Beverly Hills 90210: The Second Season

Beverly Hills 90210: The Second Season
Never mind the fact that half of the cast were showing crows feet (and I’m not just talking about Jim and Cindy) and Color Me Badd were guest stars, Beverly Hills 90210 was an essential piece of television in the ’90s. And no season was more important than the second one. After a shaky first season, the show found its feet during the summer of 1991 when the second season began immediately in the unlikely month of July. Thanks to most programs taking the summer off, 90210 found the dedicated audience that would follow it for years. Character development became crucial and after beating the life lessons to death the first go around, the summertime allowed some growth and depth for these personalities. Brandon used his lessons learned to become dependable and wise; Brenda became even more difficult, ill-tempered and bitchy; Steve revealed a soft, vulnerable side; David stepped out of geekdom to hang with the cool kids; and Dylan, well, those hilarious wailing blues riffs morphed into an obnoxious, wailing hard rock soundtrack following him on benders from the pool hall to the Walsh residence. As far as classic episodes go, this was the cream of the crop for the West Beverly gang. There’s the neighbourhood watch fiasco, where the first black family on the Walsh’s block are introduced; Steve’s New Mexican journey to find his birth parents; Brenda being taken hostage by a greasy, melodramatic gunman in the Peach Pit; and we can’t forget about the Stetson-sportin’ loser Scott and his fatal twirl of a handgun. But the pièce de résistance was Emily Valentine’s arc of promiscuity, drug spiking (the classic "U4EA” episode, which burned "I’d like to exchange an egg” into our brains as a hilarious catch phrase), crank calling and float (that’s parade, not ice cream) destruction. While extras for these DVDs are usually lame featurettes that either summarise the season or provide useless trivia, the producers invited screenwriters and VH1 hosts Michael Colton and John Aboud to examine the season with their cynically vicious brand of comedy. Such discoveries they make are Brenda’s bipolar disorder and constant fear, how Brendan lives to work menial jobs, the torture of enduring Dylan and Brenda’s weekly break up and reunion, Dylan’s cry-baby complex and of course, the puzzling choice in selecting Color Me Badd as guest stars. Plus: interviews with Christine Elise, and James Eckhouse and Carol Potter. (Paramount)