Episode 13: A Tree Talks in Melrose

This is a subliminal message. Obey Ken in all things.

Will Jennifer finally get what's coming to her? Will Kyle stop acting like a major-league putz and just do Amanda? Will the vengeful Spelling producers add a new storyline about a pregnant worker who successful sues the pants off Amanda's company? Viva la Tylo!

The Matt Slot goes to … Craig! He briefly appears to spew venom on Jennifer, correctly saying that the only thing she's loyal to is money. And she denies it! The nerve! That is the only reason she was attracted to him! Kudos to Thomas Calabro (Michael) for another good directing job, although he's not so good at directing himself.

Amanda, Kyle, and Lip Lass:

As he arrives at Upstairs in the morning, Kyle notices that Taylor is in a happy mood. "Has the Melrosian hate mail stopped?" he asks. She says, "I have a Christmas miracle for you!" (Yes, it's become Christmastime overnight at Melrose Place.) Kyle says, "What miracle? Did someone find my brain?" She points out her guest on the stage: It's the sappy staple of VH-1, Jon Secada! He croons a holiday tune, and while Lip Lass hopes it will bring Kyle closer to her, Kyle is subjected to an Amanda montage! Reeling before the onslaught of the sepia-toned images, he shrugs off Lippie's hand. Apparently, they became buddies with Secada back in Boston, and he stopped by to say hello. Taylor tells him that they need a ton of money to give to the bank or they'll lose their lease. (When did this crisis happen?) Kyle is mortified by her brazenness, but Secada agrees to play for them on Christmas Eve. Kyle thinks, "Hey, I thought I had a jazz club…! This guy wouldn't know real jazz if he sat on a saxophone!"

When Secada steps out to make arrangements, Kyle tells Lippie that it's a crazy idea. "No one goes out on Christmas Eve…well, except for Santa, that is." Taylor says, "Come on, Kyle, this is Los Angeles -- nobody who lives here has any loved ones to visit! We'll be packed!"

We leap ahead to the second half of the episode, where it's already Christmas Eve. The joint is jumping! Jon Secada is singing! Taylor is slinking! All this, and with no advance advertising! Enter Amanda, whose holiday-tinged thoughts had turned to Kyle earlier. She wants to speak privately to Kyle; Lippie isn't happy about it. The two step into his office. Amanda says, "I have a Christmas present for you." "Not Jon Secada again?" "Nope." A bottle of scotch?" "Uh, no." "A G.I. Joe action figure with Kung Fu grip?" "No." "A 1998 Carmen Electra calendar?" "Hell, no!" "Well, what do you have?" "The truth!" She tells him that she misses and needs him terribly. Kyle seems moved, but a surge of testosterone and bad writing cuts off access to his brain! "Hulk not care, Amanda. Hulk know that you went to Lizard Boy's house to make whoopee. You earn no points from Hulk just because Lizard Boy was icky." Amanda, shocked, says this is goodbye. She leaves, and Kyle puts his fists to his head. "Why is Hulk so dumb? Why, Aaron Spelling, why? Hulk want brain back!" Taylor enters with booze, boasting of the profit they're making tonight. Kyle says, "Go away, Lip Lass, or Hulk smash. Hulk will drink alone tonight."

Taylor re-enters the office after the club has closed; Kyle is quite unconscious, with a nearly finished bottle of Jack Daniels nearby. She's carrying the huge sack of money, but before she dumps it in the safe, she is struck by a cunning plan! She keeps the sack and smiles evilly for the benefit of the audience. Gee, thanks.

Later, after a severely hungover Kyle awakens, Taylor again brags about the money they made last night and "volunteers" to take the money to the bank if Kyle retrieves it from the safe. The brain-fried Kyle freaks out, thinking that he's misplaced the money or that someone stole it from his desk while he was out cold. When he's feeling appropriately guilty and panic-stricken, Taylor points out that there is another way they can get the lump sum of money they need. "Uh, fall down a spiral staircase and sue somebody?" "No, that's been done. We can play craps!" She convinces Kyle that a quickie trip to Las Vegas is just what they need. This is her cunning plan? What happens when Kyle loses a ton of moolah and she has to conveniently "find" the loot sack?

Billy, Samantha, and Connie:

Over at Amanda Woodward Advertising, Billy is getting annoyed at his new wife's devotion to work. "Daah, Sam, I want ya ta help me pick out a Christmas tree. Last year, I grabbed a scrawny one and everybody called me a Blockhead!" Sam says, "I'm too busy working on pretty pictures for the Seattle company. You got more crayons over there?" Connie, now Billy's assistant, chimes in: "I'd be glad to help Billy with his wood, uh, tree." "Well, doy, Connie, that's great! There you go, Billy! Gee, I'm clueless!"

