Thursday, July 7, 2011

9021-OMG it's 1990!

I have watched the first two seasons of Beverly Hills, 90210 and have decided to share my viewing experience with you. (Aren't you lucky?)  

When this showed first aired, I was still in elementary school, so I never watched it as I was obviously too young and also I wasn't aware of it. Of course as I got older, I was aware of the show, but didn't watch it because I had no interest in it. And now that the new version is out, I'm too old to watch it (though I still do, haha). Even though the old one was still on when I was in high school, all the characters had moved on to college...or wherever. Basically I've never been the same as as a West Beverly Hills High alum.

It took me a few episodes to really get into the show, and I'll admit it: at first I thought the new version was better (after all, the clothes and electronics and themes were more updated), but I like the original show much more. The problem with the new version is that the characters aren't very likable and have too much freedom (like Naomi, the seventeen year old who lives alone in this huge mansion - what the hell?) The original was a lot more realistic. Sure, these kids were rich too, but they acted like normal kids for the most part and seemed to be a lot more grounded. They also seem more likable - at least for now. The problems and issues in the first season seem pretty lame compared to those that were in the first season of the new show, but I'm sure the series will get more dramatic as it continues on.

The show is mostly centered around twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh who move to Beverly Hills from Minneapolis with their parents. (Their friends call them the Minnesota Twins - get it?) I joke about it with my brother and his wife because they live in Minneapolis and told them how Brenda proclaimed, "Ever since we moved to Beverly Hills, our life has been so much more complicated than it ever was in Minnesota!" They got a kick out of that. 

I'll give a little synopsis of all the main characters. I should mention they're all sophomores except for David Silver who's a freshman. 
Brandon's storylines mostly centered around his crush of the week including one of the most popular girls at school (who we never saw again after the first episode), the niece of his housekeeper (well it wasn't really her niece, but it's a long story), this senior who has a -GASP- baby, and a bitchy actress from Brenda's favorite TV show who was only trying to make her ex jealous. His other storylines deal with him getting a job at the Peach Pit, throwing a party with his sister when their parents go out of town and getting pissed drunk and thrown into jail when he's driving and hits another car. 

Brenda is your typical teenage girl. She whines about everything and is dramatic over everything, but for the most part she's pretty likeable. (In fact, shockingly, there weren't any characters that I flat out hated). She begins to date Dylan McKay who's the bad boy of the school and also one of Brandon's close friends. They do it on prom night and she tells him that she's "late".  To be continued...

Like I mentioned, Dylan is the bad boy and he's "bad news". But it's okay because he's super cool and sooo dreamy! He lives in a hotel that his parents own, but he never sees them because they're always out of the country. His dad is a drunk and he's had his own problems with alcohol in the past. The best Dylan moment of the first season was when he smashed a flower pot on the ground. My brother and sister-in-law were watching that episode with me and we all just started cracking up. Now if I ever see someone smashing a flower pot, I'll call it "pulling a Dylan McKay". Luke Perry was 25 when the show first started, but he wasn't the oldest of the group! 

Kelly Taylor is the most popular girl in school. She's not quite there yet, but she's almost bordering on bitch territory. There was still a sweetness to her (for the most part) in the first season. Her mom is a CRAZY alcoholic. We're talking crazy.  She used to date Steve Sanders, but now she's single. David Silver is in love with her, but she has a small crush on Brandon. They went to the prom together, but he told her her wasn't interested in her that way. 

Steve is the cool guy, who acts like a fool most of the time. Ian Ziering was 26 during the first season. My brother joked about it and there was this episode where he tries to pick up a guest speaker and pretends to be a teacher, she says, "I can't believe you've been teaching for five years!", my brother says, "I can!" Yeah...he really doesn't look like a 17/18 year old. At the end of the season he finds out he's adopted. 

