Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The End Of An Era: Beverly Hills, 90210

Before I begin the real post, I have to say that I have more 90210 news, thanks once again to Jennie Garth and her fabulous Twitter account. Congratulations must go to Ian Ziering, aka the real life Steve Sanders, and his wife, who welcomed a baby girl a few days ago.

Firstly, I apologise for my absence of late. Me being me, I have a bunch of excuses, which I will outline for you later on, but I need to get this off my chest. I am, after all, having a crisis.

I was too young for Beverly Hills, 90210 when it first graced our screens in the nineties. I caught a few sneaky episodes when my parents were out of the room in later seasons, but it was pretty much a "big girl" show, and little ol' me was barred by the powers that be.

Thanks to the wonder of DVD and my local library, I've finally managed to watch this show. No, not "watch." That's too soft a word. More like "obsess over." I'm hooked -- hooked, I tell you! I've fallen in love with Brandon, fallen out of love with Dylan, looked up to Brenda, been thoroughly annoyed by Kelly, hated Silver, loved Silver (more on that later.) I'm a true 90210-phile. And now I'm up to the final disc of the final season.

 Sure, I haven't spent 10 years watching this show like obsessive 90210 fans of the appropriate age did, but this journey hasn't been a short one. In 2008, my library started collecting every season of the show up to season six, but being annoying and stupid, they broke them up into 2-disc parts and I had to borrow them individually, and trust me -- I could hardly ever get more than one of these parts at a time. I always had to wait for some schmuck to return it in order to find out what happened next. It was harrowing. I own a few seasons now, but still. Don't tell me I didn't put in the hard yards for these people.

But alas, I am almost done. It's almost over. And you guys, I'm sad about it. Empty. I mean, the show's nowhere as good as it was in the first few seasons. Shit, it's hardly the same show at all. So much has changed, so many characters have left, and so many have shown up seemingly out of nowhere, like certain ice-skating cousin/sisters nobody said a word about for eight seasons, but they're like a second family to me now. (Even the ice-dancing cousin/sister.) I can hardly believe that I won't be privy to their fabulous lives anymore. (And before you suggest it, let me say that I hate the new 90210 with a passion. That whole thing with Jackie Taylor, and Brenda coming back, and Kelly's baby daddy? Didn't happen. It's not canon. Just don't even talk to me about it.)

In honour of my final week as a 90210 viewer, I thought I'd take the time to share with you some of my favourite moments/characters/general 90210ness that I've enjoyed over the past ten seasons/three years of my life. Plus at the end, a bonus challenge for myself, and I suppose anyone else as insane as I. Are you ready? Here we go.

Although I have over 200 episodes to choose from, I have to make a decision, so here it is -- season three, episode 32: Commencement. I tossed up between this one and the prom episode, but this one wins out because of the ending. Andrea's valedictorian speech and Kelly's dad showing up and the ridiculous prank on the Hollywood sign, with the Triplets' 'Blood Is Thicker Than Water' playing in the background? So perfect. Perfecter than perfect.
Honourable Mention: Although I'm a purist at heart, I have to say that another of my favourite ever episodes actually comes from season ten -- Steve and Janet's wedding scavenger hunt. From the scavenger hunt partner-swapping to Dylan's onesie pyjamas to Gina and Silver's oddly-named lost dog. ("Who would name a dog Joan?" is one of my favourite Silver quotes of all time.) And, of course, the wedding.

Simultaneously the best and the most annoying showdown comes from season three, when Kelly and Dylan admit to Brenda that they dated while she was away in Paris. Brenda telling them where to go is priceless, but holy shit, the way that Kelly acts like it's not even slightly her fault? I wish Kelly could be a normal human being sometimes.

 Honourable Mention: Dylan versus Brandon, even though his punch accidentally landed on Steve's face. I guess I just really like it when Dylan hits people. Hey, speaking of Dylan...

