Friday, July 06, 2012

Beverly Hills 90210 GIF recap: S1 E1

We open on a lone surfer riding the waves in slow motion to the strains of The Beach Boys' Surf City, which, for all you younger readers, was a totally hip summer track all the kids were listening to in the early '90s.

Then suddenly, for no reason, we cut to Brandon who appears to be doing some breathing exercises inside a tent he's constructed using an inside-out Slip 'n' Slide and a couple of garden sprinklers.


Actually, it's supposed to be Brandon surfing inside a barrel. I think we can assume from this craptacular piece of film making that the show's special effects budget still hasn't recovered from the "car down a hill" sequence of the pilot episode. Either that or they've spent their last dime on licensing that Beach Boys song.

It seems they do have enough in the kitty, however, to purchase California's least flattering bikini and pay a future House actress to walk along the beach wearing it. In slow motion, obviously.

"But I still don't get how she knew my name...?"

Ah, the "it was all a dream" tactic. Very good, Mr Spelling. VERY ORIGINAL AND INNOVATIVE. But if a half-arsed surfing effect and a 30 year old Hooters waitress are the best Brandon's imagination can conjure up, I worry for his future. Then again, look what happened to Michael Bay.

Anyway, so opens the very first official episode of Beverly Hills 90210 which, WHAT THE HELL, YOU GUYS, has a totally different theme song!

Not only that, it has an unusually strong focus on mail delivery.

Where's the "DUNN-NUH NUH-NUH, DUNN-NUH NUH-NUH *CLAP! CLAP!*" we all know and love? As it was in the pilot episodes we can only assume someone decided it wouldn't connect with modern youth, and ditched it. Probably the same person who decided to use the Beach Boys in the opening sequence.

Anyway ruh-roh, Brandon's overslept and they're late for school! Better rush down to the kitchen and... sit there leisurely reading the sports section and eating cucumbers for a while.

“How many calories are in a cu-ey anyway?” asks Brenda, demonstrating some cool '90s slang for salad vegetables.

“12 a slice,” says mum, misinforming an entire generation of young female viewers who to this day still think a whole cucumber is on par, calorie-wise, with a McRib.

"So, I'm better off just eating a cheeseburger then?"

Because Brenda is crap at maths, she's totally impressed by this statistic.

“No wonder everyone out here has great bodies – everything healthy is delicious!” she says, wide-eyed, as if she's never eaten cucumber before. Maybe you can't buy them in Minnesota, I don't know. In any case, this statement is pretty much the exact opposite of everything I've ever said about food, so I'm pretty sure Brenda and I could never be friends.

“Your children are here, they're fine,” says mum into the phone to dad, who is apparently away on business.

“In fact they're totally bad. Or I don't know, maybe it's rad. I don't have the lingo down yet,” she continues, winning this week's Most Awkward and Unbelievable Line award, the MAUL. Congratulations, Carol Potter!

Not that the twins are impressed.

“Mum is SO embarrassing. She doesn't even know the word is 'tubular'.”

She in a floral dress and Doc Martens with white socks scrunched down, and he in high waisted pale denim jeans, the two trot off to school where they run into Kelly, wearing an off-the-shoulder cheesecloth shirt, and Donna, in a bizarre star-print vest. The resulting fashion amalgam is so volatile it causes a national emergency.

In a similar incident the following week thousands of students had to be evacuated when someone paired crochet with stonewash.

"This weekend I'm working on my back," announces Kelly, inviting all manner of innuendo-laden jokes until she inserts her own punchline by saying "I spent all last Saturday lying on it so my tan is totally uneven."

"At least you have one," sighs Brenda as Brandon walks away, realising they are actually talking about tans and not sex.

NOTE: Kelly does not have a tan.

"Brenda, your brother is DOPE," says Donna, neatly stealing the MAUL award from Brenda's mum. Well done, Donna!

Over at the Beverly Bugle (seriously, what IS this newspaper called?) Andrea is handing Brandon his latest assignment: an editorial piece called "From the Midwest to West Beverly: A Transfer Student Speaks".

Despite the decidedly catchy title Brandon is unimpressed, but is ordered to have it written by Monday for the paper's ever changing print deadline.


Assignment in hand, he walks off for no particular reason to some sort of robotics lab where Brian Austin Green's anonymous blonde friend is designing a nightclub on a computer. And no, I didn't make any of that last sentence up.

