Tuesday, September 23, 2008

90210- Week 4: Condon-Nation

Another painful night as the new 90210 drifts further away from the original show. We got a healthy dose of Brenda and about a minute of Kelly and that was it. Have we seen the last of Nat?

Tonight’s episode was a rollercoaster ride for Annie. First she gets her big break when Adrianna is kicked out of the school play because she’s “using”. I’m not exactly sure what Adrianna is using, but it sure ain’t good judgment. Since Annie is the only one who knows the lead part, she steps into the spotlight opposite her latest flame, Ty.

I’m not sure what show they were actually putting on, but it looked like a lot like Newsies, judging from the costume that Ty was wearing. But the big news was that there was an after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel that night and Ty had plans to deliver something more than a paper to Annie’s doorstep of love. This had her father very worried. After all, he used to have the same paper route as Ty.

As I said, Annie’s big break happens because Adrianna is all f-ed up fifteen minutes before show time. You see, Adrianna’s got it tough because she has an overbearing mother that pushes her into show business, which in itself is a cruel and thankless industry. Her rough life has pushed her to stealing and substance abuse. So she is the show’s tragic figure… pretty much the new Emily Valentine.

Brenda had sensed the turmoil in Adrianna’s life and tries to help, almost like a Guardian Angel. First she plays a witch in Charmed, now this… it just shows Shannen Doherty’s incredible acting range. She’s like De Niro with nice boobs and uneven eyes. But not even Brenda Walsh can stop Adrianna’s tailspin.

So Brenda, with the help of her stage manager Silver, decides that Adrianna is unfit to perform and they turn to Annie instead. Not the hit Broadway musical; the girl in the chorus. It turns out that just about everyone in the gang is involved with this play. Silver is suddenly the stage manager and Blandon is working the lights. Last week he was too busy for school and lacrosse with his new job at the Peach Pit. Somehow in a week he has found the time to work the lighting for a play that he has never even attended a rehearsal for.

Here’s where things go down hill for Annie. After the play, she asks Blandon if she can have the condom he always carries in his wallet. It’s pretty much a bad luck charm because he’s been carrying it for four years. (He’s supposed to be sixteen years old, so he’s had this rubber since he was twelve.) She is ready to give it up to Ty, but Ethan bumps into her with a bouquet of flowers and discovers the rubber. He’s now the second man, along with Dad, alarmed by the possibility of Annie “Tying” one on at the party.

But a vengeful Adrianna beats Annie to Ty’s hotel room and stages it so that it appears she has stolen the stage from Annie in Ty’s bedroom. Annie leaves in tears, along with the cursed condom. Meanwhile, Silver and Blandon are getting jiggy with it until Blandon realizes that he has no protection because he gave away his lucky prophylactic. But Silver had no intention of letting him explore her mine anyway.

There was also a subplot about Naomi’s MILF mother kicking her cheating husband out and filing for divorce, but not before they have angry parent sex. It was comical.

That’s about it for this week. I don’t know how much more of this show I can take.

Tata for now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

90210- Week 3: You Dropped a Bomb on Me

First of all, I got in late and missed the first few minutes of 90210. Secondly, I kept flicking over to the Red Sox game. Thirdly, I may have had a scotch or three after work. So my head was not really in it tonight.

It hit me tonight that watching the new 90210 is kind of like watching a movie on Cinemax after 11:30 pm. I only really care about a few scenes and the rest is filler. With 90210, it’s all about the old cast. With Cinemax it’s… well, you can figure that out for yourself. Tonight was a perfect example of this. Out of a one hour show, there were pretty much only two or three scenes that I really needed to see.

First was the bomb that Brenda dropped on us about the father of Kelly’s child. I figured they’d milk this one all season until we got a big reveal and a guest appearance during sweeps week. They teased us early in the show tonight, when awkward Ryan asked Brenda about it. We get another vague tidbit about the father traveling the world, helping people. But then, when Kelly is bitching to Brenda about that very conversation, Brenda let’s the cat out of the bag. Kelly is still in love with Dylan. So I guess the little guy is a McKay.

