August 14, 2008

Donna Won't Be There


One of the most horrifying admissions I can ever make in my life, thus far, is that I was a fan of the uber-cheesefest of the 90s, known as Beverly Hills, 90210. I was obsessed. Wednesday nights were sacred 90 viewing times, and Thursdays were spent rehashing the episode from the night before with my friend Sean. When 90 ended, there was a sense of sadness that a tradition was coming to an end, as well as a sense of relief that not only would I get my Wednesday nights back, but I wouldn't have to chuckle over Donna Martin Does Comedy, or Donna Martin Squeezes Into a Size Zero Jeans, or whatever the Kelly Taylor Crisis of the Week was.

You can imagine my horror at learning that such a sacred American institution was going to be butchered by the remake monster. How on earth could 90210 be remade for 2008? The blindingly loud 90s clothes, the actors old enough to be high school teachers playing high school students, Brandon and his Shelf of Hair and his Big Honking Watch, Steve and his desperate sign of virility, the 'Vette. Never mind the biggest bitch on t.v. before Amanda Woodward showed her claws on Melrose Place - - Brenda Walsh. Brenda was a bitch with a capital "B" and the worse she got, and the wonkier her eye appeared, the more I loved it. Her eventual replacement, Val, was a bitch too - - actually an even bigger, sneakier bitch but she wasn't an undercover bitch like Brenda and therefore not nearly as cool.

So no way, no how can such televised perfect be remade, replaced or redone. I totally expect the remake to go down in suck-ass flames. But when I heard that, first, Jennie Garth would join the cast in a recurring role as Kelly Taylor (what else), I knew I would have to watch the suckfest. Would Kelly still be with Dylan? Would Kelly still be operating the little p.r. firm she was starting when the show ended? Or would she be starting her twentieth career? Turns out that Dylan won't be happening. Bummer. And Kelly will be a guidance counselor at good old West Beverly. Seriously? Where is Mrs. Teasley? And who exactly would think it's a good idea for Kelly "DrugAddictBoyfriendStealingCultVictimRapeVictimCareerChangingCheatingHobag" Taylor to advise teenagers? Because she most certainly did not do a stellar job guiding herself.

So Jennie Garth was in and next we heard that Tori Spelling had been approached to reprise her role of Donna Martin Silver. Because, of course, we can't have Kelly without her eternal sidekick Donna - - if these two not only lived together as roomies at the "Beach Apartment" but ran a clothing business together and worked together all day, you can bet your ass that Donna will be at good old West Beverly too.

Still an assfest, but more watchable.

Then the new show dropped a bomb - - Shannen Doherty was coming back as Brenda! Brenda was back! The bitch was back! And quite naturally, working as West Beverly as a drama teacher. But of course. You didn't expect her to be working behind the counter with Nat at the Peach Pit, did you?

No Dylan. No Brandon. No Steve. No AN-drea/OHN-drea. No David (small miracle). No Jim and Cindy Walsh. But with Brenda, Kelly and Donna, let's see what kind of trouble and dirt these girls can dig up now they are in their 30s.

But no. Apparently the show's producers only offered Tori half of what they were offering to pay to have Brenda and Kelly return to the old zip code. So Tori decided to bail.

Bad, bad decision. First, Donna isn't and wasn't nearly as important as Brenda and Kelly. Originally the show was about Brenda and Brandon. She's vital. Kelly was the first friend Brenda made and she was the stereotypical Beverly Hills girl - - blonde, bitchy and recovering from rhinoplasty. Kelly would also become Brenda's nemesis when Dylan was forced to choose between the two of them. So she's definitely vital. Donna however. Yes, Donna became more of a central character as the seasons passed, particularly once Brenda departed for London (and Doherty departed for Charmed). But originally she was little more than a walk-on character who was less important that AN-drea/OHN-drea or David Silver. Not good.

Tori Spelling's acting career hasn't exactly flourished since 90210's demise. I did watch So NoTORIous and girlfriend can definitely do some mean self-parody. I also watch her current reality t.v. show on Oxygen and she seems like someone who would be pretty cool to hang out and dish the dirt with. That being said, I don't think the networks or executives are exactly knocking down her door with scripts and parts. According to the mantra preached over at Oxygen, Tori isn't rolling in the money . . . which begs the question, why turn down a guaranteed part? Maybe you're not making as much as Jennie or Shannen, but you're still bringing home a paycheck for a recurring role and you're putting yourself back on prime time t.v.

Big mistake, Tori.

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