90210 S1E19: April Is The Cruelest Month

Awww yeah! Matthew Perry! In this episode, Brandon meets a new guy, and this guy writes a short story about killing his dad. Brandon becomes convinced that he is going to do it, but the joke’s on Brandon because really the guy wants to kill himself. I have a vivid memory of Matthew Perry holding a gun to his head in a pool house. I feel like this is the first 90210 episode I ever saw, so perhaps I saw the ones I’ve remembered thus far in reruns. The other SDYW girls and I used to watch 90210 in syndication when we were in high school.

Wow. Matthew Perry is so young! Here, he plays an overachiever named Roger Azarian that Brandon wants to interview for the school paper. Everyone is waiting for their SAT scores, and Brenda gets 1190: 630 math, 560 verbal. So this is the one where they get the same score, only reversed. Brandon gets 560 math, 630 verbal. Kelly gets a 1050. And everyone acts like an 1190 is a terrific score, which I don’t remember being the case.

Donna acts really weird whenever anyone mentions the SATs, so it becomes clear that she either bombed or got a perfect score. Brandon goes to Roger’s mansion to interview him and sees all the trappings of a charmed life, including a case of antique guns. Roger’s dad is charismatic, but Roger is uncomfortable around him. None of this is said aloud, it is just made obvious in their interaction. Roger hates the way his dad is always pulling strings and charming people into doing things for him – getting him into college, getting him an agent, blah blah blah. There is mention of “Roger’s screenplay,” which Roger then allows Brandon to read.

The screenplay is about a guy, who sounds suspiciously like Roger, plotting to kill his father. The more Brandon reads, the more he becomes convinced that Roger is going to kill his father. He then proceeds to tell everyone under the sun. Andrea blows him off, saying everyone has the urge to kill their parents. Donna is still acting weird. They have a test in class, and Donna doesn’t write a single thing in her blue book. She just sits there looking like she’s going to cry and then pretends that she has to go to the nurse.

Outside, Kelly and Brenda see Donna smoking with the riff-raff in the parking lot. Brenda is indignant. We cut to Roger at his therapist’s office, and he goes on about how he wishes his dad were dead. He returns home and gets one of his father’s guns, then bursts into his father’s office and shoots him. It’s all very dramatic, but it’s not real. It’s just Brandon’s imagination running wild as he reads.

Brandon corners Roger and they go back to his place. Brenda corners Donna at Fred Segal and forces her to admit that she got a 600, and she thinks she’s an idiot. Plus, her mom has told her she better find a rich guy because she’s too stupid to take care of herself. Yikes! I suddenly remember something about Donna being dyslexic.

And there it is. A well-meaning guidance counselor actually talks to Donna and figures out that she has a learning disability. Donna is resistant at first, but once she takes her first oral test she realizes she has nothing to be ashamed of.

Back at Roger’s house, his dad is pissed because his son didn’t get into Stanford. This leads to a terrible fight, and that night Brandon confronts Roger and learns that he doesn’t want to kill his dad. He wants to kill himself. There is a very emotional scene in which Roger cries and points a gun at himself in front of Brandon, but Brandon talks him down. And of course, Roger’s dad sees the error of his ways as well. In the end, a weeklong friendship with Brandon changes Roger’s entire life. Bitch please!


90210 S1E18: It's Only A Test

I really hope this is the SAT one. But it might be the breast cancer one. If it’s the SAT one, all I really remember is that Brandon and Brenda get the same scores, but reversed. If it’s the breast cancer one, Brenda finds a lump in her breast and there’s a whole lot of freaking out, but it turns out to be nothing.

Steve wants Brandon to take an SAT prep course, but Brandon doesn’t want to. He claims you can’t study for the SATs. Andrea is freaking out because she’s bad at standardized tests. While the girls are studying for the SATs, Kelly reads a magazine article about checking for breast cancer, so the girls do it even though Donna says it’s “something her mom does.” Brenda feels something, though she pretends she doesn’t. First the SATs, now this. The girl doesn’t have enough to worry about?

At home, Brenda tells her mom. Her mom feels her and agrees that there is something there. Brenda doesn’t want her dad to know because she’s embarrassed. Poor thing. Cindy puts up a good front but you can tell she’s also worried. Brenda’s doctor is awesome. She has a biopsy done, and learns that her lump is not a cyst.

Andrea asks Steve if she can study for the SATs with him, wanting to take advantage of an SAT prep course that she can’t afford. Is this the one where they almost kiss? Oh yeah, this is totally it! While studying, Andrea ends up lying on Steve’s bed, and he tells her she’s cute without her glasses. Then he kisses her. Woah! They make out for a bit, and then Andrea freaks out and runs away. Steve is weirdly turned on, and spends a few seconds sort of screaming in frustration after she leaves.

Andrea’s pants start like two inches below her breasts. Ouch. Brandon tells her Brenda’s secret even though he absolutely should not be doing so. What is he thinking? I understand that he needs someone to talk to, but jeez. But Brenda also tells Kelly and Donna. Much like Summer on The OC, Kelly started as an airhead bitch and is now a good person and a really good friend.

Dylan grabs Brenda in the hallway and she loses it. He blames the SATs and she bursts into tears. He tells her it’s only a test, and she finally tells him what’s going on. Dylan says that he’ll go with her, but she doesn’t want him to. She thinks this has changed things between them. That’s kind of a weird reaction. And then Dylan says he loves her.