Billy and Connie walk through the Christmas tree yard -- surprisingly, there are still good trees available even though it's nearly Xmas! Billy grumbles throughout: "Mmm, dumb tree, working wife, mmm, 'nother dumb tree, stupid icky weather, dumb Connie with nice curves and big red lips…" He finally says, "Daah, I want dat one!" Connie says, "Billy, you can't have that one. It's a lamppost." "Gaah, and yer point is…?" Connie helps him choose a tree, then plants a solid kiss on his lips! Billy pauses, then says in a half-annoyed voice, "Why did you do dat?" She looks up: "Mistletoe, silly!" Billy stares, then stammers, "Daah! Outmaneuvered again!"

The next night, Billy and Connie decorate the tree. (Sam is still working late hours, much to Billy's annoyance.) Meanwhile, Connie keeps casually tossing in bad things about Sam's past! "She always got tired of her old boyfriends after a while, she kept getting too caught up in her work, and she said that soccer was a sport for candy-ass pansies." "Dat does it!" Billy defends Sam and accuses Connie of coming on to him. She says the kiss meant nothing to her, but it obviously meant something to Billy if he's thinking about it so much. "Hey! No fair usin' logic on me! I want you out of here. After the New Year, you find yer own place." He then leaves and heads to the office, where he politely pulls the workaholic Sam from her duties.

Billy and Sam engage in heavy smooching in their pad, but she gets majorly P.O.'d when Billy tells her about the ultimatum he gave to Connie. Billy tries to convince her that Connie is bad news, but Sam says, "Doy, Billy, I'm just being consistent! I defended my Evil Dad when you said he was a louse -- I can't do any less for Connie!" After much yelling, Billy storms out the door and Sam goes into the bedroom. Billy pauses outside, then goes back inside. Sam also reappears. "Dah, Sam, what were we arguin' about? I forgot." "Ah, doy, Billy, I forgot, too!" "Ya know, we're perfect fer each other. Gaaah!" "Doy."

The next morning, Billy reluctantly gets up from bed to make coffee, but he sees a gift in front of the door. Sam says he should apologize to Connie for the nasty, bad things he said. Billy knocks on Connie's door, but when there's no answer, he just opens it (!). He sees a "sleeping" Connie lying naked on the bed! Andrew Shue stares. (Translation: As an actor, I got it made. I get to have babes kiss me passionately every week. Bite me, Robert De Niro!) After a couple of seconds of staring at Connie's full-figured form, Billy quietly closes the door. Connie, of course, was not sleeping!

Michael, Megan, Jennifer, Coop, Peter, and Lexi:

Lexi tells The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns that she's fine and hasn't had a pill in a while. He's still concerned and he suggests they get away from all the stress: "Sarajevo's lovely at this time of year." Jennifer arrives to discuss interior design and plunging necklines with Lexi. Right after The Bizarre One leaves, Coop shows up. Lexi confines him to the doorway as he angrily hands over another alimony check. Having apparently recovered her moral sensibilities after last week's pill, Lexi taunts Coop by saying that if he wins his lawsuit against Michael, she's still entitled to half of his profits! (Hey, any lawyers out there who can tell me if this is a load of BS? How can she still be entitled to half of his property after they're divorced? Oh, those wacky Californians and their laws! Of course, Lexi and Coop were married and divorced under Milwaukee law, but we'll let that slide for now…) Coop calls her a "parasite." Jennifer laps it all up!

Megan later goes to Coop's place and asks him -- as her doctor and co-boss -- if she can return to work. He gives her a cautious OK, but asks what else is bothering her. She says she's divorcing Michael, but is having trouble signing the divorce papers. Coop sympathizes, saying he delayed divorcing Lexi, but it just made them hate each other. "Well, it's not that, Coop. I just can't find a pen with ink." As they talk, a delivery man shows up, giving a small Christmas tree to Megan. She and Coop are both confused, until they pull on an ornament: The sound of Michael singing "Jingle Bills" comes out of a speaker in the tree! Coop looks at it with mild revulsion. "You're not gonna keep it, are you?" Megan gets wishy-washy: "Well, I don't have a Christmas tree…"

The next day, Jennifer arranges to meet secretly with Coop. He snickers at the cloak-and-dagger tactics, but Jen says, "I can make you a free man." "Speak on, Babe-raham Lincoln." She says she can get Lexi to terminate the alimony agreement if Coop drops the Mancini Glove lawsuit. Coop is skeptical: "What do you get out of it?" "We Mancinis look out for each other." They shake on it.

Megan is back to work at the office; Michael makes goo-goo eyes at her. As she tries to defuse his charm, he gives her another present: lovebirds! "I can't accept this," she says. "But you have to! I named them Michael and Megan!" She happily brings the birds over to her desk. Coop looks on the scene with now not-so-mild revulsion. Megan tells him, "I signed the divorce papers, but I can't serve them until after Christmas." Oh yeah, I'm sure Michael will feel sooo much better!

