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Lesbian and Bisexual Ladies of 'Melrose Place'

Lesbian and Bisexual Ladies of 'Melrose Place'

I found myself cringing my way through the debut episode of the new remake of Melrose Place on The CW. Why? To catch a glimpse of possible lesbian action from the show's supposedly 'bisexual' character Ella Simmons, played by Katie Cassidy - daughter of former teen heartthrob David Cassidy.

Network television is so lacking in lesbian and bisexual female characters currently that to find ourselves represented on TV, we sometimes have to go to extremes. Such as watching a television show so abysmal, so horrid, it literally makes one feel slightly ill.

Thus, last night I found myself cringing my way through the debut episode of the new remake of Melrose Place on The CW. Why? To catch a glimpse of the show's supposedly 'bisexual' character Ella Simmons, played by Katie Cassidy - daughter of former teen heartthrob David Cassidy.

Throughout most of the episode, which featured a nauseating whiplash of murder, intrigue, prostitution and affairs, I found myself squinting to identify the alleged bisexual babe. Primarily because a large subplot of the debut episode seemed to revolve around Ella Simmons' obvious unrequited passion for filmmaker Jonah, played by Michael Rady. Okay, well, she is supposed to be bisexual, so having the hots for a boy is acceptable.

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What I found blatantly unacceptable, however, is how the show's creators brought the girl-on-girl side of Ella's bisexuality to the screen. In the last few minutes of the show, poor Ella is found sulking in a bar because Jonah and his girlfriend Riley have gotten engaged. To drown her sorrows, she hooks up with some random chick from the bar and proceeds to engage in a disgustingly straight-guy fantasy makeout session.

Don't get me wrong, The L Word has certainly proven the ladies enjoy watching women on screen hook up for a bit of hot sex minus the strings on occasion. But right off the bat it seems the character of Ella has been designed as a woman who is pining away for a guy she can't have. Her relationships with women, meanwhile, seem predestined to revolve around one-night stands and steamy scenes created to titillate male viewers.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Melrose Place may be bringing in an actual lesbian character named Melissa at some point for a recurring role. However, Melissa is supposedly out to bag Ella, who is about as emotionally unavailable as it gets - so that relationship is pretty much doomed to failure from the start.

Granted, this is Melrose Place, where the emotional depth of the characters is about as deep as a backyard kiddie pool. So perhaps hoping for anything approaching a real GLBT representation on screen from this series is probably an insanely ridiculous idea in the first place. If you enjoy watching superficial, predictable worn out plot lines and Barbie and Ken people spewing out lines like plastic sex doll robots, Melrose Place is certainly the show for you. For me, even if the character of Ella had turned out to be the most amazing bisexual portrayal ever done on the small screen, I would happily pour bleach in my eyeballs before I ever laid eyes on Melrose Place 2.0 again.

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Laura Vess