I am getting really bored with 90210, folks.
Dylan’s mom has been in town for a while and is getting on his nerves. She’s a new-age-meditation type described as a “space case.” He starts drinking again, is totally irritable, and blows everything off. One night, he shows up drunk at the Walsh home and everyone freaks out. Brenda blames Dylan’s mom, and Brandon says, “She didn’t pour the booze down his throat.” Dylan then comes to school drunk, and Brenda tells Brandon he can’t let Dylan drink. Because of course it’s Brandon’s responsibility. Kelly serves as the voice of reason in this situation, telling Brenda she can’t help Dylan. He has to decide to help himself.
Now this, I like. Brandon doesn’t want Dylan to drive drunk, so he offers to take him anywhere he wants to go. Dylan wants to go to a bar, so then Brandon is forced to watch him get wasted and lose money playing pool. Back at the Walsh home, in a super OC moment, Iris tells Cindy she can’t handle this. Cindy says she has no choice, she’s his mom. Iris rolls her eyes. Jim forbids Brenda from seeing Dylan for the second (??) time. In the end, Iris moves back to Hawaii, giving Dylan his “freedom.” However, they agree to try to build a real relationship.
In other news, Donna does exceptionally well during a stock market game in Economics class, and Steve convinces her to take all of her savings and do it for real. Kelly keeps using the word “stupid,” as in “Don’t be stupid” or “This is stupid.” And we all know that Donna doesn’t respond well to that word. Steve and Donna do well at first, but then Donna wants to sell and Steve doesn’t. Instead, Steve takes stock tips from someone named “Bernie Goldfinger.” The stock plummets and Steve blames Donna, saying he shouldn’t have listened to her stupid ideas. But surprise! Donna sold her stock and made a lot of money. She tells Steve and Kelly never to call her stupid again.
An attempt to create a neighborhood patrol leads to race hate and violence.
Awww yeah! Race hate and violence! A neighborhood association meeting at the Walsh home prompts Cindy to install an alarm system, which then continually goes off at unexpected times. A new black family moves to the neighborhood and the neighbors are suspicious. Brandon and older sister Charise (Vivica A. Fox) hit it off, but in a friendly way. Shocking that Brandon doesn’t have romantic notions. Perhaps Emily Valentine has changed him.
Charise’s boyfriend Devo comes to see her and gets “arrested” by the neighborhood patrol even though he’s just walking down the street. The younger brother, Robinson, becomes the photographer for the West Beverly Blaze. As a former high school newspaper editor, I would not be too jazzed about a photog whose best photos look like this:
That's not just me taking a bad photo of the TV. There is actually a hand in front of the guy's face. Anyway, the ep is full of people being both intentionally racist, and “accidentally” racist. Brandon wants to write an expose for the paper, but the Ashe family would rather forget the whole thing. He goes to the “hood” to see Devo and almost gets beat up, but Devo saves him. Devo says the story isn’t a “story” because it happens all of the time.
In the end, Brandon publishes his expose. The ep ends with Dylan quoting aloud from the article: “It’s when we stop looking at the human race as individuals, we as a generation are in trouble.” He then says, “Eloquently put, man.”
Brandon and Dylan both make a date with the same girl – wild new student Emily Valentine – and Brenda’s jealousy prompts her to rethink her feelings for Dylan.
We open on Brandon having a fantasy in which he is relaxing on the beach with three girls in swimsuits fawning over him. One of them is giving him a pedicure, and is filing his toenails. Nice fantasy, Brandon.
Anyway, it’s the first day of school. I guess they are seniors now. There is a cute montage of everyone getting dressed and hating what they see in the mirror. At school, Dylan meets new student Emily Valentine when she roars up on her motorcycle. Torn jeans, leather jacket, skeleton earrings, short and spiky blonde hair, guitar slung on her back. If that’s not wild, I don’t know what is.
