Last week, I took a look at all of the new shows scheduled to come out this season and it’s safe to say there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about. But, like any good TV junkie, I need my fix. So, I decided to expand my horizons.
Starting this week, I am introducing a new feature called “One Shot” (which, unlike some of the other gimmicks I have tried in the past, will actually be around for a while). I am going to pick a show that I normally wouldn’t watch and give it one chance to impress me. I will base my opinion on the show on whichever episode happens to be that given week – it’s the luck of the draw.
So, with that in mind, I present the first-ever “One Shot” …
90210 – “Lucky Strike”
(The CW – Wednesdays at 8 p.m.)
90210 seems less like a show and more like a collection of the ghosts of TV past. The show itself is a remake of Beverly Hills, 90210, with both Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty reprising their roles as Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh respectively. Lori Loughlin, best known for her role as Aunt Becky on Full House, plays the mother of the clearly Walsh-inspired small town family that packed up their bags and moved to Beverly (Hills that is). The show also features Jessica Walter, best known for her role on Arrested Development, who apparently plays a character very similar to Lucille Bluth, but sadly Walter did not appear in this episode (neither did Doherty – that bitch!).
The show itself wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. It’s just uninspired and bland. In many ways it is simply a retread of the original show, which I guess is understandable since it is aimed at a younger audience who is likely unfamiliar with the original. My biggest problem with the show is that all of these young whippersnappers all look the same (outside of Tristan Wilds, of course), so it took me a while to figure out who the different characters were (I didn’t even bother learning most of the characters names, so for this recap, I will simply be referring to them by nicknames I made up).
“Lucky Strike” begins with the Wilson family having breakfast. We are introduced to the parents, The Guy from Silk Stalkings and Aunt Becky, and their two kids – Annie and Michael Lee from The Wire. (I’m assuming that Michael Lee is adopted – otherwise I think Aunt Becky has some explaining to do.) The Wilsons don’t have time to sit down for a nice family breakfast, which upsets Aunt Becky’s Midwest sensibilities.
We then cut to West Beverly Hills High School, where an annoying blonde chick with Dee Snider hair is excited that her dad is going to take her to see Coldplay (know how I know he’s gay?). We learn that she just broke up with some douchey looking guy, who in the recap they showed of last week’s episode actually said, “I’m not breaking up with you. I’m breaking up with us.” Whatever the hell that means.
The newly single douchey guy, Michael Lee and a bunch of other generic teenagers all make plans to go watch a cut of the new James Bond film at some kid’s house. Michael Lee’s sister Annie makes plans to go see a concert with a guy we’ll call Smallville. Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson decide they want to have a family bowling night, so the kids are forced to cancel their plans.
Kelly Taylor is apparently back at West Beverly High School as a guidance counselor and her little sister, Silver, is a student. A dirty, hippie teacher flirts with Kelly and asks her out on a date. It turns out Kelly has a four-year-old kid with someone she went to high school with, but she doesn’t reveal the name of the father (my money is on Brian Austin Green).
Hippie Teacher says that he’s fine with her having a four-year-old – in fact, he works with kids all the time at juvenile hall, because he’s a sweet, sensitive soul who loves helping people. God, in college, this guy probably showed up to frat parties with an acoustic guitar and played songs about eating dolphin-safe tuna.
We learn that Silver has been staying at a women’s shelter to avoid her alcoholic mother, but the shelter turns her away because they don’t have room. She asks Kelly if she can crash with her (not revealing that she wants to stay there to get away from their mom), but big sis is planning on throwing on her best pair of Birkenstocks and having a nice big bowl of granola with Hippie Teacher, so Silver is out of luck.
Kelly’s little sister sees Michael Lee in the parking lot after school. Michael reveals that he stayed late for a math lab, even though he has an A in math (perhaps he just wanted to spend some extra time with Mr. Presbo). Michael tells Silver that he has to go to family bowling night, but invites her to come along. She has nowhere better to go, so she agrees.
Annie tells Smallville to show up at the bowling alley so she can pretend to randomly run into him and use it as an excuse to ditch her parents. Michael Lee invites all of the guys who want to watch the Bond film so that they can help him sneak away as well.
In what takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to accept, all of the other kids (except Smallville) show up and actually start bowling and having a good time. Dee Snider’s ex flirts with Annie and it’s clear the two of them have great chemistry together, but then Smallville shows up and Annie immediately ditches Dee Snider’s ex to hang out with him.
Dee Snider’s father cancels their plans to see Coldplay (still gay). He claims it’s because he has to work late, but when Dee Snider drops by his office, she finds out that it’s really because dad’s having an affair. Dee Snider drives to the bowling alley and her ex comforts her, which makes Annie jealous. It appears that we have a bit of a love quadrangle brewing between these four.
Smallville ends up leaving Annie behind after she sticks around to make sure Dee Snider is okay. So Annie watches the Bond movie with the rest of the gang. Kelly and Hippie Guy have their date and end up making out.
Silver comes back to the Wilson’s house to drop off Annie and Michael Lee. She tells them that she has to head back home, but ends up sleeping in her car. Michael finds her and confronts her about it and she ends up confessing that her mom is a horrible drunk. Michael Lee tells his dad, who tells Kelly, who ends up confronting the drunk mom and offers to let Silver stay with her.
Dee Snider tells her mom about the dad’s affair. Her mom already knows about the other woman, but doesn’t care because she’s shallow and rich. Dee Snider seems upset and I get the sense that she’s … wait for it … “not gonna take it anymore.”
The episode ends with Michael Lee and Annie making breakfast for mom and dad, which makes Aunt Becky and all of Middle America happy.
Final Thoughts: The show was better than I expected. The CW promised that this show would be “an edgy, contemporary spin-off,” but honestly it seemed rather wholesome.
Overall, watching the show made me feel old and out of touch, but it certainly wasn’t terrible. Sure, it’s an uninspired Hollywood remake, but as far as uninspired remakes go, it’s a fairly harmless one. I’m afraid it didn’t do enough to hook me in and make me want to give the show a second shot, but I managed to keep from throwing things at my TV set, so let’s call it a draw.
I hope you enjoyed the first ever edition of “One Shot.” Make sure to join me next week when I take a look at Gossip Girl.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at email@example.com.