Episode 17: Coop de Grace

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

Ding Dong, the Doof is dead! The greasy ol' doof, the big ol' doof! Ding Dong, the moussed old doof is dead! Better still, Andrew Shue once again reclaims his deserved status as the worst actor on the show, which unfortunately is still in a real stinky stretch.

The Matt Slot goes to … Samantha, who got to throw a ball at the young Kent McCord lookalike.

Amanda, Kyle, Lip Lass, Peter, and Nick the Human Spittoon:

Kyle has another fitful night full of nightmares. He sees how Josie Bissett's career has fallen so far that she now does USA Network movies. For starving actors, they're the '90s version of Murder She Wrote. Kyle again returns to the Beach Blanket War, trading smoochy love promises with the mysterious Christine. (Holy Dana Delany, Batman!) He's woken by a chef at the restaurant who asks him to help out. "Where's Lip Lass?" "I dunno, Boss. She went out of town for a couple of days." "OK, I'm coming in." "Can we talk some more? I get more money if I get one minute of screen time." "Don't be greedy. Take your 20 seconds and love it!"

We see that Taylor has gone to the Buffalo Chip Saloon (I kid you not!) in Dallas, Texas. (Where did they find this set? Dallas hasn't looked like this since the last season of Bonanza!) Cleaning up inside is Kyle's former buddy and professional voyeur, Nick the Human Spittoon. He's not thrilled to see her. When she demands to know more about Christine, he says, "Get out, and I'll smash your teeth into the back of your head." "Try it, big shot! My mutant lips protect all my teeth!"

Back at Wilshire Memorial, Kyle and the still-bedridden Amanda continue to profess their love. Amanda says, "I will walk down that wedding aisle. If not, I'll sit on a golden sphinx and have thousands of slaves pull me to the altar!" "You bet, Mistress!" The Bizarre Dr. Peter Burns walks in to check his patient, but he's briefly stunned by news of their engagement. Recovering quickly, he says, "You've been through many terrible and ridiculous things over the past five years, Amanda, many of which I take pride in saying were my fault. You deserve some happiness." He shakes Kyle's hand and kisses Amanda on the cheek. Suddenly, she feels a sensation in her leg! "Quickly, slave! Stab a needle in me! Let me feel the pain!" As Kyle and Amanda rejoice in the positive sign, Peter sees their happiness and sulks. Then he thinks, "Hey, if just a peck on the cheek gave Amanda a twinge in the leg, I wonder what some serious lovin' could do. Time for Dr. Lovemonkey to reopen his practice…"

In Dallas that night, Nick enters his skanky apartment to find Taylor sitting in his chair! She convinced the landlord she was Nick's sister, and she paid his back rent, to boot. She again asks about Christine, and Nick says, "She's dead." "Drat the luck," mopes Taylor. She says Kyle is wrapped around Amanda's numb fingers, and she was hoping to shake things up a bit by dragging Christine into the mix. Nick says, "You are one sick broad who should be locked up before you ruin any more lives." He again tells her to drop the subject and leave. Lippie says, "You're going to have to help me up. The vinyl of your crappy chair is sticking to me, and I don't want to know why."

Lo and behold, we see Nick and Taylor in bed the following morning. They had sex! Ewwww…! At least we were spared the visual details! Lippie says oh-so-honestly that she wants to help Nick become friends with Kyle again. When she mentions Kyle's jazz club, Nick gets upset. "What? But that was our dream! We talked about it … oh, Kyle, how dare you share our fantasy!" "Geez, calm down, Nick. Help me convince Kyle that Amanda is no good for him and I'll give you part of the club." Nick reluctantly says that Christine did not die in the war. "She lived … for a while." He's holding stuff back, but he won't go farther.

