We watch... so you don't have to.

Fall 2000: "Grosse Pointe"

When it comes to parody, the prime time soap opera genre is easy pickings. Bad acting, over-the-top writing and deep mazes of incomprehensible plot lines so twisted you need GPS equipment to keep track of the cartoonish characters all conspire to turn even the sleekest of serials into a gelatinous blob of beautiful people.

Along comes Darren Star, the former protege/spawn of Aaron Spelling and a prolific soap opera producer himself whose credits include Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. He is also the creator of the WB's new Grosse Pointe, a comedy that is supposed to be a behind-the-scenes look at 90210. One does not cross Aaron Spelling, however.

If you believe the rumors surrounding the show, Spelling called Star with an offer he couldn't refuse: soften up the show, especially the Tori Spelling-like Marcy Sternfield, or wake up with the head of Shannen Doherty in his bed.

The result is a show that skips the sleek and jumps straight to the gelatinous blob stage. It's definitely not the worst thing on television this fall, but considering the focus of the show and the long experience of its creator, Grosse Pointe could have been so much more.

Grosse Pointe is also the title of the fictional teen soap opera around which the behind-the-scenes plots revolve. In fact, the funniest parts of the real show are scenes from the fake show -- the scary thing is that they're hard to distinguish from an actual 90210 episode.

The majority of Grosse Pointe deals with the actors' lives when they're not on camera. There's the idiotic surfer boy, the "teenage hunk" with a hairpiece, the manipulative bitch, and the fresh-faced blonde newcomer who dreams of Broadway.

Lindsay Sloane's Marcy is amusing for the first five minutes of the show, then her character's constant whining makes her as annoying as the real Tori Spelling. It's no wonder Aaron Spelling wanted the show toned down and it would be interesting to see what Marcy was originally supposed to be.

The viewing public may love Hollywood products, but when that product is Hollywood itself, viewers change the channel. Anyone remember Action, last year's Hollywood-based sitcom that was one of the best comedies in years? It brought in PBS-like ratings and quickly ended up in the same unmarked grave as Conrad Bloom. True, the Grosse Pointe characters don't curse like drunken longshoremen, but then again, Action was actually funny.

The problem with Grosse Pointe is that the actor characters are just as soap opera as the characters those actors are supposed to be playing. The plot lines from the behind-the-scenes stuff are just as convoluted as the stories from the show the characters are supposed to be performing in. I assume this is all supposed to be ironically funny, but it ends up looking like the creators just built a soap opera about a soap opera.

Grosse Pointe had the potential to be a very funny show, but if you want truly laugh-out loud soaps comedy there's only one place to turn: NBC's Passions.


TeeVee - About Us - Archive - Where We Are Now

Got a comment? Mail us at teevee@teevee.org.

* * *