It’s kinda sad. This should be a huge momentous occasion, but Brenda is too preoccupied to fully comprehend it. Instead, she shoves him away and says, “You’re only saying that.” But, after letting the afternoon marinate a bit, Brenda calls Dylan and tells him she loves him. On his answering machine. I already know these two are doomed, but this is like the foreshadowing of doom.

And there’s more foreshadowing! Brenda dreams that she’s dead and everyone is taking the SATs.
Kelly’s question is: “The thing I most want Brenda to leave me in her will is…”
A. her red pumps
B. her porcelain doll collection
C. her turquoise earrings
D. her boyfriend

And guess what she chooses?

I haven’t had a ton of medical experience, but does your general practitioner usually do your surgery? That seems a little odd. Brenda has her lump removed while everyone else takes the SATs. Brandon is too distracted, though, so he walks out on the test. Dylan shows up after going to five hospitals because Brenda didn’t tell him where to go. Then they all go home and wait, until they finally get the call that everything is ok. Phew!


90210 S1E17: Stand (Up) And Deliver

No memories.

Andrea suggests that Brandon run for student government. He is hesitant at first, but then agrees to run for president. Kelly and Donna suddenly find Brandon attractive because they view him as “powerful.” Brenda feels ignored by her friends and her parents. She feels like she doesn’t belong.

The girls go to an open mic night and Brenda identifies with a comedian named Sky who is kind of unconventional. She goes home and tells her parents all about how “performance-oriented coffeehouses are really happening,” but her parents are too busy making campaign posters for Brandon to care. Kelly decides that she’s going to run Brandon’s campaign, and Andrea is offended because she’s already his manager. But Kelly is popular, so obviously Brandon wants her.

Brenda starts to hang out with Sky, and learns that she’s a high school dropout. Brenda is impressed that Sky has “really lived.” Sky doesn’t exactly encourage Brenda to drop out, but she implies that it was the best thing she ever did. So Brenda decides to take her GED. She tells the school counselor, “I’ll just tell my parents I’m dropping out.” Yeah. That’s gonna go well.

Brenda is friendly with a dweeby guy named Michael, who it turns out is Brandon’s opponent. This is weird, because Andrea’s whole point in asking Brandon to run was that they don’t have to let the popular kids run the school. But this Michael kid is obviously not popular. WTF?

After she offers to house sit for Sky, Brenda goes home and tells her parents she’s moving out. My guess is that Sky isn’t quite as independent as she pretends, and Brenda will realize that she can’t be either. Brenda comes home to Sky’s one day and finds the apartment empty and a burly guy repossessing all of Sky’s possessions. Kelly shows up with a ton of people in tow for Brandon’s campaign party, and Brenda and Brandon get into a huge fight. And Kelly joins in. This episode is pretty ridiculous.

Brandon and Michael chat before the debate and Michael admits that he’s lost a bunch of elections before. Brendon is totally naive about the whole situation. He realizes suddenly that Michael is totally qualified, and then he gets crushed during the debate because he hasn’t spent enough time thinking about the issues or how he will implement his proposals. So Brandon drops out of the race in front of everyone.

Meanwhile, Dylan goes to Mexico to see his dad.


90210 S1E16: Fame Is Where You Find It

SDYW writer Alligator is visiting this weekend, so we’re tag-teaming this one: we’re both watching, but I’m writing and she’s embroidering. This is her memory: Brandon starts dating an actress after being asked to play a bit part on a TV show. And Brenda takes over his job at the Peach Pit and pretends to be some 1950s-esque waitress.

We open with some Brandon doing some fancy footwork on roller blades. And wearing huge blue kneepads. A kid in a black trench coat steals a woman’s purse and some girl calls him Kirk and threatens to turn him in. He pulls a switchblade. It’s all very serious… but it turns out they’re shooting an episode of a popular TV show. Apparently the guy cast as “surfer dude” is in the hospital with food poisoning, so when the director sees Brandon, they ask him to fill in.

I just looked down to type for a moment, and Alligator said, “Do you see this? Do you see this?” And I looked up and saw this:

Well actually, I saw a long shot of this outfit involving weird parachute pants. But it was hard to get a good photo of it. Yikes.

Anyway, Brandon meets the lead actress, Lydia, and falls for her. Shocking. He does a great job in his five seconds of fame, so they offer him a job as a recurring guest. Brenda is jealous because Keep It Together is her favorite show. Brandon asks Brenda to cover his shifts at the Peach Pit while he works on the show, and she’s a total bitch about it. But she does it anyway.

Nat tells Brandon not to get caught up in the “Hollywood hoopla,” so obviously he will. Brandon becomes super popular and girls fall all over him. A limo picks him up from school and people ask for his autograph. His first real day on the job, he is in a shot where he kisses Lydia about 100 times. And they pseudo-date, but Lydia is just using him to make her co-star and old boyfriend, Sean, jealous. Brandon is now 0 for 7. Alligator notes that he will continue to strike out until he meets Emily Valentine.

Brenda sucks as a waitress until she adopts the persona of Laverne, a ’50s-era career waitress complete with cat-eye glasses and a bad New York accent. Surprisingly, she’s great when she does this; she just needed a little confidence. She is straight outta Ed Debevics, for those who grew up in the Southwest.


90210 S1E15: Palm Springs Weekend

Apparently at this point I was just getting into 90210 … I had incredibly strong memory ties to the first two eps on this disc. The second two, I don’t recognize at all.

