Music Recommendation: “Three Little Words” by Nu Flavor
As a huge fan of Beverly Hills, 90210, I think that it’s pretty amazing that people are really talking about the show again. I briefly touched on some of my favorite parts and some of the major plots of the series in my previous Beverly Hills, 90210 post. But after noticing how much attention and detail I’ve been giving to my recent television posts, I have to do Beverly Hills, 90210 some better service. I mean, the show is one of my top five favorite television series ever (and trust me, that really says something). I’ve had ten seasons to just melt into and become a very loyal couch potato and I’m not even sorry. So, here’s a part two.
Cue, theme music –
From the high school years (seasons 1-3) to the college years (seasons 4-7), and to the adult years (seasons 8-10), I was able to grow with the characters through each significant era of their lives. You can’t really say that about too many other series these days. Some perks of such a long series include being able to see the growth of characters and the changes of fashion, music, technology, and lifestyle over time. The series begins in the early 90’s and ends right at the top of the new millennium. I grew up during this decade and clearly remember these significant changes. To this day, I ‘rave’ about 90’s music and pop-culture.
Since this is something of an expansive view of the series, I am going to talk about the major characters and some of their significant plot lines (if not all). The things that I love about them and the things that always bothered me. We of course have to start with –
Brenda’s Send Off
Before I dive into how amazing and crazy the college years were for the characters, I have to briefly touch on Brenda’s descent into the girl that just couldn’t catch a break in terms of trusting her instincts and her friends. In the beginning, she pretty much had things in line until she decided to sleep with Dylan. After that, I felt like the show was punishing her (or maybe it was indeed Shannen’s ‘diva’ behavior off-screen that influenced the writing for her character on-screen). I honestly felt like the whole break up with Dylan kind of spun things out of control for Brenda and she couldn’t catch her grip afterwards. Before, she had made all of these new best friends and had a place with people that loved her. Her character seemed genuinely happy.
Then, all of a sudden Brenda was more than a basket case than usual and bounced around with taking Dylan back and being utterly jealous when they were apart (when he could fix his eyes on other girls). Kelly became more and more of a rival to Brenda, rather than a best friend. She seemed to be getting all of the attention (more so than usual) and was becoming less of the rich blonde with good fashion choices and more of someone with a brain and had her own goals and aspirations. She was becoming the shinning star in the group. As much as Brenda tried, their friendship was more of an exchange of side-eyes than anything else.
It could just be that Brenda was seeing through Kelly and this princess role of hers that she’d had since the beginning. Before, Brenda had to love her to win it in with one of the most popular girls at West Beverly – to become popular herself. But after a while, she just didn’t give a damn anymore and it was all a matter of playing nice to please the rest of her friends.
Whatever Brenda’s motives were, as just an audience member – I could feel the tension even before Kelly and Dylan had their little fling behind Brenda’s back. After that, all hell broke loose. Brenda, heart-broken and kind of disgusted that her boyfriend (though on and off) an her best friend actually had the audacity to hook up. It was like, what about her feelings and what happened to loyalty? Breakups suck. And high school breakups are probably the most painful, because usually it’s your first love and you have to constantly see them around – sometimes with their new partner. You will most likely feel like the world is against you, because those walls at school will start to close in around you and those that betrayed you. It’s the same for when you’re fighting with a former friend. Loyalties are tested and the rest of your friends have to pick sides. Sometimes, you’re too defeated to even fight for why your side should be the one that they choose to be on.
But then, something happens and you pick yourself back up and it’s game time. Revenge can seem so sweet, because hurting those after they’ve hurt you seems like the right thing to do. The facade that you once saw on the surface of your ex and your ex-best friend trickle away and they are – crystal clearly – the enemy. Seeking revenge may even be petty, but boy does it seem like a good idea.
The worst part about these kind of situations is when you’re all stuck in the same circle. You love your other friends so you battle it out with yourself about your tolerance of those other persons that shake you to your core. You spend most of the time day-dreaming about slapping the spit out of their mouths, but then you look at your other friends and remember that it’s not worth it. But, for the record, you let those former friends know that you hate them. Without a single doubt.
I always have a lot to say about Brenda, because she’s my girl. I closely related to the whole situation and it disgusted me that Kelly and Dylan found it a smart idea to parade their romance around Brenda after she found out. I don’t give a damn if they all had the same friends – distance can heal, they clearly didn’t understand that. No matter how ‘fine’ Brenda seemed about the situation, the truth of the matter is that she had to relive the betrayal over and over again everytime Kelly and Dylan were around.
