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From the Couch: “Melissa and Joey” – Halloween episode

Originally published in the October 29, 2010 issue

Ever since I was young, I looked forward to two mega television events – the block party summers on Nick at Nite (I still shed a tear at the memory of back-to-back “I Love Lucy” episodes) and the 13 Nights of Halloween on ABC Family.

Back in the day, the channel used to include episodes of that show with Linda Blair where those British families explored haunted places, kind of like a far less intelligent “Ghost Hunters.” Nowadays, fans of the 13 Nights have to settle for things like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Melissa and Joey” Halloween-style.

Not to beat this walk down memory lane like a dead horse (well that’s an odd visual), but ever since “Clarissa Explains It All”, Melissa Joan Hart and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship. Perhaps it’s because she has been in and out of the Hollywood scene for years, and this newest comeback with Joey Lawrence did not sound like an Oscar-worthy venture. However, in the spirit of Halloween, I decided to give it a shot.

In “Melissa and Joey” I expected there would be a continuing storyline I was not privy to but not one that was so involved. A brief overview of the background storyline (which I looked up) is that Melissa’s character Mel and Joey’s character Joe (bet that took some planning) live together in her house while Joe helps take care of her niece and nephew, Lennox and Ryder, sort of like a modern “Who’s the Boss?”

In the featured episode, the characters hear a noise in the attic while preparing for the Halloween festivities. This is essentially the entire episode. Upon investigation, SPOILER ALERT, the mysterious attic noises are actually the children’s father who is apparently a fugitive accused of running an elaborate ponzi scheme.

The light comedy and forced laugh reel were evident, although there were a couple snide one liners that caught my attention (i.e. when my virgin ears were exposed to a comparison of Joe’s Porsche to his penis). The characters didn’t seem terrible, but the plot line was confusing and unbelievable. Maybe I’m weird, but I think I would notice if a known fugitive decided to sneak up to my attic. Perhaps Mel and Joe should have just remained basking in the glory that was “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Blossom.”

However, I think the show should win the award for best costume with the bald Joey Lawrence in a white t-shirt and gold earring as Mr. Clean.

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