Wednesday, September 17, 2008

90210, "The Bubble": The dad that dare not speak its name

Spoilers for last night's "90210" coming up just as soon as I apologize with cookies...

Not sure how much longer the nostalgia's going to carry me with this one. (Though if they promise to use a New Pornographers song on the soundtrack every week, I could be persuaded to stick around a while. I'm a sucker for those wacky Canadian supergroupers.) There are interesting or amusing moments, like Ethan having an autistic older brother or Tabitha belting out that "Spring Awakening" song, but overall the level of dramatic tension is too low. Dixon's money problems sort themselves out easily, Annie wins back whatsisface with some snicker doodles, and even the much-promo'ed Kelly/Brenda argument turns out to be much ado about nothing, since Brenda did nothing wrong. The only ongoing bad situation is with Naomi's cheating dad, but AnnaLynne McCord is so obviously the weakest link in the cast that I don't care.

As for the (apparent) revelation that Dylan is Kelly's baby daddy... eh. It's really the only one that makes sense, but Luke Perry's made it pretty clear he has no interest in revisiting the role. And after all the awkward pronoun-gaming in this episode and previous ones, the actual reveal felt perfunctory.

What did everybody else think? And am I the only one who thinks Joe E. Tata seems really bored with what little they're giving him to do?


jogree01 said...

Hi, Allen.

I dont know how much longer i'm going to stick with this show either. I think its because I cannot get over how skinny every single girl on this show is. And this is coming from a 24 year old male so I don't think its a matter of me being out of touch with what passes as beauty.

Keep up the good work.

After watching a Show like Mad Men everything else on tv seems just blah. The gift and the curse I guess.

Nicole said...

I had to laugh at the cookie scene because it's so obvious that Annie has never actually eaten a cookie in the past few years, it seems unlikely that she would know how to bake them.

The show needs to be a bit more serialized because the problems do resolve themselves a bit too easily within the episode, especially the relationship issues. The kids are kinda boring and it is actually the adult storylines that have more potential, yet they don't focus on them enough.

I too am not sure if I will continue watching this when all the other shows start airing new episodes, but I still do want to know what happens with Kelly and maybe Brenda.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. At this point the only thing in the show that interests me are the storylines involving the original castmembers. I keep hoping I'll get sucked into the the storylines of the new characters, but so far they're all incredibly boring. And for all the talk about how much racier this version of 90210 was, so far it seems tamer and cornier than even the original was in the beginning. The production values also seem lower (I read somewhere this show was being taped digitally instead of filmed the old fashioned way, which probably accounts for some of it--and apparently allows them to be covered by AFTRA and not SAG--but that scene of Dixon and Silver in the car was so obviously fake it was distracting.) And while I realize the pronoun game was meant to keep the audience in the dark, some of the lines were so awkwardly written it was laughable.

And I agree the girls are all WAY too skinny. The photo you used in your column last week was actually uncomfortable to look at because the girl playing Silver so clearly has an eating disorder. As for Annalynne McCord, am I the only one who's noticed that she flairs her nostrils everytime she tries to show an emotion? It actually makes me miss Tori Spelling.

Anonymous said...

The first three posts pretty much said it all. I was one of the (anonymous) people last week who mentioned how skinny everyone is---glad I'm not the only one who sees that. It's really sad.

The show is boring. It's not terrible or racy or anything else that I can see but not much interesting happens. I can't see watching it next week.

Dan Jameson said...

Let's just say that after I finished watching 90210 last night I popped on my PS3 and season 4 of The Wire was in. Watching Tristan Wilds as Michael is just a bit more interesting than watching him as Dixon....

The show is boring, but as long as there is buzz we will all keep watching. Who are we kidding?

Anonymous said...

The good news for "90210"? It's not as bad as "Fringe".

Of course, my expectations are lower with 9-0 but man, JJ is really kicking a corpse over on Fox.

