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15 Explosive Facts About Melrose Place

A spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place debuted on Fox in the summer of 1992, ran for seven seasons (with most seasons consisting of at least 32 episodes, a figure unheard of today), and focused on a group of friends and foes living in a Los Angeles apartment complex located at 4616 Melrose Place.

According to Heather Locklear, the first season was “very boring. It was all nice people, and, really, there are some bad people in the world.” To beef up ratings in the second season, creator Darren Star—who went on to create Sex and the City—and co-executive producer Aaron Spelling brought in Locklear, and the show exploded. “There’s an old Noel Coward expression that fits,” Spelling told the Chicago Tribune. “To put a cat amongst the pigeons. We needed Heather to be the cat amongst the pigeons.”

Locklear played the conniving Amanda Woodward, and was nominated for four Golden Globes for her performance. She was effective enough for people to tune in each week to see what might unfold on the nighttime soap opera, whether it was an outrageous baby kidnapping plot, the apartment building exploding, or one of a number of scandalous affairs. The show went off the air in 1999, but its impact remains. Here are 15 mind-blowing facts about the series.

1. THE REAL MELROSE PLACE ISN’T LOCATED ON MELROSE PLACE.

Exteriors of the Melrose Place apartment complex were filmed at El Pueblo Apartments, at 4616 Greenwood Place, in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz neighborhood. You can, of course, take a selfie in front of it, and possibly rent one of its eight units. The listing doesn’t mention a pool, though.

If you want to stroll down the real Melrose Place street—which does exist—you’ll start at the intersection of Melrose Place (which eventually intersects with Melrose Avenue) and La Cienega Boulevard. You won’t find residences (or drama), but you will find a hip and pricey shopping oasis, featuring Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta boutiques.

2. JOSIE BISSETT HATED PLAYING “NICE.”

Josie Bissett played Jane Mancini, Melrose Place’s resident nice girl. But Bissett wanted to be as bad as everyone else. “I do get tired of playing a victim all the time on the show,” she complained to Rolling Stone. “I mean, enough already. People call for me on the street and tell me everything that I’m doing wrong. In real life, I learn from my mistakes, and Jane is just not learning. But look out, because she will very soon.”

Apparently Bissett’s protest was received. “I remember Josie Bissett asking, ‘Can I please, please do something, like, a little devious? Do I have to be the nice one?’ I totally understood it,” Darren Star told Vulture. “You don’t want to be the character that’s being stepped on all the time.” By season three, Jane had become more villainous. “I think in the third season we had fun showing that all these characters had two sides,” Star said. “We made villains out of almost everyone.”

3. MANY OF THE CAST MEMBERS HOOKED UP WITH EACH OTHER IN REAL LIFE.

During the first season, Courtney Thorne-Smith (Allison Parker) and Andrew Shue dated, and later on in the series she dated Grant Show. “Show and Courtney Thorne-Smith were together and when they weren’t, we were all pretty sure that’s why she left the show,” Melrose Place writer/producer Charles Pratt Jr. told Vulture.

Though Laura Leighton also dated Grant Show, she ended up marrying Doug Savant in 1998. “We were friends on the set, but then it became, ‘Oh my God, this person I think is so perfect is right here,’” Savant told People. “The best thing that happened to me as a result of Melrose was meeting my wife.” A couple of other real-life couplings weren’t as successful: Josie Bissett divorced Rob Estes (they were newlyweds when the show started), and Locklear and Jack Wagner called off their engagement.

4. MATT FIELDING WAS ONE OF THE FIRST GAY CHARACTERS ON NETWORK TV, BUT HIS ROMANCE WAS CENSORED.

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It was progressive for a show in the early ’90s to feature a gay character (it would take Ellen DeGeneres, starring as Ellen Morgan on Ellen, until 1997 to come out as gay), but Matt’s personal plotlines could go only so far. Matt finds a boyfriend and wants to sleep with him, but according to Vulture, Fox was against having the men be filmed lying in bed together.

“One of them had to be in the doorway,” Melrose Place writer-producer Carol Mendelsohn said. “Then we wanted them to kiss on the beach near Michael’s house, and broadcast standards at the time would not let us have them kiss. Instead it was ‘Matt’s lover rubs his ear.’ Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in 20 years.”

