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Thursday, February 25, 2016

'Hollywood Wives' DVD: Classic '80s Aaron Spelling Mini-Series

Product Details
The recently released Visual Entertainment DVD of the 1985 Aaron Spelling ABC mini-series "Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives" is part of an '80slicious Spelling bee by Visual that includes the (reviewed) complete series DVD set of "Hotel." The most subtle nod to Spelling in "Wives" is a blink and you will miss it clip of the Spelling '70s classic "The Love Boat" just before a special news bulletin.

The spectacular '80s mini-series vibe of "Wives" nicely provides fodder for comments such as "'Three's Company' will not be seen tonight so that we might bring you this special presentation; it will return next week. Now, please stay tuned for 'Hollywood Wives' starring Candice Bergen." The terrific modern vibe includes evoking strong thoughts of the HILARIOUS (reviewed) 2015 theatrical comedy "L.A. Slasher" in which each character is merely "The Actress," "The Pop Star," "The Socialite," etc.

The catchy MTV style opening credits in "Wives" featuring a song by "Solid Gold" darling Laura Branigan of "Gloria" fame further reinforces both the '80s and "Slasher" vibes of the production. The arguably best image in the credits has a perfectly manicured hand stroking the upper portion of a champagne bottle until the enclosed liquid vigorously and copiously spews all over the place. The following YouTube clip of said credits validates said characterization.

"Wives" aptly opens with a gala Hollywood party (complete with a red carpet) for retiring screen legend George Lancaster (Robert Stack). This event provides a narrative technique for introducing the everyone who is anyone who comprise the rest of the characters in attendance. These include the titular spouses.

The series centers around socialite Elaine Conti (Candice Bergen), who is married to fading matinee idol/adulterer Ross Conti. This woman behind the man is planning a large party to generally help revive a career that is sagging as badly as his man boobs and to specifically get him the male lead in "The Final Reunion." This film is expected to be the next big thing. Those involved in the project include producer Oliver Easterne (Rod Steiger), husband/wife directing/screenwriting team Neil (Anthony Hopkins) and Montana Gray (Stefanie Powers). Powerful casting director Sadie LaSalle (Angie Dickinson) additionally has a say regarding who plays which "Reunion" roles.

Most of the inside joke fun relates to former "Three's Company" star Suzanne Somers as T&A bimbo Gina Germaine who wants to transition to being a serous actress. The references to television actresses and to the appeal of some performers being limited to their physical attributes are hilarious.

Additional insider fun comes in the form of former "Dallas" baddie Mary Crosby typecast as Karen Lancster, who is the daughter of George. The parallels between Karen and "Dallas'" Kristin Shepard are hilarious. One spoiler is that Karen does not end up floating face down in a swimming pool.

Not to be outdone, studly Andrew Stevens does double duty as hunky former gigolo/aspiring actor Buddy Hudson and a genuinely evil Hudson brother. The psychotic latter is conducting a cross-country killing spree in an effort to determine which of the above bitches is his mother. (Yes, the February 1984 ABC mini-series "Lace" is a personal favorite.)

This "unreal" classic simply is a great example of the "rich and famous" and abundantly awesome camp that make the '80s so bodacious. Most pleasures are guilty but we are not made to feel badly about enjoying them.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Wives" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,