I guess she got tired of all the passive aggressiveness and figured leaving was the best idea. I don’t blame her, but the show became something different once she was gone. I certainly missed Brenda’s jabs to Kelly and her over-dramatic tendencies. She was the bad girl, who was actually a gentle spirit. She reminds me of the wicked witch – turned dark only because those closest to her betrayed her trust.
My Love/ Hate Relationship with Kelly Taylor
I hated Kelly after the Dylan-Brenda fiasco. I felt like she could have been the bigger person and chose friendship over romance. But no, Kelly has to have it all and she always had to get what she wanted and prove that she’s the most desired girl, ever. Underneath all of her beauty, though, I didn’t see much else. She was kind of shallow and was in need of a reality check. And as the years went by, she certainly got paid a few reality checks. Surely, she became a stronger character because of them and I finally started rooting for her. I think I started liking her after she and Brandon got together. I know, I know – she did not deserve Brandon, but she had the audacity to believe that she did and their budding romance was an eye-opener.
You see Brandon was the good guy. Freaking Captain America if you ask me. He was intelligent and knew how to be the boy-scout. Plus, he was gorgeous. Dylan started to show his true colors, even more so, with Kelly and their incompatibility grew even more apparent once Brenda left. I think they stayed together for as long as they did just to spite Brenda. Once she was gone though, it was like, “Yeah, what the crap were we thinking?” And what I find ironic about Brandon and Kelly in the beginning is that first she betrayed Brenda by stealing her boyfriend, and then she fell for the person the closest to Brenda – her twin brother. Was Kelly’s attraction to Brandon some sort of way to express her regret of hurting Brenda? I don’t know. And I’m probably thinking way to much about this. But, I think she was always jealous of Brenda and wanted Brandon so she could officially take Brenda’s place and become a Walsh. And as much as I love Brandon, he certainly showed his flaws when he (ironically) cheated on Kelly. I’m laughing just thinking about this. And it was with this chick…
Emily was ‘cool’ and someone totally different from Kelly. What’s worse is that Kelly was literally on fire when the cheating was happening. Yes, Kelly was caught in a house fire and her beauty was scarred. I guess it was a metaphor for this thing that Kelly has been using to get what she wants for so long – her beauty – being burned away. And her most prized possession, Brandon, was lured away. Now, she had to actually show what was inside and grow the hell up. This beauty queen persona needed to disappear, and all of her superficial problems, like boys, needed to go away with it. Who was the real Kelly Taylor?
It didn’t take long for Kelly to move on to the next guy – this time he was someone outside of the group (because she’d now been with Steve, Dylan, and Brandon – David was her step-brother but he crushed on her too in the beginning). Anyways, Colin was this artist that she fell for in season six after letting Brandon and Dylan know that she wasn’t going to choose between them at the the end of season five. Apparently, both guys believed that Kelly was their true love. And it’s funny, because I love both of them and each of them brought out different attributes of Kelly. Bad and good ones. Initially, Kelly was just too spoiled for my liking and Brandon matured her a bit by making her want to be this semi-wholesome / fit-for-Brandon type of woman for him. Brandon had a way of treating Kelly like she was the girl with the star on her dressing room door. Dylan too matured Kelly, because he needed to grow up himself and he had real issues to deal with (I’ll get to him in a bit). Kelly always got dragged into his mess and this sort of overshadowed the romance. Season five ended with both guys treating Kelly like a prize and may the best man win her. So she had to choose –
Back to Colin…the only good impact he had on Kelly was her change in style. Kelly always had a good fashion sense, but season six was when she was FLY! Being on the arms of an artist meant that she needed to have all eyes on her…to give him more cred. She cut her hair even shorter (than it was in season five) and wore some of the cutest outfits. She stepped it up, because she was now in the real world with real artists. But stories like this never go too well, especially on this show. This whole allusion of being an artist and knowing the who’s-who’s in Beverly Hills and LA came with a lot of peer pressure. As if Kelly didn’t get enough of this in high school. Colin did cocaine and he graciously extended the bad habit to Kelly. Before long Kelly was a stereotypical coke-head girlfriend of an artist.
