You can’t think of tv in the 90s without conjuring up images of Beverly Hills 90210. It was definitely the most famous zip code for my generation. I remember the night the pilot aired – I got hooked right away! The combination of intrigue, drama and cheesiness were a formula for success (in my opinion).
The premise is a family from Minnesota, comprised of a mother, father and a set of twins, who move to Beverly Hills because of the father’s job offer. The innocent Minnesotan fraternal twins, Brenda and Brandon Walsh, enroll in Beverly Hill high school and are quickly immersed in the pretentious and very rich world that is the 90210 zip code.
I am 90210 purist and prefer episodes with the original cast with none other than Shannon Doherty, whose character is the infamous Brenda Walsh. She is the ultimate teenage diva and I swoon over her thick long black hair and her love affair with the rebellious Dylan McKay (actor Luke Perry). As a teenager myself, Brenda Walsh was my alter ego; Brenda was dramatic, a bit naive and always wanted to get her way. Much like me!
Beverly Hills 90210 defines cheesiness because it is so soap opera-y and the writing is definitely formulaic, but it is still juicy and it keeps me wanting more. In the first few seasons, the storylines center on this innocent Midwestern family struggling to maintain their morals among the corrupt and sinful Beverly Hills community.
As an homage to my youth, I present my three favorite 90210 episodes in no particular order:
(1) Brenda Walsh as Laverne
Brandon Walsh, Brenda’s twin brother, works at the Peach Pit, a local diner where it appears every student from Beverly Hills goes to every day after school. Brandon couldn’t work his shifts so he asks his twin sister to work for him so that Brandon’s boss, Nat, wouldn’t be left looking for extra help. Brenda struggles at first, but then has the genius idea of embracing her role as a waitress and transforms herself to a sassy, New York style waitress who takes no crap from anyone. At some point, she, along with her partners in crime Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin, serenade the entire restaurant with one of my fav oldies, Leslie Gore’s It’s My Party. So fun!
(2) Kelly Taylor’s Sexy Witch Costume
I love 90210 Halloween parties! Every character always wears the most extravagant outfits that you know were ultra expensive. Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) always wears the cookiest costumes, from the puffy red dress to the uncomfortable mermaid. Kelly Taylor makes a splash in this episode with her sexy witch costume. It causes quite a stir when all the men oogle her provocative outfit, much to Brenda’s dismay. Kelly’s friends try to warn her that she is asking for dangerous attention from men, but she just doesn’t listen. Kelly pays the price when she is attacked by a jerk in a cowboy costume. Not to worry; her friends come to her rescue!
(3) Brenda & Dylan’s Wicked Game
Oh, the love story of Brenda and Dylan – it is the 90s version of Romeo and Juliet. Brenda is temperamental and spoiled ; Dylan is rebellious and wounded. Together, they have a passionate love affair that had us teenage girls hooked. In this episode, Brenda and Dylan make up after yet another breakup and share a passionate kiss in Dylan’s black Porsche while Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game plalys in the background. Ultimately, their love is doomed because of the back-stabbing Kelly Taylor robbing Dylan from Brenda. Yet, Brenda and Dylan’s love is too strong and they eventually reconnect in Europe years later, though we never actually see it happen.
I am not a big fan of later episodes; they are bad cheesy. I would have wanted to have ended the show with Brenda and Dylan’s wedding, not Donna and David’s. Beverly Hills 90210 is my guilty pleasure and I must admit I watch it every chance I get it, even now! Who can resist such cheesy goodness?