epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

Retro Review: Hidden Palms (2007)

An ill-fated mystery soap opera from Kevin Williamson.

Johnny was once a high achiever who dressed like he was 45 and then his father killed himself. A year later, Johnny is out of rehab for drug/alcohol addictions, his mother has married his dead dad's best friend and they've moved to Palm Springs. Quite a year for Johnny. He gets out of the car and mere seconds pass before he lets his mother Karen (Gail O'Grady) and stepfather Bob know that he blames them for his dad's suicide.

Then Johnny meets neighbour Cliff and learns Cliff was once friends with dead Eddie, who used to live in Johnny's new house. In fact Johnny's bedroom was once Eddie's. Johnny also meets Eddie's girlfriend Greta. Johnny falls for Greta for some bizarre reason. Next up Johnny gets a mentor/AA sponsor and elsewhere the non-mourning Cliff and Greta have a hate-filled makeout while 'The Blower's Daughter' blares. This is okay start, raising questions like what is up with Greta and Cliff? What happened to Eddie?

Best Line:
"You be careful of that boy, he's shifty."

Johnny learns that Eddie killed himself in what is now his bedroom. Then he encounters Nikki, who he befriended in rehab. Nikki is living in a halfway house because her father won't let her return home. Someone sends Johnny a mysterious webvideo about Eddie. This was okay.

Best Lines:
"I burnt some bridges. No really, there was a fire involved."

"You look like trouble."
"You have no idea."

Party Hardy
Nikki wears out her welcome at Johnny's house by staging a wild teen party. Meanwhile Cliff wages war on his mother's latest boytoy and Johnny learns that Eddie may have been murdered. Greta and Cliff did something bad. Cliff learns Johnny was in rehab and starts plotting. Liza has a crush on Johnny but he is oblivious. Johnny is also oblivious to the fact that Liza is the one who has been sending him the messages about Eddie's death. Cliff cracks a joke about rehab during the ill advised wild teen party and Johnny punches him. Cue a brawl that is witnessed by Johnny's parental units. This was good. This community is warped.

Best Lines:
"Not everyone's dealing with their demons Johnny. Some of us are the demons."

"You're just attracted to the damaged and sordid ones aren't you?"

What Liza Beneath
Cliff goes to extreme lengths to break up his mother and her boytoy Travis. He provokes Travis into strangling him so Cliff's mother Tess puts down her gin long enough to produce a gun and evict Travis. Cliff makes a move on Nikki. Johnny meets Eddie's mother Maria. Greta says she slept with Cliff causing Eddie to kill himself. Johnny does not notice the obvious parallels with his own life, but he does seem to like the fact that Greta wears stripper wear. Johnny finds out Liza sent him the weird messages so he confronts her and she declares that she saw Cliff and Greta kill Eddie. This was okay. So what was Liza's connection to Eddie?

Best Lines:
"I'm attracted to the pathologically insane."

"This place is a breeding ground for the dysfunctional and the psychologically damaged."

Greta shows Johnny Eddie's suicide note. This prompts them to make out on the sofa until Greta's dad Skip walks in on them. Greta and her dad have a row about Eddie's death, Skip knows something but what?. Cliff learns about Liza's 'Murder, She Wrote' antics and warns her off. Things get really twisted when Liza shows Johnny something she stole from Cliff's house; the blood spattered Halloween costume that Greta was wearing the night Eddie died and elsewhere Cliff is getting it on with Maria. This was very good.

Dangerous Liaisons
Nikki and Johnny learn about Cliff's affair with Maria. Cliff tells Johnny not to trust Liza, which prompts Johnny to steal Greta's bloody Halloween costume from Liza. Meanwhile it is revealed that Skip and Maria have an agenda. Cliff and Maria make out on Johnny's bed in Johnny's room which as you recall used to be Eddie's room and he died in that room. Yep, Maria's twisted. This was good.

Best Lines:
"She seems destined for the bleak and brooding."

"I was just comforting her."
"With your tongue?"

"Worst case scenario is that I'm actually dating crazy girl who killed her last boyfriend."

Stand by Your Woman
Johnny gives Greta her bloodstained Halloween costume back, as he loves her. Greta sure likes the brooding types doesn't she? Maria and Skip continue to plot. Cliff has a bad day. All his friends think he killed Eddie and his mother catches him getting him it on with Maria. It is revealed that Skip made Eddie's murder look like a suicide and that Eddie was cheating on Greta with Liza. This was good, TPTB crammed so much into this short lived show.

Best Lines:
"Cliff was sleeping with Eddie's girlfriend and his mother."

"She needs to stop crying over man trash like Cliff."

"It's been a little tense around here lately and for once it's not about me. It's not about me is it?"

"When did I become the bad guy? Johnny, Greta and even Liza, they're all convinced that I'm this evil maniac."

Second Chances
This show is over so cue a tsunami of dramatic revelations. Johnny and Greta are ready to do the deed but get sidetracked by discussing the Maria/Cliff sitch. Maria then corners Johnny and asks him the sensible question of why he's so obsessed over the death of a boy he never met. Johnny, Liza and Cliff work together and come to the erroneous conclusion that Maria murdered her son. Johnny has solved the mystery of Eddie's death (or so he thinks) and now everyone thinks Eddie was murdered by his mother who killed herself out of guilt. But then the smug Johnny learns Maria slept with Skip and they murdered his wife. Eddie found out and Skip killed him. Cue end credits. This was good. Did Maria kill herself? Who sent Johnny that email? Maria was a horrible person but Skip was worse. And Skip got away with everything: killing his wife, killing Eddie and probably killing Maria. Greta and Johnny better run. This was a good, trashy guilty pleasure.

Best Lines:
"Is that the role you see yourself in this family? The caregiver to a bunch of emotional cripples?"

"Clearly the woman is unstable. She is having sex with her dead son's best friend."

Tags: hidden palms

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