I thought I would hate Donna, who's played by Tori Spelling, who's only on the show because of nepotism, but surprisingly I found Donna, albeit a little dumb, very likable and felt sorry for her sometimes because we find out she has a "learning disability". She's a very minor character and hardly got her own storyline if ever.

The actress who played Andrea, the smart and nerdy girl who's the editor-in-chief of the school paper was 29 years old when she first started! A 29 playing a 17 year old! I mean, sure, she looks young...but not that young.  Andrea is mostly friends with Brandon because they work on the Blaze together, but does hang out with Brenda and Kelly sometimes, but she's not that close with them. She has a crush on Brandon and when she found out that his family was moving back to Minnesota, proposed that he sleep with her. AWKWARD. They didn't go through with it though, because the Walsh family stayed in BH. (Duh).

And then we have David Silver who's played by Brian Austin Green aka Mr. Megan Fox. His wife was only four years old when the show started! David has a nerdy sidekick, but we don't see much of him (more about him later!) At 17, he was the youngest when he started the show, so he's the closest to his character's age. David has a huge crush on Kelly and wants to hang out with the cool guys like Steve.  He didn't really have any major storylines this season besides getting to be the school DJ and trying to call MC Hammer to see if he could sing at their prom. Oh, the '90s!

The first season dealt with such issues as rape, teen moms, alcoholism, AIDS, sex, gun control (an episode Matthew Perry guest starred!), fitting in, cheating on tests, and shoplifting.

The fashion was hilariously bad, especially the prom dresses. Andrea wore this awful white dress with puffy sleeves. It seemed like all the jeans the females wore made them look fat even though they weren't. There were a lot of teased bangs and Luke Perry had a pompadour. The technology is hilariously out-dated. Nobody carries around a cell phone - it's all pay phones for these rich kids! Though when we do see a cell phone, it's one of those huge ones. The PCs are a thing of the past. Oh, and Pretty Woman was the big movie of that year because there were tons of references to it. Donna tells Brenda and Kelly, "Sometimes I wish I could be a hooker on Hollywood Boulevard just so I can meet Richard Gere!" Oh, Donna. 

Now here's what happened to the characters during their sophomore season when they became juniors:

Brenda: When we last left off, Brenda thought she was pregnant because she was "late". The premier episode has her buying a home pregnancy test. I guess it must have been only a scare because they never bring it up again. She and Dylan decide they're gong too fast and break up, but they get back together in the middle of the season, but then her dad forbids her to see him anymore after she goes to Mexico with Dylan for a day and a half after she's been told she can't go. She gets caught when they're crossing the border and are one of the cars who are pulled over. Brenda doesn't have any form if ID (even though she is clearly an American citizen) and they have to call one of her parents to come vouch for her.

One night while she's at the Peach Pitt after it's closed and waiting for Dylan and Brandon to take out the trash, some guy comes in with a gun and robs the place and she keeps having nightmares about it and has to confront her fears and identify him in a police lineup.
Brandon: - This season ran a little long because they had a special summer series of episode. During this time, Brandon quits his job at the Peach Pit and gets a job as a cabana boy at the Beverly Hills Beach Club because it pays more and he needs the money to buy a car. His boss is Chief Weber from Grey's Anatomy. During the summer he becomes a Big Brother for a young boy who's getting beaten by his mother. His mother gets help and we never hear from either of them again. Brandon also makes friends with a new boy who's hired to take photographs for their paper and his sister who goes to school in her old neighborhood. When one of their other neighbors was telling Mrs. Walsh about these new neighbors with a snooty look on her face I knew they were black, and sure enough they were. The girl's boyfriend is assaulted by the police when he comes by to talk her and this inspires Brandon to write a piece about racial issues in The Blaze. We never see this family again even though the son is the school's photographer and the school goes back to being lilly white. Fun fact: Vivica A. Fox played the daughter.

