At risk of giving out my age, Beverly Hills 90210 takes me back 27 years to my first year in high school. I started high school during the late summer of 1990 in Bethesda, Maryland. Beverly Hills comes out almost two months later in late October that year. The kids on 90201 at least the main stars characters were a year ahead of me in high school. I was the class of 1994 in high school and they were the class of 93. So I got to see their last three years of high school and their first year of college my whole time in high school. And thats exactly what I did, because Beverly Hills and the original Law & Order, were my favorite two shows in the 1990s, (not including Monday Night Football) at least the early and mid 1990s. Actually, add LA Law to that list, so I saw a lot of Beverly Hills and know the show very well.
Beverly Hills wasn’t the first show about my Generation X. The Facts of Life from the 1980s was that show. Beverly Hills wasn’t even the second show about my generation. Saved by The Bell from the late 1980s and early 90s was that. And both of those shows deserve their own articles and pieces written about them as well, because they’re both very successful and important to this generation. But Beverly Hills was an original at least in the sense that it was the first soap opera about Generation X. People who grew up and came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. Who were born in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether you want to use the official Census Bureau definition of Gen-X as 1965-79, or use a more believable figure like 1962 or even 1961, till 1979, we are the generation was that was born in the 1960s and 1970s and came of age during the 1980s and 1990s. So if you went to high school and graduated high school in the 1990s, you’re probably a Gen-Xer, unless you graduated in the late 90s.
So that is what Beverly Hills was about how Gen-X kids grew up and what we went through and experienced as a generation. For all the good and bad and Beverly Hills had a lot of both. From parents of Gen-X kids falling in love again and getting remarried, to dealing with teen pregnancy and teen suicide. It has two twins literally from Minneapolis, (ha, ha, the Minnesota Twins, get it) yes it was corny, but the Walsh Family moves from Minneapolis to the Los Angeles area settling in Beverly Hills into a new beautiful him. Jim Walsh (the husband and father) is a successful accountant and lands a new and good job in Beverly Hills and moves his family 2000 miles or so from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.
The Walsh’s have two kids who are yes twins Brandon and Brenda (played by Jason Priestly and Shannen Doherty) and they are uplifted from the down to earth 1950s lifestyle of the Upper Midwest in Minnesota, where they get 6 months or more of winter every year, out to Los Angeles where they’ve never even heard of winter, let alone seen it and get 6 months of summer instead. So the kids especially get a real cultural shock during the first season of this show.
It gets much better and more interesting, not that the Walsh Family aren’t that interesting, because the Brenda Walsh character might be the most fascinating character on the show. Either her of Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) but the people they meet and befriend in Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills High School, are all sons and daughters of LA big shots. Entertainer moguls and people who at least do business and have clients in the Hollywood industry. And they meet most if not all the stereotypes Los Angeles kids.
Kelly Taylor (played by (Jennie Garth) is the daughter of an aging actress who is an alcoholic and addicted to illegal narcotics as well. Kelly’s parents of course are divorced and she rarely sees her father.
Steve Sanders (played by Ian Ziering) is the son of an actress and a Hollywood businessman. Who you think with that background would do very well at least starting out as far as never having to worry about money and where he might live. But the guy is a bit of a rebel and a constant screw up who is essentially always in trouble and looking to get into trouble. Thinking he will get away with it and always has one scheme or another, but always gets caught. We probably all grew up with guys like that.
Donna Martin (played by Tori Spelling) on the surface at least comes off as a typical Southern California blonde bimbo. But she’s very cute both personally and physically and very kindhearted always looking to help others. Who is a good girl always looking to please her parents, especially her Phyllis Schlafly lookalike over-paternalistic mother who lives in and is very happy in Los Angeles, but like Phyllis Schalfly believes Hollywood is destroying her 1950s traditional America. And strongly looks down upon individualism.
Dylan McKay (played by Luke Perry) is my favorite character on the show. Luke Perry plays the son of the Hollywood investor as well as it can be played. He’s essentially a good guy (at least when he’s sober) but is the constant rebel who grows up until his parents literally let him ago and buy him his own house, in a hotel. Because his parents get divorced and his mother skips out on them and moves to Hawaii. Leaving her son with his father who doesn’t seem to have the time to raise his son. And has him put up in a hotel and gives his son Dylan money to take care of himself. Dylan is basically a young guy with no parental guidance other than maybe Jim Walsh (the twins father) who manages his trust fund for him. Jim Walsh really is the closest thing that Dylan has to a father, or even parent on the show.
I guess I should say something about David Silver ( played by Brian Austin Green) who I guess was okay on this show, but what has he done lately? I believe Beverly Hills is really Brian Green’s only real shot at making it big in Hollywood and when that dried up so did his career. David Silver is one of those guys who is actually hipper than he seems at first, who knows how to be cool, but struggles in executing it. He is one of those guys who wants to be in with what we at least called back then the in crowd. I guess its called clicke today, but doesn’t really fit in at least during the first season.
I would mention the twins but they get so much attention anyway and the fact that they moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in the middle of high school to start their sophomore years, plus with everything that has been written about them before, gives you a pretty good idea about them. They both probably deserve their own articles about them anyway.
Beverly Hills is a good example of what life was like as teenagers (at least LA teenagers) in the early 1990s and what life was like when cell phones weren’t mainstream yet and the internet was a baby. The internet comes out in the summer of 91 during the 2nd season of Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is also an example of what life was like for teens and young adults before coffee houses were everywhere and before social media was online. Where people actually got together physically to hang out and socialize. Because our lives weren’t dominated by our iPhones and laptops. And is a great show especially for people who are interested in what life was like in the 1990s especially the early 90s and what growing was like for Generation X.