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10 Things I Learned from 90210


June 8, 2004

Beverly Hills 90210 My golden years of high school and college were concurrent with those of the gang from West Beverly High. Every Wednesday for ten years you could tune in to see just how far Dylan's downward spiral could go. Andrea's pregnant? Who would sleep with her? Oh no, Brandon's got the gambling bug! Whatever can we do to save him?

As fresh-faced innocence gave way to backstabbing and drug use, we all managed to learn a few choice lessons of life along the way. I was a pretty stalwart viewer through about Season Seven until my interest suddenly disappeared. I guess after Donna finally gave it up, I didn't see the point in watching. We waited SEVEN GODDAMN YEARS for her to finally be "ready." Jesus, just fuck someone already.

Take a second to note that Ahnn-drea is the only girl not wearing a bikini. Did someone tell her she looked fat? You've got to be careful with these things; how soon we forget what happened to Vicki on Love Boat. In Ahhhnn-drea's case, she probably just forgot about the photo shoot and didn't have time to shave her chest.

I marvel at the fact that it was FOX of all networks that brought us weekly dribblings on teen morality and taught us that we've got to do the right thing. Now as I attempt to find similar nuggets of wisdom in programs about eligible midgets and ugly women having their faces cut up and put back together, I can't help but become wistful as I think of Brandon and Dylan overcoming their differences in the Native American sweat lodge. I'm a little peaked because I'm not receiving adequate doses of Vitamin H (igher Than Thou) to keep my morality receptors humming. Luckily however, as I was young and impressionable at the time, many of their totem truths have stuck with me. For instance:

Brenda Walsh 1. Don't lose your virginity to your boyfriend after the Spring Dance for fear that you may get pregnant. Panic, whine a lot and then dump him. But lo! You realize you've made a grave mistake in letting him go. A well-timed breast cancer scare is sure to lure him back. After the relationship resumes, whine some more before dumping him again. Continue whining until you are fired and written out of the show. Get into a couple fist fights with photographers and Paris Hilton. Oh sorry, that wasn't on the program.
Kelly Taylor 2. Just because you wear a revealing Halloween costume to a party, does not make it okay for a college boy to try to rape you in an upstairs bedroom. You are a person too. With feelings. Alternately, when you are older and have experienced your 50th "almost rape," take solace in doing your boyfriend's entire stash of coke. When he finds out, the urgency of the situation will bring you closer together as well as help sharpen your problem solving skills.
Brandon Walsh 3. Stay away from the New Girl at school because she will inevitably drug you with "U4EA" and cause you to experience euphoric delusions at an underground club. This will be followed by stalking, vandalism, crank phone calls and, worst of all, attempts to set the homecoming float on fire. New girls spell trouble, especially when they ride motorcycles.
Dylan McKay Toni Marchette 4. When in doubt, always marry the girl from the Noxema commercials. But look out! or her daddy's henchmen will accidentally blow her up in the mob hit that was meant for you. Your luck fares poorly in the exploding car department, as your own dad met a similar fate a few years before. Shoot your TV and furniture to cope with the pain. If the grief continues to linger, a three-month chiva bender in Baja is sure to do the trick.
I FUCK WILD HORSES 5. Color Me Badd is an awesome band. The harmonies of "I Wanna Sex You Up" will forever make my spine all tingly. The fact that you like them has nothing to do with your Learning Disability. When they come to town, do everything in your power to get into their hotel room. Don't despair if your attempts fail for they will surprise you later at the Peach Pit with a personal serenade on your birthday. Like, doesn't this happen to everyone?
Steve Sanders 6. When you find out you're adopted, leap on the first bus to Albuquerque to hunt down the birth mother who obviously didn't want you. Do a lot of soul searching but decide not to change anything about your life. After all, every group needs the remedial-math frat boy. Why change when you've got a winning combination of charm, decorum, fabulous hair and a sweet childlike sense of trust that allows two hookers to steal your Porsche right out from underneath you?
David Silver 7. Quick, hand me that bullhorn: "YO, YOU ARE NOT A GANGSTA. PLEASE STOP TRYING TO KICK IT WITH THE HOMIES. YOUR FEEBLE ATTEMPTS TO BE DOPE ARE FOOLING NO ONE. PUT DOWN THE CRYSTAL METH. WE DEMAND THAT YOU IMMEDIATELY REFRAIN FROM FUTURE BANGIN' LEST YOU WISH TO FACE CONSEQUENCES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION."
Andrea Zuckerman 8. Anti-Semitism is never appropriate. However, if you are the lone Jewish girl among the trust fund gentiles, you must accept that you will never be cool. Your 'out of district' status further widens the gap between the haves (everyone else) and have-nots (you). The popular boys will always value your sound and ethical advice, but will never strip you naked in an emblazoned fury of passion. Counter your lack of boyfriend success by standing up for CAUSES and IMPORTANT ISSUES. If you want to pull the old heart strings, suffer two broken legs at the hands of a hit and run driver. When the sympathy grows thin, show your fighter spirit by leading a campaign to expose anti-Semitic sentiment at the sorority house. High fives all around when you prove that a Star of David necklace will not cause inherent destruction of the Greek system at California University.
Ray Pruitt 9. Whether you have to push your equine girlfriend down the stairs, slam her against the wall, publicly berate her, fuck her friends or just spend some quality time with your Drunk Mom harvesting pumpkins, it is in your stars to get that record deal. How do you talk to an angel? Who cares - just punch the bitch in the face. Everyone knew she had it coming.
Valerie Malone 10. After moving to a new town, the best way to make friends is to set up an elaborate scheme to steal their stuff and then "discover" with great horror that your hometown friend is the true culprit. You know you've scored when the gang feels foolish for having blamed you and embraces you as one of their own. If disagreements continue to flair up, you should immediately have sex with their boyfriends. In the long run, just remember that you are doing them a favor by proving that the boyfriends are no-good cheating assholes who will sleep with any random whore...oh wait. Forget I said that. If your friends are too stupid to see how much you really care, blackmail never hurts.


If you follow these ten simple rules, I promise you that the quality of life will increase tenfold. You may experience a few bumps and scrapes along the way, but it's all part of the learning process. Some argue that parents are using television more and more as a substitute babysitter; something to get the kids out of their hair. As long as they're watching 90210, I heartily endorse this move. Hear, hear!

-lisa
 
Copyright 2017 Daniel S. Fettinger and Lisa Warner, all rights reserved.