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Beverly Hills, 90210 was one of the most popular teen dramas during the early 1990s. It ran on Fox for ten years (from 1990 to 2000), and had all but changed its entire principal cast by the end of the show's run. It is generally agreed that the show declined in quality after the cast graduated high school.The show focused primarily on the Walsh family, particularly fraternal twins Brandon and Brenda, who had just moved into Beverly Hills and were (at least initially) suffering a certain degree of culture shock. It is worth noting that the Walshes were the only original characters absent in the finale. The action also included the twins' friends Dylan, Steve, Andrea, Kelly, Donna, and David. The show managed to touch on almost all social issues, including drug use, drunk driving, rape, unprotected sex, abortion, and even apartheid. (There is a persistent rumor that Spelling wanted to license a U.S. version of the Degrassi franchise but was turned down by that show's producers).The show's casting includes some of the most dramatic examples of Dawson Casting in recent memory, to the point where many sites often refer to the trope as "90210 Syndrome". Luke Perry was 25 when he began playing Dylan as a junior; even worse, Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea), was 29 playing 16.Had a Spin-Off in Melrose Place (which itself had a less successful spin off in Models, Inc.) and a more recent Sequel Series simply titled 90210. The new series is mostly focused on a new cast of characters though Donna and Brenda have made cameo appearances and Kelly is an important reccurring character. Also Kelly's sister, main character (Erin) Silver is technically from the original.
Domestic Abuser: Ray Pruitt repeatedly abuses Donna. Most infamously, he pushes her down a flight of stairs, semi-accidentally.
Dump Them All: In the original Beverly Hills 90210, this is how Kelly resolves the Dylan/Brandon love triangle. "I choose me!"
Early Installment Weirdness: It started as an episodic high school drama mainly focusing on the Walsh twins. Each episode had its own story and morale. From season two onwards, the plotlines started to arch over several episodes and the friends of the Walsh kids were given some limelight as well. And starting season five it went totally soap opera (similarly to Melrose Place).
Also, during the first season, the opening was very different. It was a series of scattered scenes with the main characters hanging out in Beverly Hills rather than an Opening Credits Cast Party, and it used an 80's styled pop/dance rendition of the show's theme song rather than the hard rock rendition used from season two onward note which was modified slightly in season four.
The Eighties: The first two seasons, but some shades of it are seen in season three and four. After season two, grunge fashion began to replace the bright colours and teased hair of seasons one and two. Justified, because 80s pop culture still persisted into 1992.
'80s Hair: All of the characters in season one and two (albeit a bit more muted in season two) but it disappeared throughout season three. Ironically, the character of Kelly, most obsessed with superficial things, kept her Madonna-inspired 80s hair and makeup into season four, but finally ditched it by season 5 for a post-grunge inspired look.
Remember the New Guy: Valerie Malone, who arrived on the show following Brenda's exit, was introduced as a lifelong friend of the Walshes. Her existence had never been acknowledged prior. Also principal Harry Wilson was introduced as Kelly Taylor's never-before-seen-or-mentioned neighbour and life-long friend. See, photoshopped picture, so it must be true.
Replaced the Theme Tune: "The Green Room," the first episode aired after the pilot, features a different theme tune. Check it out here. (By the way, the "Kelli Brook" listed in the end credits isn't that one.)
Revolving Door Casting: Relatively limited in the earlier years, but by the end the show had gone through many, many cast changes.
Unintentional Period Piece: This was the first of the many, many iconic teen dramas of The Nineties, and the first of many to fall into this trope. It also does a great job at keeping up with the times. Season one looks straight out of the 80s while season five and later look straight up 90s.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Naomi certainly does want Liam. Annie seems to either genuinely not like him, or denying/hiding the fact. Regardless, she'll fall soon with the way things are going.
Ambiguously Jewish: Silver is half-Jewish through her father's side, which traditionally would be the wrong side to make her Jewish but she did sit shiva for her mother (though this could be a case of the writers forgetting Jackie was never Jewish in the original series.)
Annie (Betty) and Naomi (Veronica), with Ethan (Archie).
Ivy (Betty) and Naomi (Veronica), with Liam (Archie).
Rhonda (Veronica) and Annie (Betty), with Ethan (Archie again).
Gender Flipped with Navid (Betty) and Teddy(Veronica), with Adrianna (Archie).
Then Teddy (Veronica) and Dixon (Betty), with Silver (Archie).
Max (Betty) and Austin (Veronica) for Naomi
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jen seemed like a nice, caring older sister to Naomi in her first appearance. Right until we learn that she slept with Ethan while he and Naomi were together (she would later go on to sleep with Liam while he was dating Naomi and blame Annie for it).
