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90210 Just Watched Some Early Episodes

Discussion in 'Sundry Prime Time Soaps' started by Kenny Coyote, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 12 Years

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    I used to watch Beverly Hills 90210 when it was first airing, and I think I started watching around the third season. I didn't watch every single week but I saw a lot of it and I remember liking it. So I decided to stream the first season to see what it was like when it was just beginning.

    I think my perception the show has changed quite a lot because it has been so many years since then. I was similar in age to them when it aired and now they look like babies! Maybe that's partly because when I watched it last it was in season 8 or 9 so they were considerably more mature by then.

    Brenda I still like and she seems like a nice girl. Brandon seems like an alright guy and seems like he's a good brother to his sister and vice-versa. I like that they're close.

    Dylan looks like he's trying just as hard as he possibly can to be what his idea of "cool" is. To him, that means acting like he's bored because his standards are set so impossibly high, there's nothing that impresses him. Either that or it's "cool" to look perpetually bored.

    Dylan has tons of money for a high school kid and drives a Porsche but he also has a motorcycle. He lives in a hotel where he can order all his meals room service if he wants, and it's all paid for. He doesn't have to work a job. Because of that, he occasionally has time to attend school, when it doesn't interfere with his surfing.

    Dylan is a reverse snob: He doesn't like rich people even though he lives in Beverly Hills and is rich. That's the part of the show that is so obvious to me now that I don't remember from before. Dylan is their "working class hero" despite that he isn't working class and doesn't come from a working class background. He avoids wealthy people like the plague and apparently is interested in becoming friends with Brandon because he isn't one of "them" - he's from Minnesota so that makes him alright. The only friends he already had were the surfers, but he explains he doesn't go surfing to hang out with them; he just wants to surf. They didn't meet his standards either. He does like the surfer girl "Betty" whose real name is Sarah. She's actually a good person, so of course is not from Beverly Hills either.

    The Walsh parents also are used to keep this idea constantly running: Beverly Hills is full off bad people. Apparently they don't think it's possible to become wealthy unless you do something unethical to do it. They're reverse snobs like Dylan, and don't associate with any of their neighbors or the parents of their kids. So far anyway. It's just that they have no interest in meeting them - that they want to keep a good healthy distance from "them" - the wealthy Beverly Hills people. Fortunately they're affluent enough to afford a maid (and the mom doesn't even work) so in Ana, the maid, the mom finally has a good, honest, working class person to become friends with!

    Their biggest fear is that Brenda will become contaminated with the Beverly Hills plagues of want and greed. A girl Brenda has over dumps some stolen clothes in a corner of Brenda's closet and the good, dependable maid finds them and presents them to the mother. It's her worst nightmare come true - Brenda is so desperate to wear fancy, expensive clothes that she's resorted to shoplifting!

    Brenda, who is so honest she made them turn around and drive back to a store when they were in Minnesota because she forgot to pay for a Barbie doll, tells her parents that she didn't steal those clothes, but they don't believe her. I guess the dad grudgingly agrees to somewhat believe her, but Brenda's mom is too upset with Brenda to even speak to her. Brenda cries about how badly she wants to wear $300 jeans (in 1990 that was like $600 now) but still would never steal. She breaks down, completely distraught over being blamed for something she didn't do and having lost her parents' trust. Fortunately for her, her friend who did steal them comes over to their house and admits she did it and Brenda did not steal.

    A few nights later, Brandon's girlfriend from Minnesota is visiting and she sneaks into Brandon's room to have sex with him. She was supposed to be sleeping in Brenda's room and the mom notices she isn't sleeping in Brenda's room. She's not sure what to do because they don't want to assume their 10th grade Brandon would abuse their trust and behave so irresponsibly. The dad says "let's not assume anything" just because she isn't in the room where she's supposed to be sleeping and apparently they also can hear an unusual sound coming from Brandon's bedroom. What if Brandon gets gets her pregnant? What if he has to drop out of high school so he can work a full time job to support his wife and child? The parents decide that they don't want to run the risk of assuming Brandon would be so reckless and risk accusing him of something he didn't do. The dad says they'll "deal with it in the morning" because after all, what's the worst thing that could possibly happen? It's not serious: it's not something like shoplifting. So they just go to sleep.

