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|:HOME:|:RANTS:|:NOVEMBER 4, 1999:
"Laying Pipe"
NOVEMBER 4, 1999

Well, although I missed not one but two WHY? Lists as a result, The Husband-Type Man and I had an amazingly relaxing vacation in Los Cabos. It was rather Dylanesque (or Hemingwayesque, which, in some ways, could be interchangeable), in fact... we took long, leisurely lunches at a favorite marina-side grill, savoring simply-dressed fish- and carne asada tacos and cold drinks, basking in the hot, Mexico sun, talking late into the nights, contemplating life and listening to the endless roar of the Pacific Ocean....

And then, upon returning to the land of 90210 and Mediarama, I log on to discover that... they turned the PPAD... INTO A STRIP CLUB.

I mean, really.

I still haven't watched the previous two episodes, but just the "previous episode" scenes were enough to disconcert me. So, in honor of our Episode/WHY commentary and the obvious Inspiration it provides to the writers of 90210, I would first like to present this open letter, on behalf of all of the Witty and Gifted Mediaramans who contribute regularly to the boards:

Dear Writers, Producers and Other Official People at 90210 Who We Know Lurk on the Mediarama Boards and Read Our Stuff:

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I am (and I'm assuming numerous other folks on these boards are) flattered beyond belief. Of course, we don't have any actual PROOF that you've cribbed ideas from these boards, but the circumstantial evidence, as it were, is pretty compelling. Now, I'm not going to suggest that we all deserve royalty checks. And much as I'd like to see a "thank you to the Mediarama gang" or even a "we owe much of our creative inspiration to that Goddess Dwanollah" in the closing credits, I'm not going to fight a losing battle.

However, I don't think it's untoward to ask that you express your appreciation to us, because, clearly, you need us. Admit it. I would even put myself out on the line and suggest that you all probably receive great joy from the hours and energy we devote to your show. And, as a token of that appreciation, I think you should offer to fly all of us out to LA where we can meet each other in person, offer our editorial comments and advice to you in person in regards to next season's storylines, visit the set and make like MST3K while filming is going on. And, well, I really wanna get I-on's autograph on my breasts.

We wouldn't expect you to put us up in the BelAge Hotel or anything... Mr. Dwanollah and I still have our place in the Valley, right near such favored 90210 locals as The Carriage Inn (site of Ohndrea Zuckerman's naughty affair) and Encino Place (scene of numerous Hillster shopping excursions, as well as Carly's Kid's big disappearance), and there's plenty of room there for a passel of Mediaramans in sleeping bags. We'd even invite the 90210 cast over for Vito's Pizza while we watch and rag on a new episode. Think of the fun! Think of the possibilities! And think of the trouble you'll save yourselves waiting for us to get around to posting new Episode Installments or contributing to the WHY section, when, instead, you can just appeal directly to the source with us there in person!

Sincerely yours, on behalf of the Mediaramans,

Dwanollah

Now, down to bizness....

Since I've missed the last two eps, I'm sure I missed critical buildup and/or tension (*snicker*). I'll have to muddle along as best I can in my ignorance.

Let's begin with the wardrobe department. Why does LawyerBoy wear those dorky sweater-vests? Why was Stevie all decked out in an ÜberDevon blue jacket and melon-colored t-shirt of Great Queeniness last episode? Why are all the Hillster Grrls sporting the same knee-length skirts? WHAT was up with that hiddy poncho thing of Donna's? Didn't Gina notice her bra strap was showing through her red cut-off sweatshirt thingie? Why was Kelly sticking her green-shirt-encased chest out at LawyerBoy in The Peach Pit?

And speaking of The Peach Pit, where was Nat?

And speaking of Kelly and LawyerBoy, are they ever NOT conflicted for longer than, like, five minutes at the beginning or end of an occasional show? Although I DID gain a great deal of vicarious satisfaction through Mr. WonderBread snipping at Kelly that she lacked compassion after her whole self-centered spiel about being a godmother, it was more painful to have to witness her responding baby sulk, complete with rosebud lips aquiver.