The only scenes I look forward to every episode are the ones with Kelly, Brenda and Nat. I am a 33 year old male who watched the original show for about 8 of the 10 seasons, so the new (and boring) kids don't interest me - except Tristan Wilds who must cringe at the bad writing he has to deal with here vs. what he got on "The Wire".

And YES, absolutely YES, these girls are too skinny. The CW should be ashamed of themselves to have 3 major female leads, all with clear eating disorders.

I also agree with you Alan that the Naomi chick is the weakest...what a shrill, annoying little actress. Annie and Silver are also too skinny, but they are both so adorable in a way, I don't mind them.

The way this show would be better is simply to go the adult route and phase the high school kids into the background and focus more on Kelly/Brenda/Dylan/Ryan, the Wilson's, Naomi's screwed up parents and other adults.

I assume they've worked a deal out with Luke Perry, otherwise, they wouldn't have mentioned his character.

And really, why wouldn't Perry reprise the one character that eevr made him some money? It's not like he's got an A-List film career ala Clooney going. Same with Priestley and Ziering.

Brian Austin Green gets a pass since he's been stellar as Derrick Reese on the highly entertaining "Terminator".

Anonymous said...

I actually enjoyed this ep. I wasn't expecting too much. But it actually wasn't that bad. I certainly didn't get as bored as i did with the pilot.

But i agree with you Alan, the dramatic tension is oh so very low. There is very little drama and that's never good, especially for a Teen orientated show.

The pacing is still too fast. Nicole - i agree with you about the serialisation, they really need to spread some of the plot lines over a few episodes. Because all the conflicts (the little there are) get resolved way too quickly.

I liked Silver and Dixon in the episode. I hope they get together. Of all the younger characters they are my favourites. I actually thought AnnieLynn wasn't too bad in this ep. But absolutely hated they way she went on about her father's mistress.

Not a bad ep, but a good one either. BTW i was a fan of the original, but i actually tuned into this because i was more interested in the younger characters. Still am.

I'll continue watching (i'll definitely give it a season) and hope that it improves. This weeks ep showed that it can.

Anonymous said...

I'll probably keep watching just because my 12-year-old daughter is into it and I still get a kick out of watching Kelly, Brenda, and Nat talk about "the old days."

It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but you're right, Alan, there is not enough tension or suspense, or any kind of dramatic arc at all.

In fact, many of the problems are like "Brady Bunch" retreads. Annie is embarrassed by her grandma during rehearsals. Dixon gets in a car accident and doesn't want dad to know. The plots are almost sitcom-like.

And the show is a lot less risque than the pilot made it appear to be (which is okay with me because like I said, my daughter watches it).

But quite honestly, the original 90210 was actually edgier and pushed more boundaries. It was the first teen show to delve into real issues (drug abuse, date rape, a main character losing her virginity on prom night). Yes, it could get preachy at times...but it was the first show to treat teens like real people with complicated feelings.

And the other thing that bugs me--none of the main teens have any chemistry together. They're just pretty kids thrown together. They don't have that "magic" that the original cast had.

Nicole said...

The girls at Go Fug Yourself also have an interesting sartorial commentary on 90210 today, and reference the stick actresses.

Matt said...

Can we change this into "Jessica Walter sings for an hour every week?" Because I'd watch that. And the "Spring Awakening" material is great.

Pamela Jaye said...

I haven't watched this ep yet. I just watched episode two.

Verdict after ep two:

It's like an afterschool special. With text messaging.

I have no idea if the generation it's targeted at (the new one) is at all into this sort of thing. But I liked it.

(and it was nice that they could get Ann Gillespie again. (if only they could get Matthew Laurence.))

i just posted to this ep as i figure no one is in last week's anymore.

(oh, and I also thought I was watching ABC Family)

this being the WC (sorry Les) I refuse to watch any of the commercials which might contain promos for any of their other shows. Since they only promo their shows *on their own network* they should not be too hard to avoid.