As Taylor waits at the Dallas airport, Nick shows up and says dreamily, "Tell me more about the jazz club." "Hey, Nick, they have 1-900 numbers for that sort of thing." She says that Amanda has Kyle "walking around like a castrated puppy." Ouch! Nick comes to a dark decision. "Christine didn't die. Her face was disfigured by the explosion. She looks like Ed Asner." She didn't want Kyle to "waste" his life with her, so she made Nick promise to tell Kyle she died. Huh? If Kyle was so much in love with her, wouldn't he have wanted to attend her military funeral? And wouldn't he have then wondered why there was no damn funeral? Still, Lip Lass is happy!

Back at Melrose, a feverish Kyle wakes up with a start again: "Uh, football practice!" Amanda is standing in the bathroom. Yes, Amanda is back home, having gone from a slight tingle in the leg to temporary mobility in 24 hours! How'd that happen? Did Peter kiss her again?

That night, Kyle is working at the restaurant and calls Amanda to say he'll be late. She says that's OK. But she then realizes she needs something in a bag on the floor (of course), so she grabs her Granny walker and edges her way across the room, only to slip and flop onto the floor! She's all right, but she has all the mobility of a beached whale. Swallowing her pride, she starts yelling for help. Who comes to her aid? Why, it's Lippie, just back for Dallas! Taylor tries to pull her up, saying, "Ooh, you're heavy, Amanda!" As she gets her up, she says with an evil smile that she has information about Christine.

Lexi, Michael, Megan, Coop, Amber, and more Peter:

Daddy Sterling has breakfast with Lexi, while a charming but uncomfortable Peter heads out to work. Daddy immediately says to his little girl, "What are you doin' with that bizarre bozo?" Dad obviously liked Coop a lot more! He says, "You were too hard on him." Lexi reminds him of Coop's fondness for the horizontal position with his horizontal patients. "Peter is a lot more fun, and he's a better doctor, and he likes conscious women!"

Meanwhile, Coop himself drives to the beach house, just in time to see the anorexic Amber moving some of her stuff inside. Ever the "nice guy," Coop schmoozes with her and acts like her good buddy. Michael isn't happy to see him, but Coop says he's again offering the olive branch. Michael tells him where he can stick that olive branch! Amber is shocked by Michael's nastiness, so Michael backs off and pretends to be nice. Coop reminds Michael of the reception that Burns-Mancini-Cooper is throwing for their advertisers. (Did I hear this right? Doctors in private practice throwing a … party for their many financial supporters? Uh, what?) Amber didn't know, and it's unsure whether Michael had "forgotten" to tell her. Anyhow, she'll now be going to the shindig, of course.

At the hospital, Peter asks Coop for advice about Lexi's dad. Coop expresses his sympathy and says Peter should try to stay on his good side, but Peter thinks Dad has already made up his mind. Coop decides to obsess about Michael some more. Peter says snippily that he will not support Coop's attempt to boot Michael from the practice or to get a position on E.R. if George Clooney leaves. "Michael is a great salesman and we need that, especially tomorrow night when we meet with our investors. Hey, we're doctors, we don't have investors, do we? Damn these scripts!"

The next day, Peter sees Coop and Sterling being extremely chummy at the hospital. Sterling says he'll see Coop at the "game" later. Peter says hopefully, "Golf?" Sterling snarls, "Tennis! Golf is for lazy people!" Peter continues to strike out, and he's not sure why. "Perhaps I should kiss him on the cheek…"

At the fancy, makes-no-sense reception, Peter, Lexi, Coop, and Megan are pleased by the turnout, but where's Mancini? Sure enough, Michael arrives -- with a skimpily clad Amber! Everyone gapes! Megan quickly takes the brainless one aside (I mean Amber, not Michael) and suggests her outfit may not be quite "right" for the situation. "But Michael said it was perfect." Megan mutters, "I can smell the wood burning in her head…" "What?" "I said, there's some good earnings up ahead … uh, for the company!"

Peter meanwhile tells Lexi about her dad's animosity toward him. Lexi still wants Peter to be on his best behavior. Peter shuffes, "Okay…I'll try…" "That's my sugah muffin!"