That’s it? That’s the big reveal? I was hoping for a “Luke, I’m your father” like roar, but instead all I got is an “Um, Luke Perry is your father” whimper.

I really hope the kid grows out his sideburns over the next few episodes and starts acting like his dad. Maybe those mobsters who killed his grandfather father will kidnap him and Dylan will have to return to save him from another exploding car… or exploding Big Wheel.

With that big question out of the way, I’m not sure where they go from here. Doe anyone really want to see Kelly with awkward Ryan? Would anyone want to actually date this guy? All he does is ask questions about the status of the relationship. He never stops, kind of like the Energizer Bunny. He’s both awkward and annoying. If he was a battery, he’d be Double A. And that just might be his new nickname.

The other thing of note tonight was Joe E. Tata’s most significant screen time since the start of the new show. Dixon needs money so he applies for and gets a job from Nat at the Peach Pit. If you any doubts about him being Blandon, I rest my case. Alas, times have changed at The Pit and the classic bowling shirt uniform is no more. It’s been replaced by a lame t-shirt. (Who am I kidding? I’ll end up scouring the internet in search of one.)

I wish they had explained the new look of The Peach Pit a bit more like Happy Days did when they remodeled Arnold’s. On Happy Days, Arnold’s is accidentally burnt down by Chachi. Couldn’t the 90210 people come up with a similar scenario? Maybe Brenda accidentally starts a grease fire during an encore performance as Lavern the Waitress?

Speaking of Brenda, Ms. Walsh was busy this week. Somehow, before I tuned in, Grandma Tabitha had ended up in charge of the musical that Annie is starring in, and Brenda is brought in to the rescue. Jessica Walter’s performance made me miss Arrested Development so much. She is wonderful. Her overbearing directing reaches a crescendo when she grabs a mic and starts kicking out the jams on that song we’ve been hearing the group rehearse for the past few weeks. Brenda video tapes the rehearsal and Grandma is able to see what a pain in the ass she’s being. She gracefully steps down and hands the reins over to Brenda.

Meanwhile, Blandon is burning the candle at both ends with school and shifts at The Pit. There are also some sparks between Silver and him. Silver pretty much asks herself out for him, making her worth her weight in gold. Eventually Blandon’s grades start to suffer because of his hours and his father steps in to help him out. I was really hoping Nat would bail him out, like he did when Brandon had the gambling problem.

Some other stuff happened tonight with the other characters, but it’s getting late so it will have to wait.

Okay, I’ll admit it… I gotta go see what’s on Cinemax.

Tata for now.

PS- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia starts back up on Thursday. It's my favorite show and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

90210 Week 2: Double Stuff

Tonight was round two of the new 90210. Or I guess round three, since they showed two episodes last week. Thankfully, we only had to deal with one hour tonight. I don’t know if I could handle anymore drama.

As I said last week, I primarily tune in to see what’s going to happen with the old characters, and tonight there was a whole lot of cookie before they finally got to the cream filling that is Kelly Taylor’s drunk mother. No Brenda and no Nat tonight. Oh well. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess.

Calling the rest of this show a cookie is actually a bit inaccurate, because these new characters are pretty hard to swallow. First of all, these supposed sixteen year olds act more like they are in their mid-twenties; hanging out in bars and going to see bands. Meanwhile the parents on the show actually act more like real sixteen year olds; going bowling and eating French fries.

But older actors playing younger characters is a staple on 90210, going back to Dylan McKay and Andrea Zuckerman, so I will let it pass. Hell, if I had realized they were going to cast older people in younger roles, I would have auditioned for the part of Jennie Garth’s four year old son. That kid got to lie in bed between Silver and Kelly. I’d love to be the cream filling in that Oreo.

