90210: The Beloved Zip Code, Now and Then

old90210Now that the new 90210 is well into its second season, I thought it’d be beneficial to step back and evaluate the show’s highlights and low-lights with respect to the great, the original, the real Beverly Hills TV legend.

The Community

Back in the day, there wasn’t a tighter crew. Dylan and Brandon’s friendship was timeless, regardless of who ended up with Kelly. Even Kelly and Brenda seemed to work things out after the Dylan debacle. For better or worse, the old show made viewers feel like teenage drama over romances wasn’t a decisive factor in friendship.

In the new 90210, it’s been a rocky coming together. As far as I can tell, the girls are always fighting, and while there have been several occasions where one of them came through without reason, I’m not quite convinced they’ve got the same staying power as the originals. I mean, Ethan already left the show. WTF is up with that?? He only made it one season.

Also, the new crowd rarely hangs out in The Peach Pit (which has been disastrously remodeled), a testament to their individualism, which is just a huge mistake.

The Setting

Doesn’t something seem missing? In the old days, 90210 seemed glamorous, expensive, the rodeo drive of glitzy Califor-ni-a. The stars always had the most stylish (okay, questionable? but this was the ’90s…) clothes and newest trends in accessories. Their problems were those of the wealthy, like how Dylan should spend his trust fund or when Kelly and Brenda bought the same designer dress for prom.

Now, since The OC and Gossip Girl have made this sort of flashy lifestyle seem commonplace, 90210 is lackluster.

new90210The Characters

There was something about the original gang that made you empathize with them even when they screwed up. You wanted them to succeed, even when they were drug-addicts, cult-followers, or accused rapists (don’t worry – Steve didn’t do it!).

In the new series, I just absolutely can’t sympathize with Annie, who was involved in a drunken hit and run and still hasn’t come clean about it. Or Adrianna, who relapsed as a pill-abuser after cheating on Navid–clearly the most (only?) lovable character in the show.

The old 90210 also maintained some sort of stereotyping without going too far. Yes, Andrea was the brain and Donna was the daddy’s girl, but eventually, Andrea sleeps with her professor and Donna stars in that risqué music video. Kelly was also supposed to be a blonde ditz in high school, but once she dates Dylan, she becomes kind of a goody goody in college. The lines are blurry–just as they are in real life. I’m not sure if this is untrue for the remake–maybe time will tell as the characters evolve.

Also, I think Luke Perry and Jason Priestly still take the cake as the more attractive male cast members–despite the horrifying jean jackets.

The Catchphrase

Truth be told, the real tragedy of the new 90210 is that it will never, ever coin a catchphrase quite like “Donna Martin Graduates!”

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Images courtesy of Fox, The CW, and IMDb Pro.

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