“90210” Is Once Again On My DVR!

Beverly-Hills-90210-6

Weird as it may be, my high school could have a five-year reunion reunion! And that was the last time that I wrote about “90210.” It was during about a year-long stretch wherein I had access to SOAPnet and a DVR – a heady combination if ever there was one. I don’t remember exactly how many eps of “90210” aired a day, but the number was not small, as far as these things go.

Several years went by where I went cold turkey, as I had no access to “90210” for various reasons including, but not limited to, SOAPnet’s demise. But recently, it has made a blessed reappearance – or perhaps I’ve just noticed its appearance – on TVGN! As well as another network that I can’t think of right now (sorry, other network!).

The lineup was rather wild for a bit, like it was anyone’s guess which cast member David Silver was sleeping with on a day-to-day basis – Claire, Val, Donna after she finally gave it up in Season 7 (I think?), only to break up with him like a week later for forging her signature on a check.

Now, each network has settled on some major gloriosity in the forms of Season Two summer episodes and Season Three senior year. I’m back off the wagon, and it’s filled with laughter and tears – not always for reasons intended by the show :-D It’s been fun getting back on the “90210” roller coaster — here are some observations from the rewatch!

1. I really dig Cindy Walsh.

It will never not be bizarre that I’m now a peer of “The Olds;” i.e., the teens’ parents, discluding Nat and Iris. I always forget whether Danny Drennan or Tara Ariano coined that term; both have written BRILLIANT recaps of the show. Now I’m the same age as The Olds. I can only hope that a) I have the mental and emotional fortitude to still go on hot-tub vacations when I get the $$$ and chance, and b) by the time I’m a peer of David’s grandparents, I too have rocking pool parties. But I digress from the point, which is that Cindy is awesome. Aside from that weird Season One storyline where she almost hooks up with that guy from her past, she is like, constantly just a good person. Probably my favorite Cindy moment is when she writes that letter to Dylan, urging him to make the first move in repairing his relationship with Jim, and come to the wedding that she graciously agreed to host for Jackie and that cheating bastard Mel.

2. TVGN commercials > SOAPnet’s.

I’m a messy person who likes things to be clean and at least relatively neat. I’m also a huge procrastinator. But over the years, I’ve found varying degrees of success with a system: I put on something dramatic and cheesy – a Lifetime movie or a “90210” usually – and clean during the commercials. If I get into the cleaning and miss a scene or two, no biggie, and hearing it in the background is oddly soothing. But as a result, I’ve heard/seen a lot of commercials targeted towards my specific demographic. Many are downright horrifying. Whereas SOAPnet ads filled me with rage, TVGN’s seem to have some sassiness and pizzazz to them. A self awareness rather than a pandering, which I appreciate if someone’s going to try and sell me laundry detergent. Perhaps I just prefer today’s advertising climate; perhaps I’ve mellowed, but I definitely enjoy cleaning kitty litter more these days.

3. I’ll (almost) never pick a post-Season Four episode over a pre-.

I love Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, and I love Valerie. Had she been in any S1-4 episode, it would probably be my favorite one. As it is, she’s my favorite part of the latter half of “90210.” But I just need my Brenda. And it’s not just that. I adored Kelly and love Jennie Garth, but once Brenda left the show, they to paraphrase Danny Drennan (for sure, this time!), totally saintified Kelly and it was uber-annoying. And it’s like, enough with the fashion shows. Not to mention the business plots. Speaking of which:

4. Aaron Spelling clearly though that teenagers were as interested in big business as he was.

Granted, I’m not the most shining example of monetary success. Perhaps I should have been taking notes during Jim Walsh/Dylan scenes, rather than playing with my cat and/or heating up Lean Cuisines. But holy moley! I always remembered that the latter half of this show consisted largely of people buying the Peach Pit After Dark from each other, but even the early seasons are full of financial intrigue!

