Beverly Hills, rolling like a celebrity

There was something about the two-hour premiere of 90210 that made me think the writing staff had a big board on it with a list of every teen show cliché they could think of, and just for the hell of it they decided to include as many as possible right out front. Former best friends now hate each other? Someone’s caught when they help a popular kid cheat in class? A sports team wants to seek revenge for a prank on a rival school? You’re conveniently spotted cheating on your girlfriend by someone who’ll feel torn over telling her? You’re seen kissing another boy just as the one you really like is preparing to declare his feelings by arriving at your house unannounced? That pretty, talented girl is also addicted to pills? You totally didn’t start the fight a teacher saw you having, but no one believes you? Mommy doesn’t pay attention to you? All this, and more!

And yet…I kinda liked it. Because everyone on there was pretty entertaining. Even when they were doing some really stupid shit. Which is, of course, the mark of a good soap opera.

Despite my continued eyerolls over the somewhat labored plotlines, I knew I actually liked what I was seeing when I wasn’t at all annoyed by their use of a song I’m currently somewhat obsessed with. In general, this is a great way to gauge your true feelings over a show, should the situation arise. In an unexpected but nifty juxtaposition, the insanely good dance song “Great DJ” by Brit duo The Ting Tings accompanied one of those traditional slow-motion-angry-walk scenes, as the school’s queen bee sought out her philandering boy hunk to give him what for. The music cut out just as she gave him a hell of a slap in the face, and I loved it. (This also set up my favorite line of the evening: “The harder you slap, the faster they come back.”)

And what about Jessica Walter and Tristan Wilds, who I haven’t been able to shut up about all week? Well, Tabitha Dixon, former Hollywood star turned current eccentric alcoholic, is basically Lucille Bluth’s long-lost twin (reaction to her dressed-up granddaughter: “Look at that ass! You could crack an egg on it.”). As long as they get her some good storylines and don’t just use her for comic relief, I am totally on board with this character. Adopted grandson Dixon Wilson also has potential as the almost-golden boy who finds his position as the principal’s son and the only black member of an otherwise white family getting in the way of his quest to fit in and be popular. The material didn’t exactly reach the heights Tristan Wilds must be used to after The Wire, but he wrung some compelling moments out of it.

So, I’ll keep tuning in for now. The multi-generational aspect of the show works for me (Mom, Dad/principal and teachers, including guidance counselor Kelly Taylor, seem to have as much drama going on as the kids), and as I’ve said, I’m quite supportive of the soap opera format as long as the characters remain people I don’t mind spending some time with. Plus, um…there are a lot of cute men on this show. Just in case you were wondering.


3 Responses to “Beverly Hills, rolling like a celebrity”

  1. 1 patty September 3, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I definitely see this going the way of the OC.

  2. 2 Nicky September 4, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Bra, is this show going to be online do you know? I want to watch it but you know how I have no tv…..


  3. 3 Brandi Sperry September 4, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Hmm, clicking around the CW site I am not seeing any full episodes for 90210. I know they are planning on repeating the pilot tonight though, so maybe it will pop up after that.

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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