Guess what, everyone? It’s Spring Break on 90210! And what does that mean? A whole bunch of weird plots that totally don’t go together! Here’s “9 Things of Some Nature About This Week’s 90210.”
1. First of all, I am extremely concerned with this show’s depiction of bipolar disorder. How can you partner yourself with the Bipolar Kids foundation in one episode, and then go to this episode where Kelly spends the whole fucking thing coddling Silver like she has any number of disorders that aren’t bipolar? She can’t have cookies because there’s too much sugar in them? Um, Kelly? That’s diabetes you’re thinking of. She can’t help Donna on the red carpet because the paparazzi will be too much for her to handle? Um, I think you are mistaking bipolar disorder for epilepsy, where the repeated flashy bulbs might give her a seizure. She can’t have too much excitement in her life? Why? Is she suddenly incontinent and she’ll pee herself a bit? She can’t meet with Dixon for too long? Why? Because love or sexual stimulation will somehow destroy her brain, which is now perfectly balanced due to the miracle of modern chemistry? What the hell, 90210?
2. Habitat for Humanity trip to Santa Barbara! Having lived in Santa Barbara County for four years and having worked for a local paper there, if I can be pretty particular about its use in popular media. I have no problem with Matthews taking his class up to “Chumash country” to build houses for those whose homes were destroyed in the California wildfires. My issue is this: the most recent spat of wildfires in that area destroyed homes in Montecito. You know, where rich people live. It is terrible to lose your home to a natural disaster, to be sure. But I guarantee you the residents of such a tony community have fire insurance and are well able to purchase or build a new home for themselves. Let’s look at Habitat for Humanity’s mission:
“More than 1,500 Habitat for Humanity affiliates are at work in the United States, building houses in partnership with people in need of decent, affordable housing. Habitat houses are purchased by families at prices affordable to low-income Americans, thanks to the donated labor of Habitat volunteers, the support of partner organizations and the no-profit, no-interest terms of each U.S. Habitat for Humanity mortgage.”
This plot should have taken place in an area of California that would have actually served to further Habitat’s mission, because rebuilding homes in Montecito isn’t really part of the H4H mission. Would it have hurt the script advisors to, say, not go to SB County? To go to another affected area in SoCal that would actually demonstrate what H4H does? I just had a bit of trouble with the disconnect between the show’s reality and actual reality with this one. Nonetheless, though, spending your spring break building homes for ANYONE without a home is a good thing, and I hope more kids decide to go out and do it because of this.
3. Especially if Peyote Coyotes are involved! Sweet Lord, Ethan’s faux-peyote trip was the fucking funniest thing I’ve ever seen on this show. Just this exchange was priceless:
[Ethan sees a the world’s biggest coyote!]
Ethan: Whoa, look at that coyote!
[Cut to Liam, who clearly doesn’t see anything.]
Liam: What coyote?
Then they started talking about super-trippy deep shit about Ethan’s life and his random current crisis and I seriously thought that Liam was going to MURDER HIM IN THE WOODS. I mean, really, wouldn’t this have been the greatest set-up to kill off Dustin Milligan’s character ever? I thought so. But then Liam fell down and twisted his ankle and revealed to Ethan that he was never tripping on peyote at all. So Ethan punched him in the face. Not what I expected, but still great. I’m so going to name a band Peyote Coyote. Also, don’t drop acid or you’ll try to cut your arm off. True story. Happened to Liam.
4. The Return of Donna. This was all just really confusing for me, because, not having seen the original show, I kept thinking that Donna was functionally retarded in some way. No human being talks or acts like Donna Martin, and, really, who shows up from Japan at a friend’s door without calling and warning them that you’d be arriving. That’s just rude. And it’s certainly not a habit she picked up in Japan because they are a people of institutionalized politeness.
5. Donna’s Japanese. And because of that institutionalized politeness, no one in Japan has ever bothered to tell Donna that her Japanese is horrible.
6. Diablo Cody! First of all, Diablo, you are very, very pretty with red hair. It suits you much better than the black bob you used to have. Second of all, I like the work you’ve had done on your sleeve! Thirdly, I’m so not going to pick on your acting at all because you yourself said you were disappointed in your performance in your EW column. You’re a writer, not an actor. And that’s totally cool with me. However, you did deliver the line “I once knew a stripper named Crusty Pukefest” perfectly. And I liked that you actually have a hamburger phone.
7. Donna’s designs. So, Diablo Cody may be a little bit presumptuous in her very forward request that Donna design her a dress for a red carpet event in one day, but I will say this: Donna’s yellow dress was very cute, and so was the dress she made for Diablo Cody. Neither, however, were cuter than the grey top with the studs that Diablo was already wearing when she approached Donna. In any case, please be proud, 90210 wardrobe department, that I am actually giving you props for something.
8. Dixon and Annie’s Dr. Pepper fueled road trip. HOLY GOD! NO ONE NEEDS THAT MUCH DR. PEPPER! Where did Dixon get all that? Did he steal it from the Peach Pit? Nat is so gonna do inventory and fire his ass! Dixon is right, though. Annie wouldn’t have to stop and pee so much if she didn’t drink so much of that stuff. I bet if they gave any to Silver she’d go into a bipolarbetic coma. Because being bipolar is exactly like having diabetes.
9. Dixon’s birth mom. Clearly, she doesn’t have nearly as much guilt or grief about her son choosing to be adopted as Dixon does. And that’s cool. It’s also cool that she doesn’t even care that he’s too scared to talk to her, so she’s perfectly willing to have that conversation with his crazy white sister. However, here’s how that confrontation between Annie and Dana should have gone:
Annie: Hi, I’m Dixon’s sister.
Dana: No, you are not. I did not have no white babies.
This show still doesn’t make any damn sense, but at least its getting ridiculous. Time for me to find a bassist for Peyote Coyote.
I had a lot of fun with this episode, but I too am concerned over 90210’s depiction of what life is like for those on a stabilizing medication. And it seems to be a major problem on television, as if Tom Cruise (the Tom that yelled at Matt Lauer for being glib in re: pharmaceuticals) were running the Hollywood message system.
Now, I’ve been on anti-anxiety for ten years come this summer, and it has brought me nothing but good results. It had settled my soul into something I and others can appreciate, it has calmed my demeanor, and it has made me a better person.
Here’s what it hasn’t done. It hasn’t turned me into an emotionless robot. It hasn’t turned me into someone to be coddled. It hasn’t turned me into somebody afraid of any kind of stimulation.
All it did was control my mood swings. I no longer wanted to scream at people for no reason, I no longer felt the extreme bouts of worthless depression that basically strikes anybody in their teenage years. It made me a more intelligent, more thoughtful and less reactive person, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Pharmaceuticals aren’t for everybody. They are, of course, meant to be prescribed on a case-by-case basis, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But they also shouldn’t be treated like they’re these horrible, personality-destroying pills. They are meant to help, and if a medication doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of others. You just need a psychiatrist you can trust.
But me, I’m in control of my life, and I didn’t feel like that before the summer of 1999. Silver is not a diabetic, she is not an epileptic, and she is not claustrophobic. She’s bipolar. The best thing to do is to just treat her like a regular human fucking being. (Not a human-fucking being, although as we saw two weeks ago in her video, she is that, too.)