I’ve got a new favourite TV series, and you absolutely have to watch it. It isn’t very intellectual. People don’t do a lot of staring into the distance. There isn’t loads of blood and torture – nobody gets their chins cut off with industrial pliers. It isn’t set in a 1960s advertising agency, nor do people walk along the alleyways of Victorian London. It isn’t adapted by Andrew Davies from a big classic novel. It’s not going to win the BAFTA for Best International Drama. And it isn’t in Danish. My new favourite TV fix is 90210. I love it, and I’m not ashamed to say it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Waking the Dead, Great Expectations, Mad Men, The Killing, etc. – I adore them. The beautifully packaged box sets of each and every one of them line my shelves. But sometimes you need a bit of silly nonsense – you can’t drink Earl Grey forever. When it comes to TV drama, sometimes you need a sugar high. 90210 is my Red Bull. And so, as the sun-drenched series returns for a fourth season, I prepare for my caffeine rush, fuelled by the antics of money-mad Naomi, endearingly ridiculous Annie, lovable Dixon, gorgeous but stupid Liam, tennis player Teddy, sensible Navid, intelligent Silver, stoner Ivy, and freaky Adrianna.
They are all shockingly gorgeous, have more money than sense, and wander around moaning about how awful their lives are. Sometimes it gets so rough for them, they have to take a private jet on a mini-break somewhere to calm their nerves. It’s fabulous! All of them make really bad decisions just in time to leave us hanging before a commercial break kicks in. So while we’re being fed ads for gossip magazines and chick flicks, we are left gnawing at our nails wondering what’s going to happen. Ok, I have to confess the characters aren’t the sharpest tools in the box. This week, one guy kept a cheque for $25,000 in his chest pocket whilst getting pissed on the beach. Take a wild guess what he discovered when he woke up the next morning. Another guy decided to come out as gay to his bigoted father by leaving a message on his answering machine. One girl tried to discretely dispose of large amounts of cannabis at a party by throwing the leaves on a bonfire. And when all the other girls have a fall out (which is often), they don’t settle it calmly then make up over hot chocolate and repeats of The Hills. No, they try to freak each other out, Black Swan style. Beverly Hills is not a trouble-free place.
Part of the joy of 90210 is making fun of it. The subtle-as-a-lorry attempts to make the audience (even the financially impoverished viewers, god bless them) empathise with the characters is hilarious to watch. Deep down I know the show is total rubbish, but everyone needs a guilty pleasure. So if you haven’t been tempted by the tanned flesh, sexy girls, hot guys, great cars and predictable plotlines, maybe this is the year to give it a go. You never know, it might surprise you how quickly you become addicted.
90210 is on E4 & E4HD, Tuesday nights at 9pm. The first three series are available on DVD.