Speaking of Silver, if you caught the premiere of True Blood, that new vampire show on HBO, did you notice her in the opening scene? She’s the girl in the car that gives her boyfriend a “hand” before they encounter a bloodsucker in a convenience store. (The scene is on You Tube, just look up Jessica Stroup.)

Ironically, the theme of tonight’s show was basically that parents suck. They drink, they cheat and worst of all they force you to go bowling. The Wilson parents announce that their Kansas tradition of family night will continue in Beverly Hills in the form of bowling on a Friday night, much to the chagrin of Mini-Bren and Blandon. (That’s Annie and Dixon; the early-Brenda clone and the black Brandon.)

The rest of the gang end up at the alleys, including Ethan, who now has a thing for Mini-Bren. In the most realistic moment of the show, Ethan checks out her ass while she’s bowling. Let’s face it, that’s pretty much the main reason why guys go bowling with girls. However, Mini-Bren has a date with Clark Kent… I mean Ty. He looks a lot like the dude from Smallville, doesn’t he? Does this make Ethan the Lex Luthor of Beverly Hills? If he shaves his head and starts collecting Kryptonite, this show just may start holding my interest.

Meanwhile, Naomi, the oldest sixteen year old of them all, is denied a trip to Vegas by her father, but is given a new SUV to make up for it. When she decides to thank her father by surprising him with some late night dinner at his office, she finds he’s already got a hot little side dish. This makes Naomi all sad and she goes off crying into the arms of Lex Luthor, because he is super, man.

Throughout the show, Silver keeps trying to find ways to avoid going home. She’s also the only kid who seems to enjoy bowling with strong parental figures. That’s because she has a drunk and abusive mother waiting for her at home. At the end of the night, Dixon spots her sleeping in her car and that leads to the rest of the gang learning of her domestic plight. Now, was it just me, or did the rest of you get a slight OJ Simpson vibe in that scene when Dixon is taking out the trash? Sneaking around in a dark walkway by a gate in Beverly Hills… does Dixon drive a white Bronco?

Once Kelly finds out that her mother Jackie is abusing Silver along with the bottle, she puts her budding romance with awkward Ryan on hold. No time for love, she’s too busy saving Silver, man.

Jackie and Kelly play tug of war with Silver, and finally Jackie kicks Silver out of the house. Now Silver can go live with Kelly. This will hopefully enable the writers to recycle plot lines from Jennie Garth’s last show What I Like About You, where she shared an apartment with her younger sister, Amanda Bynes.

Of course, the moment of truth in the war or the Taylor’s was when Jackie demeans Kelly by bringing up her son and the missing mystery father. We get more clues tonight. He’s a guy from high school that she used to have a thing with. Dylan, Brandon? I don’t know, his hair looks a lot like Steve Sanders’. Personally, I suspect the father is Muntz, Steve’s wacky frat brother. But what do I know?

Next week Brenda is back and Dixon brutally murders Naomi and Ethan. He flees in Naomi’s new white SUV in a low speed chase down the 405 while Silver finds a bloody glove by the pool house and posts a new video blog about it, compromising the blood evidence. Meanwhile, Marcia Clark blows off a date with Mark Fuhrman and hooks up with Judge Ito.

It’s just another night in Beverly Hills.

Tata for now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

90210- Same Zip Code, Empty Mailbox

The great poet Jon Bon Jovi once asked, “Who says you can't go home?”
I’ll tell you who says that Mr. Jovi. I do. You can’t go home again. At least not in Beverly Hills.

Tonight marked the premiere of next generation of 90210 and the first words uttered by any character were those of Dixon Wilson. He said “This sucks.” I’ve got to hand it to Dixon; he called it right off the bat.

Dixon was referring to his family’s move to Beverly Hills from Kansas, but he might as well have been talking about this new show.

Sure, it was entertaining for a while. There were enough references to the old show, as well as the anticipation of cameos to hold my interest for a while. (Best reference, Andrea Zuckerman’s daughter being described as looking thirty.) Then the show just kept going. It seemed like the longest hour of my life… until I realized to my horror that this was a two hour special and I had another 45 minutes to go.

