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90210 Character Profiles

posted by Dave on 3/14/01

I was getting set to return to what my loyal fans know is my bread and butter... my 90210 Secondary Character Profiles.. when I realized, I had not completed Part 2 of a previously started series. Now, sure I could have reposted this and included updated or additional info to make it interesting for people who might have read this one already... but that would require some work.. and I'm a lazy, lazy man.

If you haven't read this before at the previous site I was writing for.. please disregard the preceding paragraph. It's actually brand new. I was just clowning, dog.

For this two-part installment of my favorite Beverly Hills 90210 supporting characters, we’re going to take a look at two groups of people… First, are those whose main function during the high school years, were to remind the viewers that this was a show about kids in high school… and not just a bunch of people in their mid-twenties hanging out in an abandoned school’s hallway… Second up, are those people during the college years whose true purpose was to remind the viewers that Brandon was President of the student body of a university… and not President of his own small country. That’s right, I’m here to talk about my favorite 90210 high school teachers and college professors. For the most part these characters were involved in secondary plot lines. Occasionally, one would step up and be an integral part of the show for a few episodes… but their time in the spotlight was guaranteed to be fleeting. Before I dive into my favorites, I would like to use the first part of this two-parter to run down some of the major characters, then go through some highlights of what having teachers and professors allowed these characters to do… that might otherwise have not been possible.

What having teachers and professors involved in the plots did for Beverly Hills 90210:

They allowed Donna Martin to remind the viewers of her learning disability anytime she opened a book. It also provided her the opportunity to irrationally flip out anytime that David was within a two mile radius of her when she was studying. In college, having professors allowed us to witness Donna’s extensive six credit background in fashion design. It also provided her the opportunity to irrationally flip out anytime David was within a two mile radius of her when she was studying.

Without teachers involved in the plots, we never would have had Donna studying for a test once a season… because of this, we might have forgotten she even had a learning disability… and just thought she was flat out retarded.

They allowed Steve Sanders to find a way to get caught cheating and give either a heartfelt apology, helping meet his two per season quota of “learning his lesson”; or freak out and say, “Alright, so I messed up!”. Let’s take a quick look at some of Mr. Sanders’ academic “highlights”:
- Getting caught using the infamous “legacy key” to break into the school and using his freshman “buddy” to hack into the computer system to try and change his grades.
- Using detention as a place to find somebody to get him into the whole “underground” drag racing scene.
- Getting caught stealing a baseball from a professor’s office.
- Getting caught by the same professor, for turning in a paper that he printed out off of Brandon’s computer. He didn’t even try and change some words or phrases around… nope… changing the name on the front of the paper was about all the effort Steve had in him.

Without teachers involved in the plots, Steve would have been just another white kid, with an afro and a father named Rush… and not the fun loving troublemaker we all knew and kinda liked. (Solely cause he screwed over Brand-o at least three times a season.)

They allowed Brandon Walsh to take his mind off of being all worked up about social issues… and instead get severely pissed at Steve for cheating off of him, then ultimately forgiving him by the end of the episode. Before the apology was accepted, Brandon had to stare him down until Steve said, “Brandon.. I’m really sorry this time.”. After that, hugs were exchanged and it was a pretty safe bet that the word “bro” would be used. Teachers also made it possible for Brandon to portray the most realistic teacher-student relationships ever seen on television. I mean c’mon, who hasn’t watched in enjoyment, as a teacher shaves off his beard after losing a friendly wager with a student? (If I was a betting man, I would bet the house that the preceding comment is foreshadowing as to the identity of one of the teachers, who will appear in part two of this “two-parter”)

Without teachers involved in the plots, Brandon would have probably had to go to a nursing home to feed his addiction for “Kissing older people’s asses”. Quite possibly the same nursing home where Steve Sanders met Milton Berle, letting Uncle Miltie call him “Chuckie”, in that one episode.

