Years before Gossip Girl showered viewers with teenage excess on the Upper East Side, Beverly Hills, California was the place to be for wealth, love, and a whole lot of drama. The origin of televised social status for teens even had its own zip code: 90210!
The torch was passed from the adults who were obsessed with wealth and name recognition in the '80s to the teens of the next generation who just wanted to know what it was like to be rich and popular in the '90s. Beverly Hills, 90210 became a cultural touchstone in the early '90s, changing the landscape of soap operas and must-see TV forever! Suddenly, the world had to know exactly what teens were doing and how wealthy they looked doing it, specifically the teens of the fictitious West Beverly High. Brenda, Kelly and Donna were the girls fans of 90210 wanted to be, while Brandon, Dylan, and Steve were the boys they wanted to be with.
Beverly Hills, 90210 provided fans with a decade's worth of juicy storylines, but despite the show's must-watch status, there were still aspects of the West Beverly crew's lives that would make even the most devoted fans roll their eyes in the style of Brenda Walsh! From the love triangle surrounding Brenda, Dylan and Kelly, to however many times Brandon Walsh tried to be the superhero no one needed, here are 25 things we chose to ignore about our beloved TV series.
25 Brandon Man-Splained Everything
Oh, Brandon Walsh: the king of our beach-boy loving hearts, and the prince of our beloved zip code. From the moment he and his sister Brenda came on the scene from Minnesota, we could immediately tell there was something about Brandon. Brandon's heartthrob status aside, the boy-wonder Walsh could be a mansplainer to everyone and their mother, (often even to his own.)
No matter the situation, Brandon was notorious for sweeping in and giving his take on the hot topic of the day. He was a pioneer in the phenomenon!
24 Kelly And Brenda's Friendship Was Doomed
Brenda Walsh and Kelly Taylor were the OG Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen; they were the queens of their domains, and they learned how to navigate the world of teen-dom. From boys to setting the blueprint for the bougie lifestyle, Kelly and Brenda were together through life.
Longevity wasn't Brenda and Kelly's strongest suit, though. They went through petty arguments which were eventually resolved, but one argument took precedence over the others: the Dylan debate, as Entertainment Weekly reports. While it was fascinating TV, it would've brought a terrible reality for "Krenda!"
23 Dylan Didn't Belong With Anyone
There's a good chance your mother may swoon at the mention of the name Dylan McKay! Dylan was one of the first "bad boys" of television; he was mysterious, and he had a heart. Luke Perry brought to life a sweet and sensitive dude, who endured lots of life in a short time, as The Cut reports. 90210 fans can't get enough of Dylan, but we sometimes forget Dylan became the Bukowski reading dude we love because he got there without the help of a lady.
Sorry, Brenda and Kelly! Single Dylan evolved best.
22 Kelly And Dylan Had Better Chemistry
If we must weigh in on the best match for Dylan McKay, it may be hard for fans to comprehend that Brenda Walsh may not have been the best girl for Dylan!
Brenda and Dylan were the ultimate couple for fans to ship back in the '90s before "shipping" was even a term, as Glamour reports. The couple gave '90s girls endless relationship goals, but a record scratch once sounded in the distance for Brenda, when Kelly and Dylan began a summer romance. In terms of chemistry, Kelly and Dylan had strong compatibility together.
21 Donna And David Were The Most Solid Couple
90210 got real as often as its famous residents could handle, and arguably the show got a little too real at times, but one of the best examples of realness was served by Donna Martin and her eternal soul mate David Silver.
Donna and David tend to take a backseat to Brenda and Dylan, or Kelly and Brandon, but thanks to their ability to maintain a less dramatic and more relatable relationship, even though Donna and David spent a few years apart, the duo is serious relationship goals.
20 Steve Sanders Deserved Better
From an outsider's perspective, Steve Sanders seems like your stereotypical goofball, but 90210 fans know there are so many more levels to him! We were introduced to Steve in the first season, and he was known for being Kelly Taylor's ex, but he also explored many complex storylines for a prime time soap opera at the time.
Most of Steve's storylines were made to accompany other characters, but he never really received his solo moment to shine in the spotlight. Where was the justice for Steve?
19 The Gang Treated Emily Badly
Emily Valentine's personality was definitely true to her surname, but her friends at West Beverly didn't seem to treat her as such.
Emily shook up the status quo of West Beverly, as The Globe and Mail reports. She charmed the heck out of Brandon and challenged the means of social status when she showed the gang how she lived her "alternative" lifestyle. Brenda and company raised a collective eyebrow when it was revealed Emily enjoyed experimenting with substances. Even though the gang wanted to discourage Brandon from spending time with Emily, they were quite mean to her!
