today, class, we're going to look at portrayals of sluts in the classic 90210 season 2 episode "wild fire." are you ready? no, really, are you? because this is where our 90210 problem solving steps it up to the next level. emily valentine is in the house, yo. shit is about to go down.
(would that there were an emoticon for the ominous drumroll [austin h. gilkeson, get on that], i would insert it here.)
please note: this woman is FILING HIS TOENAILS.
do teenage boys dream of this? seriously. do they? i don't know. someone, enlighten me, please. no judgement.
this woman emerges from the surf in a totally rocking ensemble from the frederick's of hollywood daywear collection, thus, establishing that this is maybe not real life. maybe it is all but a dream...
it is. women do not carry high heels on the beach in real life. only in brandon's dreams.
be honest. is your opinion of him in any way altered by the fact that his fantasies involve women filing his toenails and emerging from the surf in corseted hotpants?
omg, it's the first day of school. in case over the summer you've forgotten everyone who stars in 90210, we will now meet them all again.
these are kelly taylor's totally kicking new sneaks...
this is her enthusiasm...
who's this sharpening their pencils?
if you guessed that it was ahhhhhhhhhndrea, gold star for you!
rainbows are weeping at the atrocity of steve's shirt.
donna = wtf?
friends, all you really need to know about this episode is this:
hell yeah. based on the fact that her name's up there all alone and her character's name isn't even mentioned (as it is in later episodes), i'm wondering if maybe this was meant to be a one time deal. if the producers intended for emily valentine to roll into town, boff everyone and leave. lord, how much drama we would've been deprived of had that been the case.
so here's The Gang staring down west beverly high. they don't even know what they're in for.
BRENDA IS WEARING A TIE. and, oh yeah, scott's not dead yet. he's just back from that personality-altering trip to oklahoma, wearing his big-ass hat and waving a handful of country western discs in david's face.
SIGH. (he looks AT LEAST 35, right?)
let's take a closer look.
bleached hair? check.
leather jacket? check.
skeleton earring? check.
totally different other earring? check.
enormous guitar that won't fit in her locker? check.
fortunately, emily valentine's locker is right next to brandon's (DESTINY!). he offers to let her store her "axe" in the newsroom.
ahhhhhhhhhhdrea- who sometimes makes paris geller look zen- is PSYCHED. she has arbitrarily decided that this is the year they take the west beverly blaze big time. this year, they will be "award-winning"!!
this is ahhhhhhndrea feigning enthusiasm for emily valentine.
i would like to dwell on this shot:
in part, because it is interesting (how often do we see the school lunches of fictional characters on tv?). in other part, because the pan out from it is increeeeeeeeeedibly slow, so i feel the producers wanted us to linger here. they were obviously trying to convey deep thoughts about school lunches in beverly hills.
so let's do it. this is dylan mckay's lunch: mac and cheese, fruit cocktail, assorted vegetables and, obviously, milk. there you go. rock that tidbit at trivia night.
somehow- honestly, i can't remember- emily valentine winds up at a study group at the walshes. where she realizes that brandon and brenda are twins and confesses that she finds dylan mckay super cute.
news brenda does not want to hear.
because brenda and dylan are currently not dating. kind of. it's very difficult to keep up with them and half the time they don't even seem to know where they stand. but i think this was the breakup where brenda thought they were too physical and so she suggested that they should see other people. thus far, neither of them has seen other people, but that's about to end.
because dylan is totally seeing emily valentine.
who also has a date with brandon set for the following night.
which is awkward.
dylan takes emily to The Make Out Place
where he tells her what every girl wants to hear: "to be fair, i think i should tell you i just broke up with someone... we're not really broken up but we're not together either. i'm not really looking for anything heavy right now."
emily valentine looks deep into dylan's lips as she listens to his honeyed words.
oh no, david has totally got to pee. he asks scott to man the dj booth.
david: "look! i really gotta go. could you cover me while i hit the head?"
ooooooo, scott (who looks bizarrely like a hologram) has had an idea!
dear world, what is this woman wearing?
i realize the 90s were a time of lax fashion standards, but girl could play football in that blazer. that is acceptable by NO standards.
an authentic steve sanders pick-up line: "in some cultures, when a guy helps a lost girl, they're romantically linked for life."
much like brandon's toe-filing fantasy, this makes me look at steve sanders in a new light. he was obviously paying attention in sociology class. i would not've expected that.
kelly: "you know there's a name for a girl like her..."
ahhhhhhhhndrea, brenda, kelly, donna: "SLUT."