A short time later, while Michael is schmoozing with the advertisers/investors/plot devices, Coop encourages Amber to have some champagne. "Oh, I can't have that. Champagne makes me do silly things, like run for political office." "Come on, doctor's orders. I'll watch out for you, promise!" Coop smiles. One day, he'll grin, and I'll be really frightened.

Before you can say "Robert Downey Jr.," Amber is dancing on top of the tables, drunk out of her little gourd! Not since Kevin Costner's The Postman have so many mouths hung open in astonishment! Michael tries to get Amber down, but instead they both go crashing into the buffet table. (My mouth hangs open! Can this show be saved?) Everyone is shocked, except Coop, who looks on smugly.

The following morning at the beach house, Amber approaches a sullen Michael. "Last night was the final nail in my coffin," he says. Amber tells him, "I don't handle alcohol well, and when you left me…" "Oh, so it's all my fault!" He defaults to Ugly Mode and calls her a "bimbo" and "trash," which nets him the deserved and all-too-familiar slap in the face. If the doctor thing doesn't work out, Mike, there's always talk radio.

That night, Coop calls an emergency meeting of the practice at Kyle's restaurant. Huh? It's obvious he wants to dump Michael, but does anyone really expect to finish their dinner if that happens? Peter arrives first; he's still reluctant to can Michael, even after last night's events. Megan arrives next, and she's highly resistant also. Michael walks in just as Coop is telling them that Michael is an embarrassment, so now Michael thinks they've all ganged up on him! He compliments Coop, bastard to bastard, and vows vengeance. Yawn! Didn't we get this same dialogue when he got dumped from the glove company? After Michael pours wine on Coop, Megan runs off in search of tissues. "Sniff…it's such a waste…that was excellent wine!"

The next evening, Peter is back at Kyle's with Lexi and Sterling. (After everything that's happened to him inside or because of that place, I'd think he'd want to stay away from it!) Nothing satisfies Daddy! "This bread is too hard! This steak is too dry! My mustaches itches!" He makes a proposition to Lexi. (Hey now!) "My seafood-dying company, Red Fish Blue Fish, is opening up a division on the West Coast. With all the oil that's been dumped into the Pacific, we have many more colors to work with. It's a Fortune 500 company, and I couldn't think of anyone more suited to take it over than my pill-popping daughter who's barely worked a day in her life." "Oh, Daddy, you're the best!"

When she giddily goes to the rest room, Sterling tells Peter he's not doing this solely to give Lexi work. "I've done some homework on you. You have all the morals of a rabid skunk." "Well, sir, zoologists I know say that skunks do have very high moral fiber…" "Shut up! Once Lexi impossibly manages to keep my company from collapsing into a financial black hole, how long do you she'll stick with a low-life weasel like you?" "Well, sir, the weasel has…" "Shut up!" Peter thinks, "Yep, I should have kissed him."

That night, Coop comes over to Megan's to collect her for their date, but she's not in the mood. "You've been after Michael all along." "No, Megan. I want you. The fact that I thoroughly despise Michael and would like nothing better than to see him groveling on the ground for work like Eric Estrada is immaterial." She says she saw Coop giving booze to Amber, and she asks him to leave: "I need to know whether I can trust you anymore." I know the answer to that one: No!

Michael returns home that night. No Amber! He shrugs. "Eh, good riddance." As he sits down to watch TV, he has a Beavis and Butthead moment: There is no TV! And there's no stereo equipment, VCR, or microwave! "My cappuccino machine! My collection of Julie Strain videos! My South Park tapes!" All gone, along with about a thousand bucks in cash. Serves him right! Now maybe he'll get really nasty and become the vindictive, blackmailing Michael that we've all come to know and despise!

Billy, Samantha, Craig, and Jennifer (endure the pain -- I'll be brief!):

Jennifer is contacted by Dr. Mosley (the nebbish she shamelessly came on to in the lab a few episodes back). He tells her that Craig is endangering lives. "Why? Is he still talking about performing in Man from La Mancha?" "No, he's agreed to use substandard materials for the new heart valve in order to save money. People could die!" Mosley had confronted Craig with the info, but he says that Craig threatened him. "He threatened to fire you?" "Worse. He said he'd tie me to a chair, prop my eyes open with toothpicks, and force me to watch Suddenly Susan!" "My God, he's insane!"