We open on Dylan and Brenda making out in his Porsche. He breaks the kiss and tells her he’s “dying.” They’ve been going out for two months and he’s been absolutely faithful to her but all he gets is “a bunch of promises and a lot of I’m sorry.” Poor Brenda apologizes and Dylan says, “Don’t be sorry. Be friendly.” What a dick. He then pressures her into having sex with him over Presidents Day weekend, a time when tradition deems that West Beverly High students go to Palm Springs.

When Steve’s plans fall through (his family’s second home is being fumigated), David gains serious points by offering up his grandparents’ mansion while they’re out of town. Brenda drives with Kelly and Donna, who plan to drop her off at Dylan’s hotel. David and Steve are in car #2. And Brandon is stuck at home because he has to work.

David gets a nasty shock when he finds his grandparents in their hot tub, and then gets embarrassed because they want to spend time with him. Also, they’re cooler than he is and his friends love them.

Brenda gets dropped off at the wrong hotel, and loses her wallet. A kind (attractive, male) hotel employee takes pity on her, and sets up a roll-away bed in a broom closet. Actually, he invites her to stay at his place, but she declines. Meanwhile, Dylan runs into an old (not so attractive, female) friend and when Brenda finally shows up at the right hotel, she finds Dylan and the girl in his room. So they get into a huge fight. Let’s just compare Brenda’s hotel employee and Dylan’s friend:

I think Brenda wins.

Regardless, she turns the tables and pressures Dylan right back, and the guy is totally shocked when she storms into his hotel room and demands that he take off his clothes so they can “get it over with.” Dylan says he doesn’t want to be pressured into it, and Brenda retorts, “Well now you know how it feels, don’t you?”

Back in Beverly Hills, Brandon is both irritated and charmed by Curtis, a mouthy blonde kid who spends an inordinate amount of time at the Peach Pit. Apparently the Peach Pit is supposed to be ridiculously cheap, because they make a point of showing Curtis paying for his meals in change. One night after closing up, Brandon realizes he has forgotten something and goes back inside only to find Curtis on a stool with his hand in the till.

Curtis admits that his family doesn’t have a place to live, and “people give us spare change so they don’t have to feel weird.” Brandon wraps up some food for him, and Curtis disappears into the night. I’m impressed – based on the 90210 I’ve seen thus far I would have expected Brandon to get mom a job waitressing at the Peach Pit. Although, he does tell Curtis to have his mom come in so they can “help or something.” Curtis just says, “I’ll be ok. Don’t worry.”


90210 S1E14: East Side Story

I’m not sure I remember this one; it doesn’t look familiar. But Debbie Gibson makes a cameo appearance!

Brandon arrives home one day to find their maid and an unfamiliar man having a hushed conversation with the Walsh parents. Upstairs, Brenda tells him that Jim’s new client is Chick Schneider, “the king kahuna of beach fashion,” and the Walsh family is throwing him a party at their house. Anna will be catering the party. Brandon disagrees. He thinks Anna’s being fired. When they traipse downstairs, Jim & Cindy tell the kids they’re going to let Anna’s niece Carla use their address to enroll in West Beverly. The strange man is Anna’s cousin Richard.

When Brandon meets Carla, he falls for her. Damn! For a supposed goody-two-shoes Brandon sure gets around. Brenda teases him about it, saying “every girl you meet suddenly becomes your next true love.” The funny thing is that the first time we see Carla, before we know who she is, it’s because Steve stops to gawk at her in the hall. I’m sorry, but this girl is totally not Steve’s type:

Also, she looks like she’s 14. Moments later, Dylan checks her out. Right in front of Brenda, who storms away in a huff. And Dylan longingly gazes back at Carla before chasing after Brenda. WTF? Seriously, Carla is not that attractive!

Carla plays hard to get, but Brandon is nothing if not persistent. On their first date she takes him to a community center where everyone is doing a synchronized dance. Girls in mom jeans & crop tops, guys in torn jeans & berets, all doing the same moves. This is one of those times when I long to know what the original song was, because I am quite sure it wasn’t this nonsense. And as much as I want to share this moment with you all, this is the best I can do:

Carla and Brandon start dating, but Richard is always lurking around and saying things like, “You better watch yourself, girl.” When Anna caters the Walsh party, Carla serves as a waitress. Even though she’s totally practical and professional about it, it freaks Brandon out to have the girl he likes waiting on him. Finally, after a bunch of weird innuendo about what’s going on, we learn that Carla witnessed a gang-related shooting, and Richard is a prosecutor who is trying to protect her. Carla tells Brandon she doesn’t expect anything from him, and that’s the end of that. Brandon is now 0 for 6 in the romance department. Whatta catch!

But wait! In the very end, as we cycle through each character to see how their part in this particular tale plays out, Brandon finds himself with Andrea. And…

B: I wish it could be like this with everyone.
A: Like what?
B: Like how we are with each other. Easy. Comfortable. Real.
A: Yeah, it’s nice.
B: I’m just glad we’re not attracted to each other. So we can always be friends. Good friends. Just friends.

OUCH! That would have been bad enough if it had stopped after “I’m just glad we’re not attracted to each other.” Did Brandon really need to beat that horse into a bloody pulp?


90210 S1E13: Slumber Party

Skeletons in the Closet! That is the first thing that popped into my mind when this ep began. The girls have a slumber party and some horrible mean girl shows up and forces them all to play Skeletons in the Closet. I remember lots of crying, and the mean girl totally has an eating disorder. I also recall Kelly's secret, but not anybody else. Meanwhile, the boys go out to pick up babes and meet two girls who end up stealing Steve’s car. They might be prostitutes, I’m not quite sure.

