Hi, I’m LeeAnn and I’m obsessed with Beverly Hills, 90210. I’m so obsessed that I once had a very special Aaron Spelling Christmas party so that a friend and I could recreate the scene where Brenda Walsh and Kelly Taylor wore the same dress to Spring Fling. Why do I like this show so much? Well, part of it is the nostalgia of it all and a bigger part was that it was a pretty good freakin’ show.
When Beverly Hills, 90210 first came out, it was all the hype in 5th grade. You were seriously a loser or freak who couldn’t watch TV if you didn’t watch this show. These high schoolers were cool, a lot cooler than my Eastland and legging-wearing self at the time. My brother and sister are 9 and 12 years older than me and I grew up watching HBO so I often thought I understood more of what was going on during the show than I did (more on that later).
While I watch the Beverly Hills, 90210 series again, I will take a deep dive into the show recapping the episodes and also the culture of it all. There will be guest commentary as well as fun facts about the show, the music and more.
This week, I watched the pilot with my friend, Julia (a.k.a. J-Tits). She has never seen Beverly Hills, 90210 because she was one of those freaks who weren’t allowed to watch TV when she was a kid. The show didn’t really interest her all that much, but she was willing to take one for the team. She wasn’t expecting anything from the show, so no matter what I’d have some type of a reaction. The outcome was even better. Spoiler: she actually kind of liked it and is intrigued.
The pilot starts with an alarm clock going off with Brandon in bed and Brenda trying on a billion outfits. We quickly find out that it’s the first day of school at West Beverly High for twins Brenda & Brandon Walsh after moving away from their hometown in Minnesota. The Walsh parents are briefly introduced as the dorks they are. There are shots of palm trees, fast cars, fast women, sweet dance moves on quad and cool clothes. We’re briefly introduced to Kelly Taylor and Steve Sanders where they discuss Kelley’s nose job and why they broke up. Steve drives a super cool car with a super cool license plate – I8A4RI. After this scene, we are introduced to freshmen uber nerds, David Silver and Scott Scanlon. David thinks West Beverly is the best thing in the whole entire world, mostly because of the ladies.
We’re brought to the chemistry lab where we see Kelly sitting alone. A chubby girl with mall bangs saunters over to her table and Kelly quickly says the seat is saved because Kelly abides by the “no fatty” policy. When the chubby girl asks, “by who?” we see Brenda enter the room. A friendship is born. Brenda is immediately taken under Kelly’s popular wing. In another scene, we are brought to Steve and Brandon’s introduction in Spanish class where the whole class doesn’t understand a lick of the language, except for overachiever Andrea Zuckerman. In the next scene we find out that Andrea is so smart that she heads “The Blaze” – the top-ranked high school newspaper. Brandon wants to contribute. Andrea tests him by asking if he wants to cover the toxic waste article or the women’s water polo team article. Being a sportsman, Brandon says the women’s water polo team and quickly fails Andrea’s cunty test. Andrea decides to give him a chance anyway.
During lunch, we learn that it is social suicide to sit alone like Brandon and that the only way to invite people to a party is to promote it via aerial advertising. Kelly says, “that’s Marianne Moore’s house.” To which Brenda says, “She invited the whole school! That must be 1800 people.” Then a second plane flies by with a banner stating, “No Freshmen.” David is crushed, but starts concocting a way to get in the party of a lifetime. Brenda goes to the party with Kelly, Donna, Kathy & Michelle (Kathy & Michelle don’t matter after this episode). Mrs. Walsh embarrassingly walks Brenda to Kelly’s car and asks about curfew. Brenda is humiliated. Brandon goes to the party solo, but runs into Steve on the way in.
While at the party, an older popular boy says hi to Kelly and she mentions that he has never said hi to her before. The friends decide it’s because of her nose job and then they take out a brochure to talk about which nose jobs they like. There’s a quick moment where Kelly sees Brandon for the first time and says he’s cute. Brandon isn’t feeling the whole party and walks to a gazebo where there’s a pretty girl. He says how the party sucks and then finds out that he’s talking to the hostess of the party, THE Marianne Moore. Marianne likes Brandon because he doesn’t know about her past and takes her for who she is in that moment instead of the really rich girl who gives it up. Marianne asks Brandon to dance in the gazebo with no music on. They return to the party and Marianne doesn’t let her fun façade fail and throws her shoe in the pool making people fetch it.
At this time, Steve gets drunk while David finds out that Steve’s mom is a famous actress. Steve shoots some air guns at his head only to be deflected by his spiral perm as David goes on and on about how his mom is the best mom ever on the Hartley House. Since Steve is so drunk the party goers won’t let him drive his car, so David takes the wheel. A FRESHMAN TAKES THE WHEEL! After all the stops and starts (we keep coming back to these two hearts), David awkwardly drives Steve’s car home fooling the cops by wearing a football helmet. He doesn’t put the emergency brake on in the driveway and crashes the bumper and then runs home. Ooooh!
