Episode 25: The Burning Sofa


Hey, Anson Williams directed this one! No matter what happens in your life, Anson, you'll be forever Potsie. Remember that. (Hmmm, "Happy Days" with Special Guest Star Heather Locklear ... the mind boggles!) And in the episode credits, didn't that look like Shelly in the polka-dot top walking the German Shepherd?

The Matt Slot goes to ... Alison, who appeared only to complain again about Billy's new attitude. Heck, even the vodka guy got more lines!

Matt and Alan:

David sees Matt at the hospital and wants to know how he's doing. He heard about Matt's scene at Alan's wedding. (How did David find out? Is there some Gay Character Network in operation? Don't tell FOX!) Matt says he's OK, though he is miffed that he missed out on the chance to dance to bad '70s music at the reception. David is not so calm: "A bogus marriage and you're letting him get away with it! You didn't even stay for the cake!" He suggests that Matt "out" Alan by going to a tabloid and spilling the beans about Alan's homosexuality. Matt is incensed by such a notion; he still cares about Alan and would never try to destroy him like that.

Later, one of the nurses sees the front page of the National Inquisitor (really!) and exclaims, "Oh, Matt's not gonna like this!" She hands Matt the paper, which shows the photo of him and Alan hugging before the dance. The headline reads: "Soap Opera Star With Gay Boyfriend at Dance! Baby Born With Egyptian Bracelet -- Scientists Baffled!" Stunned, Matt grabs David away from prospective organ donors, and he demands to know what David did. David angrily denies responsibility for the story, saying it's just a coincidence.

Back home, Matt gets a visit -- from Alan! "I thought you were still in Hawaii." "I came back early. Everytime I heard Don Ho, I suffered epileptic seizures." Alan says that he planted the tabloid story himself! He was tired of the lie and what it was doing to him. As expected, Gloria has fired him from the soap opera. He's back to square one, but he hopes he and Matt can get back together. Matt says he'll consider it.

Billy, Alison, Amanda, Bobby, Sydney, Peter, and Alycia (a lot of mingling this week):

At the hospital, Alycia and Amanda wait for news about Peter, but decide to kill some time by sniping at each other. "Your roots are showing!" "Your legs are too skinny!" The Bizarre and Bruised Dr. Peter Burns, sporting a sprained wrist even though his arm was not involved in the fall, peeks out of the ER door and summons Michael. He asks him to distract the two women so that he can sneak away. Michael smiles: "Ah, the old 'two girlfriends' bit. I've done that 2-step a few times myself!" Peter, meanwhile, is going to file a complaint with the police. Michael walks over to the women, tells them that Peter's fine, but that they want to do some X-rays and make Peter glow in the dark, so the women might as well go home. Alycia says, "I'll stay." Amanda: "Me, too!" Michael muses, "Hmmm, Peter's own private harem. I don't know if he's cursed -- or incredibly lucky!"

Meanwhile, Sydney is over at Bobby's house (?!), where Bobby is attempting to show guilt and remorse over what happened. Syd tries to boost his feelings. When he asks why she cares, she says, "Because I know what it's like to be trampled by that bunch! Marcia, Jan, Cindy -- they're all evil!" The cops show up to arrest Bobby for assault. Syd gets frantic, but Bobby says, "Stay outta this, Syd! I mean it!"

At the Dumb & Dumber agency the next morning, Billy drops the files for eight accounts on Alison's desk. "Here! Gaaah, I'm too busy to with the big accounts to handle these little guys!" When Alison again objects to Billy's new 'tude, he says, "Wat? I'm givin' you more accounts and yer complainin'? You juggle these little clients better than anybody -- pet food stores, body waxers, CBS -- yer fine!" Alison tells Billy to stop and smell the expresso: "You've become Brooke! You're so full of guilt that you've made yourself as cold and heartless as she was! Of course, this represents another shift in my character since I was befriending Brooke just last month, but listen to me!" Billy replies, "Brooke was nevah this successful -- and I don't fit into any of her clothes. So I'm not her! So there!"

At a dinner meeting, Peter tells Alycia that he wants out of this sham of a relationship. Alycia coolly says, "My, so full of blustery conviction -- but stupid." She reminds him that she could ruin any hopes he has of reconciliation with Amanda. However, she points out that she's still $2 million short of funds for her takeover of the cable company. The Bizarre One says, "Where do you expect me to come up with that kind of money? Publishers Clearing House?" "Two million dollars buys your freedom, Peter."

Sydney pays $2,500 to bail Bobby out of jail. Bobby is surprised that no one else came to get him. Syd says, "Just think of me as your guardian angel." "I don't believe in angels." "Neither do I -- but it sounded great!" Go, Syd!