After hitting rock bottom though, Kelly had the support of her friends and family. She had already went through what drugs and substance-abuse could do to you with her mother, Jackie, back in season 1. She finally realized that a) Colin was no good and b) She had become a monster that she didn’t recognize.
Before long, Kelly began to grow quite the backbone and she finally became a character that I liked and began to root for! She kicked Colin to the curb.
No more was she trying to prove herself to the likes of some guy. Especially one that turned her into something so ugly. Just because he wanted her, doesn’t mean she had to want him. This is where the glorious Kelly Taylor eye rolls really kicked into high gear for me and she became the b*tch that I loved to see side-eye those beneath her…like Valerie (oh, I’m getting there). You couldn’t mess with Kelly without her calling you out. That little entitled blonde from Beverly Hills was gone. Though, she was still catty, but in a good way. She reminded me of the old Brenda in some ways.
But this show doesn’t like to let characters be happy for very long – especially Kelly. And I don’t want this to be the history of Kelly Taylor, but the girl really went through the worse of the worse. So, I got to lay some of this stuff out. It’s like she’d make it out alive, but then something else terrible came along.
Also in season six, Kelly met her own single white female, Tara, in rehab after the coke stint. It was ridiculous, because of all of those years in high school when Kelly wanted girls dreaming to be her and following her around (like Donna and Brenda). She had met a girl that was actually ‘dead-set’ on being Kelly Taylor.
I even think Kelly was starting to catch on that her life was just a bullseye for crappy stuff to be aimed at. When she and Brandon reconnected – they had a miscarriage, called off their wedding, and Kelly was shot and got amnesia. Later on, when she finally met “Mr. Right”, Matt (as boring as he was), she was raped by some guy, who Matt was defending for some other crimes. Oh yeah, Matt was a lawyer. Kelly got revenge by shooting and killing her rapist.
And “Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes” Matt also turned out to be not so perfect after all. He also cheated on Kelly, while hanging out with Dylan. They were totally too good to be true.
Kelly went through the wire, but the worse that happened, the stronger her character became. All of her bad choices in earlier seasons came to bite her in the butt. I hated what she had done to Brenda, but honestly, the girl did her fair share of paying and atoning for her sins. It made me really sad when she would fall in and out of love. Never seeming to find the right guy.
Apparently she and Dylan had a son together in the future, but I didn’t watch the rebooted 90210 series where that story-line played out. Anyhow, Kelly went from someone I wanted to punch to someone I would punch others for. And speaking of…
Valerie Malone Comes to Shake Things Up
At first, Valerie wasn’t one of my favorite characters, but I thought she was a crucial part to keeping things interesting on Beverly Hills, 90210 after Brenda left the series. There was definitely a hole in the lineup for a brunette with attitude, and Valerie fit the bill perfectly. When she first showed up, I had my doubt about her JUST being a Brenda stand-in and I rolled my eyes when she would to just include herself in the affairs of the other main characters. Like, who are you and why do you just assume that you can hang with Brenda’s crew?
I never bought the whole story of her being a close family friend of the Walsh’s and that was why she was living in Brenda’s old bedroom. It was a little too convenient for me. But I guess after a few episodes of Brenda’s friends expecting Valerie to BE Brenda, she got fed up and decided to stand out on her own and show them her true colors.
And when we got to know Valerie Malone and her catty and indecent ways, she became the perfect foil to Kelly Taylor. And let’s be honest, they were both bombshells. Valerie had that natural beauty that could stand paired to Kelly’s. They both wanted to be the center of attention and they both grabbed the attention of the men around them – instantly. They also both couldn’t stand each other, but both knew how to be passive aggressive to the 100th degree. I then, fell in love with Valerie as Beverly Hills’ new villain.
After playing ‘nice’ for a few episodes, and Valerie hooking up with Dylan, Steve, David, and Colin – Kelly stopped trying to mask the fact that she hated Valerie and Valerie stopped pretending that she could worship the ground that Kelly walked on like all of her other friends. The two would call each other out on their bullsh*t at any given time. And it was always glorious.
Even when they knew that they could really hurt each other, the moment couldn’t be sweeter to make the other one look bad in front of their friends. It’s like when one did something shady, the other would come running i to shine the spotlight on the situation.
