Matthew Perry, left, plays a high school tennis star in an episode of "Beverly… (Fox )
Before grabbing a chair in group therapy as Ryan King in NBC's new comedy, "Go On"; before learning Aaron Sorkin's heady dialogue in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"; before being ordered to "PIVOT!" by David Schwimmer's Ross Gellar on "Friends"--before all of that, Matthew Perry was that dude who played that guy on "Beverly Hills, 90210" --you know, the one who wrote a screenplay about killing his dad.
"Wasn't that something?," Perry recalled during a recent interview.
The 43-year-old actor appeared as Roger Azarian in the show's first season finale, "April Is the Cruelest Month" in 1991--making him 21 years old! In the episode, Perry donned above-the-knee tennis shorts (as was the style, he is quick to point out) and, as West Beverly's star tennis player, is too good to give Brandon (Jason Priestley, aka the reason we dig dad jeans) an interview for the high school newspaper. But because Brandon is Brandon, Roger eventually let's his walls down, even letting the Blaze writer read his screenplay. Too bad Roger thought the plot point that involved killing his out-of-touch father was unsuspicious.
"It was what 1990 or 1991--wasn't that what everyone was doing: wearing polo shirts and shooting their dads," he joked. 'That was some of my finest acting. If that's not mentioned in my obit down the line, my tennis elbow will have been for nothing!"
More mind-blowing to Perry than the amount of preppy attire one could have in his closet ("there were so many cable-knit sweaters on the wardrobe rack"), was his first encounter with a car phone.
"That was the first time I ever shot with a car phone," he said. "And it boggled my mind. I remember I walked by Shannen Doherty's car--I think it was a BMW; it had to be, right?--and she had a phone in it and I was like, 'oh my god! That is so cool. I like practically peed myself. And it's harder to conceal when you're wearing shorts like the ones I wore."
So when was the last time he saw the episode? Because, you know, we like to think he plops himself in front of the TV to enjoy SoapNet's "Breakfast in Bed" (a block of programming on the weekends, that includes episodes of the '90s soap.)
"This morning," he deadpanned. "I try to watch it three times a week--see what I can learn from it, you know?"
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