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M. Doughty presents his insights into the 1995-96 season of Beverly Hills 90210, in chronological order. - Part II


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-01-17 23:52:48 EST
From: Soulcghing

Oh, all the kids love Kelly's Impending Demise. As the opening segment was rolling, when they were playing scenes-from-last-week's episode, I was on the phone with my dear friend Kerry, who shouted "Do It! Do It!" at the sound of Kelly rolling up her Dad's check and bending to snort.

Nice tie-ins this time around--Weird Crosseyed Claire and Steve get busted speeding, and Susan witnesses that car accident that sends her careening into a black and white flashback. Death all around--Joe's gonna die! He's gonna damn die, I tell you! There is some cosmic law to insure that Donna will never get laid. And who is Brandon, the World All-Powerful Comforter of woman? He soothes Susan at the accident scene, and then moments later is comforting Donna--who of course is well aware that Joe will be long dead by the time she actually gets laid--in the Peach Pit. Ah, Brandon, last of the Great Concerned Walshes.

If they want Colin to be the next Dylan, they're doing a lousy job at it. Or, perhaps, he is. Really clumsy in that screwing-in-the-limousine bit. I still think Valerie deserves to bag him, though--I loved the part where she assured him that no one actually gave a damn about him, the reason they were all calling up worried about the Cocaine Binge was Kelly, not him. "I'm the only one who cares about you," she says. Meaningul Dylanesque Stare ensues.

This looks good. This looks very good. And, Good Lord, how sluttish did she look when she went over to Colin's house to stare at the ever-so strung out Kelly? If she has to concede Bad Girl Status to Kelly, she at least can still look like a Cheap Painted Trollop. Most engaging.

Indeed, there's excellent things brewing in the Valerie-Kelly feud--now it's couple vs. couple, only David hates Colin--did you watch when he threated to kick Colin's ass if he gave his sister any more coke? It looked like he ripped that badass look off from a Mobb Deep video--and Valerie hates Kelly. And, of course Valerie plus Colin looms in the near future. Which means a blissful 90210 crisis in the near future.

Anyhow. We're taking bets on how long it takes for Kelly to go all the way down into derelictdom and then come back up. I would've said two episodes last week, but they showed so little hope for her this week, that I'm thinking it'll take at least four.

Quote of the week--Steve to Claire on the talk show; "I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to that sweet little brain of yours." After which Weird Crosseyed Claire gripped his neck and glared at him a Weird Crosseyed glare.

Now here is a woman I'd pay good money to see kick Colin the Boring Art Guy's ass. Or David Silver's, for that matter.

--Doughty


Subj: The Best of 90210
Date: 96-01-26 13:45:39 EST
From: Soulcghing

So I blew off a coffee date with a woman that dumped me five years ago and about whom I wrote half a million dopey weep songs about, the better of which you've already heard, for 90210. And what should I get but Tori with her hair arranged into an awful plant-looking thing, reading from cue cards?

It's always worth it to see old Brenda footage, though. And I was pleasantly reminded of both the Claire and David handcuff scenario, and Kelly's addiction to diet pills. But, good lord, my beloved 90210 really is the last gasp of the eighties, isn't it?

--Doughty


Subj: Apologies
Date: 96-02-10 13:03:54 EST
From: Soulcghing
Hey, folk.

I was forced to blow off my beloved 90210 this week, so a pal taped it for me, and I don't have a VCR, so I've been waiting to watch it. I'll have an update before the weekend's through, I hope.

--Doughty


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-02-15 03:26:52 EST
From: Soulcghing

We're living in a post-David-and-Valerie world.

Good Lord, this is deep and astonishing and sudden news.

I don't know whether to weep for Valerie or rejoice for Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, who no longer has to pretend her ex-boyfriend--the actor that portrays the man that dumped her--is her boyfriend, for a living.

