Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Grosse Point aired from September 2000 until February 2001 on The WB.
This wild satiricle sitcom followed the behind the scenes activities of the youthful cast and crew of the fictional prime time serial drama Grosse Point.
Hunter ( Irene Malloy), was the bitchy young star of the show and Courtney ( Bonnie Sommerville), newly hired to play her weird cousin. There were 2 male leads on Grosse Point-Quentin ( Kohl Sudduth), who was hiding the fact that he was losing his hair, and Johnny ( Al Santos), a gorgeous hunk who was obsessed with his own body and never studdied his lines. Neurotic Marcy ( Lindsay Sloane), whose father was President of the network , was Hunter's sidekick; she had the hots for Johnny, but he was attracted to newcomer Courtney. Hunter had a penchant for shoplifting, which the network had trouble keeping quiet, and Courtney had been hired as a possable replacement for her if she got into serious trouble. After Producers Rob and Hope ( William Ragsdale, Joely Fisher), broke this news to her, Hunter conspired with Marcy to get rid of Courtney. Cash-strapped Dave ( Kyle Howard), had a crush on Marcy but didn't have the nerve to tell her, so he took a $15-per hour job as Hunter's personal assistant to make a little extra money, ending up in the sack with her. In February The Producers killed off Marcy's character, Kim, but the network demanded they bring her back because her TVQ ratings had gone sky-high. She returned at episode's end as Kim's identical twin sister, Lynn, from whom she had been seperated at birth. In the last episode Hunter, on a whim, married gold digger Dweezil Zappa, whom she barely knew, and Marcy realized she loved honest Dave.
The creator and Executive Producer of Grosse Point was Darren Starr, who had produced Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place. Any similarity between the over-the-top characters on Grosse Point and actors from his previous shows was totally intentional.
A Review from The Post Gazette
'Grosse Pointe' a satirical look at TV
Sunday, September 17, 2000
By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor
When art imitates life, sometimes art hits a little too close to home.
That happened with The WB's "Grosse Pointe," a pointed and exceedingly funny satire of life behind the scenes on a "Beverly Hills, 90210"-type TV series. That "Grosse Pointe" was created by Darren Star, who also dreamed up "90210," only makes the comparisons all the more obvious.
When we see a bitchy, dark-haired actress, it's easy to think of Shannen Doherty.
When we see the Shannen Doherty-lookalike's boyfriend, with his sideburns and poofy hair (actually a partial toupee), our minds drift to Luke Perry.
And when a character with an eating disorder, low self-esteem, orange-red hair and an uncle who runs the network is introduced, producer Aaron Spelling thought he spied a cruel spoof of his daughter, Tori Spelling.
Spelling got upset. Star, who worked for Spelling during his years on "90210" and "Melrose Place," got upset. And The WB was in a bind. Alienate Spelling, producer of the network's two biggest hits, "7th Heaven" and "Charmed," or side with Spelling and tick off Star, who's riding high with HBO's "Sex and the City."
"I think it's gross," Spelling said of "Grosse Pointe" at this summer's TV critics press tour in Pasadena, Calif. "Darren knows how I feel, and they're working on changing some things, and I appreciate it. I didn't like the way they depicted my daughter. I never called the network with changes; I talked with Darren."
Come on, Aaron, didn't you find it at least a little bit funny?
"If you like to laugh at real people, is that funny?" Spelling said testily. "Tell me what it was a parody of because I got confused. I think it can be a very good show. It will work out. I'm not angry at anybody. There's no lawsuit or anything."
Star said he never set out to hurt anyone's feelings, but he "thought what was going on behind the camera was in some ways more interesting than what was happening in front of the camera on all the series that I produced."
The WB sought a compromise. The show would go on without the nepotism angle. By dropping the nepotism, Star got to keep the low self-esteem trait, which is funnier anyway. The eating disorder is hinted at, but isn't as blatant (a scene of the character vomiting into a bag while riding in a limo was dropped). The character's hair color will be less reddish and more brown in upcoming episodes.
