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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: Introducing Dylan McKay

By admin Published: August 12, 2008

LP

Continuing my look at the original "Beverly Hills, 90210," with the second episode, "The Green Room," where Luke Perry made his first appearance as "mad, bad and dangerous to know" Dylan McKay. ...

"The Green Room," first aired on Oct. 11, 1990.

Synopsis: The opening is a surfing scene with Brandon riding the waves, then seeing a beautiful, blonde beach girl. It's a dream, but one that foreshadows the days ahead, when Brandon will indeed surf, though not well, and meet a blonde surfer, Sarah, played by Heather McAdam. Brenda, meanwhile, reintroduces her brother to Kelly and Donna, allowing Donna the worst-delivered line (and possibly worst line, period): "Your brother is dope." We are also reminded that Steve and Kelly are at odds since their breakup, and that David loves the babes in high school.

Although Brandon is now a sportswriter for the newspaper, Andrea assigns him an editorial about being a transfer from the Midwest. Brandon then runs into Scott at tech class; bullies begin to badger Scott, but Dylan McKay saves him, warning the two bullies that "I'm not in a good mood today." Brandon is impressed, introduces himself to Dylan and Dylan invites him to go surfing. At the beach they meet up with Sarah -- also called Betty -- and two knucklehead surfers; Sarah explains to Brandon that "the green room" is the "gnarlest place" in the ocean. She also concludes that Brandon is "really nice." Brenda, meanwhile, goes shopping with Kelly and gets sticker shock over $150 jeans; she ends up sewing her own imitation-designer jeans at home.

Steve gets a phone call from his mother, asking him to be nice to David since his father is a producer making a show that Steve's mom wants a role in.

Claiming he has to work on his editorial, Brandon goes out -- meeting Dylan. They hang out on Sunset with the three people from the beach, then go the Bel Age hotel. Dylan gets them into a room and orders room service; Brandon, indignant, leaves but Dylan explains that he lives in the hotel and the room he seemed to break into is actually his father's "corporate pad." Brandon still leaves. But Dylan -- who, among other things, reads the poetry of Lord Byron, who is also "mad, bad and dangerous to know" -- is proving to be more complicated than his bad-boy image; at the end of the episode, we see how lonely he is in his hotel room, his parents distant both physically and emotionally.

Beach party. Steve pretends to be nice, briefly, to David, who is puppy-dog happy as a result -- and ignores Steve's saying that their parents know each other, though Scott tells David that can't be right. Brandon sees the beach knuckleheads, who are getting drunk. Dylan apologizes to Brandon, and they make up. But Sarah, drunk, almost drowns while surfing and has to be saved by Brandon and Brenda. The doctor at the hospital says Sarah is an alcoholic. Brandon ends up calling his editorial "The Green Room." Brenda thinks it's beautiful, and Andrea approves. Steve, meanwhile, discovers that David's father is not a producer and he has been nice to "the wrong dweeb."

Notes: There have been some noticeable changes between the pilot and this episode. Brandon still has the geeky monster-face-alarm but is demonstrating some more cool; his hair is noticeably less mullet-like than in the pilot. The Walsh house is also different. The vice principal, so evident in the pilot, is unseen, and the school deejay is heard but not seen. The hint of diversity in the pilot is nowhere to be found this time.

Still, "The Green Room" is in certain respects a reprise of the pilot. Brenda is still dealing with the idea of social acceptance in Kelly's free-spending crowd, although she is more practical in this one. As for Brandon, having befriended the lonely Marianne in the pilot, here he's the kindly presence for surfer Sarah. While his behavior was not entirely admirable with Marianne, he is pure Boy Scout with Sarah, refusing an invitation to drink, and attacking the knuckleheads for letting her surf drunk. Steve and David, pushed together in the pilot by Steve's drunkenness, are pushed together this time by the ambitions of Steve's mother.

Because Brandon and Brenda are so much more sensible than in the pilot, "The Green Room" feels like a bit of a step back. But by softening them, it's making room for the more complex Dylan, who is not only the Poor Little Rich Boy but a contrast to Kelly and Steve, who take their privilege for granted. Still, the show is already showing a need for a new plot.

Other items of interest:

According to the closing credits, the beach girl in Brandon's dream is Kelli Brook, who more recently was one of the "cougars" on the NBC reality show "Age of Love." Several online references also say she is the voice of Steve's mother Samantha in the episode. You can see more about her here.

Dylan lives at the Bel Age Hotel, now known as the London North Hollywood.

Luke Perry was 25 when he began playing Dylan. (For the ages of the other principals, see my previous post about the series pilot.)

Andrea's name is pronounced both as ANN-drea and AHN-drea by different characters in the episode.

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