Billy and Samantha have a business meeting at the Upstairs club. Don't people have meetings in offices anymore? The potential clients are selling Dr. Mandrake's Anti-Stink Foot Powder and want a celebrity sports figure to be their spokesman. Who do they have in mind? Not Ken Griffey. Not Elvis Grbac. Not Venus Williams! No, they want a minor-league baseball player to be their spokesman. Oh, that's rich! Who's ever seen a minor-league baseball player promote anything other than the local hardware store? They want some guy named Jeff Baylor.

When the clients leave, Billy says, "Daah, we are dead." "We are? Oh doy, Billy, I thought I survived the crash!" "Nah, nah, I mean 'Manda an' I tried to get him a while back, but he refuses to do any advertising. Gah, hey, where's yer wedding ring?" "Uh, it slipped down the sink, and I've been trying to suck it back up the drain ever since." Billy says, "Daah, mebbe Connie could help you…" "Doy, Billy Campbell! Just doy!"

At Upstairs, Jennifer confronts Craig with the info she has. He says, "You're overreacting. Now leave me alone. This is my last episode, and I'm going to be as bad as I wanna be." She says only her affection has kept her from blabbing about his tactics, but he threatens to kill her if she says anything -- and he's serious! Later, though, Jennifer does warn Coop about the situation.

The next day, Billy and Sam mug a couple of grammar school kids and get tickets to a charity carnival where Jeff Baylor is appearing. They spot him sitting on top of the dunk tank. He looks a bit like Kent McCord and he's uncomfortably reminiscent of Fashion Boy (last seen getting his brains sucked out in Starship Troopers). Billy introduces himself, "Daah, hi, ah'm Billy Campbell, and I … dah … wanna talk to you…" "Hey, buddy, some time this year!" Billy hurls fat, fluffy softballs at the target, but he keeps missing! Baylor taunts him, "Meester Big Bad Soccer Player is a Girlie Man!" However, Baylor sees Sam, thinks she cute, and says that if Sam can dunk him with Billy's last ball, he'll listen to Billy's ad pitch. (Don't interpret the Freudian symbolism -- you'll go blind!) Sam winds up, throws, and dunks him!

That night, Craig arrives at Jennifer's place, carrying flowers. He says Coop kicked him out of the company, "but I guess you knew that." How could Coop legally kick Craig out of the company he founded in just one day? Even on Melrose, such things normally take two or even three days! Anyhow, he offers the flowers to apologize for his psychotic behavior. Jen lets him in! He goes psychotic again! She throws a vase at the loony -- it smashes through the window just as Billy enters the courtyard. He runs up to see Craig about to strangle Jen. There's a quick struggle, and Craig flees before their combined might!

Michael stops by in the morning to check on his sister. Other than a bruise, she's fine. "Come by my office later…oh, that's right," he says, glaring at Megan, "I don't have an office anymore." Jen doesn't think Craig will return, so she doesn't plan to file a police report. Dumb move!

That night, as she heads toward her car, Craig grabs her from behind and puts a gun to her back! But all he wants are her car keys. He tells her, "Sydney was right. You're all emotional vampires! Bleh! Bleh!" He drives off, leaving behind a bewildered Jennifer. "Samantha was right about something…?"

Craig later sits in the car, parked on a lonely road. He begins his final soliloquy: "I couldn't do it, Sydney. I couldn't do it without you. I miss you so much." He picks up the gun and brings it toward his head. "I just want to be with you again. Waah, Sydney! And I really hate getting the Matt Slot all the time!" BLAM! Yay!

Boy, Jen's gonna be pissed when she sees what you did to her car!

Next Week: The appearance of Christine! Sterling introduces Lexi's new business partner: Coop! (Another business for Coop?!) Michael's mother turns up: It's Valerie Harper! Run, run for the hills!

--Ken Hart

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