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DVD Review: Beverly Hills, 90210: The Complete Second Season

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You watched it. You know you did. It’s that guilty pleasure that you occasionally sneak a peek at on SoapNet, but will only admit to under duress during a game of Skeletons in the Closet. That’s right, it’s 90210.

I was in grammar school when this show premiered on Fox, and it was the centerpiece of most of my friends’ lives for the first few seasons. Ah, the naïveté of youth! Looking back at these episodes now, I can see more clearly how corny yet innovative they were, but I could never have appreciated it as a tween.

Beverly Hills, 90210: The Complete Second Season begins with the summer season at the Beverly Hills Beach Club. I remember I thought this was the coolest thing when I was a kid — new episodes while all the other shows were on vacation. This idea of a summer season was simply brilliant and laid the groundwork for this new iteration of programming we see today. Fox took a risk and it paid off.

So, Brenda has a pregnancy scare; Brandon buys a lemon and makes it with an older woman; Kelly strips for a gay guy; Donna and David dress in drag as Romeo and Juliet; Dylan broods about his parents; Steve holds an illegal poker night; and Andrea falls for her teacher. All before the first school bell ever rang. Then things got serious.

Where the first season touched on controversial topics like rape, eating disorders, underage drinking and sex, the second season took things a step farther. It’s only natural since the gang is growing up and should be facing more adult issues (haven’t we all?).

That said, there were a lot of episodes in this season that I didn’t really care for, such as the one where dorky Scott Scanlan accidentally shoots himself or when Emily Valentine goes all stalker on Brandon. Also, I wasn’t crazy about the "Color Me Badd" episode that showed Donna catching her mom having an affair, and was happy at the end that she finally had problems like everyone else.

Watching these the first time, they made me uncomfortable, since they touched on topics that I didn’t want to think about. Watching them now, they’re downright hackneyed. But in a tug-at-your-heart strings kind of way.

Extras for this set are less than impressive:

  • Everything You Need to Know About 90210 Season 2 – If you like VH-1’s Best Week Ever, you’ll probably like this featurette hosted by Michael Colton and John Aboud. They parody the opening sequence, complete with cheesy costumes, then spend the next 16 minutes talking about different characters in all of their sarcastic glory.
  • Our Favorite Valentine – Christine Elise sits down to talk about wild child Emily Valentine and the lasting effect the character had on the series and her career.
  • Meet The Walshes – James Eckhouse and Carol Potter tell all about what it was like being Mama and Papa Walsh.

Despite the horrible fashion choices, predictable storylines, and whiny teenage angst, 90210 speaks to a whole generation who grew up with two white bread kids from Minnesota. Would this series have the same effect on today’s generation? Probably not. But for us Gen-Xers and Millenials, it’s a nice walk down memory lane.

Grade: B+

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About Robin Kavanagh