Some thoughts on Lifetime’s Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story

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One of the perks of being on crutches – and believe me, there aren’t many – is that I have a lot of downtime to watch television. I was out of work for two and a half days adjusting to life with crutches, which gave me plenty of time to clear out the old DVR and catch up on some shows that I’ve really been wanting to watch (I finished Mr. Robot in a day). I’m back to work now, but as do anything on my crutches is exhausting, especially since I have to conquer stairs to leave my apartment building, I’ve been mostly homebound. That meant I had plenty of time this weekend to watch Lifetime’s latest terrible unauthorized movie on the 90s series Beverly Hills, 90210 as well as the specials that followed: Tori Spelling: Celebrity Lie Detector and Beyond the Headlines: Beverly Hills, 90210. I’m not saying that I’m particularly proud of any of this, but as a kid that grew up watching the show, I figured it was my duty to my generation to tune in. Besides, I didn’t have a heck of a lot else going on.

Now, having watched many of these Lifetime movies, I had no delusions of grandeur. These movies are always pretty terrible, but that is half the fun of them. Having watched the unauthorized Saved by the Bell and Full House movies, I had a pretty good idea what I was in for: a bunch of actors that aren’t very good and that look only vaguely like the people that they are depicting, rehashing info that any fan of the show already knows, “scandalous” revelations that aren’t at all scandalous and a very limited music budget. The movies also tend to either dwell on one particular era of the show for most of the movie or do a very cursory examination of the show’s run. If you are looking for in-depth stories and nuance, these Lifetime originals are not for you.

The Unauthorized 90210 Story focused primarily on the first season of the show with the main emphasis on this disruptive influence that was one Shannen Doherty. This is not a shocking revelation; even in the early era of the Internet, I think everyone who watched 90210 knew that Doherty was a problem behind the scenes. That wasn’t a very well-kept secret. So it was disappointing that the 90210 movie decided to spend so much time focusing on this without giving any real interesting insight. Mostly she just seemed to be late a lot and was difficult to work with; there were no bombshell revelations about some truly awful stuff that she did. The fact that the entire cast voted to have her fired was the closest that the movie came to any interesting new information, and that might not even be that new. By the time they wrote the character of Brenda off 90210, I was already beginning to lose interest. So it’s quite possible that was widely reported at the time and I just missed it. The movie actually ended once Shannen Doherty left the cast, which means that six seasons of the show were completely ignored. I’m sure something interesting happened during that time, but since Lifetime choose to spend so much time on the origins of the show, there just wasn’t any additional time for it. The biggest revelation from the Lifetime movie was that apparently Jason Priestley and Brad Pitt were roommates at one point.

As usual, the movie doesn’t get a lot of things exactly right. I am by no means a huge 90210 fan – I think I quit watching regularly once they went to college – but even I know that they didn’t get the dresses right for the episode where Brenda and Dylan sleep together for the first time at a dance. That should have been something pretty easy to fact check, but just didn’t happen. More egregious in my mind are some of the things that they skipped over that occurred during the first four seasons of the show; how you can do a movie about 90210 and not give any attention to the “Donna Martin Graduates!” episode is beyond me. That’s just simply irresponsible. There was also no mention of the episode where David’s friend accidentally shoots and kills himself, which I remember being something of a big deal at the time.

The big surprise of The Unauthorized 90210 Story was that they actually managed to hire an actress that looked strikingly like Jennie Garth. The rest of the cast bared only a minimal resemblance to the actors that they were portraying, but the woman playing Jennie Garth looked so much like her that at certain angles I had to remind myself that it wasn’t actually her. I think that’s the closest that any of these Lifetime Unauthorized movies have come to finding actor doppelgangers. The actress who play Shannen Doherty was close and certainly had the attitude down; the rest were kind of forgettable. Much like the early years of 90210, Brian Austin Green, Gabrielle Carteris, Tori Spelling and Ian Ziering were mostly marginalized in the Lifetime movie. I don’t think that they let the actor who played Brian Austin Green do much of anything but dance and the actress playing Carteris had only a handful of lines. There was a scene involving the entire cast where the Tori Spelling character was inexplicably missing. Perhaps the worst casting choice was Dan Castellaneta to play Aaron Spelling; Castellaneta may be great as the voice of Homer Simpson, but that doesn’t translate well into playing a real-life person. In his hands, Aaron Spelling seemed more like a cartoon character than an actual person. Total misfire in my opinion.

