Archives for posts with tag: Aaron Spelling

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

I come here not to praise Beverly Hills, 90210.  Nor bury it.  The show gave me endless hours of entertainment during the 1990’s as I went from socially awkward college student to underachieving professional over a ten-year span.  The program gave me plenty of laughs, with some of the humor actually being intentional and served as an interesting bookend to a decade where I learned, made mistakes, grew and didn’t grow from those mistakes, and developed the legendary Big Bob’s Buffalo Burrito while working for Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse in Litchfield, NH. (for those who aren’t curious:  fajita chicken, buffalo wing sauce and bleu cheese on the inside, wing sauce on the outside, fries with a ramekin of bleu cheese on the side).

It’s been a long time since “Nine-Oh” (what a few of us called it back in the day when it was airing new shows on FOX while simultaneously re-running from 4 to 6 p.m. on FX) was on.  And now it’s back. Kind of. In a way. This summer’s reboot isn’t just about the further adventures of Brandon Walsh (last we heard he was working in Washington reporting on everything for a paper like the Post) and Kelly Taylor (I’m bracing for the trauma the character will endure this time).  There was the reboot on FOX last decade that had a few appearances from original cast members (Jennie Garth, Shannen Doherty and Tori Spelling each made appearances) but dealt with new characters for the most part.  This edition will feature the original cast, like “Dallas” on TNT earlier this decade.   Only it‘s going to pull the curtain back and let the audience reconnect with the actors as actors.  Because not only have I not cared for the last 20 years wondering about how Steve Sanders turned out, but I also have given little or no thought in to what Ian Ziering is up to.  I’m sure he’s a great guy;  I’ve just moved on.

I guess you could say that when “Nine-Oh” was on, I loved watching it not because it was good (and there were more than a few ambitious attempts at quality drama), but I enjoyed watching it because it could be unbelievably bad.  There were plenty of highs and lows and I enjoyed every minute of it, even when show was running on fumes over the last few seasons (some say the final year and a half while others claim the last four seasons were unwatchable).  When I find a TV show to lock into, I’m there until the bitter end.  And the end is usually bitter, from “How I Met Your Mother” to “24” to “Dallas” to “Happy Days”.  But for a while it was fun to escape from my troubles and trials at the time to slip into a booth at the Peach Pit and see what the cool kids of West Beverly (later California University and beyond) were up to.  Am I excited for this reboot?  Certainly not. Will I watch it?  Probably, while simultaneously laughing at myself for doing so.

 

Nine Ohs: Five Must See Episodes-

“Spring Dance”- Season One.  After being rebranded from “Beverly Hills High School” in the pilot stage (the guy who played Ferris Bueller’s dad was the original Jim Walsh) and a message-heavy first season that included very special episodes about teen suicide (Matthew Perry in a guest spot), bulimia, teen alcoholism, and having a pool party in Palm Springs, the kids go all-out for the Prom.  Breakout star Dylan McKay (played by the late Luke Perry-who was truly the straw that stirred the drink on this show) and goody-two-shoes Brenda Walsh decide to have sex in the hotel where the Prom is being held.  Characters squabble over teen stuff while Andrea imagines going on a killing spree.  David Silver dances up a storm and at the end everybody’s happy to be friends.  I think this was repeated at the end of “Mean Girls”-although I could be wrong.

“The Next 50 Years”- Season Two.  Rumor has it actor Douglas Emerson (who played awkward freshman Scott Scanlon) had just purchased a Saab when he was told his character was going to be “transitioned” from main to recurring cast.  While the show caught fire by airing a summer season, Scott was shipped off to Oklahoma where he returned wearing a cowboy hat and had a gun fixation.  During a “very special” episode that fall, Scanlon shot himself while twirling a gun after his birthday party (yes- that was the script).  The kids deal with grief as only a TV show clique can.  Major props to Brian Austin Green in this episode as David Silver, who ditched his best friend to hang out with the cool kids that fall.

“Something in the Air”- Season Three.  Wouldn’t you know it, Donna Martin (played by Tori Spelling) didn’t anything the day of the Senior Prom so she could fit into her dress.  And wouldn’t you know she was given champagne at a pregame party hosted by David Silver’s dad (more on that later).  And wouldn’t you know she’d get caught drunk by the Principal and suspended from school.  Thank goodness for Brandon Walsh and the gang who staged a walkout from final exams and chanted “Donna Martin Graduates” at Donna’s hearing with the School Board.  And wouldn’t you know it, Donna gets reinstated and all is back to normal.  I want to say something just like this happened in Bethesda a few years ago.

