SHE SAID: BH 90210

It’s Sunday morning, I’m folding laundry and switching over my winter/summer clothing.  One of the rare blog posts where Jeremy and I are defining our male/female roles.  Also, demonstrating just how exciting our lives are.  I should tweet and inform my followers what I’m up to just to keep them on the edge of their seats.

I’m going to call bullshit on the fact that you’re watching 90210 because you’ve watched Sportscenter 10 times.  You’re watching because you love the show.  You have 90210 T-Shirts.  You quote it regularly, and I’m fairly certain you had a 90210 quote on your Facebook page at one point in time.  You both watch and adore 90210 regardless of the amount of times you’ve watched Sportscenter.  Was your love always this pure?  Or was it influenced by the love of the girls you went to high school with?  Maybe gave you something to talk about with them?

90210.  Responsible for the first time I sat on the couch with my parents while an onscreen couple kissed and I felt incredibly awkward and embarrassed.

I agree that 90210 was better in the early years, hands down better than some of the teen shows that followed, and a lot better than those that had come before, Saved by the Bell (which also featured Tiffany in some terrible outfits and a haircut that made her head look huge and wide – threw that in just to make sure hell has a reserved seat for me).

I think the best high school show was Freaks and Geeks (for a teaser of the first episode, click here).  While tough to compare, since Freaks and Geeks only ran for one year and took place in 1980, the shows characters were easier to relate to, and the show was less of a daytime soap. The characters were able to tackle a lot of high school issues, most importantly the constant struggle to find yourself and define yourself outside of your home, with an endearing and sometimes heart wrenching humor.  The fact that no one is embarrassed to have enjoyed this show adds to it’s credence.

90210 was entertaining, but over the top from the beginning.  The two main characters moved from Minneapolis to Beverly Hills and were thrown in with the money and glamor of Beverly Hills.  The draw of that idealized California lifestyle still lives – The O.C. (which casted Ryan Atwood as an outsider with a rap sheet, to boot), The Hills, the 90210 remake, Laguna Beach and I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting.  Clearly something was tapped into here – sunny  California, money to spend, combined with heightened drama sells.

I’m glad it’s providing entertainment, years after it’s cancellation, for Jeremy on a Sunday morning, but I get nervous when you start talking about the lessons you’re learning while viewing.  I really hope that no teenagers are watching any of these shows to help point their moral compass.  Instead, I hope it’s for, to quote a dear friend, “enterfuckingtainment”.  I don’t want my children taking a lesson from Aaron Spelling’s ideas on how to best dramatize teen pregnancy, roofies, or rape.  I think we, as a culture, step into dangerous territory when we’re talking about the “issues” these shows are tackling and the lessons we are learning as an audience.  Their ultimate goal is not to provide a lesson, but to generate viewers and often times, sell the merchandise associated with the show.


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