90210: Even with its schizophrenic writing, I still love it a lot more than I love Gossip Girl (My thoughts on 90210 and Gossip Girl)
Last fall I had been planning to blog about every episode of 90210 and Gossip Girl as well as several other TV shows on a weekly basis, but for a variety of reasons I quickly fell behind on blogging about a lot of TV shows, so with the TV season over I’ve decided to write blog posts commenting on 90210, Gossip Girl and Parenthood’s seasons as a whole. I don’t why, maybe it’s because they are both teen dramas, but for whatever reason I’ve often found myself thinking about how much more I like 90210 than I like Gossip Girl despite all of its flaws whenever I’m watching 90210 or Gossip Girl, so I decided to do a post on why I like 90210 more than Gossip Girl, but there are a few things that I like more about Gossip Girl, which I’ll talk about later. Also, since it’s my personal opinion that the quality of the writing for 90210 has been roller-coaster ride at best over the years, I think I’m also going do another blog post where I reflect on my thoughts on the first four seasons of the show as well. With that said, here are my thoughts on 90210.
One of the biggest reasons why I love 90210 a lot more than I love Gossip Girl is due to the fact that I find the characters on 90210 far more relatable to most people than the characters on Gossip Girl are. With the exception of Naomi Clark, Navid Shirazi and Teddy Montgomery, all of the kids come from middle class families. Of the three of them, Naomi is the only one who comes from a rich family and makes it very obvious that she’s rich. In season three Naomi gained access to her trust fund when she turned eighteen, which based on how Naomi spends the money from her trust fund, it seems like it’s an unlimited amount of money. That seems rather unrealistic to me, but since this is a TV show I’m willing to let that go. Navid comes from a wealthy family due to the fact that his dad was a very successful producer in the porn industry before he was busted at the end of season three for using underage girls in his movies, but despite that Navid has always acted like a very normal teenager. Navid has never paraded around the show like he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, so it’s not very difficult for me to relate to him. One the reasons why I can relate to Navid is because there have been a fair amount of times throughout the show’s run where he’s acted a bit on the nerdy side, and I can definitely be very nerdy at times.
Teddy also comes from a wealthy family because his dad is a very success producer in the movie industry. I can definitely live with that since the show is set in Beverly Hills after all, and there are bound to be a lot of teenagers who come from families where their parents work in the entertainment industry. He can’t help the fact that he comes from a family where his dad works in the movie industry, and like Navid, Teddy has never waltzed around the show acting like he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Out of all the characters that have ever been on the show, Teddy is probably the one character that I can relate to the most. In season three, Teddy’s whole coming out storyline where he comes to the realization that he’s gay and he has to come to terms with his sexuality as he goes through the difficult process of coming out to all of his friends and figuring out what his sexuality means to him and what kind of life he wants to have is definitely my favorite storyline out of all of the storylines that 90210 has ever done, because I personally was able to really relate to it. It took me a really long time to come to terms with the fact that I’m bisexual and figuring out what my bisexuality means to me personally was often a very difficult and painful journey for me, but it was also very exhilarating and exciting at times as well, so I really appreciate that the writers of 90210 did that storyline with Teddy, and I thought that Trevor Donovan, who plays Teddy, did a fantastic job with that storyline as well.
When 90210 started, the characters Annie and Dixon Wilson were the main focus of the show during its first season. It’s obvious that the writers viewed them as being the show’s equivalent to Brenda and Brandon Walsh from the original Beverly Hills, 90210, especially since show started for them in very similar way to how the original series started. However, once Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair had complete creative control of the show at the beginning of season two, the focus of the show shifted mainly over to the character Naomi Clarke, and I think that was very smart move on her part in the sense that while Naomi’s wealth made her not the easiest character on the show to relate to, she was definitely one of the most interesting characters on the show at the time. I think AnnaLynne McCord is a very talented actress, and I think she does a great job of playing Naomi as a character that can be a major bitch at times, but not in a way that makes Naomi unlikable. AnnaLynne is really great at playing Naomi’s bitchy side in a way that’s very comedic and fun to watch. Also, throughout the show’s first season a lot of viewers that I encountered online were very critical of the characters Annie and Dixon, but namely Annie and Shenae Grimes’ acting, so taking the focus off of them and scaling Annie’s presence on the show back a little bit during season two definitely helped take a lot of heat off of Shenae Grimes; although, in Shenae’s defense, her acting on the show has greatly improved over the years. By really putting Naomi in the spotlight throughout seasons two and three, I think it also really helped set 90210 apart from the original series instead of having 90210 feel like it was trying to copy the original Beverly Hills, 90210.
Let me start out by prefacing my next point on 90210 by saying that I’m extremely behind on watching season four, but based on what I have seen of season four at this point in time, it seems like Patti Carr and Lara Olsen decided to shift the focus of the show away from Naomi a little bit and over to Silver when they became the co-showrunners of the show at the beginning of season four. If that was their intention, I have to say that I really like that decision for a lot of reasons. For starters, putting the focus on Silver gives 90210 roots back to the original series since she has always been the one main character on the show that links the show back to the original series due to the fact that she’s Kelly Taylor’s half-sister. Also, from a social and economical standpoint she’s essentially from middle class family, which more people can relate to than people can relate to Naomi who is very rich. That brings me to my biggest complaint about Gossip Girl.
I personally can’t relate to any of the characters on Gossip Girl with the exception of Dan Humphrey, because he’s a writer like me and he originally didn’t come from a wealthy family who lives on the Upper East Side. Although, his dad, Rufus, did marry his long-time on and again love interest, Lily van der Woodsen, which made him a member of Manhattan’s elite through marriage. In order to watch Gossip Girl, you basically have to suspend all disbelief and take your mind away to a fantasy land, because there are so many things about Gossip Girl that are totally unrealistic.
