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90210… Just 90210

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“That’s what kids here do, they have planes, and they go places and they don’t tell their parents because it’s no big deal.”

Well, I think we all know what city that zip code refers to by now, so we can certainly leave Beverly Hills out of the title!

Call me a hopelessly sentimental sap, but a chill of excitement shot up my spine as I saw Brenda Walsh, Kelly Taylor, and Nat Bussichio share a group hug in the Peach Pit, even if it is now referred to as the Pit. Yes, even if Nat’s now forced to try to make lattes and espressos.

So how do we go about rebooting the godfather of the tawdry high school soap opera now that Josh Schwartz’s Gossip Girl is being advertised as every parent’s nightmare? Face it, in 2008, the original Beverly Hills 90210 has the relative raunch value of a 40-year-old virgin’s sex life.

How about having your male lead receive a hummer in his Hummer? Yeah, that ought to work. Let’s not stop there. We’ll upgrade the fancy cars to private planes, and why not make one of the parents a super rich porn merchant? You decide whether you want your kids to watch it, because by now I think we all know that I eat this stuff up like a heroin addict who has just climbed the wall and fled the Betty Ford center.

The truth is that despite the fact that 90210 can’t match the writing, style, or upscale beauty of Schwartz’s Gossip Girl, it’s still a pretty amusing waste of time for those people who cried when Donna Martin finally graduated.

The Walsh family is now the Wilsons and they’re from Kansas, not Minnesota. Why? Probably so Annie Dixon can look her brother relatively straight in the face and say “Dixon, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

90210’s producers have even confronted the main criticism Beverly Hills 90210 faced back in the day, and that means that father Rob Estes has an adopted African American son to go along with a newly discovered illegitimate son.

As for nostalgia, Joe E. Tata gets to pay his phone bill, Jenny Garth is back with larger breasts and a son that had better have either been sired by Luke Perry or Jason Priestly. Brenda’s back, but she’s not a bitch yet, and Kelly and David Silver’s half sister is all grown up, sports a web site, and is looking for revenge against uber-bitch Naomi Clark (essentially Denise Richards’ character from Wild Things), who revealed to everyone that her mom is still a drunk and her dad still cheats at the drop of a hat.

Best in joke: An unseen Hannah Zuckerman Vasquez is running the West Beverly Blaze and just like her mother she apparently looks at least ten years too old for high school.

True to the Swartz mold, the grownups actually have more to do than fret about the dating habits of their children. In fact, 90210 actually shows its students going to class, although you’d have to be brain dead to be surprised that when Annie Wilson loaned her "Tale of Two Cities" paper to Naomi for inspiration, it was plagiarized whole hog.

Can you believe that Tori Spelling could possibly pull out at the last minute because she still can’t stand Shannon Doherty?

Again, if you have to choose just one, watch Gossip Girl, but if your Tuesday nights are free, let the shopping, cheating, drug taking, drinking, and backstabbing begin!

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About Brad Laidman

  • Let me admit up front that I never watched the old show, not my cup of tea. However, as time has passed my tastes have changed and I decided to give this new show a shot.

    I found it awful. The acting was bad, dialogue was bad, characters were bad. I could barely make it 5 minutes before changing the channel.

    Oh well, leaves room for other ventures…

  • Laura

    Great post! Being a girl who grew up watching the original show religiously with her friends all through elementary school and high school, I’d have to say I was both impressed and ashamed. Impressed that the show turned out to be actually good, and ashamed at the same time that I actually liked it. The appearances of Brenda, Kelly, and Nat were exciting, and I became giddy when I saw that they incorporated Kelly’s younger sister and Andrea’s daughter into the mix… as well as the mention of Kelly’s mom still being a drunk and David’s dad still being a cheating moron. I had to think back to the old days and try to remember what happened in the series finale, and the intertwining of both story lines actually worked for me. As a fan of the old show, I kinda hope the show keeps up this momentum, and hopefully we’ll see and hear more about the characters we left behind (Brandon, Dylan, Steve, Donna, David, Valerie…). Now, I’ve never seen Gossip Girl, so I guess for now this definitely works for me.