Another Ungrateful Star Bites The Soap That Fed Him

I just added Ryan’s Hope and Melrose Place alum Grant Show to a growing list of actors who I could give a lovely (fill in the blank) if I ever see a project of theirs again because they dissed the vehicle that a.) made them a star and b.) made me their fan.

In a New York Times article published yesterday about his kinky, couple-swapping primetime soap Swingtown on CBS, Show didn’t resist the urge to take a pot shot at the 90’s Fox mega-hit Melrose Place, where he starred as Beverly Hills, 90210 transplant Jake Hanson. Here’s an excerpt from the Q&A:

New Yortk Times: You have been acting pretty much since you could work, right?

Grant Show: I’ve been acting professionally since I was 24, and it’s the only job I’ve ever done. I had financial low points just before “Melrose Place.” A few years after “Melrose Place,” when the luster of “Melrose Place” wore off and what was left was just the stink and I was just doing bad TV movies, that was a personal low point. I felt I needed to stop doing those, and I did. I went a long time without working at all. I bought a house. I got married. I kept trying to figure out how to move forward. I went to the Beverly Hills Playhouse, where I was working with Richard Lawson, who is just a fantastic acting coach, and I was trying to work through my own stuff , where I felt that every time I walked in the room people just saw “Melrose Place.” But then I learned that I was bringing it in with me, and that’s what they saw. As soon as I got over it, so did everyone else. Well, not everyone did, but most of them.

I get that actors have a hard time with being typecast after playing a character in a hit series or movie franchise. People tend to only see them as capable of playing the type of role that made them famous. Late actor Christopher Reeve (Ben Harper, Love of Life) famously struggled with finding quality roles after becoming a household name in Superman, but he found a way to express his frustration at being typecast without dissing the very projects that gave him his first 15 minutes of fame.

I haven’t watched a project starring Nancy McKeon since she started dissing her years on The Facts of Life and probably never will again. She might be ashamed of Jo, but that character entertained my Gran and I for eight seasons.

Grant Show could barely act his way out of a broom closet-if the lights were on and there were glowing signs pointing the way out-when MP made its debut, but his killer good looks and chemistry with Daphne Zuniga (Jo) and Heather Locklear (Amanda) made him a superstar.

Now I suppose he wants fans to empathize with him because he had to do a few "bad movies"? Uh, disgusting much? I don’t hear Grey’s Anatomy‘s brilliant creator Shonda Rhimes complaining about having had to pen the awful Britney Spears movie Crossroads-not that she could heard over Katherine Heigl’s moaning to the press about Grey’s and Knocked Up

 I take personal offense to Show’s remarks since the late Aaron Spelling was one of my idols. No, he never attained much critical acclaim for his "Jiggle Television" as critics called most of his body of work, but he had a hit show in primetime from the 1960’s through most of the 2000’s and I am sorry but that would serve this wannabe writer just as well as critical acclaim.

Even now, with Spelling having gone on to that Great Network in the Sky (Maybe it really is called Aaron’s Broadcasting Company?) the struggling CW is placing all bets that an update of Spelling’s Beverly Hills, 90210 will save the netlet. If that isn’t a testament to Spelling’s fun, prolific canon of shows I don’t know what is.

Actors like Show really need to realize that the people sitting at home in front of the boob tube while they suffer through making a small fortune and make the covers of international magazines find it particularly difficult to relate to "woe as me" stories like his, especially with unemployment on the rise, lil’ Billy off in Afghanistan and people having to sign over their first born sons at the Texaco just to fill up the tank. 


20 Responses

  1. Profile photo of Beth

    Applause, Jamey! There’s nothing that irritates me more about TV stars than when they start dismissing their earlier projects or complaining about them. I think it’s a safe bet that the 95% of the unemployed SAG members in this country (most of which probably have 10 times the talent Grant Show has) would give their eye teeth to have had the exposure Show received on MP as well as those “bad movies” he had to suffer through. All employed actors, with the over-inflated salaries they receive, would do well to keep their mouths shut and enjoy their job. If not, I’ll gladly take their place, and they can come and sit my cubicle and stare at my computer all day!

