The TV series 'Melrose Place' ('MP'), about a group of 20-something tenants in a Los Angeles garden-apartment building, ran for 7 seasons between 1992 and 1999. Television was regarded "the ultimate mass-market medium". The 1995-96 season was considered "unquestionably the finest in the 7-year run." Creator Darren Star claimed 'MP' was about "twentysomething angst raised to a hysterical pitch." The show "ultimately (became the) defining prime-time soap of the Gen X-era" in the 1990s. Generation X comprised people born in the years 1961 to 1979.
When Heather Locklear (born in 1961) joined the cast as a "special guest star", it was reported "ratings shot up 33%." Aaron Spelling acknowledged, "She saved 'Melrose'. I've never seen an actor have such a big effect on a show." It was pointed out, " In the mid-1990s, when a generation of Americans reached adulthood and suddenly realized that they didn't want to be there, the inverted world of 'Melrose' was a wonderfully soothing place." Thomas Calabro observed, "It's a perfect escapism . . . It's just a great place to come to work. It's not like working for 7 years. It's like being on vacation for 7 years."
Charles Pratt, Jr. recounted in 1999, "I was sitting with Thomas Calabro during the launch of the show 8 years ago, when they blocked off Melrose Avenue. There was press everywhere, and Fox was spending millions of dollars promoting the show. Thomas turned to me and said, 'Boy, are we going to look like idiots if this show is a failure'. I had this horrible sense of panic, and wanted to pack up my office before we even started. After we finished wrapping up the show, I thought, 'Well, he was wrong.'" Courtney Thorne-Smith admitted, "She (Heather Locklear) deserves a lot of credit for our success. She brought an element we really needed - a villain. And she brought her energy."
Darren Star said, "She's (Heather Locklear) funny, self-deprecating, and warm. She has a natural charisma, and that's what makes people stars." Reverend R.M. Davis made the point in 1971, "The Dictionary of Religious Terms (Revell-Press) defines it – 'charisma, a gift; Greek word in the New Testament for a special gift to the Christian believers, such as prophesying, healing or speaking in unknown tongues (I Corinthians 12:4-11)'. Charisma, then, means power, dynamism." Heather told the press, "When I got a regular job, on 'Dynasty' (1982-89), I thought that was it — I was going to be a star. Now everyone will know who I am! And then they didn't. It takes a long time to become a star. I've worked pretty consistently, but you know, for every actor, after you finish a part, you think, 'Maybe I'll never work again'. Either you can be really comfortable with doing nothing, or you can go, 'Aaaaargh! I don't know what my future is'. That's why I always continue to work. I don't really want to sit around not knowing. Film or TV — it's just a script, and it's all the same. I just want to do good work. Like Goldie Hawn. I met her on the set of 'The First Wives Club' — I was staring at her out of my trailer, she must've been like, 'Who is this person in curlers staring at me?' But she was so sweet, I think she kissed me on the cheek, and I was like, 'I love you.'"
Of 'MP', Heather stated, "It was fun to wear the things she wore, but sometimes I thought her skirts were a bit short. When I sat down and could actually feel my cheeks on the chair - that was a tad short. I worried not only about the camera but also about the crew. I made sure to wear thick cotton underwear. Not that the crew cared." A show, either on the stage, at the box office or on TV, was like any other "consumer product and you're trying to build market share." Scott Zeiger of SFX Theatrical made known, "A star gives you that competitive edge (by boosting ticket sales)." Movie stars were said "almost guaranteed to draw crowds on Broadway." However Emanuel Azenberg argued, "TV stars are more transient (lasting only for a short time). Their stardom has a finite life."
Aaron made the observation, "We do some of our L.A. shows for 2 crazy reasons. When it's snowing in the East and Midwest, when it's freezing outside, people love to see the beaches and the sunshine. And in foreign countries they love L.A., Sunset Strip, Malibu, Rodeo Drive, the homes. It's the glamor. They love it." Peter Mehlman of 'Seinfeld' begged to differ, "There's often been a kind of shallow view of L.A. The perception of L.A. has always been that of surface glamor, and there's never been much of an attempt to get beneath the veneer. Actually, it's one of the saddest cities on Earth because so many people come out here struggling for some kind of dream, and so few get there. And it's hard to see because it's so physically pretty."
Ted Harbert of 'It's Like, You Know' (1999-2001) made the comment, "Like Kramer in 'Seinfeld,' or Ted Baxter in 'Mary Tyler Moore,' and Norm and Cliff in 'Cheers,' L.A. is one of our crazy and loopy characters. L.A. is a confusing place because it lures you with wonderful weather and great opportunity and then often frustrates with its inability to deal with complex emotions. It celebrates superficiality in many ways." Jennifer Grey of 'It's Like, You Know' was matter-of-fact, "I'm not actually playing myself. I'm playing a character loosely based on certain facts of my life. It's also based on what the public might think I'm like, based on movies or rumors or tabloids. The show is about the most demented city in the country and how it dements the people who live there. Nothing's real in L.A.; it's all about illusion. It's about illusion of power, illusion of youth, illusion of wealth. Nothing is what it seems." But David Lynch insisted, "At first glance there's a big sprawling sameness to L.A. But every little section has its own mood. And I love the different moods in L.A. The Valley is so different from Santa Monica, which is so different from Pomona or Riverside. It sort of excites me to deal with the specific moods here."