At a restaurant the next night (don't these people ever eat at home?), Amanda convinces Peter not to press charges against Bobby. "I want him out completely out of my life, and we both know how poorly this show handles legal issues." Peter is curious why Amanda keeps looking over at Billy, who is coincidentally having drinks with the head of I.M. Blitzed Vodka. She's worried that Billy may be attempting a power play. Peter graciously offers to wander over and find out what's going on. He walks up to Billy to congratulate him on his recent successes. Billy introduces him to Leif Thomason (last week's Pepe La Flemm). Peter feigns surprise! "Why, you make my favorite vodka!" While Billy glowers over this interruption, Peter casually mentions the cable company and how he's, oh, $2 million short of really striking it big! Leif says, "I own a satellite company in Germany" and suggests a partnership. (Wasn't this guy French last week?) Amanda, unaware of what's being discussed, eventually escorts Peter away. Leif asks Billy, "So vat do you think? Is der cable company a good investment?" "Daah, sure -- as long as I get a cut!" "Oh ho ho ho! Billy, you rascal!"

Bobby walks into "his" office at the cable company, though Alycia is sitting behind the desk! He's a little miffed that his lawyer didn't take his phone calls when he was arrested. She claims, not too convincingly, that she was busy with cable matters. He says, "This is still MY company!" "Your assets are in holding -- at least until the investigation of your ties with the senator is finished." Bobby knows it'll be years before this story makes it to "60 Minutes" -- "Mike Wallace will be dead by then!" -- and he starts trashing the office! (Isn't it great how a company that hasn't even started yet has file cabinets full of folders?) Syd shows up and convinces him to leave before Alycia calls the cops. Syd tells Alycia, "You really should have returned his phone calls." "You keep that little upturned nose out of it!" Syd turns up her nose and says, "Not a chance!"

At D&D, the French/German vodka guy gives Billy a check for $2 million to hand to Peter! (Contracts? We don't need no stinking contracts!) Amanda sees this, and Billy tells her the idea came from Peter; D&D (and Billy) will get a share of the profits. Amanda exclaims that she doesn't want D&D to have anything to do with the company because of the FCC's investigation. Billy isn't worried. "C'mon, we're havin' a celebration dinner tomorrow." "Leave me out of it." Billy tells her NO! "Daah, yer the head of the company. It's expected that yull be there!"

Syd shows up at Amanda's apartment. "I demand that you drop the charges against Bobby." "As usual, Sydney, I'm a few steps ahead of you." Amanda tries to warn Syd to stay away from Bobby. Syd says he's just "a very big teddy bear." When Amanda says that Bobby could hurt her, Syd replies that this seems to be the case with all the men in Amanda's life, which might say something about Amanda! Zing! Amanda says, "You know, for a moment there I had a flash of compassion. No more." Slam that door!

Peter presents Alycia with the Big Check. "End the charade, Alycia -- set me free." Alycia does so, but with a twinge of regret. "For what it's worth, I loved you, Peter." Without looking back, he says, "I know you did." No petty "I loved you, too" from The Bizarre One -- he's too cool!

Peter arrives at Melrose Place that night, just as Amanda descends the stairs from her apartment, looking quite attractive in a red evening gown. Now that Bobby's out of the picture, he wants to celebrate their "reconciliation"! Whoops! You're moving a little too fast there, Petey! Amanda objects to the notion that just because she's broken up with Bobby, she'll immediately resume things with Peter. She's also mad about his deal with the vodka guy. Peter, amazed, says that was a straight business deal and implies this is all about her fear of intimacy once more. Amanda corrects him: It's a "fear of dishonesty"! She's tired of being lied to by the men in her life. Billy shows up in a tuxedo to escort Amanda to the business dinner. Peter gets the brushoff and stalks away angrily. Alison arrives to see Amanda and Billy all duded up and sarcastically says, "Well, this brings back memories." Amanda runs back inside to get some files. When Billy continues his cold demeanor, Alison asks, "What did this to you?" "Well, daah, what would you say if I told you Brooke's ghost visited me and cursed me to become just like her?" Alison says, "I'd say you were making excuses." She tells him it's not too late to change back, but Billy says he has no reason to do so: "By displayin' a cold, emotionless, evil attitude, it's less of a strain on my acting abilities. Gaah!"

Jo, Jane, Jake, and Fashion Boy:

(I'll try to be brief. You're probably just as tired of this foursome as I am. I'd rather see a rotating subplot starring The Manson Family.) At Shooter's, The Only Bar in Town, Jo is hoisting a few drinks and tells Jake, "I miss Fashion Boy." Jake is confused (Jake? Confused? Nah!) by Jane's recent hiring of Richard as her assistant. The tipsy Jo is dying to tell Jake the truth, suggesting that Jane is not the saint Jake thinks she's is. "Sure she's a saint! She left stigmata on the walls!" Jake figures that Fashion Boy must have some talent, or Jane never would have hired him. Jo says, "Richard has never been able to stand on his own two feet, and this is no exception." As Jake's brain begins to smoke from his attempt to interpret this, Jo leaves before she spills any more info.

