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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Five Memorable Moments from Beverly Hills, 90210

Much to the continued embarrassment and consternation of Mrs. Teebore, I am an unabashed fan of Beverly Hills, 90210, having grown up watching its ten season run and continuing to watch occasional episodes, thanks in large part to Soapnet reruns. In honor of 90210 Day (9/02/10) here are five of the most memorable moments from 90210.

5. The debut of Valerie
Already the subject of many of young man's fantasy thanks to her turn as squeaky clean Kelly Kapowski on Saved by the Bell, Tiffani Amber Thiessen rolled into Beverly Hills in the wake of Shannon Doherty's departure from the show. With Brenda studying theater in London, Thiessen, as Valerie Malone, the Walsh family's old friend from Minnesota, moves into Brenda's old room, goes on a sightseeing tour of the city, and innocently flirts with hounddog Steve Sanders. By the end of Val's debut episode, it looks like Kelly Kapowski has simply moved to a new zip code before Val retires to her room to DUN DUN DUN roll a joint and gets high while bemoaning having to play the "good girl". Before long, she'll be picking fights with Kelly, flirting with Brandon, sleeping with Dylan while dating Steve and generally whoring it up. Kelly Kapowski she wasn't, and young men everywhere couldn't be happier.

4. Brenda and Dylan break up  
They were 90210's Zack and Kelly, Sam and Diane, Sonny and Cher. The early seasons of the show were built around the romance between badboy Dylan McKay and bitchy-girl Brenda Walsh, with the highs and lows of their relationship considered turning points on the show. Never was this more true than when they broke up for the first time, as Brenda calls it quits after a pregnancy scare in an episode that kicked off 90210's first summer season. The aftermath was felt all summer long, as Dylan quickly injured himself in a surfing accident and, with nowhere else to go, ending up recuperating on the Walsh's couch. Oh, sexual tension...

(Also, I will always think of R.E.M's "Losing My Religion" as the Dylan/Brenda breakup song).

3. Dylan's dad blows up
Things were going well for Dylan: his estranged father, Jack, imprisoned for shading financial dealings and mob connections, was out of jail and the two were bonding for the first time in years. Unfortunately, it turned out Jack was released from prison because he agreed to work with the FBI against his old mob buddies. Before you could finish a chorus of "Take Me Out To the Ballgame", Jack was killed by a mob-planted car bomb, and Dylan was left with nothing but more fist-clenching angst.

(The revelation years later that Jack faked his death in order to enter Witness Protection and keep Dylan safe was the moment when 90210 not only crossed the line into full on soap opera (a line it had flirted with for years) but obliterated that line so it could never go back).

2. Scott accidentally kills himself
In 90210's first season, long before he fell for Donna or hip-hopped his way into our hearts, David Silver was just a nerdy freshman desperate to get in with the cool crowd at West Beverly High (ie the main characters). His partner in early 90s geekdom was the equally socially inept Scott Scanlon. By their senior year, after a summer apart (during which David's dad married Kelly Taylor's mom, finalizing David's slow acceptance into the cool crowd while Scott spent the summer on his uncle's ranch, developing an affection for firearms and other cowboy accouterments) their friendship was hanging by a thread. Scott invited David and the cool kids to his birthday party, which turned out to be a traditional (read: uncool) shindig, complete with parents and party games. Looking to liven things up, Scott discovers his father's gun, and spinning it Robocop style, he accidentally shoots himself in front of a horrified David. For preteen Teebore, there was no more potent a gun control PSA.

1. "Donna Martin graduates!"
Just as everyone mentions the "I'm so excited....I'm so scared" Jessie Spano freakout moment when talking about Saved by the Bell, no 90210 moment is more embedded in the pop culture zeitgeist than "Donna Martin graduates!" After being caught intoxicated at the Senior Prom, Donna Martin is facing suspension, which means she won't graduate high school with her friends. So Brandon leads a 1960s-inspired walkout of the student body and marches on the school board as Donna's appeal is being heard, demanding that Donna Martin graduates or no one will. Arguing that the school board's new no tolerance policy regarding drinking caught the wrong person of which to make an example, Donna is allowed to graduate and a pop culture meme is born. 

Honorable Mentions
Brandon drops E at a rave (another pivotal PSA for young Teebore), David cheats on Donna in a limo, Kelly gets burned in a house fire and joins a cult, Dylan's bride is accidentally killed by her father, who was trying to kill Dylan, and that time Brandon got in too deep betting on basketball and Nat had to bail him out.


