Tread Perilously — Beverly Hills, 90210: The Nature of Nurture

Tread Perilously makes a course-correction to the 1990s with the Fox primetime soap Beverly Hills, 90210 and its latter-day episode, “The Nature of Nurture.”

Kelly (Jennie Garth) looses her cool when the semi-orphaned child she brought to child protective services gets placed with a gay couple. Is she a bigot like the child’s mother or will the series excuse her homophobic tendencies? Brandon (Jason Priestley) tries to stop Steve (Sharknado‘s Ian Ziering) from placing cigarette ads in their newspaper. David (Brian Austin Green) bonds with his new next-door neighbor, who happens to be a former guitar god. Valerie’s (Tiffani Thiesen) mother starts dating Kelly’s father, only freshly out of prison. Meanwhile, Steve pretends to be another man to woo a woman he met via mail fraud. It’s as terrible as it sounds. Also, Lindsay Price appears in this episode.

Erik and Justin immediately get lost in a discussion of The CW, Clone Wars and Justin’s interest in the Disney+ streaming service. Erik tries to define the difference between a primetime drama and a primetime soap. He also makes a pitch to become a professor of television at an accredited university, but then slams his alma mater. Both discuss the problem of TV shows set in college and high school shows attempting to pivot to college settings. Also, Erik and Justin try to pitch the perfect Paul Rudd sitcom for 1998.

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Tread Perilously — Dynasty: The Test

Tread Perilously’s investigation of primetime soaps continues with an episode from Dynasty‘s seventh season called “The Test.”

When Krystle and Blake Carrington’s daughter Christine collapses into a coma, the rest of the Carringtons set aside their own problems to carry out a vigil at the hospital. Of course, she wakes up moments later and life resumes while Krystle and Blake await the results of Christine’s latest tests. Blake’s younger son Steven is handed the reigns of the family business, but his mind is more on his son and the possible restoration of his relationship with Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear). Older son Adam is trying to get married, but expects his mother, Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan (Joan Collins), will try to stop it. Alexis, for her part, has problems of her own as the Carringtons’ former chauffeur tries to get into her company’s business … and her private affairs as well.

Justin learns why he is familiar with Dynasty stars John Forsythe, Linda Evans, and Joan Collins despite never watching an episode before. Erik keeps teasing Dynasty II: The Colbys. Both go on a long tangent about actor Jack Coleman, who plays Steven Carrington. Erik tries to remember the name of the Christian Slater/Marissa Tomei movie in which he has a baboon heart. They also devise a movie about Gwyneth Paltrow learning emotions. Ted McGinley’s Clay Fallmont gets a special mentions and Erik and Justin discuss the celebrity of Heather Locklear. Also, Grievous the Insult Comic Droid makes his debut.

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Tread Perilously — Roswell: Control

Tread Perilously continues its primetime soaps months with the late 90s sci-fi teen drama Roswell. Specifically, a third season episode called “Control.”

As Max continues his attempt to save his son, his journey leads him to a big shot Hollywood producer who happens to be one of the shapeshifting bodyguards sent to protect him fifty years prior. When Max discovers the producer must obey his direct orders, they plan to steal their UFO back from a nearby Air Force base. Meanwhile, Isabel is stunned to discover no one is excited about her upcoming wedding to Jesse. Also, Liz and Maria are in this episode.

Erik and Justin quickly get derailed to discuss Star Trek, which was also a UPN series for a time. They also express their puzzlement over Ronald D. Moore’s producer role on Outlander. Colin Hanks gets compared to Chloe Sullivan, but NOT Allison Mack. Erik suspects Roswell may have been the source of some of Twilight‘s characters and structure. Both are surprised by Jason Behr’s performance. They also cannot figure out why everyone is mad at Max and Isabel’s adoptive mother. A close-up look at one scene leads Justin to soften his opinion on Katherine Heigl and Erik recalls the interim technology of the early 21st Century.

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Tread Perilously — Dallas: Shadow Games

Tread Perilously begins a month of primetime soaps with the 1980s classic Dallas and an episode called “Shadow Games.”

J.R. Ewing realizes a land deal his mother has been working on is being brokered by a shadowy bank. He is also trying to take control of Ewing Oil from Pamela, who’s gone to South America with guest star Marc Singer. And somehow, he finds the time to keep his cousin Jack out of trouble. Meanwhile, Sue Ellen plans a charity auction, Clayton Farlow’s worthiness comes into question and Donna Krebbs tells Miss Ellie an important secret. Back in South America, Pamela gets kidnapped. Also, Jenna Wade isn’t over Bobby Ewing.