while i'm in no way advocating slut shaming, there is something rather nice about the way the beverly hills girls come together against the interloper emily valentine. so often they're at each other's throats and ahhhhhndrea is an outlier, but in this episode they really draw together, united by a common foe out to get all their men.
david is done pissing. he emerges from the "boys" only to have a country western ballad assault his ears.
scott, who was supposed to hit one button and instead put on a new record, is in no way repentant.
scott: "not everyone has your taste, david."
david: "THE WHOLE SCHOOL DOES! I'M A TASTE MAKER!"
this is emily valentine making the biggest mistake any girl who has just kissed dylan mckay can make- telling brenda walsh that you're going to the gynecologist because you're going on the pill. (take heed, ladies. take heed.)
brenda: "tell me, dylan, are you going out with her because you like her or because she'll sleep with you?"
dylan: "you gave up any right to ask me questions about my sex life when you decided you didn't want to be a part of it."
i've included the picture above for no reason other than that this kid kind of looks like nick carter and his pants are SO high waisted. awesome.
brenda's a bitch to emily valentine. emily valentine wonders what the hell is up with brenda.
brenda: "have a good time at the gynecologist."
(1) was this moment the advent of emo?
(2) are guitars really that big?
scott: "i brought something else back from oklahoma. something REALLY explosive."
seriously, oklahoma, what is up? it's like scott returned with an state-enduced lobotomy.
david is rightfully concerned about the explosive things scott has brought back from oklahoma.
this is where brandon takes emily to make out. isn't it beautiful? doesn't it look familiar?
it should because it's totally where emily valentine made out with dylan the night before. which is awkward.
brandon confronts dylan to find out if he and emily valentine are serious. they have all known each other a grand total of 3 days so, y'know, plenty of time has elapsed for them to form lasting bonds.
this is the explosive thing scott has brought back from oklahoma:
A SHIT TON OF FIREWORKS!!! ha ha ha! you were probably expecting a gun!
oh, but wait...
what's the appropriate response to your bff busting out a rifle while you're just hanging out in his backyard? this:
so the walshes are having this weekly cook out thing that we've never seen them have before but they've apparently been doing all along. and, of course, emily valentine is there because everybody loves emily valentine and all three of her boyfriends are also in attendance.
at this cookout, brenda says the latest in a long line of bitchtastic things to emily valentine.
so bad that everyone in the room (except cindy walsh, supermom) does that thing where you refused to make eye contact with the person saying the dreadful thing...
(ironically, in the long line of bitchtastic things brenda has said, this isn't even near the neighborhood of "have a good time at the gynecologist.")
emily valentine: "THIS ISN'T BEVERLY HILLS! IT'S KNOTS LANDING!"
cindy walsh counsels brenda that maybe she still loves dylan and they should totally be together and brenda realizes cindy is totally right. she and dylan should be together.
oh yeah. so there's this thing going on at west beverly called "hello day" where the juniors get together these groups of singers and change the lyrics of popular songs to reflect life at west beverly high. i cannot emphasize the lameness of this enough, nor the confusion created when all of the characters seem to treat the "o" as though it were silent. hell day, indeed.
so emily valentine was supposed to be in a group with our girls and they were all supposed to sing robert palmer's "addicted to love" as "addicted to clothes." and now brenda's called emily a slut and emily's nowhere to be found so they're going to have to drop out of "hello day" after they've worked so hard on their hair and make-up.
as is the case with nearly everything that happens in the 90210 universe, this totally screws over david silver, who is the emcee for this illustrious event and was counting on the girls to provide the finale.
brenda goes to find emily valentine and make things better. they have a heart-to-heart.
brenda's totally sorry that she wasn't ok with emily valentine sleeping with all those people.
BUT... emily valentine totally WASN'T sleeping with all those people! she's never slept with anyone! emily valentine's a virgin!
everything is better! emily's back in the "band"! they perform!
emily valentine makes meaningful eye contact with brandon.
brandon breaks ahhhhhhhhndrea's heart.
seeing david with his clipboard, scott realizes he no longer belongs in david silver's world.
brenda walsh <3 dylan mckay 4evah. he is her DESTINY.
to get back to the hello thing for a moment... this poster is confusing. because it suggests the hello day was only for the juniors, but our Gang are juniors, so they were welcoming.... themselves? what? huh?
i will now let these stills speak for themselves...
oH.MY.GOD. were you moved? did you weep?
look how resigned he is.... as his DESTINY barrels toward him in that unflattering dress.
there's a name for a boy like him...