THE DEPTH OF MY emotion at the end of "Beverly Hills
90210"-the series concludes with a two-hour special Wednesday night at 8 on
WNYW/5 -can not match that of Aaron Spelling's.
Nothing compared to seeing the tears welling in his eyes as he watched on
the big screen the images of the legendary Class of 90210 who came back to pay
homage to the series and the master storyteller in last Wednesday's special
"Beverly Hills 90210: The Final Goodbye." Those thespians Tiffani-Amber
Thiessen, Gabrielle Carteris and even Jason Priestley were among cast members
who shared memories, anecdotes and unforgettable scenes with Spelling, the Mr.
Scheherazade of teen TV drama who kept some of us enthralled for what seemed
like a thousand and one nights (actually it was 300).
Not since the finale of "Melrose Place" last year has there been such an
outpouring of sincere sentiment.
I'd be crying all the way to the bank myself suddenly losing this paycheck.
Spelling has enormous expenses running that $55 million house in Beverly
Hills, with the cost of trucking in snow for Christmas and the upkeep of the
bowling alley in the basement where Tori and Randi played "Bowling for Dollars."
But that was a drop in the bucket compared to the tears that will flow in
Wednesday's real finale.
As you've already heard, in the two-hour end to the longest-running teen
drama in history, David (Brian Austin Green) proposes to and marries Donna
(Tori Spelling). Meanwhile, Kelly (Jennie Garth) must decide between Matt
(Daniel Cosgrove) and the moody loner Dylan (Luke Perry), as Steve (Ian
Ziering) becomes Mr. Mom at home, and Janet (Lindsay Price) struggles with the
new job and Noah (Vincent Young) struggles with the "C" word (commitment) to
Ellen (guest star Heidi Noelle Lenhart) and her child.
It's still hard to believe "90210" is finally history. In its ten years the
numbers "90210" have become engraved in the heads of a generation the way
others once remembered "54-40," "1776" or "21 Jump Street."
Although we have all spent more time watching TV shows about high school
than we spent in high school, West Beverly High was something special. It was
the kind of place where they had 1.4 BMWs per student capita (some left the
spare parked at school). Other schools had shop; they taught shopping. Kids
didn't have to take Home Ec, because they all had cooks. "Hold all my calls
until I finish my algebra," they tell their "people" in the real Beverly Hills.
Art followed life at WBH.
Everybody is so wonderfully rich, thin and cute. The 30-something male
students could win James Dean look-alike contests. The coeds were so glamorous
Although I'm more of a "Freaks and Geeks" high school kind of guy -and
before that, "Square Pegs" -I could grow accustomed to a school like that.
Sure, I poked a little fun at the show over its 10 years. But it also did a
lot of good things.
It expanded the world of what teenagers on TV were interested in-besides
sex, shopping and spending their parents' money. "90210" broke ground by
tackling, or at least touch-tagging, real adolescent problems: parental abuse
of drugs and alcohol, and other family tensions, eating disorders, suicide,
drinking, cocaine, rape, dating, life.
"The show taught me so many lessons," explained Shari Weiss of Garden City
South, who is 12� and a junior high honor student, "and now when I have to deal
with these major crises, I know the consequences."
It became sort of silly and boring in the fourth year when the 30-year-olds
finally went to so-called college, "California University." They aged, but
didn't mature. CU seemed like a place to hang out until a condo became vacant
at Melrose Place.
Watching "90210" was such an important part of the ritual of living for so
many viewers, openly or in the closet. You'd be amazed at the numbers of secret
"90210" fans. What will happen now, cut off from new experiences to grow with?
Will the really dedicated followers rapidly age with the demise of the show,
like an electronic-age Dorian Gray?
We will see. Meanwhile, those who love the show or love to make fun of it
will miss Donna's ever-changing hair color, Steve's pranks, Kelly's problems,
David's angst, Dylan's whining -and the memories of Brenda, Andrea and Brandon.
"Goodbye to the real world of '90210,'" as Ann Covello of Valley Stream said
in her eulogy.
What I will miss most are the visits to The Peach Pit, the malt shop of my
dreams. A small piece of that institution is in my possession. For those who
really care, and wish to own such a memento absolutely free, check out the
Marvin Kitman Show's Newsday Web page for details of a thrilling
once-in-a-lifetime offer: www.newsday.com/mainnews/