Back at school, we see a weird moment where the Vice Principal is checking out the Spanish teacher who just happens to be dancing in the hallway. Brandon joins Marianne at lunch and finds out that Marianne is afraid of living in her parent’s crazy shadow and that there’s so much more to her than just a pretty, rich face. Meanwhile, the girls talk about getting fake IDs to go to a club. While waiting in line, we see our first cameo by an eventual bigger named celebrity. Djimon Hounsou (from “Blood Diamond”) plays the bouncer named… Djimon. He lets Brenda in the club and denies the rest of the girls. At the club, there’s this funky song that sure sounds a lot like Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” far before “Hot in Herre” became a club hit. Is it a coincidence that Nelly eventually appeared on the revamp of 90210? He ripped off that club song just like Ray Parker Jr. ripped off Huey Lewis & the News. Anyway, Brenda meets a real C-O-O-L R-I-D-E-R, the nerd turned cool guy in Grease 2. His name is Jason and buys her a banana daiquiri. He’s 25 and Brenda tells him she goes to college. They hit it off and go back to his place where they kiss behind some light up water thingy majig from Spencer’s. He drops her off in front of some church before her curfew and she cabs it back to her parent’s house.
While Brenda is baiting pervs, Brandon is out on a hot date with Marianne. They go on a sexy motorcycle ride followed by a sexy hot tub hang. They kiss, but mostly they talk about feelings. Brenda calls Kelly at 6 a.m. to tell Kelly all about the guy she met. Kelly’s mom comes in a floor-length nightie to say she can’t take calls from friends in the middle of the night when it is clearly broad daylight. You see, Brenda woke Paul, Kelly’s mom’s delinquent boyfriend.
Back at school again, Kelly and Brenda fret about their chemistry quiz because they haven’t studied all week. Then in Spanish class, Brandon receives roses from Marianne Moore. In the midst of a deep jog in gym, some guys ask Brandon what happened that he received roses. He says you can guess leading everyone to believe he slipped in the pickle. The rumor grows so much that the high school radio DJ names Brandon one of the week’s Wild Things. Marianne hears this and then sucker punches him in the hallway. Andrea Zuckerman catches wind of all of this too and thought that Brandon was better than this.
At night, Brenda gets dolled up for a fancy dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with Jason's friends. They drink wine and ask her major, which she says is Astronomy. It’s a really boring conversation that Brenda can’t seem to keep up with. Surprisingly, Jason doesn’t seem to mind, but goes on to say how he wants her to stay over after their next date. Brenda is a 16-year-old virgin. Virgin doesn’t really matter here. Brenda is 16, but is in love so she tries to fool him some more.
The next day at school, Brandon comes clean on the radio that he didn’t do the wild thing with Marianne and that what they shared meant even more than slipping it in. Cut to a scene where he tells Andrea that Marianne is a much more complex character than what Andrea gives her credit for. He offers Andrea a ride home and she won’t take it. He follows her city bus on the highway to find out that she doesn’t live anywhere near West Beverly and that if the school finds out she could be in major trouble. She goes there because it’s the best and she’s really smart and annoying. Before this, Steve’s car alarm goes off. He jumps over some bushes wearing white shorts (even after Labor Day!) and finds Scott and David by his car. David comes clean and says he actually helped him because he was drunk.
That night, Brenda goes on another date with Jason and asks if she could tell him anything. He says he’s “shock proof.” She spills the beans that she’s a junior in high school and he dumps her even after she said that she doesn’t just tell anyone she likes them. I’m pretty sure a potential statutory rape case trumped true love over banana daiquiris in this case. Brenda comes home wearing a dress covered in hanging dingleberries and cries in her mom’s arms. The episode ends with Brenda and Brandon asking if either of them did it and if they think they’ll make it in Beverly Hills. Brandon says something about awesome tan lines and they decide they’re in it together. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store for these twins.
After watching the pilot with Julia, I asked her what she thought and what she wanted to know more about. As mentioned earlier, she actually liked it. Her standards were low so we could only go up. Besides being dated, she liked the characters and wanted to see what happens. Julia’s questions are:
1) Is Kelly really the bitch they alluded to?
2) Does David get cooler?
3) Will Brenda get her grades back up?
4) When does Luke Perry come into play?
5) Did Nelly rip off that club song for "Hot in Herre?"
Thanks for joining us for the pilot. There’s more to come from everyone’s favorite zip code.