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Arts and Entertainment

Morning After Report: 90210 Episode 5 'Wide Awake and Dreaming'

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"OMG, I'm totes dreaming, right Silver?" "No, Annie, you're wide awake..." | Photo: Michael Desmond / The CW

Pinch me.

No seriously, pinch me. I think I'm dreaming. First the good people of the CW give the new 90210 the nod for a full season, then they air an episode that is closer to cohesive storytelling than the previous ones. For reals?

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Granted, if you looked up "brilliant television" in the dictionary, last night's 90210 ep "Wide Awake and Dreaming," would not be part of the definition, but it certainly felt like the viewers had to grasp a few less narrative threads, and swallow a bit less--well, you know. But fans and foes alike learned some valuable lessons about life in (West) Beverly Hills this week, as always, which is, of course, the heart of any show aimed at the youth demographic, right?

Guest star Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh, the actress-turned-ad hoc high school musical director, made quite possibly the most keen observation of the evening. She astutely noted that the talented ladies of West Bev's play "Spring Awakening" were so good they "put the pros to shame." Obviously she was talking about hookers, and obviously these ladies were better, because they are from (West) Beverly Hills. At least it's out in the open, and we don't have to wonder why Naomi (Annalynne McCord) et al dress like streetwalkers, they just are. And they're good.

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And no wonder we've immediately zeroed in on the issue of sex, because 90210 is about issues, and sex is a biggie.

Core concepts:
1. Old, boring people who hate each other get so mad they have to have sex then get a divorce (see: Naomi's annoying parents).
2. Sex--and the male sex drive in particular--is vastly different in Kansas.
3. Sex makes young people "look happy." (Insert smiley face emoticon.)
4. That guy you think you want to get busy with is a creep. (Yes, that's often a universal truth.)
5. If you think you might be having sex later in the evening, it's best to ask your brother for the 4-year-old condom in his wallet so that you are fully protected.
6. Unfortunately, if you give up your ancient condom to your sister and suddenly find yourself in an impromptu poolside lip-lock with a girl who thinks it's okay to wear a pink beret, you will be proven to be a presumptuous ass when you announce you gave your condom away. What did you think all the girls at WBHHS were anyhow, prostitutes?

Oh, wait.

Anyhow, despite the painfully obvious echoes of the og 90210 "groundbreaking" (or cherry popping, if you will) 1991 episode "Spring Dance" (boy gets room at hotel during school event, girl agrees to go up there with him) our heroine, Annie (Shenae Grimes) is as trustworthy as she screams she is to her pretty boy father (Rob Estes). Despite dressing like a hooker, she is, in fact, not one, but that is only because DRUGS ARE BAD.

Now, I'm not sure what kind of drugs they are, but they are readily available from classmates who conceal them in holes cut out of books, and they give you baggy eyes, the tendency to become invisible while napping, and a calculating mind. In addition, if you are the musically gifted but troubled Adrianna (Jessica Lowndes), it will get your sorry ass kicked out of the school musical moments before the curtain goes up, so let that be a lesson.

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Whatever Adrianna is using, it's totes going to be okay. Because even though three people who "work" (and I use that term loosely) at WBHHS confer and agree that something is wrong, and even if your guidance counselor (Jennie Garth) acts really unprofessionally and hollers at your mother backstage that she thinks you're a skanky drug addict, you will discover that in the short term, at least, there are really no consequences for your actions. Sure, you will surrender your lead in "Spring Awakening" to the virgin from Kansas (like we didn't see that one coming weeks ago) but you will also get to hover in the hallways and auditorium aisles like a character in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and still go to the really lame after-party at the Roosevelt, and--the best yet--have your wits together enough to craft a wickedly complex revenge scheme that destroys any possibility of Annie busting out her wallet-creased condom for some hot hotel action with her male co-star. Are drugs really good? (No, that can't be it.)

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I'm not sure if drugs are bad or good, but I do know that parties for high schoolers at the Roosevelt are lame sauce, no matter how many flashy overhead Hollywood Boulevard-at-night shots we are treated to. Yay. Lounge chairs. Woo hoo. A pool. Teenagers hoping to stop by for a visit to the pool area to live it up like their 90210 idols will be sad to discover that unless you rent it out, you've got to be 21 and older to hang there. Shoulda stuck to the Peach Pit, kiddies! They have delicious Dr. Pepper, and the owner doesn't mind that if he hires you and lets you work about a grillion shifts your first week, the week after you can like, totally take a week off so you can work the light board for the school play. What a place! (If only it had electric green colander chairs like the school cafeteria...)

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We're stunned, too, Silver, don't worry. | Photo: Michael Desmond / The CW

So drugs may (or may not) be bad, sex happens (or it doesn't), and the CW bucked up for the rights to one more song from "Spring Awakening." There's a lot going on in (West) Beverly Hills, and it's enough to make a virgin from Kansas leave the party early so she can cry on the floor of her mansion once her robot parents welcome her back to the home planet's satellite location. Hang in, little girl (and loyal viewers) because next week we revisit the old high school fashion show storyline, and Dixon (Tristan Wilds) takes a cue from The OC and goes Chino on someone's ass.

**BONUS VIDEO**

Here is a 3:44 recap of the original 90210 "Spring Dance" episode set to the song they played over and over on the show ("Smile" by the Rave-Ups) complete with subtitles in some Scandanavian language.

90210 airs Tuesdays at 8 on the CW (it repeats Wednesdays at 9 in case you missed it...)

Get caught up: Episodes 1 & 2, Episode 3, Episode 4; or go retro.

Photo credits (unless otherwise noted):
Shenae Grimes as Annie and Adam Gregory as Ty on 90210 on The CW. Photo: Jaimie Trueblood / The CW

Jessica Lowndes as Adrianna on 90210 on The CW. Photo: Jaimie Trueblood / The CW