Doug Savant, who played the role of Matt, didn’t want the media to know about his private life. “There are other straight actors who have played gay characters and then shouted their straightness to the media at every chance,” he told Rolling Stone. “I think that's disgraceful. I have the responsibility to play the common humanity that crosses boundaries of sexuality."

5. BILLY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PLAYED BY ACTOR STEPHEN FANNING.

In Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story, it showed how an actor named Stephen Dale—Stephen Fanning in real life—was hired to play Billy but was fired because he gained too much weight. But according to the 2012 ABC reunion special, Shue said the reason Fanning was let go was because the actor didn’t have the right chemistry with Allison. “No one told Stephen that he was let go,” Show said. “He showed up to work and Andrew was in his dressing room.” Shue joked, “I feel that I need to personally apologize.” (Fanning should not be confused with baseball player Steven J. Fanning, who is father to Dakota and Elle Fanning.)

6. VANESSA WILLIAMS THINKS SHE WAS FIRED BECAUSE THE SHOW DIDN’T “EQUIP THEMSELVES TO WRITE FOR A BLACK CHARACTER.”

Williams played dancer/aerobics instructor Rhonda Blair on the first season of Melrose Place, but she wasn’t asked back for season two. “I think they didn't make the effort to equip themselves [to write for a black character], either by hiring a black writer or asking me things,” she told TV Guide. “Then, the whole face of the show changed—no pun intended—to [Aaron] Spelling’s soap-opera formula. They raised the stakes in terms of the sexual content, so who was gonna jump in bed with the black girl and not raise a hair in middle America somewhere? So it was devastating to me as an actress not to be invited back, but I knew it had nothing to do with my work, so I just had to release it.”

7. AMY LOCANE ONLY LASTED ONE SEASON AS WELL.

Williams’s on-screen roommate Amy Locane, who played Shooters waitress/aspiring actress Sandy Harling, also only lasted one season on the show. In 2010, Locane struck and killed a 60-year-old woman with her car while intoxicated. In 2013, she was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to three years in prison. She was released early, in 2015.

8. GRANT SHOW TURNED DOWN PLAYING THE BRAD PITT ROLE IN THELMA & LOUISE.

Thelma & Louise came out in 1991 and made Brad Pitt a star. Melrose Place actor Grant Show told The New York Times that he was offered the role but had to reject the part because “I was doing 12 days on a Jackie Collins mini-series, and I had to turn it down because they wouldn’t let me out of my contract.” He thinks Pitt did a better job than he would have, but regrets not breaking his contract. “But what I’ve learned is, back then I didn’t realize that the game is played by my own morality and not theirs. If there is one thing I wish I could tell that young actor, it would be to walk off that set and say, ‘Sue me.’”

9. ANDREW SHUE THINKS THE REASON PEOPLE LOVED THE SHOW WAS BECAUSE EACH AIRING RESULTED IN “PARTIES.”

The original cast members—with the exception of Williams and Locane—reunited on ABC in 2012 to reminisce about their backstabbing days. In 2010 Shue married Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach, who interviewed Shue and the cast. When she asked Shue why fans had such an affinity for the show, he stated: “We weren’t catty, there were no divas. It really was a family. When you think about that show, people had parties. There’s never been a show where people would gather on a weekly basis and have parties. I think it was groundbreaking in that sense, and now everybody would be on their digital devices and so you could never have a party.”

10. THE 1995 OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING CAUSED THE SEASON THREE FINALE TO BE EDITED.

During the final moments of season three, “The Big Bang Theory,” crazy person Kimberly (Marcia Cross) is about to detonate Melrose Place, but then the screen cuts to “to be continued.” A month prior to the May 1995 finale, the Oklahoma City bombing took place. The episode was supposed to end with the denotation, followed by Kimberly flying through the air, Amanda falling down the stairs, and the courtyard blowing up. Viewers would have to wait until the fourth season premiere in September to see the explosion and to find out that (spoiler alert!) none of the main cast members died (though Allison did go blind—temporarily). Cross felt some remorse.

“I felt guilty in a way, as if I were perpetuating violence,” Cross told Entertainment Weekly. “But it’s a weird line—most people can distinguish the fact that our show has nothing to do with [the bombers] in Oklahoma.” According to Rolling Stone, though, the original concept involved Kimberly kidnapping Sydney, putting her in a plane, and flying the plane into the apartment courtyard. But when a plane used as a weapon crashed near the White House in 1994, the producers changed their minds about the ploy.