“What I Did on My Summer Vacation and Other Stories”- Season Five.  How do you replace one of your lead actors?  After a freshman year at “California University” where the entire gang attended yet dealt with different storylines (from Steve Sanders joining the KEG house to Andrea becoming a mother), Shannen Doherty left the show and the producers replaced the actress with Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Valerie Malone, a seemingly sweet girl from Buffalo but deep down a schemer extraordinaire.  Valerie’s addition gave the show a much-needed shot in the arm.  She’d provide a great counterpoint to Kelly Taylor and the rest of the gang over the next three seasons.  Much better than Ted McGinley.

“One Wedding and a Funeral”- Season Six.  Luke Perry had one foot out the door after five years at the Peach Pit, and he brought it in his final storyline where Dylan pursued the man who seemingly killed his father (in a twist nobody asked for Jack McKay turned up alive in season ten) only to fall in love for the mobster’s daughter.  They get married after a whirlwind courtship.  Daddy mobster orders a hit on the groom and in a twist you could see coming two episodes away it’s Dylan’s wife who gets shot instead.  Regardless, a gripping exit for Dylan and Perry.  Sadly the spotlight distracted one from multiple  developments on the show:  from abusive boyfriend Ray Pruit sticking around to somehow we’re supposed to buy Steve and Clare as a couple, Kelly’s new bad-news boyfriend, Valerie’s latest schemes backfiring, and how does Brandon basically walk on the school paper and become editor within a week?  Once the sideburns left the zip code, Nine-Oh! became Nine…oh.

 

And there were still three and a half seasons remaining!  This is when I would skip weeks at a time and watch again only to grimace.  But never fear, there were other “standard” shows:

Walsh Open House for the Holidays- poor Jim and Cindy Walsh.  In the early seasons, it always seemed like their home became a gathering for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations;  you know, the kind of things you want to share with your immediate family and not a homeless guy your son met on the beach (actual episode).  Lessons were learned, and hugs were handed out after at least one explosion at the table (not to mention David Silver’s mom cooking the turkey upside-down).  We laughed, cried and left the episode thankful our real-life friends observed holiday boundaries.

Recycled Roadtrips- nothing like leaving town to find yourself during a tough time at the holidays.  In season two, Steve bolted to find his real mother and while the ending was bittersweet the episode “A Walsh Family Christmas” (Steve was I think the only one who didn’t crash Jim and Cindy’s) served its purpose.  Cue up season three’s “Wild Horses”, where Dylan departs after being accused of cheating on his SAT’s only to learn some life lesson.  Naturally as the first-billed actor, Jason Priestley’s Brandon Walsh gets TWO episodes in season four (“Radar Love”/”Emily”) after he’s blackmailed into helping a college basketball cheat because it appears as though he’s having an affair with a professor’s wife.

Breaking Bad in Beverly- 90210 was notorious for adding characters who would seem nice at first, only to have them go off the rails at the end of the actor’s contract.  Emily Valentine going from “cool biker girl” to “the kid who almost lit a homecoming float on fire” set the standard, followed by:  Ray Pruit’s arc from sensitive blue-collar guitarist to abusive boyfriend, Joe Bradley (sensitive quarterback wasn’t a fan of Donna showing skin in a music video), Colin (artistic boyfriend of Kelly gets her hooked on drugs), Susan Keats (Andrea 2.0 dates Brandon and leaves him to work in the White House), Mark Reese (TV station manager loses it after not getting a Fellowship and Kelly), etc.

Redundant Recasts- what made the addition of Valerie Malone awesome was that she wasn’t a carbon copy of Brenda Walsh.  Not so in future recasts.  Dylan leaves?  Let’s add Vincent Young as trust fund-rebel Noah.  Valerie departs?  Cue up Vanessa Marcil as Gina Kincaid, Donna’s cousin (eventual half-sister) who’s sweet figure skating front is betrayed by, yes, deviousness scheming.  Brandon bolts for a newspaper job in DC? Let’s cast Daniel Cosgrove and make him Brandonesque nice-guy lawyer Matt Durning.  Durning also had a season ten flameout after a roadtrip while crashing at least one holiday celebration so he could check most of the boxes.

Poor Parent Appears-  just when you thought the kids had issues (and they did), let’s look at the rogues gallery of parents.  Let’s see;  Dylan’s dad was an embezzling felon, David’s father cheated on each of his wives while his mom cooked turkey upside-down on Thanksgiving, Kelly’s mom was an addict who wound up marrying David’s dad while her father was arrested for embezzlement, Steve’s dad was hilariously obnoxious (played deliciously by the late Jed Allan), and Donna’s mom was snobbily pretentious when not cheating on Dr. Martin (but not after his first heart attack). A parent would show up in the first five minutes of an episode and you’d just know there would be a very bad life decision made by the bottom of the hour.  Poor Jim and Cindy Walsh-they move from Minnesota and suddenly they find themselves in this peer group?