Brenda has a slumber party, though she calls it “an evening of female bonding.” The other girls are not into the idea of a night spent without boys, until they realize that they can stuff their faces and not worry about what they look like. Kelly invites her friend Amanda, a senior, but she worries that Amanda will think that it’s lame. The girls have a blast even though Amanda is a royal bitch. Also, I think she’s one of the Heathers. Though she keeps complaining about not wanting to be at the slumber party, she won’t leave. She’d rather just roll her eyes and make snarky comments. Eventually she convinces them to play Skeletons in the Closet.

Side note: I know that, much like other older shows to be released on DVD, a lot of the music for 90210 has been changed. I have to say that it really affects the experience of re-watching the show. I don’t recognize 90% of the songs, and in scenes where the music plays a big part – for example, in this ep when the girls dance like crazy – I often find myself distracted as I wonder what the original song might have been.

The girls ask Kelly about her first sexual experience and she describes an awkward, cute night with Steve. Then Amanda’s all, “Now tell the truth.” So Kelly tells a story about how she had sex with a “godly football stud” in the woods and though she wanted to do it, it wasn’t quite how she wanted it to happen. Amanda makes a point to tell the other girls this was “PNJ.” What’s that, you ask? “Pre-nose job.”

Next, it’s Andrea’s turn. Amanda and Kelly tell her the way she pronounces her name is pretentious. They ask who she wants her first time to be with, then force her to admit that it’s Brandon. Finally, once she is good and upset, they tell her “the whole school knows.”

Donna’s up. She has nothing to confess, and is embarrassed that she is so boring.

Finally, we have Brenda, who admits that back in Minneapolis she tried to steal her best friend’s boyfriend. Kelly, overcome with emotion, admits that she tried to make a date with Dylan after he and Brenda started dating. They start fighting, and then everyone else is suddenly screaming at each other. And then – just as quickly – they all make up. Amanda takes off, but leaves her purse behind. When Andrea goes to pick it up, she knocks it off the table and a bunch of pills fall out.

Amanda returns for her purse and accuses them of going through it. Kelly lectures her about the dangers of diet pills, and Amanda retorts that some people have to work at looking good. Apparently she was fat in middle school and swore she’d never be that way again. They tell her she’s beautiful and ask her to stay, and she gets all weepy and agrees. Donna goes to get some cookies from the kitchen, and Amanda says, “Bring the whole box.” It’s pretty ridiculous to imply that this girl can get over a serious eating disorder in three minutes, but whatever. 90210 deals with some great topics, but I wish the writers hadn’t felt like everything needed to be wrapped up with a bow at the end of each episode.

In the secondary storyline, Steve and Brandon meet two hot young things outside a club. The girls suggest they go to an empty parking lot, where Steve’s chickie convinces him to let her drive his car. Her friend then jumps in, and they speed off. Steve cries. Really, he does. It’s kind of cute. When the cops find track the girls down, they claim they got lost. Steve’s girl offers to “make it up to him” and Steve, thinking he might get sex out of it, decides not to press charges. And then he is sad, because all the girl does is give him a gift certificate for a free manicure. Nice.


90210 S1E12: One Man and a Baby

We’re getting into territory that I know well. In this episode, Brandon starts dating a new girl. Who, as it turns out, has a baby. I recall him having some wacky babysitting escapades. Brandon sure dates a lot, although we’ve never seen a girl who lasts more than one episode. Also, though I don’t remember how this ends up happening, this is the episode in which Brenda goes skydiving.

Brandon meets a senior named Melissa, who is cute, sweet, Harvard-bound…and has a baby. When Brandon asks her what it’s like, she says it’s like jumping off a cliff. Melissa’s babysitter cancels unexpectedly on the day of her Harvard interview, so she hoists her kid off on Brandon. Steve comes over to watch the game, and the two get into some hi-jinks – can’t figure out how a diaper works, can’t make baby stop crying, etc. Melissa’s interview goes horribly and she has second thoughts about keeping her baby, but in the end she decides that she did the right thing, natch. She and Brandon have this heartfelt conversation where he’s all, “Don’t forget I have visitation rights,” but of course we will never see this girl again.

Meanwhile, Brenda and Kelly win skydiving lessons from the local radio station. Brenda is afraid of heights, so she has some trouble with this. Kelly tells her to stop being a baby. Both girls have a crush on the instructor, who thankfully is much more attractive than the teacher a few episodes back. I was starting to wonder about the casting director of this show. The whole thing doesn’t really make sense, though, Brenda and Dylan are dating now and yet she and Kelly fight over this guy – to the extent that they end up pushing each other out of a plane while arguing. WTF?


90210 S1E11: B.Y.O.B.

I’m thinking this is the one where Brandon drives drunk, although I thought that happened at prom. I remember some car accident with people nearby who hear or see the crash, but now that I think of it I have a distinct memory of Brandon’s shocked face as he stands in the street. So someone else must drive drunk at some point. Maybe Emily Valentine? Anyway, this is also the episode where we find out that Dylan is an alcoholic.

Donna has a party when her parents go out of town, and Brandon doesn’t want to drink. So, Steve offers to make him a virgin margarita but spikes it. Because he’s an asshole, apparently. When Brenda says she didn’t think Kelly drank, Kelly says, “My mother drinks. I sip.” Then she “sips” so much that she ends up sleeping with Steve. And just last episode the seminar speaker with AIDS told the students that they shouldn’t have sex “because you drink too much one night.” It’s all about juxtaposition.