5. Have I mentioned that I love Brenda?

Because I do. But I will also say that watching her dropped-jaw, tearstained face has been an excellent exercise in self-examination and humility, seeing as I am not 17 anymore :o

6. The first summer episodes RULE.

I was aware of the post-Season One summer episodes since before I even watched the show. They were savvy marketing, as they aired during a time before TV on DVD, before the Internet, before quite as many networks as we have nowadays. While most channels were airing reruns, Fox showed new episodes of a hot television show, all beach-themed, to boot! It was brilliant. But I realize in 2014 that I didn’t realize how brilliant, back in the day. This is I think when they officially started the transition from ‘80s Afterschool Special to soap opera. And for awhile, that transition was freaking fantastic. Speaking of WHICH:

7. The Brenda/Dylan/Kelly love triangle is still so awesome.

Brenda’s reaction to the phone call with Dylan and subsequent conversation with her parents, where Jim tells her she can’t go to the party – I still FEEL that, all these years later. It’s like, she knows her doom is being sealed, because Kelly gets to go to the party! And can I just say: What a dickhead Dylan was! Albeit hilarious, because it truly takes the most unmigitated of all the galls to sit across from two best friends and tell them that they are crazy for making you choose between them. Speaking of which, I did not realize back in the day, how heavy the threesome jokes were in that scene.

8. I still don’t know how to feel about Dylan McKay, overall.

One of my friends, back in the day went to a diner and trolled his friends by suddenly speaking to the manner as if he were Dylan. I wasn’t there, but the idea of it still makes me laugh, and now when Dylan gets especially mutter- and posture-y, it’s all I can think of. This very morning, he whispered a line that was so quintessential. Never believe yourself when you think, “It’s okay, I’ll just remember.” I didn’t write it down and now I’m mad, because it was so PERFECT!

Anyway. My boyfriend said a few days ago, that Dylan was his favorite of all the dudes. I respect his opinion, and it really made me like Dylan more, Josh’s seal of approval. But still, Dylan’s “You’re not in my bed, so why shouldn’t [insert other chick [so to speak]] be?” really grates. Just because your two gorgeous would-be girlfriends are asking you to choose between them (!!!) doesn’t mean you get to go off and sleep with a MILF rancher, especially if it means that she tells her life story for half the episode, only never to be seen again.

9. Jim Walsh scenes are actually kind of interesting, if you view them as part of the overall Shakespeareanness that was this show.

Nothing more to add.

10. I’m grateful that “90210” exists.

One day, Kelly’s eyebrows are all over the place and the next? Nowhere to be seen. That is only one example of how “90210” reminds all of us in “The graduating class of Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Three” and thereabouts that time is fleeting. But it’s really fun to look back on the old days and wonder why no one with curly hair ever parts her hair to the side, lets her bangs fall to the chin, and puts the rest of it back a scrunchie anymore. That was a really pretty hairstyle IMO, even if “Sex and the City” + society demand that we scrap the scrunchie part. NIKKI 4EVA!

*** More “90210” blogs! ***

The “90210” Survival Guide

The “90210” High School Graduation Recap

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On Days Like This

On days like this, time seems to fall away. The sun is at this one place in the sky, and everything looks golden, as if it were an episode of “Wonder Years.”

It’s almost Fall and I see my hair in the mirror, think “Wow, it hasn’t looked this specific brand of shitty since 1989,” and then I cry because wait, isn’t it still 1989?

I have no idea when I got older. All I know is that it’s not going to stop, until it does.

On days like this, I remember so hard, how it used to feel, in September. All the school supplies were fresh and new, waiting to be filled with notes of a dedicated student, while there was still time, before the inevitable ennui.

The air would be less hot; the trees would get more yellow, and it was my own personal spring time.

On days like this, Grandparents Day, I can’t believe that all four of mine are no longer here. They were for so long, and that means that my death is closer too.

Then I feel guilty, on days like this, for getting sad instead of gathering rosebuds while I may.

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5 Reasons to Watch “Girl Fight” (2011)

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It is no secret that I love Lifetime movies, the more mockworthy the better. So I was fully unprepared for how genuinely good “Girl Fight” was. Perhaps it started out as not a TV movie? Not that TV movies can’t be genuinely good, but it was startling, how much I genuinely enjoyed a Lifetime movie in a non-ironic way. While I didn’t get my cheesy fix, I was so glad to have put this on my DVR.

 

5 Reasons to Watch “Girl Fight”

 

1. The Cast

Jodelle Ferland who plays Haley, the lead girl who is a victim of an attack at the hands of her friends (so she thought), is an absolutely lovely young actress. She is so engaging and believable in a role that had to be tough to play. Anne Heche and James Tupper are fantastic as the parents. Linda Darlow is absolutely wonderful as Mary Lou, the grandmother and guardian of the queen bee and ringleader of the girls who attack Haley. All of those girls are really good and very believable, as well. It was rough material they were given, and I thought everyone did an excellent job of bringing humanity to her role, despite the varying inner ugliness of the individual girls.