What I do know is this is a totally predictable pattern. Hmmm, Kelly's in the hospital, with an attendant Brandon holding her hand, getting over her cocaine addiction and the evils perpetrated upon her by the Eric Stoltz character imported from Pulp Fiction? This couldn't mean something really awful happens to Valerie, could it? Could it?

Of course it does. Because the Evil 90210 Writers hate Valerie and love Kelly, showering her with love and Interesting Dramatic Situations.

I'm upset about this Ginger, who seems to be Sidney from Melrose stolen wholesale. Red hair, blackmailing ways and all. I don't really think Valerie would actually choose to hand David Silver's booty over to her rather than Fifty Thousand Bucks. I think Val's hipper than that. Here again is a Plot Twist taking precedence over realistic character behavior. Pisses me off, but, ultimately, this is why I love 90210. Absolute illogic.

My own logic momentarily told me that the reason David Silver dumped her is that he is aware on some subconscious level that she's meant to be with me, and I momentarily expected the credit sequence to be Valerie stepping on a plane to Newark, then taking a car service over to my house in Brooklyn. However, these thoughts subsided quickly.

My, that David Silver. Wretched Valentine's love poem that he read to Valerie--the line about their love getting better with age like fine wine sent me into a tizzy of joy and wonder--but what Manliness! The strong jawline, the quiet and firm way in which he told Valerie he can't be with her. He's like Dylan with a dash of Jimmy Stewart aw-shucks-ness. Why, I remember, back in the day, scrawny little David Silver with his video camera and, uh, what's his name, you know, the kid that killed himself.

I didn't check to see who directed, but it looked like another Jason Priestley joint--you can always tell by the weird, self-conscious Film Student stuff. The way Kelly and Colin's Drug Den is only shot on a tilted camera, and that incredible sequence where Joe, just kicked off the football team, lays in bed as a loop of a stadium announcer shouts his name plays. The way the camera turns around woozily and zooms in on him--utterly corny and amazing. Jason Priestley is either a genius, or someone who'll end up doing a Soul Coughing video.

Okay, am I wrong, or did Donna host a Valentine's Day party called Sex Out 1996, promoting celibacy? These writers again, man. They got Donna all wrong. I can't believe Tori Spelling would allow her character to go through such indignancies. That's rich. That's just too much. Can you believe that? Wow.

However, I desperately covet one of those Sex Out 1996 t-shirts. Had I one, I would wear it onstage with Soul Coughing forever. You think I'm joking.

What an enthralling episode--well, excepting all the Steve and Weird Crosseyed Claire stuff, which has gotten kinda tired. But it was almost balanced out by Susan's punching her ex-boyfriend, then immediately massaging her hand, and Brandon's awesome, deadpan, "Can I get you some ice for that?" It's the best argument for Susan--generally dull girl, she is--I've seen this season.

Such possibilities. Colin's outta there, right? Him being the personification of Kelly's downfall and all. Which means Kelly's open--I'm betting on an eventual Kelly-Brandon rematch. Maybe not til the end of this season. A David Silver-Kelly thing would be interesting, but just for the stepkid-incest angle. He's too damn good for her. I doubt that Valerie's gonna get him back--maybe she'll slide on over to Colin's house and help him dispose of all the cocaine that Kelly isn't using anymore. No?

--Doughty


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-02-28 22:19:40 EST
From: Soulcghing

I'm not with this Colin and Valerie thing. I have to say, I'm not with it at all. I know I spent a whole lot of time whining about how Valerie deserves whoever she lays her eyes upon, but I can't say I'm real comfortable with it. He's less interesting even than Ray Pruitt.

It's a post David and Valerie world, and I have to say I'm still moping about it.

Dull episode, with two exceptions--the Eric Stoltz guy leaping out at Colin and waving the cocaine dispenser under his nose was HILARIOUS--I swear to god I couldn't keep myself from shrieking with delight. And David's comment to the matching-motorcycle leather clad Clare and Steve that he was driven crazy by the way Valerie looks and, uh, smells. How funny is that?

