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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this popular, Aaron Spelling-produced 1990s soap opera features sensational plotlines that involve sex, violence, and revenge (as well as more serious issues like sexual abuse, alcoholism, and sexuality). While the way those topics are dealt with may seem tame compared to some of what's on television today, that doesn't change the fact that virtually all of the characters either sleep with, marry, or try to kill everyone else in the cast at some point. Obviously, it's not intended for younger viewers -- but it's still likely to be popular among teens (assuming they can get past the dated clothes and hairstyles).
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What's the story?
Created by Darren Star (Sex and the City) and produced by Hollywood powerhouse Aaron Spelling, MELROSE PLACE holds the distinction of being one of the most sensationalist adult prime-time soap operas of its time. Originally airing from 1992-1999, Melrose Place was spun off of popular teen soap Beverly Hills, 90210 when Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) pursued unemployed carpenter Jake Hansen (Grant Show). Jake proved to be viewers' introduction to a group of twentysomethings living in a garden apartment complex in West Hollywood at 4616 Melrose Place. Among his fellow residents are young doctor Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro) and his wife, budding fashion designer Jane Mancini (Josie Bissett); aspiring advertising exec Alison Parker (Courtney Thorne Smith); her financially strapped roommate Billy Campbell (Andrew Shue); aerobics instructor Rhonda Blair (Vanessa L. Williams); struggling actress Sandy Louise Harling (Amy Locane); and social worker Matt Fielding (Doug Savant). Their lives intertwine as they all attempt to realize their dreams in Los Angeles.
Is it any good?
Melrose Place helped revitalize the careers of many actors, including Heather Locklear and Alyssa Milano, and launched the careers of others, including Marcia Cross and Kristin Davis. But while many of the cast members became household names, perhaps the most famous name associated with the show is that of the apartment complex itself -- Melrose Place has become a symbol of Generation X and its desire for material wealth and professional success.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between traditional TV dramas and soap operas. How can the two kinds of programs be distinguished from each other? Are there any storylines in either type of show that you consider too shocking? When are shocking storylines too much? How do you draw the boundaries? Families can also discuss how TV shows can launch or revitalize actors' careers over time. Why do some forgotten actors or actresses get really popular after appearing on a TV show?