Monday, May 13, 2013

A Look Back on 90210: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Class of Beverly Hills.
Tonight, 90210 airs its final episode, thus officially closing the book on its five-year run. The show, a reboot of the original and far superior Beverly Hills, 90210, was once the CW's flagship program, but has spent the last two years just flagging. Join me as I bid farewell to everybody's favorite zip code and take a look back on every aspect of a show past its prime: the good, the bad, and ugly.

The Good

United they stand. Unlike its parent series, 90210 managed to keep its core gang together for the entire series. Early reports of on-set squabbles proved to be false, as the cast got along just as well as their onscreen counterparts. Seems like they learned from Shannen Doherty's mistakes.

Devious bitches. Catty backstabbers were a dime a dozen in Beverly Hills. Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes), Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord), Jen (Sara Foster), and Vanessa (Arielle Kebbel) are just a few 90210 vixens who did whatever it took to get what they want.

Blasts from the past. 90210 wasn't shy about delving into the franchise's DNA. Not only was main character Silver (Jessica Stroup) introduced in the original series as an infant, but Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty, Tori Spelling, Anne Gillespie, and Joe E. Tata all reprised their famous roles, giving us updates on all the shit that went down in the 8-year gap between series.

Three's a crowd. While no love triangle will ever beat the notorious decade-long Brenda/Dylan/Kelly saga, the new 90210 came close several times, most notably with Adrianna/Navid/Silver. Adrianna and Navid (Michael Steger) were a considerably stable couple for the first three seasons until Silver intervened. What followed was a year of pill-swapping, baby-stealing, trash-talking rivalry. That's some juicy dramz and that shit gets the Tommy Time seal of approval.

The Beverly Hills of Tomorrow. The original series may have touched upon the social issues like racism, antisemitism, and homophobia, but its core cast almost exclusively belonged to the straight, white, Christian majority. The new series was considerably more progressive: Dixon (Tristan Wilds) was black; Navid represented the large Persian population of the real-world Beverly Hills; and Teddy (Trevor Donovan) came out as gay after a lifetime of womanizing. They even had a Wiccan in Ivy (Gillian Zinser)!

The Bad

No parents? No problem! In the series' early days, the parents played an integral role in its storylines. However, slowly but surely, they began to disappear. Some died, some fled the country, and some were simply just negligent. Moving to Paris was another popular parental method of exit.

Everybody's famous, rich, and successful. These kids sure took advantage of living in the city of angels. Before their 21st birthdays, the gang achieved a level of success everybody else could only dream of. Annie (Shenae Grimes) inherited an actress' entire estate, established a charity, and became a best-selling author. Dixon was a much buzzed-about music producer who set up his own record label. Naomi became a high-profile event planner and the local press's "Beverly Hills bad girl." Liam had a successful stint as a model and action movie star after running a bar at age 18. Even Ivy was so talented a surfer that she was being solicited to go tour the world.

The most indulgent, however, was Adrianna, who started the series as a former child star and struggling actress, became a pop singer, then got a reality show after the world discovered she stole her songs from her dead partner. Then she became a country singer, then a pop star again, then a songwriter, and now she's a pop star again. What have you done with your life?

Silver gets cancer, so she decides to have a baby. Perhaps the most ludicrous storyline is one in which Silver discovers that she has a cancer gene and will need to have her ovaries removed. At the ripe age of 19, she decides to have a baby, because it's now or never. Over a season later, we've seen her struggle to find a donor, almost lose ownership of her eggs, and deal with one bitch of a surrogate, but there's still no baby.

Special Guest Star [fill in the blank]. The CW seemed to love shelling out money for random-ass celebrities to hit up the 90210. Kim and Khloé Kardashian, Nelly, Snoop Dogg, Joe Jonas, LaToya Jackson, Taio Cruz, Olly Murs, Tegan and Sara, Sammy Adams, Denise Richards, and Rita Ora are just a few of the renowned actors to appear on the show.

Back in style. I'm all for paying homage to the original 90210, but the CW reboot often took it too far, creating near carbon copies of storylines from the original series. For example, Dixon's gambling problem was identical to Brandon's (Jason Priestley), and Naomi unknowingly got herself inducted in a cult just like Kelly did.

The Ugly
  
Naomi's crying face.

Clearly, each episode of 90210 is hit or miss. I'm surprised that a show that does as much wrong as it does right has stayed on the air for so long, but I've truly enjoyed these past five years of fuckery. It it with a bittersweet heart that I say goodbye to Beverly Hills. RIP 90210.

PS I'll take the Beverly Hills, 90210 20-year high school reunion special now plzzz.

1 comment:

Taylor Tanton said...

I never even watched the show but this was still very enjoyable