apartment?" Brooke Grimaces, flips out, and starts smashing everything! She screams at Billy for always taking Alison's side, while admitting that she did just happen to destroy Alison's pad. She hurls the pot of rock-hard pasta at him, missing him cleanly but making a mess of the wall. Billy says, "I can't live like this anymore" and walks out. Brooke shrieks after him, "You're married to ME, Billy! For life! For the rest of your life!!" Hmmm, that sounds vaguely threatening. Brooke, do everybody a favor and die, for Pete's sake!

Michael, Sydney, Jane, Kimberly, Jake, Jo, and Fashion Boy:

At the beachhouse, Syd is being downright rude to Jane, roughly pushing her wheelchair-bound sister around on their way to an appointment. (The wheelchair conveniently needs its batteries recharged.) You can tell that Syd doesn't like this menial stuff -- she was so much more at home when she was a madam! As they make their way to the street, Jane starts talking about what a loser Michael is. Syd sees a truck approaching and shoves a horrified Jane into its path! Oh, a nice hit! But guess what? Yep -- dream sequence! ("Daydream sequence" if you want to be picky.) Jane asks Syd why she has such a big grin on her face. "Just thinking." "About what?" "About how lucky you are to have me as a sister."

Now we see Michael and Kimberly frolicking on the beach! But yes -- it's another dream sequence! Lazy writing! Michael is whispering sweet nothings to his pillow as he wakes up in the Bizarre One's house. He's staying in the room Kimberly used to have, and he tells Peter he thinks the bed is haunted. (A unique X-File!) Still, he doesn't intend to leave until Jane is out of his house.

Matt tells Jo that he analyzed the bag of pills as requested off-camera. They're a very potent sedative: It's a concentrated form of The Weather Channel. When Matt reveals that he's now suspicious of Jo's involvement in Jane's stroke, Jo rightly tells him that if she were involved, she wouldn't be stupid enough to have Matt analyze the pills! And "it wasn't so long ago that YOU were wrongly accused of murdering Paul's wife! While the rest of us were getting blown up by Kimberly, at least you were having some fun!"

Jane goes to another doctor for a second opinion on her condition. He's seated behind her desk and cooly confirms that the stroke has paralyzed just her right arm and right leg. (But it left everything else on that side OK, right? Only on Melrose do they have selective strokes!) When he says she should continue her physical therapy, Jane chastises him and the whole medical community for their aloofness. Actually, the doctor does understand: He's in a wheelchair, too! Jane says, "D'OH!" He tells her not to get too depressed: "I'll never walk again -- you might!"

She wheels into the hallway, where she sees Jake, who helps her to use the pay phone. He just wanted to check on her. She calls the Hart-Mancini offices and tells them that she is in charge -- all orders must be approved by her. Hanging up the phone, she confides to Jake her suspicion that Richard was behind her attack. (Jane, if you believe this, why were you giving Syd such a hard time last week when she said the same thing?) Jake, who's obviously been watching "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," tells Jane that this anger is not the right thing for her. She should focus on making herself well. Jane yells, "Bite me, Grasshopper!" then apologizes to him.

Back at Shooter's (The Only Bar in Town), Jo tells Jake what Matt learned about the pills. She now seems sure that Fashion Boy Richard is responsible; Jake recommends that she contact the police. Fashion Boy steps into the bar looking for Jo. He says, "Can you believe Jane is cancelling orders? My new line of sequined leather panty hose is kaput! " He and Jake snipe at each other (Jake flatly accuses him of drugging Jane's drink) until Jo breaks them up. As they start walking away, Jo tells him about the pills she found in his desk. He's hurt by her lack of faith in him and walks out. Jake says, "You have to go to the police now, Jo. You don't have a choice anymore."

In the cafeteria of Wiltshire Memorial Hospital (today's special: kidney pie), Michael sees Kimberly and drops off a nightie that belonged to her. He asks her to convince Sydney to get Jane out of his house. Kimberly doesn't even try to deny his accusation that she wanted something like this to happen to Michael. Syd cheerily walks in and sees the nightie. Kim says, "It's something from Michael's fetish collection." Syd asks him when he's coming home. "As soon as you get your sister and her electric buggy out of my house."

Syd talks separately to Kimberly and asks for her advice. "Kimberly, should I do something outrageous? It's been a long time since the Cult plot." Kim suggests that both Jane and Syd should move out. This is not what Syd wants to hear, so Kim hints that Syd check out some convalescent homes.

A very short time later, Syd is at her desk, phoning rest homes. "$1,000 a month? What are you -- a country club or a rest home?" Syd sees Peter and gets the terrifying "I got an idea!" glint in her eyes. She brings coffee to Peter who immediately knows something's up: "You don't do coffee, Sydney." She explains the situation to him, but he flat-out refuses to give Syd money to put Jane up in a home. Syd counters that Michael will be a permanent resident in Peter's home until Jane is gone. That does the trick!

