As many of you know I am shortly to wed my dearest Director of IT, Traveler Nell. Also, you are certainly cognizant that some couples engage in behavior that the bachelor Traveler Bill would never consider, and perhaps even deride. Examples of this are baby talk, dressing similarly and – most shamefully – taking part in a weekly viewing of a show that your betrothed grew up loving that you never watched…and writing a weekly rundown of the series episode by episode. Traveler Nell, a few years younger than me grew up watching a plethora of shows I either never saw, or watched long ago. Some of the former are Saved By the Bell, Degrassi Junior High, Beverly Hills 90210, Wonder Years, Dawson’s Creek and most odiously Full House.
You have to have figured out which show will be the object of our attention. But how did I find myself in this position? I am a regular listener to the BS Report podcast. Bill Simmons is the very popular (Boston) Sports Guy columnist on ESPN.com. His terrific columns occasionally reference 90210 so this past September second (9-02-10) he and ESPN Fantasy Guru Matthew Berry published a two part, podcast entirely dedicated to the original 90210. I insisted that Nellie listen to the entire two hours while we drove upstate that next weekend. We had a good time (Simmons and Berry were quite entertaining) but it lead to the following challenge from Nellie: Watch every episode of Beverly Hills 90210 and write a he said/she said review/recap to be published on line. Gauntlet Thrown: Challenge Accepted. (Check out Traveler Nell’s recap of the Pilot here)
The “rules” of the challenge, both she and I will aim to watch at least one episode of 90210 every weekend (when our schedules permit). The individual breakdown will be up by the following Monday.
Class of Beverly Hills (Pilot 1990 #1.0):
In this episode we met the Walsh Family, formerly of Minnesota. Father Jim (James Eckhouse), mother Cindy (Carol Potter) and twin “16 year olds” Brandon (Jason Priestly – Actual age 21) and Brenda (Shannen Doherty – Age 19). For some reason Jim was transferred to Beverly Hills in whatever capacity his job required. Back in Minnesota Brandon was a popular go-getter while sister Brenda was the shrinking violet. Here on their first day of their junior year at West Beverly High they are both filled with anticipation of the good possibilities that lie ahead.
After a curiously long first day of school arrival montage…seriously it was at least 10 minutes long…the Walsh kids meet their new classmates. Brenda meets Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth – Age 18), Donna Martin (Tori Spelling – Age 17) and two other girls I am assured are never again seen. Kelly is a popular girl who teaches Brenda how to be cool with such tips as avoid the lunch tables where the lonely nerds dine alone. (Hilariously – the example cited was Brandon)
We meet Kellie’s ex-boyfriend Steve Sanders (Ian ‘EYA-an’ Ziering – Age 26) who seems to be an rich, entitled dee-bag, whose mother is apparently a former television star. We learn this from her super-fan David Silver (Brian Austin Green – Age 17) a lowly freshman who, along with his Lakers obsessed friend Scott Scanlon (Douglas Emerson – Age 16), is obsessed with fitting in with the upperclassman crowd.
Brandon on the other hand is in Spanish class with Steve and class over achiever Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris – Age 29(!) Seriously Twenty-NINE! ) She is the editor of the school paper and – it is revealed later – an interloper from outside of Beverly Hills who weaseled her way in to the better school district.
I’m not going to give a complete rundown on the episode as I am sure there must be plenty of nerds on the internet who have episode breakdowns. But I will make the following observations.
- Brandon and Brenda are told early on by the assistant principal that whatever they experienced in their old school, there was a higher standard at West Beverly High. Later on that same asst. principal tells the Spanish teacher that she needs to dumb down the class as it is too challenging
- West Beverly High has the top rated student paper in the country. Seriously? Who is the authority in charge of such rankings?
- WBHS apparently had its first day of school on a Friday as the entire school was invited to a party thrown by Marianne Moore (Leslie Bega – Age 23) that night. The poor little rich girl who has the ability to throw a party of Roman proportions.
- In the space of two weeks Brenda managed to go from awkward Minnesota outcast to savvy enough to convince a Beverly Hills nightclub doorman (played by a young Djimon Honsou) a lawyer in his mid-twenties and his friends that she was an Upperclassman at UCLA so well that the lawyer was one course away from committing statutory rape. But still clueless enough to be surprised when he wasn’t entirely thrilled to have been duped.
- Finally, Steve Sanders gets drunk at the party and ends up being driven home by David Silver…a fourteen year-old…who then proceeds to wreck the car by leaving it in neutral on a grade. This raised several issues…
- It takes Sanders two weeks to catch the nerd that totaled his car.
- He catches them because they broke into the car …with a locksmith’s slim jim no less in literally 20 seconds!
- They broke into the car to retrieve Scott’s Lakers cap, with his name written in the band, that was in Steve’s car…FOR TWO WEEKS!
- The explenation for the crash is that Silver is not “used to driving stick”. But this is what we see. A “stick” car does not possess a PRNDL