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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "One Man and A Baby"

By admin Published: August 28, 2008

Remember Don the skydiving instructor?

Originally aired Jan. 24, 1991. Brandon gets some lessons in parenthood, Brenda takes a leap. ...

Synopsis: Brandon is moping under a tree at school when he hears a girl singing along with a song through her headphones. She's Melissa, a senior, applying to Harvard. Brandon is intrigued, even though he's just a junior. When she leaves, she forgets a Latin paper. Grade: A+. At home, he looks through the West Beverly student directory and gets ready to call her.

Meanwhile, Brenda and Kelly are making song lists ("Big Toy," by Confusion) for a radio contest. Brenda calls the radio station as Brandon is getting ready to call Melissa. Kelly and Brenda offer Brandon phone-call advice; when Melissa says she has to babysit -- twice -- they're convinced she's brushing off Brandon, but he persists and gets a date.

Kelly and Brenda win the radio contest; the prize is skydiving lessons.

Meanwhile, on the date, Melissa is surprised that Brandon doesn't know anything about her. When they get to her house, she introduces Joey -- her son. Brandon gives one of his famous stunned-before-the-commercial-break looks.

At school, Steve and Brandon argue about whether Melissa should have kept her baby. Steve says it would be "nothing but problems." Brandon, offended, goes to ask Melissa for another date. But Melissa is having a tough time; she got a C- on some schoolwork, and she can't go out with some old friends because she has to be with Joey.

Meanwhile, even though Jim and Cindy have said no, Brenda sneaks out for skydiving lessons with Kelly. Both admire the hunky instructor, Don.

Melissa doesn't have a babysitter, so brings Joey along on the date. They all go to the Peach Pit. Joey misbehaves. Later, Brandon tells Jim and Cindy about Joey, calling him "a holy terror." Next morning, Melissa drops off Joey with Brandon because she has no one to take care of him while she has her Harvard interview. Jim and Cindy are going out, Brenda and Kelly have a skydiving lesson, so it's up to Brandon -- with a little help from Steve, who has come over to watch a Lakers game. But they're inept; even diaper-changing is difficult, and the guys try to rent "Three Men and a Baby" for instructional help. And, when the cable goes out, Steve goes home to watch the game, but by then Brandon has things somewhat under control.

Meanwhile, Brenda and Kelly continue the skydiving lessons, and their interest in Don.

Melissa returns from her interview. It was "a complete disaster," the interviewer questioning her ability to be a mother and a Harvard student. She wonders if she made a mistake in keeping Joey. They argue. Later, Brandon goes to her house to make amends; Melissa suggests they drive to the beach.

Brenda and Kelly skydive. Happily. Later, she confesses to Jim and Cindy that she has lied to them. They're cool about it.

On their drive, Brandon wants to talk about Joey. Melissa wants a break. She makes a move on Brandon. He brings up Joey. "Just for a second," she says, "I'd like to be a teenage girl." The next day, she shows up at the Walsh house. Fight with her parents about being out late, sticking her folks with the baby. Brandon offers to take Joey for a couple of days. She's thinking about giving him up permanently. But Brandon thinks "this baby stuff is amazing."

Cindy advises Melissa. "No one can do everything," she says. "What do you want?" Melissa keeps Joey, goes to half-day schedule at school and decides that Harvard can wait a bit. So, apparently, will Brandon, since Melissa rain-checks him about getting together.

Comments: A so-so episode at best. Not much advancement of the individual stories, and no Dylan, Andrea, David or Donna. Some continuity is ignored. (A week after an episode where he wrecked the car and was arrested, Brandon is driving again.) The cautionary tale about teen motherhood does detail plenty of the challenges facing a young parent, and does so with a Harvard-bound girl who would seem to be able to handle anything. But it seems flat dramatically, especially because of the awkward introduction of comedy (Brandon and Steve try to change a diaper, Brandon gets baby food in the face) as well as the comedy-heavy subplot about skydiving. (Brenda and Kelly are VERY Lucy and Ethel.)

Other notes:

-- Kristin Dattilo, who plays Melissa, may be familiar to some viewers as Yola on "The Chris Isaak Show." (Update: According to, the broadcast version of this episode included Isaak's "Wicked Game.")
She was also a veteran of teen programs, having been on "Hull High" (which had premiered a month before "90210" but was canceled by the end of 1990), "TV 101" and an after-school special. According to IMDB, she was up for the role of Brenda on "90210" but turned it down.

-- Don the skydiving instructor was Paul Satterfield. He worked in a couple of other Aaron Spelling shows, and has been a frequent daytime TV presence on "General Hospital," "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "One Life to Live." His Web site is

-- Four children -- two sets of twins -- play baby Joey. (So isn't this "One Man and Four Babies"?)

-- As far as I can tell, the songs that Brenda and Kelly listen to and identify by name are fictional, as is the radio station. When winning the contest, they mention one real song -- MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" -- but it isn't played. (At least, not on the DVD version.)

For previous episode discussions, see earlier posts or the "90210" flashbacks page on the right rail.

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