Let’s be honest: cool kids from the 90s were more into My So-Called Life than Beverly Hills 90210. But the reboot has people excited, due to nostalgia, youth’s naivety and more. There were some iconic moments on the show and before we dive into this new version, with the same characters (they got that part right), let’s remember what made BH 90210 so popular. But not as cool as some other shows.
As a millennial, I was young to fully understand certain topics, like bulimia or date rape. Later, I was glad that the show went there. But what’s more confusing is that older people around me didn’t fully comprehend these terms. So, in a way, very twisted one at that, Beverly Hills characters gave us some important life lessons.
Scott’s suicide was one of the saddest things that ever happened on Beverly Hills 90210. A kid with a gun, we now, more than ever, know it will end in blood and tears. Just moments before, we saw his best friend conflicted: should I hang out with my old buddy or join the popular kids? David Silver was just as confused as many kids in high school and acted in the same manner.
Of course, there was a lack of diversity. We still suffer from that problem, but BH 90210 addressed it. Brandon, the justice warrior, was a typical, idealistic liberal kid. But here’s what I know now, and I didn’t understand then: the kids, in general, are open-minded, and adults are the ones who teach them to hate. Sorry, but all the stereotypes aren’t made up by kids. Sure, Brandon adored Billy Clinton, but we won’t hold it against him. His heart was in the right place.
Oh, my sweet Kelly… I so wanted her hair, but the whole character development was rather good. She was a bimbo, or so we thought. This teen girl was raised by herself and wanted attention, just to realize that’s not her at all. Her journey was weird and tuff: she was a prom queen, school slut, boyfriend stealer, but she also suffered bulimia, got sucked into a cult, watched her mother OD most of her life. She got her act together, almost, until she started doing drugs. And then she was raped. Her father was never around, so everything she did, good or bad, it came from wanting to fit in, to belong. For a stereotypical blonde airhead, she did well. Because she wasn’t an airhead.
The whole gang, apart from the Walsh family, was messed up. Guess what? It’s not an exaggeration. Most kids don’t have the Walsh family experience. The difference is that we were taught to believe that money can fill out voids. At least, it pays for therapy, but that’s the only difference between Beverly Hills and other kids from all over the world.
Donna started as a caricature. Again, strict parents, learning disabilities, it just made her more likable and realistic. What’s a general problem with any show is that all the drama and all the issues come and go in a heartbeat. What do you expect? It’s not a documentary. It is supposed to be entertaining. And if you learn something along the way, more power to the creators.
I loved Luke Perry and Dylan, but his character was over the top. If Dylan was 30, still all that he went through would be too much. Since he was a teenager, it was borderline diabolical. No parents, then father shows up and goes into flames, literally. Just like his wife. In the real world, he would end up in a hospital or worse.
Not everything was that powerful and scary. Some stories were educational: first sex, Brenda’s cancer scare, the love triangles, Andrea learning that you can’t have it all, just because you are a woman… These storylines never age. And contrary to popular opinion, I was glad to see Brenda leave. It was natural, not all people are doomed to stay BFFs with their high school friends. And not everyone marries their high school boyfriends. Unless you are Donna and David.
Now, the reboots aren’t always the best idea. But the cast has been through so much and this new Beverly Hills 90210 is inspired by their lives. It will either be epic or a complete mess. Yes, the show’s success started to decline after a few seasons. The quality wasn’t there, many characters left, yet it inspired Felicity, My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks.
These teen-oriented shows were less glamourous, more down to earth. But glitz and glamour returned with The OC and Gossip Girl. None of them, however, lasted for 10 seasons. The reboot with a new generation simply called 90210 was watchable only during the times when it had a connection to the original.
The thing with Beverly Hills 90210 is that covered major issues in a short amount of time. Rape, eating disorders, drug, and alcohol abuse, divorces, absent parents, death of a parent, accidental suicide and gun control, racism, sexism, love triangles, it was a lot for a teen TV show, yet it worked. Will it work this time, 20 years after it went off the air?