  1. you know, i've given you a lot of shit over the years about your love of 90210 and saved by the bell, but i have to say that some of those moments sound AWESOME.
    I can't wait to watch the clips.

    Bear in mind, you will still receive endless shit about your love.

  2. @Falen: i have to say that some of those moments sound AWESOME.
    I can't wait to watch the clips.

    They're filled with awkward early 90s awesomeness, fist-clenching angst and hilariously frank lines like "I just wasn't ready for a sexual relationship."

    Just be glad I left out any clips of Brian Austin Green "rapping".

    Bear in mind, you will still receive endless shit about your love

    Eh, that seems about right. ;)

  3. You know, I never watched 90210 as a kid, but now I wouldn't mind catching up on it. I was always more of a Melrose Place gal (even though I was most likely too young to be watching it). Another TV series on DVD to add to the list!

  4. @Ashlie: I missed the first season or two, but after that I religiously watched Melrose Place right alongside 90210.

    I was probably too young to be watching it, too (heck, I was probably too young to be watching 90210, at least during the first few seasons) but I turned out (mostly) okay.

  5. Laughing Out Loud! This was awesome! Numbers 3 and 2 especially - teehee and I love how you let us know what young Master Teebore was feeling about all of it at the time. Good for you for loving this shamelessly. I shamelessly love Mantracker. I'm pretty sure only old ladies and convicts watch it. Mantracker (seriously, this is not only the name of the show but how he is referred to throughout it) is...aging and he is well, a cowboy, but I love him. He is all Texas-y with "down home" sensibilities (even though he is Canadian) and I don't like that stuff at all. Except in his case. Old Cowboys are awesome. Like Virgil from Tombstone.


    After watching these clips i have decided that you will most definitely still be receiving shit. Oh. yes.

  7. @Joan: Old Cowboys are awesome. Like Virgil from Tombstone.

    I'm of the opinion that there isn't a man alive whose butt Virgil from Tombstone couldn't kick. Heck, his mustache alone could take most people.

    @Falen: After watching these clips i have decided that you will most definitely still be receiving shit.

    >Drops to knees, arms outstretched, fists clenched<


  8. ooooh, many I love me 90210!! I haven't watched it in years but I'm telling you, it's long overdue for a rewatch!! That and Melrose Place. Speaking of which, do you own all seasons??

    I love love love the breakdown of memorable moments.

    I can't give you any crap because one, I love 90210 and b, I love Ghost Whisperer and I'm not going to stop!! Muhahaha! I also love many things that are mockable, mockful and mock-worthy.

    Joan- Mantracker??!! I must google that right now...oh. my. god! LOL!! THAT'S AWESOME!! I must now find and watch all episodes!

  9. @Hannah: Sadly, no, I only have the first two 90210 seasons, and the first Melrose season. I keep my eye out for them used, but rarely find them. Someday I'll have them all...

  10. That's like me and Buffy. I so want all of them but I don't want to spend all the monies. I did find the first three seasons for $10 at a pawn shop so I have those but the other seasons are damn hard to find!

    So to sum up, pawn shops. That's where I got my Futurama, Sex and the City and Buffy.

  11. Hmm...I haven't tried pawn shops. I've always been scared to go into one for fear I'd never come out without arm fulls of stuff.

    Half Price Books, Replay and Cheapo are my usual used DVD haunts, but I might have to check out the massive Pawn America by my house sometime.

  12. Really late in the game here, but...for me, one of my favorite moments was when Dylan and Kelly confess to Brenda that they are no involved, but have been for a while and that Dylan cheated on Brenda with Kelly. Brenda's "I hate you both, never talk to me again!" was teen angst at it's best.

  13. @wwk5d: Brenda's "I hate you both, never talk to me again!" was teen angst at it's best.

    Indeed. The moment that sticks out to me the most from that saga (it might even be from the same episode, but I don't think so) is when Brenda first encounters Dylan and Kelly together (after she breaks up with Dylan post-Paris) while she's on date with Dean Cain, the guy she almost fooled around with in Paris. Anyways, they run into Dylan and Kelly at the same restaurant, and Brenda lays into Kelly and basically calls her a slut by saying "I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck...".

    I've always remembered that moment because:

    A. I was young enough to have no idea what that idiom meant, and had to ask my mom to explain it.

    B. Once I realized what it meant, I figured it was the absolute meanest, worst thing Brenda could say to Kelly, and was all like, "oh, this shit just got real!" (in different terms, of course).


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