The biggest storyline for Brandon was his relationship with Emily Valentine.
 She is one psycho bitch and one bad actress. When she first arrives, the girls label her a slut because she goes on a date with Dylan and Brandon. (Separately, of course). Even though this is during their time off period, Brenda is very jealous. Emily ends up dating Brandon and at first everything is all good, but then she slips E4EA (that's euphoria in case you were wondering) into Brandon's drink at an underground party they all attend and they get a ride from one of their friends leaving Brandon's new car which gets stripped of all its parts. This righty infuriates Brandon that Emily slipped him drugs when he specifically told her he didn't want them and tells her he's breaking up with her, but Emily begins to stalk him by calling his home numerous times and hanging up and leaving a cake on his front step and stealing his clothes and sneaking into his room. She even almost burns down a float the gang is building but is stopped by Brenda just after she's poured the gasoline all over it. Finally, she knows she needs help and goes to a mental hospital. Except for a time when Brandon visits her during Christmas, we never see her again.

Brandon has a near-death experience when he and the gang go camping to Yosemite and after spending a miserable rainy night in their cabin, the next morning he and Dylan go hiking and because Brenda forgot to pack his hiking boots (I forget why it was her responsibility), Brandon's not wearing the best shoes for hiking and because it had rained the night before, the trails are a little slick, and because he's an idiot, Brandon is walking on the edge of a cliff and slips off and is hanging onto a rock with one arm until Dylan comes and saves him from falling thousands of feet. Now I've never been to Yosemite, but I would image they would have signs warning people not to go near the edges of cliffs or be careful if the trail is slippery...just a thought.

Brandon does return working at the Peach Pit once summer is over and he finds out that the company his dad is working for wants to tear the Pit down so they can build a mall and he gets mad at his dad for ruining Nat's life. But the deal falls through and the Pit is saved. It's a good thing too because it's a historical landmark! Did you know that Steve McQueen and Marilyn Monroe used to eat there? It's true!

Kelly: Kelly's mother, who was a drunk floozy in the last season has gotten her shit together and is now dating, to Kelly's dismay, David Silver's father. She ends up pregnant (which will end up being Erin Silver who's now in 90210: The New Class) and marries Mr. Silver in the season finale. (Kelly likes him by then).

Kelly wears a revealing witch dress at the Halloween party and nearly gets raped by some perv but is rescued when Donna and Brenda walk in on them and Brenda tells her, "Kelly, I told you something like this would happen." Geeze, Brenda, you don't have to be such a bitch about it. 

Kelly goes out with a guy named Kyle and when the date is a disater he confesses to her that he's gay. She keeps his secret, but I imagine it will come out next season...
Dylan: I already mentioned Dylan's and Brenda's nauseating on again/off again relationship, but I haven't mentioned where Dylan took Brenda for their Valentine's date: to the hospital to donate blood. Really, McKay, really? Like, that's not totally creepy at all and sooo romantic.

We meet Dylan's mom and she is a flaky new-agey type who Dylan can't stand. After that one appearance, we never see her again for the rest of the season.

Even though he had a few bouts with alcoholism, he has managed to stay sober for the rest of the season, but after getting an argument with Brenda's dad about not being able to see Brenda anymore, I fear that he is going to turn for the worst. He's been going to AA meetings and he meets a girl named Sarah that he saved from nearly drowning in the ocean from the first season. Like Emily Valentine, Sarah is also an awful actress and gets mad at him when he turns down her advances.

Last season Dylan threw a flower pot in a fit of angry rage. This season he smashed a bottle of wine in a fit of angry rage. I laughed both times.
Andrea: Technically Andrea shouldn't go to West Beverly Hills High School because she doesn't live in the school district, so she has to use her grandma's address and pretend she lives there. Something happens where she gets an award for the paper and the press is going to come by her house to interview her, but of course they think she lives with her grandma and so she has to pretend she does, but her grandma doesn't want to lie, but in the end, she does lie so Andrea won't get kicked out of the school.