18 Brenda Didn't Deserve Dylan
When you think of Beverly Hills, 90210, it's almost impossible not to think of Brenda and Dylan. Brenda was the "good girl" from Minnesota, and her Dylan McKay introduced her to a world of so-called sweet rebellion, proving teens could date across social cliques.
When it comes to high school relationships, of course, Brenda had a lot to learn, but she spent the majority of their relationship worrying about what Dylan was up to, or whether he was dreaming about Kelly instead. What happened to trust?
17 Jackie Taylor Was A Cool Mom
Fans of Beverly Hills, 90210 may raise a collective eyebrow when they hear "Jackie Taylor" and "cool mom" in the same sentence, but seriously, Kelly's mom deserves so much more credit than she received!
Through Jackie's struggles with relationships and substance abuse, she taught Kelly and the gang much more about real life experience than most TV moms of the era. Jackie even taught Cindy Walsh a lesson or two about maintaining a friendship with someone going through difficult situations.
Jackie was also a great mother!
16 Kelly Taylor Deserved Eternal Happiness
Kelly Taylor was so much more than a sounding board for Brenda and just a page out of Dylan McKay's romantic history. She was at the receiving end of many Beverly Hills, 90210 most memorable storylines. She went through addiction struggles, a broken marriage, and many stressful moments, and through all of the tough times, Kelly didn't get the recognition for being the powerhouse she really was!
Kelly is most remembered for being Brenda's arch-enemy, and it's time we band together to raise awareness of Kelly's boss babe status!
15 Andrea Was Manipulative
Andrea Zuckerman is an underrated female TV character trailblazer. She was groundbreaking in that she showed girls could be extremely smart and still have lots of friends, which rejected the stereotype of smart women lacking social skills.
Despite how groundbreaking Andrea was for TV and for her friends at West Beverly, she was aware of her social ranking in the realm of high school cliques, and there were times she took advantage of being the "geek girl." Andrea sometimes manipulated various members of the gang so she could get her way.
14 Brandon Wasn't A Real Friend To Andrea
Brandon and Andrea were a tough relationship to dissect, as Mental Floss reports. They were really close friends and maintained a model friendship for four seasons, but the duo toyed with the idea of a romantic relationship, even though the majority of their romance was unrequited.
When it came to Brandon and Andrea's friendship, the duo could definitely serve as a good example for the others to follow, but there were moments when Brandon could've been a better friend to Andrea; sometimes his aforementioned habit of mansplaining got in the way of their friendship.
13 Dylan Deserved A Break
Part of Dylan McKay's appeal was his mysterious personality; Brenda and Kelly always dug Dylan because they knew he had been through lots of things, but no one knew if there was a specific instance which made Dylan into the sensitive Bukowski reading soul that he was!
One known aspect of Dylan's personality was for sure: he had been through so many life milestones at a young age. Sure, the countless instances of drama involving his parental figures had an impact on his relationships, but what if our dude could've caught a break?
12 Donna Needed Better Friends
School cliques were the worst. No matter if it happened to us in real life or if it happened to Donna Martin while the gang was in high school, there was always a member of the gang who was left out.
In the early seasons, Donna always seemed to be left in the dust by Brenda and Kelly whenever there was an issue between them. Thankfully, this fact is easily overlooked by 90210 fans in the wake of the "Donna Martin graduates" episode in which the gang definitely had her back!
11 Cindy And Jim Deserve More Credit
Parents on dramedies tend to be incredibly stereotypical. You know the drill, the parents are goofy and too separated from their children's cultures to "get" them, but Beverly Hills, 90210's Jim and Cindy weren't such parents!
Cindy and Jim always treated their children's friends like they were their own; Jim was a surrogate father figure to Dylan, even after he and Brenda split up. He was there for anyone who needed him, but this shining aspect of his personality seemed to be overlooked by Brenda's dramatic existence. Where's the love?
10 Brenda Wasn't All Bad
Shannen Doherty's Brenda became a poster-girl for "bad girls" everywhere; some of Brenda's petty antics absolutely put her in hot water with her friends, but really, did Brenda always deserve negative attention or her bad rep?
In the fourth season, Brenda decided to branch out of her "comfort zone" when she decided to get in touch with the world around her. She advocated for animal rights, and the gang decided to turn against her when she went too far.
Couldn't the gang allow Brenda to get passionate for a good cause?
