Once upon a time, grunge rock was still a thing, Courtney Love was only half crazy, and Seattle was cool, even outside of Grey’s Anatomy. It was a simpler time. People listened to music via CD and it wasn’t possible to text your boyfriend pictures of your boobs, because so few people had cell phones. This time was the early ’90s, and shit was weird. The ’80s weren’t quite over, but the full-fledged, boy band-embracing decade wasn’t quite underway. Most of us were still in-utero, but Tori Spelling was at the height of her fame and it was definitely the era of one of the most epic primetime soaps in the world: Beverly Hills 90210.
Beverly Hills 90210 told the classic story of two siblings who moved from some non-descript state to the insane world of Beverly Hills. At West Beverly Hills High School, Brandon and Brenda dealt with issues such as losing their virginity, homosexuality, AIDS, abortion, teenage suicide, and drug use. Normal. They did all of this while looking chic as fuck (it was the ’90s, people) and being totally ridiculous.
I understand the show was meant to be a dramatization of teenage life, but everything was beyond over-the-top. One of the popular love triangles on the show featured the main characters Kelly, Brandon, and Dylan. In one scene, Kelly makes the oh-so-bold move of turning down both of her male suitors, obviously bringing forth the new ’90s wave of feminism for all of the loyal BH90210 viewers. “I choose me.” SO POWERFUL. This was obviously a huge inspiration for the greatest musical movement of the ’90s: the Spice Girls, when they held up their peace signs and yelled, “GIRL POWAHHH” in their British accents and platform heels.
Either that, or Fox was trying to make an innuendo about the then-taboo subject of female masturbation with the “I choose me” message. If this was the case, 90210 was groundbreaking, because it wouldn’t be for a few years that Sex and The City braved the topic with the beloved rabbit and Charlotte’s orgasm-induced period of reclusion.
You can definitely tell this show was specific to its decade, however, because in today’s day and age, Kelly would have hooked up with both of them, like any modern woman would do. She probably could have done it simultaneously, come to think of it. I saw Savages and from Blake Lively’s display of polyamory, I understand this is a thing now. Whatever.
Regardless of what message this particular scene was trying to portray to viewers, Beverly Hills 90210 was definitely a groundbreaking series for all involved, as it touched on the most taboo topics of the time. I know we all loved The OC and Gossip Girl, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assert both series borrowed cues from everyone’s favorite TV drama about teens doing ridiculous shit.
Most importantly, BH90210 was the last time Tori Spelling was really relevant in any capacity. I understand she’s since starred in her own show, had a few kids, and posed in a bikini for a few magazine covers after having said children, but I can’t even read those articles because I spend the entire time trying to figure out whether or not she’s ugly.
Either way, West Beverly High School for life.