I learned far more from the Tori Spelling: Celebrity Lie Detector special than I did from the 90210 movie, which is to say that I learned one kind of big thing: Tori Spelling slept with Jason Priestley. Tori Spelling was hooked up to a lie detector and asked a series of questions and it was then revealed if her answers were truthful or not. She didn’t lie very often – the funniest example is when they asked her if she thought The Unauthorized 90210 Story was a good movie and she said yes, which was revealed to be a lie – and a lot of the questions weren’t all that exciting either if you knew anything about Spelling. The host was super annoying – I don’t think she knows what “groundbreaking” or “shocking” actually mean – but it was at least trying to unearth some interesting stories. Sure, some of the stories that Tori told were not verified by the lie detector so who knows if she was telling the truth, but at least she was actually on the show. And honestly, I don’t know that there is much that I really needed to know about 90210.

That being said, I just can’t quit these ridiculous movies so I’ll be tuning in this Saturday for The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story, which is a show that I didn’t even watch. So while my investment is pretty low, I’ll probably “learn” more from this movie. I sincerely hope that Lifetime continues to pump out these godawful movies; they are just so comically bad that I can’t look away. They are the epitome of a guilty pleasure, especially if watched live with Twitter. At this point I think I’ve become numb to how terrible these films are and I have such lowered expectations that they are just pure mind candy.

If you missed The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story and still want to see it, it will air again on Lifetime on Saturday before the Melrose Place movie (and presumably is on demand).

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Getting Old Edition

It’s my birthday this weekend, which is usually cause for celebration, at least in my eyes. Everyone else just kind of humors me. This year, however, I’m just not feeling it and am kind of dreading having to say that I am a year older. There is not legitimate reason for this apathy – it isn’t a “milestone” birthday or anything – and I know turning a year older beats the alternative, but I’m just not in a celebratory mood at all this year. Perhaps I’ve finally gotten over the excitement for my birthday that everyone else got over when they were a kid. Perhaps it is because this year a lot of people have yet to respond to my unofficial party or can’t come. Perhaps it is because I do so many awesome things throughout the year that I don’t really need this excuse to make a big deal out of one particular day. Whatever the reason, as Saturday approaches, instead of my usual giddiness, it’s being greeted with a shrug. I’m happy to see my friends, but that’s about it.

Pop culture, on the other hand, still makes me excited and I had a lot of fun compiling your biweekly roundup of all the pop culture goodness that you might have missed. I just kept finding all sort of cool things to include. So while I attempt to determine what exactly is bumming me out, kick back and enjoy:

  •  Congrats to Bob Newhart for winning his first Emmy! The full list of Creative Arts Emmy winners can be found here. The Primetime Emmys will air on September 22. There may be a live blog.
  • The West Wing fans – Allison Janney performed “The Jackal” last night on the newly revived The Arsenio Hall Show.

 

  • Everyone that I know that watched the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez fight last weekend was disappointed. Snoop Dogg Lion, however, won over a pound of weed on that fight.
  • After a lackluster performance at the box office, the planned sequel to The Mortal Instruments has been delayed indefinitely.
  • A new season of Key and Peele debuts tonight:

 

  • Best. Parents. Ever.
  • Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, will be released next Tuesday.
  • People keep making Breaking Bad musicals. Check out Walter White and the Mazing Blue Crystal Meth:

 

  • This is probably NOT a good sign: Pirates of the Caribbean 5 has been shut down indefinitely for script maintenance. Probably for the best; this movie is wholly unnecessary.
  • Eddie Murphy did a reggae song with Snoop Lion. I have no idea if this is supposed to be a joke or not:

 

  • The O.C.’s Sandy Cohen and Ryan Atwood (Peter Gallagher and Ben McKenzie in real life) reunited at Gallagher’s daughter’s concert.
From @petergallagher

From @petergallagher

  • The O.C. is getting a a remake – in Turkey.
  • I am a fan of both Metallica and bluegrass, so I really enjoyed this cover of “Enter Sandman:”

 

  • The first three hosts for SNL have been announced; Tina Fey kicks the season off, followed my Miley Cyrus and Bruce Willis.
  • Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video is greatly improved with the addition of Nicolas Cage:

