For months, the CW network has been pushing its reworking of the old teen soap "Beverly Hills 90210." When it finally debuted, Entertainment Weekly magazine joked: "'90210' is the Sarah Palin of TV shows -- it's new, it's pretty, few people have seen it in advance ... and its main purpose is to remind you of a trusty old product while adding some new vigor and soap opera to the cultural discourse."
Put aside that nasty insult aimed at the new star on the political scene. It's the "new vigor" phrase that's salient. The lame, recycled "90210" opened with -- an oral sex scene.
Mark your clocks: That's five minutes into the family hour, at 8:05 p.m. Eastern time. That's 7:05 p.m. Central, when teens have just finished supper. The strategy to lure teens with adult sexual matter continues. Those teens -- it is a show for teens -- were introduced to the refurbished show's brand-new teenager characters by having a girl walk up to a car in the school parking lot on the first day of school, and find her love interest in his car with a sort of panicked, yet winded reaction. Then up came another girl's head from his lap.
Obviously, this show is high on over-the-top shock and low on authenticity if it thinks that in broad daylight, at school bus-unloading time, teenage boys are having sex in the driver's seat of their cars. But all that matters is the shock.
CW executives might argue that the audience approves of this show. Publicists crowed that the "90210" debut set "network records," but this is like saying someone achieved their personal-best 100-yard-dash time of three minutes. It brought in 4.9 million viewers. But the cable network TNT easily topped that with their new legal drama "Raising the Bar," which opened with 7.7 million viewers. It's also unclear if the show's ratings will remain at the debut's level now that the curious viewer caught a sleazy sample.
As for the show's stars, they're already showing time-honored Hollywood hypocrisy. Jennie Garth, one of the original "Beverly Hills 90210" stars who signed up for the sequel, suggested parents should watch the show first before letting "your young kids" watch it. When asked if she would let her young ones watch, Garth exclaimed "Hell, no!"