Picture this: Scott Scanlon has just died. Sure, most of the gang don't know him very well -- he was just David Silver's nerdy friend, but he's dead. (And despite the fact that he didn't go to Scott's cringeworthy birthday party the night he died, Dylan still sorta knew him.) Anyway, my Dylan McKay highlight is during Scott's memorial, when he quietly turns to Brenda and says, "I don't mean to sound like an ass, but which one was Scott Scanlon? When you told me what happened, I thought it was that guy over there. Obviously, it's not." Brenda goes on to tell him that he was David Silver's friend, and he was in one of Dylan's classes last year. Dylan, now utterly devastated, says, "Oh my God, that guy?!" I know it's not supposed to be a particularly comedic episode, but that exchange is priceless Dylan.

Honourable Mention: No. Nope. Nothing. It was going to be that scene where he comforts Kelly after she was nearly raped at the Halloween party, because I thought it was just the sweetest thing ever when I first watched it. Then I saw the awful Kelly/Dylan sneaky love affair, and now it's ruined for me forever. Look what you did, Dylan. Your platonic friendship with Kelly is retroactively dead now, just like your BFF Scott Scanlon.

This one is for the character who I believe truly embodies the 90210 spirit of always giving people a second chance, despite how badly they may or may not deserve one. And nobody exemplifies this more than prodigal son David Silver, who went from being one of my least favourite characters in the history of television to one of my favourite. Apart from Steve Sanders, who I love with all my heart and soul, Silver dearest is one of the few characters that I'm completely loyal to. Every single time someone fights with him on the show, I mentally take his side. Except when he was fighting with Valerie, 'cause I didn't love him then quite like I do now. That's right, you guys. I love David Silver. I can barely believe it myself.

 Honourable Mentions: Gina Kinkaid. I had absolutely no interest in welcoming her to the 90210 family when she first arrived, simply because in my eyes she was a bastardised version of Valerie. She wasn't even good at being a Valerie, not like Valerie. Now she was the Valeriest. Anyway, I'm unashamed to say that as soon as she declared war on self-righteous Kelly, I was on Team Gina.

 Honourable Mention No. 2: Clare Arnold. Because seriously, did anyone like Clare when she first appeared on our screens for the sole purpose of sexually harassing Brandon? I think not. She was annoying and stupid and so annoying. But then she got with Steve, and she changed him, man. She was the one who truly turned him into a decent, loving boyfriend. She led the way for Carly, who in turn prepped him for a child-filled life with Janet by letting Steve bond with her son whose name I can never remember but just know that he was totally the kid Nicolas Cage killed in Face/Off.

Brenda and Dylan. Brenda and Dylan, Brenda and Dylan, Brenda and Dylan. Just...Brenda and Dylan. Screw off, Kelly.

Honourable Mention: Oddly enough, Silver and Valerie. The only reason they didn't steal top spot from the oft-dysfunctional Brenda and Dylan is because my favourite incarnation of the Silvalerie union was when they were pretending to date again in season eight. They really rocked that headboard...literally.

I try not to judge too harshly, considering that this is the nineties we're talking about here. Everyone looked horrendous, but Donna...well, she just looked ever so slightly more horrendous than most. Perhaps if she had stopped shopping in the children's department and actually wore a decent-sized shirt every once in a while, things wouldn't have to be like this. Plus, she was supposed to be a budding designer, so I was all the more critical on her.

 (Dis)honourable Mention: David "Mr. 180" Silver, because the guy had the opposite problem to Donna -- everything he owned, even his suits, was at least two sizes too big for him. And not in a cool nineties sort of way. In a he-most-likely-has-some-type-of-body-dysmorphia way. How I still love him regardless of this flaw is baffling.

Aw heck, let's just give it to Steve and Andrea. I'm well aware that they would've been terrible together, but surely after that sexually-charged SAT prep session in season one and their sexually-charged egg exchange in season two, surely you were at least curious? *Crickets* Just me then? Oookay. Awkward.

 Honourable Mention: Noah and Gina. I tend to not really like either of them when they're not actively pissing off Kelly, but there's something about them together that just feels right. Gina knew it. She totally wanted to gets in them finely-pressed Hunter slacks, but alas, it wasn't to be.