I actually felt bad for Kelly as she wept, watching Colin get arrested on television. But does she have to deal with the consequences? Oh, no--this is now Valerie's gig. My theory is ever-true; Kelly's troubles are thrown like so much smeared mascara onto Valerie. Kelly leads the man into doom, and Valerie's got to go scrounge up the bail money.

Clare and Steve bickering over motorcycle not interesting. Brandon and Newspaper Girl at Newspaper Girl's parents' house not interesting. Donna and Football Boy Battling Disease and his ununderstanding brother not interesting. David Silver not shown brooding nearly enough. He really should look like he feels worse about this.

I sort of liked the first of the two Skiing Marys on the last episode--but, of course, no new character to be found there. This is all, I'm sure, Jenny Garth's damn fault. Whatever happened to Lisa the Rose Queen? She was awesome, with a sense of sarcasm reminiscent of the best of Weird Crosseyed Clare. Clare is so dull these days.

I'm not pleased. However, I'm happy to tell you that that woman I met at the Christmas Party last year, the one who did occasional extra work on 90210, is auditioning for an actual role. Perhaps this folder, in the future, will be of a more influential nature.

--Doughty


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-03-14 13:19:09 EST
From: Soulcghing

Getting into their cars outside the Peach Pit, the ex-lovers bump into each other:

David Silver: You play with dirt, you get dirty.

Valerie Malone: Thanks for the fortune cookie, David.

So here's Valerie, cleaning up Kelly's mess--putting up Colin's bail money, pining for Colin--and he calls Kelly the moment he gets out of jail, wanting to see her. I keep wondering if they'd do this to Brenda--ultimately, that's who Valerie is, Brenda stripped of her Walshhood. Are they punishing Valerie for everything Brenda did in the National Enquirer, drunk with Marky Mark at some posh Los Angeles boite?

Kelly, in the meantime, has; 1) entirely overcome her addiction in the space of an episode 2) hooked up with a handsome and goodhearted Doctor Boy 3) managed to gain the undying affections of a runaway addict girl who follows her around, bestowing affection on her, seemingly crying out, "You're so normal! You're so attractive! You're everything any girl would ever want to be!"

I shouldn't complain--this is probably a lot more interesting for Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as an actress than if her character, like Jennie Garth's, was being hosanna'd with goodgirlness every three seconds.

But Colin's gonna skip out on Valerie's bail money, and she's still gonna pay for his goddamn lawyer. It's a crime, I tell you--in a just world, we would have experienced a Very Special 90210 in which Kelly overdoses and leaves our lives forever. But, Valerie is forever shut out of the Upper Echelon--she can't sleep with Brandon, and she's not a True Walsh. Hers is the lot of the Prime Time Underclass.

Another Jason Priestley-produced epic here; he completely astounds me. What a genius. The scene in which Steve and Brandon coerce Nat into going out on the triple-date, shot entirely with a hand-held camera, read like a non-sequitur homage to Law and Order. And the dream sequence, where Colin paces a lime-green, smoke-laden jail cell, while reverbed voices yell out "Lonely Teardrops, Boy!" was mind-blowing.

The homage to Roger Corman a few episodes back was no accident. Jason Priestley understands exactly why I enjoy his television program. But if he can turn every episode into a Kitsch Explosion! I can't understand why he can't do anything about damned Kelly.

In the words of unibrowed British Rock Lord Noel Gallagher, someday we will find Jason Priestley, caught beneath the landslide, in a very special Champagne Supernova on Fox.

Awful Joe E. Tata subplot. I'm just not interested. However, Brandon's befuddled-boyfriendness makes me insanely happy. And Weird Crosseyed Clare just gets cooler by the nanosecond--did you catch the sequence where she pimp-walked through the lamp store with those plaid flares kept up with a rhinestone studded belt, huge sunglasses on her crossed eyes? I thought it was weird, on the season immediately following The David and Donna Apocalypse, how suddenly Donna and her minions dressed like indie rock girls--but this is outrageous and amazing. Go, Clare, Go.