    Gradually, Brandon is being influenced by Dylan. Brandon already has a car he has named "Mondale", after the Democrat who ran against former President Reagan. No, I'm not making this up. His car is actually named "Mondale." How much more obvious could the politics of this show have been? If the actor who played Brandon had insisted Brandon's car be named "Reagan", the producer of the show would have probably had a stroke.

    Dylan is already "the working class hero", so what role can Brandon have? I'll figure out something appropriate. Brandon has discovered that the restaurant where he works is paying immigrant workers lower than minimum wage! The awful Beverly Hills woman who runs the place is also nasty and insulting to the kitchen workers. She's an awful woman - awful in a way she could only be if she were from Beverly Hills. Brandon is outraged over this injustice and quits working there. Dylan shows him a restaurant that will be good to work for - The Peach Pit -which is owned and run by a good, honest working class guy.

    Brandon is full of self-righteous indignation over the idea that he can't make the basketball team because the 7 foot tall players who are better than him, don't live in Beverly Hills. They're bussed in from some other school district because they are part of the "Accelerated Learning Program" which is something designed to "enrich" the students with "diversity." My goodness, you'd think that Brandon - "the proletarian champion" would be in love with that idea! Except it's interfering with his ability to make the team!

    Brandon asks Andrea to write an article for the school newspaper exposing this fraud of a program, because if he wrote it, he'd come across as a guy just complaining because he didn't make the basketball team. She won't though because she thinks the program is great and she also attends the school despite living outside the school district. She secretly attends their school instead of the one in her neighborhood because she wants to go to Yale.

    The kids don't listen to rock music; they listen to rap. It's still 1990 when rock was what they'd realistically be listening to, but rap is the music originally created only by the oppressed, the poor, and it's "inclusive" because you can do it even if you don't know how to play a musical instrument. They're showing the kids watching the show that that's what they should be listening to if they wanted to be like all these amazing kids who are filled with far more wisdom than their parents ever had. There are scenes where they'd like to help Kelly's mom with her problems, but being an adult, she just wouldn't understand. Not only are the kids all impossibly good looking, but they've acquired a level of wisdom their parents could never hope to have.

    If you're a kid watching this when it first airs, I think it sets a bad example. How do you live up to the standard it sets? It sets the standard for what they should be and what their lives should be like to a level so high that they can never attain it. Even the relatively poor Walshes still can afford to live in Beverly Hills, the kids always wear nice clothes, Brandon has his own car, they always get good grades, and nobody drinks or uses drugs. These kids wouldn't be caught dead even smoking cigarettes. For them, a major problem would be getting acne, but fortunately they all have flawless complexions. If there is ever a time when their parents actually teach them something, I hadn't gotten to it yet. They're in 10th grade but already have life figured out. I know the kids watching it shouldn't expect their lives to be this way, but not all of them would know it.

    I might watch some more to see if the Walsh parents ever decide to actually make friends with any of their neighbors or befriend the parents of their kids' friends, or if they try to maintain this perfect bubble they've created which insulates them, protecting them from catching the Beverly Hills plagues of greed and materialism. Or, if they finally realize that they're the snobs - they're the ones in the neighborhood who think they're better than everyone else.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  2. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    In all honesty, it's all down hill from here. There's a reason why I tend to call "The Gang" a cult - just count the people who seemingly befriend them and never turn up again. Where did they go? Into Cindy's famous meatloaf?

    There are hilarious and embarrassing attempts to make Donna somewhat relevant later on - such as her saving the world from racism via funky dancing. Or that awful later seasons episode where St Donna of Da Hood tries to educate a poor working class (black) mom about having latch-key kids (it's wrong!). Or whenever the writers ran out of story ideas they would burden people with an "addiction" plot that would appear and disappear as quickly as they came, because, you know, people who have issues with addiction just get over it by the time the sweeps ratings period is over.

    They were never really consistent with the money these people supposedly had either - sometimes they'd be filthy rich and seemingly not worry about money, then when the plot called for it they'd be desperate for cash.

    While Jim had major double standards when it came to Brandon and Brenda regarding them having sex, I'm also amused how we are supposed to not get at all why he wouldn't want Brenda dating Dylan. Yes, why would someone oppose their teenage daughter to date a 16 year old addict who lives at a hotel with no parental supervision and have enough cash to never work a day in his life? I can't see any scenarios where that might go wrong.