Annie and Dixon's cousin Emily seemed like a sweet, innocent girl who looked up to Annie at first. Then she turned all of Annie's friends against her, tried to steal Liam away from her, got Annie fired from her internship, and suspended from school... all while pulling the Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
Book Dumb: A rare female example - Naomi is of more or less average intelligence but it's frequently mentioned that's she's a poor student.
She's also the only one unable to figure out that Annie wrote Undressed after reading it.
Liam at the end of The Things We Do For Love and most of the next episode Misery Loves Company, much to the squee of fangirls.
The Bus Came Back: Season 5 seems to be doing this for everyone. So far Debbie, Tracy, Ty, Jasper, Emily, and an even Annie's ex boyfriend Jason have made reappearances and that's not counting anyone who comes Back for the Finale (which turned out to be no one)
Calling the Old Man Out: When Navid's father blames him for revealing information that led to the police investigating him for child pornography, Navid told his father that it happened because he (the father) broke the law.
Chekhov's Gunman: After Oscar completes his revenge on Laurel, he stays around to help Naomi against Mr. Cannon.
Ivy in Season 5. She didn't get a sendoff like Austin or reference to leaving like everyone else. She's just gone and no one seems to remember her. She didn't even get mentioned until late in the season.
Dawson Casting: Teddy Montgomery is 17 or 18. His actor, Trevor Donovan, is 31.
There's an In-Universe example with an undercover cop pretending to be a student who dates Ryan.
Suspension of Disbelief becomes incredibly hard in the later seasons, when characters who are supposed to be in their late teens/early twenties are sporting thinning hair, receding hairlines, and visible crow's feet around their eyes.
Disappeared Dad: The show loves this trope to the point of Unfortunate Implications - Ivy, Naomi (and thus also Jen), Liam, Adrianna, Silver, Sammy (Kelly's son) and most recently Navid, Annie and Dixon all have absent fathers. In fact none of the teenage cast have fathers much involved in their lives by late Season 3.
Enemy Mine: It's hinted Annie and Vanessa are going to have to work together to save Liam from a Loony Fan
Estranged Soap Family: Big time, even excluding those relatives who departed on bad terms. Notable examples include Naomi's mother Tracy who has not appeared since 2009 despite her daughter being raped, scammed out of her money by a cult, expelled from high school and nearly getting married.
Harry didn't show when Dixon almost died. And both parents were absent during his struggles with drugs.
Expy: At least initially the Wilsons where clearly intended to invoke the Walshes from the original series (Annie especially was very obviously the new Brenda) though it's lessened with time.
Dixon also shares a few similarities with Clay Carlin from South of Nowhere. He may be an example of what Clay would be like if he hadn't met Sean
Four Girl Ensemble: Annie is the sweet naive girl, Silver is the Deadpan Snarker, Adrianna is the one obsessed with glamor and fame, and Naomi serves as the cool big sister figure for the group.
The Generic Guy: Ethan had shades of this. There's a reason that no one misses him.
Huge Schoolgirl: Silver - Jessica Stroup is 5'8, which isn't so noticeable next to the only slightly shorter (and usually high heel clad) AnnaLynne McCord. But when standing next to the petite and waifish Shenae Grimes can look unintentionally hilarious.
Out of Focus: Navid was nominally a main character from the first episode on but he had very little to do early in Season 1 before eventually being linked with Adrianna (who oddly was not an official main character at first but had a lot of early focus). In Season 2 and 3 Matthews is frequently out of focus and gone by Season 4 considering everyone has graduated.
Taking the Heat: Austin took the blame for arson to protect Annie. Neither of them actually did it but the fire was started by Annie's friend Bree who was destroying evidence both she and Annie had been prostitutes; had Annie fingered Bree she would also have to reveal her own brush with prostitution and would have faced being kicked out of college at a minimum. Austin decided that Annie had more to live for so 'confessed' to get her off the hook.
Teens Are Short: Both averted and played straight - the teenage characters have a decent range of heights and the tallest male and female characters (Teddy and Silver) are teens but Ivy, Annie, Adrianna and more recently Holly are all much shorter than their parents.
'Here Comes Honey Bye Bye' with Riley's sudden death, Max and Naomi's breakup and the reveal that Teddy wants to use a surrogate
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Done with Annie's cousin Emily. Emily tells Annie's friends that she said a bunch of mean things about them (which wasn't true). When Annie calls her on this, Emily pretends to cry in front Annie's friends (who of course, side with Emily). Emily also trashes her own dressing room at the internship Annie works at and makes it look like Annie did it. The result? Emily is believed to be the victim and Annie is fired.