"If you had seen the original pilot and what has changed, I think that the changes we are talking about are fairly small," Star said.
That could be Hollywood spin, but having seen both versions of the pilot, I have to agree with Star. Even with these changes, "Grosse Point" is still the funniest new fall series.
"If you're doing a satire, you sometimes have to be merciless, and that's where the humor comes from," Star said. "But in this case, I feel confident we'll be able to sort of dance around this without hurting the show."
While Spelling made a fuss, Shannen Doherty's publicist told the Wall Street Journal this summer that the actress found the show funny. Star said Doherty was going to have a cameo in the "Grosse Pointe" pilot but was unable to participate due to a scheduling conflict.
Star also pokes fun of himself in "Grosse Pointe," not only in the form of the show's young executive producer, but also in the dialogue for the characters on the teen drama.
"I definitely am satirizing myself, and I think that I'm not taking offense at all of the bad dialogue that I used to write on these shows or quote bad dialogue that I'm now writing as the show behind the show," Star said.
Newcomer Irene Molloy, bubbly and sweet in person, plays Hunter, the Doherty-like character. But she didn't see the similarity until "we really got into it and saw what we were doing.
"The script didn't say 'a Shannen Doherty-type,' " Molloy said. "We weren't really aware of it.
"Maybe someone else saw that in me," she said, laughing.
Executive producer Robin Schiff, who is running the writer's room with Star, said one episode in the works concerns Hunter's desire to be an actress like Jodie Foster, but she feels "Grosse Pointe" is holding her back.
"She gets an offer to be in the new Oliver Stone movie. The only hitch is it's called 'Lewinsky' and it's for the part of Monica and she has to gain 50 pounds to play the part," Schiff said. "So the whole episode is about body image and the rarefied world girls live in where they're all size zero and what you're willing to do to get your dreams."
As for the changes made to "Grosse Pointe" to mollify Spelling, Schiff isn't concerned.
"We're losing a couple of good jokes in the pilot, and we're replacing them with a couple of equally good jokes," Schiff said. "Darren does not want to hurt [Aaron] and Tori, and he doesn't need to."
A Review from variety
September 21, 2000 12:00AM PT
By Laura Fries
Grosse Pointe,” the show within a show from TV wonderkid Darren Star (“Melrose Place,” “Sex and the City”) uses a fictional nighttime drama as a conduit for juicy Hollywood gossip and biting satire. The approach doesn’t name names — it’s reportedly an amalgam of shows that Star has worked on — but it doesn’t take a genius to pick up on the many similarities to Star’s “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
Star, a graduate of the write- what-you-know school of journalism, provides an entertaining palette of characters, including two neurotic producers (one which presumably represents Star), several opportunistic crew members and cache of prima donna stars.
Undoubtedly, the fun of the show is trying to guess how much of it is based in truth and how much is inflated for comedic purposes. Obviously, Star hit very close the target, considering Aaron Spelling, exec producer of “90210” and father of Tori, requested a few changes in the pilot episode — namely those involving one particularly insecure starlet with an eating disorder.
The Spelling edits aren’t much missed, considering there’s Hunter Fallow (Irene Molloy), a Shannen Doherty-like diva who takes great pains to maintain her dominance on the show, and Quentin King (Kohl Sudduth) a teen idol desperately trying to hide his age and receding hairline.
Considering a send-up of “90210,” no matter how cleverly done, would have a shelf life of approximately one episode, Star expands the satirical scope to skewer not just Hollywood, but teens and pop culture, as well. In particular, the show plays up the absurdities of “Grosse Pointe’s” scripts, and how openly Hollywood sells a distorted view of reality, especially to teens.
Judging from the success of recent spoofs like “Scary Movie,” there’s proof that younger audiences can appreciate a good joke, even if it’s at their own expense. Better still, “Grosse Pointe” has the potential to expand beyond the WB’s younger-skewed audiences, and appeal to those who appreciate something a little more sophisticated than “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.”