David Silver just looks confused these days. The loss of Valerie has left him sexless, he just does that weird White Man Soul Brother sway and befuddled stare thing to no one. The part where he gave the newly-clean Kelly her goldfish and admonished her not to feed them until they died, though, was funny.

He seems so disconnected, though. The pressures of New Dylanhood are wearing him down.

Donna's perm is a terrible mistake--and what sort of humiliation is it for her to allow her invalid boyfriend to let Clare feel the pacemaker imbedded in his chest? Donna is least interesting when she has some boy to take care of--the Sorrow of Donna has been absent from my 90210 life too long.

I feel as if my television friends need my help. I'm fed-exing them drugs as soon as I get the chance. A little Kelly Deal subplot would be refreshing, wouldn't it?

--Doughty


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-05-08 21:20:52 EDT
From: Soulcghing

I was on a plane from London, last week, as Tara, clad in a blonde wig, pulling an Eve Harrington and trying to turn herself into Kelly screamed "Friends Don't Lie! Friends Don't Lie!" at the eternally wrinkle-nosed blonde. Apparently no one loves me enough to turn their VCR on, so I had to find this out in a snippet in the What Happened Last Week pre-episode montage.

I knew that no amount of screeching and weeping could bring last week's episode back, but I screeched and wept anyway. And was rewarded with a dull, formula episode even my crybaby ass didn't deserve.

What happened? Guess. She Of The Ample Mole-Flecked Cheeks lost out to the Maddeningly Dull Wrinkle-Nosed Blonde. Big Dumb Steve Sanders flexed his ego as Weird Crosseyed Claire rolled her Weird Crosseyed eyes. There was an interminable subplot of Susan and Brandon bickering--really, this whole ersatz Tracy-Hepburn shtick is beyond over. And Tori Spelling showed up in a completely horrifying hairdo--this time, some misbegotten blonde take on Bone Thugz-n-Harmony.

Well, okay, so Tori's hair was genuinely amusing. But Colin jumping all that bail Valerie put up to run back to Kelly? Please. Kelly'll have to get run over repeatedly to make up for the pain Valerie's gone through. Though the one moment I jumped up and yelled "Yes!" was when Our Beloved Chipmunk Valerie told Kelly on the phone that Colin didn't want to speak to her before he went to jail--Oh! The way that evil smirk spread out across the awesome fleshy rolls of her face!--I knew in my heart of hearts that the reason Colin was hang-up-calling Kelly every three seconds wasn't to politely ask her to front Val some dough for new candelabras at the Peach Pit After Dark.

I'm liking the way David Silver keeps staring longingly at Donna. Maybe there's a future in this--if they got back together, maybe Shannen Doherty would come back, maybe Andrea's talk show would get revived too. Then again, in the whole Glamourous Record Company Party Sequence they must've namedropped MCA half a dozen times--what, did MCA pay for a little product placement? They mentioned no bands, only the label--and that's the label that the Glitzy Record Company Dame that David left Donna for, immediately after jamming with Babyface, worked for. So who knows? This much I can tell you--he's not going back to Valerie. Oh, no. That might actually involve happiness for the girl. They can't have that.

At this point, I'm debating asking my bandmates--who have already crossed the line from mild annoyance to total stunned bewilderment over my constant 9021o-isms--if we might insert a JUSTICE FOR VALERIE postcard into the CD package. Who knows? Maybe Darren Star's a fair man. Maybe he'll listen to the Voice of the People.

Ray Pruitt's coming back next week, but I hate the man, so I'm not that interested. He does look more like G-Love every day, though, doesn't he? Maybe Joe'll finally die, too. Maybe the Mercy of Darren Star will let him take Susan and Colin off to the Promised Land with him.

