90210 S1E1: Pilot Parts 1 and 2

Back in the day, I came to the 90210 party a bit late, so I’m reasonably sure I’ve never seen the pilot, which will introduce us to a family that has just moved from the wintry clime of Minnesota to sunny California. I’m expecting bad outfits, terrible hair, and lots of “we just don’t fit in!” angst.

Ok, first off the Walsh home is NOT the house I remember. I thought it was kind of Spanish-style, but this is a large brick building that looks like it’d be more at home in the Midwest. There are still moving boxes everywhere. Yikes! Brandon has a serious mullet. The rest of the family doesn’t look as dated. With a couple small tweaks, Brenda’s hair could work in a contemporary drama.

With the move, Brenda plans reinvent herself. When Brandon asks where the toaster is, his mother dumps a box of kitchenwares onto the ground in front of him. Nice. There is a drawn-out scene showing “life at West Beverly High.” Here are some of the things they do to make us understand that WB is not like other schools: valet parking for students, sheiks walking on campus, BMWs and Jaguars, a guy talking on a cell phone the size of a brick, and … lots of West Beverly parking stickers. Don’t most schools have parking permits? The staff parking lot is full of Gremlins and VW buses.

We meet Kelly and Steve, who used to date. Kelly had a nose job over the summer, which will improve her social standing. They are faux polite to one another. I never found Steve attractive and I’m pleased to report that nothing has changed in that arena. In an attempt to keep the fat girl in Chemistry class from sitting with her, Kelly pretends to have saved the seat for to Brenda, thus cementing their friendship forever. Steve and Brandon meet in Spanish class.

We meet new freshmen Scott and David. David is desperate to be cool; Scott is along for the ride. We meet Andrea Zuckerman, the “intense” editor of the school paper who (we learn later) is also poor. She lives in Van Nuys and lies about her address to be allowed to attend the best school in the city. Brandon meets Andrea when he joins the school paper. She is obviously attracted to him. One of the ambiance shots is of a girl studying and I’m 75% sure it’s Sun from Lost. (Note: I looked it up later, and it was not her).

There is a huge back-to-school party that some girl throws at her parent’s mansion. Steve wears white Reeboks, white slouch socks, white shorts, a white polo, and a navy blazer; Kelly wears a shapeless dress that makes her look 30 pounds heavier than she is; Brenda wears an orange dress over white bike shorts; and Brandon meets a random girl hiding out alone who turns out to be the hostess. The moral of the story is, “Sometimes popular people get lonely too.”

OMG! The next day at school Kelly wears this outfit: black loafers, hot pink slouch socks, electric blue tights, white bike shorts with black polka dots OVER the tights, a purple turtleneck tucked into the bike shorts, a black belt, and a cropped red jacket. Um … I have no words.

Brandon and Marianne each lunch together at school and two things show us that they are worlds apart: A) he jokingly asks her to go to Paris for the weekend and she thinks he’s serious; B) he eats PB&J while she eats sushi. As Brandon and Marianne begin to date, he learns that she has a “reputation.” He shows her that he’s interested in more.

But then some guys in his PE class ask him what has happened between them and Brandon says, “I did something with Marianne that most guys probably couldn’t handle.” Which, naturally, is misconstrued. And Brandon may be a nice guy, but he’s still a guy, so he doesn’t set the record straight when the rumors start flying. Finally, after Marianne yells at him, he feels guilty and agrees to be interviewed for the school radio station so he can tell everyone nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Brenda and the girls go to a club with fake IDs. Djimon Hounsou is the bouncer. Brenda gets in, but nobody else does. The bouncer rips Kelly’s ID in half. Ah yes, I remember my flimsy Arizona ID, and how some asshole at the Crystal Ballroom destroyed it because he thought it was fake. Only I was 22 at the time.

At the club, Brenda meets an older man (Maxwell Caulfield from Grease 2 and Empire Records). She orders a banana daiquiri because she can’t think of any other drinks. She starts dating the dude, pretending she goes to UCLA. Eventually she realizes she has to tell him the truth and “if he loves her it won’t matter.” Obviously he doesn’t love her and it does matter, so he dumps her.

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