Dylan asks her out. Minutes later, she meets Brandon, who also asks her out. She goes out with both boys, making no attempt to hide that fact, and they are both cool with it. When Brandon discovers he really likes her, Dylan backs off.
Meanwhile, Emily becomes friends with the girls until they learn that she went on a date with Dylan. Brenda proceeds to completely ostracize Emily from the group, and the girls talk about what a slut she is. Excuse me, but isn’t Kelly calling anyone a slut like the pot calling the kettle black? In a truly fantastic moment, Brenda uses her bitchiest voice to tell Emily to “have fun at the gynecologist.”
Emily is hurt, of course, and when Brenda finally gets around to apologizing, Emily admits she’s a virgin. In one of the Season 2 special features (yes, I watched them first), Christine Elise says her best scenes were with Brenda because she felt strong-armed by Shannen Doherty in real life. Those tears? Those are real.
In the end, Brenda realizes she’s not willing to lose Dylan, and they get back together.
In other news, Scott returns from Oklahoma a cowboy-hat-wearing, country-music-listening dude, and David realizes that they are growing apart.
The gang heads up to Yosemite on what turns out to be a totally doomed camping trip. Stuck in the rain, the gang makes some unexpected friends – and encounters unexpected danger.
Totally doomed? More like totally boring. The gang goes camping but gets rained out and has to stay is a leaky cabin. Boo-hoo. Next door a couple of newlyweds get into a fight when he says he doesn’t want kids. You’d think this would be something you’d discuss BEFORE getting married, but whatever. It allows Kelly, Steve, and Dylan to go on and on about being children affected by divorce.
Like me, Dylan gets fed up with it all. So, he spends the night sleeping draped over a boulder after drinking two little airplane bottles of alcohol he swiped from the newlyweds’ cabin. Oh no! Dylan is off the wagon! The next morning Brandon finds him and they go for a hike. Brandon slips and almost falls off a mountain, but Dylan saves him. The end.
Brenda and Andrea clash over their mutual interest in their hot acting teacher, whose interest in one of the girls surprises them both.
Brenda and Andrea both have a crush on their acting teacher, Chris Suitor. They both think he likes Brenda, even though he totally flirts with Andrea when they run into each other at a bookstore. The girls both stalk him at the Peach Pit, and all three end up hanging out. It becomes painfully clear that Chris likes Andrea, and Brenda gets super jealous. The girls have to do a dramatic scene together for their final project in drama class, and instead of fake-slapping Andrea, Brenda hauls off and whacks her for real. Andrea cries, but instead of apologizing Brenda’s like, “Whatever bitch, you deserve it for stealing Chris from me.” Andrea’s reply? “You can’t steal something someone doesn’t have in the first place.”
Andrea and Chris make out until he finally admits that he has a girlfriend back home. Andrea is crushed, but Chris is all, “Whatever, silly child, you’re my student.” As though he hadn’t been making out with her this whole time. Whatta douche.
Meanwhile, Brandon finally buys his dream Mustang only to find out it’s a lemon. The poor naive thing “just can’t believe some people make a living ripping off other people!” Jim is totally unsympathetic (rightly so), saying Brandon should have checked the car out before buying it. Hurrah!
Since summer is over and his beach club job has ended, Brandon tries to get his Peach Pit job back, but Nat has hired Lucy Liu (!!), who is a super efficient waitress. Nat strings Brandon along for a while, then finally admits that Lucy is going back to college so of course Brandon can have his job back. And Jim pays for Brandon’s new car to be fixed. Puh-leeze.
Side note: at this point David and Donna are becoming awfully friendly…
Kelly is mortified when her mother starts dating David’s father and plots to break up the new couple, while Brandon, who is mentoring a local boy, discovers that his “little brother” may be hiding a dark secret.
Kelly, Brenda, and Jackie (K’s mom) are having lunch at the club when Jackie breaks a tooth. In swoops the charming & funny Mel, “Beverly Hills’ third best oral surgeon.” Jackie and Mel hit it off instantly, and Kelly is horrified to learn that he is David Silver’s father. She plots a way to break them up, acting like a huge brat when they all go to dinner. Her mom wonders why Kelly doesn’t want her to be happy, and Kel realizes what a dope she’s being. BORING!