Justin tries to avoid talking about Dallas by invoking Twin Peaks. Erik points out the show’s obsession with master-closeup-reverse. Both turn into budget-minded TV producers as they notice the cost-cutting methods of the show. Larry Hagman’s subdued performance surprises them both. The conspicuous consumption of the characters leads to a treatise on economics. Justin finds a shocking darkness within the soul of Miss Ellie. Both try to determine why Victoria Principal was mostly absent from the episode. Justin also decides retroactively declaring the season a dream was a good idea and Erik recalls Jock Ewing.

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Tread Perilously: Special Review Unit — Alta Kockers

Tread Perilously rounds out 2018 by convening the Special Review Unit for a look at the most recent episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, “Alta Kockers.”

When a hip young author is found dead after their big reading at an important bookstore, Lieutenant Olivia Benson declares the murder a hate crime as the author was apparently male despite presenting female. SVU detectives continue to misgender the person even as the team discovers the victim was not the author of the novel Blue Barracuda. The investigation leads to a very nice house somewhere in the Bronx owned by an older Jewish gentleman and his brother. Did they kill author Bobbie O’Rourke or was he really the bartender at Molly Malone’s who died of diabetes in 1975?

Captain Charlie Wright and Executive Assistant District Attorney Louis Allred join Justin and Erik to discuss the episode and point out a certain flaw in literary fiction. The group warns against walking around the Meatpacking District, though Charlie recommends the Whitney Museum. Justin declares Ninjas as the largest ethnic group in Hell’s Kitchen. The casual transphobia throughout the story gets called out. Charlie tries to find a flaw in the perp’s thinking. Erik reveals his hatred for new ADA Peter Stone. And in a rare case for Tread Perilously, the Special Review Unit decides Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn deliver Emmy-worthy performances.

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Tread Perilously: Thomas Kinkade Presents The Christmas Lodge

Tread Merrily 2018 concludes with an allegedly wholesome film brought to you by the Painter of Light: Thomas Kinkade Presents The Christmas Lodge.

When Mary and her boyfriend Kent stumble upon the lodge her family used to stay at for Christmas, she becomes obsessed with its well-being. Current owner Jack is having a hard time fixing it up after abandoning it to take care of his parents, the former owners. But as she works at a big restoration firm in the city, and the rest of her family all happen to be contractors, she works tirelessly to help bring Christmas Lodge back its former glory. Meanwhile, Jack begins to develop a romantic interest in her and his daughter Charlene becomes obsessed with the welfare of Mary’s ailing grandfather.

Sarah, Seth and David join Erik and Justin for this most perilous of Christmas films. Justin tries to make a case for Don Ameche to appear in the film. Erik forgets his Cylon model numbers. David recognizes star Michael Shanks from from Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story. The gang tries to determine what a “Canadian 12” might be. Erik inhabits Kent’s hatred of nature.The film’s lack of conflict leads to Justin recreating it as a horror film. Seth loses his mind and Sarah succumbs to nihilism. Also, everyone learns the secret of the Christmas Lodge’s sourdough biscuit recipe.

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Tread Perilously — A Very Brady Christmas

Tread Merrily continues with Justin’s first-ever look at the Brady Bunch in A Very Brady Christmas.

After Mike and Carol play out a very goofy version of the Gift of the Magi, they decide to bring all the kids home for Christmas. The kids decide to come, but bring plenty of grown-up baggage with them. Marcia’s husband Wally lost his job, Peter can’t deal with his girlfriend being his boss, Bobby is secretly training to be a race car driver, Cindy is tired of being thought of as a kid, and Greg misses his wife. Also, Jan and her husband Philip are breaking up. Can the Brady warmth and the Christmas Spirit solve their holiday woes?

Erik and Justin praise Gary Cole’s spot-performance as Mike Brady in the Brady feature films. They also decide Mike Brady would have a heart-to-heart with Peter about colonoscopies. Erik declares it wouldn’t be prudent to discuss George H.W. Bush. Justin recalls the rough-and-tumbles days of the late ’80s. He also realizes just how weird “The Gift of the Magi” really is. Marcia’s husband Wally gets called out, as does Greg’s mustache. Jan and Philip’s marriage problems turn out to be too realistic for a Brady special and Erik ties fake-Cindy back to Charles in Charge.

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