The show, shot entirely in single-camera format, not only creates a sense of realism and intimacy, but plays up the inherent comedy as well. Pilot director Andrew Fleming keeps the joke going by following each character closely and zooming in for reaction shots.
Show also benefits from a clever selection of actors who fit the bill as the young Turks thrown into instant stardom, and the tentative producers, played by William Ragsdale and Joely Fisher, who serve as their ringleaders.
Tech credits are first rate, reflecting the behind-the-scenes of a behind-the-scenes approach, particularly Barbara Dunphy’s revealing production design. Mark Mothersbaugh’s original music also does a nice job of capitalizing on the show’s pop culture sentiments.
theWB; Fri. Sept. 22; 8:30 p.m.
Production: Filmed on location in Los Angeles by Artists Television Group in association with Darren Star Prods. Executive producers, Darren Star, Robin Schiff; co-executive producer, David Knoller; producers, Amy Engelberg, Wendy Engelberg, Will Gluck; director, Andrew Fleming; writer, Star.
Crew: Camera, Alexander Gruszynski; editor, Briana London; music, Mark Mothersbaugh; casting, Greg Orson. 30 MIN.
Cast: Dave May - Kyle Howard Hunter Fallow - Irene Molloy Rob Fields - William Ragsdale Johnny Bishop - Al Santos Marcy Sternfeld - Lindsay Sloane Courtney Scott - Bonnie Somerville Quentin King - Kohl Sudduth Hope Lustig - Joely Fisher
A Review from The New York Times
TV WEEKEND; Grosse Pointe 48236, the Melrose Place of the Midwest
By CARYN JAMES
Published: September 22, 2000
The three young women carrying their books to class don't look as if they belong in any high school on earth, which is good. They fit perfectly in the fun house world of a soap opera, which is exactly what we are watching them film. As the camera rolls on the fictional soap ''Grosse Pointe'' -- the show within a show on the amusing WB comedy also called ''Grosse Pointe'' -- the actresses walk side by side down a corridor.
On the right is the star, Hunter, in overdone makeup and enormous designer earrings, looking like a refugee from a Vogue fashion layout. In the center is Courtney, her trashy cousin from West Virginia, whose long blond hair and tiny cut-off jeans seem inspired by Elly May on ''The Beverly Hillbillies.'' Next to Courtney is Marcy, a pathetic, trembling creature who has eating disorder written all over her emaciated body and who mysteriously finds herself scrunched against the lockers as she walks. As soon as the camera stops, Marcy blames Courtney for pushing her, but we know that the backstabbing Hunter can elbow the competition off screen even from a distance.
A wicked and clever satire of show business, ''Grosse Pointe'' spends most of its time peering behind the scenes of the soap to reveal which young heartthrob wears a wig to conceal his seriously receding hairline. In this universe the hair and makeup people are all-knowing and all-powerful.
Soap operas are easy targets of course, already halfway to satire. This spoof works because of its viciously sharp insiders' eye. The show was created by Darren Star, who also created ''Sex and the City'' and ''Melrose Place.'' Most meaningfully here, he was an executive producer of ''Beverly Hills 90210,'' the teen soap that ''Grosse Pointe'' so mercilessly sends up.
Though the satire could be directed at any puffed-up celebrity, it helps to have the key to the ''90210'' references. The endlessly difficult and egotistical Hunter (Irene Molloy), who plays Becky on the soap, makes fun of the off-camera reputation of Shannen Doherty, who was Brenda on ''90210.'' Johnny (Al Santos) is the good-looking, dimwitted actor who plays Becky's brother, Brad; on ''90210,'' the brother's name was Brandon, played by Jason Priestly. Quentin (Kohl Sudduth) plays Becky's current boyfriend, Stone (the Luke Perry role).