    And speaking of virginity - there's of course Donna's retconned virginity, supposedly ordered by the man (Aaron) himself. We're never really given a reason why Donna has chosen to remain a virgin except for... reasons. She's not portrayed as particularly religious and yet guys never really question exactly why she's so hung up on her virginity. Guys at the absolute sexual peak of their lives are ok that their girlfriend doesn't want to have sex. Instead they have to go and do it with the town tramp Valerie in the later seasons.

    Considering Dynasty was so heavily influenced by the Reagan politics then it makes sense that Beverly Hills 90210 and early Melrose Place were influenced by the Clinton administration.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  3. Marika

    Marika Soap Chat Member EXP: 2 Years

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    That is not true... only 5 main characters battled addictions: Dylan (alcoholism & later drug abuse), Kelly (drug abuse), Brandon (gambling), David (drug abuse), and Donna (pain killer addiction). All of these stories (with the exception of Donna's because it happened in the later seasons) had a long build-up and made sense. Dylan turned to alcohol because he was neglected by his parents, he turned to drugs because he had lost all of his money (and Kelly); Kelly turned to drugs because she was disappointed by her father over and over again; Brandon's addiction gradually built up over the course of half a season; and David turned to drugs because he couldn't handle studying during daytime and working during nighttime.

    I think the show handled all of these stories pretty well.

    ETA: I forgot Noah's alcoholism – but who cares about Noah, anyway.

    From season 2 on, Donna was portrayed as a Catholic and she was heavily influenced by her strict mother Felice (who was a hypocrite, but that's another story).
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  4. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 12 Years

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    I remember that I enjoyed the show when I was only a little older, or maybe the same age as some of the actors when it originally aired . Still, for a show aimed at high school kids, I think Dawson's Creek was the far better show. It's more intelligent and has deeper meaning. At least when they were in high school,it was pretty good,but when the kids went to college, Dawson's Creek wasn't as good anymore. The very last season of Dawson's Creek is pretty good though; I liked the story of Pacey becoming a stockbroker. I knew some stockbrokers who had a very similar personality to the guy who was Pacey's boss at the brokerage.
     
  5. Marika

    Marika Soap Chat Member EXP: 2 Years

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    In my opinion, you can't really compare both shows. Dawson's Creek debuted when Beverly Hills, 90210 was on its last legs (and had more or less strayed away from its original premise).

    Almost a decade had passed, so it's only naturally that both shows had a different tone, different storytelling and a different view on life. While I agree that Dawson's Creek felt more natural and grounded, it still had a lot of flaws and wasn't that realistic (mostly due to the fact that the characters talked and acted like they were 30 instead of 15). It was more like a romantic, dreamy fairytale with hardly any "OMG! I didn't see that coming" moments. Other than maybe three or four times, the show never had any dramatic cliffhangers. It was all about emotions.

    I liked both shows, and both had some of my favorite tv characters ever (Kelly, Val and Donna from 90210 and Pacey, Jen and Grams from DC).
     
  6. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I'd also say that before 90210 came there really wasn't any proper teen soap that had ended up being a long runner - they basically ended up making the blueprint for others to follow. Shows that came afterwards could basically look at what 90210 did well and what they didn't do well and adjust accordingly - they didn't have that luxury. Hell, Fox apparently didn't even want them to graduate and they had to fight the network to get them out of high school.

    Funnily enough I've been watching Dawson's Creek off and on the past few months and I agree with @Marika here - it's not very realistic to be honest. It's like an idealized and "dreamy" version of someone's teenage years, as something that's being told in hindsight how they wish things were rather than how they actually was. A lot of reactions don't ring true and you can tell that it's being written by 30-somethings being "clever".
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  7. Kenny Coyote

    Kenny Coyote Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 12 Years

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    Nice post Marika. You mentioned Dawson's Creek being unrealistic and being "more like a romantic, dreamy fairytale" and I think that's a good description of it. That was their style, and I think Dawson's Creek did an excellent job of being a romantic, dreamy fairytale. I think Beverly Hills 90120 at times did a good job of what it did too, but it's no more realistic than Dawson's Creek. The 90210 kids seem so sure of themselves and act like they have life all figured out. Their "dumb" parents just don't get it. Those are some of the unrealistic traits of that show. Also, problems, or any type of crisis, is usually resolved fairly quickly and easily in Beverly Hills 90210.

    Dawson's Creek didn't use a lot of dramatic cliffhangers and contrive a lot of OMG moments because it's not a soap. It's a drama, told in a romantic style. It's got a serialized rather than an episodic format, but a lot of shows that aren't soaps use a serialized format.