--Doughty


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-05-15 21:35:55 EDT
From: Soulcghing

There's a few reasons I can't disrespect Ray Pruitt, Donna's wife-beating, guitar-playing, shlock-slinging Sub-Dylan of an ex-boyfriend, who returned this week for a Peach Pit After Dark engagement:

1. His new fiancee, when viewed in profile, slightly resembles Shannen Doherty. This means Ray hasn't lost his sense of history. Smart man, Ray. He also appears to have redeemed himself, and does not seem to be abusing her. I am relieved that the 90210 powers have enough respect to not allow the Shannen quasi-lookalike to get beat up by last season's Dylan wanna-be.

2. Ray Pruitt's astoundingly bad sensitive singer songwriter video, complete with rain-reflective windows and a floral-skirted girlfriend figure, appeared last night on Beavis and Butthead. I have myself appeared on Beavis and Butthead. This is a bond deeper than blood.

3. I may have once decried Ray as the least interesting second-string boyfriend character on the show, but in these days of Jerkoff Colin and Annoyingly Sensitive Joe, oh what a blessing his regular presence would be.

I'd add Donna Has Absolved Him Of His Sins to that list, but that's a given, isn't it? Who doesn't Donna forgive? Even David Silver--who preferred his methamphetamine to her on the one time in the history of the show Donna ever offered her Full Donna Love Stuff to anyone--rode around in a jeep, looking manly, with Donna, for half the episode.

There's a happy ending to this--Joe the football playing drone is leaving! Oh, how that awful goodbye scene on the beach filled me with joy! Of course Donna isn't gonna follow him to Beaver Falls to watch him coach high school football--nor does she completely ream him for abandoning her. The ultimate reason; "I can't leave my friends," Donna says.

That's right, Donna. The 90210 Pantheon needs you. And your father will find you a new boy to not have sex with, next season. No disrespect to Her Donnaness, though; I kinda wish they had gone the full nine and just killed the guy. They woulda done it for Brenda.

I don't even know how to address the Kelly-Valerie stuff. I'm numb to it. I guess I'm resentful of Valerie for even giving a damn about Colin. There she sits, listening over the speakerphone, as Colin tells Kelly he needs her. Of course. Of course. Didn't I tell you? Didn't I tell you?

Given the high stakes, it was disappointing for a catty exchange. Maybe I'm just sick of watching She Of The Mighty Jowls get slapped around.

You know, all that stuff at the top of the episode, the Snappy Banter as Brandon and the neck-braced Steve watched "Vega$" was actually comical. Well, it wasn't really that comical, but it didn't make me cringe. Maybe I was just happy to watch Clare's Big Ol Crosseyes roll around in disgust. Maybe I was just happy that Boring Boring Susan left for D.C. in the first moments of the episode, so I didn't have to worry about her turning up again.

Besides, Brandon had to mediate the Official Kelly and Valerie In Cahoots Trying To Nail Colin For Jumping Sentencing business. You need a Walsh for that. They woulda sent Andrea away, too.

So it seems that, just as the season seemed to be sagging at the end, just as my friend Rich's cruel remarks ("90210? Dude, that's SO two years ago.") seemed to be making inroads on me, they're cleaning up their act. Colin is gone the moment they catch his ass, Joe has left. I worried that the show was losing it's Gee Whiz moral center, but Donna spent the whole show basically calling every boy she hasn't slept with a good and decent person.

And, to boot, afterwards--Melrose. Melrose, as we all now, isn't really worth discussing here. Anymore. But, oh, how it harkens back to those golden days, when calling anyone you knew between eight and ten on Wednesday was an unbelievably foolish act. When they still vaselined the lens, that it might look more softly upon Brenda, the Forgotten Walsh.

Leaves me with a sense of melancholy, though. Everybody on Melrose could get shot or lobotomized at any given time--the Series Finale could be a two-hour shot of a pile of bodies. Small potatoes. A year and two weeks from now, we will all be watching Clare and Kelly and Valerie and Brandon and Steve and David (well, maybe not David--he may soon depart for his, uh, serious musical career) and the less significant others...graduating.

