Part I of an unnumbered series of love lessons from Beverly Hills, 90210.
Let’s get this out of the way:
There’s really no way to sugarcoat my unmitigated obsession with Beverly Hills, 90210. When asked if I wanted to write about the love lessons of the show, my response was, “I’ll start with Season 2 and I won’t get through an entire season in one piece.”
Here are just a few of the love lessons we can apply to our everyday life, courtesy of everyone’s favorite West Bev 27 year-old juniors.
1. Don’t get involved with someone who has zero awareness of their mental instability. Like Brenda Walsh. In her push-me-pull-you relationship with Dylan, Brenda breaks up with him because she thinks she is pregnant, and following finding out she is not, is completely confused and needs to be by herself. This opens the door to a break-up pretty much every other episode. Any time the show is not focusing on Andrea’s “I’m actually 32 years old” awkwardness, Scott Scanlon accidentally shooting himself, and the deus-ex-machina joining of the Taylor-Silver clans, Brenda is inserting drama into her relationship with Dylan.
2. Being a unique newcomer like Emily Valentine will result in exile, grudging acceptance, and madness. Brenda Walsh will imply to anyone who will listen that you are hooking up with every dude in school. She will express disgust at your mother taking you to the gynecologist to get a birth control prescription. Brandon will date you, and say he’s in love, but then will wishily-washily break up with you when you drug him and take advantage of him. Then you will attempt to set the class float on fire.
3. ALWAYS watch your drink, even if you are out with your partner. Because they might want to slip you a love drug, one such as U4EA. You might leave your car at the underground club that you arrived at by exchanging an egg. Your car might get totaled by the people who are at that underground club smoking crack. And then your partner might descend into madness.
4. There is nothing that cannot be fixed by . When Donna discovers that her mother is stepping out on her dad (while attempting to meet CMB at a local hotel), she is cheered slightly by the Walshes, but is saved from total devastation by a serenade at The Peach Pit by CMB. Just like in real life.
5. Donna Martin “loves” David Silver. Some might say that the relationship which develops between Donna and David is merely a device to get Tori Spelling, daughter of the producer, more screen time. I posit this: theirs is the most depressingly realistic relationship on the show, particularly for high schoolers. Why? Because they are both the “leftover” friend who has no one else to date, so they look at each other and shrug and say, “eh, you’ll do for the duration” and they date. They share a warmth that is not unlike the warmth of a brother and sister forced to hold hands; in Season 4 (oh, I’ll get there) they won’t even fake-touch on the show. Ultimately, these two characters will marry. So the lesson might be: you too can meet someone in the “eh, you’ll do for the duration” vein and you could end up MARRIED.
6. Baby, talk is cheap. Andrea Zuckerman – who is MY AGE RIGHT NOW playing a teenager – decides to lead a crusade to make condoms available at West Bev. None of the more…experienced folk appreciate Andrea’s take-no-prisoners cold-cocking of the school board and students with her views. When Brandon calls her out on talking up the facts because she doesn’t get out much, it’s way harsh. But the worst way to handle inexperience in any topic involves a clinical, in-your-face-campaign that does not acknowledge complexity.Take note, Santorums of the world. I have.
7. If you’re going to cheat, make sure it’s a guy you meet in Jazzercise. And if you’re Dylan and you’re going to cheat, make sure that it is a girl to whom you introduce the notion of the “13th Step” after PICKING HER UP AT AN AA MEETING. (Her name is Sarah, she likes to surf, and she understands.)
Things I haven’t talked about yet, but WILL: Kelly getting almost-raped and Brenda implying that she asked for it at Halloween. The Taylor-Silver nuptials, the time they play poker after hours at the Beach Club wearing clothes from the 1920s, how Dylan calls Brenda on a cordless phone the size of Rhode Island from a hot tub in Hawaii, Mr. Suter, the drama teacher played by the guy who played the Young Elvis on the television show Young Elvis (which chronicled the pre-fame adventures of Elvis).
Sara C.'s crafting career began when her grandmother sent her to lessons at age nine. Public relations, show tunes, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Tuesday Weld are among her areas of expertise. She will put anything on a canvas for you. www.etsy.com/shop/CarsonZickersham
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