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HOWARD ROSENBERG

Let's Get Real: 'Dynasty' Sinking To Old Heights

January 28, 1987|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Krystle . . . Blake . . . Alexis . . . the Carringtons.

I never cared much for ABC's "Dynasty." It had the cheekbones of Linda Evans, the cheek of trash-enchantress Joan Collins, the gleaming elegance of John Forsythe and all those other smartly dressed people running around snarling and spitting at each other.

But rich-bashing gets old.

Many "Dynasty" viewers ultimately agreed. Once TV's most popular series, "Dynasty" slipped a bit in the ratings last season and then writhed through the first two months of this season with a 20% audience dip that was potentially fatal.

Since then, however, "Dynasty" has rebounded to the extent that it's again winning in its 9 p.m. slot on Wednesdays against CBS' "Magnum, P.I." It ranked No. 20 among all prime-time programs last week.

Were bad story lines behind the slump? Co-creator and co-executive producer Esther Shapiro promised last November that "Dynasty" stories would be "more emotional, more realistic--without losing the glamour."

Romance has definitely been the ticket.

Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear) and her bisexual ex-husband Steven (Jack Coleman) are again looking at each other with goo-goo eyes. And Dominique Deveraux (Diahann Carroll) has been saved from thugs by a handsome stud.

But last Wednesday, "Dynasty" really outdid itself.

It reached far, far beyond merely being bad to that hallowed, rarefied area of TV programming so bad that it's actually good. I was immediately hooked.

If there were a Richter scale for trash, this hour would have hit 10 and kept soaring. It made "Dallas" look like "Hamlet." It was glorious, euphoric and simply inspired, a throwback to those exquisitely awful 1940s romance movies that make such good parodies. Only this was no parody.

Last Wednesday:

Blake (Forsythe) is suffering from temporary amnesia after being injured in an oil rig accident in the South China seas. He now believes it's 1964.

His scheming-but-getting-nicer-each-week ex-wife Alexis (Collins) exploits Blake's amnesia by taking him to a magnificent Singapore villa where there are no newspapers or TV. She takes him for walks in the garden as they relive their early years together.

Blake still thinks it's 1964. You'd think he would wonder why he has gray hair if it's 1964, but maybe Alexis has covered the mirrors.

Actually, Alexis is doing all this to induce Blake to sign away half his oil leases to her. He finally does, but by this time she's so much in love with the big, elegant lug that she rips up the leases right in front of him.

At this point, the story is so real that you can hardly stand to watch.

Meanwhile, Blake's wife, Krystle (Evans), has traced him to the villa and has a confrontation there with Alexis. While these two garbage goddesses are having it out, Blake suddenly appears.

What follows is Hall of Fame material. I mean, your heart could stop.

As that hussy Alexis looks on, Krystle rushes over to Blake and gushes: "Thank God, I've found you." But nothing. Blake's a blank.

Poor Krystle is distraught. The music crescendos.

"Tell him who I am, for God's sake," Krystle pleads to Alexis, who coolly takes a draw on her Cigarillo and exhales.

"You are not going to get away with this, you're not!" Krystle declares while exiting. Alexis takes another puff.

The music builds. Cut to Krystle's limo outside the villa, where her driver is changing a flat. Krystle tells him to hurry. She is beside herself.

Back inside the villa, Blake is confused, a tortured man. Something about Krystle was vaguely familiar. Linda Evans' bad acting? No, something else. He rubs his forehead and wonders: "Why was she carrying on like that?"

Now Alexis is speaking in a low, throaty, torrid half-whisper. "You'll never know what the past few days have meant to me, Blake . . . being with you." But Alexis cannot bring herself to extend poor Blake's torment.

"That woman," Alexis continues, "that woman is your wife."

Blake's eyes suddenly focus. You can almost see the light bulb click on above his head.

Back outside the villa, Krystle is telling her driver: "Hurry, please hurry." The music gets even bigger.

Back inside the villa. "But us," Blake whines. "What about us?"

Alexis gives him the whole scoop. How they married and split and how she just wanted to relive their past bliss and, gee, if he can't understand that . . . .

Blake is furious. It's his big scene. "UNDERSTAND? HOW?"

His forehead is pounding. He buries his head in his hands as Alexis watches, her eyes smoldering.

This time the music goes off the Richter scale.

Slowly, very slowly, Blake removes his hands from his face. There's something different about him now. His expression. His eyes. They're twinkling. They're alive. Is it possible? Can it be true?

BLAKE REMEMBERS!!!!!

"Krystle! My God! It was Krystle! I've gotta find her."

Alexis is in tears. Blake rushes out. Krystle is driving off. The music is going nuts. Blake sprints across the grass, shouting Krystle's name. The iron gates to the villa open for Krystle's limo. Blake shouts her name again. She looks back and sees Blake. He shouts her name again. The music is going berserk. Krystle is out of the limo and running to Blake.

Blake is running to Krystle.

Krystle is running.

Blake is running.

The music is running.

Krystle is still running.

Blake is still running.

You're hoping they'll collide.

Blake and Krystle meet. Music. They embrace. Music. Alexis watches from the veranda, wondering whether she has lost Blake forever.

"I love you," Blake says.

"You're my life," Krystle says.

End last Wednesday's episode, start the promo for tonight's episode. Alexis is taunting Krystle: "Did Blake and I make love? And was it better with me than with you?"

I'll be watching and laughing.

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