11. THE SHOW ENDED BECAUSE THE CAST OUTGREW THEIR DIGS.

“You could not believe after seven years these people, who had actually attained some stature in their careers and had some money, were living in that building,” Carol Mendelsohn told Vulture. “You tried to ignore it, but it would come up in the writers’ room all the time: ‘Why haven’t they moved?’” Dee Johnson, another Melrose Place writer/producer, said. “‘Amanda makes a ton of money. Why is she staying in that little apartment?’ In the end, it was unavoidable.”

12. MALCOLM GLADWELL WAS A SUPERFAN OF THE SHOW.

During a January 2016 interview with Bill Simmons on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Gladwell, a writer for The New Yorker, admitted his love for the series. “I used to do an email synopsis of every episode of Melrose Place,” he said. “I had a list of, like, a 100 people that I’d send it out to. And why did I do that? Because I was absolutely sure that everyone I knew—all of us in our 20s or early 30s—was watching MP. There is not a single show that I would have the same certainty about today. The only thing that comes close was Serial last year.” Gladwell said he’d take two hours out of his workday to write up the newsletter, but said he wouldn’t go to so much effort today for just a network show. “It was a bad show,” he said. “Nobody would watch it today.”

13. PEOPLE PAID BIG MONEY FOR MELROSE PLACE POOL WATER.

According to The New York Post, before the show’s series finale aired, Fox sent out snow globes filled with MP pool water to journalists. Some of those globes sold for as much as $300 on eBay. Amazon.com got involved with auctioning off Melrose Place memorabilia, including Amanda’s headboard and Sydney’s wedding dress. Grant Show knew the series would last when he saw the pool. “The minute I walked on the set and saw that they’d built a real pool in here, I had the feeling we’d be around for a while,” he told Rolling Stone. “Forget about actors, man; pools aren’t cheap.”

14. ANDREW SHUE QUIT ACTING AND BECAME A SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR.

In 2008, Shue co-founded CafeMedia, which hosts CafeMom, The Stir, MamásLatinas, and other popular websites. He founded CafeMedia with “the vision to create an organization that would celebrate and reward moms for all that they do each and every day,” according to his bio. Besides CafeMedia, Shue also sits on the board of Do Something, a youth leadership organization he founded in 1993.

15. IN 2009 FOX REBOOTED THE SERIES, BUT IT FAILED.

Thomas Calabro (Dr. Michael Mancini) starred in more episodes than any other cast member—219 out of 226—and was one of the few original cast members to appear on the reboot. Calabro told SheKnows why he wanted to reprise his role as Dr. Michael Mancini. “First of all, he had a nuclear family, which I had never ever played before. He had a twentysomething-year-old son, which I had never had … He was going to be intertwined in many of the main characters’ storylines. So that became really interesting to me. There was a whole new dynamic.” Before the show got canceled after one season, Laura Leighton, Heather Locklear, Josie Bissett, and Daphne Zuniga all made appearances.

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14 Deep Facts About Valley of the Dolls
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The Criterion Collection

Based on Jacqueline Susann's best-selling 1966 novel (which sold more than 30 million copies), Valley of the Dolls was a critically maligned film that somehow managed to gross $50 million when it was released 50 years ago, on December 15, 1967. Both the film and the novel focus on three young women—Neely O’Hara (Patty Duke), Jennifer North (Sharon Tate), and Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins)—who navigate the entertainment industry in both New York City and L.A., but end up getting addicted to barbiturates, a.k.a. “dolls.”

Years after its original release, the film became a so-bad-it’s-good classic about the perils of fame. John Williams received his first of 50 Oscar nominations for composing the score. Mark Robson directed it, and he notoriously fired the booze- and drug-addled Judy Garland, who was cast to play aging actress Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward took over), who was supposedly based on Garland. (Garland died on June 22, 1969 from a barbituate overdose.) Two months after Garland’s sudden demise, the Manson Family murdered the very pregnant Tate in August 1969.

Despite all of the glamour depicted in the movie and novel, Susann said, “Valley of the Dolls showed that a woman in a ranch house with three kids had a better life than what happened up there at the top.” A loose sequel, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls—which was written by Roger Ebert—was released in 1970, but it had little to do with the original. In 1981, a TV movie updated the Dolls. Here are 14 deep facts about the iconic guilty pleasure.