  2. Profile photo of ThomHunt

    Whoa, people….let’s tone it down a notch. Judgement, much? While I too enjoyed Melrose Place in its heyday, let’s be honest, it was never high art by any means. If anything, it was often considered a “guilty pleasure” by many fans and critics alike, meaning it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on in terms of art yet it was sooooo much fun to watch. Now, Mr.Show as much as said MP was the only acting job he had gotten up to that point, and as a former actor myself I can tell you that when you are starving and barely making ends meet, going on countless auditions but never feeling like you’re getting anywhere, you will take ANY legitimate paying gig that comes your way. In this case, for Grant Show, opportunity knocked in the role of Jake Hansen. Hardly Shakespeare, eh? Which is what most actors aspire to–roles in extremely well-written, critically acclaimed pieces with other actors of high caliber talent. Does MP fit that category? Not by a long shot, and we all know this to be true no matter how much we loved the show. It was fluffy junk and you know it! In Hollywood, you are always known best for what you’ve done last. Unfortunate, but true. Do I think GS was/is a good actor? Eh, I wouldn’t pay good money if he were headlining a play or a major motion picture just to see HIM. But you’ve got to give the man credit. He did the best he could with the material he was given, and he definitely has heart. Obviously, he has tried to improve his art over the years with acting classes. A respectful and esteemable act in and of itself when you consider that today’s “stars” coast on their stardom and rarely think they need classes or private instruction to constantly improve their art. Sure they may hire a vocal coach or gain and shed pounds for a role, but I know for a fact you won’t find “actors” like Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts etc in any of the hundreds of acting classes offered throughout town. If Grant Show aspires to better himself as an actor and not a “star”, and wants to be taken seriously and perhaps be considered for roles in, say, Merchant-Ivory films, and not just the next Michael Bay supper-summer action-spectacular, then OF COURSE he wants to shed any remaining images of “Jake Hanson” casting people and producers may have in their head. I don’t think he was dissing “Melrose Place” the show itself; not once did he say anything like, “Melrose Place sucked huge rhino turds”. Clearly, the “stink” he refers to is the AFTER-EFFECTS THE INDUSTRY PLACES on actors associated with such TV shows, NOT the show itself. If he went on a discourse about how the show sucked, and he hated the writing and his character and every minute he ever spent on the show I might give your argument some merit. But he never did that. My opinion about the article? You saw “stink” and Melrose Pln the ace in the same sentence and ran to your garage for the pitchforks and torches and gathered up the townfolk. I would never presume to judge Grant Show’s statements, statements that are ALSO generally never presented by the media quite in the original context they were meant, I might add, lest ye yourself be judged. Just my opinion, and food for thought the next time you feel the need to jump all over someone for expresing their personal truth.

  3. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Oh and one more thing, Show is perfectly within his right to say whatever he feels about his life’s experience, and I am therefore perfect within my rights to comment on it. That’s the beauty of the blogosphere.

  4. Profile photo of season1217

    I can understand his need to distance himself from the show, Melrose Place wasn’t exactly Masterpiece Theatre but hey all actors have to start out somewhere and there’s nothing wrong with saying, “yeah, I did Melrose Place and what.” Look at some of the early crap Hilary Swank was in and the woman now has 2 Oscars. There is nothing wrong with being vocal about your work and what you did and didn’t like about it but honey it could have been worse. And yeah, I’m talking to you Katherine Heigl. Chandra Wilson needs to win an Emmy like yesterday. Miranda Bailey is that show, at least to me.

  5. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    MP was the most talked about show the year it came out, the show went from dead last (out of 100 plus shows) and quickly jumped about 40 spots with the addition of Heather Locklear, by season two it was in the Top 30 and often broke into the top 20. No one ever said it was high art, but one thing for sure, it was highly successful and it made the stars millionaires, so now for Show to even hint that MP stalled his career is a bit disingenious to say the least considering he ha no career prior to the show. There has to be an egg for there to be a chicken.

     And really what is so different about these "critically-acclaimed" shows like Nip/Tuck (a kinkier MP set in a plastic surgery clinic) or Swingtown (Knots Landing with perves)? It is amazing to me that these shows take the serial narrative which daytime and the classic primetime shows that were never ashamed of being called soaps (Dallas, Knots, MP) perfected and now they get all this coveted "critical acclaim". My So-Called Life was critically acclaimed and it lasted one season. Give me a seven season billion dollar mega hit anyday.

  6. Profile photo of season1217

    Don’t remind me of all the wonderfully critically acclaimed shows that I love that either have been axed (Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Sons & Daughters, etc) or are on the edge of cancellation (30 Rock) for some of the crap in a box, or tube I should say, on television now.

