Charmed
Heartbreak City

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Heartbreak City

Some office building. Night. A handsome white guy, who we'll call XY, accosts a pretty blonde woman, who we'll call XX, in the hallway. They exchange small talk. A chubby guy in a very Members Only white windbreaker eavesdrops. Suddenly the ring on his finger glows red and he proclaims, "A match!" He follows XY and XX down some stairs, where XX blows XY off by guessing that she'll "see him around sometime." Fat guy puts the pair in a slo-mo trance and whispers to XX that she's "been hurt in the past," but she needs "to take a risk" with XY. Then he whispers to XY that he needs to reassure XX that he's "not still in love with his ex-wife." Then he wishes them both off with, "Life is short, have a better one together!" His ring glows again and he unfreezes them so they can ask each other out for "coffee sometime." Ah, welcome to the great big eugenics experiment that is Aaron Spelling television programming. Only the white, straight and toothsome need apply.

An alley nearby. Fat guy walks down it alone for some reason, and is attacked by Clayton Rohner, the boyfriend from Just One of the Guys, who's shown up on this show a few months too late to play PruePaul's love interest. Tonight his assignment is to mimic Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick with his balding flyaway hair and stubble and black overcoat. The fat guy calls him Drazi, but we'll call Clayton "Drowsy" because that was his effect on me. Drowsy throws the fat guy into some conveniently-placed empty cardboard boxes, then reaches his hand into the guy's chest, grabs his heart and starts twisting it around. The fat guy writhes in pain, and Drowsy blathers about showing him "how it feels." Then Drowsy has "a better idea" and steals the fat guy's ring. Like a James Bond villain, he expositions his plan about using the ring "to tear apart some of your recent unions. I'm going to turn love into hate, and the hate is going to slowly and painfully kill you." Drowsy stomps off, leaving the fat guy gasping on the ground. What do these opening scenes tell us? We're in for an episode so cheesy I find myself phoning the Taco Bell president in the middle of the night, begging him to melt the footage and pour it over the chalupas.

A revival house movie theater. The marquee shows us Love Story is playing. Among the crowd emerging onto the street we spot Jack "Rabbit" Sheridan, Prue "Romances with Wolf" Halliwell, "Steely" Dan Gordon and "Laying Some" Piper Halliwell. Phoebe "Orange Milano" Halliwell comes running up between the two couples and whines that she's "the fifth wheel -- cutting in!" As usual Phoebe and Prue are questionably attired in public. Prue's gone Native American in an Indian blanket poncho, fake black braid extensions, a patchwork denim skirt and running shoes; an outfit that inspires me to greet her visage with, "How?" while silently wondering, "Why?" Phoebe's sporting her usual "Strawberry Shortcake Goes Streetwalking" ensemble: a tight pink angora sweater, pedal-pusher jeans trimmed in pink patches, a lilac sash around her middle and really ugly platform Mary Janes that make her look thick-ankled. She stumble-walks between the couples and blathers about her date canceling on her at the last minute. The sisters all bash men for a bit, agreeing that Phoebe's guy should be severely punished for slighting her. Jack and Dan look uncomfortable. Jack asks everyone how they liked the movie. Prue uncharacteristically replies that she enjoyed it, "except for the bell bottoms." This from a woman who obviously covets everything Bob Mackie designed for Cher from 1971 to 1979. Piper calls Dan on getting all "sniffly." Jack whips out his little penis (tm Wing) and declares that the flick didn't compare to his fave movie, The Dirty Dozen. Phoebe admits that she fell asleep during the first reel. This from a woman who naps all day. Jack makes a big show of offering to buy everyone coffee. As the gang enters the coffeehouse, Phoebe lingers behind and Prue comes up to her. Pheebs has decided to call it a night and get a cab home. Prue hugs her and assures her that she's "beautiful" and it was her date's "loss" for bowing out on her. Phoebe turns to the full-length mirror in the coffeehouse entryway and checks herself out. Huh -- so they do allow mirrors on the set. I'll have to come up with another theory about how they get Shannen and Alyssa out of their trailers, into those outfits, and on camera. Just then the fat guy comes up to Phoebe. He's all sweaty and he grabs her from behind, saying that he "needs" her and her help because he "knows why [she] can't find true love." Dan sees this creepy cretin glomming onto Phoebe and chases him out the door. The Ps wonder what that was all about. Phoebe says she's "not sure."

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Charmed

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