A few drinks in, when Brandon realizes his mocktails have a little kick, he is furious. But everyone stares at him and, not wanting to cause a scene, he keeps drinking. At the end of the night, he drives home while he and Brenda giggle about trying not to hit anything. Surprisingly, there is never any discussion of this being wrong. I guess the show is trying to make a point about being lulled into a false sense of security.

When the Walsh parents go on a corporate retreat, the kids have a party of their own, making a pact that they won’t drink. Kelly uses her “I sip” line again and Brenda is super judgmental. She is then shocked to find Brandon drinking. Dylan tries to talk to Brandon, who says everything is fine. I’m kind of confused by how upset everyone is about Brandon drinking. I guess going from teetotaler to wasted is kind of weird, but it’s not like he drinks all the time. Brandon kisses Andrea, but she knows that he’s only doing it because he’s drunk so she storms out of the party. Considering that she has liked him since the start of the show, Andrea has tremendous willpower.

Kelly, trying to get away from Steve, grabs David to dance. When they run out of booze, Brandon and Steve both go to pick up more refreshments. But Brandon gets into a car accident, gets arrested, and spends the night in jail. Brandon is embarrassed and lashes out at Brenda when she tries to talk to him. Then Dylan shows up. Brandon feels like a huge disappointment, and wants to get drunk just to show his parents he can do whatever he wants. Dylan takes Brandon to a teen AA meeting, and we learn that Dylan is an alcoholic. Also, BTW, he’s finally wearing a Dylan-appropriate outfit: dark jeans, white tee, black jacket.

Meanwhile, at the corporate retreat Jim and Cindy meet a couple that wants them to swing. There’s not much plot here; the storyline just adds humor.


90210 S1E10: Isn't It Romantic?

Dylan and Brenda get together. We learn more about Dylan’s troubled past. I think his dad makes his first appearance. And maybe Brandon has issues with his friend dating his sister? I don’t actually remember that, but I can envision it happening. I also vaguely remember Dylan having anger issues.

Brenda walks up to Brandon, who is working on his car and is literally covered in dirt Or motor oil. Regardless, he’s dirty. Brenda starts yammering on about how she misses winter because she needs a season to “sulk and be depressed in.” Suddenly, Dylan rolls out from under the car and turns on the sex appeal, kind of leering at her. Brenda goes up to her room and stares at Dylan from the balcony. To the strains of sexy instrumental music, he looks back at her. You can experience this moment yourself via the photos above.

Later, Dylan takes a shower in the twins’ shared bathroom and Brenda walks in on him, thinking it’s her bro. Even hotter. Dylan invites her to a movie with he and Brandon. Actually, what he says is, “You into videotape?” And Dylan wears the stupid plaid parachute pants again, but they all have fun anyway.

The next day, Brandon is sick so Brenda and Dylan go out alone. It’s not a date. But it totally is. Jim is an accountant, and Dylan’s dad is “what’s known in financial circles as an unethical bastard,” so Jim knows all about him, and this makes him skeptical of the poor boy. Cindy, on the other hand, likes Dylan.

Everything goes well until Dylan takes Brenda back to his place and his dad is there. They scream at each other. Dylan starts to pour himself a drink but then storms out, dragging Brenda with him. She tries to talk to him, and he’s so angry and frustrated that he yells at her, then picks up a potted plant and smashes it onto the ground. Brenda runs away to super dramatic music, and Dylan chases her. When he catches her, he wraps his arms around her from behind. She is supposed to be terrified so you’d think she’d slam her foot into his shin, but instead they both start sobbing and then share a passionate kiss. It’s weird.

Turns out Dylan’s father kicked him out of the house and they didn’t speak for a year. Jim forbids Brenda to see Dylan, but she ignores him. She wants to have sex with Dylan, but has doubts. She goes to Kelly:

B: This is going so fast.
K: And we’re just talking about it. Wait ‘til you get to the real thing.
B: I guess I’m more into the romancing, like in the movies.
K: That’s all well and good for the movies, but you do have protection, right?
B: Well, no.
K: Basic rule #1: never rely on the guy. Memorize that.
B: You sound so clinical.
K: Dear, clinical is “What time shall we schedule the procedure?”

Dylan and Brenda then become an adorable couple that holds hands in the hallway and wrestles on the school lawn. Brenda is all ready to sleep with him…until he stands her up on a date. Brenda cries for two days straight and refuses to go to school. Brandon tries to talk to Dylan, because he has discovered that Dylan moved without leaving a forwarding address. All Dylan will say is, “Something came up.”

Eventually, Dylan apologizes to Brenda. He had to help his dad prepare to leave the country but he doesn’t have any more information because that way, he won’t have to lie if he’s subpoenaed. They make out on the couch and Jim comes this!close to catching them. This must happen again later, because I thought I recognized this scene as one in which they actually do get caught. It’s weird the things you remember.

Brenda gets in a huge fight with her dad and asks why “with Brandon you just wanted him to know about birth control, but my whole value system is on the line.” Jim replies, “It’s just different with girls. I just don’t know if I’m ready … I mean if you’re ready.” I’m kind of surprised, because this episode is bringing up a lot of interesting points about sex and the way that teens and their parents deal with it. Certainly more interesting than contemporary dramas like The OC or Gossip Girl.

Meanwhile, in health class it’s Sex Ed time and Steve finagles a way to pick up the “sex expert” that is coming to speak at West Beverly. Scott’s mother won’t sign his consent form because she doesn’t like the message he’ll be getting at school. David’s response? “What kind of message are you getting at home? Your mom has six kids.” Way to support population control 90210!