Meanwhile, Brandon acts as a “Big Brother” to a kid named Felix. He discovers Felix has a bunch of bruises, and Felix admits that his mom hit him. Instead of going to the police, or social services, Brandon goes to Felix’s mom, who claims she’s never done it before. She’d been drinking, and she got upset. He helps her get into an unspecified “program,” and Felix is sent to a group home. And that’s the end.
This episode was lame.
After an illegal late-night poker game, Brandon and Dylan clash over a break-in at the beach club.
Dylan is having money troubles. His mom has offered to let him live with her in Hawaii, but he doesn’t want to go. He starts hocking his belongings at a pawnshop to stay afloat. Meanwhile, Brandon is convinced to let Steve and some other dudes into the beach club after hours to play poker. One guy tells the story of these “legendary” nights that occurred in the past, during which the guys would dress like they were in the ‘40s and bring beautiful girls along for good luck and play for “real money.” Steve is inspired, and sets up his own legendary night.
Dylan shows up, uninvited, and proceeds to lose all of his money. He leaves separately from the rest of them. The next day, Brandon learns that the beach club has been robbed – all of the electronics from the room they were in are gone. Brandon admits that he let some friends into the club that night.
Later, Brandon finds a ticket to Hawaii while digging through Dylan’s stuff (because he doesn’t trust him) and assumes that Dylan robbed the club. The detective shows up and sees an amp and a fax machine in Dylan’s Porsche, so she takes him down to the station. They let him go, though, and in the end we learn that the real perpetrators were the men of the Seashell Laundry Service. Dylan’s mom bought him the place ticket, and he leaves for Hawaii after making amends with Brandon.
Dylan, injured in a surfing accident, stays with the Walshes during his recovery – until Jim Walsh kicks him out for kissing Brenda!
OMG! The same generic beach club opener with the same extras AGAIN! I guess the viewer wouldn’t notice this when watching it the first time around, but when you watch a couple of episodes in a row it becomes painfully apparent. Anyway, Dylan gets a mild concussion and cracks a few ribs while surfing. Cindy feels bad that the poor boy has no parents, so she invites him to stay at the Walsh home. In Brandon’s room. Which shares a bathroom with Brenda’s room. Real smart.
Of course the two run into each other in the middle of the night when they both have to use the bathroom. Dylan is shirtless and Brenda is in shortie pajamas. There is palpable tension. Later, Brenda comes home to find Dylan on the sofa. He asks her to do a variety of things for him (get him a sandwich, get his book) and she gets irritated. “Anything else?” she asks snottily. “You,” he replies.
So, Little Miss “I Need Space” attacks him and they make out on the couch until Jim comes home and catches them. He kicks Dylan out, so Dylan breaks into a cabana at the beach club and has a soft focus flashback to his childhood, when he and his father actually got along. He sobs himself to sleep.
The next day, Brandon finds Dylan, who we learn that is not a big fan of his mom. She’s a “flake” who was “never there for him.” Eventually Dylan and Jim come to terms after Brenda cries a lot and tells her dad how much she cares for Dylan. Dylan writes his dad a letter that basically says he doesn’t believe in him but he still needs a dad.
Meanwhile, Kelly falls for Kyle (David Lascher), who is obviously gay. In the end, he admits that he’s gay. With the other girls in summer school, Kelly doesn’t have anyone to hang out with except her mom, whom she tries to convince to start dating again. Donna and David are assigned to do a scene from Romeo & Juliet in drama class, and they are both terrible so David comes up with the idea to swap roles. I wouldn’t think this meant they were suddenly good actors, but the class loves it. However, their teacher does tell them it was a cop-out.