2. The Sociological Examination

The attack, which was based on a real-life story, was extremely brutal. And they show a lot of it. While the girls claim it is vengeance over a Facebook post Haley made, it really is about their getting 15 minutes of fame on the Internet, as they videotape the entire, excruciating half hour. After the media catches wind, a frenzy ensues that the girls enjoy, despite being in trouble. In that way, “Girl Fight” reminded me of “Funny Games,” as it seems to encourage the audience to question our own level of guilt in feeding a voyeuristic culture.

3. The Pacing

It is rare that even the better Lifetime movies remain interesting in the second half. “Girl Fight” was engaging throughout. I actually didn’t want it to end; it was so engrossing. It brought a lot of urgency to the scenes that called for it, but took its time letting us get to know the characters. Which in turn, made the urgent scenes feel that much more personal.

4. The Dialogue

By that, I mean the dialogue I think that “Girl Fight” encourages. If I had kids around Haley’s age, I’d want to watch this movie with them. There is so much going on in terms of how chaotic life can be as a teen, especially with all of the social media. The value of friendship and choosing loyalty and kindness over popularity is highlighted, but never preachy. And it’s a good reminder that even though we as adults might still feel like we’re teenagers, or at least like it wasn’t that long ago, we don’t actually know what it feels like to be a teenager now. Haley says as much to Anne Heche at one point, who rather than get all butthurt and huffy, realizes that Haley’s right and gently says, “Why don’t you tell me?”

5. The Ending

I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s awesome and surprising and it made me realize that us old chicks sometimes can learn a lot from people half our age.

 

Thanks to everyone involved with making this movie, and to the family on which it is based, for sharing their story.

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Trowsers Rolled

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

~ T.S. Eliot

When I was a kid, every year on New Year’s at midnight, I had a tradition. I’d say, “Next year, I’ll be ten!” For example. My birthday’s in August, so on January 1st, the idea of leaping two numbers in age filled me with joy and excitement.

This last January 1st, I had a stunning and unsettling revelation. “Next year, I’ll be 40!”

Holy…I try not to swear so much in my blogs now, but please insert many “#$##@*&!” words above.

Because, wtf.

I could win a “Degrassi” trivia contest right now.

I own and sport more “Hello, Kitty” items than can be counted on two hands.

I still wish that Glintz and Brights exist when I’m in the hair dye aisle. That I’ve been fiddling with hair color since I was 13 helps me remain in blissful ignorance as to whether my hair is gray or not.

It’s stupid, I know, to fret about such things. The phrase “Do not resent growing old – many are denied the privilege” is a pretty serious and all-too-true sentiment.

Five months after I started blogging, I wrote this.

It was scary to turn 30. As a former actress, I knew that I was entering the First Decade of Undesirability. Ridiculous I know, but my clinical nature had to accept facts as facts. I also had always appreciated the idea that Jenny Lewis sang about: “…to give things their turn.” I’d lived through my kid years, teenagedom, my 20s. Now it was time for others to do that, to show up to casting calls as 20-somethings who could pass for late teens.

And it was all good. My 30th birthday was one of the most special nights of my life. Babz & Company had set up my regular karaoke-night bar with streamers, balloons, and a hell of a “Surprise!”

I wrote more than one blog about how age stuff is stupid, and being in your 30s is awesome. How silly to fear a new decade, I said.

But now as I approach another new decade, I’m intimidated.

It’s not because women in their 40s can’t rock it out. My boss is in her early 40s, and I’m hardpressed to think of a more badass woman, not to mention that she is gorgeous. My former coworker and friend is in her 40s as well – same sentiment. When my mother was in her 40s, I got annoyed when she complained about age, as she was awesome, as well. (Still is, but I’m going for a theme here.)

It’s more about the fact that I don’t even have my shit together in the slightest bit. When I turned 30, life still felt like a potential smörgåsbord.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”

Maybe I didn’t dare enough, in my 30s. Because I’m still a waitress (the office work I do is more of a favor to me than anything else). I have no kids, and it’s possible now that I may never, due simply to time’s passing and also, science.

Yet I personally know at least one woman who had a baby at 40, and that baby is awesome.

