Music Recommendation: “Heavy” by Collective Soul
So I’ve watched Beverly Hills, 90210 through its entirety 3 or 4 times in my lifetime. I’ve laughed at the ridiculous outfits from the early 90s, cried at poor Kelly’s sealed fate of having her life ripped into pieces on multiple occasions: rape (twice), burn victim, coke addict, victim of infidelity (though she had that one coming to her), miscarriage, shooting victim, single-white-femaled, child of divorce, child of an addict, etc. etc. Basically, I stood up and cheered for Kelly during the series finale just because, you know, she made it out alive. So yeah, I rooted for the characters, I hated them sometimes (some more than others) and overall, they felt like family and my best friends.
They were substitutions for the real thing I guess, since I started watching this show during my years of social awkwardness and teen angst. Basically, I grew with the show and with its characters at a time in my life where I had no idea what it meant to be an adult. So I was either taught valuable lessons, distracted from the real world, or somehow replacing my real life. I honestly think all of the above. With a show like Beverly Hills, 90210 and honestly any other show that you feel compelled to – you can tend to push the pause button on your actual life and become consumed by the [fictional] lives of the characters in the show. It’s like reading a good book.
I was totally team Brenda after that backstabbing stunt Kelly and Dylan pulled in seasons two and three. I mean, I’m still not over it. Then, there’s Brandon: the boy that you hope to marry someday / Mr. Perfect. His flaws surfaced on a number of occasions, assuring that he’s only human like the rest of us. Donna’s high stance on abstinence is something I still think about. I mean, she wanted to wait until marriage (she folded eventually) while the rest of her friends where knocking boots in high school. She slept with the guy that she loved, though, and eventually married, so I still give her props for waiting for right time and someone. And Dylan, I don’t know where to start honestly. He’s the cool guy. The surfer. The guy with all the answers – philosophical and beyond. The heart-breaker. The bad boy. The guy that your parents may not approve of. But he’s also got a heart of gold and he’s family oriented. He loves with his whole heart and doesn’t waste time on the ‘minute girl’. Well, he’ll stay for a minute…but that’s all. He’s only ‘there’ for the ‘one’ that he loves.
I still don’t believe Kelly was his true love, though. I guess I am just Team Brenda when it comes to that whole love triangle. I have to keep in mind that he and Brenda were only high school sweeties, and you know, that’s not certain true love. You still have to grow and change with one another. Indeed he and Kelly saw the true sides of one another and maybe that’s why they belonged together? I honestly argue that Brandon was Kelly’s true love, because he made her grow up and stop being so self-absorbed, while she made him break out of the ‘perfect guy’ mold and grow into a man (flaws and all).
They humanized each other, while Kelly and Dylan were too similar and both too self-absorbed to turn into true love. Were Dylan and Brenda meant to be? I think they were. Both artists in a way: aware of the world around them and beyond them.
I didn’t forget about Steve, David, and Andrea (I’m focusing on the original cast, so sorry Valerie and the rest). Steve really grew up throughout the show. From someone that had everything handed to him and was a heart-breaker, he fell for a real woman (Janet). She was someone out of his little orbit. David just slipped down hill making immature decisions and continued to be the “young one” until he realized Donna was his true love and that somethings just needed to change. Andrea was the brain and the good girl. The nerd that we thought would never be associated with such rad and popular friends. I saw the show and its characters through her eyes for a while until I started identifying with how cool Brenda was. It was like Andrea was realistically me and Brenda was who I wanted to be.
The fact that Andrea became a mother during her freshman year in college, I think was the first wake up call to the gang that life was happening and nothing was as it seemed. Adulthood was like a venom that would spread. With Andrea getting married and getting pregnant (and later dealing with separation from her husband) forced the group to recognize that their molds in high school wouldn’t stick forever.
Brenda’s early departure was another eye-opener. This taught them that they had different roads ahead of them and having each other may not be the case forever. We’d soon start to see many of the cast leave and return and leave again. The characters sought life beyond the zip code.
The show was like an enclosed world that I wasn’t apart of, but I kind of was. I got to watch the characters evolve from season to season. Some of them had issues that I could relate to and others had issues far from my reality. I’m now in my 20s and some of the things I related to during the show’s high school years seem petty and ridiculous. The things I glossed over, I now see clearly. Like falling for Dylan as a teen, but now seeing Brandon as the ‘it-guy’.
Brenda’s melodrama is kind of a toss, but boy did she have style! As a sheltered teen, I didn’t care for her wanting to be an actress and move to Europe and be out on her own storyline. But as an adult, oh man do I relate! I don’t want to be an actress, but I do want to see the world and have that independence and self assurance that she fought for.
Andrea was a character that I used to look over, but I find myself so attached to her now. She’s the outcast, but the one that sheds prospective on the rest of the group. Things like that are what I think make good television. Yeah, it’s a teen drama (and later on more of a soap-opera) from the 90s, but it’s like a time-capsule to me. I am reminded of the things I cared about then and how detached I was from reality. Watching it as an adult is even more enjoyable than as a teen. I am ready to see what else has changed about ‘myself’ as I notice the things in the show that I didn’t before.
If you love teen dramas, shows from the 90s, soap-operas, stories about growing up – watch Beverly Hills, 90210. Hope I didn’t spoil too much if you’ve never seen it. There’s a Lifetime ‘Unauthorized’ film coming out about the show too, so maybe that’s something to check out as well. Or not. The show is something special to me, so of course I’m going to check it out out of curiosity.
Make sure you check out part two! 🙂
‘Til next time.