And speaking of Kelly and Fake-Brandon's conflict.... Now, I'm missing a lot of the build-up re: LB's case, but all I was able to glean from this episode was that he was trying to get the criminal off because he doesn't believe in the death penalty....? I don't know if the show got into details about what the criminal did last week, but this week someone mentioned that he was a murderer...? Okay. Now. Why was his appeal approved (as if he wouldn't spend 30 years in jail appealing to begin with)? The faux news report didn't say why the governor (as if!) had called six hours before to get the guy off, did they? I mean, was it "because Matt asked"? Or "because his brother [Colin's twin] would be really sad if he died?" I know that other people have differing opinions on the death penalty, but I personally don't get why Matt's getting a murderer off of death row = "saving a life." I mean, I'd be more in favor of lethally injecting the convicted murderer, then using his liver, heart, and other organs to save a multitude of lives. I tend to think once you go around actively killing other people, you kind of lose ground on the whole "value of human life" argument. I certainly don't think that EVERY criminal should be put to death... I'm in favor of trying rehabilitation, education, whatever it takes to help criminals become productive members of society again. And I can even see where, in some cases, a life imprisonment, living every day knowing what you did (like the fuckers who killed Matt Shepard, or the selfish bitch who drowned her two children in order to run off with her boyfriend), can be worse punishment than being quickly put to death. But in a lot of cases, when it becomes clear that the criminal is just going to go out and remorselessly kill and rape and rob again and again, I get pretty cynical about the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that could be spent on education and after-school programs and improving health-care for seniors and numerous other worthy causes are instead going to pay for gym equipment and TVs and full medical and dental care for repeat offenders living off the state in jail. Then there's the added sickness that many of the serial killers or "famous" murderers actually become like celebrities, receiving favored treatment (i.e. "respect") in jail by fellow inmates and cult-like fan-club followings from people outside the prison system. That someone like Richard Ramerez could actually establish a relationship with a prison "pen pal" and then be allowed to get married and have the "right" to conjugal visits burns me to no end. I realize that the death penalty is a controversial issue, but frankly, show me a child molester, show me a serial killer, show me the low-life scum bastard who broke into my 97-year-old great grandma's house and raped her, and I'll happily pull the lever myself. I said as much to a co-worker once, a guy who was the type of person who went around proclaiming "If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem" and, when another co-worker got engaged and was showing us her new diamond ring, proceeded to lecture her on why she should never, ever own diamonds because the people who mine for them in Africa are exploited. (Uh, Harmon... what about the migrant farm workers that picked those organic strawberries you're eating? What about the third-world countries where your Gap shirts are manufactured?) I mean, I had respect for him for trying to live by his value system, but the discussion on the death penalty made me wonder if he didn't have some major blinders on when it came to Good and Evil. As I mention, I said, pretty much word for word, "show me a child molester and I'll pull the switch myself," and he looked at me in horror. "I never realized you were such a cold person," he said.

O-kay.

And then there's the whole logic that "even killers have mothers" and there're families that're going to be grief-stricken if their son or daughter is put to death. Well, I don't mean this in a tit-for-tat way, but I'm sure the murder victim(s) families weren't exactly indifferent to the victim's death. Personally, I'd like to see some of these murderers put to death in the same way they killed others. The two punks that pistol-whipped Shepard and left him tied to a fence to die? Same deal. That sadistic creep who cut off his victim's arms after raping and stabbing her, dumping her miles from nowhere? Yup, here's the knife. Or else get an aircraft carrier that the Navy doesn't need for a while, disable the engines and stick it in the middle of the Pacific, fill it up with criminals, give 'em guns and knives, and play Darwin. Let 'em kill each other off. Oh, wait... that's not "humane." Well, no more humane than what these criminals did in the first place.

Anyway.

Speaking of inhumane.... why does LawyerBoy have a big ol' picture of Bill Clinton in his office? Do lawyers have to display a picture of the president? Or is that just for international airports and the government section of phone books?

What is up with this whole minivan deal? Why is the minivan the Ultimate Symbol of Parenthood? Having Kids = Buying Minivan? I mean, to me Minivan = Parenthood = Everything That Is Wrong With the World Today. I think being a good parent has more to do with, oh, I don't know, emotional availability and responsibility instead of, say, WHAT KIND OF CAR YOU DRIVE! And the whole car-as-Phallic-symbol deal was a shout-out if I ever heard one. Like Stevie Sanders would even apply such a metaphor to himself. And the "Big Steve" crap gave me the heebie-jeebies... why did that shtick have to continue on and on, anyway? And speaking of the car plot, why did Stevie have a cast of thousands accompanying him to buy a minivan? Why did we get the double-the-annoyance-whammy of Davy Silver dismantling the back seats and the ADD salesman going waaaaay overboard on the six kids scenario? I mean, we GET that Skeevy Stevie's all freaked about parenthood, okay! You writers could convey that and still keep things at least SEMI-realistic, not freakin' CARTOONISH!

And speaking of car-shopping together, what was up with that weird conversation between Stevie and Dyl-head about Dylan's "guns and drugs" and "screw-ups" and all that. I mean, were you feelin' the love? Why would Janet and Steve want such a person as their child's godparent, anyway? "Spiritual guidance"? It must be because Dylie can teach the kid to meditate and regress to his past lives and stuff [and Kelly can pick up the slack with the Evolving bit]. Or, mebbe it really IS the visions of generous checks dancing in Janet's head. I mean, she's already morphed beyond recognition by becoming Steve's pregnant fiancée. She might as well be a major gold-digger, too.