Brandon begins to realize his new job might harbor unexpected hazards when a budding friendship with an influential sports promoter becomes more complicated than Brandon even could have foreseen.
Wow, this episode begins with the exact same generic “beach club” shots that were in the last episode. So apparently the wealthy folk who can afford to be beach club members can’t afford to wear different items of clothing. In this ep, Brandon meets club member and sports promoter Jerry Rattinger. He also develops a crush on an older woman named Sandy who works at the club. Meanwhile, Dylan pretends that his breakup with Brenda is no big deal. Also, because of the whole drama class business they’re always shooting in school even though it’s summer. And Kelly always seems to be around, which makes no sense because she’s not taking summer school.
Steve invites Brandon to the grunion run, saying, “Donna will be there, Kelly, Dushane, Linda, Kyle, everybody!” I’m sorry, but who the hell is Dushane? Not to mention Linda and Kyle? Not only that, but what kind of name is Dushane? Who wrote this episode? Later, after a party at the beach club, Sandy is offended that Brandon didn’t introduce her to his parents. Craaaazy.
Brandon and Sandy sort of date until Dylan “warns” him about her. It is unclear what the warning is. Snippily, Brandon asks if Dylan “warned” Brenda before he broke her heart. Dylan’s reply? “You got that flipped around.” Moments later, a tearful Sandy breaks a date with Brandon. And then Rattinger offers to buy Brandon a car in exchange for some work that Brandon will do for him. Jim is not ok with this, and Brenda points out that it is weird that Rattinger is offering Brandon money for nothing. Brandon doesn’t see why.
Eventually, Brandon learns that Rattinger uses young men to keep his wife happy while he enjoys dalliances with young beach club ladies, and now he’s trying to “get back” with Sandy. Brandon finds Sandy going up to Rattinger’s cabana and gives her a taste of that special Walsh prudishness. She tells him he can’t judge her because he knows nothing about her. In the end, Sandy goes to live with her mother in San Luis Obispo, and Brandon learns another valuable lesson about trusting the rich.
A pregnancy scare prompts Brenda to break things off with Dylan, while Brandon gets a cool new job at the Beverly Hills Beach Club.
New credits! They are much more campy and fun, consisting of “action” shots of each character followed by a Sears-portrait-studio moment. Nice.
Now, one of the things I remember crystal-clearly about 90210 is Brenda taking a pregnancy test and her results color being a mix of the two possible outcomes, as well as her saying something along the lines of, “I wait to have sex with a guy I really love, I use protection, and I’m purple.” Obviously that struck a nerve with my young self. I also remember, even as a child, recognizing the same extras over and over again. Like one scene in the hallway at school where the same floppy-haired blonde guy walked by no less than 4 times. The brain is a funny thing, my friends.
As we open, it is the last day of school. Wow. I miss that feeling. Brenda and Donna are taking an acting class during summer school. Brenda tells the girls that her period is late. Brandon talks to Andrea to “clear things up” before summer starts. She says its no big deal. He asks, “It’s no big deal that we almost became a couple?” Um…they didn’t. They almost had sex. Is Brandon honestly not supposed to recognize that it’s not the same thing?
The girls buy a home pregnancy test for Brenda. Donna says abstinence is 100% effective and Brenda replies, “Thank you Donna, but I think it’s a little too late for that now.” The test should be blue for positive, red for negative … and Brenda’s results are green. And here’s the line: “I wait to have sex with a guy that I love, I act responsibly, I take every precaution, and I’m green.” She tells the girls she doesn’t think sex was worth it.
Business at the Peach Pit dies down in the summer, so Brandon gets a job at the beach club. Brenda tells Dylan that sleeping with him was a mistake. He says this is his problem too. At the gynecologist, when Brenda goes to give her urine sample, she sees that she’s gotten her period so she leaves without having an examination. As they leave, Dylan suggests she ask the doctor about putting her on the pill. Brenda storms off.
