Episode 422--"melissa in wonderland"


Winnie Holzman


Ellen S. Pressman

Air Date


Guest Stars

Brooke Adams as Bree Ann Pratt; Matthew Laurance as Warren Reese; Carrie Hamilton as Callie Huffs; Colleen Camp as Deborah Branchflower Diggs; David Brisbin as Daniel Alan Diggs; Mark Lowenthal, Jordan Myers, Nealla Gordon as [unknown]; Casey Sander as Jack


Melissa goes to California to shoot pictures for a story about a television star.


Melissa has received an assignment from Newto go to Hollywood and do photos for an interview, so she gets advice from Hope and Ellyn as she throws her gear together. She knows nothing about the star of the sitcom Bernie Joy which is about a single career woman writing an advice column and having misadventures in love. After little adventures at the car rental agency, she meets her co-writer Warren Reese out in the parking lot. Inside the set they meet the producers and get to observe a read through on this episode's script while Melissa takes pictures. During a runthrough, Melissa inadvertently blurts out a suggestion about the script and Bree Ann, the star, picks up on it immediately. Sitting around the hotel pool later, Warren offers to car pool over and slips in that maybe she shouldn't say anything more because they're trying to be silent flies on the wall. They go to interview the two married producers and get a running line of Hollywood malarkey. On the set, Warren and Melissa continue to try to get time alone wtih Bree Ann with little success. Warren finally gets fed up and drives off, ditching Melissa at Bree Ann's beachside condo where she and Callie, the personal assistant talk a little about her personal ambitions to be a costume designer. Melissa finds Bree Ann crying on the stairs and they end up having a heart to heart about her desires for the show's character to have more depth. Melissa shares her recent experience with Leonard Katz as a parallel to the show's plotline about a lost high school flame. Bree Ann takes lots of notes and seems to view Melissa as the Bernie Joy prototype. At the hotel, Melissa has a nightmare sequence about herself on a sitcom with Hope and Ellyn as co-stars trying to talk about serious things while a laughtrack runs eerily in the background. On the set, Bree Ann incorporates some of the material she gathered from talking to Melissa and people like it. In the dressing room, Bree Ann agrees to talk to Warren and throw him a few tidbits while continuing to loan clothes to Melissa and inviting her to snoop around the dressing room while they're in rehearsal. As it happens, Melissa stumbles across an issue of Playpen and is shocked by something. Warren badgers her to cough it up back at the hotel and continues to compliment her on her appearance. On the set, Bree Ann continues to praise Melissa and seek her opinions which leads the producers to pull her aside for another confusing chat about the show and Hollywood. At the hotel bar, Warren wheedles Melissa into telling him that she had seen nude photos of Bree Ann in the magazine by promising not to use the info without consent. On the set, Bree Ann makes some more artistic demands, wanting to change the script and drags Melissa into it, provoking the producers into an artistic fit. It comes out that Warren knows about the pictures and is going to write about them. Everyone storms off, leaving Melissa alone until Callie returns to gather things and walks off without speaking to her. The next day Melissa returns to apologize and is surprised to find everyone the best of friends and that Bree Ann had left the magazine out on purpose. That night at the taping, Bree Ann is outfitted just like a little Melissa (pretty creepy), and the taping goes very well. Bree Ann and Melissa talk in the empty bleachers about how she has been trying to divorce herself from her past life, recreating herself, and wanting to have the pictures out in the open so she can be over it. Bree Ann advises that Melissa forgive Gary so she can get past him as well. Warren and Melissa talk things over and try to come to some sort of resolution about what happened. Even Callie comes up to apologize. Back in Philadelphia, cradling a bottle of water, Melissa watches the show with Michael and Hope who seem to have bought into the Hollywood perception of the characters and actors.


"The Girl from Eponima" (sp) is playing in the background of the car rental agency; Melissa is a lousy driver; Cobb salad is mentioned; Lifetime blipped Michael's use of bitch and Warren's use of bitch and bastard, which is interesting since they didn't ever blip uses of ass or half-assed; the producer's keep calling Melissa "Melinda"; Bree Ann will be on the September cover of East Coast


Melissa wears the Wissa Hickory High School Class of 1970 T-shirt (which appeared once before in "closing the circle") and spends much time lamenting her East Coast clothing. The briefcase that Melissa bought in "photo op" makes another appearance. Melissa borrows a green sweater from Bree Ann that looks very nice on her. When Melissa returns to the set after the blowup, she's wearing her Philadelphia clothes--black leather jacket, skirt, and leggings.



"I'm not who you think I am." --Melissa's refrain

--"You're just so different from the character you play." --Melissa

--"So are you." --Bree Ann


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