Tuesday, September 2, 2008

90210 2.0

I was going through some old boxes over the holiday weekend when I unearthed my grade school diaries. They’re mostly filled with nonsense – not unlike my later diaries, though even more incoherent than usual – but I did find a few gems. One was my declaration, at age seven, of eternal love for Kirk Cameron. Believe me, I wish my first celeb crush had been a little edgier, too. A New Kid on the Block or, well, anything besides Mike Seaver. The other entry of note was this one:

If you can’t read my atrocious handwriting (which, if I’m being honest, has not improved much since then), it reads:
Ciao! (Pronounced Chow, Italian) Don’t you think Italian sounds much better?!
[Ed. Note – one page earlier I was mangling French and proclaiming its superiority, so clearly I was a fickle little aspiring omniglot.] Most shows nowadays are focused on teens but enjoyed mostly by the younger (my) generation. And I am 10. But I’d say the most popular show this (and last) year is Beverly Hills, 90210. It is about 8 teens growing up. For now I must depart.

Needless to say, I was an aspiring pop culture commentator even then. But it’s funny that here we are, sixteen years later, and 90210 is again poised to become a popular show. And once again I’m not in the generation that the show is aimed at. For the first one I was a generation behind and for the remake I’m a generation ahead. This new situation should bother me, but I anticipated the premiers of Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill with unrestrained glee last night, so clearly I have little shame in my love of teen shows. (At least with the One Tree Hill fast forward they’re now closer to my age.)

Unlike a lot of my friends, I don’t fear for the violation of the sacred place 90210 holds in pop culture history. Despite evidence to the contrary scrawled inside a neon pink diary sixteen years ago, the show didn’t shape a lot of my youth. I was a little young for the craze, it was more firmly rooted in the generation slightly ahead of mine. Ditto New Kids on the Block. I had NKOTB and 90210 lunchboxes and sleeping bags and dolls and all, but my love for them was more abstract, probably the way kids today like Bratz for the marketing more than the media. The show that shaped my teen years was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It premiered in my freshman year of high school and is definitely a show I grew up with and a show that informed most of my later media tastes. Buffy, Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, those shows from the golden era of the WB are the shows from my youth that I hold dear. So as excited as I am for the new 90210, my excitement is more in hoping it can replace the trashyfab SoCal teen melodrama hole that the cancellation of The O.C. left in my heart than any nostalgia for the original, so I won’t be particularly ruffled if they tip that sacred cow. Now, if they revamp Buffy (no pun intended - well, okay, maybe a little intended) and cock it up, then I’ll be pissed.

It will be interesting to see whether the new 90210 makes as big an impact on the current generation of younguns as it did the generation ahead of me. I’d guess no. At the time, Old School 90210 was one of the few shows aimed at teens. Now, for every cancelled O.C. there’s a Gossip Girl and 90210 to take its place. Teen TV is way more disposable nowadays. But I’ll watch regardless, and hope that someone gets tossed into a pool by Act 2. Damn, I miss The O.C.


Lasair said...

I squealed with SO MUCH JOY at seeing this scan! After some nice catching-up of your blog. A pity I haven't the opportunity to see most of what you review over here. :(

But oh my I love that bit of your handwriting.

smd said...

Yeah, but the sad thing is that my handwriting hasn't much improved since then. Not that it matters because everything's electronic now (though I type with two fingers - fast and by touch, mind, but with two fingers nonetheless - which is its own kind of sad). But it does safeguard my datebook's privacy, since even if I were to lose it no one could decode it.

And maybe someday I can lure you over to this side of the pond again to subject you to some of the stuff I review here ;)