  7. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Don’t remind me of all the wonderfully critically acclaimed shows that I love that either have been axed (Arrested Development, Freaks and Geeks, Sons & Daughters, etc) or are on the edge of cancellation (30 Rock) for some of the crap in a box, or tube I should say, on television now.
    It always seems that is is darn near impossible to create something that is both critically acclaimed and wildly popular. HBO managed it with Sex and the City and The Sopranos, ABC is currently doing it with Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters and NBC with Heroes, but generally when the critics are raving, the fans aren’t watching. The masses like our pop and sugar. I will admit my tastes are shamelessly shallow, LOL. I tried to watch Everwood but it made my brain bleed. All those earnest, thoughtful kids. Same with Gilmore Girls (which Luke loves) all that incessant chatter drove me to drinking-okay, that’s what I’ll blame for it. Give me those little rich sluts on Gossip Girl in their Fendi and Vivienne Westwood trying to out scheme each other or a marathon of MTV’s Next and I will be just fine. I think all the critically acclaimed shows that are on the bubble should SEX it up! LOL Mischa Barton should join Friday Night Lights as the ultimate mean girl who sleeps her way through the team and gets into bitch fights with the Coach’s daughter, while at a carwash for charity and they end up getting drenched, while the boys stare on in disbelief getting raging boners. Hey, the critics might leave, but they’d go up three points in the Nielsens! Haaa

  8. Profile photo of season1217

    No, I understand some shows that are critically acclaimed like Everwood and My-So-Called Life were just too deary, life sucks, I get it, move on. But I think there needs to be a place for both, quality entertainment and just pure sugar. While I currently hate about 99.9% of the shows on MTV, VH1, BET, etc. other people love it. I just want shows that make me care about the characters and when they do I don’t want to see them go. You once said that someone told you that your writing is over-the-top. I am really interested in what the hell you wrote after reading your Mischa Barton comment.

  9. Profile photo of Beth

    To me, I feel like GS should take his cue from Heather Locklear, most arguably one of the biggest stars MP ever had and one that probably benefitted the most from the show. I’ve never heard her publicly dismiss the show and the camp factor, and she was a part of the zenith of their campiest times. She embraced the roles that she got, and in that way she showed her versatility and won a varying number of parts. It’s part of the reason she’s well respected in Hollywood and is still able to get steady work today. Stockard Channing, who has done numerous film, TV, and stage roles, has publicly said she does not mind being known to most people as Rizzo from the movie Grease, because she appreciates that people loved her in the role. Nathan Fillion, whose career is thriving in both film and TV right now, came back to do two episodes of OLTL to thank them for giving him his break. I have much more respect for these people than I ever would for someone who dismisses their breaks and where they came from.

    Would I rather be writing General Hospital right now rather than what I am doing for a living? Oh, you bet (some days my palms practically itch to do so). But life is what it is, and you make the best that you can with you are given.

    It’s frustrating to only be seen as one thing in Hollywood, I’m sure, but doesn’t everyone have that frustration one way or another in their lives? The only difference is, we don’t advertise it in a magazine.

  10. Profile photo of siomonstuart2003

    I agree with you, Jamey, GS is not a great actor, so to think that he is a best in the business is a joke. I know that if you are embarressed about the stuff you did in the business to break in it. Many stars and people have to take mediocre stuff to survive or make it in Hollywood. I just don’t think you should just shrub it off because you did it. I like that George Clooney laugh at himself and say, hey, I was in it and I like the job. I don think you have to be careful what you dis because you may not be hot forever in that business that is call entertainment. It is many stars who did primetime and film is doing soaps like Jack Wagner, Michael Gross, Joan VAn Ark, Betty White, Mario Van Pebbles, and so forth because primetime and film is a difficult time now with the writers strike and the ratings for primetime, too. They should be grateful that they are still working because many people are not who would trade places with him.