That night, Syd wheels Jane into a corner at Shooter's -- and leaves her there! "Party hardy!" Jane is appalled! Jake wanders over with a beer and sits down. Jane again apologizes for her bad mood at the hospital. Jake playfully invites her to dance. (You're a sick man, Hanson.) Jane says she'll take a rain check. They exchange significant glances! (It looks like the writers definitely wizened up: Jane's dumb attempts at winning back Richard are history. They've been replaced by Peter's dumb attempts at winning back Amanda!)

Meanwhile, Syd is getting a grand tour of the Ow-My-Leg-Hurts Nursing Home from its somewhat-slimy boss, who is obviously quite taken with Our Sydney: "We have bingo, aqua-aerobics, movies every other night..." "Jane likes movies!" Syd, wearing a stunning red outfit (the bumblebee clothes are gone), still finds the $1,000 monthly fee too high. The man says, "Well, with a roommate and no window -- as we discussed -- no less than $850." "Jane never eats breakfast." "I couldn't go lower than $750." "Awww, that's too bad. I'd really like to put Jane here because then I'd come to visit a lot (nudge nudge wink wink)." "$650!" Syd's a pro!

Back at The Bizarre Manor, Michael is trying to convince Peter to go babe-hunting. Peter still believes he can get Amanda back. Michael muses about Kimberly, and Peter quickly compares such a pairing to Chernobyl! "Why not Sydney? She loves every lousy bone in your body!" Using her Melrosian time sense, Syd chooses this moment to arrive. She gleefully (and privately) tells Peter about the deal she struck at the nursing home. If Peter can put up $250 a month, they're set. He agrees, but only if she doesn't let Michael know of his involvement. She then takes Michael aside and happily says Jane will be gone by tomorrow evening; Michael should come home and she'll cook dinner. "Sorry, Petey and I are watchin' a playoff game." (Petey?) Syd purrs and offers to relieve some of his sexual tension for dessert! Of course, Michael says yes to that!

Richard approaches Jo and wants to know what she's going to do. She says she won't go to the police. He admits that there have been moments when he's wished Jane harm, but he'd never do anything. Jo believes him: "I realize how deeply I have fallen in love with you." Oh, please! KILLTHEMKILLTHEM And Daphne, get more sleep! Those eye wrinkles are showing!

Syd wheels a horrified Jane to the convalescent home. "Sydney, this is a retired soap-opera actors' home! There's the guy who played Ray Krebs on 'Dallas'! And there's Ana Alicia from 'Falcon Crest'! Get me outta here! My career's not over yet!" The administrator greets Jane and has all the papers ready to sign. Jane, who thought they were just here to look around, spins her chair over Syd's foot. "How could you do this, Sydney?" She demands to be taken back to the beachhouse.

At Shooter's, Jake asks Matt to take over for a while. He's going to check on Jane. Suddenly, in walks Alycia Barnett! She and Matt exchange pleasantries, but she's actually here to see Jake. She tells Jake privately that her "client" has taken over responsibility for Monty's loan. Jake will now pay the new guy through Alycia. The client simply wants to be a silent partner, letting Jake continue to run Shooter's. The Cheese-Throwing Night can continue. Jake wants the client's name, but she won't tell, saying simply that Jake's much better off now than he was with Monty. (Sounds like Bobby Parezi is stretching out.)

Back at the beachhouse, Syd is roughly pushing Jane out on to the beach! Michael is coming over for dinner, and he can't see that Jane's still around. (Conveniently, the wheelchair's batteries have AGAIN run down! Buy some Duracells, dammit!) "You could've been watching 'Cocoon' with the other residents, but NO!" Jane, powerless, simply swears at Syd as her wheelchair is stuck in the sand.

Later, Syd and Michael finish a nice dinner, and Syd begins to explain that there's a slight delay with getting Jane out of the house. "Jane has this phobia about nursing homes. I think it's the blue hair." She suggests Michael somehow convince Jane to sign the papers. At that moment, Jake shows up! "Where's Jane?" Syd says, "She's out." "Out? Out where?" "Out ... there," she says, pointing toward the shore! Even Michael is stunned! Jake looks disgustingly at Syd and walks out. Michael protests feebly to Sydney, but quickly acquiesces when she sits on his lap!

Jake walks onto the sand -- no sign of Jane! He faintly hears cries for help, then sees the toppled wheelchair at the edge of the water! He rushes into the water and pulls out a waterlogged Jane, who somehow managed to tread water with one arm and one leg. She says the tide came in -- the pull was too strong. Jake stares at the beach house and growls: "I'm not gonna let anything happen to you."

Next Week: Bobby gets a phone call from his father, who is not happy that Amanda's still alive! Billy sues Brooke for divorce! Jake and Jane make out in the Melrose Place pool!

--Ken Hart

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