In 1999, I was the resident ingénue in a repertoire theater. I remember thinking that when I was in my 40s, I wanted to be just like a couple of the actresses with whom I worked. Getting older wouldn’t be bad at all, if I could wear little clips in my hair that looked like butterflies, and invite people over to a home that was chock-full of art.

I remember being in my late 20s. “Desperate Housewives” was all the rage, and “40 (was) the new 20.”

It was comfortable feeling that way, that it wouldn’t be bad to be in my 40s, when I was in my 20s.

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
…And in short, I was afraid.

When I was 19, I met several amazing people in Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont. It was pre-Internet, so staying in touch meant writing letters. There was one guy, Ethan, with whom I became friends. He was cute, but our relationship was not romantic, more about sharing ideas and Heavy Thoughts (TM “Lucas”) that usually didn’t come up in daily conversation with our teenaged peers.

The year after I met Ethan, I used to write out poems by hand that I thought were cool, and mail them to him, because he always Got It. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was my personal poem of the time. It was all about getting older, and life, and wisdom! At 19, I totally understood.

The summer that I turned 25, I was finishing up my uber-useful English BA, and took an intensive course on Hopkins, Yeats, and Eliot. Now that I was insanely older, I ruffled the virtual hair of my once-19-year-old self, and realized how much deeper T.S. Eliot’s words were than I ever could have appreciated, back when I was a kid.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo

I don’t talk to Ethan any more. No bad reason, it just doesn’t happen. I went on with life, and was a fantastic student — 4.0 GPA, baby!

In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions that a minute will reverse.

The second summer that I hung out with Ethan, we watched “My Girl 2” in his time-share.

“How sad,” I thought then, regarding the suckiness of the sequel. That summer of ’95, I was about to turn 20 and thought I’d finally, at last, figured it out. Poor Anna Chlumsky. So sad how her promising stardom was fading.

Nowadays, that poor sad sack is getting nominated for awards and stealing scenes from Julia Louis-Dreyfus – a feat that I literally did not think was possible; JLD is my comedic goddess.

Ms. Chlumsky’s not in her 40s. But JLD was when she rocked out as Christine in my favorite sitcom of all time, next to “Friends.”

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas

^^^ Perhaps^^^

But in the meantime, there are decisions, revisions, mermaids – all sorts of things to attend to. I think that the thing that scares me most about turning 40 is the realization that time really does run out. Better get to stepping.

And probably read Hamlet, while I’m at it.

 

 

 

 

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Hewlett’s Landing

Inside, there is yellow squash. There are Freihofer’s cookies, better than Entenmann’s and always on top of the refrigerator.

Even when Nanny and Pop-Pop weren’t there, they were there. Nanny tried so hard to act as the homemaker, even though part of her charm was that she wasn’t one.

At night, we went to bed in the random spare room. As “home” as Lake George felt, night-time was always weird. As the weeping willow swayed around, as the lake waited for us kids and our tuna-fish sandwiches, because the beach sometimes means other places than the ocean.

Tomorrow, we’d be back. Before then, cars would climb over the bridge. Minnows would suicide their way to the shore. Crowds would be full of families, before I realized how precious the time was.

There were epic bike rides. There was water, and holding onto the slimy and slippery dock, should you be badass enough.

But once you made it to shore, your grandparents would be there. All would be well. Things would make sense. Nanny would know to pair tuna fish with Miracle Whip and celery.

It is so weird that it can’t happen again.

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Unpacking

I still haven’t unpacked from my trip to New York and my grandmother’s funeral, which was three weeks ago.

The night I got back, it was late and I was exhausted and very emotional. I did take a few things out that I’d brought from Nanny’s, to make it feel like rather than having left the house, and rather than having Nanny be gone, I’d simply taken part of it and part of her back to Colorado. Maybe my current apartment could help represent the beautiful home she’d made back in Merrick.

But three weeks later, it’s mostly still scattered about the futon. My parents had taken things I couldn’t fit in my suitcase in the car with them, as they’d made a road trip home rather than fly. The day my mother gave all that to me – mostly beautiful capes that I will wear with pride and tears this winter – I couldn’t even deal at all. I just put the breakable things in the garage, high enough so that if we flood this summer, they will be safe. The capes are still in my trunk.

I think there is a completely irrational part of me that’s been feeling like if I just leave everything as it is for now, somehow it will go back to the way it was.

