TELEVISION: The Young and the Senseless

The success of inane prime-time soap Melrose Place proves you don't have to be smart to be hot

When last we dropped by Melrose Place, in the summer of 1992, the show was brand new but already looked tarnished: it was a craven spin-off of Beverly Hills, 90210, set in an L.A. apartment complex, where all the people were beautiful and all the plots recycled from daytime soap operas. After a slow start in the ratings, however, Melrose Place has become perhaps the hottest show on TV. College-age fans have made it a weekly viewing ritual; magazines do cover stories on its stars; the Fox network is already gearing up a spin- off.

What happened in a year and...

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