The 90210 Premiere: New Drama, Familiar Faces
Finally! The hype is over and we can get down to business. The new 90210 premiered Tuesday on the CW and it needed two hours to introduce new characters, reintroduce familiar ones and whip up a whole lot of drama. But this is not your big sister’s 90210, which became obvious less than five minutes into the show with a muted — but obvious — sex scene in the parking lot of West Beverly Hills High. That, and the eight mentions of the A-word, the six mentions of the B-word and so on.
We’re Not In Kansas Anymore In the opening scene, we meet the Wal –, er, the Wilsons. Parents Harry (Rob Estes) and Debbie (Lori Loughlin) and kids Annie (Shenae Grimes) and Dixon (Tristan Wilds). They’re a wholesome, fun-loving family from Wichita, Kansas, who loaded up the minivan and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Complete with swimming pools and movie stars. Actually, it’s Harry’s mother, Tabitha (Jessica Walter), who is — or was — the movie star, but who’s now working on her memoirs over morning cocktails.
Dixon and Annie are in for a busy first day at their new school. On the way in, she sees Ethan (Dustin Milligan), a one-time fling from summers past, sitting in his Escalade and wants to say hi. Surprise: He’s not alone.
Double surprise: Annie learns that Ethan has a girlfriend and it wasn’t the girl he was hooking up with in his SUV. It’s Naomi (AnnaLynn McCord), the school’s frostiest princess with a penchant for Chanel accessories and a bustier. At lunch, Annie meets Silver — Erin Silver (Jessica Stroup), the half sister to Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), who is now a guidance counselor at West Beverly. But their meeting is short. Naomi steals Annie from Silver and, after a recommendation from Ethan, invites her new friend to her “Not So Sweet 16 Birthday Party.”
In journalism class, Dixon meets Navid (Michael Steger), who produces the school’s daily news broadcast, which is anchored by Hannah Zuckerman-Vasquez. Yes, the daughter of Andrea Zuckerman and Jesse Vasquez, another nod to the original series. One of the best lines comes when hip English teacher Mr. Matthews (Ryan Eggold) tells his class, “What is that girl, like 30?” Later, Dixon tries out and makes the lacrosse team (also coached by Mr. Matthews), which forces some dude named George to second string. George isn’t happy and smacks Dixon with a stick. They fight and end up in the office of the principal, who happens to be Mr. Wilson, Dixon’s dad. Dixon is cut from the team after Ethan, trying to be loyal, lies about who threw the first punch.
The next day, students start mooing at Annie and calling her “farm girl.” It turns out that Silver runs a blog called The Vicious Circle, which she uses to torment her peers with hokey videos. Big sis Kelly tells Silver that her blog causes problems and that she’s hurting the wrong . Silver thinks it over and decides to help Annie get cast in the school’s musical production of Spring Awakening and all is forgiven. Good work, Kelly!
Annie scolds Ethan for lying about Dixon’s fight and he decides to come clean. Dixon gets back on the team, but not before he texts Naomi about Ethan’s extra-curricular activities in the parking lot with another girl the day before.
The night of the party, Annie wants apologize to Ethan for the text. But she’s too late. In the middle of their spotlight dance, Naomi demands the truth from Ethan. But the biggest bombshell comes when Harry goes looking for Annie, who wasn’t supposed to partying, and runs into Naomi’s mother Tracy, a woman he spent time with 20 years ago. She tells him their brief union bore a son, which she gave up for adoption. Ka-BOOM! Annie is off the hook! Harry is stunned and leaves while Silver takes Annie to Ethan, who also left the party for a dip in the Pacific to clear his head. He accepts her apology and they all end up prancing in the ocean in their party clothes. Welcome to California!
The Jet Set The next day, Annie walks up to the breakfast table crying over the breakup with her boyfriend back home. Everyone is supportive except for Grandma Wilson who delivers one of her best lines: “I say, ‘Goodbye to Huckleberry Finn and hello to California boys.'”
Taking her grandma’s advice, Annie accepts a date with Ty (Adam Gregory), the lead in the school’s musical. Meanwhile, Silver has taken to her blog with a new post about Ethan cheating on Naomi. This sends Naomi into the most amazing fit of rage. She marches through the halls with nostrils flaring, finds Ethan and delivers a slap heard ’round the world. At the beloved Peach Pit, Naomi replays the scene with her entourage, which includes Adriana, a pill-popping wannabe actress, who will probably end up going to rehab so Annie can steal the lead in the school’s musical. But that’s just speculation.
With Dixon back on the team, he is trying to be one of the guys and less like the principal’s son. After rivals at Palisades Hall dumped mounds of trash and toilet papered the school’s main hallway before the big game, he’s got a plan. But he needs pigs. Navid agrees to help because he knows where he can find some — his father’s porn production company. Navid’s father is the biggest producer of X-rated movies in the world. Welcome to California! Dixon wants to watch porn but Navid says no. His father has two rules: No watching porn until he’s 21. And they always eat dinner together. Now that’s family values.
Next up: the money shot. No, it’s not porn. It’s Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Kelly together again at the Peach Pit! With Nat!
They say they want to get back to way they were and we tend to believe them — despite the years they spent fighting over Dylan. Another revelation: she was up talking on the phone with Brandon at 3 a.m. Is he the father of her 4-year-old boy? Or is it Dylan? And did you see the way Brenda looked at the English teacher when he showed up at Kelly’s door for a date? There is no way Brenda is leaving Beverly Hills without stirring up some trouble. Can’t wait!
Later, Dixon gets busted for the pig prank and Annie is flying the friendly skies with Ty, who takes her on a private jet to San Francisco for dinner. Her perfect evening is ruined when she is called back because her grandmother has been in a car accident. She rushes home and finds her grandmother is fine, laughing with her best friend, who also happens to be Ethan’s grandmother. While the former Hollywood sexpots reminisce about the golden days, Ethan and Annie share a moment by the pool.
Jason Mraz‘s “I’m Yours” plays in the background while they talk about the Fourth of July they spent together and the pentapus (that’s an octopus with five tentacles) someone won. Sparks were flying but Grandma interrupts and Ethan leaves. Ty makes a final appearance and Annie gets a kiss from him on the front porch. Of course, this happens just as Ethan is walking back with a pentapus in hand and he sees them kissing. He turns away, holding on to a single tentacle of the pentapus and with that, the 90210 premiere is over. — Elaine Aradillas
Tell us: What did you think of the premiere of 90210? Who’s your favorite character? Who’s the father of Kelly’s child? Michael Desmond/The CW); Justin Stephens/The CW; John Sciulli/WireImage