1. JACQUELINE SUSANN DIDN'T LIKE THE MOVIE.

To promote the film, the studio hosted a month-long premiere party on a luxury liner. At a screening in Venice, Susann said the film “appalled” her, according to Parkins. She also thought Hollywood “had ruined her book,” and Susann asked to be taken off the boat. At one point she reportedly told Robson directly that she thought the film was “a piece of sh*t.”

2. BARBARA PARKINS WAS “NERVOUS” TO WORK WITH JUDY GARLAND.

Barbara Parkins had only been working with Judy Garland for two days when the legendary actress was fired for not coming out of her dressing room (and possibly being drunk). “I called up Jackie Susann, who I had become close to—I didn’t call up the director strangely enough—and I said, ‘What do I do? I’m nervous about going on the set with Judy Garland and I might get lost in this scene because she knows how to chew up the screen,’” Parkins told Windy City Times. “She said, ‘Honey, just go in there and enjoy her.’ So I went onto the set and Judy came up to me and wrapped her arms around me and said, ‘Oh, baby, let’s just do this scene,’ and she was wonderful.”

3. WILLIAM TRAVILLA BASED THE FILM'S COSTUMES ON THE WOMEN’S LIKES.

Costume designer William Travilla had to assemble 134 outfits for the four leading actresses. “I didn't have a script so I read the book and then the script once I got one,” he explained of his approach to the film. “I met with the director and producer and asked how they felt about each character and then I met with the girls and asked them what they liked and didn’t like and how they were feeling. Then I sat down with my feelings and captured their feelings, too.”

4. SUSANN THOUGHT GARLAND “GOT RATTLED.”

In an interview with Roger Ebert, Susann offered her thoughts on why Garland was let go. “Everybody keeps asking me why she was fired from the movie, as if it was my fault or something,” she said. “You know what I think went wrong? Here she was, raised in the great tradition of the studio stars, where they make 30 takes of every scene to get it right, and the other girls in the picture were all raised as television actresses. So they’re used to doing it right the first time. Judy just got rattled, that’s all.”

5. PATTY DUKE PARTIALLY BLAMES THE DIRECTOR’S BEHAVIOR FOR GARLAND’S EXIT.

During an event at the Castro Theatre, Duke discussed working with Garland. “The director, who was the meanest son of a bitch I ever met in my life ... the director, he kept this icon, this sparrow, waiting and waiting,” Duke said. “She had to come in at 6:30 in the morning and he wouldn’t even plan to get to her until four in the afternoon. She was very down to earth, so she didn’t mind waiting. The director decided that some guy from some delicatessen on 33rd Street should talk to her, and she crumbled. And she was fired. She shouldn’t have been hired in the first place, in my opinion.”

6. DUKE DIDN’T SING NEELY’S SONGS.

All of Neely’s songs in the movie were dubbed, which disappointed Duke. “I knew I couldn’t sing like a trained singer,” she said. “But I thought it was important for Neely maybe to be pretty good in the beginning but the deterioration should be that raw, nerve-ending kind of the thing. And I couldn’t convince the director. They wanted to do a blanket dubbing. It just doesn’t have the passion I wanted it to have.”

7. GARLAND STOLE ONE OF THE MOVIE'S COSTUMES.

Garland got revenge in “taking” the beaded pantsuit she was supposed to wear in the movie, and she was unabashed about it. “Well, about six months later, Judy’s going to open at the Palace,” Duke said. “I went to opening night at the Palace and out she came in her suit from Valley of the Dolls.”

8. A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE FILM HID THE TITLE.

Fox held a preview screening of the film at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre, but the marquee only read “The Biggest Book of the Year.” “And the film was so campy, everyone roared with laughter,” producer David Brown told Vanity Fair. “One patron was so irate he poured his Coke all over Fox president Dick Zanuck in the lobby. And we knew we had a hit. Why? Because of the size of the audience—the book would bring them in.”