Graduating. I don't want to think about it. Oh, the humanity.

--Doughty


Subj: Late-Breaking Peach Pit
Date: 96-05-18 13:34:44 EDT
From: Soulcghing

I long ago gave up watching the Scenes From Next Week's Episode segment, lest I get all excited about something that doesn't actually happen. This may fit into the aforementioned scenario, but it's pretty mindblowing--somebody confirm this for me--

Valerie exclaims "That's like Dylan and Brenda getting back together!"

Cut to:

Footage of David and Donna smooching.

Someone please tell me the dope here; I haven't slept since I heard about this.

This is good. Oh, this could be so very, very good.

--Doughty


Subj: Peach Pit Babylon
Date: 96-05-23 06:03:31 EDT
From: Soulcghing

PEACH PIT BABYLON: THE RECKONING

Oh, where to begin?

Brenda and Dylan reunite, off camera! Andrea returns! Donna and David Silver reunite in a most cautious and intentional manner! Weird Crosseyed Clare chooses Steve over a wealthy and charming figure from her past! Valerie bags a foxy G-Man and sets herself on a mission to destroy Kelly's happiness, insuring that next season will be a stunning cat-and-mouse game of Keep Kelly And Brandon Apart!

And, most dumbfoundingly--Shrill Newspaper Girl and Boring Cocaine Art Guy have left the building!

I'll have you know that I have a plane to catch at 7 am, and the Evil Powers of Spelling have kept me entirely from sleeping beforehand. But who can complain?

Plus, the Goo Goo Dolls played "Name." I like "Name", prom-song-of-the-millenium that it is. I used to think that I liked the Goo Goo Dolls because, hey, anything that sounds exactly like the Replacements can't be all that bad. Now I know the real reason; the Goo Goo Dolls play 90210 Rock. A genre I can only aspire to. That, and that the Goo Goo Dolls and I share a Product Manager at Warner Bros.--a bond deeper than blood, I'll grant you, but not as deep as the one I share with Ray Pruitt for appearing on Beavis and Butthead.

Wow, I'm unsure what to say. What can I possibly bitch about? I hooted and moaned throughout the entire Glorious Two Hour Season Finale. As Bette Davis exclaimed in *All About Eve*--"Fire! And Music!"

This is the first time I've ever heard a reference to e-mail on 90210--and I'm peeved at the writers for keeping Brenda from communicating with Steve on his birthday. Why wouldn't she write back? She would at least be aware that Kelly's emotional reaction would barely last past the commercial break--come on. Five minutes pass and she's all over Brandon. "I like your arm there," she coos at the Last Walsh, as Colin is lead away by the cops and Valerie hauls off with her Manly FBI Fella. Hiss, hiss.

Weirdly, though, the ghostly reappearance of Brenda seems to have shot Valerie back to Dark Valeriehood; oh, how chuffed am I! The seduction of the Gumshoe Hottie surely is a sign of sluttishness to come. She darkened throughout the episode, as the Kelly Feud intensified, as the delicious banter deepened, as Brandon made more cheesy remarks about how glad he was the experience had brought them together--they seemed to bring the lights down on her, further every time she appeared on screen. There's evil brewing in them there gargantuan cheeks.

She knows what's coming--a bitter power struggle. After all, the spot next to Brandon is where the power broker sits on 90210, and Valerie can't get there. That would be, like, Virtual Incest.

Funny, that really dumb Hillary Clinton joke Brandon made early in the episode resonates more than it did when I cringed as he said it. There were actually, loads of strange remarks that hinted at the show's awareness of itself--Kelly's blithe "Steve always lands in the roses," and Brandon's response, "That's why we love him." And, even more chillingly, the You Invented Colin, No, You Invented Colin exchange between Valerie and Kelly. I mean, they actually said "invented." What's up with that?