Another great thing about the Valerie and Kelly rivalry was the obvious jealousy of the other. Valerie let Kelly know that she could have the men that love Kelly. But, Kelly would let her know that the guys actually did love HER and not Valerie. Kelly thought that Valerie was, more or less, a bimbo for the moment. Then, David actually fell in love with Valerie and started to make her seem more human and sympathetic. Moments came where Valerie and Kelly would have to team up, because someone else was causing trouble for the group. But of course, they had to one-up each other even then.
The fact of the matter was, they said to each other what we couldn’t say to them when we hated the two of them for their shenanigans. And because I hated Kelly for the longest time, Valerie made me laugh on many occasions when Kelly was just being obnoxious, irritating, and unabashedly territorial with Brandon. In my head, I would call out the fact that sure Kelly could get Brandon, but she always ruins it with her big mouth or something unfortunate happens to them. So when she paraded around with Brandon, this came to mind…
Either way you slice it, Valerie was a b*tch. Kelly was a b*tch. And they were at their b*tchiest toward each other. Calling each other out did embarrass the other, but sometimes it shined a light on things that they seriously needed to change about themselves.
Even though Valerie was brilliant as Kelly’s nemesis, she didn’t limit her terror on just Kelly. The rest of the group got their individual doses of Valerie Malone, giving them good reason to hate her. There would be times where she would go too far and no one was laughing. Those times, I seriously wanted someone to slap her.
She may not be my favorite character, but I am glad she came to stir the pot as the group stepped into adulthood. Sure, I missed Brenda, but some of the things that Valerie did was specifically made for Valerie. I wouldn’t want Brenda to stoop so low and become downright hated in the process of screwing with the other characters. I loved to hate Valerie and all of her glorious seduction and sabotage.
Donna. Martin. Graduates.
Donna was a hard character for me to like in the beginning. I wanted so much more for her. She was just so hollow and would just follow Kelly around and basically be her little sidekick. Then, season two came along and she became an individual. She stepped out and gave me good reason to love her quirkiness. Instead of being Kelly Taylor’s second-in-command, she was just as much an important part of the squad, because the rest of the group loved her, for her. They adored Donna. Just think about the whole Donna Martin Graduates protest. There was nothing her friends wouldn’t do for her, because she was a sweetheart.
Donna had her high school sweetie, David Silver and the two were perfect for each other. Donna helped David shake his geekiness and be taken more seriously by the others. David helped Donna rise from under Kelly’s shadow and have more important things to do. Even when they went to college, they shined together.
However, Donna’s sweetness was taken advantage of by David. David eventually cheated on her, because Donna wanted to wait until marriage for sex. After that situation, Donna had to realign and redesign herself. Then, she started experimenting with some of the most cheeky outfits (though she always had a bold fashion sense). After David though, it was like she had no reason to play it safe with her look and she switched it up quite a bit. Some of her choices really made me scratch my head though…
Stories soon got more serious for Donna after she and David split. She started dating another ‘wannabe musician’, Ray Pruit. Valerie couldn’t wait to get her hands on him when he was becoming something of a star. Donna, usually the ‘innocent one’ of the group and seemingly easy to be stepped on, had to become a bit more feisty and put on some punching gloves to fight for what she wanted. It just so happened that at the moment, she wanted Ray.
Ray being someone other than David that Donna fell for meant that she tried to hold on to him even when he didn’t deserve her. The bastard made her his punching bag and Donna had to come up from under his shoes and remember that she was important and deserved to be treated with respect and love. She had to stop opening herself up to jerks that took advantage of her genuine niceness. I think a lot of times they assumed that she was ‘easy’ due to the way she dressed, but she set them straight. They tried to make her feel like they were doing her a favor by being with her or something.
It was always Donna not feeling smart or pretty enough and basically falling prey to guys like these due to her insecurities. She eventually meets “Mr. Right”, football player, Joe Bradley, and he showers her in the respect that she deserves. The two became a happy couple, both sharing the same disbelief in premarital sex.
It turned out that Joe has a heart condition and Donna did the Powerman 5000 “Strike the Match” music video, making Joe understandably uncomfortable watching Donna parade herself around so explicitly sexual and semi-degrading. His wholesome values became jeopardized, I think, with dating someone who would agree to do something like this. And honestly, I don’t blame him for questioning their relationship after this. I still wonder if Donna was trying to test him or push him – just to see if she could. Anyway, this coupled with all of the stress with Donna’s life and his heart condition, Joe moved back to his hometown. He asked Donna to come with, but of course she belonged in Beverly Hills.