When Steve meets Stacy it’s super obvious that, far from being a sex expert, something is wrong with her. Especially when she says, “I’m feeling pretty good these days.” Steve asks her out, but she politely turns him down. At the seminar, it turns out she has AIDS. So naturally everyone starts to have second thoughts about sex. In the end, Jim semi-accepts Dylan. Brenda asks Dylan to get tested, even though she’s afraid he’ll get mad. Bless his heart, Dylan agrees instantly.


90210 S1E9: The Gentle Art of Listening

Oh man, I know this one. Two seconds into it, I know it. This is the rape episode! Brenda starts working at a teen help line and gets a call from a girl who has been raped. I think it turns out to be a popular girl. I don’t remember any of the secondary storylines though.

It’s Grudge Week, a week of sporting events and pep rallies and whatnot. A week that is “every guy’s thing,” according to Dylan, because freshman girls try to pick up older boys. Um, okay. A lovesick freshman girl follows Brandon around like a puppy dog, and he keeps glaring at her and rolling his eyes. He even complains about her to Cindy, who tells him he’s a heartbreaker.

Brenda is tired of always going shopping with the girls, so Brandon suggests that she work at the teen “rap line” with Andrea. The first night that Brenda is there to observe, Kelly is late picking her up so she gets a janitor to let her back into the building. The phone rings, and even though she knows she shouldn’t, she answers. Then she regrets it, because the poor girl on the other end wants to know how to tell when you’ve been raped. When Kelly arrives, Brenda tells her all about it. Bitch please! It’s called “confidentiality.”

Brandon meets a woman named Nina, a massage therapist who is very flirtatious. She asks if she can practice a new technique on him and he gets all jazzed, thinking they’re going to do it. He even asks Dylan for advice on making it with an older woman. This conversation is fantastic so I’ll give you a little here. Imagine Brandon stuttering and nervous, and Dylan cool as a cucumber.

B: She’s hot in an organic way, kind of like Debra Winger.
D: Have fun.
B: You’ve been with an older woman before, right?
D: It’s not my style to kiss & tell but … what’s your question?
B: If we, like, like, you know, if we do it … is she gonna expect me to spend the night?
D: It’s customary, yeah.
B: How am I gonna get around my mom?

Then they have the “rap line” caller, a cheerleader, run into Dylan in the hall so she can say she’s sorry and we can recognize her voice. The girl calls the line every night, so eventually Brenda figures out who she is. Then she confronts the girl in the hallway. Seriously!

The girl gives Brenda attitude, for good reason. She says that she called the “rap line” because she needed someone to talk to – someone she didn’t have to look in the eye, someone who didn’t know who she was. She is furious at Brenda for seeking her out. Man, if this story got out nobody would ever call the “of course you can remain anonymous” rap line again. Later that night, when the cheerleader’s stupid jock boyfriend tries to rape her again, the police are waiting for him. Brenda has connected the timing of the calls to the sporting events taking place during Grudge Week. Take that, stupid jock boyfriend!

Meanwhile, Brandon goes over to Nina’s only to discover he’s been a tad overconfident. Nina has a boyfriend, and was not hitting on him at all. In the end, he goes up to his freshman stalker, reveals that he knows her name, and tells her she has a nice smile. Her face lights up.


90210 S1E8: Seventeen Year Itch

I think someone has an affair in this one? Something like that. And this is the one where the school has a contest to choose a new DJ for the West Beverly High radio show, which apparently broadcasts 24-7 because it seems as if it is on every time they walk through the halls. Must be awfully exhausting for the DJ to get out of class, race to the booth, yammer on for 3 minutes, and then rush to his next class.

We open on Jim & Cindy in the bedroom the night of their anniversary. Cindy is the only member of the family who isn’t wowed by their new locale. She is getting tired of Jim working all of the time while she – who has made no friends in BH yet – is forced to hang out with a maid she didn’t want to hire in the first place.

At the nursery one day, Cindy runs into an old flame who has become a devil-may-care photographer. And she goes to bed one night with a blue facial mask on. Like, she sleeps with it on. Is that normal? Anyway, Cindy is swept away by the fun of seeing Glen again and has all sorts of second thoughts about her life. She even kisses him passionately on a rooftop. Jim is kind of a dick through all of this. When Cindy asks, “Aren’t you going to ask how my day was?” Jim’s response is “I’m tired.” However, he does admit that he’s in over his head at his job, and he’s having a hard time adjusting to Beverly Hills.

Cindy runs to Glen’s after a nasty fight with Jim, and it just so happens to be the same night that Glen is planning to take the twin’s pictures. Nothing happens between Cindy and Glen, but naturally the kids see her run out of the apartment and think she’s having an affair. The next morning, Cindy and Jim make up but the kids are totally rude to her. In the end, Cindy sends Glen packing and everyone makes up. Shocking, I know.

In teen land, the school DJ is leaving so there is a competition to see who will take his place. David wants it, but has no confidence that a freshman will get the job. Donna tries out and is kind of cute. This must be when David starts to fall for her. Steve also tries out, but he freezes up. David saves him, and does a fantastic job. I mean, not really. But for the purposes of the show.

Meanwhile, Brandon and Brenda agree to take part in a twin study at the university. At first they feel like they don’t measure up because they can’t read one another’s minds. Then they have to take IQ tests. Is this the one where they get the same scores, only reversed? No, that was the SATs. Anyway, they feel inadequate but then the woman running the study says they make a great team but they need to be sure to respect each other’s differences. So this becomes a running joke between them, where each one keeps saying how much he/she respects the other. It’s actually pretty funny.


