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September 2, 2015

90210: We're Not in Kansas Anymore; The Jet Set (series premiere)

by Kona Gallagher, posted Sep 2nd 2008 11:58PM
90210 ep 01(S01E01 / S01E02) Wow. So, within the first five minutes it becomes abundantly clear that this is not your momma's 90210. First of all, there are actual non-whites at West Beverly High! Er, well, at least one. But he's a main character! Secondly, kids at West Beverly don't just hang out at the Peach Pit or whatever before class, they perform sexual acts in their big, shiny SUVs!

Other things are the same, however, such as the fact that being a new kid still sucks: even if you're an impossibly skinny girl with perfect teeth and hair like a shiny, pretty labradoodle, like Annie Wilson. People still call you Farm Girl, and Kelly Taylor's sister posts mean blogs about you. Meanwhile, if you're her brother, even being a lacrosse star can end badly, when jealous kids get you kicked off the team.

90210's premiere is a little uneven, but also oddly entertaining. One thing that everyone can agree on though, is that Jessica Walter is still awesome.

Walter, who played the iconic Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development, is back on 90210, basically playing the same inappropriate, booze-soaked character, though this time she's an ex-actress named Tabitha Wilson. Everything that comes out of her mouth in the pilot is a gem, including an anecdote about how Ricardo Montalban once cracked an egg on her ass. She's already my favorite character, but considering that this is ostensibly a teen drama, that may not be a good sign for the fledgling series.

The Wilson family, aka "The New Walsh Family," comes to Beverly Hills from Kansas in order to take care of Tabitha. Harry Wilson is also the new principal at West Beverly, while his Kansas-native wife Debbie, has some sort of job that involves photo shoots, but also cooks tater tots for dinner.

The first episode, "We're Not in Kansas Anymore," basically covers Annie and Dixon's transition into the society of West Beverly High. Annie quickly becomes friends with Queen Bee Naomi, who promptly convinces Annie to "loan" her an old paper on A Tale of Two Cities and disinvites her from her "Not so Sweet 16" party after the deception is uncovered by Annie's principal father.

Dixon gets kicked off of the lacrosse team for starting a fight, even though the other guy checked him first. Naomi's boyfriend Ethan, the recipient of the aforementioned blow job in the SUV, originally lies to cover this up, but then his good guy-ness gets the better of him and he gets Dixon reinstated on the team. In the end, the Wilsons have a pretty painless transition into West Beverly and end the episode in formal wear, frolicking in the ocean in a very O.C.-like fashion.

Other things of note:

- There's a hilarious shout out to Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez in the beginning of the episode. She's original 90210-er Andrea Zuckerman's daughter and the host of West Beverly's news show. Ryan starts off the episode by asking, "what is she, 30?", a reference to Gabrielle Carteris actually being about 30 when she filmed the original show.

- Baby drama! It turns out that Harry Wilson dated Naomi's mom in high school and they have a son together that he never knew about! He was given up for adoption.

- Kelly Taylor also has a son. He's about four years old, and we don't know who the father is yet. He also has trouble sleeping, but my guess is that's probably due to the fact that his mother apparently sends him to bed wearing race car-shaped Crocs.

- Seriously. A blow job. In front of the school. Within the first five minutes; Gossip Girl didn't even do that.

- I have a feeling that the male students of West Beverly High spend a lot of time in the Guidance Counselor's office. After all, the counselor doesn't seem to think it's necessary to button more than three buttons on her shirt. Also, did anyone else notice that she seemed to wear two completely different outfits on the same day?

In the second episode, "Jet Set," the Wilsons continue to acclimate to life on the fast lane. Annie meets Ty, a boy with teeth as big as her own. He's the male lead in the play and asks her out to dinner. Of course, since they're in Beverly Hills, they won't be hitting up the local Ruby Tuesday's. Instead, he drives her to the airport where they board a private plane to San Francisco for dinner.