The show begins with a scene from the soap, in which Becky and Stone are in a car crash. At the hospital Becky's mother learns her daughter was pregnant but has lost the baby. ''I'm so sorry, Mom,'' Hunter-as-Becky says in tearful melodrama mode. ''I lose everything.''
Marcy (Lindsay Sloane) was even more conspicuously Tori Spelling in the original version of the ''Grosse Pointe'' pilot, in which she was the niece of the show's producer. But after Aaron Spelling, who produced ''90210,'' reportedly complained about the blunt reference to his daughter, the relationship was deleted. Marcy still has no right being in show business. An Entertainment Weekly poll has placed her popularity below that of a minor character on MTV's cartoon ''Daria.'' She handles this by driving to work repeating ''I love myself, I only eat healthy food,'' then stuffing a chocolate cupcake in her mouth.
''Grosse Pointe'' has a terrible time period, sandwiched between ''Sabrina'' and ''Popular,'' two shows aimed at pre-teenage girls, probably not the largest audience for show-biz satire. But it's nice of Mr. Star to acknowledge the vacuousness of what he has done before.
He can afford to, now that he is becoming a brand-name producer, like David E. Kelley or Steven Bochco. His ''Sex and the City'' goes beyond soap to analyze social manners; his promising and even newer show, ''The Street'' (on Fox beginning Nov. 1), is pure melodrama, set on Wall Street.
''Grosse Pointe'' is simply fun, taking shrewd advantage of the hunger for behind-the-scenes exposes. There's a lot to be said for a series goofy enough to call a character Dave the Stand-In.
An Article from Time Magazine
Monday, Sep. 25, 2000
By JAMES PONIEWOZIK
In the early '90s producers Aaron Spelling and Darren Star were the Obi-Wan and Luke of empty-calorie entertainment. They teamed on the teen soap Beverly Hills, 90210 and its spin-off Melrose Place, Spelling lending young Star his powerful name and expertise, Star supplying fresh ideas to the eminence glitz who gave us Dynasty and The Love Boat.
But like Adam Carrington on Dynasty, Star went prodigal. He struck out on his own, becoming a critical hit with Sex and the City, which classed up the Spelling formula: lusty stories of beautiful people--this time with brains. Now, in true soap-opera fashion, he has returned with a new series (cue ominous music) that has shaken the Spelling empire to its very foundations!
Grosse Pointe (the WB, Fridays starting Sept. 22, 8:30 p.m. E.T.) is a sitcom a clef: a behind-the-scenes satire of a teen soap that more than slightly resembles 90210. The pilot spares no one: not Star, whose clone on Pointe is a smarmy phony; not Shannen Doherty, whose reign of terror on the 90210 set is replicated eerily by Hunter Fallow (Irene Molloy). Nicely cast and smartly paced, it's a sassy, catty riot.
And you will never see it. At least, not exactly as Star meant you to. For the original pilot was also unsparing of 90210 star Tori Spelling, Aaron's daughter. Her pitch-perfect analogue is Marcy Sternfeld (Lindsay Sloane), a dramatically challenged actress who's had career help from various surgical upgrades and a big-shot "uncle" in the TV biz. The pilot wounded Tori's dad--who just happens to produce the WB's top-rated series, 7th Heaven--and the network sent Star back to the drawing board to make nice.
The changes--in a few, but crucial scenes--don't spare Tori so much as Daddy. Gone from the pilot is Marcy's uncle--and along with him, a layer of show-biz complexity and tension. But remaining is Sloane's Marcy/Tori, a brilliant comic creation down to her slightest tic, squeak and emotion-punctuating chest thrust. Marcy is really Pointe's most likable character, a good-hearted dim bulb made a nervous wreck by gossip and the stress of looking impossibly good. (A bulimia scene, also cut, was a cruel but apt picture of the flip side of TV's hot-body worship.) Star's using his past for laughs, yes, but not without heart.