 

We all know that “Beverly Hills, 90210” spun off “Melrose Place” which begat the short-lived “Models, Inc.”…but I’m surprised-especially with FOX TV’s lack of sustainable programming in the 90’s-there weren’t more spinoffs from the mother ship.  Programs I would have definitely watched:

“Duke the Bookie”- remember season three when Brandon developed a gambling problem?  He was about to get his legs broken before Nat stepped in to save the day?  I’m kind of bummed we didn’t learn more about Duke-who could have been repurposed into a widower with three kids who’s trying to raise a family on his own while still meting out punishment and running numbers.

“Valentine’s Days”- after she almost lit the homecoming float on fire, Emily Valentine sought psychiatric care.  And was cured in time to rekindle her romance with Brandon two years later before leaving to study Oceanography.  Wouldn’t you want to follow her further adventures at sea?  The potential romantic entanglements with fellow students, crew members and natives?  It’s like “That Girl”–only on the ocean.

“Teasley’s Times”- one felt for West Beverly Vice Principal Mrs. Teasley.  So much better at her job than Richard Belding at Bayside, yet minimal character development outside of getting to attend David and Donna’s wedding in the series finale.  Why not use that appearance as a springboard to running a school?

“Bradley’s Boys”- Donna’s season six boyfriend Joe Bradley stopped playing football because of his heart condition and became a small-town high school coach to pave the way for Donna and David to reunite.  “Friday Night Lights” proved that clear eyes and full storylines can’t lose.

 

So much for getting fat on the last place Miami Marlins.  The Nats visited the one team in the NL East that could be accused of not really trying in 2019 and lost two of three.  And now once again the team finds itself at .500;  they were 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9 and now the club many thought would fight for the NL East is 10-10.  Granted, not having Trea Turner is a major blow to the offense and the bullpen is only beginning to put together outs consistently.  But the longer this team stays in second gear, the longer one feels they’re going to be second-tier.

Dissecting the Division- the Nats are in fourth place but only one and a half games behind NL East-leading Philadelphia.  The Philllies rank fourth in the majors in scoring.  The New York Mets and Atlanta are tied for second, and each team has issues on the mound.  The Braves rank 19th in team ERA while the Mets are 28th.  The Marlins remain scraping the barrel despite two wins over the weekend against the Nats.

A Bryce New World- Mr. Harper is hitting .278 with five homers and 14 RBI…while striking out 27.6% of the time.  And April is traditionally his hot month.  How long will the honeymoon last for #3?

O’s Woes- while the Nats beat back the brooms in Miami, the Orioles were getting swept by AL Central-leading Minnesota.  The long road back to respectability involves traveling through the canyon of poor pitching:  the O’s rank last in the majors with a team ERA of 6.21 and their bullpen ERA is just ahead of the Nats.

Last Week’s Heroes- Adam Eaton hit .364 while Matt Adams batted .333 with two homers and six RBI.  Ryan Zimmerman homered twice in Sunday’s win over Miami.  Patrick Corbin struck out nine over seven innings in his only start while Stephen Strasburg K’d 11 while tosssing eight scoreless innings in Sunday’s win at the Marlins. Relievers Kyle Barraclough pitched three scoreless outings while Tony Sipp tossed two scoreless frames over three appearances.

Last Week’s Humbled- Max Scherzer had a rare rough outing, coughing up six runs over 5.1 innings at Miami. Austen Williams allowed two homers in two outings and has an ERA of 162.  Yes, it’s a very small sample size but…ouch.  Juan Soto did walk five times last week but hit .200 primarily batting third and fourth.

Game to Watch- Friday the Nats come back from their roadtrip and host San Diego.  The Padres are a surprising 12-11 with Manny Machado still trying to find his groove (.253 with nine RBI over 22 games).  Max Scherzer is 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA this year, and that was before he tweaked an intercostal muscle in his left rib cage while dodging a foul ball in the dugout Sunday.  Max has been money since signing his free agent deal with this team in 2015, and the sooner he gets on track the better one will feel about this team.

Game to Miss- Monday the Nats begin a series in Colorado.  The same evening the Capitals clash with Carolina in a Game Six.  Plus, today is my birthday and after a haircut I plan to enjoy the evening on the Georgetown Waterfront at Tony & Joe’s.  I’ll be raising a glass to the late Glen Campbell, Charlotte Rae, and Aaron Spelling while celebrating the continued success of Jack Nicholson, Dana Barron (the first and only Audrey Griswold),  and Amber Heard.