As my colleague Ruth Samuelson mentioned on this blog this morning, Beverly Hills, 90210 is back in a new version called 90210. This is, she rightly points out, exciting news. I made a point of watching last night’s premiere, partly because I do love bad TV so. But I also tuned in because 90210 was, back in the day, a subject very dear to my heart: For a couple of years I wrote a column for my student newspaper called “90210 Watch” that had regular updates on the goings-on in each episode. We had no fancy metrics to show how many people were reading, but it was a smashing success for me personally. The Chicago Tribune rang me up for a quote in a story about campus viewing habits. My arrival at somebody’s apartment to watch an episode was moderately event-like. Women at bars, cognizant of my byline, suddenly voiced interest in things I said.
This would be a good place to mention that the University of Chicago once came in dead last in a survey of America’s best party schools.
For me, journalistically speaking, it’s all been downhill from there: Hell, I’m not even the most famous “90210 Watch” contributor living in the D.C. area. But 90210 has gone downhill too: It’s more than a little disheartening to see Tristan Wilds go from Mini Omar to Beverly High Token Black in the course of a few short months. Everybody’s still petty, moralizing, and dumb as rocks—-yet dumber somehow, now. Blogs and text messages are trusted as gospel, which leads not just to bad plot turns, but bad dialogue:
“You’ve got to stop with that blog. All it does is cause problems.”
“That’s what a blog is supposed to do. Cause problems.”
Small wonder it didn’t screen for critics.