While every inch of Nanny’s house was filled with memories, there was only one thing I knew for sure that I wanted, so long as my aunt was okay with it: a banner of a blonde boy and girl. I doubt that “banner” is the right word, but it’s what I knew it as. It was Austrian and from Stowe, Vermont, but I didn’t know that either. I always just knew that it was on the door of “my” room when I was little, what later became the plant room, and later still, Nanny’s bedroom when she could no longer do stairs.

I don’t think that I’d ever seen that door without the banner on it. So even though I knew I wanted it, I couldn’t take it down and put it in my suitcase while I was staying there. My mother finally took it down quickly and quietly on the morning that we left for JFK Airport.

So the banner was part of what Mom gave me when she got back. But when I was putting the other things away in my garage, I simply couldn’t do that to the banner. It should always be hanging, never hidden. So I put it up on a nail, for now.

And soon it will be hanging proudly in a home again, once I pull it together and put everything away. Keeping things messy in my own home doesn’t mean that Nanny’s won’t get sold. Keeping my suitcase on the floor of the spare room won’t transplant me back to New York. Even if I could move back to New York tomorrow, holding my breath and clicking my heels won’t bring her back. New York will always be my home, but it will never be the same.

In the meantime, I have a pretty great home, and a life to live out here right now. “Growing old is not for sissies,” Nanny always said, and neither is growing up.

Nanny’s home was always filled with so much life – flowers, pictures and figurines of smiling children, Santa Claus soaps at Christmas. She gave that of herself, to us. She was not a fussy homemaker, but a joyful one.

I won’t let three weeks become four, like this. By next Sunday, everything will be put in its place, and the banner will be hanging not in the garage, but on the door to the spare room, the way it should. And when I clean, I’m not going to get upset at myself for letting it stay messy. I’m going to think, WWND?, and act accordingly.

Heart-shaped-box

Ready to Fly

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Let Me Take You On an Escapade

The last gift I remember getting from both my Nanny and Pop-Pop Posch was a golden vest from Escapade in the Baldwin Shopping Center on Grand Avenue.

Usually Nanny would be in charge of the gifts, and always skewed younger. Every little girl with blonde hair reminded her of me – I know this because she told me approximately 159,000 times in 39 years. Which is not to complain, but mourn that there will not be time number 159,001.

My childhood bedrooms, later adult apartments, and sometimes in the leaner years, storage spaces, were filled with figurines and cards featuring blonde little girls that Nanny never stopped giving me until just this past year. There was a period in my tween years, before we called it tween and just called it awkward, where I think that I feared she wished I would stay young and cute, all while I fought zits, terrible hair, and the overall ‘80s onslaught.

Except that her “action gifts” always fit not just my age but me to like, the nth degree.

When I expressed interest in musical theater at 12, she organized a day with Pop-Pop to take me to see “Into the Woods” in Port Jefferson. Afterwards, we walked along the water, then went to Friendly’s. Friendly’s was something I’d always put on the list. Nanny would always ask me to make a list of things I wanted to do with her and Pop-Pop on the days they watched me when I was little. So no matter how old I got, she always tried to work Friendly’s into the mix.

When I was turning 14, she took me to aforementioned-Escapade. As I traveled on foot and by Mom’s and friends’ moms’ cars, I’d not ventured much out of Baldwin Harbor, various malls, and Tri-County Flea Market, shopping-wise.

Nanny and (probably unwittingly but always willing to get outside his comfort zone for family) Pop-Pop changed my shopping world that day. Nanny was SO excited – an Escapade hipster! – as she showed me this tiny, yet super-cool and also kind of affordable little clothing store. As she pointed out, it was either a walk or a bus ride away.

So that summer, I learned how to ride the bus (though I did walk sometimes!). Nanny may have been Depression-era and a traditional lady, but man did she have sassy independence. When I got married in ’03, she handed me a five-dollar bill and told me that her mother always said that a woman needed to have her own money. In her stories of later years, she laughed about how desperately my Pop-Pop and everyone around her wanted to get married, but she just wasn’t ready yet.

Eventually she was. Eventually they got married, and had a beautiful life with two kids and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors – so many people, who just loved them with all of their hearts.

Mine included. And I’m going to keep telling stories about my Nanny, hoping to keep her memory alive while also hoping that she’s up in Heaven dancing away with my Pop-Pop, who according to my aunt, only learned how to dance because he was a simultaneous perfectionist and doting partner.

To be continued :)

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