Donna got a lot of scrutiny for her choice to be a virgin until marriage and for the way she dressed and the guys that she dated. But, her friends had her back even when they were setting her straight on these guys. Kelly remained her best friend through thick and thin. She had her own issues, but she was something of a sister to Donna and knew just what to say when Donna needed advice and cheering up.
She also had her new roommate, Clare Arnold (Steve’s girlfriend) to be there for her when Kelly was too busy getting high or fighting for her life. No, but seriously, Clare was a nice touch to add a different layer to Donna’s social life. Both were quirky and got into hilarious shenanigans, usually involving David and/or Steve.
Speaking of David, he and Donna were on-and-off and eventually she decided to sleep with him after they graduated from college. I guess she was like, to hell what other people think! It’s true love. Check out Donna’s red/burgundy hair, though. The girl was not afraid to switch up her style! I actually really liked this color on her. It complimented her features. And she no longer looked like she was trying to look like Kelly.
Well, her and David eventually broke up again and she started dating Noah Hunter. This guy annoyed the heck out of me. He was always brooding or complaining about something while trying to seem like he had it together. His problems just added too much drama for Donna and her big personality seemed to be incompatible with his staleness. Donna actually ended up cheating on Noah. Yeah, I’m still stunned. I didn’t know what was happening with little Miss Martin, but apparently she was bored with him. She felt horrible and regretful after the fact though, and he did his best to make her feel like crap for her mistake. By being with other women and making Donna beg for his forgiveness. I’m still on the fence about this situation. On one hand, yeah, Noah was a bore. On the other, cheating is wrong and Donna should have known that first hand.
It also turned out that Donna’s cousin, Gina, was actually her half-sister and hated Donna for being the princess in the family. She wanted everything that Donna had, because she felt that Donna didn’t deserve it or that she was too spoiled or that it was she that should have been raised by their (rich) father, Dr. Martin. Donna had to watch her back with Gina, because she was [trying] to be the next Valerie. But, she wasn’t. She was just too pathetic (in my humble opinion). I actually really hated her character.
But after all of the drama and all of the pain, it was David that Donna truly loved and who loved her. They grew up together and saw each other at their worst…and best. They were there for all of the tears and regret and there for each other even when they weren’t together. They were each other’s first love. The series ended with their wedding day.
Let’s Talk About David
David started off as the geek who was obsessed with Kelly Taylor and her group of popular friends. He often had these get-to-hang-with-Kelly-quick-schemes that made for some comedic moments, like season one’s slumber party episode. The thing that fascinated me about David though was his dance skills. The guy was a natural at getting the party started. Seeing the rest of the cast try to hang and keep up with him was hilarious. I think the only two characters who could keep up with David’s crazy dance moves were Brenda and Donna.
David officially became one of the crew when his dad married Kelly’s mom and he started dating Donna. The two of them were a refreshing duo to watch as their romance was more fun and silly vs. all of the drama with Brenda, Kelly, and Dylan. David had this sizzling personality coupled with Donna’s underrated quirk. He was always trying to be on the radio, or make music, or film something. She was his muse, partner, and manager.
Of course, David made some mistakes with the price of trying to get famous and work in the industry. It’s a dirty business. I think he started to mature more when he started dating Valerie. I honestly didn’t see this relationship lasting too long, though. Valerie was a vixen and knew how to get under everyone’s skin. David, for the most part, was the nice guy. I guess Valerie needed a little more humility in her life and David needed to date someone that could teach him a few things. Though they were sort of cute together, it sickened Kelly and hurt Donna to see them getting closer. I always felt like Valerie had an ulterior motive for dating David. She may have fell for him to an extent, but it wasn’t real love.
David was also Steve’s sidekick and the two of them got into a ton of shenanigans. He was even there to continue his sidekick duties with Steve’s wife, Janet. David and Kelly also had a solid sibling relationship and he would do anything for her and vice versa. I don’t think the two of them ever saw that coming when he was following her around like a lovesick puppy / paparazzi and Kelly was constantly telling him to go away. Their relationship grew to become the ultimate bro/sis combination.
And again, he and Donna realized that they were crazy not to be together. They were basically one heart beating in two separate bodies. Stronger together.