I was shocked when 90210 blew past the actual moment of Brenda losing her virginity, but they sure are heaping on the doubt and regret now. Cindy finds Brenda’s pregnancy test while sorting the trash for recycling, and the Walsh parents are surprisingly calm. Afterwards, Jim is disappointed that he sounded just like his own father, who he swore he wouldn’t be like.
In a rather heartbreaking ending, Brenda breaks up with Dylan because she can’t handle the new pressures of their relationship. I’m 99.9% sure the original episode had Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” playing instead of whatever upbeat drivel this is. It kind of ruins the moment.
[NOTE: I was wrong, the original song was apparently “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. Also, in researching this I discovered that entire scenes have been cut from the DVD version because they couldn’t get the rights to the music. For example: a scene in a later season 2 episode in which Kelly makes up new lyrics to Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love” is now gone. Understandable, but sad.]
Anyway, it’s the first drama class of summer school and Brenda, Donna, Andrea, and David are all students. An attractive young teacher comes in, and Andrea and Brenda both eye him like they’re lapsed vegetarians and he’s a thick, juicy steak. After class, Brenda runs into Dylan and he says that because of her, he stopped being a loner. They both cry. OMG! I wish you guys could hear the guitar riff after Brenda says, “Goodbye, Dylan.” It belongs in an REO Speedwagon song.
I’m bored of trying to remember what happened in these episodes, plus I’m learning that I don’t remember the show as well as I thought. So I’m abandoning that thread. The new intros will be taken verbatim from the DVD packaging, exclamation points and all. Here’s what we apparently have to look forward to in the “season where things really start to sizzle”:
1. The gang meets Color Me Badd!
That should be quite enough to keep you interested, but if not, here’s more:
2. The introduction of Emily Valentine
3. Brenda’s pregnancy scare
4. “Race hate and violence”
5. Kelly falls for Brenda’s paraplegic cousin
7. Scott kills himself (sparklers will always remind me of this episode)
8. Steve tries to find his biological mother
In this episode, Jim’s company wants to transfer him back to Minneapolis. He agrees to let the family vote, but then throws their decision out the window when the company offers to double his salary. The whole ep is basically one long goodbye, and the only interesting thing that happens is that Andrea offers herself to Brandon. He is unsure at first, but then decides to go for it. They make out a little, then plan to have sex in the Peach Pit after hours. It's what every girl dreams of.
Unfortunately, after all this buildup nothing happens. Andrea goes to Kelly for advice about sex and Kelly, who is apparently a cock-blocker AND a slut, decides to throw the Walsh family a surprise going-away party at the Peach Pit instead. Seeing how happy his family is in Beverly Hills, Jim relents and decides not to take the promotion. Everyone cheers.
Except Brenda, who turns to Dylan and says, “I’m late.” Yikes!
I don’t have a lot in me today, so here we go…
Andrea asks Brandon if he’s going to the dance.
Brandon says no, so they make plans to watch a movie at her place.
Kelly asks Brandon to the dance.
Brandon says no, but she convinces him to go.
Andrea is crushed.
Steve wants to ask Kelly to the dance.
When he realizes she is going with Brandon, he is crushed.
Kelly tells him to ask Donna instead.
Donna buys a red dress with a hoop skirt straight out of Gone with the Wind.
Kelly and Brenda like the same dress, but each tells the other to buy it.
Of course, they both end up wearing the same dress and then get into a fight.
Kelly is voted a Spring Princess, and ends up winning Spring Queen.
Steve ignores Donna all night.
Donna’s skirt is so huge that she can’t sit down.
Dylan gets a hotel room and he and Brenda have sex (more on that later).
Kelly and Brandon make out in front of Steve.
But then Brandon tells her she’s like a sister to him.
Brandon tracks down Steve, who admits it’s his birthday.
And he’s adopted.
Kelly is the only one who knows, but she’s too self-centered to care about him.
Kelly tries to apologize, but Steve shuts her out.
At home, Andrea watches a movie called Prom Nightmare.
