In a Word: Welcome to Melrose Place, an apartment complex as pretty as its young tenants. Behind these gates is a world of big dreams and big drama, of hot bodies and cool fashion — plus just about every Big Issue that ever popped up in the '90s. In this fantasy L.A. world, the traffic is light and the road to success is easy. Everyone hangs out at the same bar, Shooters. And, though they live in landlocked West Hollywood, they're right around the corner from the beach. Sweet!
The Action: Aspiring ad exec Alison Parker needs a new roommate. She doesn't really want to rent to dorky Billy Campbell, but what's a girl to do? Billy proves useful right away, however, when he stops Alison's pushy date from forcing himself into their pad. This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Billy wants to be a writer, but at first he's making a living as a cab driver. Eventually he lands a column in a local weekly, and later gets a really fine job at hip Escapade magazine (where his female boss sexually harasses him — ah, the '90s!). He really likes Alison, but she won't go there. So he dates this chick he picks up in his cab, and other girls too. Alison pretends she isn't jealous.
Billy and Alison's neighbors include sweet Matt Fielding, who works at a halfway house. After Matt is attacked outside a nightclub, his boss learns it was a hate crime because Matt's gay. Then the boss commits another hate crime by finding a way to fire Matt. Matt sues, but he settles the case and gets his job back. Because he really wants to help people. One of Matt's BFFs at the complex is aerobics instructor Rhonda Blair, who used to be a dancer but choked before a big audition. When Rhonda's old friend comes to town with an opening in her dance troupe, Rhonda gets a second chance to pursue her dream. But she decides she's happy with her life as is. We don't get to find out much more about Rhonda, though: She sticks around long enough to educate Billy about the real South Central L.A., after he gets carjacked and starts talking some racist trash. Rhonda feels guilty about drifting away from her roots, but then rich restaurant owner Terrence proposes. After some on-again/off-again, she ends up marrying Terrence and splits for good.
Jane and Michael Mancini are MP's happily married couple. She's a fashion designer, and he's a doctor at Wilshire Memorial hospital. They get pregnant, but she has a miscarriage. They get a dog, but Jane loses it at the beach, and a homeless woman adopts it. Jane throws herself into work at the boutique, where boss Kay pushes her to be the best but mostly just bugs her. When Jane's college-dropout sister Sydney arrives and is annoying, Kay gives Syd a job as her assistant. Michael starts an affair with fellow MD Kimberly Shaw, and it's love in an elevator. But Alison finds out about it and tries to warn Jane, who doesn't believe it ... until she finds out for herself. Jane and Michael break up. Good thing they didn't have a kid, after all.
Studly biker Jake Hanson dates teenager Kelly Taylor, a rich girl from the 90210, but she's too young for him, and it doesn't last. Jake also hooks up with fellow MP resident Sandy Harling, a wannabe actress. That doesn't last either, but Sandy splits for New York before the season is half over, so whatever. At last Jake meets new neighbor Jo Reynolds, a photographer who's running away from her abusive husband. Jake and Jo both wear leather jackets — and each gets arrested over the course of the season — so it's a match made in yuppie biker heaven. But of course they hit a few bumps. Jake tries working at a coffeehouse and being a mechanic, but his job security is about as rocky as his relationship with Jo. Her husband turns up, and Jo agrees to try again with him. But hubby's a raging maniac when drunk, so they divorce. Jo gets a big settlement and buys the repair shop, so she and Jake can be business partners. They also get tested for AIDS, after an ex of Jake's tells him she's got the virus (providing an excuse for a cozy motorcycle ride into the desert). But Jake and Jo are clean. Whew.
Everyone keeps telling Alison that she does too like Billy, but she refuses to admit it. Instead, she accidentally starts having an affair with a married man, Keith Gray. When she finds out he has a wife, she breaks it off. But Keith isn't one to give up easily. Later he gets divorced, and Alison moves to Seattle with him. But after Billy's dad dies, she goes back to L.A. Keith follows her but acts weird, setting up this sitch where he's secretly stalking her, then showing up to comfort her after every incident. He even smacks Billy over the head with a tire iron at one point.
This is all very juicy, but something is ... missing. We find out what after Alison gets promoted to junior account exec, and we meet a new D&D exec: Amanda Woodward. Life will never be the same for anyone. This ball-busting blonde makes things plenty interesting at work, but she really shakes things up at Melrose Place. She starts by seducing Billy and getting him to move in with her, but they split up. (Later Billy and Alison finally hook up, despite Amanda's best efforts to keep them apart.) Then Amanda gets knocked up by Billy but loses the baby. When Alison returns from Seattle, Amanda lets her come back to D&D — as the receptionist. Boss Lucy makes Amanda promote Alison, but Amanda still finds ways to mess with Alison. And then she and her dad, Palmer, buy the whole freakin' apartment complex.
Our Take: Whoever decided this show needed a dose of super-bitch was right. Even crazy stalker Keith isn't as much fun to watch as smirky-smug Amanda.
Your Take: Would you move back to L.A. for someone you thought of as just a friend?