  11. Profile photo of ThomHunt

    Again, where in the interview does GS dis Melrose Place? He claims some of the made-for-TV movies he did were bad, but NOT ONCE does he actually dis Melrose Place. Go back and re-read the article, people. If you are referring to the part that says “…when the luster of “Melrose Place” wore off and what was left was just the stink…” , then you can just as easily argue that in addition to dissing Melrose Place (“stink”), he also PRAISES Melrose Place in the same sentence (read:”luster”). Was Melrose Place a good show? Eh, it was a FUN show, to be sure; I definitely enjoyed it (and NOTHING, btw, will EVER compare to the GREATEST SOAP EVER, the late, great Knots Landing, but I digress!). Your points about Grant Show’s acting are definitely valid; he is no Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges or Ben Foster, nor do I think he ever will be, but he is a passable TV actor. This article is just a bunch of undeserved muck-raking against someone who never did anything to you, Jamey. You are also correct that you do have the right to comment on the article; but I humbly submit to you that by writing a headline like “Another Ungrateful Star Bites The Soap That Fed Him” and your rhetoric within, such as “Grant Show could barely act his way out of a broom closet-if the lights were on and there were glowing signs pointing the way out”, while amusing, you show yourself to be just as crass as you claim GS to be for HIS statements. I suggest you take a page from Ravenbeauty’s website and follow her example when she writes. She’s a class act all the way, and never disparages anyone, even if she might feel that way on the inside.

  12. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    I heard that Beth! Besides if you are truly talented and have the guts to go for it and not put yourself in a box, you can reinvent yourself despite typecasting. My God look at Meryl Streep, I cannot get over the fact that same woman who played the fetch Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada is now the frumpy hippie in Mamma Mia! It’s called being versatile. Sally Field is another. She went from playing Gidget and The Flying Nun (roles that will be remembered a LONG time after Jake Hanson) and she managed to still create an impressive body of work. It’s easier for some actors to bitch and moan about their past projects than accept responsibility for their own careers.

  13. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    It is perfectly fine to aspire to high art, but you don’t have to bash or minimize the projects that opened the doors for you in Hollywood. I guarantee there are many talented actors who would have raced to sign on with Spelling on the dotted line. My point is these actors need to think before they "express their personal truths" if said truths are going to poo all over memories of beloved shows that they were lucky to have been a part of. Every young, brooding actor who could fill out a pair of jeans in the early 90s would have killed for the role of Jake Hanson. I’d have much more respect for actors like Show if he managed to acknowledge the cheesiness of the show in a light-hearted way (the way George Clooney does his stints on The Facts of Life and Roseanne) as opposed to coming off as bitter and resentful. And again, most of the fans at home-you know the ones whose ad dollars the nets and sponsors want-aren’t going to be able to relate to his frustrations at being forced to make six figures or more doing TV movies. It’s condescending, arrogant and showcases a lack of gratitude and grace on Show’s part. And who cares if Melrose wasn’t high art? Who says everything has to be high art? Give me Jackie Collins over an Oprah book club selection anyday. There is something to be said for good, old-fashioned guilty pleasure entertainment. Not everything has to be a PBS documentary to prove relevant.  

  14. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Oh that Heigl is another one who disgusts me. Not only does she badmouth Grey’s because-heaven forbid- she has to take her turn on the backburner a bit on a show with 15 charcters, but she also badmouthed "Knocked Up" which made her a bonafide movie star and led to her $13 million-dollar Grey’s take last season. I didn’t see any headlines stating the other Grey’s stars made they kind of cash. Hell Ellen Pompeo is the lead, not Heigl! I am sorry I find this type of behavior highly insulting when some of us would love to quite are day jobs and actually get paid to do what we love. Hell, I’d go work for Guiding Light in a second!

  15. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    The Mischa thing was a joke, but a joke with reference, Melrose Place, was originally supposed to be a twentysomething version of Thirtysomething, they tried to do all the earnest, socially relevant stories of the day i.e. having storylines about the L.A. Riots and things of that nature, but when they abandoned that and sexed it up they became a Watercooler show. I have absolutely no quams about having been called over-the-top, Aaron Spelling recieved 30 rejection slips before his first sale and at the end of the day, critical acclaim doesn’t buy mansions in Bel-Air. You can go for quality and care about profit and overall appeal. It’s perfectly possible to love both a Melrose Place and a Mad Men.

  16. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Okay Thom, I definitely appreciate your opinion, but I don’t read other websites to ascertain a.) writing styles or b.) class or decorum. If my posts, in your opinion, lack them, then it is, what it is. I do me-all day long, just me. I don’t like imitation clothing, nor imitation blogging, so as wonderful as I am sure Ravenbeauty’s site is, she’s got her style and I have mine. There is obviously room for both. Again, I appreciate your take on Grant Show’s article and I definitely read the backhanded praise about luster followed by what I feel is a diss in saying that ultimately only stink was left behind (stink: residuals, a lifelong place in pop culture). My opinion is-he bit the soap who fed him, so that’s what I wrote.

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