Season 1, Episode 5 recap is brought to you by the Beverly Beat's second guest contributor, Lia Berman. Lia is a Chicago stand-up comedian telling tales of monthly bills, Blossom and unsolicited pictures from the manfolk. Check out her weekly open mic at Logan Theatre every Monday night at 8:30 p.m.
Leave it to Aaron Spelling in October of 1990 to bring all us teens of the decade into the race issue. He did that so well in this episode without pushing the envelope too much. After all, Brandon trying out for the basketball team was going to be the main focus of an episode at some point, Steve still has yet to beat him in the driveway battle games. Still, re-watching this episode made me nostalgic for times when race was kids playing on the wrong team because they were in another district and not because of guns, violence, etc. Basic synopsis... Brenda sucks again at her third try to get her driver’s license, but she goes out anyway to rescue Kelly from a bad date, and in the process, loses Brandon's car. Meanwhile, Brandon decides to try out for the school's basketball team where he suspects that some students are brought into the school from out of district for the sole purpose of winning games. Of course he recruits Andrea and The Blaze to investigate the story.
As we start this episode, we are in a heated game of one on one with Jim and his prize son, Brandon. Jim is covered in sweat and breathing heavy while Brandon in his collared shirt is just shooting a few before school. BEFORE SCHOOL!!! How Jim Walsh had the time to shoot around a little before his always grueling day as CPA to the weak always amazed me. I would be lucky to see my Dad before work. Yet another reason the Walshes are better than us.
It’s clear from the beginning that Jim is really putting the pressure on Brandon to make the team. He is sure that the skills taught and honed on the driveway will transfer onto the West Bev courts. Brandon has heart and heart is what gets you on the team. Leave it to Steve Sanders to break the news about the Applied Learning Program that allows kids with sports talent into West Beverly from out of district, but does not require them to go to class. Brandon always the wide-eyed optimist is not so sure, until he is in his tech class and watches a star student athlete who “most likely cannot spell his own name” and has not been to class yet this year. What is a guy to do? Why tell Andrea Zuckerman about it of course. Brandon is still going to try out for the team so it is a conflict of interest. Ultimately if there is a story here, Andrea needs that byline more than Brandon anyway. He has no aspirations for YALE after all. All this is exacerbated more by the second tryouts where the Applied Learning Kids hardly even pass him the ball. This is not going to be as easy as Brandon thought. Not helping is that Jim Walsh also found time out of his busy schedule to come down to the tryouts and talk to the coach. Oh Jim, you know better than that.
Let’s see what Brenda is up to. She is in her driver’s ed. “training” class. However, after spotting Henry Winkler (editor’s note: Ayyyy! – thumbs up) on the street while in the driver’s seat, chaos ensues, she crashes resulting in her not passing again. Why this was Brenda’s biggest obstacle to overcome still boggles me? This is a Minnesota girl. She should know how to drive, in the snow, stick shift, not need to be reminded to check her mirrors. However after a bad date, Kelly calls Brenda desperate for Brenda to pick her up. Brenda's parents are out for the night and she can just take Mondale (Brandon’s car) since he took his bike to work. What is the worst that could happen? I mean, it is not like she didn't check the gas tank and it would run out in the middle of the road. Oh right, that is exactly what happens. When she leaves the car in the middle of the road to walk to a gas station, the car is towed away. Of course she thinks it is stolen. Who wouldn't?
But, I digress; Brandon, trying to avoid overdue library fees runs into one of the “jock kids” in the library. Brandon seems shocked to see him there but more shocked when the jock admits he was NOT recruited to play ball. Instead his father works for the school and earned him the right to be there. Sit down Brandon. You really don't know what you are talking or thinking about. And that is exactly what he figures out. Perhaps there is no story there, because there really isn't. He comes home to the conclusion that living up to his father’s dreams is not really in his best interest, which ends up being in his best interest.
Everything is about to wrap up in a little bow when Mondale comes down the driveway. Seems it was found in an impound lot... with Brenda’s keys in the ignition. Oh those crazy Walshes.