Reality TV

ANTM meets Melrose Place…

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I love classic Aaron Spelling shows. I liked his newer stuff, too, and I kind of miss his brand of cornball entertainment. Despite my constant griping, I watched all episodes of 7th Heaven. In fact, I watched them quite recently, then I switched to Melrose Place, which aired on Fox from 1992-99. I started with the fifth season, though, because I wanted to watch seasons 6 and 7, which weren’t available on iTunes for the longest time. Now that I’m almost done watching the 7th season, I think I know why I couldn’t watch the last two seasons until now. Music rights.

Yep… the very same thing that prevented reruns, for those of us who loved watching WKRP in Cincinnati forty years ago, also kept the last two seasons of Melrose Place off of iTunes, now known as Apple TV. It has to be the reason, especially since the show had really jumped the shark by season 7. The writing had really gotten hackneyed. Just like on 7th Heaven, I notice all of the characters use similar phrases, like “you know what?”, “no offense, but…” and “now, if you’ll excuse me,”. It’s as if all of the characters are the same person and have collectively gone insane thanks to completely implausible and ludicrous storylines. The repeated usage of trite phrases seems to be a hallmark of Aaron Spelling’s shows, even though they were presumably written by different writers. But I also think the storylines on Melrose Place were hilarious in their own non-sensical ways.

Seasons 6 and 7 featured a lot of music from up and coming artists in the late 90s. Some of the stuff is pretty cool, too. A lot of times, they even featured the artists playing a “gig” in Kyle McBride’s “Upstairs” lounge, which started as a jazz club and quietly turned into a rock venue. I saw an episode featuring Hanson, for instance… and I know famous ex Mormon rocker Tal Bachman was a guest in 1999. He used to hang out on RfM a lot and I even mentioned him on RfM and he answered. I guess the producers figured pairing the ridiculous plots with hot new music might give them a shot at saving the show. No such luck.

Today, I was watching an episode of Melrose Place, iPad in hand, and I heard a song that was kind of catchy. I was curious to know who was singing it, so I used my trusty Shazam app. The result was surprising. It was Sarah VonderHaar, who was on Cycle 8 of America’s Next Top Model back in 2007. I was unusually bonded with that cycle, since it aired when Bill was in Iraq. That was also the cycle that featured Renee Alway and Jael Strauss. I’ve written about both them, too. I was rooting for Renee, but she wound up getting in serious trouble with the law. Though she was released from prison in 2018, she was arrested again in September 2019. Jael sadly died of breast cancer in December of last year.

Hmmm… she looks familiar.

When Sarah was on ANTM, she billed herself as a photographer. I guess when she got eliminated from the show, she turned her attentions to music. I read in an article that she had always wanted to be a musician anyway. I think she’s better at singing than modeling. I liked the song enough to Shazam it, even if the lyrics could be deeper. Lots of “na na nas” in it, you know. But the melody is catchy and appealing and she has a nice voice.

Sarah’s ANTM elimination.

I see that Sarah is also quite a bartender… check out the video below.

Sarah is making a “Ginger Blonde”– her signature drink. She was a finalist for a bartending competition with this drink.

As I was listening to Sarah’s song on classic Melrose Place, it dawned on me that they must have replaced the original music that aired in 1999 with hers. How do I know? Because Sarah was born in 1986 and would have been just 13 years old in 1999. She’s talented, but I don’t think she was making music for Melrose Place in 1999. Besides, the song that was used on Melrose Place was released on her 2008 album, Are You Listening Now? At least it was a good match, though. I would have believed they got it from 1999. The song is hooky, and has a generic pop mood that fit the show nicely. I’m usually hyperaware of when music is replaced on a TV show and I almost didn’t notice it on that episode of Melrose Place.

I hate that old TV shows have to replace music due to music licensing rights. One of the things that made WKRP so awesome was that they played great music from the late 70s. In those days, radio was done locally and you never knew what you’d hear. You could hear Led Zeppelin played next to an Earth, Wind, & Fire song. You could hear Leo Sayer played next to ABBA. It was very cool. And a lot of the music went with the storylines, too. I managed to get a box set of WKRP episodes with most of the original music included, but there were a few songs that were replaced with something more sanitized and less expensive.

I’m glad to see Sarah is still out there, making a go at being a star. She’s clearly talented. As for ANTM, I’m not even sure if that show is still going. I quit watching it some time ago. I miss Aaron Spelling a lot more than I do Tyra Banks.