Dylan and His Ladies
Oh Dylan. Dylan, Dylan why must you be so handsome? I instantly fell for Dylan during season one’s “Isn’t It Romantic?” episode. The one where he and Brenda have their first hangout / date. Here he was, genuine Beverly Hills material and he was interested in little Miss Minnesota. I don’t say that to be condescending or anything. What I mean is that Brenda thought her ‘in’ to the Beverly Hills group was to impress Kelly, but all she had to do was be herself and this guy was fascinated by her coolness. She actually didn’t have to do all of that crap (like dye her hair blonde) to create a facade of coolness for Kelly to accept her. What Dylan liked the most about Brenda was that she was easy to hang with like Brandon. Without the pressure. Until there was pressure – to be this ultimate boyfriend for such a wholesome girl. Dylan was used to playing the field and doing whatever he wanted, until he saw that this could hurt Brenda. And he didn’t want that. Sure, he was totally cool and suave – but with Brenda he was a normal guy.
I’ve said it already, but the foreshadowing of the two girls wanting to impress Dylan in season one is just so uncanny. Who would of thought that by just being Brenda, Dylan would fall for her. He was at his most likable when he was with Brenda. Up until they slept together and the show did everything to drive a wedge between them. The funny thing is that when he was with Kelly, they slept together all the time and it was no big deal. This still baffles me.
So glad that he and Kelly didn’t last too long and Dylan met someone even more sweet than Brenda – Antonia ‘Toni’ Marchette. Dylan was going through the most with Kelly and I have to admit, seeing him with Valerie after they broke up just made me hate watching Dylan’s storylines. I had no attachment to him and I didn’t care for him, until he met Toni in season six.
Yes, their whole storyline was very soapy and dramatic with the war with her father. The thing that broke my heart though was seeing Dylan so happy and so in love with Toni and having her ripped away from him. I just thought it was cruel.
Toni was so great that even Kelly couldn’t hate her. She was just what Dylan needed – a light to brighten all of the darkness in his life. When she was killed, I thought it was best for Dylan to leave. I mean, there just wasn’t much for him left in Beverly Hills. I never thought that he and Kelly were soulmates, so why would he stay? Of course, this is television and the show brought him back and put him back in the graces of Kelly. Glad their relationship was open-ended in the series finale.
Steve Grows Up
Steve’s life seemed to always revolve around women. He was infatuated with the opposite sex. For the longest time, he was the playboy or the boy who lived to have fun. The man-kid, not really growing up. After chasing after Kelly in the early seasons, he seemed to say, screw it, life’s too short. Before we knew it, Steve was chasing the ladies and many of them equally played with his heart. His first serious girlfriend, Celeste, was the sweetest, though.
Unfortunately, Steve let his immature ways ruin that relationship and she left him. He did meet her at a dating game show, so I knew the relationship was bound to hit the breaks in the long run. Steve soon started dating Clare Arnold. Clare was definitely a match in one-uping Steve. She was witty and kept things interesting for the two of them.
They actually couldn’t stand each other in the beginning. Clare with her big mouth and Steve with his immaturity. All of their pent-up angst for each other lead to lust, and then love. In between, we got some pretty funny moments of Clare saying things that totally embarrassed Steve and him irritating her. When she left, Steve was heartbroken.
Steve became the master of longing after unattainable women. There was a vicious cycle of Steve latching on to a girl and them basically getting the best of him and pretty much (consciously and unconsciously) using him (cough, cough Valerie). Steve desired to be the ultimate bachelor, but after being best friends with Brandon for years, Brandon’s good will and ‘family man’ ethics started to rub off on Steve. He then desired to be a part of something bigger than himself. He later met Janet Sosna, and though their relationship was rough in the beginning with Janet’s parents against the “untraditional” pair and Janet also questioning Steve’s maturity, they later started their own little family and got married. Janet and Steve had their own (tabloid/National Inquirer-inspired) newspaper and Steve was finally a part of something bigger – outside of the group. He had people relying on him and he, though comically, succeeded at being the family man.
Brandon Walsh, The Boy Wonder
No, I certainly did not forget about Brandon Walsh. The man with the plan. The good guy. The great guy. The boy scout. Brandon served as the leader of the group and the main character for eight seasons. His big plans and overall, good guy exterior (and interior) was the glue keeping the group together.