I want to say Kelly, I really do. If we were still in season six, I would say heck yes, Brandon and Kelly all the way. After all, they were so cute, and he was so not Dylan, which was perfect for her. But that got pretty old pretty quickly, didn't it? I guess I'm going to have to go out on a limb and pick the lovely Susan Keats, played by the future Mrs. Anya Jenkins herself, Emma Caulfield. They were incredibly well-suited to one another -- at least, before her hasty exit. And who do they replace her with? Some random wannabe journalist named Tracy who looked exactly like Susan. Don't even get me started.

Honourable Mention: Okay, I'll give it to Kelly.

At first I thought this was going to be a toughie, what with the multitude of examples that immediately sprung to mind, but it was actually a lot easier than that to choose the winner. You see, I watch soap operas. I can handle my share of bullshit. Cousins turning out to be sisters? Fine. Fathers coming back from the dead? No probs; I hear they do it all the time. The one storyline I could absolutely not swallow no matter how hard I tried, though, was Dylan discovering that he and Kelly knew each other in a past life. He was a cowboy, you say, scriptwriters? They were in the Wild West? Nope, sorry, not buying it. And coming from me, that's saying something.

 Honourable Mention: Steve and Janet being taken hostage at the Beverly Beat office by a butcher who'd captured a midget he thought was a leprechaun, and demanding his pot of gold. I was sure that I'd never take the show seriously after that. I mean, it is the circle of television life, after all. Fonzie jumped a shark, Steve and Janet had an armed butcher try to exchange a dwarf at a newspaper office. In the end they all learned a lesson, though, so it was okay.

Okay, now for the bonus round. I mentioned earlier that I had a lot of excuses as to why I haven't posted here for a while, but here's my most valid one -- I have been working a lot lately to fund my first ever overseas trip, and guess where I'm going? The United States. Including Los Angeles. And you know what else had a happy life over in Los Angeles, don't you? Why, Beverly Hills, 90210, naturally! So here's my challenge to myself: in honour of my fantasy BFF Steve Sanders and his real-life TV wife Janet, I'm doing my very own scavenger hunt of 90210 locations. Yes, with the assistance of my dear friend Google, I plan to find at least six locations actually used in the show. They are, in no particular order:

--The Walsh House. Because no 90210 pilgrimage is complete without visiting this ol' chestnut.
--Dylan's House. I've heard that they actually filmed in this house for the entire second season before building a replica on their soundstage. Luke Perry stood in their shower. Must. Go. There. (Not to the shower, though, because that would be creepy.)
--Carly/David's White House With Blue Trim. Just in case the little kid from Face/Off is still around, because if I can convince anyone to introduce me to John Travolta, I feel like it might be him.
--Donna and Kelly's Beach Apartment. I have to know if it's still that horrible blue colour in real life.
--West Beverly High, aka Sunnydale High, Rancho Carne High, John Hughes High, Paul Walker Is A Douchebag High and whatever it was called in Whatever It Takes.
--The Peach Pit. No explanation necessary.

Wish me happy hunting, y'all, and see you in Beverly Hills!


  1. This actually made me want to watch the final seasons of 90210. I can't believe I just said that!

  2. Haha, neither can I! You can pretty much skip season nine, though...

  3. I swear we are the same person, except my name is Lauren (but my friends call me Lo) and I live in Perth. SVH, 90210, Babysitters Club, Buffy. I have NO ONE to talk to about these things in real life.

    Have an amazing time in LA. I am totes jeal.

  4. Haha, no way! My friends call me Lo too, and just like yours, none of them understand my love for these things. They just think it's a phase I never grew out of.

    And yay for Perth! While I don't live there, I am a MASSIVE Eagles fan, so I always have a place in my heart for the west coast.

  5. I own season 1-4. Brenda was my favourite character and if she's not in the other seasons then I prefer not to watch the rest. The last season made me really dislike Kelly.

    Wow, I'm also saving for a holiday (hopefully to Europe). One day I'd like to visit the set of Dawson's Creek. That would be sweet. When do you plan on going?

  6. I missed Brenda for a while too, but I ended up really loving Valerie. The only reason I stopped watching after she left was because Dylan came back that very same episode.

    Vising the Dawson's Creek area is very possible for me, as I'll be spending most of my time on the east coast.