Her mother finds out about the trip after finding a matchbook from the restaurant in Annie's pocket. First of all, why was she going through her pockets? Second of all, who sees a matchbook from San Francisco and immediately thinks, "dammit! My daughter got on a private jet and went halfway up the state last night!"? Who jumps to that conclusion?

Annie isn't the only Wilson kid who gets in trouble this episode. Dixon is still desperately trying to fit in with his Lacrosse team, so when the rival school pranks them by filling West Beverly's hallway with trash, he comes up with a plan for revenge, despite his father's specific warnings against it. He manages to get three pigs from Navid's porn producer father and sets them loose on the other school's field. After Dixon attempts to take the blame for the prank, Navid and Ethan admit to their part, leading to Dixon being grounded, but an otherwise happy ending.

There's already a love triangle brewing, when Naomi tries to get back at Ethan by cheating on him with a teammate. Instead of making him jealous, however, Ethan just realizes that the reason he cheated was because he wanted out of the relationship -- and maybe into a new one with Annie. Unfortunately for him, Ty and Annie seem to be moving forward. With tongue.

Other things of note:

- Adrianna plays glassy-eyed really well. She's got a serious pill problem and although she's popular, seems to come from the wrong side of the tracks a little bit. I have a feeling this storyline could get pretty interesting later on.

- Jessica Walter continues her reign of awesome.

- The Peach Pit is scary. Nat looks really old and is easily confused by the cappuccino machine and kids go there and fill their iced teas with airplane bottles of booze. I miss the wholesome Formica of the Peach Pit of yesteryear.

- I can see why Uncle Jesse loved Aunt Becky so much: she's really understanding. Harry tells Debbie about his illegitimate son, and she takes it in stride. Apparently it's just another thing to deal with. A man-shaped bump in the road.

Based on all of the insane media surrounding the original cast members coming back to the show, I was beginning to wonder if anyone would care about the actual teenagers at all. Luckily for the young actors, the storyline with Brenda and Kelly is sufficiently boring and pointless, so as not to detract in any way. Granted, seeing Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth squeal and hug was awkwardly hilarious, but Brenda returning and drinking milkshakes isn't exactly earth shattering.

The show overall is a decent mix of Mean Girls, The O.C. and Gossip Girl, but isn't quite as charming as any of them. I'm not blown away, but it wasn't quite the suckfest it had the potential to be. However, I definitely could have done with only one hour of it this week.

What do you think?

What do you think of the new 90210?
It's better than the original80 (19.3%)
it's better than a punch in the face180 (43.4%)
No, I'd take a punch in the face70 (16.9%)
I don't trust any show in which everybody is that skinny.85 (20.5%)

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I go to a Beverly Hills public school and I've never seen a Ferrari or Bentley in our lot. Probably the occasional BMW or Mercedes but nothing out of the ordinary.

The bj in the SUV and the remark about being stuck on Sunset for an hour were hilarious though.

September 05 2008 at 7:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone else wondering where all the Jews are? At least the original had David Silver. It's BEVERLY HILLS 90210(!) Gossip Girl has this problem as well. How the heck have they managed to go at least one season without a Jewish character? It's New York(!) What's up CW??

Btw - Annie's Dr. Pepper and tiny bowl of salad does not equal lunch. Word to the producers - This is not acceptable.

September 05 2008 at 3:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually really enjoyed it! Jessica Walter is a diamond in the rough, and she really did a fantastic job. And how great was the cameo of Hannah, Andrea's daughter!?

As for the show's exaggeration factor, do you guys remember high school? Because, you could not pay me enough to watch real high schoolers live their daily lives. I watch these shows to live the rich fantasy of an incredibly sexy high school full of catty drama which I am not a part of! It's not 100% realistic, but I enjoy the trip it takes me on. Bring on the teen dramas!!

September 04 2008 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe its cause I went to Beverly Hills High but I just cannot watch this show...it is so fake. The thing is- the really rich kids (ie private jet type) go to fancy private schools, not public schools barely a step above the LAUSD. But I guess the fact that most kids in the 90210 zip are pretty normal wouldn't make for good tv eh?

