Monday, 27 June 2011

2000 MALIBU ROAD: “Honey Bunny”



If you’re a soap opera fan like I am and over 35, you probably remember this short-lived prime time TV series starring Lisa Hartman Black, Jennifer Beals and Drew Barrymore. It was produced by the king of chic sleaze Aaron Spelling and featured other well-known faces of the small and big screens. Some are not with us anymore, as time and tragedy strike even the people of La La land. But it was a great cast for a great soap that should have had a longer run. So what happened to it that it had to end so abruptly after a mere six episodes? Well, as a close friend of mine used to say, read on, my friend, just read on.


From what I gather, high production costs were the sole blame for the sudden cancellation of 2000 MALIBU ROAD. It is as simple as that. Oh yeah, and probably the decline of the sudsy dramas as well. If you recall, before MELROSE PLACE made it big, ‘80s primetime soaps were definitely on the down slide, thanks mostly to the overstaying power of TV hits like DYNASTY, DALLAS, KNOTS LANDING, FALXON CREST. Left and right people were bombarded with soaps. As much as you tried, you just couldn’t get away from them. So much so that when the ‘90s arrived, viewers got so fed up with the lives of the rich and famous they were more than ready to tune out. That is, until this little two-hour drama pointed its face in late summer of 1992 and changed the face of TV for good. Well… at least in my head.


I was living by myself at the time, having paid my dues as a broke dude who just couldn’t afford his own place. Having been working full time for awhile, I was finally able to enjoy my independence to the fullest. Which I have been doing ever since, thank you very much. Not exactly true, come to think of it. I do not live by myself anymore. I share my life and condo in hip Plateau Mont-Royal with someone now. It has been going on for quite some time, and I’m really proud of that. But back to our topic at hand. It was on a Sunday night that I came face to face with the premiere of 2000 MALIBU ROAD. By chance, since I was not planning on watching TV that evening. I probably had seen the promos of this movie event on CBS (which was really the one hour pilot plus the second episode) but didn’t make anything of them, since I too was getting pretty tired of seeing soaps predominate our screens, especially those of the short-run kind. Remember, I had been right then and there when the powers that be pulled the plugs on shows like FLAMINGO ROAD, PAPER DOLLS, BARE ESSENCE, THE COLBYS, EMERALD POINT N.A.S., and, frankly, I just couldn’t handle one more premature death.
 

Well, that’s what I thought. Little did I know I was going to fall madly in love with this soap opera take of the movie industry, the call girl ring, the double personality disorder, and best of all, the witchcraft practice. At last, here was a fresh take of a tiresome trend, one that had big potential of reviving the evening soaps and I couldn’t be happier. Moreover, when I found out that 2000 MALIBU ROAD would continue on for another four episodes, that I wouldn’t have to wait for it to come back at an undetermined time like so many other DOA soaps, I was even more in frothy heaven.


As you can imagine I was riveted to my TV set every Wednesdays, following the misadventures of these beach house roommates (hence the title address) who bathed in murders, spells, casting couches... For those who haven’t got a clue, 2000 MALIBU ROAD centered around four young ladies of diverse occupations (a lawyer, a would-be actress, a would-be agent/manager, an ex-call girl) who faced the melodramatic world by being strong independent women and also by sticking together when the goings got tough, which was even more of a treat since it meant seeing them interact with one another. Of course, every little details of their personal lives were scrutinized for our benefits, and each episode left you with the need to know more. Until it stopped for good after its first initial run. And to make matters even worse, it stopped on mega-cliffhangers that never came to be resolved. Talk about being had… again.


As mentioned, a lot of big names took part in this series, names like Joel Schumacher (who directed five of the six episodes), FALCON CREST Robert Foxworth, MASH Sally Kellerman. But my favorite one, apart from super hot Michael T. Weiss, was little known Tuesday Knight. Some of you may remember her as Kristen in the then-popular A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER or as now founder of Tuesday's Hip Vintage, a jewelry line. But to me she will always be Joy, the feisty agent slash plump witch of 2000 MALIBU ROAD with the honey bunny catchphrase stuck to her lips. She had a way of making everything seem so much fun and exciting. In fact I will even go further and say that her character was sort of a pioneer to what will later be known as supernatural soap opera vixens.
 

Back then, I would have given anything to see it back on TV. I couldn’t imagine the folks behind the Aaron Spelling name leaving us panting like that, especially since the show was doing particularly well in the ratings (the series premiere, #2 in the Nielsen’s ratings). At least give us a two-hour finale movie to seal the multi-story lines, I thought. But it was not meant to be. 2000 MALIBU ROAD had closed its doors definitely. Though Spelling had claimed otherwise, Lisa Hartman Black believes it was more of a problematic timeslot that ended the series as it was about to go head to head with another new and very promising Spelling soap, Melrose Place, on another network. Whatever the reason, office politics did kill 2000 MALIBU ROAD and for that I will always feel regretful… and grateful, for, who knows what it may have turned out to be had the series been renewed. I don’t know about you, guys, but I sure wouldn’t have wanted to have another PASSIONS in my hands.



As far as I can tell, there is no plan to launch 2000 MALIBU ROAD in the DVD market. Perhaps eventually it’ll see the light of day, but I doubt it. Let’s cross our fingers that it will, though. You never know.







 
Until next post—Martin
 

 



5 comments:

Sylvain Démenti said...

Damn, I remember that show with such a good impression. It was showed in french as a "6 parts miniseries". I remember falling in love with Brian Bloom, too... It was cheesy but highly entertaining. I wish they release it on DVD...

markE said...

its not on dvd but you can see all 6 shows on you tube!!!! cheers!

Logan 5 said...

I am just discovering this show(and your blog) this week,I love it!!
Thanks for writing about it.

Hudson Taylor said...

Thanks for this. Poor Lisa Hartman Black. I guess this (and many more) of her movies are the reason she retired some years ago. I don't know if you've covered this movie, but if not you have to see Intimate Stranger, Starring Deborah Harry. it's so bad it's good. She plays a phone sex operator, targeted by one of her callers, LOL.

Authorfan said...

Thanks for the tip. Will definitely check it out.

Martin