Even though his Beverly Hills friends all had their different passions and dominant traits, Brandon brought them all together and they all felt wanted and a part of something with Brandon around. Of course, no one is perfect and Brandon surely showed his flaws from time to time. Even though he always strived to do the right thing, and be the symbol for the right thing, his inner desires pulled him left field. Like dating Kelly after (while) her and Dylan went through a rough patch. Kelly was a friend and Dylan was one of his best friends. But, Kelly was like a golden trophy and I think Brandon wanted to prove to himself that he could have her. I already mentioned this before, but Brandon also ended up cheating on Kelly with Emily Valentine, because he was so wanted by Emily and he felt like he had to have her (since their relationship failed in high school).
But let me back up for a second. I always thought that Brandon and Andrea made a really good pair. Sure, I liked him and Kelly together, but Andrea was sort of like his equal. She was smart and goal-oriented and this made Brandon look up to her.
But maybe that’s why they remained friends. Brandon held Andrea too dear to him. She was like a sister, someone to set him straight and keep him on the right path. Even though she wanted more than friendship for quite some time, Brandon knew that friendship was much more valuable. Romantic relationships are messy and I don’t think Brandon wanted to taint his and Andrea’s friendship with the downfalls of dating.
They certainly were adorable together, though. Both with those million dollar smiles. They felt safe with each other, like they could totally be themselves. Brandon was the first to accept Andrea into the group, despite her not being wealthy like the rest of the Beverly Hills peeps. Andrea also accepted Brandon and took him seriously as more than just a pretty face. They were the ultimate journalists at West Beverly. Getting the scoop on everyone’s business.
I saw Andrea as Brandon’s mentor and coach when it came to writing and even entering into politics in college. Andrea had her head on straight when it came to academics (she eventually got pregnant and married their freshman year though), and Brandon looked to her for strategy. Maybe they would have been a power couple, but you know, this show wasn’t much for happy endings. Every romance had to have drama and Andrea and Brandon were too much of a pure couple to actually last as more than friends. Even Andrea and her husband hit a snag with him being unfaithful. But Brandon had her back and she had his.
Emily Valentine seemed to be someone that Brandon was just magnetically attracted to. First in high school and later on when he ran into her in season five. After the whole Emily slipping Brandon drugs in season two, Brandon saw her as a bad influence – but kind of like his Id. Yeah, let’s get Freudian. Emily allowed Brandon to indulge and be bad. A version of himself that wasn’t accepted by the rest of his friends, or at least a side that he didn’t want his friends to see. The annoying thing about Emily was that she didn’t seem to care that she was luring Brandon into darkness. Maybe she meant well, but she certainly wasn’t the right girl for Brandon.
So even with the temptation from Emily, Brandon seemed to know one thing for certain –
He loved Kelly Taylor. I’m glad that the two of them didn’t date in high school, because the whole dating your sister’s bestie and your bestie’s (Steve) ex would have just taken away from the longing and beauty of them finally getting together in college. I didn’t see it coming after Kelly and Dylan stole the damn show, but it was big when Brandon finally gave into his desire to be with Kelly (and take her seriously). I was still angry at Dylan for choosing Kelly over Brenda and I wanted to finally see Brandon with someone he could actually have a lasting relationship with. Sure, Kelly was still at her annoying stage, but I felt like there was big change coming for her character with Brandon.
Their relationship was just grounded in this realistic world. They seemed so stable and grown-up, compared to all of the other pairs. Like, their hearts were tugging for each other. Brandon was the ultimate good-guy that Kelly had been in need of, and Kelly was the beautiful princess that Brandon wanted in high school, but he wasn’t ready for her and she wasn’t ready for him. Yeah, Kelly had more depth than being a princess, but she was just so spoiled and entitled in the earlier seasons and when she started dating Brandon, she allowed herself to be better and switch up some of her life goals. All of her (need to be in charge) issues though pushed Brandon away and his big plans to move forward – and away from Beverly Hills was too much for her. Her home was in the 90210, but it was never Brandon’s real home. He wanted things outside of their little bubble and eventually moved away. I’m still pretty sad that it didn’t work out with the two of them, but it all seemed like a mirage anyway.
Well there you go, folks. It took me a little while to get this post up, but I had to give the series a more in depth look. Forever a favorite of mine and I’m glad that I discovered it all of those years ago. Whenever I watch the show, I notice something different and see characters through a different lens – based on where I am in my life. Can’t wait until my next rewatch of the series and the new things that will become more important and clear. Love the characters and love the stories. The series became so much more than a teen drama, and that’s one of the things I hold most dearly.
‘Til next time.