9. IT MARKED RICHARD DREYFUSS'S FILM DEBUT.


Twentieth Century Fox

Richard Dreyfuss made his big-screen debut near the end of Valley of the Dolls, playing an assistant stage manager who knocks on Neely’s door to find her intoxicated. After appearing on several TV shows, this was his first role in a movie, but it was uncredited. That same year, he also had a small role in The Graduate. Dreyfuss told The A.V. Club he was in the best film of 1967 (The Graduate) and the worst (Valley of the Dolls). “But then one day I realized that I had never actually seen Valley of the Dolls all the way through, so I finally did it,” he said. “And I realized that I was in the last 45 seconds of the worst film ever made. And I watched from the beginning with a growing sense of horror. And then I finally heard my line. And I thought, ‘I’ll never work again.’ But I used to make money by betting people about being in the best and worst films of 1967: No one would ever come up with the answer, so I’d make 20 bucks!”

10. THE DIRECTOR DIDN’T DIG TOO DEEP.

In the 2006 documentary Gotta Get Off This Merry Go Round: Sex, Dolls & Showtunes, Barbara Parkins scolded the director for keeping the film’s pill addiction on the surface. “The director never took us aside and said, look this is the effect,” she said. “We didn’t go into depth about it. Now, if you would’ve had a Martin Scorsese come in and direct this film, he would’ve sat you down, he would’ve put you through the whole emotional, physical, mental feeling of what that drug was doing to you. This would’ve been a whole different film. He took us to one, maybe two levels of what it’s like to take pills. The whole thing was to show the bottle and to show the jelly beans kinda going back. That was the important thing for him, not the emotional part.”

11. A STAGE ADAPTATION MADE IT TO OFF-BROADWAY.

In 1995, Los Angeles theater troupe Theatre-A-Go-Go! adapted the movie into a stage play. Kate Flannery, who’d go on to play Meredith Palmer on The Office, portrayed Neely. “Best thing about Valley of the Dolls to make fun of it is to actually just do it,” Flannery said in the Dolls doc. “You don’t need to change anything.” Parkins came to a production and approved of it. Eventually, the play headed to New York in an Off-Broadway version, with Illeana Douglas playing the Jackie Susann reporter role.

12. JACKIE SUSANN BARELY ESCAPED THE MANSON FAMILY.


By 20th Century-Fox - eBayfrontback, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The night the Manson Family murdered Tate, the actress had invited Susann to her home for a dinner party. According to Vanity Fair, Rex Reed came by The Beverly Hills Hotel, where Susann was staying, and they decided to stay in instead of going to Tate’s. The next day Susann heard about the murder, and cried by the pool. A few years later, when Susann was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, she joked her death would’ve been quicker if she had gone to Tate’s that night.

13. PATTY DUKE LEARNED TO EMBRACE THE FILM.

Of all of the characters in the movie, Duke’s Neely is the most over-the-top. “I used to be embarrassed by it," Duke said in a 2003 interview. "I used to say very unkind things about it, and through the years there are so many people who have come to me, or written me, or emailed who love it so, that I figured they all can’t be wrong." She eventually appreciated the camp factor. “I can have fun with that,” she said. “And sometimes when I’m on location, there will be a few people who bring it up, and then we order pizza and rent a VCR and have a Valley night, and it is fabulous.”

14. LEE GRANT DOESN’T THINK IT’S THE WORST MOVIE EVER MADE.

In 2000, Grant, Duke, and Parkins reunited on The View. “It’s the best, funniest, worst movie ever made,” Grant stated. She then mentioned how she and Duke made a movie about killer bees called The Swarm. “Valley of the Dolls was like genius compared to it,” Grant said.

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6 Tips From Experts on How to Fake Loving a Gift You Hate
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In this season of holiday giving, it's almost inevitable that you're going to get a gift you just don't like—and nobody wants to hurt another person's feelings when they went to the trouble of buying you a gift. So as you struggle to say thanks for that gaudy scarf from a beloved relative, or that stinky perfume from a well-meaning coworker, we bring you these tips from Jack Brown, a physician and body language expert from New York, and Alicia Sanders, a California-based acting coach with the conservatory program Starting Arts, for how to fake enjoyment—at least until you can exchange your gift at the store.

1. FIND ONE TRUE THING YOU CAN SAY.

Your inner voice may be saying "No!" the moment you peel pack that paper, but there may be a hidden yes inside you somewhere that you can mine for.