90210 S1E7: Perfect Mom

Now this one, I remember. The ep focuses on Kelly and her mom. It also includes the ubiquitous mother-daughter fashion show. Brenda thinks Kelly’s mom is really cool because she’s more a friend than a mom, but in reality Kelly’s mom is a total mess – an alcoholic and a coke addict to boot. And I totally remember Cindy walking in on her doing drugs in the bathroom. I believe this is also the ep where Brandon sees Andrea as a “girl” (read: pretty) for the first time.

I wish I had a better picture for you, folks, but it is surprisingly difficult to find photos for shows that have been off the air for so long. The above photo is from much later in the show, but it’s the only one I could find of Kelly and her mom.

On to the recap: Brandon convinces Andrea to take part in the mother-daughter fashion show so she can write about it for the paper. But since Andrea can’t bring her mom (she’s poor, you know) he offers to hook her up with Cindy. David walks around with a video camera filming Kelly and going on about how she’s the girl who has everything. Foreshadowing!

Kelly’s mom, Jackie, is a different actress than in the pilot, and she is way better. One thing I really like about Kelly’s mom is that it’s totally obvious that she is truly devoted to her daughter. She just also happens to be a drunk. So, Jackie gets dumped and starts a severe downward spiral. Kelly’s all, “You said you’d stop drinking” and “Let’s go to a meeting” but her mom dismisses her. When Kelly dumps out her alcohol, Jackie freaks out.

Brenda is totally confrontational with her own mom because she wishes Cindy were cooler. Brandon brings Andrea over to ask Cindy if she can join them in the fashion show, but it turns out Brenda hasn’t told Cindy about it because she’s embarrassed by her uncool mom. Brenda also doesn’t understand why Kelly always wants to hang out at the Walsh house.

One night, Kelly arrives home to find that her mother has locked the deadbolt and she can’t get in the house. She climbs through the doggy door, finds her mom passed out, and wearily takes off her mom’s shoes and tucks her into bed. The next day at the fashion show, Cindy walks in on Jackie doing coke in the bathroom – before she knows who Jackie is. During the show, Jackie (the announcer) keeps messing up and insulting people. Andrea looks the same as always, but everyone keeps saying how beautiful she looks. Her “new look” stuns Brandon.

Kelly goes back to the Walsh house, and Jackie shows up looking for her. She tries to apologize, but Kelly is having none of it. She wants her mom to go back to rehab, but her mom refuses and storms out. However, when Kelly arrives home, she finds her mom packing for rehab. In the end, Brenda apologizes to her mom and Kelly calls Cindy to thank her for her help.

Unfortunately, the part of this show with the most potential for ridicule – the fashion show - wasn’t even all that bad. Oh, and David gets one step closer to the in-crowd when he gives his tape of the fashion show to Kelly so nobody else will see it.


90210 S1E6: Higher Education

Again, I got nothing.

Mr. Danzel, Brandon’s American history teacher, comes into the Peach Pit and rebuffs B’s friendly advances. Brandon then gets a C on a quiz because Danzel grades on a curve. Steve and Andrea both gets As.

Dylan is still wearing half-undone overalls. Giggling, Kelly & Brenda approach him and he says he loves blondes, but gives Brenda this look where he just barely raises his eyebrow at her and yet somehow looks like pure sex doing it. Ah yes, this is the Dylan I remember. Also, this is the first time he & Brenda have met. Brenda then goes home and fantasizes about having blonde hair, and Dylan complimenting her on it. And in the fantasy, she looks like this:

Apparently in the early ’90s there were no good wig makers in Hollywood. Anyway, Brenda sees Kelly and Dylan giggling together in the hall one day and ends up trying to highlight her hair. Of course, it is a disaster.

Then, she’s out jogging. Dylan zooms up on his motorcycle and offers to hook her up with a stylist he knows. And she says she likes his butt. Literally. She says, “I like your butt.” Then she backpedals. “I mean your bike.” And Dylan responds, “Oh, well, thank you. Hop on. My bike, that is.” I love it!!!

Meanwhile, Steve offers to help Brandon study. But for Steve, “studying” and“cheating” are interchangeable. Brandon is swept away for a bit, but finally the guilt gets to him. One day, he yells at Mr. Danzel, saying that the way he grades is unfair. Memorizing facts isn’t learning. So Danzel gives a midterm based on the students’ personal interpretations of historical events. Steve looks shell-shocked.

On a side note, Kelly is at the house while the Walsh parents praise Brandon for his good grades. Guilt-stricken, he asks if they can stop talking about grades. And Kelly says, “I think this is great. We never talk about anything at my house.” Poor little Kelly.

Also, Andrea goes from “ANN-dreah” to “AAHN-dreah” in this ep. At the beginning, she’s still “ANN-dreah” but once Brandon gets mad at her, she becomes “AAHN-dreah,” and she remains so ever after.


90210 S1E5: One On One

I remember nothing about this episode. Perhaps I had a test the next day.

Brandon tries out for the basketball team, and Steve tells him “the whole thing is rigged.” Most players are from out of district. They are allowed to play because they’re part of the “applied learning opportunity program” but they don’t go to class. Also, they’re all minorities.

Brandon convinces Andrea to do a story on this even though this is a sensitive subject for her, since she lies about her address to attend West Beverly. She discovers that the ALOP has no records on one kid, James.

