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October 7, 2015

Sure, 90210 was terrible ... but it's not made for me

by Joel Keller, posted Sep 3rd 2008 11:08AM
90210 castI decided to bite the bullet and watched the two-hour (!) premiere of 90210 last night. Because the CW decided to not bother sending screeners of either episode to critics, I was girding myself for a show that made me want to wince every thirty seconds or so.

In that regard, it didn't do as badly as I thought. I only winced about once per minute.

Of course, that wasn't a good thing. My fellow Squadder Kona gave the show a "liked it but it needs work" review, and I agree with her about the "needs work" part. I mean, come on! The kids were cliches, the acting was stiff, and the dialogue was boring. I mean, hell, even Jessica Walter's character seemed like it was a caricature of the "slutty, boozy old broad" character we've seen a hundred times before.

But as soon as I saw that girl's head lift up from Ethan's lap in that first segment of the show, I realized something: The CW doesn't want me watching this show.

I'm a 37-year-old male. Yes, I watched the original 90210 when I was in college, though I probably didn't watch beyond the second season or so. But the CW most definitely doesn't care if I watch this show or any other shows it puts on the air; they're aiming most of their shows towards women aged 18-to-34 (and probably girls aged 12-to-18, too). It's no coincidence that one of the few shows on the network that I like, Reaper, is one of the few that's more marketed towards young men than women. Even there, though, I'm probably slightly older than the audience they're looking for.

So, after watching the oral sex scene and thinking to myself in typical get-off-my-lawn style, "It's only 8:05 and they're showing a blow job!?", I had my epiphany. And that's when I lso realized that the network didn't send the pilot out for review because grumpy old critics like me were going to trash the show, anyway, so why expose the show to such scrutiny?

(And if you don't think TV critics aren't grumpy old folks, you weren't in the ballroom at the TCA press tour. Don't get me wrong, many of my fellow attendees were funny, thoughtful, and creative. But they would never be mistaken for fans of, say, Gossip Girl or America's Next Top Model).

I'm not the only one who's come to the revelation; Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star-Ledger mentioned this in his column the other day, citing the fact that the network's GG campaign actually used negative comments by critics to promote the show. In doing that, they essentially promoted it as "the show the old farts don't want you to watch." I'm guessing that's what they want to do with 90210.

But 90210 isn't as scandalous as GG. In fact, it's pretty tame in comparison, more in line with the moral lessons the kids learned on the original show. And, the presence of original cast members Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty -- neither of whom made more than token appearances -- will always remind the audience that their parents (or... uh... much older but cool aunts and uncles) watched a similar show way back when. And that may not be enough to save the show, no matter how many times Lori Laughlin says the word "penis."

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The acting was TERRIBLE. I was so excited for the premier episode, being a long-time fan of the old 90210. I love the fact that they included now-grow-up babies Erin and Hannah. However, not one of the newbies has any acting skills to speak of. The overdone "omigosh, yeah, um, we knew each other, kind of" fumbling when Annie and Ethan are introduced by Naomi made me cringe. And although the snobbiness from the old show is still present, the kids are much less sophisticated and glamourous than Kelly and co. were in the original. I'll give it one more episode to redeem itself, then I'm turning back to gossip girl.

September 04 2008 at 7:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OK, here goes. I'm impressed by Tristan Wilds as an actor and how natural he seems, however, I felt that the girl playing Annie and guy playing Navid overacted. Plus, the guy receiving the BJ looked in pain. I loved Jessica Walter; however, I don't buy Lori Laughlin as the competitive olympian. Also, I agree with Jenny. Shannen D had the acting chops upon which to hang the entire show, but Annie just 'giggles' throughout. I think the show has promise. I just can't handle some of the actors (who, with the exception of LL & A, could work with help) -

September 04 2008 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The first show was a terrible show that last 10 years, so this show will be fine.

September 03 2008 at 4:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James J. Gutierrez

show so needs a chuck bass.

who's the villian?

September 03 2008 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm in that 18-34 female demographic and I'd much rather watch Reaper than this too.

September 03 2008 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i am a 34 yr old woman, i watched the og faithfully until it ended, then watched the spin off MP,. i also watched the entire 2 hr premiere and I LOVED IT! all shows cant be Mad Men (which i love too). It is alot better than most teen shows at least they acted a little like teens. unlike that stupid show Gossip Girl. i will continue to watch until its cancelled.

September 03 2008 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It just wasn't a smart show. Not that the original was smart, per se, but it was smartER than this. By a LOT. As someone who is the "same age" as the original class of West Beverly 1993, I watched the new version with curiosity. I enjoy current youth culture. I read YA novels, listen to current music, and watch plenty of shows on the N. (Sorry, Darcy from Degrassi, but you are NO shannen doherty) But this pretty much stunk. It was actually boring. It was a retread in a non-imaginative way.

The original felt like it had a kernel of emotional truth. This just feels vapid. Why is Aunt Becky from Full House the mom? I miss Carol Potter, who LOOKED like a mom!

I'll probably watch this a few more times, because, hey, why not? I'm finished with grad school and suddenly have more free time than I have had in years. But if they're going to keep giving us the Cliff notes version of original 90210 episodes, my patience will soon expire.

September 03 2008 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Only seeing Lucille Bluth stopped it from being a complete headache, but after that wore off, I went back to my Arrested Development DVDs, the show that ruined every sitcom for me!

September 03 2008 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't believed I watched the show myself! I am a 21 y/o guy, my whole family used to watch Beverly Hills 90210 when I was a kid. I thought it would be a cool show and then I watched and couldn't believe the things happening like the BJ in the first 20 mins. I got to talking to one of my cousins who watched the original one didn't seem as out there with everything, and he was actually surprised a minority was in Beverly Hills. It's an okay show, but not my thing to begin with; nothing else new was on last night that I could think of anyways. I am sure it will be a hit with fans of the jonas brothers and high school musical.

September 03 2008 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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