They allowed Kelly Taylor to have offices to go to, that were safe havens, when she needed to schedule a make-up test or get an extension on a term paper because she had been a little preoccupied with (pick one): getting raped; the annual “attempted” rape; OTC diet pill addiction; sexual harrassment; getting shot and the subsequent amnesia that appeared two days after she had already come out of her coma; getting burnt in a fire (with a lesbian who falls in love with her); getting mugged; killing her mugger; having a miscarriage; joining a cult right on campus; having a coke problem; the annual getting dicked over by her father; breaking an engagement; calling off a wedding at the altar; or, last but not least… becoming friends with an AIDS patient even though it is obvious he would last 3 episodes at most. (Surely not enough time for the viewer to get to know the character well enough, to not think to themselves…”Oh… the guy who played Blossom’s druggie older brother died.”)

Now I know what you’re thinking… Hey some of these events occurred after Kelly graduated college… I know this, and in the future if you ever catch a factual mistake I might make in my writing, do me a favor. Take the energy that you would have spent e-mailing me and pointing my mistakes out to me… and use that energy to give yourself a round of applause. Then spin around in your chair while screaming, “Awww jeeeahhh!!”. Trust me, you’ll feel good doing it… and I’ll feel good not having my factual flaws pointed out to me. It’s called a win-win situation. ;)

Without teachers involved in plots, Kelly would have had even more free time to have every tragedy imaginable happen to her.

They allowed David Silver to have the belief that since he doubled up his workload in high school to graduate a year early, that he was exempt from ever being seen doing schoolwork again…. unless it was a video project in which he could involve at least one other member of the gang to help out with. This was usually followed by handing the project in as close to the deadline as possible. When he didn’t have any video projects to do, he would just go bug Donna until she yelled at him to leave her alone, because she had a learning disability that was diagnosed by her guidance counselor.

Without teachers involved in plots, David would still have sang his hit song, “Precious” at least fifteen times during 90210’s ten year run.


They allowed Dylan McKay to have one more thing to be indifferent towards, just because his father was Jack McKay. Being Jack’s son exempted him from being required to embark on a formal education. He went to high school just to hang out and say profound things by other people’s lockers. The most realistic part of 90210 was Dylan not giving a shit about his education because all he had to do was stay alive long enough to collect his trust fund. Jim Walsh never agreed with Dylan’s philosophy and fought him tooth and nail about his getting an education. With all the time Mr. Walsh spent trying to tell Dylan what to do… it’s no wonder he never had time to notice that his son had the same hairstyle for seven years… and his daughter moved to London and hadn’t come home in 3 years. Poor Jim and Cindy… the growing ridiculousness of plot inconsistencies bought them a one-way ticket to Japan.

Without teachers involved in plots, there would still be no way in hell that Dylan’s father, Jack McKay, got out of that car before it exploded.

Pictured with Mark Damon Espinoza as Jesse Vasquez

They allowed Andrea Zuckerman to have a reason to go to school. If there were no teachers, then there would have been no one to serve as moderator for The West Beverly Blaze. Without The Blaze, there is no reason for Brandon to take pity on her; letting “Chief” tag along as the ugly duckling of the gang. Instead, she would have been stuck at home playing mahjong with Grandma Rose every night. It was then that she would have learned that the reason why she looked about twice the age of a normal high school student was a genetic condition known as the “Zuckerman Accelerated Aging Process”, or Z.A.A.P. for short. Grandma Rose would then have admitted that she is really Andrea’s mother and actually only 35 years old.

Without teachers involved in the plots, Andrea never would have had the chance to follow the gang to the fictitious California University and use the phrases “saving my virginity” and “will spread them for the first guy desperate enough to have sex with me” interchangably.

So you see, even though 90210 unrealistically portrayed teenagers as having approximately two classes a day in high school and one class per semester in college… the few teachers there actually were, while maybe not indispensable to the show, did serve a purpose and did promote some entertainment value. In Part Two I will profile the teachers who deserve an apple for managing to leave their mark, despite the humiliation of having minor roles on a show that featured Gabrielle Carteris flexing, while standing next to a surfboard, in the opening credits.

Coming Soon... Part 2: The Teachers and Professors You Loved To... well, Feel Pretty Much Indifferent About.


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