Heather was "a self-confessed junk-food junkie." It was mentioned, television was part and parcel of the rapid cultural change and exposure to global values and media images. James Darren recalled, "Heather eats the worst food in the world. I don't know how she manages to look like that. My mother used to say you are what you eat. Well, Heather has put a lie to that. We were on the set early one morning, and they came around and asked what we wanted for breakfast. Heather ordered a cheeseburger." Heather once confessed, "I think, 'I definitely shouldn't have that Krispy Kreme,' then I have 3!" Carol Mendelsohn remembered, "She was always eating. During rehearsal she would sit on a little sofa near the door and eat hamburgers and fries while saying her lines between bites."
Heather informed, "I love chocolate icing out of a can. And Taco Bell sauce. I love fast food - Monster Tacos from Jack in the Box and curly fries. I like plain hamburgers from McDonald's with french fries in the middle. I'm not a great cook . . . I love medium-rare prime rib, and Mexican food — chips and salsa. That's not stuff I can cook — well, the chips-and-salsa part I can do. I can make sandwiches, and this morning (back in September 1999) I shopped at the grocery store for things like tuna salad and chicken salad. I love all kinds of food."
In the 1990s, Courtney expressed, "The amount of time I spent thinking about food and being upset about my body was insane." Then "I really pay attention to what my body wants. If I'm at lunch with people and I'm not hungry, I don't eat. If I'm hungry at 4:00 and having dinner at 6:00, I eat." With diets, Courtney declared, "you're never eating what you want. If you're eating plain chicken, a plain potato and a salad with no dressing, there's no satisfaction in any one bite, so you're going to eat a hundred bites." At one time when Courtney and Heather went out to lunch and Heather ordered deep-fried zucchini and a burger, Courtney continued, "First of all, after I finished my lunch, I realized she hadn't finished hers. But she pretty much does what I do now, which is get exactly what you want, really savor it and don't overeat. Now I feel relaxed for the first time in a long time."
"Heather can eat junk food all day long. One day she was eating this big frosted doughnut, and I was eating an apple. I was totally full of resentment," Courtney conceded. Growing up, "I was a skinny kid. When I was in high school, I was eating Eskimo pies for breakfast, lunch and dinner." However in the 1990s, "I felt pressure to look a certain way. These were extraordinarily beautiful people, and that messes with your reality. It's incredibly difficult to keep a healthy body image in this business. I think about little girls and how they grow up believing in these crazy diets. You need to eat normally and healthfully, and you need to exercise. I'm so passionate about this because I think people spend their lives not happy in their bodies. We look at women who are successful and smart, who have done incredible things, and we talk about their bodies. That infuriates me. I made a decision to be healthy. When I get insecure and think I should be thinner, I remember that it's not about me and my little neuroses, it's about setting an example (being a role model). I used to run 8 miles, go to lunch and order my salad dressing on the side. I was always tired and hungry."
Between 1999 and 2002, Heather played the campaign manager guiding Mayor Randall Winston's Senate race on the TV sitcom, 'Spin City'. Richard Kind made the remark, "'Spin City' is such a guy's show - it's all about politics. You know, cigar-chomping, back-room politics. So we needed a woman on the show. And Heather was perfect because not only is she easy on the eyes, but she can go with the quick-talking political stuff. She fit right in." Writer-producer Tom Hertz added, "Her behaving as she did on 'Melrose Place' won't work here (on 'Spin City'). 'I'll crush you! I'm powerful!' But for Mike (Flaherty played by Michael J. Fox) to be trying his hardest, as he has for 3 years (since 1996) against foes, and for her to say, 'That's so cute! Now could you go away?' Or, 'You're adorable the way you bicker at me!' The audience here (on 'Spin City') just loves that.
"So far we haven't done any stories focusing on her boyfriends or past boyfriends. I guess we will as they become a little flirty. For City Hall, it might be interesting if she comes in looking like she hasn't been home that night, or has mascara running - a 'Sex and the City' kind of character working in City Hall, who can have fun and be wild during the night and pull herself together and be a politician during the day. The sex just has to be funny. In 'Melrose Place,' it was a way for one character to get back at another. Here (on 'Spin City'), if she slept with someone to get back at Mike, I don't think that would be sitcom funny. In comedy, I guess being bad at sex is funny or a lot of sex is funny. Being caught doing sex in public is funny. But it all has to be pretty professional, since this is City Hall. Unless they have an S&M day. Maybe during sweeps, a wet T-shirt night at City Hall. That could be a big ratings grabber. There is a lot of pressure on us. Because every script we write, we have to go in knowing that millions and millions of 'T.J. Hooker' (1982-86) fans will be watching."