Coincidentally, Spelling too is revisiting his past, but much differently, with NBC's Titans (Wednesdays starting Oct. 4, 8 p.m. E.T.), a Robin Leach-y soap apparently sealed in a Beverly Hills time capsule circa 1985. Richard Williams (Perry King), the aging lion of conglomerate Williams Global Enterprises, is taking a hot new wife (Baywatch's Yasmine Bleeth) who has designs on his dough--and a secret romantic history with his son (a constipated-seeming Casper Van Dien), a hotshot pilot newly returned from the Navy. Family chaos, and frequent barings of skin, ensues.
NBC is hopefully plugging Titans as a "guilty pleasure." That is, "It's crap--but great crap!" Alas, it's not. Spelling's classics worked because they were in touch with their times. The Love Boat put a prime-time-friendly face on the swinging '70s; Dynasty was the very shorthand for '80s crassness. Titans is a retread, clogged with louche lushes in tuxes and gowns, its old-money family saga as tired as the Williams bloodline. Even casting Victoria Principal as Williams' ex-wife, apparently meant to recall what fun Dallas was, simply reminds us that Principal can't read a line.
But there's an inadvertently meaningful moment--a showdown between Bleeth and Principal disguised as a conversation about home decor. Bleeth: "Let me guess. You subscribe to the old-is-better theory." Principal: "No. More like the good-taste-never-goes-out-of-style theory." It's tempting to see it as a proxy catfight between Star and Spelling. For a master of camp, Spelling has no sense of camp about his own work; at Titans' unveiling for TV writers in July, he took haughty umbrage at a suggestion that audiences laugh at, not with, his shows.
Of course, Spelling has been laughed at all the way to the bank before, and there's something admirable about his sticking earnestly to his pearl-handled guns. Star is the more innovative producer, who mines glitter gulches for gems, but also one for whom every sincere emotion is likely to set up a knowing punch line. That's not to say he indulges in easy sarcasm; the Pointe flap shows sarcasm is anything but easy in Hollywood. At least the WB let stand a swipe at a network exec as "the genius who told Felicity to cut her hair." But if the WB's brass can't stomach satire that's bound to hit close to home, they'll end up as the geniuses who sabotaged its best new sitcom.
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on November 17, 2000
Star Al Santos tells EW about fake zits, going starkers, and his horny TV dad
By Craig Seymour
''Grosse Pointe'' -- the WB's bitingly funny sitcom about the backstage drama at a ''90210'' type teen show -- moved to Sundays Nov. 5 (9:30 p.m.) in an attempt to boost its poor ratings. In ''Grosse'''s former Friday night time slot, the series lost an average of 1 million viewers from its lead in ''Sabrina, the Teenage Witch'' which draws approximately 3.5 million watchers each week.
Still, critics have praised the Darren Star (''90210,'' ''Sex and the City'') production, which spoofs ''90210'' leads like Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, and Luke Perry. EW's Ken Tucker called the parody ''savvy, cutting, and delightfully silly'' and praises the acting as ''dexterous'' and ''remarkably adroit.'' EW.com talked to former model Al Santos, 23, who plays Johnny Bishop, a buff and remarkably Jason Priestley like dimwit, about life behind the scenes at this behind the scenes laughfest.
In the first episode, your horndog character gets, um, aroused while making out with his new farm fresh costar (Bonnie Somerville). Was there Method acting involved?
People want to think that. But sorry, there wasn't. Actually, it was a little uncomfortable, because we were filming on location at a lake in the mountains with the whole crew there and I was running around in a pair of black Calvin Klein boxer shorts. It was the first time that I was so naked in front of that many people. Plus, they were hosing me down with water between takes. So even if I had wanted it to be [pause], it wouldn't have been possible.
The plot of another episode revolves around a pimple on Johnny's back. Do you suffer from backne in real life?
No. That episode was a little upsetting to me because I've never, ever had a pimple on my back. And they used a waxy prosthetic to make this big, nasty zit. When I was walking around the set with my shirt off, the crew thought it was real. People were like, ''Ugh.''