    I think it's important to make a distinction between "realistic" and "believable." Realistic, to me, means it shows life the way it really is. Believable, can be something that although it doesn't necessarily portray the way life is, still portrays life as it could be, and maybe even should be. The stories told, and the actions of the characters make sense in that context. That's the purpose of romantic art - to portray life not as it is, but as it could and should be.

    Each show was unrealistic in it's own way and that alright; I'll watch documentaries if I want to watch something that describes the way life really is. I don't expect shows to be realistic, but I do expect the stories to make sense and be enjoyable to watch. Both shows had that.

    I think Dawson's Creek, aside from the four syllable adjectives the kids constantly used (I don't know why the producers of the show felt the need for that), was still more believable. Not realistic, but believable. To me to seems their characters acted more genuinely, and the indecisiveness we saw in Joey and Dawson was an example of that. They really weren't sure if they wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend or of they just wanted to be friends. They were confused about that, because neither was sure what they wanted. That indecisiveness, and uncertainty to me seemed very typical of teenagers. Those are very human qualities, and therefore, believable. Not just believable but relatable.

    Joey and Dawson loved each other but they were confused about whether they loved each other romantically or just as friends. Then eventually they decided they really were in love with each other, but still were unsure of how to go about showing each other that they were in love with each other!

    That's an example of what makes Dawson's Creek believable, despite the unrealistic vocabularies the kids had. These are very intelligent kids who have a very strong sense of right and wrong, but they still keep getting confused as to what they should do, such as Joey not knowing how she should go about showing Dawson that she is in love with him. They have all these complex emotions, but because they're teenagers, they don't know how to act on those emotions.

    That's something Dawson's Creek was very good at doing - looking at how kids deal with the new emotions they're experiencing at that age. While I did like Beverley Hills and it was fun, it could be very superficial. When it came to dealing with their emotions - it didn't go too deep - it was very surface level. I really enjoy a show like Dawson's Creek that goes beyond that surface level and takes a much deeper look at the emotions the kids are feeling and their uncertainty (because of their age) on how to act on these emotions they're feeling for the first time.

    I really like that Dawson's Creek goes beyond the surface level and goes deep. I believe it had more substance than Beverly Hills 90210. I found myself caring more about what happened to the characters than I did in Beverly Hills 90210. That's why I believe that, of the two shows, Dawson's Creek was the better quality show.

    As for kids watching it, I think Dawson's Creek is better for them because it shows that it's alright to feel confused and vulnerable, that it is difficult to know how to act on the new feelings you have at that age. It shows that yes, there will be heartbreak, and you don't always get over that quickly or easily. I think Dawson's Creek offers kids more substance overall. That's the best way I can say it - Dawson's Creek goes beyond the surface of what the kids are feeling and takes things to a much deeper, more interesting and satisfying level.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  8. ABrown

    ABrown Soap Chat Member EXP: 2 Years

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    Fun fact: the 90210 gang were actually juniors during each of the first two seasons of the show. The characters (asides for David and Scott) were originally supposed to be Juniors during the first season. Then, when the second season started, the creators made sure that no one ever mentioned what grade that they were in, so that they could squeeze in an additional year of high school. In 1992, when season three began, Steve made a joke "could you imagine, being Juniors AGAIN", sort of making fun of the fact that the characters had two Junior years of high school.
     
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  9. ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989

    ArchieLucasCarringtonEwing1989 Soap Chat Addict EXP: 9 Years

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    To be honest I’ve only ever liked the “Brenda Years” of 90210, the show was much better when she & Dylan were the main characters, they were pretty much the breakout characters.

    However I do like some of the Valerie years as Val was the only exciting character post 1994/95.

    The issue I have with the last six years was the constant focus on Kelly, she had to be involved in every storyline going and it got ridiculous.

    I’ve always felt that One Tree Hill was the natural heir to 90210, Dawson’s was great but seriously those 15 year olds acted like they were 30 year olds it was hilarious.
     
  10. ABrown

    ABrown Soap Chat Member EXP: 2 Years

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    I've always said that the show was by far at its best when it featured Luke Perry/Dylan. The Brenda years were great because much of the plot was revolved around Dylan. The show was a lot more entertaining when a plot like Steve and the legacy was the secondary story to the whole Brenda/Dylan/Kelly love triangle. When Luke Perry left the show in the sixth season, I found the show to be very boring until he returned in the ninth season.
     

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