Maybe the problem is really more with me and not the show. This is just another CW teen drama, with the 90210 label slapped on for branding. Name recognition goes a long way in attracting an audience. Just look at all the variations of CSI. The show I really want to see is simply the original 90210 cast eight years later, and not these new, cookie cutter characters. I’m not going to get that, so I’ve got to settle for a few minutes of Kelly, Brenda and Nat sprinkled in around a show that seems to be the inbred love-child of Saved By the Bell and The Hills.

So let’s talk about the old “90210ers” that showed up tonight, since that’s what we all really care about. Kelly Taylor was the most prominent character from the original show, but Jennie Garth was billed as a guest star, so who knows how long she’ll be around. Kelly is now a guidance counselor at West Beverly High. Kelly was, among other things, a coke addict, a rape victim, in a cult and had an eating disorder. She also did very well on Dancing with the Stars, so she’s certainly ready for anything these kids can throw at her.

We last saw Kelly in 2000, at Donna and David Silver’s wedding, where she had reconnected with her soul-mate, Dylan McKay. There’s no sign of Dylan, but we learn that Kelly has a 4 ½ year old son, but we don’t know who the little bastard’s father is. They hint that it could be the spawn of Brandon Walsh, but I’m sure they will be throwing red herrings at us all season before we learn the truth.

Seeing Kelly Taylor made me think of the abrupt, open-ended finale of The Sopranos. We don’t know if Tony was whacked or if he lives. It’s up to our imagination… unless they decide to do a Sopranos movie. If that happens, then we know Tony lived and the power of that ending will be lost. When the original 90210 ended we all assumed that Kelly and Dylan ended up together, but now that’s out the window and Kelly’s story continues. It’s just smooshed into a few spare minutes in-between the new characters’ drama.

Speaking of someone who was just squeezed into the show, my main man Nat made a brief appearance wrestling with a cappuccino machine in the new, fancier Peach Pit. Nat is also on hand for the main event of the evening, the arrival of Brenda Walsh. I have to admit, when I heard Shannen Doherty utter the words “Mega-Burger”, it was the most orgasmic moment of the entire night for me.

Kelly and Brenda hug out their differences and before you know it, Brenda is acting as Kelly’s wingman when she volunteers to baby sit so that Kelly can go on a date with the young and awkward teacher, Ryan Matthews. Maybe he will turn out to be a bad guy and hook her on drugs, try to rape her or maybe just never take her dancing.

As for the new cast we have a girl who could be Mischa Barton’s stunt double as Anne, the lead girl, and her adopted brother Dixon, who happens to be black. (Oh, the plot possibilities. Anyone else getting Jungle Fever?)

Their father is Rob Estes, who I remember from the classic show Silk Stalkings, which was the USA network’s soft porn cop show. As Harry Wilson, he has a much larger role than Brenda and Brandon’s father did in the original. He’s the school principal, so he’s sort of a hybrid of Mike Brady and Mr. Belding.

The other new character of note is the Wilson’s grandmother, who is the wacky Grandpa Munster or Uncle Fester-like figure. She’s played by the woman who was the mother on Arrested Development, and she practically plays the same character, right down to the ever-present drink in her hand.

We also meet "Silver", who is the grown-up baby sister of Kelly and David. She has a web site that makes fun of people at West Beverly. I gotta make me one of those. Silver hints at the drama that is to come from the Taylor-Silver family. As we see in the previews for next week, Kelly’s mom is crashing the party. More original show characters… that’s more like it.

Okay, time to wrap this up, it’s getting late. The original 90210 was a unique and beloved show because it was so corny, predictable, ridiculous and fun. It somehow managed to suck you in and before you knew it, you were hooked. I’m betting this new version will not so much suck you in, as it will simply suck. I guess we’ll have to give it a few more episodes to see if Dixon was right.

Tata for now.