Sanders explains that the key to successful acting "is finding the truth in your scene." She encourages her students to tap into a moment when they felt the emotion they are trying to convey, for authenticity. "So you get an ugly sweater with a hideous shape and a terrible image, but you think the color blue is not so bad. You can say, ‘This color blue is so beautiful,' because it's truthful," she explains. The more you can find a real truth to speak from, "the more convincing you can be."

By opening with a grain of truth, you don't set yourself off on a chain of lies. "When you have to start to lie, that's when it's going to show through that you're an inexperienced actor, because you'll be more transparent," Sanders says.

2. WATCH YOUR HAND GESTURES.

However, faking joy runs deeper than just the words you speak. Sanders reminds us to think of what our hands are doing. "If you sit there statically, it feels like you're working too hard," she says.

Your hands can be a telltale giveaway that you don't really like a gift, according to Brown. People experiencing unhappy emotions tend to ball their hands into fists, tuck them against their bodies, or put them in their pockets. "If a person likes what they are getting, their arms and hands are going to go further out from the body, and tend to be more loose and relaxed," he says.

Similarly, we can reveal falsehood by touching our face or head, which often signals lying, anxiety, or discomfort, Brown says. People in these emotional states "tend to touch their face with one hand, and slowly. They might scratch near their eye, right in front of their ear, or their forehead."

Sanders suggests you put a hand on your chest or bring the gift closer to your body as a way of showing that you can stand to have it near you.

3. AVOID GIVING A FAKE SMILE …

Indeed, the gift-giver is most likely going to be looking at your face when they assess your reaction, so this is the canvas upon which you must work your most convincing efforts at false gratitude.

While you may think a bright smile is the perfect way to fake joy, Brown says smiling convincingly when you're feeling the opposite is not as easy. "Most people aren't good at it," he says.

A fake smile is obvious to the onlooker. These usually start at the corners of the mouth—often showing both top and bottom teeth, he points out. A sincere smile almost always just shows your top teeth, and begins more from the mid-mouth. Another giveaway of a fake smile is tension in the mid-face: "If you see someone with mouth tension, where the mouth opening gets smaller, the person's got some anxiety there."

4. … AND USE YOUR EYES.

Smile with your eyes first, Brown advises. "Completely forget about your mouth," Brown instructs. "If you smile with your mouth first, you're absolutely going to mess up."

And be sure to make eye contact, which Sanders says is "crucial to convince someone that you like their present."

But keep in mind that there are degrees of appropriate eye contact if you want to look natural. "If the eye contact is too little or too much, it'll feel like it's not sincere," Brown says. You want to be sure to avoid a stare—which can feel "predatory or romantic," he explains. Instead, make "a kind of little zig-zagging motion that people have when they look around a face."

5. SKIP THE CLICHÉS.

As you unwrap your unwanted gift and have a moment of unpleasant surprise, you may be tempted to reach for the simplest phrase, such as "awesome," which Brown calls "a one-word cliché" that tries to convey a happiness you don't really feel. Brown says this is a no-no, too: "If you use a cliché, your body language will parallel that."

Instead, eliminate canned words and phrases from your repertoire, he urges, "because then you'll think more about what you're going to say."

Aunt Suzie will also notice if your voice is strained or you have to clear your throat before choking out a "thanks." But how do you convincingly soften your tone of voice so that your words sound as authentic as they can?

Back to acting. Sanders suggests mining your own personal happy experiences for honest emotional content; you may be seeing an ugly sweater you'll never wear but thinking of those prized theater tickets you received another year.

Brown, meanwhile, recommends you think of your favorite comedians; they're good at improvisation, and are often laughing or smiling. "When you do that, you're getting yourself in a better emotional state," Brown says. "Or you can think about a funny time in your own personal life."

A mental rehearsal before you get a gift is a good idea too. Brown says you can imagine a gift that this person could realistically have gotten you and draw on the joy of that imagined gift instead.

6. NOW, DO ALL OF THIS AT ONCE.

If you aren't completely overwhelmed yet, keep in mind you must try to get these small communications by your eyes, mouth, hands, language, and tone in alignment with one another. Brown calls this "paralanguage."

"If they're not congruent, if they don't all line up, then you're not going to come across as sincere," Brown says.

If all of this advice has you contorting yourself into a state of confusion, Brown says that if you remember nothing else, just smile with your eyes. You might just fake it until you make it.

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