We’ve made our gripes about Ian Ziering not getting to do a lot in this reboot, but put a feather in that towhead’s tight perm and call it macaroni because IZ is now the Cyrano de Bergerac of BH90210 and it’s the wildest gift we’ve ever received.
New head writer Anna, whom we last saw educating IZ on how to treat a woman in a post-Weinstein workplace, now finds herself at odds with the ever-growing demands of a cast of former ’90s TV stars turned self-serving producers. Reboots are usually reluctant to do any actual writing until they have the entire original cast onboard, BuzzFeed has predicted the plot, and James Corden has hummed the theme song in a Jeep Wrangler with Adele. But now that Shannen with an E has finally signed on and the cast photo has gone viral, Anna is feverishly at work developing a script for the pilot. But the cast is way harsh about the first draft and scrambling because the shoot is fast approaching.
Last week IZ was grabbed by his misogyny and taught that women are people, too, but there is just something about Anna: ambition? Brain? Lack of interest? Steve Sanders always liked someone who could cut him down to size (we don’t tell lies), so we guess it’s fitting that IZ is downright titillated by a woman who gives him the business. So much so that he decides to help Anna fix the show by sending her videos of the cast bickering behind the scenes as script inspiration.
Jason has nothing to do this week except rally the troops at his “club” to work on the rewrite. That’s enough for us, though, as it kept the gang together for the majority of the 44 minutes and held most of the extraneous characters and their plotlines at bay. Except BAG, of course, who is dealing with the fact that his wife is reeling from having her upcoming single leaked. The problem is that this is the premixed, pre-Auto-Tuned track. Like if Britney’s vocals were released without Keri Hilson’s vocals layered on top. The question mark is what blackmailing heathen would leak the track? Is it her stylist? Or is it perpetually creepy, all-access-pass Beautiful Boy?
Which brings us back to the thrills and chills that BH90210 has been trying to deliver all season. As expected, by the end of the episode, red herring BB is cleared as the track leaker, but ratted out as BAG’s son thanks to Shay’s private investigator. This reeked of “You ARE the father” from the beginning, so we’re glad for the reveal, Maury.
Despite some of the clunky feminist logic of Ian embracing a more equitable workplace — by essentially doing the female head writer’s job for her — we also got to spend more time with the women of BH90210 as a whole this week. Let’s relish in that.
Gab, feeling out of body as she attempts to dip her toe in the lavender lagoon, is a living, breathing Andrea Zuckerman story line come to life. We are transported into her fever dream and once again find ourselves in a Bizarro Peach Pit sequence where Gab relives the sad, ostracized story lines gone by of Andrea. The witches from Macbeth mispronounce her name and remind her that she’s just an urchin from Van Nuys. She pushes through to find her savior, Brandon Walsh, but really it’s Christine Elise, née Emily Valentine, in Brandon drag. We are so here for Gab’s continual queer evolution, which this week includes a few awkward almost-date moments with Fox exec Christine. But Gab worries that their lesbian connection might be less Cara and Ashley and more Rosie and Mo.
Jennie’s wannabe actress daughter Kyler has returned, and it turns out she’s a god-awful actress. Jennie and Tori don’t know how to break the news to her, so they decide to cast her as Donna’s daughter because that may require less acting, or less good acting at least? Consider us officially onboard with Kyler, who calls Ms. Spelling “Aunt Tori” and later admits to slashing Jennie’s tire in an attempt to get Bodyguard Wyatt to stay a little longer. Carrie Underwood taught baby girl so well.
And of course Shannen’s holding out boils over once more when she arrives at Jason’s club looking like Carmen Sandiego by way of Linda Perry, still unsure whether it’s spiritually sound for her to revisit her Beverly Hills roots. Only her iPhone meditation app can know for sure. When Christine reveals that Shannen held out so she could negotiate a better deal, the three other women saddle up to take her to task. When they find Shannen in her lanterned meditation room, Shannen’s not chanting, but listening to the My Favorite Murder podcast. (She’s hippie-dippie, but also into true-crime comedy, so multitudes!)
Thanks to Shannen’s Eckhart Tolle vibe, the four women dig in to start healing nearly 30-year-old wounds that originated from the rumored mean-girl atmosphere on the original 90210 set. All the old “high school” drama and resentments are rehashed in a woman-to-woman floor sesh: Shannen wasn’t resentful of Tori’s 56,000-square-foot family manse, or Jennie pulling out her hair and never getting any bad press for it, or Gab’s talk-show deal (OMG how we watched Gabrielle). But she did throw a script at Jennie’s head. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Lucky for those of you who, like us, recorded the Beverly Hills, 90210 E! True Hollywood Story on a VHS, the women reconcile and the cast is complete! Ian effectively Cyrano’d Anna into whipping up a brilliant revision (and in his car at that), and just in time because the shoot starts tomorrow.
So the pieces of this reboot seem to be falling into place — and by piece we mean hot piece Gab Carteris, who gets aggro enough to finally seal the deal with Christine. (Insert character actress of your choice screaming “Gay Rights” here. Ours would be Mary Kay Place.) But the set quite literally all goes up in flames just as the cast slo-mo walks to the studio, ready to tackle the pilot. On the stage door, scrawled in murder-y red font, is “Stop acting like I’m not even here.”
So who is left to blame? Poolside blackmailer? Tori’s wet-blanket husband, Nate? Is this the long-awaited cameo of Joe E. Tata? We’d love for it to be the work of a woman, but we just don’t see it. Whoever it is, we ask that you reveal yourself in episode five in time for Shannen to throw a script square at your head. Just beware, Ian may be taping the whole exchange as fodder for the next episode of BH90210.
• We are swooning for Ian and Tori in their dark-rimmed glasses they wear while “at the office.”
• Gab turned herself out.
• Jennie gets in a quick sick burn when she mistakenly says Gab played her mom on the original.
• “The real question is what is this thing about a dildo?” If Gab Carteris was really exploring queerness like the eggheaded union boss we know her to be, she’d be versed in the most basic of sex toys. At least give her “strap on.”
• The push and pull with Shannen has been dragged out over four episodes, so fingers crossed we get the Full Doherty in episode five.
• Tori casually mentions that she’s got feelings for BAG. We say yes, divorce your loser husband who’s just dead weight, but don’t shit where you eat. And certainly not where you’ve already shat, Tor!