All of a sudden two jocks walk in and start bullying blondie, but before Brandon can leap to the rescue...

He's got a Jacob's Ladder and he's not afraid to use it.

It's West Beverly High's resident dude, Dylan McKay, who backs off the bullies with a single raised eyebrow and a pop of his leather collar and strides out the door, girls fainting in his wake.

That's all very impressive, but what was Dylan doing hanging out in that weird science/tech/computer lab in the first place? He's supposed to be a wild, bad boy, free spirit type, not some studious nerd who hangs out with science equipment on his lunch break. THIS ALMOST TOTALLY RUINED MY MEMORIES.

But then this happened. Sigh.

Mesmerised by Dylan's awesomeness and constant electric guitar backing track, Brandon hunts him down and asks him out to lunch. No, he really does. 

Dylan raises an eyebrow again, which is quite a feat for someone who doesn't actually have any eyes, and whisks him away in his vintage sports car to the beach, where a bunch of extras from central casting are pretending to be surfers.

"Yo Dylan! Let's get in the green room bro!" yells Surfer Guy 1.

"Let's catch some waves!" yells Surfer Girl.

Everyone gets in the water and starts doing cool surfer-type things, except for Brandon who for some reason is wearing flippers and falling off a boogie board as if he's three years old.

"This is how you surf, right?"

Fortunately the surfer girl of his dreams is there to rescue him, and doesn't think he's a complete loser.

"Hey you guys said you wanted to get in 'the green room' - is that what you call the ocean?" he asks her.

"No, the ocean is our house - the green room is the gnarliest place in it," she says, snatching this week's MAUL award away from Donna. Congratulations, surfer girl!

With the scriptwriters clearly on a roll, it's time for some clunky dialogue-based character development.

"How do you know Dylan?" Brandon asks the surfer girl.

"I don't. I mean, who does? The guy isn't exactly an open book - not that he'd let me read into him anyway," she says.

Dylan's darkness and mysteriousness firmly established, we leave the totally gnarly surfer crew on the beach and pick up with Kelly and Brenda, who are trying to avoid another nuclear disaster by shopping for less chemically unstable fashion.

"These giant oversized acid-wash ripped jeans would be SO gnarly on you! Wait, is 'gnarly' the word we're going with now?"

TOTES DISASTER! The amazing high-waisted ripped baggy acid wash jeans are $150! Brenda can't afford such a princely sum. Ever sympathetic, Kelly brandishes her credit card and gloats about being rich. She does not buy Brenda the jeans.

Let's check in with Steve, who's hanging out in a very Cameron Frye-esque bedroom chatting with his famous actress mum on speakerphone in the dark. Steve knows how to have a good time.

She tells him he needs to be friendly with Brian Austin Green because his producer dad is casting for a new show, and she wants to be on it. This confirms everything I've heard about Hollywood - all the best parts go to people whose kids are friends with the producers' kids. That's why Brad and Angelina adopted so many.

Next thing you know, Steve's tuning in to his famous mum's TV show - "Hartley House". I think we're supposed to feel something here, probably about how Steve never gets to feel his mother's warm embrace but instead has to relate to her through her disembodied voice on the phone or through a fictional persona on a TV show... Then again, he's 16 and he has a sports car so you know, piss off.

Over at the Walsh house, otherwise known as "The Utopia That Exists When Mums Act Like Mums Instead of Irresponsible Beverly Hills Actress Whores", Mum Walsh is still wearing the apron she had on at breakfast and is cooking dinner for the family. LIKE A PROPER MUM.

"Hello, Mums Hotline? I'm listlessly stirring a bowl of flour but dinner isn't appearing. What should I do?"

Not that Brandon will be there to enjoy it - he's buggering off to the library to work on his big editorial piece for the Bugle. The one about his trip from Minnesota to California. What book is he going to check out at the library? The autobiography written by his future self and placed there by time travellers? Maybe he just needs to check where Minnesota and California are in the atlas. Actually he's probably using the encyclopedia - EVERYONE used the encyclopedia in the '90s for EVERYTHING.

Not content with making dinner for four out of half a bowl of flour, Super Mum runs upstairs to help a newly thrifty Brenda sew a pair of trendy new jeans.

In between dropping stitches and reciting bible verses, Brenda complains that school is harder than it was in Minnesota.

"What ISN'T harder out here? More homework, bigger homes, better clothes," mum whines, as everyone wonders when big homes and nice clothes became difficult things.


