Monday, January 18, 2016
'Hotel' S2: Overlooked Aaron Spelling Gem
The Season Two, which is included in the Visual Entertainment complete series DVD set, season premiere of the Aaron Spelling primetime drama "Arthur Hailey's Hotel" showcases both the Spelling formula and the '80sliciousness of the show. Faded movie queen with a weight issue Elizabeth Taylor plays faded movie queen with a weight issue Katherine Cole in this 1984 outing. Cole is staying at the Saint Gregory Hotel, which serves the role of the cruise ship and the tropical island in two similar Spelling shows from that era, in San Francisco to perform in a stage play.
In the interest of avoiding being unduly repetitive, folks who are interested in a more in-depth discussion of the concept of "Hotel" are asked to please read the Unreal TV review of the Visual DVD set of the first season of this five-season program. (Reviews of the remaining three season will run during the first half of 2016.)
The '80s goodness rolls along with a wonderfully soapy plot that has '80s sitcom "Newhart" star Mary Frann playing a formerly traumatized woman who visits the titular lodging establishment to reunite with her long-lost sister played by (temporarily disgraced) "The Love Boat star Lauren Tewes. This one has the husband of Frann's character put the moves on Tewes' character largely in response to an extended dry spell in his marriage. Frann being willing to put out to save her marriage is hilarious from an enlightened 21st century perspective.
A "very special" episode has Larry Wilcox of the '70s police action-adventure show "CHiPs" play a Christian Scientist who finds his faith tested when his daughter develops a very serious medical condition. One can see the defiance of the mother of the child coming a mile away.
A personal favorite episode has formerly closeted "Brady Bunch" actor Robert Reed playing a married sportscaster whose wife catches his coming out of the shower with his male producer. Watching the spouse and the other man fight for their man is highly entertaining.
"Hotel" further reflects the '80s in having owner Victoria Cabot (played by faded movie star/"The Love Boat" veteran Anne Baxter) become an active modern senior ala Jessica Fletcher only with more comic overtones. The misadventures of Ms. Cabot include her efforts to better understand the daily workings of the business go amusingly awry and her amateur painting ending up in an art show.
Additional goofy goings on for the St. Gregory folks include assistant manager Christine Francis (played by Connie "Mrs. Hinkley" Selleca) becoming a local celebrity after filming a cereal commercial and Direct of Guest Relations Mark Danning dealing with the (not-so-much younger) teen son of the middle-aged woman with whom he has a serious relationship.
All of this adds up to a chance for great winter camp while snuggled inside for marathon viewings of this escapist classic.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Hotel" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,