Your TV dad is a closeted gay man who has the tongue out hots for you. Any chance you two are gonna get busy?
We joke about that a lot. But I don't think so. My character [did] have a locker room scene [in an episode that aired Nov. 19], though, where I'm completely butt naked. And my TV dad shows up to take a gander.
The ''Grosse Pointe'' characters are always pulling diva like stunts. Have YOU ever ticked off the producers?
Well, they get mad at me when I go tanning, because then I'm not the same color as I was the day before. And they also get upset when I work out during lunch, because they have to reapply my makeup. But each script says something like ''Johnny takes off his shirt to reveal a hot, golden brown, glistening bod.'' And I'm like, ''Look guys, if you want a hot, golden brown, glistening bod, I have to go tanning and I have to hit the gym.''
So who gets more girls -- a male model or a TV stud?
A TV star gets way more broads.
Is ''I'm on TV'' your new pickup line?
No, I tell girls I have absurd professions like pistachio picker, floral artiste, wedding coordinator, and professional dog walker. The one I've been using lately is peanut farmer.
And girls go home with peanut farmers?
Well, they're definitely amused by it. I'll say that much.
An Article from The Chicago Tribune
`Grosse Pointe' Is Boot Camp To Actress Irene Molloy
December 28, 2000|By Gail Shister, Knight Ridder Newspapers.
It's a long road from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical to the WB, and Philadelphian Irene Molloy isn't exactly digging the journey.
"I had a fantasy of what being on a TV show was," says Molloy, 21, who plays diva Hunter Fallow on "Grosse Pointe." "I thought it was parties and glamour and excitement. Somewhere along the line it became a job."
"Grosse," Darren Star's freshman spoof of a teen soap, marks the TV debut for Molloy.
A veteran of musical theater, Molloy was in Webber's "Whistle Down the Wind," "The Civil War" on Broadway, and the musical "Romeo and Juliet."
"Grosse" has been like TV 101 for Molloy, who has a six-year contract. Unlike theater, there's almost no rehearsal and no audience during the breakneck four-day production schedule, she says.
"Grosse," which debuted Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, is averaging just 2.6 million viewers, ranking it 120th this season. (Among WB's teenage target audience, however, it's 63rd.) "Grosse" moved to 8:30 p.m. Sundays in November. While insisting she likes "Grosse," Molloy calls it "boot camp."
With no studio audience, "acting is this very isolated event. You go into this tiny fake set surrounded by cameras, crew and people. You have to find the (character's) motivation somewhere else.
"It gets really tiring. There's no immediate reaction or feedback. There's nothing." (Hey, imagine if she didn't like the show.)
Molloy went for TV "because I was dying to get out of the theater world. Isn't that ironic? There weren't that many roles for me in New York." In her free time, she's working on her first album of pop tunes.
Would Molloy ever do another series?
"At this point, I don't think I'd sign on as a regular. Maybe when I'm older and want the security. ... I was having a great time for a while. The show's a good idea. The writers are great. I like the people I work with. But it's a job."
- Fox will broadcast Barbra Streisand's New Year's Eve millennium concert, to be taped in Las Vegas, on Valentine's Day.
Coincidentally, Fox will carry the American Film Institute Awards, during which Babs will receive a lifetime achievement award. The awards are Feb. 22; no air date yet.
To watch clips of Grosse Point go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=grosse+pointe+tv+show
For a page dedicated to Grosse Point go to http://tvmegasite.net/prime/shows/grossepointe/
For a Review of Grosse Point as well as Sabrina go to https://web.archive.org/web/20060202020901/http://www.popmatters.com/tv/reviews/s/sabrina-the-teenage-witch.html
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ct10rx14bmc
� Date: Sat April 9, 2005 � Filesize: 46.1kb � Dimensions: 301 x 440 �
Keywords: Grosse Pointe: Cast Photo