Anonymous said...

The girls who play Silver and Annie concern me. I'm convinced they must be anorexic or bulimic. Silver, especially, looks disgusting. Her protruding collar bone and those stick-like legs are repulsive. The CW needs to force them to eat something. It's frightening to watch these actresses starve themselves into such a sickly state.

90210 has potential but it fails to deliver. They should have centered the new show around Silver, Andrea's daughter Hannah and the children of Steve Sanders. That way the old characters could be a bridge to the new ones.

I wish Harry was a single father. Rob Estes is the most attractive male in the cast. They could have hooked him up with Kelly or Brenda. He's a DILF.

I like Silver, Dixon and Navid. The rest of the kids bore me. Ethan may be salvageable if they focus on his autistic brother instead of trying to force a "love triangle" with Annie (they have no chemistry).

I hope the writers kill off Naomi. She is a waste of screen time.

Anonymous said...

Just because a girl is skinny doesn't mean she has an eating disorder.

Nicole said...

The actresses who play Annie and Silver looked far healthier in previous roles - Silver was in True Blood and looked normal, so the extreme weight loss is sudden and if not the result of not eating, then it is the result of over exercising, which is a disorder nonetheless. The one who played Annie was in Degrassi and also exhibited drastic weight loss. These actresses weren't naturally skinny like that and I doubt they have eaten properly for a while now.
The actress who plays Naomi doesn't seem as grotesque as the other two and appears to have some muscle tone. Too bad she is the worst actress out of the bunch.

Anonymous said...

Fun! A whole blog about eating disorders. This is uplifting!

But it appears to be true. The three female leads are gross to look at.

On the other hand, Jennie Garth has real woman curves and sex appeal, and looks, healthy, womanly and stunning. Give me healthy, sexy, curves any day over boney skinny.

I worry this show is eventually going to not have any originals left and eliminate the one reason I am watching.

Anonymous said...

one question about the songs in 90210:
Most of them are from the UK and/or successful in UK.
Thus the music is very different then e.g. other rich kids in LA shows like Entourage with all the Rap/Black/RnB.

So does someone know, which music the upper class society in Beverly Hills listens to?

Bjooks said...

I can understand Alan watching this, 'cause it's kinda his job. But shame on the rest of you ;-) Maybe it's nostalgia tainting your kool-aid?

I was in college doing things besides watching teen melodramas when the first 90210 came out, and so the nostalgia thing just isn't a factor for me. From my POV, this show had trainwreck written all over it from the first meeting studios held about it.


mozart asked: "So does someone know, which music the upper class society in Beverly Hills listens to?"

Do they have to be in lockstep? I'd imagine a great variety in their music, just like with everyone, everywhere. Just because I'm from Kentucky doesn't mean I enjoy country music. In my CD player right now is Robyn's "Cobrastyle," as well as quite a bit of Tricky & Faithless.

I'd venture to guess they're using specific music as product placement, in conjunction with what some record company wants to sell this week.

Anonymous said...

After last week's episode "06-Model Behavior", I was very disappointed. The Kelly/Brenda development is the only attraction to the new 90210, and i loved it that brenda lied (this is my own opinion) about the nature of her relationship with Dylan. I believe that she deleted the number in hopes that she would be opposite of Kelly in the old days: a good friend. I'm confused, though, about the Ryan/Brenda thing, because in reality didn't Shannen commit to only four episodes? ughhh, even though Jennie is coming back for a while, without Shannen it's really not worth it..... Too bad.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to ask several of you commentators/critics how many hit CW shows you've been cast in? i know the show is being gifted with the name "yawn-fest", but I'd like to see the show get a chance... it really isnt fair for the new actors/actresses that are trying sooo very hard. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for many years I can honestly say people judging you for it is harder than anything. remember they are under an extreme amount of pressure.... let's not add to it!
thank-you, and keep up the good work 90210 (2.0). You've got my vote.