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TV REVIEW : Fox's 'Beverly Hills, 90210': ZIP Code for Cliches

October 04, 1990|HOWARD ROSENBERG | TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC

You've been sitting on the edge of your seats and holding your breath waiting for this beauty, right? So here it is, the new Fox drama series that "explores the realities and myths of social classes in Beverly Hills."

As opposed to Tarzana.

The 90-minute premiere of "Beverly Hills, 90210" airs at 8:30 tonight on Channels 11 and 6 (its regular time slot will be Thursdays at 9 p.m.), giving you the feeling you've been watching for 90 days.

Here's the scoop: A family from Minneapolis, where the values are good, moves to Beverly Hills, where the values are bad. The opening story is about assimilation, with 16-year-old twins Brandon and Brenda Walsh (Jason Priestley and Shannen Doherty) pitting their great values against the lousy values of their rich, pampered and hedonistic classmates at West Beverly High.

Whose values win? It looks pretty bad for Brandon and Brenda at first, but, well, you can take the kids out of the Midwest, but not the Midwest out of the kids.

A ZIP code for stereotypes and stock characters, "Beverly Hills, 92010" is nothing if not predictable, with the twins each facing moral choices and ultimately doing the right thing, presumably because they're from Minneapolis. The story really goes over the edge when Brandon--feeling guilty about perpetuating a false rumor that he had sex with one of his fetching female classmates--announces on the school radio station that "nothing happened" on their hot-tubbing date.

Meanwhile, West Beverly High and its student body of indulged brats and future Zsas Zsas is the kind of school you'd like to hit with a giant cream pie. After a freshman smashes up his fancy car, the school's BMOC cries out: "What did I do to deserve meeting a dork like this?" Exactly your feeling as the credits roll by.

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