90210 Redo: The Adult Storylines.
It would be too easy to use their own words against them: “This sucks.”
Those were the first two words uttered on the newly-retooled, updated version of Beverly Hills 90210, now truncated to just the zip code, 90210. And many of the professional TV critics – some of whom had their undies in a bunch because they weren’t given advance copies of the 90210 premiere – echoed that sentiment. “Really, the original Beverly Hills 90210 was pretty bad . . . And 90210, the CW remake that premiered Tuesday night, is bad, too,” remarked the Boston Globe. “Watching the show is sort of like being assaulted by the contents of a slightly tacky mall jewelry store: Everything you see is shiny, pretty and just a little bit too loud,” said the Chicago Tribune. “Instead, the new version of 90210 is simply unremarkable -- a glittery showpiece for twentysomething actors playing teens with impossibly white teeth and improbably large bank accounts,” said the St. Petersburg Times critic.
But you know what? I had very low expectations going into this. After all, it’s 90210, a primetime, teen soap opera. During its first go-round, from 1990-2000, it was not an uber-slick, intelligent drama. It was not even close to glamorous and much buzzed-about shows like Mad Men, Desperate Housewives, or Grey’s Anatomy, even though they may share a similar soundtrack. This show is about unreal teens living in the posh, surreal Beverly Hills area where people are dripping with money. It’s about magazine-cover good looking, sophisticated “teens.” (The St. Petersburg Times critic was right. The actors playing the teens range in age from 19-23.) It’s not meant to be good. It’s meant to be mind candy.
Even when 90210 attempted to portray a “normal,” middle American family – in the premiere, the Wilson family moved from Kansas to the dad’s family home (*cough*) . . . to his mother’s freakin’ huge mansion to “help” his wise-crackin,’ aging mother, who’s never seen without a cocktail (preferably a Long Island iced tea) in hand – is better off than most folks, even if they did pull up to the mansion’s driveway in a dented, dirty mini-van. The average American family doesn’t have an in-ground pool and palatial estate. And we’re well aware of that fact, thank you very much.