Boots’ verdict: This is pretty bad huh?
Hans’ verdict: Bad in a really delicious way.
We open with a family in a car. White dad, white mom, white daughter, black son. Bam! Right off the bat – a nod to Steve Sanders, adopted kid. The Wilson family moves from Kansas to Beverly Hills to care for alcoholic, washed-up ex-celebrity Grandma Tabitha (Arrested Development’s Jessica Walther, whose character is basically the same as boozy Lucille Bluth). Dad Harry is going to be the new principal at West Beverly. Mom Celia doesn’t appear to have a job. The Brandon & Brenda of our modern-day reinterpretation are Dixon & Annie.
There are a LOT of secondary characters. They are:
Ethan: golden boy, dating popular rich girl Naomi but cheating on her. On lacrosse team with Dixon. And he surfs. Could be a lot cuter.
Naomi: Rich and spoiled, but has an implied depth. Initially nice to Annie, but then turns on her. Dating Ethan, but hooks up with a lacrosse teammate once she learns that Ethan has cheated on her.
Silver: the “indie chick.” Runs a super catty blog. Used to be BFF with Naomi until Silver’s dad cheated on her mom, she confided in Naomi, and Naomi told everyone. The two now hate one another. After a brief period of friction, Silver befriends new girl Annie. Silver is also Kelly Taylor’s sister. At first I thought her name was an obvious nod to David Silver, but didn’t Kelly’s mom and David’s dad end up together? And if so, wouldn’t this girl’s name be Silver Silver? It boggles the mind.
Navid: reporter for the school newspaper and Dixon’s new BFF. Dad is a famous porn producer.
Adriana: drama-club girl, Naomi’s friend, drug addict. Says she supports her family with money made from bit parts in films.
Ty: extremely wealthy, extraordinarily pretty. Like a cross between Chace Crawford and Tom Welling. Lead in the school musical. Likes Annie, and flies her to San Francisco on his private jet for their first date.
Mr. Matthews (Ryan): Hottie McHotsalot English teacher. Funny, goofball personality. Has a thing for Kelly Taylor.
Kelly Taylor: school guidance counselor. Has a 4-year-old son. We don’t know who the dad is, unless we do from the original 90210 and it’s just me who doesn’t know. Kelly is Silver’s sister.
Also, not pictured on the CW site, we have…
George: in looks, a total Steve Sanders. Curly blonde hair, biceps, polo shirts. However, this guy is a class-A jock asshole and a lacrosse player whom Dixon beats out for a spot on the team.
Tracy: Naomi’s mom and Harry’s ex from high school. Within the first hour she drops the bomb that she got pregnant with Harry’s kid and secretly gave it up for adoption. Thankfully he tells Celia immediately, but the premiere ends without them making a clear decision about what to do.
You know you’re getting old when Rob Estes is the hottest male on a teen show.
The actual plotlines were not very interesting so I’ll spare you. It is clear that the main thrust of the show (or at least this season) is the “will they-won’t they” relationship between Annie and Ethan. A quick recap: the two met a few years back while she was visiting Grandma, and he kissed her. She is excited to see him again, but almost immediately discovers him getting a BJ from a girl who is not his girlfriend. She is then inadvertently responsible for Naomi finding out. After an attempted reconciliation, Ethan realizes he doesn’t want Naomi anymore, and goes to talk to Annie. She tells him about her date with Ty, he tells her about breaking up with Naomi.
Then, they reminisce about the first time they met, and how they won an octopus in a bottle-tossing game. She asks what happened to it, he says “it probably dissolved or something.” Now, come on. What is this octopus made of, gelatin? At that moment it is clear that Ethan has been cherishing the octopus for the past two years. And sure enough, in the sweetly heartbreaking finale, Ethan comes bouncing up the Wilson’s driveway, octopus in hand, only to find Annie and Ty kissing on the front steps.
An ending sure to win over my grizzled heart? Yes. But overall this premiere didn’t do much for me. Shockingly, I felt that the music was seriously lacking. Perhaps I was spoiled by the OC. Hans, who enjoyed the premiere, called it “a delicious guilty pleasure,” but I’m not sure the pleasure was worth the guilt. What did you guys think?
I am discomfited to see that the incestuous overtones between bro & sis have crossed over – B&B used to have nightly chats in their underwear, A&D do it lying next to each other in bed.
The Peach Pit, still owned by Nat, is now a coffee shop/diner with a clean, elegant new logo. All the high school kids hang out there.
In journalism class, a girl introduces herself as “Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez.” Then there’s a really stupid joke about her looking 30.
Brenda returns to town “for a play.” She and Kelly are delighted to see each other. While catching up, Brenda says that Brandon is “in Belize,” but they don’t mention anyone else.