Freelance writer, pop culture historian. general factotum.
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Episode Review: Beverly Hills 90210: Up in Flames (1994)
Oh hi. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled on this show in the middle of the afternoon. It was the days of miracle and wonder, this is a long distance call. Beverly Hills 90210 had rebounded (a bit) after showing Shannen Doherty das boot. In a move straight out of the Rick Zito/Billy Burnette/Fleetwood Mac playbook, Doherty was in effect replaced by Kathleen Robertson and Kelly Kapowski. Most of the gang appeared in this gripping episode entitled "Up in Flames."
College life seemed to be treating the kids well. By this point they bid adieu to dusty ol' John Sears and moved into the future with Casper Van Dien as Griffin Stone. Wow, that's a mid '90s name isn't it? Also Donna was seeing some scratchy voiced pumpkin salesman named Ray Pruitt. This episode dealt with Steve Sanders's entrepreneurial spirit via a run-down old house. He and Van Diem decided to have a House Party. The house (which belonged to Gig Young) was the site of a fabulous party. The problem? The electrical systems. The caterer warned Casper Van Diem about this problem and he didn't want to hear about it. Diem fool!
I have to say the party scenes were a joy to watch. It was a total gas seeing the kids dance to hits of the day from Jeremy Jordan, Little Richard, and Jade's "Everyday of the Week." While the old house was giving out of juice and letting off sparks, an absent and no-dancing Brandon Walsh had a compelling side story.
While his girlfriend was ready to burn to a crisp, Brandon was having old home week with Emily Valentine. What? Her! This is the episode after the two met up in old San Franciskey. And yep, this is the episode where Emily came back into Brandon's life with the silliest haircut ever. Emily in fact wanted to resume their relationship, Brandon was dating and having sex with Kelly Taylor. Life's funny. Did Emily expect him to pine for her, playing the Mills Brothers and hoping she'd call on his answer phone? I think not!
The gripping last scenes of this found aforementioned Kelly Taylor trapped in the bathroom (batroom) with this girl who was flirting with her. Folks were filing out as the smoke n' fire came tumbling down. David and Claudia, Rachael, Clare made it out. Steve and Cynthia, Kelly, Valerie put their clothes back on and hit the steps post-haste. Errbody was wondering about Kelly--she was still up in that house! Steve Sanders started to cry--and at the same time, Brandon was kissing Emily!
Episode Review ****
Breakdown: No doubt the show had past its peak, but during this season, the show did get a bump from sharper writing and often great production values. Not surprisingly the resolution of this plot twist helped to make the show tedious again and the show got silly again in short order.