Spoilers for the Most. Awaited. Event. Of. The. Year. -- aka the "90210" premiere -- coming up just as soon as I remind you that a blog's true purpose is to cause problems...
Huh. Neither trainwreck nor masterpiece, the new "90210" was exactly what nobody expected it would be: remarkably faithful in tone and spirit to the original adventures of Brandon, Brenda, Scott Scanlon and company.
Outside of the oral sex gag in Ethan's SUV, it was remarkably chaste. The one kid who seems to be using drugs is heading for a Very Important Lesson. Annie (the new, slightly more self-aware Brenda) goes on the requisite date with an older guy that creates trust issues with her mom, and Theater Boy doesn't so much as make a joke about the Mile High Club. Dixon (the new, definitely less self-righteous Brandon) gets involved with a prank war storyline that not only would have been at home on the original "90210," but on any teenage show going back to the freakin' "Brady Bunch." Morals are handed down, lessons are learned, and kids get to frolic in the Pacific. And when lacrosse star Ethan dumped mean girl Naomi by declaring "I'm breaking up with us," he may as well have been quoting Kelly Taylor's infamous "I choose me!" from "90210" Coke Classic.
Producers Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah having come out of the Judd Apatow school, this "90210" wasn't as corny as the Darren Star version. The dialogue was at times intentionally funny (Lori Laughlin's exchange with Rob Estes' ex-girlfriend, Grandma telling a story that should settle the "Quien es mas macho?: Fernando Lamas o Ricardo Montalban?" question once and for all, and the various lines about Navid's pig-owning porn magnate dad. If most of the actors, like their 1989 predecessors, looked too old for high school, they also seemed a lot more natural -- frankly, the stiffest performer in the entire two hours was Shannen Doherty. (But then, she's never been an especially relaxed actor; I practically have to fast-forward through any scene she's in in "Mallrats," even if that means missing some good Brodie Bruce moments.)
Throw in a few cameos by Nat, the occasional strains of the original "90210" score whenever Kelly was having a moment with someone, the Hannah Zuckerman Vasquez cameo and the revelation that "Silver" is, as some assumed, David and Kelly's half-sister by way of Mel and Jackie's short-lived marriage(*), and I felt surprisingly nostalgic throughout a lot of this. I don't know that I would call it good, but I could see myself tuning in again in the same way that I'll sometimes stop to watch "A-Team" reruns of "Just One of the Guys" if I stumble across them while channel surfing.
(*) Speaking of which, does anybody actually remember where the show left off with David's dad and Kelly's mom? I know they got back together at some point, but then vaguely recall them splitting again, yet Silver's story suggested they were together when she was in the eighth grade and getting a tramp stamp.
But what do you think the CW's actual intended audience made of it, if they watched at all? While the music and styles were up to date, this felt almost quaint compared to "Gossip Girl," and I'm not sure anyone who didn't grow up with the original would care at all about Hannah, or Erin, or the fact that Brenda helped Kelly with a potential boyfriend instead of trying to steal him.
What did everybody else think?