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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "A Fling in Palm Springs"/"Palm Springs Weekend

By admin Published: September 10, 2008

Henry Silver, king of charades, deliverer of wisdom

Known by two different titles, this episode first aired on Feb. 21, 1991. Brandon makes a new friend, David has a family epiphany, Dylan and Brenda have communication problems.

Summary: Dylan and Brenda are parking, but Brenda backs away when things get too hot. Dylan, having been faithful for two months, is impatient. When he finds Brenda is going to Palm Springs for a long weekend, he suggests that he get a room there so he and Brenda can have some private time.

Next day, Cindy frets about this President's Day Weekend trip; Brenda insists it's a ritual. Meanwhile, Brandon tries to get Jim to pay for a classic car -- $25,000 worth. When he mentions that it will be a great investment like the Porsche Dylan's father bought for him, Jim notes that Dylan's father "is facing a grand jury indictment." On that note, Brenda departs. Brandon presses, arguing that he is entitled to some consideration because he has to work at the Peach Pit all weekend. No go from Jim.

Scott is psyched about going to Magic Mountain and riding its thrill rides with David. David has other ideas. When he finds out that Steve needs a place in Palm Springs -- his house being fumigated -- David offers his grandparents' place since they are out of town. Steve agrees. He then tries to get Brandon to go, but Brandon insists he has to work.

Donna, meanwhile, has packed three bags -- different outfits for "high school guys, college guys, grad school guys, dropout guys." David drops the Magic Mountain plan with Scott.

Brandon is at the Peach Pit, where a kid named Curtis (John Christian Graas) is hanging around a lot, and a bit annoying. Brandon puts up with him but is still thinking about Palm Springs. Where Steve and David in one car, and Kelly/Donna/Brenda in another, are working their way through the heavy traffic and crowds of young people. During one stop, a hot girl named Tuesday approaches David; he invites her to the gramps' house. Brenda frets about her meeting with Dylan; Donna and Kelly reassure her, with Kelly sure that Dylan "brought protection."

Brenda goes to the hotel where she's meeting Dylan. But it might not be the right place, because the names of Palm Springs hotels are so similar. And she has lost her wallet! The others are in for a surprise at David's grandparents' house; his grandparents, Henry and Adele Silver (Al Ruscio and Erica Yohn), are still there. They have canceled their trip because there were too many old people on it.

Brenda is in distress. Hunky bellhop Tom (David Gail) offers to help by letting her stay at his place. Instead, Brenda lets him help her find a place in the hotel -- in a broom closet with a fold-down bed.

Back home, Dylan calls the Peach Pit to ask Brandon if he knows where Brenda is. He tells Brandon the name of his hotel. Brandon looks concerned about Dylan and Brenda being together but does not give a big speech. After they get off the phone, Dylan recognizes another girl in his hotel lobby. ...

A maid finds Brenda in the broom closet. She calls home, and Brandon tells her the name of Dylan's hotel -- and the elder Silvers' name, so she could go their place. "Where you gonna be?" Brandon asks, still concerned. "Where do you think?" Brenda snaps.

At the Silvers', Tuesday shows up with two skanky looking, leather-wearing friends. Then, Brenda is at Dylan's hotel -- the Desert Mirage -- where he's in the Ambassador Suite. So is the girl from the lobby. Brenda sees her, flips out. Dylan says it's not what it looks like. Brenda storms out, rants across the lobby, then returns to Dylan's room, boots the girl (who is a childhood friend of Dylan, and whom he has not slept with but lusted after a bit) and demands "let's do it and get it over with. ... Stop talking and take your clothes off."

After another Brandon-Curtis moment at the Peach Pit, we're back at the Silvers. Party time; the Silvers have invited all the young people from the neighborhood. The song "Tequila" plays. David tries to persuade his grandparents to leave; they're having fun. Steve tries to rekindle things with Kelly; she's not buying it. When he says she was the best relationship he ever had, she says, "I was the only relationship you ever had."

Dylan and Brenda arrive at the Silvers'. Much tension, and no consummation. "I made a fool of myself and you turned me down," Brenda snarls.

David gets rude with his grandparents about no one wanting them around. Adele is upset. And David is wrong. Soon we see Henry and Adele dispensing advice about love to the guys and girls. David, meanwhile, has gotten private time with Tuesday, but she doesn't want to mess around; she was just mad at her boyfriend, and David reminded her of him.

Peach Pit. Brandon has closed up. Curtis sneaks in, takes money from the cash register. Brandon catches him. Curtis confesses that his family is homeless. Brandon makes him food and gives Curtis his friendship bracelet.

At the Silvers', everyone is playing charades. Steve reapproaches Kelly. She doesn't want to get back together. David apologizes to his grandparents -- and calls Scott. Starts talking about Scott and David coming to Palm Springs the next weekend, to Adele and Henry's dismay. Brenda and Dylan make up by the pool. Brandon gets home, where Jim and Cindy offer to help him get a new car. Having heard what Curtis has, he says he's "a lucky guy" and happy with Mondale.

Comments: Considering all the possibilities here, especially with the gang off on a trip together, this is a letdown in comparison to the more confessional "Slumber Party." (Nor, when you get down to it, is there any "fling," so the more recent title makes a lot more sense.) There's a big emphasis on comedy, including in the Dylan-Brenda mixups, and the Brandon story is so lightweight, it's no more than an excuse to get him screen time. (It's even more off-putting when you consider that Brandon's drunk-driving incident aired just about six weeks earlier, but is not a part of the car discussion.)
"Palm Springs" does indicate the Brenda-Dylan relationship is moving into more physical territory, and there's a reference to the problems facing Dylan's father -- although the problems don't keep Dylan from getting a suite in Palm Springs.
Brandon manages to be far less self-righteous than he has been, especially in the preceding episode, "East Side Story." In fact, it appears that the show's makers know that Brandon can be too much; when he ends a rant about having to work with the declaration "but you don't hear me complaining, do you?" -- Jim wearily replies, "Yes."
The episode also extends the growing gap between former best friends Scott and David, as David gravitates more toward the cool kids while Scott is more focused on Magic Mountain. And there's the sex-and-Donna issue. Some fans have read Donna's discussion of sex as contradicting her later virgin status, but I think she can be read differently. The line to Brenda -- "You're really gonna like (sex), probably, maybe" -- could be interpreted as Donna having no sexual experience of her own, so she's guessing about how it will be.

More notes:
-- Erica Yohn's other credits include "Picket Fences" and "State of Grace," where she played Grandma Ida. She would also return to "Beverly Hills, 90210" later in the series. But Al Ruscio, whose TV credits are epic, would not be seen again on this show, with Henry's death part of Adele's next appearance.

-- David Gail, who played hunky bellboy Tom, would be seen later on the show as Stuart Carson, who had a romance with Brenda. He was also on Aaron Spelling's "Savannah" and the soap "Port Charles."

-- One of the songs playing in the Peach Pit (at least on the DVD) is "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" by Jay and the Techniques.

-- Considering that the show has already done a couple of episodes about teens and drinking, it's little weird to have the pool party scene to the song"Tequila" -- with even Henry and Adele enjoying it.

-- Maybe it's meant to reinforce the idea that Steve tends toward loser-ness: He is at one point seen wearing a Raiders cap, when about a month earlier the Buffalo Bills had crushed the Raiders in the playoffs, 51-3.

-- When they play charades, Dylan's phrase is "Pretty Woman," which he uses as a message to Brenda -- but which has already been established as one of Donna's favorite movies.

For more flashbacks, see previous posts or the rail on the right.

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