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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "B.Y.O.B."

By admin Published: August 26, 2008


Originally aired Jan. 10, 1991. Brenda and Brandon deal with alcohol, Dylan offers another biographical tidbit.

Synopsis: Donna's parents are going to Cabo, so it's party time ("strictly A-list" at Donna's house). Brenda asks Dylan to come with her, but he's going surfing at Baja -- and doesn't seem all that interested in partying. Brenda persuades Brandon to go with her. Meanwhile, Jim and Cindy are thinking slap-and-tickle thoughts about their own getaway to Jim's corporate retreat in Palm Springs.

Party time. Everyone well dressed (Brenda has her hair up. Way up.) and booze is flowing. Brenda has a drink but Brandon passes. Steve offers to make him a "virgin margarita" but puts booze in it. Brenda notes that Kelly is drinking. "My mother drinks," she replies. "I sip."

Brandon realizes that Steve has spiked his drink, threatens to leave. But rather than cause a scene, he stays and drins more. Brenda sees Kelly and Steve head upstairs to a bedroom.

B&B get home, both giddy. Cindy is waiting up. When Brenda kisses her goodnight, Cindy smells booze on Brenda's breath. Talks to Jim. Neither thinks Brandon would be drinking. (Later, we learn that he vowed not to drink after throwing up from drinking at "Foster's Lake.") Next day, Jim and Cindy confront Brenda, who insists she had "one lousy sip" from "someone else's margarita." Brandon doesn't admit to his own drinking.

At school, Steve is after Kelly because of their booze-fueled romp. Brenda mentions that her parents are going away. Kelly and Donna start planning a party at the Walsh house. Brenda has to get Brandon to go along.

Meanwhile, in Palm Springs, Jim and Cindy get ready for maxi-cuddle only to discover the connecting door to the next room is unlocked and their neighbors, Trudy (Bobbi Jo Lathan) and Bob (Richard Paul), want to be friends.

Back at home, Brenda talks to Brandon about the party. She says a party when your parents are away is "practically a tradition" in Beverly Hills. They agree to a small party, and that they won't drink.

Trudy and Bob continue to pester Jim and Cindy.

The party seems to be growing; Brandon invites Andrea when she asks him to go the theater with her. When the party happens, it's more than 200 people, including David and Scott, who have crashed. Steve is passing out alcoholic punch; Brenda gets on Kelly about her drinking. She also sees that Brandon is drinking. Things start to get broken. Police arrive. Brandon, drunk, lets sober Dylan and Brenda deal with the cops, who want the music turned down. Dylan suggest to Brandon that he "lay off the liquid," but Brandon is already wasted. When Andrea arrives, Brandon asks her to dance; later, he will clumsily kiss her and she, knowing he's drunk, will leave.

Palm Springs. Jim and Cindy in the hot tub. Trudy and Bob show up, lechery in their eyes; they're wearing nothing under their robes.

At the party, David admires Kelly from afar; fending off Steve, she asks David to dance. He is not good at it.

Dylan and Brenda discuss shutting the party down. Brandon and Steve go out for more booze (Steve) and munchies and fruit punch (Brandon). Brandon, drunk, plows into a truck.

Jim and Cindy, in bed, give up on having sex, their brains full of Trudy-and-Bob images. Brenda calls, tells about the accident and that Brandon is in jail. They come home. Brandon apologizes, but accidentally tells them about the party. House is a mess. Brenda says "it got a little out of hand." Brandon says Brenda didn't drink but he did, but blames it on a spiked drink. Cindy still asks, "Why did you have to get behind the wheel?" Brenda confronts Brandon about his lying to J&C, but he's defensive.

At school, he apologizes to Andrea. She cares about him, a lot, and he has a look as if he is reconsidering Andrea as more than a friend. David, working the radio booth, dedicates a song to Kelly.

At the Peach Pit, Brandon is closing up when Dylan comes around. Brandon, upset about how he has disappointed people, wants to get drunk again. Dylan has just the right place for him -- an AA meeting. At the meeting, Dylan says he's an alcoholic. Brandon is moved. At home, Jim is waiting up, and Brandon comes clean about his drinking.

Comments: It sometimes seems as if this entire episode is designed to set up the moment near the end when Dylan says he is an alcoholic. Coming on the heels of Dylan revelations in "Isn't It Romantic," "B.Y.O.B." further moves Dylan into a major place in "90210" storytelling; someone has realized by this time that Luke Perry can be a breakout star.

The soap-opera aspects of the show keep amping up; besides Dylan's past, we get the allusions to Kelly's family history, and her climbing in bed with Steve, another chapter in the David-stalks-Kelly saga, the moments between Andrea and Brandon, and of course the continuation of the Brenda-Dylan relationship from "Isn't It Romantic?" Although Jim and Cindy get their screen time -- mainly for a comic-relief subplot -- this episode tilts far more toward the young people.

Structurally, it resembles "Isn't It Romantic," which used Steve's pursuit of the sex-ed speaker to set up the sudden, big revelation that she had AIDS; this time, Brandon and Brenda's drinking tales sets up the Dylan-alcoholic scene.

But there's a fair amount that's muddled in this; drunk driving, serious accident, and Brandon just gets his license suspended -- and there's no discussion of damage to his car. Brenda's ability to drink without getting in trouble suggests to young viewers that you can drink if you can handle it, although the teen AA meeting at the end certainly says that a lot of young people cannot.

Brenda talks Brandon into going to Donna's party by reminding him that he's bored, when in the previous episode it was Brenda who was bored while Brandon was enjoying life. (And what ever happened to his playing basketball on the B team?) And it seemed that Brandon and Andrea had already come to the unspoken understanding that they would be friends -- however Andrea may feel about Brandon -- before this episode stirred them up a little.

Other notes:

-- Brandon threw up at "Forest's Lake." There is indeed a Forest Lake in Minnesota.

-- When Cindy is channel-flipping after Brenda and Brandon get home from Donna's party, she passes through an episode of "The Love Boat." That is a little nod to "90210" producer Aaron Spelling, who also did "The Love Boat." It would have to be a late-night rerun, since the show had exited prime time by 1991.

-- Brandon is apparently a fan of "The Simpsons," since he Bart-like declares, "Don't have a cow, man," to Brenda when the police show up at the house. "The Simpsons" had started on Fox about a year before "90210." During "90210's" first season, "The Simpsons" led off Thursday night, followed by "Babes" and then "90210."

-- Trudy and Bob are played by Bobbi Jo Lathan and Richard Paul. Paul was a veteran of sitcoms like "Carter Country" and "Full House." He died in 1998. Lathan's credits include "Seinfeld." She is also a cookbook author.

-- When Jim and Cindy lie in bed, having given up on sex, Jim says, "Why beat a dead horse?"

-- Time capsule: When David tells Scott that Kelly is "as good looking as Christie Brinkley," Scott says, "You're no Billy Joel."

-- This is a real bad-hair episode for Brenda, from the high hair at the first party to the moppy look at the second.

For more flashbacks, see previous posts or the "Beverly Hills, 90210," page.

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