Also they should add in some Persian kids, cause thats like 90% of the population at Beverly Hills schools...

September 03 2008 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i loved the original 90210. to me, the problem with this show is that you really don't care for anyone. no one is relatable. it's true that just about every character is some cliche. for the most part the acting was horrible and as much as i loved shannen doherty and jennie garth in the original, the both fell terribly flat. i was bored most of the time and i could always tell where the story was heading. we all know that sweet little annie is going to turn into some cheating whore and is going to backstab jennie garth's sister. maybe im just sick of this fascination we have with the lives of people wealthier than most of us will ever become. way to make the world feel like we're boring because we can't afford $800 dresses and throw lavish parties. who lives like that? either way i hated it.

September 03 2008 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eric f

A few thoughts:

yes, Jessica Walter is still awesome.

I work with models every day and these girls are still disturbingly skinny to me.

Why is every new CW show about ridiculously rich, privileged and pretty young people?

September 03 2008 at 11:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LAME. But oddly intriguing.

As a former fan of BH 90210 I am admittedly out of the desired demographic. If I were the producers, I would sh1tcan the original actors quickly because none of their stories jive with where we last saw them nearly a decade ago.

The main characters could be interesting. Very skinny though. I predict a whole new generation of anorexia nervosa as a result.

If the moody Dylan shows up as a special guest star, we'll know that this is some stunt casting to keep this show (and CW itself) on air.

September 03 2008 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Being a loyal original 90210 viewer I know for a fact that it took the show almost until the middle of the first season to get going, if I remember, the introduction of Luke Perry early on and having him be with Brenda really struck a chord with the viewers and helped the show gain in noterity and sucess.

The problem is that so far I don't see a character that I can truly root for. As I said earlier theactress who played Annie, or maybe its the character itself, just don't do anything for me. I don't really enjoy her acting so far and I don't gravitate to her being the lead chacter. Only a couple of the actors so far prove that they can actually act, the girl who plays Silver, and the guys who play Navid and Dixon. They are getting the same scripts and dialogue that the girls who play Annie and Naomi and the other girl and the guys who play Ethan and the other lacrosse guys get yet I see alot worse acting and delievery.

Someone mentioned earlier that it looks like these kids are older than they appear on screen, well that is true but I can definetly say that they are far younger pretending to be 15 and 16 year olds than the original cast was who were trying to play 15 and 16 year olds. Looking at the old show now you can see that Jason Preistly and Ian Ziering and Jennie Garth were at least in their 20s, Gabrielle Carteris was close to 30. The only ones close to their age was Brian Austin Green and Tori Spelling. The ones playing the kids now at least are close to that age. So I don't see anything too put off or alarming about it.

The show wasn't so great, hopefully the acting gets better, the few bright spots off set some of the bad spots and hopefully next week there will be more good than bad. This week the bad definetly outweighed the good by a large margin.


September 03 2008 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

repeating my post from popcandy:

It was like watching the sex and the city movie - the plot was forced, the acting horrible, but everytime someone from the original series popped up or was referenced (Zuckerman-Vasquez!), you got a warm fuzzy feeling to remind you of your youth.
Personally I stopped watching the original after Brenda left, so I was only watching to see Shannen come back. The first scene with her and Kelly was SO Satisfying - "we've wasted a lot of time... blah blah blah" - it just mirrored their real lives so that was really nice to see.
Other than that, it was pretty generic and reminded me too much of the original. HOWEVER, I was glad to see that the midwest kids DIDN'T immediatley become part of the popular clique, as I had feared.
I didn't think I'd like Shenae Grimes, but she was quite endearing.
And Jessica Walters stole the show. we need more bluth~
So overall,... I'll probably watch again. Not necessarily hooked, but it was stupid mindless fun...

September 03 2008 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was quite possibly the worst show to ever be on network TV. There are absolutely no stakes, and the acting was horrible beyond reason. The only thing is shares with the original is 2 actors and a name... and this is coming from someone who hated the original.

September 03 2008 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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