9 Brandon Reeked At Romance
There's no question Brandon Walsh was extremely charming, and always had a never-ending supply of wisdom to give to his ladies, but our Brandon didn't really seem to excel in his pre-Kelly Taylor romances.
Sure, he enjoyed dating several of the most beautiful dames in Beverly Hills, but none of those ladies lasted very long, and it was because of Brandon's everlasting need to have the last word in seemingly every conversation! How could Brandon be lame to the extremely sweet Nikki Witt? Really, Brandon?
8 Valerie's Misunderstood...Sometimes
A new era of Beverly Hills, 90210 loomed when Shannen Doherty left the series after season four, and Brenda was no more. 90210 fans didn't worry for long because another queen entered the realm of Beverly Hills glitz and glamour! Valerie Malone swept in to take Brenda's crown as the resident queen of the scene, and she wore it well!
Valerie knew she had the charm and the power to wow every guy in Beverly Hills and she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted; Val's plenty underrated!
7 Brenda Deserved A Better Exit
90210 fans and followers know how important Brenda Walsh was to the series, so why don't we talk about how Brenda deserved such a better ending than she received?
"Bren" has a big legacy, and she went through tons of growth through the four seasons Shannen Doherty played her, so whose idea was it to have her last appearance on the show in Dylan's arms?
Did the 90210 writers want to undo all of Brenda's progress? Are we ignoring how Brenda found herself after she and Dylan finally broke up?
6 Brandon And Dylan's Friendship Was Underrated
When you think of the couples of 90210, chances are Dylan's relationships with the ladies pop into your head, but what about his relationship with Brandon Walsh?
Out of all the relationships within the 90210 zip code, there weren't many on the healthy side or less dramatic side, but Dylan and Brandon's friendship was extremely vital and important. The duo had been through so much together, from Dylan's relationship with a certain sister, to the various antics of life. Brandon was always the voice of reason for Dylan!
5 Brandon And Andrea Were Perfectly Platonic
We know Brandon and Andrea were one of the most solid relationships in the 90210, no matter the state of their relationship. At one point, they were best buds, they were briefly a couple, and Andrea realized her crush would've been a better match as a best friend!
Even though a Brandon and Andrea romance would've been sweet, their friendship status was extremely underrated! The two of them were an early example of platonic friendship on TV, showing fans it was possible to be "just friends." Andrea's wedding day, anyone?
4 Brandon And Kelly Wouldn't Have Worked
At the beginning of 90210, the thought of Kelly and Brandon being together was unthinkable, but when they found each other, their relationship made sense; Brandon made Kelly happy during a period in which she didn't have many reasons to smile.
In the long run, however, their relationship wouldn't have made sense. Kelly's life was hectic, and Brandon's natural straight and narrow sense of being would've eventually clashed. It's sad they came to the realization at the altar, but it's quite good they came to the realization and stayed with it.
3 Kelly Was A Feminist Queen
A moment in Beverly Hills, 90210 history which definitely deserves more attention is the moment when Kelly Taylor stood up and declared her loyalty to herself as opposed to her paramours with whom she shared a lot of history, Dylan and Brandon!
After careful consideration over which dude Kelly wanted to choose, it's completely understandable she would want to choose herself over both Brandon and Dylan because let's be honest, it was so much more important for Kelly to see how empowering she was as a person. What a moment!
2 Brenda Was Wrong To Ask Dylan To Wait
Of course, Brenda's storyline on 90210 wouldn't be complete without some love sent to the Brenda and Dylan shippers! Concerns about Brenda's self-growth aside, Brenda's romance with Dylan was a sweet throwback to the earlier high school seasons of the show.
Before Brenda went to find herself in London, she asked Dylan to "give [her] something to come back to," which is still tricky to this day. What about Dylan's thoughts? Brenda suddenly walked into his apartment and sprung her feelings onto him. Are we supposed to forget about Dylan's thoughts and feelings?
1 Everyone Could Take A Cue From Dylan
We know the characters of Beverly Hills, 90210 have their own unique appeal, but Dylan McKay had depth! It's well-established Dylan enjoyed reading books and dissecting poetry, so it's no surprise he was influenced by mantras and quotes of his heroes who came before him.
When Dylan came upon hard times, he tried to reason with Brandon. He dropped this nugget of wisdom during Season Five: his quote "May the bridges I burn light my way" was an important 90210 moment, and the characters should've taken it to heart!
References: Entertainment Weekly, BBC, The Cut, Glamour, TV Guide