Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Brenda, your brother's totally dope"

Yes, I will admit it: I watched the first couple episodes of the new 90210. I would love to say that I watched it purely as a sort of media anthropologist, and this is partially true, but some deranged part of me also wanted to be in middle school again, when things were simple and Beverly Hills, 90210 was second only to The X-Files and Friends as the highlight of my week. Yeah, I watched a lot of tv in middle school. Weird how I watched more tv than at any other point in my life, and yet got the best grades I've ever gotten. But I digress...

So I watched the new show, hoping that I would love it as much as I loved the old one, or at least as much as I loved the first season of The OC when I watched it on dvd. No such luck. The new series is clunky and devoid of interesting character-- save, of course, for the ones who showed up from the original series. I find that I'm almost exclusively interested in the Kelly-Taylor-dating-fellow-teacher-and-has-4-year-old-with-unnamed-
former-cast-member plotline. To hell with Annie (who bothers the living crap out of me), or Naomi (who is trying to reinstate the perm as a fashion statement), or Ethan or whoever the fuck. Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh? Now THOSE are characters I care about. Those are characters I followed for ten seasons, or I suppose it was more like 7, because I wasn't allowed to watch the show when it began in 1990. In 1990 I was 7 years old, and in retrospect I wouldn't allow my 7 year old to watch it either, but man, at the time I was furious.

So I will continue to watch the new series, if only for a) the original characters' plotlines (I am holding out hope that the father of Kelly's baby turns out to be Dylan and that Luke Perry comes back, perhaps finally looking his age), and b) because Jessica Walters, she of Arrested Development, occasionally graces the show. In the meantime, though, I will relive past glory and watch the original series on, starting with the pilot, which I watched tonight... and which was so hilariously 90's it was almost painful. Jason Priestly's mullet, Jennie Garth's clothes, the SOUNDTRACK, for the love of god, and of course, the guest appearance by Rex Manning, or to use his real name, Maxwell Caulfield. Yes, Maxwell Caulfield from Empire Records and Grease 2. Oh, I miss the 90's.

The best thing about rewatching the show though? The theme song. Easily one of the best theme songs ever written for a tv show. The "modern" remix for the new series can't hold a candle to the old, twangy one I hummed along with in 6th grade. It's interesting to see the first few episodes, which I've only ever seen in reruns (again, I wasn't allowed to watch the earlier seasons), and how they had a doofy, sitcom-esque opening credit sequence for the song. So not as classy as the slick, white-background opening sequence they had in the later seasons.

It's also funny to see the plot lines they clearly abandoned after the pilot, like the vice principal hitting on the Spanish teacher. What? And it's great to watch it now that I know my way around LA, and can name the beaches they film at, the streets they're on, etc. But anyway. I do have more interesting things to think about than 1990's tv shows. Really! I just can't think of them right now.

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