She drifts off and dreams that she kills everyone with a chainsaw.
So, she goes to the dance stag. Brandon says she looks beautiful.
In the end, they all do a little group dance in a circle.
Now: about Brenda’s first time. Remarkably, it seems like the most unimportant part of the whole episode. Dylan gets them a room in the hotel where the dance is held. They go upstairs. She’s nervous, but she’s totally ready. She even says that out loud. The next time we see them, she’s making the bed. They look exactly the same as they did before. Her hair is even still swept up in the same complicated hairstyle. In order to sell this, I think they should have been a little more mussed-up. Also, they don’t act any differently. Unlike many contemporary shows, there is no trace of doubt or regret or anything. It’s just…done.
This one obviously has something to do with baseball. I have a vague recollection of Brandon coaching a kids baseball team, and though I don’t actually remember this, I’m going to guess that one of the kids is being abused. That sounds just up 90210’s alley.
A cute shaggy dog follows Brenda home. Jim introduces Brandon and Steve to Franklin, the president of the West Beverly Hills Baseball League. Apparently the boys are coaching Little League. But, the first day out Jim hurts his back. Lucky for him, his family is totally unsympathetic. Did Shannen Doherty get a boob job? Obviously everyone on this show looks older than 17, but she suddenly looks 28 and has cleavage.
Steve is tough on a kid who picks his nose and Brandon feels bad for him. Davey, who belongs to Franklin, is energetic and eager to please. Steve is surprisingly good with the kids. Brandon keeps calling people “large guy” instead of “big guy.” What is that about?
Davey’s dad buys the team brand-new equipment, which weirds Brandon out. Brenda finds the shaggy dog eating the Walshes’ garbage. She tells him to go away, but is swayed by his cute little gaze. She decides to keep him, hides him in the garage, and names him Wally. When her parents find out, we learn that Brenda has had a string of problems with dogs, including leaving one outside during a Minnesota winter to freeze to death.
Meanwhile, Brandon has a run-in with a little brat named Noah, who belongs to the team mother. He also learns Nat is a coach for the Mid-City Parks & Rec Center, and Nat wants his kids to practice with Brandon’s kids. I sense some trouble coming between the haves and have-nots. Steve wants to trade the nose-picking kid to another team because he’s dead weight. West Beverly sure takes Little League seriously.
Nat brings his rag-tag bunch of kids to the park and the rich kids are all, “Pshaw, they don’t even have uniforms!” Brandon tries to teach the rich kids about respecting their opponents, but then Franklin says he doesn’t want the poor kids using the new equipment. Noah is a total jerk, so Brandon tries to eject him from the game but Steve goes against him. Brandon storms off the field, but he can’t quit because Jim still can’t move, so he agrees to stay until Jim is better.
When Brandon apologizes to Nat, he ends up with a job as a coach for Nat’s team. As I’m watching this, a dim memory is resurfacing: I think the dog belongs to one of these kids, and that’s why the kid is acting messed up. Maybe that explains why Noah is such a douche. Brandon enlists Dylan to help him run a baseball clinic for the poor kids. And though the kids get better, they’re still not great. So, the coaches recruit a ringer from the Valley that Andrea knows, named Avery, to be their pitcher. Meanwhile, Wally escapes from the garage.
After coaching Nat’s kids, Brandon shows up for the game as a coach for the West Beverly kids. Doesn’t that send a mixed message to the poor kids? Dylan fills in as assistant coach for the poor kids, and looks totally wrong in the outfit. I mean really:
When Avery shows up, it turns out that Avery is a GIRL! Shocking! At the end of the game, the worst player on Nat’s team is up to bat and Noah shouts all sorts of horrible things at him. So Davey, remembering Brandon’s advice about treating the other team with respect, throws a super easy pitch and the kid gets a hit. And with that, the rich kids get their little butts kicked.
Just then, Wally comes racing across the field and it turns out he belongs to the nose-picking kid. That icing was not really necessary on top of this cake.