It's A New Season!, Teen Soaps Edition, part 3- 90210

This show. Was awful. The stiff dialog (Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars wrote the original script, but then he left the show and they threw it out and re-wrote it, the fools), the over-acting, the ripping-off of every other teen soap in history. Two of the producers of one of the best teen shows ever, "Freaks and Geeks," were behind this, but I didn't see even a hint of that classic show in this one. And since I was negative two when the original show began airing, I couldn't care less about the Brenda-Kelly stuff.

So here it is: Once upon a time Bobblehead (Annie) and Adopted (Dixon) moved to Beverly Hills (90210) with Wannabe Sandy and Kirsten Cohen (their parents) to care for their elderly grandmother (Lucille Bluth 2.0). They start school with Wannabe Sandy as principal, and drama ensues with Cheater (Ethan), his 40-year-old girlfriend (Naomi), I'm Alternative Because I Changed My Name To A Color (Silver), Token Pretty Boy (Ty), Token Funny Guy (Navid), Pill Popper (Adriana), and "Hip" Teacher (Mr. I actually forget his name and IMDb is failing me). Lots of stuff happens, most of it cliche.

One of the show's biggest problems is that it expects us to feel sympathy to characters that aren't sympathetic. I remember the pilot of Veronica Mars, and how I was immediately drawn into the show. By the end of that first hour, I cared about Veronica, about her story, about her family. I wanted to know who killed Lilly, a dead character who only appeared in flash-backs. The pilot also mentioned Veronica's rape, which, by the way, was way more racy than this self-professed "racy" show was in its first two episodes. There was emotional weight, and I cared. But for these characters, even the ones I liked, I couldn't bother to even feel sorry for them when things went wrong. I just didn't care.

And the writing was horrendous. The dialog sounded like 50-year-old white dudes in a writer's room attempting to be "hip" and "current." The cultural references were just too in-your-face. On one of the better shows about teens on TV today, "Skins," the writers are a mix of young, 20-somethings, and older, more experienced writers. So they get the structure right but also the story-lines and dialog. 90210 could take a cue from them.

Here's the thing, though: It wasn't all bad. I liked Navid- I thought he had some good lines, and the notion that he his dad has two rules: no porn until he's 21 (his dad produces porn) and that they always eat dinner together was something that has potential to be explored later. Dixon didn't always have good dialog, but the actor was good. He was about ten times more subtle than the rest of the cast, and had a natural charm that the rest of these beautiful people lacked. Silver's story about how she and Naomi used to be best friends but then Silver found out that her dad was sleeping with Naomi's mom and she told Naomi and Naomi told everyone (I know this is a run-on sentence, but it is just too preposterous to bother breaking down into proper sentence structure) made me have "Mean Girls" flashbacks (although the Mean Girls story (Regina told everyone Janice was a lesbian, Janice wasn't, but the teasing had lasting effects) actually made sense. Why would Naomi tell people if her mom was having an affair? Wouldn't she be embarrassed too?), but I think I'm going to like Silver. My favorite character, of course, was Lucille 2.0. She had the best lines, and I was able to pretend (if only for a second), that I was watching "Arrested Development" instead of this crap.

But I think my real problem with this show, the deal-breaker, the reason why I will not be watching, is that I can't stand the main character. Annie "Bobblehead" Wilson is so annoyingly perky, so unfailing happy (except for when she's overreacting to something that has nothing to do with her) that I just want to strangle her. Shenae Grimes has only two faces: on Prozac or something is stuck up my butt. I don't think she understands that when a character is "happy," it does not mean that they have to be perky and smile ALL THE TIME. Also, she has ugly-girl pretty hair and is a stick. Ugly-girl pretty hair is what happens when a girl is cute, but not a beauty (see: Ashley Tisdale). So she gets a really pretty hair-do that looks like it take forever to style, in hopes that it will bump her up to "babe" status. Nice try, honey. Also, when I say she is a stick, I mean she has no meat on her bones. And not in the "I'm naturally skinny" way. She is so skinny that her head (and her hair) is way too big for her body (thus, "Bobblehead").

A few more complaints/observations:
-When a couple that is "meant" to be together just misses getting together in the pilot, we know they will get together in the end and be together 4 EVA. Too bad Bobblehead and Cheater have zero chemistry. And that octopus? It's like Summer's poem in "The O.C." Copycats.
-The "Will you tell Dad?" question is just ridiculous. OF COURSE SHE'S GOING TO TELL DAD. If I ever jumped on a plane to go to a restaurant an hour away with a guy I had just met ON A SCHOOL NIGHT, you had better believe that both parents would find out.
-Also, the punishments that Bobblehead and Adopted got were not harsh at all. They sounded like my normal life. Ok, that's exaggerating. But only a little bit.
-Brothers and sisters on TV always have more physical contact that brothers and sisters do in real life. I have a younger brother. We're pretty close. But under no circumstance would I ever hold his hand as he had his arm around me. Just the arms around each other, yeah that's ok. But also holding hands? Ick. They actually seem to have chemistry, which is good, but I hope it doesn't lead to any inadvertently squicky moments.
-One last thing: If I lived in Kansas, I would be pissed. They made it seem like Amish country- full of morals, severely lacking in fun and parties.


TiVo Queen said...

Saw your post on Sepinwall.

Veronica Mars has ruined me for all other teen drama.

I also felt very "eh" about 90210.

Anonymous said...

This review leaves me speechless, except to say that the remake sounds just as bad as the original.

Mads said...

Veronica Mars has ruined me for all other teen drama.

Agreed. There's just nothing else that comes close.

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