Two days later, Jake turns up at Jo's apartment. He's figured it out! Well ... kind of. He knows something is up, but not what. (This took two days to figure out?) She shows Jake the photo of Jane setting off the sprinkler system that ruined FB's show. Jake, stunned, is angry at Jo for blackmailing Jane to get Richard back, but "I was foolish to think Jane could rise above Richard's crap, or yours." Jo says, "You can't say anything about this!" "Oh, another secret! Whether you know it or not, you just blew this thing wide open!" (Isn't that Kimberly's schtick?)

Jane, whose business inexplicably has done much better lately, is attending a fancy cocktail party for fashion weenies. (Cocktail weenies?) Fashion Boy and Jo are there, but FB is swaggering suspiciously. Jane finds Jake at the hotel bar; he's slugging down gulps of beer and shots of whiskey. Once again demonstrating his great communication skills, the drunken Jake gets surly to Jane without explaining why. "This whole joke of a relationship is finished." Jane, hurt, smartly realizes there's no point in talking into Jake when he's slurring like Billy, so she walks off. As soon as she does so, a stunning brunette takes the seat and starts coming on to Jake big time. Her name's Claire Duncan, and after having a couple of drinks, she's feeling "all warm and fuzzy inside." When Jake talks to her, she says, "You said that just like John Wayne." "Uh huh." "I always wanted to sleep with John Wayne." Jake practically spits up his drink. "You mean 'The Quiet Man' John Wayne or the 'Rooster Cogburn' John Wayne? There's a big difference!" She hands him the key to her hotel room. She leaves, and Jake follows moments later. FB watches him use the elevators. Jake makes his way to Claire's room, where she's waiting for him in a black lace number that comes off seconds later! Jake scores! Huzzah!

Back at Shooter's the next day, Jake and Jane talk. Jake says he knows about the photo and still says the relationship is wrong. Jane admits she did a Bad Thing: "I lost control." She tells him she loves him and, regardless of his decision, she'll never lie to him again. Jake hesitates, then mumbles, "I love you, too." Oh, boo, Jake! Wuss! Jane hugs him, saying, "You've never lied to me, Jake. I could always trust you. It's not like you've ever cheated on me or anything."

In Jane's office/garage, she and Jake start kissing, but she stops in order to introduce Jake to her new assistant -- Claire Duncan! "How do you do, Mr. Hansen?" "Uh, call me Jake." D'OH!

Michael, Kimberly, and "Betsy":

At the beach house, Kimberly is chopping vegetables when Michael comes home. (Oh, it's the foreshadowing at work again!) He's only back to change clothes before heading out again; the injury to Peter's wrist means that he has to cover many of The Bizarre One's surgeries and golf tournaments. Things are a little tense between the newlyweds because of Kim's odd behavior the other night. She apologizes: "So much has happened -- I got confused." She insists she's over it and there's nothing more to worry about. As proof, she grabs Michael and they do it on the sofa!

Some time later, after Michael has left, Kim wakes up on the sofa -- but it's Betsy! And she's really disgusted! Good God -- Kimberly had SEX! On the sofa! Ewwwwww!! She drags the couch out to the patio, and she dumps it and the pillows onto the sand. She then gets lighter fluid from the grille. Flame On!

In the morning, Kimberly (yes, it's Kim now) stares at the charred remains as Michael returns. He makes happy small talk, then asks, "Where the hell's the couch?" "Couch? What couch?" "The potted plant is an interesting disguise, but where's the couch?" Kim says it was a remnant of The Sydney Days, so she decided to get rid of it -- a new one is being delivered shortly. Michael wanders over to the patio and sees the remains, but it's not really recognizable as the sofa anymore. Kimberly says there were some wacky cultists with a bonfire and some dead chickens last night, but she chased them away. Michael does not look convinced.

Kimberly sees Peter at the hospital. "It's happening again, Peter. Weird things -- things I can't control." He wants specifics. "Oh, well, I was wearing clothes I don't remember buying, calling myself Betsy and attending a Tupperware party, and burning the sofa and then lying about it to Michael..." Peter thinks, "A Tupperware party? My God, she's insane!" She pleads with him not to tell anyone about this; it could ruin her. He says they have to closely monitor this. He gives her a prescription and tells her to call him if "Betsy" reappears.

At night, Kimberly wakes up in bed with Michael -- but yes, she's Betsy! Kimberly's been having those disgusting sex thoughts again! She quietly walks to the kitchen, grabs one of the cutting knives (see? foreshadowing!), and slowly pulls back the covers from Michael's, um, nether regions. Just as she's about to do a Bobbitt on him, he starts to wake up. Kimberly's persona pops up! She hides the knife before he can see it and tells him that she thought she heard noises outside. She's terrified by the knowledge of what she was about to do.

Next Week: Kimberly gets another persona -- kinky! Claire is a spy working for Fashion Boy! Billy and Amanda exchange portfolios! Yowza!

--Ken Hart

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