 

  • Watch this guy do 13 Muppet impressions in a minute:

 

  • Speaking of Muppets, they did all sorts of great stuff since the last round up. Cookie Monster spoofed some movies:

 

  • Elmo (or a reasonable facsimile) hung out with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen:
@SirPatStew

@SirPatStew

  • Grover sang with Dave Matthews:

 

  • Cookie Monster also found some time to hang out with Loki:

 

  •  UC Irvine is offering a free online course on The Walking Dead. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I may have to take this just for kicks. I’m thinking that could really spruce up my resume.
  • Ha! Watch Todd from Breaking Bad gun down Justin Bieber:

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No Biebers were harmed in the creation of this GIF

No Biebers were harmed in the creation of this GIF

  • He’s still really good looking, but I’m not digging Joe Manganiello as much without his beard.
  • Eminem turned up during the Michigan/Notre Dame game. It was awkward, to say the least.

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  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller recreated with LEGOs:

 

  • Britney Spears is rumored to be earning $15 million per year for her Vegas residency. Seems as good a reason as any to finally plan my first trip to Vegas.

 

  • This local sports anchor worked 41 Seinfeld references into his segment:

 

He also did a segment full of old school rap references and wrestling references. I think this guy and I could be fast friends.

  • Also announcing tours: Robin Thicke, Jay Z and Kanye (the latter who I am going to see in Madison Square Garden!)
  • Cecily Strong is joining the soon departing Seth Myers at the SNL Weekend Update desk. The last few people to sit at the desk (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon) have gone on to some pretty great things.
  • A writer at UPROXX wrote a tribute to one of the greatest episodes of It’s Always SunnyChardee MacDennis. I wholeheartedly concur.
  • The Ohio University marching band preformed a rendition of Ylvis’ viral sensation The Fox during their game against Marshall.

 

Haven’t see the video for The Fox yet? Here it is, in all it’s weirdness. Watch it now, thank me later.

  • Breaking Bad fans are the best. Los Pollos Hermanos now has its own Yelp page, full of reviews.
  • Fiona Apple covered “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka for a Chipotle ad:

 

Trailers! Get your trailers here:

  • Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco:

 

  • National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, starring Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin:

 

  • Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe and Michael C. Hall (that’s kind of a weird combo):

 

  • Will Forte and Bruce Dern star in Nebraska, the latest from director Alexander Payne:

 

  • James Franco and Jason Statham are in a movie together. Yes, I’m serious.

 

  • A photo of Justin Bieber holding a script for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie almost broke the Internet.
@justinbieber

@justinbieber

No – he isn’t playing Robin.

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups:

  • Who knew that Marty McFly was such a screamer?

 

  • A Billy Joel/Kanye mashup sounds way better than you would think:

 

  • Blurred Sanford mashes up Blurred Lines and the Sanford and Son theme song:

 

  • This supercut proves Bill Murray is an awkward kisser.

 

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail gets a modern trailer remix:

 

  • Les Miserables…..with light sabers:

 

  • Good Will Batman (NSFW):

 

  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets the Cheers opening credit treatment:

 

  • And finally……The Dukes of Heisenberg:

 

Have a great Wednesday!

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Time on My Hands edition

Because I had such a slow weekend last weekend, I had a lot of free time to surf the web and collect news stories the few hours that I wasn’t watching House of Cards or sleeping. My boring weekend is your gain – this week’s edition of the pop culture roundup is jam packed with fun stuff. But don’t get too used to this – I think my next completely free weekend is sometime in October.

  • Jon Stewart is taking a three month hiatus from The Daily Show.  John Oliver will fill in as host.
  • Speaking of The Daily Show, this recent segment on maple syrup slayed me. I was literally laughing out loud. Well done.

 

  • Rest in Peace, Bonnie Franklin. The actress, best known from One Day at a Time, passed away at the age of 69.
  • I don’t watch the show Switched at Birth, but this is very cool – Monday night’s episode was done entirely in sign language.
  • Happy birthday to The Big Lebowski, which turns 15 years old today! The Dude continues to abide.
  • This doesn’t quite reach the beauty of the death star construction request, but there is an active petition request to the Obama Administration to change the national anthem to R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).” I’m not saying it is a good idea, but that would be way more fun way to kick off sporting events (added bonus – no high notes):

What’s more American than “it’s the freaking weekend, I’m about to have me some fun?”