During the summer Andrea takes a drama class with Brenda, Donna, and David and she and Brenda have a crush on their teacher, 24-year-old Mr. Suitor (This was during the time Brenda and Dylan weren't together) and Brenda gets jealous when Mr. Suitor "chooses" Andrea, but when Andrea learns that he's moving to L.A. from Chicago and bringing his girlfriend with him, she kicks him out of her house.

David: David starts dating Donna even though he's a sophomore and the rest of the gang are juniors. What a huge age difference! His big thing is that he's slowly starting to go down the path of being a full-fledged alcoholic.

Now that he's dating Donna and he and Kelly are stepsiblings, David became a part of the gang. He realizes he has nothing in common anymore with his friend, Scott, who spent the summer in Oklahoma. The show must have realized that Scott wasn't an integral part of the show anymore so they killed him off when he's twirling his dad's gun around his finger and tells David to "watch this" and accidently shoots himself in the stomach. Did I mention this happened on his 16th birthday? Ouch. They could have at least given his death a little more weight by making it a suicide instead of having him die in such a stupid and pathetic manner. Scott didn't have many friends, was considered a "loser", and was even having arguments with David in the last days of his life, so the potential for a suicide for this character was definitely there. My favorite part of the episode was after Scott had died and everyone kept coming up to David and asking how he was. When he and Brandon are talking in the room where he does the morning announcements, the mike was on so everyone heard what he said. He said he was sick of people asking him how he was doing and how they felt bad that that they had ignored Scott or how they should've been nicer to him, etc. David says something to the effect of, "It's not how you treat someone after they die; it's how you should treat them when they're alive." Now the writing on this show may not be the strongest, but I will admit, that kind of got to me. Scott is never mentioned again after the episode.
Donna: Like I mentioned, Donna is now dating David and her friends give her grief because she's dating a "younger man". :::rolls eyes:::

Donna's big story doesn't come up until the near the end of the season. When she, David, Kelly, and Brenda sneak into a hotel, she sees her mom there kissing another man who clearly isn't her dad when her mom had told her she would be at a conference. They get into a huge fight, but make up by the end of the show and now Donna's parents are getting a divorce.

Now you may be asking yourself, why were Donna, David, Kelly, and Brenda sneaking into a hotel? Even if you don't care, I'm going to tell you because it's too good not to. They find out that Color Me Badd - yes, you heard me right - Color Me Badd is staying there while on tour. Now you young'uns might be asking, "Who or what is Color Me Badd?" Well, I will answer that to the best of my knowledge. Color Me Badd was a popular group (circa 1991-92) consisting of four really fugly dudes in their early twenties (even though they looked older). There was a white guy, a black guy, a Hispanic guy, and I'm guessing the fourth one was a Jewish guy cuz he had a Jew-fro going on. None of them were even the slightest big attractive. They were skeevy-looking guys who sang skeevy songs like 
I Wanna Sex You Up, their only song I know.

Fun fact: Donna's birthday is on Christmas.
Steve: I found it absolutely hilarious that Steve had these storylines where he was "too young" to acquire something he wanted/needed when Ian Ziering looked more the 27 years he was (if not older) than the 17 year old character he was supposed to be playing. There were a couple episodes where he tried to buy beer, but was refused because he looked "too young". (Yeah, right).

Last season Steve discovered he was adopted. (That seems a little late to tell your kid he's adopted when he's 
26 16 and when he tries to get information about his birth mother from the hospital where he was born in New Mexico, the nurse can't give it to him because he's not old enough. :::snort::: He does eventually learn that his birth mother died in a car accident a few years back, but he does get to meet his biological grandfather. (Who knows if he'll ever come back again).

A few of Steve's storylines include dating a girl who's only using him for his money, getting pressured to use steroids by the other jocks, and having a rivalry with "Chuckie", the guy who used to play his mom's son on her TV show.

Okay, stay tuned for seasons 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. I'm just as excited as you are! 

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