Brandon corners James in the library, and James screams at him. He is allowed to attend West Beverly because his father has worked for the Beverly Hills City Library for 15 years. James is bitter because his parents pulled him out of school in Englewood four weeks into the semester, so he’s been playing catch-up ever since.

Meanwhile, Brenda is taking driver’s training after failing her driver’s test three times. She does ok at first, but then nearly gets into an accident with her driving teacher. Kelly wants Brenda to go on a double date, but Brenda refuses. When the date goes sour, Kelly calls Brenda to pick her up. Brenda takes Brandon’s car and manages to not only run out of gas, but also get the car stolen when she walks to a gas station for help.

Brandon finds James in the gym and the two work out their differences. They compliment each other on their b-ball skills, and play a little one-on-one. In the end, the cops find Brandon’s car, with Brenda’s keys in it (what?), so the jig is up. This makes no sense. If Brenda has no license, she shouldn’t have keys to the car in the first place. AND, when she takes the car Brandon isn’t home, so how’d she get keys anyway? THEN, her set of keys turns up in the car? Even though she didn’t have keys to begin with? ALSO, she left her keys in the car when she walked to get help? It boggles the mind.


90210 S1E4: The First Time

I believe this is the one where Brandon loses his virginity, but it turns out something is weird with the girl. Maybe she has an STD or something? Although that seems too extreme.

As we open, Brandon’s Minnesotan girlfriend Sheryl wants to come visit. Brandon is thrilled. Andrea is still “ANN-dreah.” Meanwhile, Brenda, Kelly, and Donna talk about how “gorgeous” their Algebra teacher is. This guy:

Yeah. Anyway, he asks Brenda to baby-sit for his kid and she gets all excited about it. She has this little fantasy that is actually quite awesome, where he asks her to run away with him to “make a love nest in some little alpine village where nobody knows our names. During the day I’ll teach skiing, and at night we’ll cuddle by the fire.” And it’s all in soft focus, natch.

Brandon tells Dylan all about how “special” Sheryl is and Dylan says, “She sleeps with you, of course you think she’s special.” Then when Brandon balks, Dylan says, “You mean she doesn’t sleep with you?” I think Brandon is beginning to feel some pressure. Holy hell what is Dylan wearing?!?! At first I could only see the white t-shirt, so I was like, “Cool.” Then in the long shot he’s wearing blue plaid parachute pants!! Hopefully I will be able to stop harping on this soon, but ESPECIALLY when it comes to Dylan, the costume choices just leave me speechless.

When Sheryl arrives, she stays in Brenda’s room but sneaks into Brandon’s after Brenda falls asleep. Cindy hears the door creak open and lays awake all night, desperately listening for any movement. Brandon convinces Sheryl to sleep with him, and the next morning he’s singing to Frank Sinatra and dancing around, complete with jazz hands.

However, once Sheryl meets Dylan it’s all downhill from there. She is smitten by his good looks, his movie-star friends, his Porsche, and the fact that he lives in a swanky hotel. She hits on Dylan, and Brandon blames Dylan for trying to steal his girl and then punches him. Brandon and Sheryl get into a fight and she tells him that he’s not the first person she slept with. Brandon is a dick about it, furious because she made him “wait and wait” but then (supposedly) didn’t think twice about having sex with some other dude.

Meanwhile, Cindy discovers that Sheryl has run away from home. Brandon finds Sheryl at Dylan’s hotel suite and she tells him all about how her family is falling apart, how she relied on him so much, and how devastated she was when he moved away. Then she goes back to Minnesota.

Brandon and Brenda spend an awful lot of time having conversations half naked. He’ll wear pants (only), she’ll wear an oversized men’s shirt. At their age isn’t that a little bit strange? I understand that the female viewers probably wanted to see Jason Priestley shirtless, and male viewers (wait, were there any?) like to see ladies in various states of undress, but as these two are supposed to be siblings AND at an awkward age, it just seems a little…off.


90210 S1E3: Every Dream Has Its Price

No recollections of this one. Sorry.

In this ep, an uninvited housekeeper shows up at the Walsh house and Cindy doesn’t know what to do because she doesn’t speak Spanish. Turns out Jim hired her. The kids read Les Miserables in English class. Kelly has rekindled her friendship with a girl named Tiffany, and Brenda feels she is being pushed out. The theme of the episode is, “How can one decision affect your whole life?”

They say “dope” an awful lot. As in, “Brenda, your brother is dope!” Tiffany befriends Brenda, but it turns out she is a klepto. Brenda, tired of not having “the right clothes,” is sorely tempted to steal but resists. When Tiff gets caught stealing clothes from a fancy boutique, Brenda happens to be with her, so she gets in trouble for being an accomplice.

Meanwhile, Dylan is still wearing half-undone overalls. My best friend has reminded me that this was the Color Me Badd era. Brandon gets a job as a busboy at a hip restaurant, where he learns that the other busboys, who are all minorities, don’t make minimum wage. He is outraged, and quits his job after threatening to write an expose in the school paper.

Poor misguided Brandon. We never actually see what comes of this, but his naiveté in thinking that the parents and students of West Beverly High will stop going to one of the hippest restaurants in town just because the busboys don’t make minimum wage is … sad. It is, however, a relatively unusual topic for a teen drama to bring up.

Dylan takes Brandon to the Peach Pit, where he gets a job instantly. Tiffany arrives at the Walsh home to tell Cindy that Brenda wasn’t involved in the theft. And everything ends up delightfully.