And speaking of Janet, why was she trying to convince us that her first date with Steve was her slouching in the passenger seat of his Penis-Car (and we never really heard WHY she was slouching and/or lied about lower back pain)? We all know their first date was to that lame-ass so-called West Beverly 5-Year Reunion, and they rented a limo. And as if we needed YET ANOTHER argument between Steve and Janet where Janet gets pissed at Steve for not doing something he said he'd do, or doing something he said he wouldn't do, and lying and deception blah blah blah fishcakes (tm Sars).... Didn't we suffer through this motif already with Steve and Claire? Although I was much amused by the whole "Steve's cheating on me... with HIS CAR" thing. I think Janet has issues. I think Janet has a lack of perspective. I think Janet is seriously fukt, as they say.

Of course it isn't just a CAR... it's a WAY OF LIFE! Of COURSE it is for Stevie Sanders! Good grief. Do people realize how lame and pathetic they sound when they say moronic things like this about an object like a car?

And why did that convertible-driving-guy ask for the time, say "what?" and then... zoom off without waiting for the answer? What was that all about? I could see it if Stevie was in his 'vette and it was supposedly an obnoxious "wanna race" interlude, but here it just didn't make sense.

Why was Gina even brought onto the show? I think VM is actually a good actress (disclaimer: I've only seen her on 90210), conveying the insecure, bulimic, perfectionist Gina with all her mood swings and freak outs. (Well, there is one exception... the phone scenes, one with a way-too-short pause if someone on the other end was supposedly saying that Dr. Silver was unavailable, but another one with a way-to-long pause for someone to say "Speaking" or even "This is Jackie Taylor"....) Anyway, her character... yuck. Too, too over-the-top. The Dirty Rotten Schemer thing is practically Camp City! I mean, who except Mommie Dearest is THAT evil?

I also find it hard to believe that Gina would just throw around admissions that she "has bulimia".... Most people in the middle of eating disorders wouldn't admit it, much less actually call it "bulimia" instead of "dieting" or "a problem with food" some other euphemism.

And why would Mel say something as incriminating-sounding as "we're through" to Gina... especially with a patient right there?

Why couldn't Dylan manage to type on his Powerbook with more than one finger? I would think a so-called writer could at least manage TWO fingers.

Why didn't Donna turn out the lights in Now Wear This Crappy Stuff when she left?

And, speaking of Donna.... *groan* Why were we subjected ONCE AGAIN to a St. Donna storyline?! Like with the Rose Princess Shtick in South Central, Donna is somehow "chosen" to come into contact with a poor, unfortunate soul who "needs" her, who is there for a "reason." And to top things off, SHE IS DISILUSIONED WHEN THE DEAD GUY DOESN'T LIVE UP TO HER EXPECTATIONS! I mean, HOW MUCH MORE SELF-IMPORTANT COULD DONNA BE?! "He needed help and I turned away from him"?!? Grunting incoherently = needing help? You "could've given him food or water"? Why, how GRACIOUS of you, Donna! Why not the body and blood of Christ? SHE COULD MAKE HIM HER LIFE'S WORK?! Why not just offer to bring him back to the beach apartment and set him up on the couch? It's not as if there's personal safety to consider if this poor homeless man NEEDS you, Donna! You, Donna, are Brave and Kind and True enough to have "seen a sweetness in his eyes"! You didn't even have to have the personal connection of remembering that David's mom was once a homeless street person as well because of mental illness. No, no, you just "knew" you had to help Willard... you had a "feeling"...YOU BELIEVED IN HIM and HE DESERVED MORE THAN HE WAS GETTING (um... Donna? WHYYYYY?). Of course, this feeling comes after the guy is dead, so your involvement is easier after that fact instead of, say, volunteering at a shelter or in a soup kitchen or anything day-to-day and potentially messy... like with the kids in South Central, whom you could "get into" the daycare place because YOUR SORORITY does a lot of CHARITY WORK for it, as opposed to you spending a few hours down there helping kids with homework or being a Big Sister. No, in Hillsterland, Altruism and Nobility - always rewarded in the end, mind, by gushing praise from your boyfriend and tertiary affirmation from an Other - consists of doing things like writing obituaries or arranging a memorial service for someone you had, like, 3 seconds contact with, or donating your old designer clothes to a sorority-run garage sale, or attending glamorous "fundraisers," or making your Christmas shopping a little easier by only buying one gift and sending a check for the rest to an impersonal charity. For this, you too, like Donna, can be all but Canonized!

We can only hope that, soon, the Brooklyn Museum of Art will soon be featuring a picture of St. Donna with elephant dung.

