The 90s Smash Hit Returns

90210: The iconic Beverly Hills zip code. It was the zip code that we all wanted to live in during the 90s, while we hung out with the charming and dramatic characters from the show of the same name. Many of us rabidly watched this show for 10 years from week to week, as well as its spin-off Melrose Place.

The Original Show:

The show followed the adventures and romances of a group of teen friends in an iconic bastion of wealth in Southern California. It was an early hit that, along with “The Simpsons,” helped put the Fox network on the map. The show was groundbreaking and tackled a lot of controversial social issues that had been, prior to this show, rarely mentioned on television. Nothing was taboo – drug addiction, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, date rape, stalking. The show opened the conversation to include teens and to subtly educate them as to pitfalls and perils that faced the youth of America then and now.

The Return:

The show is now set to make a huge comeback later this year. Most of the original cast has signed on to do the reboot/remake. Will it be our 90210ers, all grown up and now facing adult problems? Or will it be a parody of that iconic show? I think most of us who watched the original 90s show have often thought “I wonder what they could do with this show today?”

I’ve read several vastly differing versions of exactly what would be the premise this time around, but the main storyline seems to be this, according to their press release:  

“Instead of the initially assumed reboot that would bring back the cast as their iconic characters, the revival — which has officially been ordered at Fox — will see original series cast members playing exaggerated versions of themselves in an hour-long mockumentary-style dramedy. The group reunites to work out a 90210 reboot but run into drama before they can actually get anything off the ground.”

Missing Pieces:

As of Monday, there will now be one huge, gaping, vastly unfillable hole.

The loss of Luke Perry, who played rebellious teen heartthrob Dylan McKay in the original show, puts a kink in this new venture. His death on March 4, 2019, due to the massive stroke he suffered the previous week leaves a tremendous void in what had promised to be an interesting remake of the original show. The questions now are how will the show deal with the loss of such an integral character? How will his current hit show “Riverdale” deal with the death of such a central character?

Neither Luke nor Shannen Doherty, who played Brenda Walsh, have signed onto the project as of yet. However, their absences, especially Perry’s, will now have to be dealt with.  

A Personal Reflection:

Speaking from a personal standpoint, I had the extreme good fortune to encounter Luke on two occasions. The first time was at the Cat & Fiddle Pub and Restaurant when it was still on Sunset. The second time was as an extra on a movie lot. On both occasions, he was one of the nicest individuals I’ve ever met. So down to earth, sincere and polite.

At the Cat, it was one of those very crowded nights, and we were both standing at the bar, trying to get drinks. He was pushed into the back of me by people behind him, and I was pinned against the bar. Initially, I couldn’t see who was behind me, but I laughingly quipped “since we’re practically making babies, my name is Tami”, and stuck my hand over my left shoulder. He shook my fingers (probably all he could reach), and simply said “I’m Luke.” Just then, they came to take my order, and I asked the bartender to help my new friend behind me as well, still not knowing who “Luke” was. I was even going to pay for his drinks, but when she came back with all the cocktails, he handed her his card, and said, “This one’s on me”. He then helped push back through the crowd so I could turn around, only to be face to face with Luke Perry. All the thoughts that flashed through my head… but the main one was “OhMyGawd, it’s DYLAN MCKAY.” All the while, trying to maintain my “Hollywood Cool” and not totally fangirl out!!! It was close, but I held on to my composure.

After I got back outside to the patio, with the drinks for me and two of my friends, I noticed he and his then-wife were sitting practically at our table, on the fountain wall. He said to his wife “She’s my new baby momma”, and we all had a great laugh while he proceeded to explain what had transpired inside to her. They didn’t stay very long, but it was such a fun encounter. It’s always so cool when you meet someone you greatly admire and find out they are well worth your adulation. His very tragic, early death at age 52 makes me truly sad. He leaves behind a fiancé, his former wife, and 2 children.

In Conclusion:

What the series 90210 (the reboot) will do with this new development is a big question mark. I’m quite sure it will affect the cast, who he was all still very close to, and also, their characters greatly. As it will his current show, “Riverdale”. Perry hadn’t yet signed on to do the reboot, but he had previously mentioned he would be very interested in a few cameos, at the very least.  His absence will be widely felt by all. What might have been? Now, we’ll never know…