I feared the worst as Donna poured champagne--champagne! the Historically Antithetical To Donnahood Beverage--on David Silver's head on the deck of the boat. I feared that Donna's honor was in danger. As you all realize, the demise of Donna's virginity is the demise of 90210--the loss of the Innocent Core. I was composing an obituary in my head--It's Over! It's Over! Doom! Doom! Woe!--to run in this column, as Donna put her head on David Silver's shoulder. But--faithless me--David Silver is far too manly to let Donna go out like that, despite the fact that a graceless and ungrateful Brian Austin Green is always kvetching about wanting to leave the show to the press--I tell you, if he busts her holy Spelling cherry and then takes off to do TV Movies for the rest of his life, I will personally slay him. But this time, damn, he came through. Willya look at those Manly Shoulders? Willya?

Somebody ought to do a compilation reel of Donna's Weird Jerky Movements At The Ends Of Scenes. Really peculiar stuff--sudden head-twitches and thumbs-ups and Pee Wee Herman noises and whatnot. I suppose the accumulated sexual tension accounts for that, if not her general Tori-Spelling-Ness.

The episode oddly shrugged off Andrea's return. The camera suspensefully followed her feet on her entrance, but when they panned up to her face, it was as if the cameraman thought; Wow, is she old-lookin', or what? And all but ignored her from then on.

Little interaction with Brandon from her, which angers all that knew her as the Smart Girl That Brandon Always Goes For in the golden age. I mean, we loved Andrea for that, didn't we? And like she'd come back just to say whassup to Steve Sanders. Come on. Personally, her talk show killed all remaining sentiment for me, and the whole time she was onscreen I was going, Yeah, yeah, get out of the way, maybe Donna'll make one of those weird movements again, but I was nonetheless distressed.

Perhaps Brandon was afraid that if he spoke too much to Andrea, he'd be obligated to grow back that Early Nineties Hockey Player Hair, that Beautiful Flowing Neck Cape he used to have.

Not enough feistiness from The Weird Crosseyed One, I'm afraid--even her hair was less freaky this time around. Clare, Clare, With The Freaky Hair--I know you're rocking about Veronica from the Archies, or what's-her-name from Josie and the Pussycats. Though, were they actually trying to recreate that Evil-Girl-Wears-A-Strange-White-Streak thing, it'd be The Ominous Jowly One whose hair would be getting freakier with every commercial.

Also--the episode took place almost entirely on a ship. No Love Boat references? Admittedly, I'm relieved whenever a particularly obvious piece of gratingly corny Brandon-quipping doesn't happen, but this was sort of a glaring omission.

Now that we're all pleased about Colin being thrown handcuffed into a cop car as Kelly and Valerie glare at him, and Brandon's admirably unsentimental goodbye to Susan the Skinny Uninteresting Andrea Wannabe, maybe we ought to turn to the serious issue at hand--what are they doing about second-string characters next season?

Look, they're gonna need them--Donna and David Silver feuding is gonna be a blissful subplot all its own, but Valerie needs to get some, and, dammit, Steve and Clare have to break up before this thing's through. Here's hoping they get better ones than this season's--meaning, ones that are more satisfying to actively hate.

Because--and I tell you this solemnly--Brandon and Kelly are gonna be married at the end of next season. It would be dishonorable for me to hate the Bride of Walsh, and, frankly, Jennie Garth is rumoured to be the one cast member that owns a Soul Coughing record. It'd be nice to embrace Kelly at last--nobody scoff in disbelief or I'll slap you--but, I have to concur with Randy "Who Put Kelly Through The Ugly Machine?" K., that perhaps a new hairstyle wouldn't be a terrible thing.

For now, though, Kelly Taylor has yet to earn my respect. I'm going to be landing in London at 4:30 pm eastern standard time. And I will, of course, be running madly through the streets of the ancient British capital, yelling, "Brenda! Dylan! Where are you! Come back! *Kelly has to be stopped!*"

--Doughty

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