90210 Writers, You've Been Served!

As this blog's two loyal readers know, I'm an unapologetic fan of Beverly Hills, 90210, even in the face of frequent ridicule from my friends. SOAPNet recently ran through the end of the series in reruns and started over at the beginning of Season 1, so I've been Tivo'ing the episodes and reliving the excitement that was my 9th grade Wednesday nights, only this time I have a real girlfriend who's not from church or from Canada.

It's always stuck in my craw that 90210's writers tried to wring extra years out of the characters' high school experiences. We got three years of the kids at West Beverly, which means we're meant to believe (retroactively) that in Season 1 all the main characters were sophomores.

As I've long maintained, this is ridiculous for any number of reasons: Andrea is the editor-in-chief of the West Beverly Blaze (apparently a full-time job, judging from how much time she spends in the office); Steve Sanders gets mocked for hitting on freshmen; everyone makes fun of youngster David Silver and his hapless straight-brim-hatted friend Scott (whose parents wouldn't let him attend sex-ed classes and who eventually became a cautionary tale by shooting himself in the face); Dylan McKay is approximately 34 years old.

As strong as my feelings are on this subject, I've always had to admit that my evidence -- though I certainly found it convincing -- was circumstantial. Until now, that is. Because today I was watching an episode entitled "One Man and a Baby," and Brandon said he was a junior. A junior! Not a sophomore! Ha! THE SHOW'S WRITERS ARE LIARS AND NOW I CAN PROVE IT!!!

I only wish there was someone I could take to court over this.

Instead, I called TMC and told him about my discovery, and he promptly called me a loser. I suppose a bigger man than me might not use this opportunity to point out that TMC owns The Beverly Hillbillies box set on VHS, and Mona Lisa Smile on DVD.

Anyway, if you haven't already rolled your eyes and stopped reading this post, here are some other random observations from Season 1 of 90210 that you may or may not find interesting:

**The pilot features Dijmon Hounsou, the dude from Amistad and In America, as a bouncer; Alex Desert, from PCU and Swingers ("This place is dead anyway"), as Random Friend; and the guy from Grease 2 (Maxwell Caulfield) as Brenda's potential statutory rapist. (Oh, crap: did I just admit to being able to recognize the guy from Grease 2?)

**In an episode entitled "The Gentle Art of Listening," Brenda works at a teen help line, where she gets a call three nights in a row from the same girl. Each night, at the same time, by the same guy, the girl's been date raped. While I appreciate the show's attempt to tackle the Tough Issues, is this really how date rape works? Either way, Brenda does the sensible thing, which is to stalk a bunch of girls at school until she figures out who it is, then she confronts the victim in the hallway and yells at her. And somehow, in the show's moral universe, this makes her the episode's hero.

**It's interesting to think about how we saw wealth in 1991 versus how we see wealth in 2006. In 90210, we know the kids are wealthy because Steve Sanders drives a Corvette and the girls like to shop a lot. But compare that to The O.C., where everyone lives in a giant McMansion and the school has an espresso bar. Or, hell, compare it to real life, where people invite MTV to film their $100,000 Sweet Sixteen parties. The West Beverly kids' wealth seems downright quaint these days.

**I know people always make jokes about the actors being too old for the roles, but it really is ridiculous. Dylan has wrinkles and Andrea looks like a mother of three. I guess it doesn't help that they dress her like a fourth grade teacher.

**Brandon really is a total wet blanket. He basically walks around lecturing people, either on safe sex, or cheating, or drinking, even people he hardly knows. How did he not get punched in the face more often?


Jody said...

God, did this post give me a boner. Maxwel Caulfield AND Mona Lisa Smile in one post? Forget about it.

TMC said...

I'd just like to point out the following about Mike's slanderous comments:

1. The Beverly Hillbillies thing was a gift from my mother. A confusing gift, but still, a gift.

2. I had perfectly good reasons for, briefly, owning Mona Lisa Smile, and it was on VHS.

3. Mona Lisa Smile has since been destroyed to make room for What's Happenin' Season One.