I told you the spinning mullet was a popular move in the '90s, didn't I?

Just like Brenda did in the pilot, it seems Brandon lied to mum to go on a secret date with his new BFF Dylan. And why wouldn't he - the guy carries the collected works of Byron in his glove compartment.

No really, he does.

"Mad, bad and dangerous to know," says Dylan, gunning his sports car and zooming off into the night. Brandon swoons.

As if to prove his credentials, Dylan and his crew head for a swanky hotel and he breaks into a room, just like Byron would have done. Well, I say "break in" - really he just found a room that happened to be open and wandered in. In much the same way as would never happen in a luxury hotel, ever.

"I learned this 'handle turning' technique when I was three."

At no point does anyone explain why the girl is wearing a giant sun hat. But Dylan does order room service for everyone, which sends the dial on Brandon's internal Ethics-O-Meter through the roof.

"You need to relax, Minnesota," says Dylan.

"IF I WANNA RELAX I'LL DO IT IN MY OWN ROOM, NOT SOMEBODY ELSE'S," spits Brandon, a statement which rather puts the final nail in his virginity coffin.

"Brandon it's just for fun!" says surfer girl.

"NOT WHERE I'M FROM, IT ISN'T," he thunders.

Where Brandon's from.

Brandon storms out on all the illegal fun making, only to discover that Dylan actually lives in the hotel while his parents are away in Paris, and everything is being charged to their account. This is well lame. In poetry terms, Dylan is less like Byron and more like a Hallmark greeting card.

"Stay, Brandon - you wouldn't want to ruin my reputation," pleads Dylan.

"You're right - I wouldn't want to ruin the only real thing you've got," says Brandon as he walks sadly down the hall.

"I gave up a night at the library for THIS?"

Hang on, can we just take a moment to analyse this? First, Brandon is angry at Dylan for doing what he thinks is a criminal act. Then he discovers everything is perfectly legal, and he's angry at Dylan for THAT. What the hell, Brandon? I hope you at least put out.

The next morning he relays his sorry story to Brenda, who is shocked to hear he's been hanging out with West Beverly's resident bad boy.

"And you didn't even put out?"

"I heard he got this girl in Paris PREGNANT," she gasps.

"I don't care. I'm going back to being my old, basic, uncool self," says Brandon.

That shouldn't be too hard with sartorial experts like Brenda around for inspiration.

As it turns out, this fashionable ensemble is what Brenda and her sewing kit came up with to be trendy on a budget. Fortunately for her this is the '90s, where you actually could pass a pair of jeans off as designer by sewing a few patches on them and ripping the knee, so everyone thinks she looks amazing.

Then again, this is her competition. So... you know.

Then again, a guy in lesser pants may have caught that frisbee.

Nothing much happens at the beach, except Kelly gets cold and Donna wears a hat - a major step forward in her character development thus far.

"Donna, I know you're still wearing that hat, I can feel it."

Meanwhile Brandon has put his Fun Police hat back on to give a lecture to the sexy surfer girl, who is - GASP! - drunk.

"You were friendlier yesterday. You were also sober," he says, walking off.

Meanwhile, we all know the real reason Brandon isn't interested in the surfer girl, and it's wearing a bigger wetsuit.

This is actually the most romantic thing that's happened on this show so far.

Dylan apologises to Brandon for being a criminal, or not being a criminal, or something, and Brandon forgives him. Well, could YOU resist that earring and lip lick? YOU COULDN'T.

Brandon's just about to go and carve his and Dylan's initials into a tree when suddenly - DISASTER. Drunk surfer girl's lifeless body has washed up on the shore! That was a stroke of luck, wasn't it? I mean, now no one has to go into the water to get her.

Anyway, this being the only beach in Beverly Hills without lifeguards, and with surfer girl's dudebro mates nowhere to be found, it's up to Brandon to save her.

He orders Brenda to call 911, which will probably take at least 20 minutes because they're on the beach and it's 1990 so no one has a phone (seriously, did way more people die in the '90s because of this?), and he starts giving surfer girl mouth to mouth and saying things like "BREATHE, COME ON!"

Next thing you know they're at the emergency room being applauded by a doctor, who sternly informs them that the surfer girl's injuries were made much worse because she's "an alcoholic".

"She's an alcoholic?" gasps Brandon.

"Nobody drinks that much for fun," the doctor says.

Yeah... not sure about that, actually.

