Princess Pickle (AKA “Noise Unit”) is sick again, so I’ve been stuck with this pink, fluffy limpet squeaking indignantly any time I try to remove her from my lap. Without the use of my arms (or legs, or lap for that matter), I had only one option: television. And not any television, either. Trash television.
It’s like the ultimate comfort food – a gloopy guilty pleasure that is sinfully satisfying. I first indulged in three episodes of The Vampire Diaries (season 4) before trying to find out when 90210 was coming back for a fifth season. I was annoyed to find out it was already halfway through, and not on 4 On Demand, so it was a very big, guilty-pleasure relief to find that Netflix has the whole of the first season, which I’d never seen.
I never really watched the original show from the 90s, so their nod-to-the-camera cameos from original series cast-members is rather lost on me. There’s Brenda and Kelly (I remember that much) and some old guy who runs the diner, but most of the focus is on the younger cast.
90210 is “Desperate Teenagers”. It’s exactly the same comedy-drama formula – complete with rampant overacting and scenery-chewing – transposed to a glamorous Beverly Hills high school.
Even though it’s hammier than Dallas painted on a pig, 90210 avoids having pantomime villains. Spoilt Naomi is vulnerable and heartbroken, and fallen child star Adrianna may be a total b*tch, but she’s certainly got her motivations. Even self-styled class weirdo Silver is refreshingly confident, and balances a thoroughly nasty streak with a capacity for warmth and kindness.
The humour, too, is hilariously close to the bone. In one of the opening scenes, Annie spots a friend receiving a blow job in his car, but both her overblown reaction and the strategically placed steering wheel (so you see nothing) are smirk-inducing. Later, a strategically-placed person obscures the text of graffiti reading “EAT SH-“, which raises a puerile giggle.
I can’t speak for fans of the original, but for this newbie, 90210 satisfies for both soapy drama and camp comedy. I’ve already seen – and greatly enjoyed – seasons 3 and 4, so if there is a downside to all of this, it’s simply that it’s made my missing season 5 all the more painful.