For starters, ever since the show started, the kids have never acted like teenagers, they’ve always acted like they were at least in their twenties: they drink alcohol openly, however they got it I don’t know; they go to extremely formal and adult parties and benefits for charities, and they’ve almost always have dressed in very adult clothes, and have been able to get jobs that people normally wouldn’t have been able to get unless they had a college degree, and to this day, none of them have a college degree. The character Chuck Bass in my opinion has always dressed as if he’s a middle-aged businessman and he often acts like a middle-aged businessman too. Somehow Chuck was able to buy a burlesque club back in season one without even being eighteen. In a later season, he also bought a hotel, which I think is even more absurd.
When Gossip Girl first started, one of my absolute favorite things about the show was the interactions between Chuck and Blair Waldorf, and I was so excited when they hooked up in episode 1×07 “Victor, Victrola”. However, Chuck and Blair’s romance became progressively sicker, more twisted and more abusive with each passing season, especially on Chuck’s end of the relationship: He was constantly sabotaging her relationships with other men, repeatedly hurting her emotionally and publically humiliating her as well. I was a huge Chair fan when they first hooked up in season one, but after I saw episode 3×17 “Inglourious Bassterds” where Chuck pimped Blair out to his Uncle Jack, asking her to sleep with Jack in an attempt to try and keep Jack from taking the hotel I mentioned earlier away from him. I wish I could say that was the worst thing that Chuck ever did to Blair, but it’s not. The worst thing that Chuck ever did to Blair was when he punched his fist through a window causing a shard of glass to cut her cheek after she told him that she had just gotten engaged to Prince Louis Grimaldi at the end of season four. When Josh Safran talked about that scene after that episode aired, he basically tried to justify Chuck’s behavior by saying that there was nothing wrong with Chuck’s behavior, because Blair wasn’t scared.
To me, that was complete and utter bullshit. Blair looked absolutely terrified by Chuck’s behavior and all throughout season five Chuck did numerous other things to hurt Blair, and yet Josh Safran was constantly gushing about what a great couple he thought Chuck and Blair were, trying to make their relationship seem like an epic fairytale romance. If you ask me, Josh Safran seriously needs to be in a very extensive therapy program if he honestly thinks Chuck and Blair’s relationship is a good and healthy relationship. The more power Josh Safran got as a writer for Gossip Girl, the more he ran the show into the ground, if you ask me. It’s an absolute miracle to me that the CW actually renewed Gossip Girl for a short sixth and final season given how much the ratings have dropped.
Now that Josh Safran has been named the new showrunner for Smash and he’s left Gossip Girl’s writing staff, I’m hoping that Gossip Girl at least has the chance of having a good final season. At the same time, I feel sorry for the fans of the show Smash that they are about to experience the absolute atrociousness that is Josh Safran’s writing. Josh Safran seriously needs to be banned from ever being able to write for another TV show again, and he needs to shipped off to a psych ward for the rest of his life without the chance of ever being released from it.
I’m so glad that none of the relationships on 90210 are sick and abusive like Chuck and Blair’s relationship is. I would say that anything one of the characters does on the show that ends up hurting the person that they are dating can simply be chocked up to the fact that they are young and are still learning how to be in mature romantic relationship. My favorite couple on 90210 is definitely Liam and Annie, A.K.A. Lannie, and the things that Liam or Annie have done that end up hurting the other person have only been due to immaturity on their part, and they are pretty much always truly remorseful for their actions when they make mistakes.
The biggest complaint that I have with 90210 is the fact that the writers aren’t very good at creating a natural build up to the characters getting together before they start dating. They pretty much throw two characters together very randomly and they just start dating. Although, with Annie and Liam they always seem to get together or at least start the process of becoming a couple only to have them break things off and go their separate ways an episode or two later. I really wish the writers would have Annie and Liam get together and have them date for an extended period of time, because I’ve always loved their scenes together ever since season one when Liam kept egging Annie on saying that he thought her nice personality was all an act and that she was basically a volcano waiting to explode, which she did in a sense after Naomi wrongfully accused her of sleeping with Liam in the season one finale.
This leads me to what is one of the very few things that the writers of Gossip Girl have done a better job of doing, which is how they handled the evolution of Dan and Blair’s friendship throughout the first four seasons before they became a couple during season five. I always loved the dynamic between Dan and Blair over the years, especially during the last half of season four when they developed a genuine friendship and Dan started developing feelings for Blair. Their burgeoning friendship was definitely one of my favorite things about season four, and I was thrilled when Dan and Blair became a couple about halfway through the fifth season. However, the writers quickly destroyed them as a couple in the last few episodes of season five when Blair once again started gravitating towards Chuck and eventually reunited with him in the season finale.
If you ask me, season five of Gossip Girl was amazing for the most part. However, the writers managed completely ruin season five with just the season finale alone. I personally feel like the season five finale of Gossip Girl was a major slap in the face to fans of the show everywhere, especially given how they handled Dan and Blair’s breakup. Blair didn’t even really breakup with Dan, she basically just ran straight into Chuck’s arms yet again. The writers also managed to assassinate almost every character on the show as well, especially Dan who teamed up with Georgina Sparks and is now determined to destroy the Upper East Side. Nate is pretty much the only character on the show that ended season five on a good note.
All in all, I’m very aware of the fact that 90210 and Gossip Girl are both far from perfect, but in terms of which show I like the most at this point in time, I would definitely say that I love 90210 way more than I like Gossip Girl. The characters on 90210 are simply more relatable, the way the relationships on the show are written are a lot healthier and mature, and it’s obvious that the people on the writing staff for 90210 aren’t all mentally ill and in desperate need of intense therapy like the writers of Gossip Girl are.
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