Speaking of fun, the police of it, Brandon, has gone back to the beach to confront the surfer girl's two bonehead bro friends, leading to the second gayest scene of this whole series so far.

"Come on guys, let's stop this fighting and go back to my jacuzzi for mimosas."

"That guy is a real tool," Bonehead Bro 1 tells Dylan as Brandon storms off, fighting back tears.

BUT THEN - there's a burst of electric guitar and...

"That's my BOYFRIEND you're talking about, JERK!"

"Hey man, you wanna get breakfast or something?" says Dylan, catching up with Brandon in the sand dunes.

Brandon's heart swells as he stares into Dylan's eyes, as deep and blue as the sea he so masterfully rides. He longs to say yes - he would order buttermilk pancakes with fresh blueberries, and only eat the blueberries, one by one, while listening to Dylan recite Byron - but he knows he can't.

"I have an editorial to write," he says.


This is the first draft.

As it turns out Brandon's editorial is about five paragraphs long. Titled "The Green Room", it's all about being true to yourself and seeking the green room inside yourself and yada yada yada, all of which is guaranteed to get him beaten up by almost everyone at school, so it's a good thing Dylan is his boyfriend now.

Speaking of Dylan - he's being all depressed and Byronesque in his luxury hotel suite, because his parents in Paris aren't taking his calls.

This looks much cooler with an electric guitar backing track.

UNIMPORTANT SUBPLOT UPDATE: Steve asks Brian Austin Green to set up a lunch date with his producer dad and Steve's famous actress mum, and BAG is very excited to make a new friend. But then it turns out to be a case of mistaken identity, so Steve cancels the lunch. As you were.

Meanwhile, back at school Brandon is the new big man on campus after news of his beach lifesaving heroics have spread throughout West Beverly.

Watch out, here comes intrepid Beverly Bugle editor Andrea Zuckerman, who has such a good nose for news that she congratulates Brandon on his crappy editorial about being true to yourself instead of yelling "WHY DIDN'T YOU WRITE A FIRST PERSON PIECE ABOUT RESCUING THAT GIRL ON THE BEACH, YOU FUCKING MORON?!"

Then again, she does have that story about the lost dog that wandered into chemistry class last week, so it probably wouldn't have made page one anyway.

Suddenly - it's alcoholic surfer girl! She's transferred to West Beverly and is joining "a program". Hooray, now she'll probably live forever! Pity she hasn't got a chance at dating Brandon with Dylan around.

"You know Bren, I think we're gonna make it here," Brandon says, as he does at least once every episode.


But not before this happens:

The coolest kids in school.

EPISODE 1 IN A NUTSHELL: Brandon meets the bad boy in town, promptly falls in love with him, rescues a dying girl, takes six years to write a five paragraph editorial and then writes it about the wrong thing. Brenda learns the nutritional properties of cucumbers. Alcohol is bad.


More? Go back and read the PILOT PART 2 recap. And stick around for episode two coming soon!


  1. this is the best thing i've read this july. my boyfriend even tolerated me reading out sections and showing him GIFs

  2. Thank God you're doing this. I have felt so deeply the loss of the weekly bachelor recaps! Absolutely hilarious!

  3. Thanks Nina and Anon! Like and share! :)

  4. Love the recaps! Keep them coming please! :o)

  5. These have all been great. Kelly sensing that Donna was still wearing her hat made me laugh so hard that I squeaked.

  6. So funny! Please keep them coming, missing ANTM and bachelor re-caps!

  7. Absolutely Hilarious! You are so witty. Can't wait for the next 90210 recap :)

  8. I love this! So ecited for the 3rd episode recap!

  9. Branda's not eating a cucumber, but a Kiwi :)

    1. a kiwi is New Zealands native bird, and slang for a 'native'(??) New Zealander.
      Example. Australian: "Nah mate, shes a kiwi."
      Brenda is eating a kiwi-fruit. nyeh nyeh.

  10. There's also an awesome new website that's slowly providing full recaps for Beverly Hills 90210 at

  11. yes im 2years late but this is halarious. I havent seen 90210 since it aired originally (in New Zealand :P). Now do 21 jumpst but only the really serious episodes with johnny + Richard im not checking his name spelling. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  12. yes im 2years late but this is halarious. I havent seen 90210 since it aired originally (in New Zealand :P). Now do 21 jumpst but only the really serious episodes with johnny + Richard im not checking his name spelling. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx