Since 90210 returned from its hiatus, it has indeed been infinitely less lame, but its actually bordering now on a different kind of lameness, like a trippy nostalgia kind of lameness. Like how it’s kind of fun that my husband is watching Saved by the Bell, which is by no means a good show, but I grew up with it and therefore love it. Or, perhaps, like how it was fun for people who grew up with the original 90210 to enjoy a show that basically has no purpose other than to entertain. And it achieves that purposes in a completely artless way. Because I’m starting a PhD program in the fall, I’m coming to realize that there are a number of shows I’m going to have to give up. And really, when it comes down to it, I’d rather spend my leisure time watching something that at least attempts to be challenging. (Gossip Girl does not always reach the heights of brilliance that it could, and neither does Fringe, but those motherfuckers are staying in my viewing schedule.) But for now, while I have the time, I’m sort of enjoying the campy 42 minutes of 90210 I get each week. Rebecca Rand Kirschner Sinclair’s name may be two names too long, but she’s guiding the show to a good, if completely culturally insignificant, place. It’s watchable now. And not utterly hateable. Here’s “9 Points of Interest about This Week’s 90210.”
1. Adriana and Navid are turning into Amy and Ben on SLOTAT. I actually don’t entirely approve of this rehashed thread because it’s completely tepid on this show. Amy and Ben work because they’re Amy and Ben. For Kenny Baumann to suggest that Shailene Woodley keep her baby and raise it with him is idealistic, romantic and utterly believable. For Michael Steager to suggest it of Jessica Lowndes is less so. It’s not that either of the latter pair are any better actors than the former, or even that the latter show is of a higher writing caliber than the former (although at least SLOTAT knows when it’s being ridiculous). It’s simply the way the characters function. I like Navid and I think he’s a sweet boy. I believe him when he says he’s loved Adriana since they were seven. But what I don’t believe is his suggestion that a girl who was addicted to drugs only a few short months ago is in a strong enough place in her life to keep her baby. I have no issue with the overly idealistic notion that a 16-year-old girl can raise a child just fine and go to high school and have her much more ambitious boyfriend go to college nearby to raise a baby with her. I do think, though, that if Navid really loved Aid he would know that she’s still not stable enough for a baby. She knows she’s not; that’s why she’s spending all this time looking for adoption and pretending the baby doesn’t have a sex or a name. But for all that, what I do like about this plot is that she keeps undermining her own adoption search because some part of her does want to keep the baby she’s pretending she doesn’t want. That strikes me as real. But dudes, don’t get married. I totally won’t tear up at your fake wedding like I did at Amy and Ben’s. There’s just not enough development behind this plot for it to get to that point and mean something.
2. French Fries. Oh, yeah, and if Navid really loved Aid, he’d let that girl have some damn French fries. She pregnant! Let the girl have some starches!
3. Donna, Kelly and the Fortune Teller. Could there have been a more hackneyed plot thread for these ladies to embark upon this week? Hated the fortune teller and Donna’s quest, but I actually have to give Tori props for finding a good emotional space for Donna. When she breaks down and her voice cracks over her sunniness about opening a store in L.A. because she doesn’t know if her marriage will survive, that worked. I felt that, and it was good. Having had no prior relationship with the character of Donna Martin, I kind of get her now. And I’ll welcome her back on the show, running that clothing store that she managed to full renovate and open within a day or so, which is so impressive that it proves she isn’t functionally retarded.
4. Annie and Naomi. So Annie finds out that, like, Naomi’s dad is getting sued for sexual harassment. But she’s, like, trying to be a good friend and all because Naomi doesn’t know yet and doesn’t want to tell her after the fact. But then, like, these girls are mean to Naomi about it at The Peach Pit and, like, Annie tells them off. And then Naomi is all, like, “You knew and you said nothing? You’re a shitty friend!” And Annie, like, comes to the hotel and apologizes because she, like, didn’t want to her hurt. Whatever. Annie and Naomi are both shitty friends to one another. Deal with it. Just play some late night foosball in the driveway and you’ll be fine. Especially because Naomi gives more of a shit about having to move out of her hotel than she does about what’s going on with her dad.
5. Silver’s leaving WestBev. Yeah, I’m okay with that. She’s already screwed up enough to have gone to Catholic school her whole life. Besides, I bet St. Claire’s is a great place for artsy kids like Silver. She is, after all, the patron saint of television. (And now you know why this blog is named for her.)
6. Ethan. I have no idea what the fuck is up with Ethan, and neither does anyone else, apparently. It’s like the pod people totally forgot to plug into him this week.
7. Directed by Rob Estes. Which, I guess, explains why he did an entire scene in a terrible Scottish accent with a Tam and fake ginger hair on his head, all the while fondling a Big Mouth Billy Bass in preparation for the Wilson Family Yard Sale.
8. Kelly Taylor’s sexual escapades. She’s supposed to meet her dream guy with a six-pack, but ends up going to a lesbian bar with Donna. Lesbians totally love moderately attractive 30-year-old femmy blondes who shake their heads to and fro while dancing. Later, Kelly meets Matthews at a convenience store and he has a six pack of Red Eagle. They hook up. And I still hate that fortune teller plot.
9. Where was my obscene Dr. Pepper cameo? Did Rob Estes veto product placement? Because, and I really hate to say this, I kind of missed the requisite lingering shot of the Dr. Pepper logo. Without it, I have nothing to scream about.
Some bullet points:
- Dude, Adriana’s nickname is Aid and she almost got AIDS in rehab!
- Yes, I’ve found Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair to be the owner of a terribly cumbersome name (so much so that for a while I thought it was two separate people just credited side-by-side), but I give her some leeway because a.) she went to Harvard, b.) she wrote for Freaks & Geeks and Buffy, and c.) her husband, New Zealand actor Harry Sinclair, played Isildur in The Lord Of The Rings movies, as well as Roger in Peter Jackson’s brilliant slapstick zombie romantic comedy family drama horror bloodbath Braindead (a.k.a. Dead Alive).
- To bring things full circle, yes, I am watching Saved by the Bell, and it is purely coincidental that at this very moment, I am on the episode “House Party,” where Screech’s parents leave him home alone so they can visit Graceland, and who is trying to get all up in his junk but Violet Anne Bickerstaff, played by Tori Spelling. Why didn’t anybody prepare me? I yelped out at work. I DEMAND MORE WARNING WHEN IT COMES TO TORI APPEARING ON MY TV/COMPUTER, DAMMIT!