Weird as it may be, my high school could have a five-year reunion reunion! 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 😀 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, Nat — the ones befallen by middle age. 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 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 😮
6. The first summer episodes RULE.
I was aware of the post-Season One summer episodes since before I even watched the show. While most channels were airing reruns, Fox got savvy and showed new episodes of a hot television show, all beach-themed, to boot! It was brilliant. 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 waiter 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!
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