  • My red hot disdain of Kristen Stewart has been duly noted on the blog, but she doesn’t have a monopoly on my fury. In fact, I might even despise Taylor Swift more. Her latest crime? Implying that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are going to hell because of a joke they told about Swift at the Golden Globes.
  • While we’re on the subject of people who I dislike, Halle Berry is confirmed to appear in the new X-men movie.
  • The Hold Steady is recording a song for the third season of Game of Thrones, lyrics by George R.R. Martin.
  • A trailer for the new season of Mad Men has been released. Can’t wait!

 

  • A new trailer for Iron Man 3 was released yesterday:

 

  • Fox has renewed The Following, New Girl, Raising Hope and The Mindy Project.
  • Joan Rivers has launched a new webseries where she interviews celebrities in bed.
  • Ben McKenzie has been cast in a pilot at CBS, which means that the renewal of Southland is not a sure thing.
  • I still don’t understand what is going on with Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un.
  • Ha! This timely House of Cards parody, House of Cardinals, gets the tone just right.

 

  • Color me intrigued – Christian Bale is rumored to be reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie.
  • It pains me to say this, but the new episodes of Community this season haven’t been good. However, I am intrigued by the idea of doing an all-puppet episode.
  • Tyler Kitsch has resurfaced. He’ll appear in the HBO movie The Normal Heart.
  • Watch Mark Wahlberg and Diddy play a drinking game on Ellen:

 

  • Wahlberg hasn’t closed the door on a reunion with the Funky Bunch. This is a terrible idea, but I totally hope this happens.
  • I’m super excited to possibly be going to see Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake play Yankee Stadium this summer. One person I can guarantee won’t be there is Kanye West.
  • JT will be hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend and will be on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon every night next week. I can only assume “The History of Rap, Part 4” is in the works.
  • How bad have things gotten for NBC? A local affiliate has opted to air Matlock instead of the network’s Thursday night’s lineup.
  • This sounds interesting – Speilberg is developing a miniseries about Napoleon that was written by Stanley Kubrik.
  • Albany peeps – local musician Sean Rowe made his national television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday night. Good for him!

 

  • In pilot news, Naveen Andrews (Sayid, Lost) has landed a role in an ABC drama.
  • Presented without comment – Gary Busey discussing hobbits:

 

  • Feeling lucky? A new website will randomly select a Nicholas Cage movie for you to watch (Netflix streaming account required)
  • The George Lucas museum is coming to San Francisco.
  • This is disappointing – Sam Mendes will not return to direct the next James Bond film.
  • Carrie Fisher will return as Princess Leia in the new Star Wars movie.
  • This may be the greatest interview of all time. I already like Mila Kunis beforehand, but this sealed the deal. Gotta support a fellow Blue Moon fan.

 

  • Neat-O. A portrait of Stephen Colbert, made up of all the words uttered on The Colbert report:

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  • Jason Bateman will team up with Tina Fey in This Is Where I Leave You. The funny duo will play siblings.
  • 90210 is ending its run at the end of this season. I honestly didn’t even know this show was still on.
  • Alexis Bledel (Rory, The Gilmore Girls) is returning to TV is a starring role in a comedy pilot for Fox.
  • Jon Hamm voiced a talking toilet on this week’s Bob’s Burgers and it was glorious:

 

  • Tom Hardy will appear on Discovery Channel’s new show, Driven to Extremes.
  • This mash up of “Call Me Maybe” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” is actually pretty catchy:

 

  • Just because it is awesome, the opening credits of the Dutch version of Golden Girls:

You can check out versions from other countries here.

  • If you ever dreamed of owning a closet like Cher’s in Clueless, you are in luck. We have the technology.
  • Happy news – both Jimmy Smits and Donal Logue will return next season on Sons of Anarchy.
  • And finally……A Star Wars/School House Rock mash-up:

 

See a story that you think should be included in these bi-weekly roundups? Want to see your name in the blog? Want to do my job for me? Feel free to send any suggestions my way via the blog’s Facebook page, the blog’s twitter account (@AsHeathersworld) or in the comments section of this post. I post random pop culture stories on Facebook, so don’t forget to like the page so you don’t miss anything. Thanks to avid blog reader and faux-cousin Chris for the suggestion!