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Arts and Entertainment

Morning After Report: 90210 Episode 3 'Lucky Strike'

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We learned a lot about Los Angeles last night as viewers of the CW's semi-retooled teen sudser 90210. First, we learned that no one--and we mean triple underline, eye roll, like duh no one--does "family night" in this city. It's just way uncool.

We also learned that kids who live in Beverly Hills have cheating fathers who overcompensate for their shortcomings by buying their teenage daughters (who look like they are 40 with Shirley Temple curls) Mercedes-Benz SUVs, but no matter that they flake on big weekend plans to take said progeny to Vegas, said progeny will still want to pick up some Nobu for them for dinner and hand deliver it to their office.

We also learned that it's way better to bowl in another county, but more on that later.

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But before you shrug your shoulders and say "Sounds like a great life, sign me up!" let us remind you that this is a television drama, and ergo, there will be drama. Things are not all sunshine and roses at West Beverly Hills High, even when bowling turns out to be kind of fun after all, your friend can screen you "the new Bond movie" before it's out, and the Hollywood Bowl has concerts all year long. There are clouds on the horizon, and no, they do not have silver linings; but if your name is Silver, you just might have an alcoholic mother. Get it? Sigh. It's hard to keep up. Let us help you.

Annie and Dixon Wilson, fresh to West Bev, are really fitting in well, despite the odds against their survival, being as they are from another planet Wichita, Kansas. They are getting asked on dates by dudes with private jets and scoring invites to watch a cool big budget flick before it's released at a porn director's house. But, wait! Mom and Dad are feeling left out! No one sits down to eat breakfast, which must mean the fabric of the family is fraying. Time for Family Night. At Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes.

Pout, moan, send a text message to ixnay on the ateday. The Wilson family is off to Lucky Strike on a Friday night. In a classic new-to-town mistake (oddly not referenced in this episode) the family drives all the way from Beverly Hills to The Block at Orange to go bowling, instead of just going to the Lucky Strike at Hollywood and Highland. Oddly enough, when word gets out that the Wilsons and their new friends from West Bev are going to Lucky Strike, bowling is suddenly cool (bowling with your school principal, no less) and no one seems to mind that they have to drive to Orange. In fact, no one even says "Which Lucky Strike? The one really near us, in Hollywood, or the one really, really, really far away in Orange that will probably let us film there?" Hmm. Odd.

So while the Wilsons are striking out in the best way possible, we learn that Naomi (the 40 year old with the Shirley Temple hair) has an unfaithful dad and likes to get takeout from Nobu. We also learn through ominous teaser segments awkwardly inserted in the middle of dialogue scenes (are our attention spans that bad, producers?) that Silver has been staying at a women's shelter because things are bad at home.

Welcome back, fans of the original 90210! You have been reeled in because you obviously want to know what happened to Jackie Taylor-Silver, mom of Kelly and Erin (aka Silver). Well, she's back to being a drunk. Why? We're guessing it's because Mel left her and, well, it's more dramatic that way. So Silver (we'd rather call her Erin, too, Jackie, and we're sober) doesn't want to stay at home, but she perplexingly doesn't a) stay with her dad b) stay with her brother (paging Brian Austin Green) c) stay with her sister d) stay with any friends, of which she apparently has none. In fact, no one even mentions David's name, which means some serious shit has gone down, clearly. Wow, the past 8 years have been rough in the Taylor-Silver household.

So if "Jackie's a drunk again!" is old plotline #1, old plotline #2 remains the ever mysterious "Who is Kelly's baby daddy?" Again, a sigh. We still don't know. Drunk Jackie Taylor-Silver knows, but she only refers to him as "He." Kelly knows, but she isn't saying anything beyond that they had "history" in high school, then tow-headed Sam was the result of a one-night stand that led to quasi-dating and complications. Gee, Kelly, for someone who was told you might never carry a pregnancy to term (see: The Brandon Years) you sure bucked the odds. You also don't meet anyone new, which is a shame. Her vague description leads us to two conclusions: 1. The child's father could be Brandon, Dylan, or...Steve. Yes, Steve. 2. Not even the producers of 90210 know who the father is because Jason Priestley, Luke Perry, and Ian Ziering have all evaded requests to appear on the show.

Well, there we are. No further ahead than where we were last week. To add insult to injury, this week we were not treated to the delightful bitchiness of either Jessica Walter as the grandmother, or Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh. We have not solved any mysteries or eaten any Peach Pit Mega Burgers. We have, however, conquered Family Night, gone bowling in Orange without batting an eye, and done some chores. Next we will defy the time-space continuum by taking a picnic and enjoying a concert at the Hollywood Bowl in the off-season*. Or bring Brenda back to stir things up. (Spoiler alert: Next week in the episode called "The Bubble" Dixon goes Brandon Walsh-style on us and gets a job at the new Peach Pit, sponsored by Dr. Pepper. Don't believe me? Just go look at the CW's 90210 photo gallery.)

*There were two mentions of the Bowl this week which would make a local say WTF? First, the parents have tickets to the Bowl on a Friday night in the fall (okay, so according to the calendar that means maybe some Tchaikovsky, the season finale, or next week's Sound of Music singalong) but are just sort of giving them up to take their kids bowling. Seriously? And second, at the end, when family time becomes cool, the kids suggest they see a concert together, like at the Troubadour, or...the Hollywood Bowl. Because you can bring a picnic, like omg! Well, you'd better hurry, because that place shuts down for the off-season, and it will be pretty lonely eating a picnic there with 17,000 empty seats around you. And yet you gave up your tickets to go bowling... Oh, television. You're so silly.

90210 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW
Need to catch up? Read last week's recap of the first two episodes. We won't know you're late to the party!

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Photo credits:
Shenae Grimes as Annie, Tristan Wilds as Dixon, Lori Loughlin as Debbie, and Rob Estes as Harry on the CW drama 90210. Photo: MICHAEL DIAMOND DESMOND/The CW ©2008 The CW Network, LLC.

Ann Gillespie as Jackie, Jessica Stroup as Silver, and Jennie Garth as Kelly on 90210 on The CW. Photo: JUSTIN LUBIN/The CW ©2008 The CW Network, LLC.

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