Eighteen years ago the world was introduced to fraternal twins from Minnesota who’d relocated to the spoiled, rich, raucous Beverly Hills. It was on the racy edge of television, pushing the boundaries of “decency” by showing a character (Kelly’s mom Jackie) snorting coke in a bathroom and sexually active teens (which we mostly only knew because they told us – we didn’t see anyone have sex until they were in college to the best of my recollection).
Last night the world met a pair of siblings from Kansas who’ve relocated to the spoiled, rich, raucous Beverly Hills and in the first 10 minutes of the new show, I saw a teen-aged girl buy a handful of illicit drugs and a teen-aged boy get blown in the front seat of his SUV in the school parking lot.
This ain’t the nineties anymore people!
So the new show isn’t great TV. It doesn’t do soapy as well as Gossip Girl and it doesn’t do over-the-top drama as well as One Tree Hill (used to). The characters aren’t as interesting as their original recipe counterparts were and, frankly, there are just too damn many people in this one. There is a full cast of adults and a full cast of kids and only half of either set is remotely interesting.
The kids are exceptionally vanilla – which is not a dig at their racial make-up because in that department they far exceed the adults by having two minority cast members, but rather a comment on how very bland they are. AnnaLynne McCord is Naomi who is the resident “mean girl” but she’s genuinely nice at least as often as she’s mean – boring. Shenae Grimes plays Annie like a pre-Oz Dorothy who’s never stepped foot off the farm let alone Kansas. She handled the BJ incident with aplomb but pretty much everything else was boring. Jessica Stroup is Erin Silver who we’re just calling Silver now (because it’s edgy or something, I don’t know). In case you don’t remember, that’s the child that resulted from the union between Kelly’s mom and David’s dad. She’s the “smart outcast” who befriends Annie but we’re supposed to believe she’s super mean on account of the childish cartoons she posts about all of her classmates on her blog. She’s totally boring. Dustin Milligan is Ethan, the esteemed recipient of the afore mentioned knob polishing. A lacrosse stud, he was Naomi’s boyfriend until she dumped his cheatin’ ass, he also had a summer fling with Annie two years ago and is apparently still smitten. He’s quite a looker but he’s very boring. Tristan Wilds plays Dixon, the African-American adoptive brother of Annie who is the newest member of the school TV station and the lacrosse team. A good actor playing a mostly boring character. Michael Steger is Navid, the Andrea Zuckerman of this iteration, Navid produces the news for the school TV station. He’s also the son of the worlds most prolific porn producer and Dixon’s new BFF. Steger is extremely likable and one of the only not-boring characters. We were also introduced to Adriana the junky/actress and Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquiez, daughter of Andrea and Jessie.
Some of the adults are just as boring. If anyone can tell me what the hell Lori Loughlin is doing on this show at all, I’d appreciate it. There is so little for her to do as the new Cindy Walsh, it’s embarrassing. Speaking of embarrassing “we can trade stories about Harry’s penis” is officially the worst line uttered on television this season – congrats for taking that award home so early Lori! Ryan Eggold teaches something. I don’t know what but he’s very attractive while he does it. He also coaches lacrosse and puts his foot in his mouth while trying to ask Kelly out. Kelly is the guidance councilor who neither guides nor councils. She did give sisterly advice to Silver once but she specifically said she was doing it as a sister and not a councilor so it doesn’t count. Kelly also has a 4-year-old son whose father, it was strongly hinted, may be one Mr. Brandon Walsh who I think is in Istanbul but I wasn’t paying all that much attention. Brenda Walsh and her nasty teeth are back from parts unknown either to visit, for an acting job or as stunt casting because chica had NOTHING to do last night. Rob Estes is Harry, owner of a storied penis, father to Annie, Dixon and a 20-something illegitimate son he just found out about (courtesy of ex-girlfriend Naomi’s mom), principle at West Bev and all around DILF. Jessica Walter is Harry’s alcoholic former-actress mother Tabitha. Tabitha is by far the most awesome person on the entire show.
I saw so much coming – Tabitha’s accident when Annie failed to pick up the computer only seconds after her mom asked her too; the pentapuss from act one going off in sad fashion in act three; Silver and Naomi being former BFFs; Navid’s dad being in porn. But I know Jackie and her once-again-drunk ass are going to make an appearance next week and that’s worth the price of admission.