taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The most despicable network on cable, E!, just had a terrible documentary about 90210. Of course, I had to watch it. 90210 was an obsession of my youth. Here's what I learned: that show went on for TEN SEASONS--for god's sake, I gave up (grew up?) long before then.

I was sixteen when 90210 started. Of all things, my mom told me about it. She figured it was a show we could watch together, so we did, in the big sunroom at the back of our house. I don't think she was that interested, but it gave her an excuse to hang out with me, or maybe just parent-points for even trying. I was hooked immediately. Never mind that Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestley looked nothing like twins, or that Luke Perry was clearly 30 years old--I'm credulous, and I loved their unrealistic, queer little world.

At first, like me, they had some veneer of innocence, but soon enough they too went to college and became as annoying as I did, though they drank less. I got a Luke Perry doll for New Year's one year, and carried it around in the front of my dress all night. This was actually a relatively unironic gesture, I hate to admit.

The E! documentary, of course, like all cheap cable shows, failed to tell me anything at all. Here's what I want to know about 90210:

1. Did the makeup artist really hate Tiffani-Amber Thiessen? Because that girl looked like hell for at least 3 seasons.
2. And what is up with that name? Tiffani-Amber Thiessen? Did she orignally aspire to a career in low-rent porn?
3. Why did Jennie Garth purse her lips before every line? was that a nervous tic, or a Stanislavsky technique?
4. Was Shannen Doherty more homely in the first season, with those big eighties eyebrows, or later on, when it became clear she was too old? And what was up with that "studying in Paris" thing?
5. Why did the parents just leave the kids in their multi-million-dollar house? and how did the kids keep it so neat? Did the parents also leave them an Alice-like housekeeper? When I was growing up, I remember my parents told me about some family on our street that retired to Florida but left the kids in the house. There were lots of parties there, as I recall, and much neighborhood disapproval, but no one did anything. Maybe that's what happened in 90210.
6. Why was Luke Perry so hot? and why now that I'm nearly 30 years old, do I still think he's hot? Rotten, rotten actor, but hot.
7. What's with Hilary Swank's giant teeth?
8. Nat, from the Peach Pit; okay, I understand that being "Nat from the Peach Pit" is a paying job, and those are hard to come by, but still, he said nothing for nine years! It can't have been good for his self-esteem, being Nat from the Peach Pit. (On the documentary, he mentioned in passing that "We tried to open a chain of Peach Pit restaurants, but the powers that be put a stop to it." Clearly the long, creepy arm of Aaron Spelling!)
9. The most annoying character on the whole show, Andrea, did leave relatively quickly, but not nearly fast enough. That chick was easily thirty-five years old. To this day I don't look as old as she did in the first season, and I was in high school when the show started.
10. How much plastic surgery has Tori Spelling/Donna Martin had? And c'mon, we were really supposed to believe she was a virgin?

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