As Jennifer and Lexi walk outside, Jen spills the beans: She knows everything about the hit-and-run incident, the pills, and the fact that Lexi's hair is not that red naturally! "Oh, no!" Lexi is devastated. Jennifer gets really unpleasant here, twisting the emotional knife. Boo! She says, "I will keep your little secret" if Lexi says goodbye to Coop's alimony payments. Lexi immediately thinks that Coop is behind this, but Jen tells her this is her scheme to get Coop off Michael's back. Lexi has little choice, and Jennifer even says, "Please don't take any of this personally. I like you!" I'll show you "personal," you twit!

At 2 a.m. the following morning, Peter wakes up to find that Lexi is not in bed. "Snookums?" He goes downstairs, sees his medical bag open, and finds Lexi unconscious on the kitchen floor from an overdose of sleeping pills! He calls 911, then immediately starts mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Peter, you dog, you! Can't you think of anything else? And just what the hell were you doing with a lethal amount of sleeping pills in your bag, anyway?

Hours later, at the hospital, Lexi regains consciousness to see a somber Coop sitting on the bed, petting her hair. (Is Megan the only non-comatose woman he's ever been with?) He quietly asks, "Why did you do this?" "You know why." She tells Coop that he's won, but he takes no comfort in it. Peter walks in (looking very Frisco-like) and isn't happy to see Coop: "I turn my back for two minutes and you show up. What is it with you and unconscious women?" Yeah! When Coop leaves, Peter says he can't understand why she did this. She tells him that she wants to be rid of her past, so she's ending Coop's alimony payments. She's worried that Peter will find her too needy and will leave her, but The Bizarre One says she mustn't worry about that. "I'll never leave you -- at least not until the May sweeps."

By the way, what the hell happened to the police investigation? One week, they're telling Peter that they're close to finding the culprit, and this week they're lurking about at the donut shop!

Back at the office, Michael gives Megan another gift: a Snow-Globe of the beach house! Underneath are the words: "It's so cold without you. Come home." Awwww! That's a good one! It's totally sappy and devoid of any true emotion, but I like it. Michael promises yet another gift tonight. After Megan returns to her desk, Coop notes that she seems happily distracted -- but he'll put a stop to that! When she leaves, the phone rings and Coop answers. It's Megan's divorce lawyer, calling from the middle of an office party. What a professional! Coop says, "She's not here … but she did say that she wanted Michael served with the papers tonight. Yes, before the holiday. Muahahahaha!"

It's Christmas Eve! Jennifer lets a grumpy Coop into her pad. He hands her all the designs relating to the Mancini Glove and says he's dropped the lawsuit. Jennifer reads over the papers, "The Electro-Vibe 2000 provides pleasure unsur…" "Damn! No! These papers…!" Jen realizes with horror that Michael really did steal his idea! Coop then tops that with news of Lexi's suicide attempt. "But what do you care? You Mancinis always come out on top." Zing! Jen is shaken! Megan arrives, and Jennifer quickly leaves.

Seconds later, the messenger arrives with a package for Megan from Michael. It's a locket -- with an empty heart! Coop groans and looks on this with undisguised revulsion! "Oh, come on! You're not going to fall for that?" Megan feels that she should at least talk to Michael. Coop says that considering she's about to hit him with divorce papers, her actions are kind of cruel. Here, here!

Back at the beach house, Michael is dressed up as Santa and the pad is decorated to the max. When the doorbell rings, he's obviously anticipating Megan, but instead it's a guy who serves him with the divorce papers! He screams at the heavens, "Damn you, Megan! And the hell with you, too, Santa!" Michael (directed by himself) then goes into a goofy melodramatic rage. Watch the white Santa beard melt in the fireplace! Oooooh! Rosebud….

In the morning, things get worse for Michael. First, Santa left him with no presents because he cursed him out the night before. Now Jennifer is furious at being lied to and for staunchly defending him to the point where she's lost Craig. She tells Michael that she even blackmailed Lexi, who tried to kill herself. "So what?" he says. "Nobody died." "You're beyond saving, Michael," and she stalks off.

Furious, Michael goes to MP that night. He confronts Megan with the divorce notice. Megan pathetically says, "Oh, you weren't supposed to get that until after Christmas!" Like that makes a big difference! Michael says, "Now give me my presents back!" Megan angrily shoves the talking tree back at him, but she's keeping the birds: "You kill everything!" As he descends the stairs, Coop walks up, and Michael accidentally pulls the string on the tree. He wigs out as his "Jingle Bells" plays and he yells at the tree to shut up! Another classic Melrosian moment, thanks to Michael! Amanda arrives just in time to see him toss the tree into the pool! She waits till he walks by, then she mutters, "God bless us all, everyone."

Next Week: No episode! In two weeks: Kyle wants to get back with Amanda, who is stuck in a plummeting plane with Sam. Geez, not the "Oh, my spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend is presumed dead" bit again?! Happy Holidays, everyone!

--Ken Hart

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