Guilty pleasures

Posted on January 6, 2012


While most people were having their stomachs pumped for mulled wine and mince pie overdoses this New Year, I had other things on my mind. Ridiculously beautiful, filthy rich, shallow and mindbogglingly melodramatic American adolescent things, to be precise.

No, I’m not a really rubbish paedophile. I’m talking about the new series of 90210 – producer Rob Thomas’ remake of the original Beverly Hills cult classic show – which hit UK TV screens this week. Yeah that’s right, I love this trashy, intelligence-hoovering filth. Get over it.

Love them, hate them, but no-one can deny they pull off a bloody good pout

If there ever was a television programme that could actually make you shed brain cells over a one-hour viewing period, this is it. And yet I’m hooked. Whether it’s to ascertain if Harry’s cheating on his wife, or whether Erin Silver has miraculously recovered from her pretty unrealistic bipolar breakdown, I’ve avidly tuned into the dodgy acting and perfectly coiffed hair dos – without a hint of trepidation or shame – over the last couple of years.

Tuesday’s episode did not disappoint. We had a ridiculous Moroccan themed party in a million dollar LA mansion which culminated in a genuine marijuana bonfire, self obsessed psychopath Adrianna returned from the abyss to try and make peace with the best mate she almost (gasp) killed, and enter new character Austin who looks and sounds like a cowboy on steroids, and comes complete with his own pot-bellied pig. What more do you need? Plus if usual high school acting rules apply, the 18-year-old college boy cast are probably into their late thirties in real life, which makes it perfectly acceptable for me to fancy them. Like, totally.

Joey, Pacey and some serious teen angst. Intense.

I think my problem, er, I mean completely innocent obsession, with high school dramas, started back in my teen years when programmes like Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill ruled the TV waves. Well, sort of – they ruled the mindless chitchat of me and a few of my pre-pubescent mates, anyway. We were at the point in our lives when just getting out of bed and facing a load of hormone fuelled school kids every day was genuinely stressful, so had no problem relating to, and taking very seriously, the Joey-Dawson-Pacey love triangle. Sigh.

Then came The OC. America’s answer to Dawson’s but with filthy rich, uber high class protagonists and a whole lot more airbrushing. This was 2003 and I could still kind of get away with watching it as I’d only just left school, and the teenage angst of those years, behind. Yet now, several years later and teen angst free, I’m still glued to the same old trash, and am still enjoying it just as much. Even though life’s complications have accelerated far beyond deciding what to wear to the roller disco, I guess it’s refreshing to be reminded that even when you realistically shouldn’t have a care in the world, it’s human nature to create massive problems out of the most minor situations. And that if you roll a cheesey, electro soundtrack over the top of them, it makes great TV.

Maybe it’s the sunkissed skin and shiny hair that has me dreaming of a misspent youth on the beach, sipping Manhattans under lightly swaying palm trees, instead of the McDonalds foyers and park benches where the majority of my teen years were whiled away chugging cheap cider, or maybe it’s just the blind escapism of this ridiculous fluff that makes it so alluring to me. Either way, if 90210 is on the box then Newsnight can sod RIGHT off.

Posted in: Art and Culture