And if Donna was so emotionally involved with this homeless guy, why didn't she deliver her lines with A LITTLE MORE EMOTION!?

And let me say, I don't see why Janet and Steve didn't chose St. Donna as the godmother if they wanted spiritual guidance.

And, not to keep harping on Donna's "Suffer the Little Homeless People" storyline, but AS IF she and Noah could just troop down to the coroner's and not only obtain info on ol' Willard, but COULD COLLECT HIS PERSONAL BELONGINGS?!

So....

Why didn't Noah FEED THE BLINKING METER when they parked by Willard's bar?

And, oh, Noah's given Donna "more reasons to be happy" than disillusioned...? I'm sorry, but the best sex in the world, the fanciest dates, the nicest birthday and Christmas presents, even rescuing me from the evil tentacles of back pain medicine, wouldn't be enough to make me happy and/or not disillusioned if my boyfriend RAPED SOMEONE! Not to mention the whole guns and drugs interlude. And the fact that it's, well, Noah. Eyew.

Davy...? Why aren't you combing your hair anymore? Hon, that ain't stylish "bed head"... that's more like "finger in electrical socket."

And why are we getting this total mixed message re: sensitivity and sexism where Davy is concerned. Why are We the TV Viewers expected to swallow the bullshit that Davy, spouting nonsense like "if you play you might as well score" and that he "objectifies women" and is "a chauvinist" but yet his message is all about how he learned to "be strong, don't let people walk all over you, and love yourself." Writers, pay attention here: Davy as Faux Adam Carolla IS NOT WORKING. See, there's a definite ironic undercurrent to Adam Carolla's particular brand of so-called sexism that is lacking in Davy's knock-off version. I will admit to being an avid Loveline fan, and to watching a few episodes of The Man Show (as any good KROQer would, for the Jimmy-the-sports-guy and Mr. Birchum fix), and it's been pretty clear to me that this is a VERY TONGUE IN CHEEK look at so-called "typical" man (i.e. Steve Sanders) culture, even almost like a joke on themselves at times. Moreover, it's also pretty clear from Adam's Loveline tirades that he has no patience for people, male or female, who buy into overt sexism/chauvinism. But with Davy, it's just like he's trying to play both sides of the court re: Mars and Venus, and isn't playing either side well at all, because there was also that whole weird interlude with Gina where he gets all spiney and asserts that he has all these boundaries and won't let Gina use him or whatever because she's still with Dylan, blah blah. But then he completely waffles and gives way and agrees to porch-sit or whatever with her.

Moreover, I really really really hope that Marta was just setting Davy up and/or humoring him when she responded enthusiastically that "I think most women feel the same [as Davy, i.e. also think that 'if you play you might as well score'] but are too scared to admit it." However, I have my doubts that this brand of subtlety exists in the 90210 spectrum.

And speaking of Marta, WHO CAN AFFORD A $29,000 CAR IN ORDER TO DEMOLISH IT IN ONE NIGHT OF SO-CALLED PERFORMANCE ART (and who would buy a car, especially one for almost $30,000, WITHOUT GETTING THE PINK SLIP)!?? I will admit, I loved the shot of the Ominous Shadow With Chainsaw behind Stevie, slicing up his admittedly phallic car, as if Stevie himself is about to be castrated (if only!). And much of the activity at the so-called Performance Art Show reminded me, strangely enough, of Peachy's Gentlemen's Club as per the Let's Write Our Own Episode. Fancy that. (And why was Janet there? When did she join up with the OPBs?)

Ah, Dylan.... Dylan McKay and the Search for Self. Dylan and the Search for Life's Meaning. Dylan's Search for Religious Guidance (um... what's a "romantic religion?") Dylan's Search for Love. Dylan's revelation that all these things might be found in the same place... the same person... Kelly Taylor. One question: WHY? Look everyone! Dylan is cynical and unhappy! But Kelly can save him! It is a woman's PRIVILEGE to save these tortured Byronic boys! (For two people who are supposedly "connected" or "soulmates" or whatever it is Dylan and Kelly are supposed to be, the whole scene with them walking through the trees was really stilted and lacked chemistry of any kind.)

And I gotta say, the whole "pink moment" thing, with Kelly being all nervous about it, really freaked me for a moment... you know, like Dylan was gonna suddenly unzip and demand that Kelly "kiss the pink elephant's trunk, baby! You know you want to!"

Oh, and, um, when exactly were Toni and Dylan in Ojai? I mean, they were only married for, like, a day, and were... if you could even call it "dating"... for about a month and a half before that. I guess it must've been around the same time that Dylan rushed over to help Davy write two term papers?

And was it really a Great Revelation when the pastor told Dylan that "maybe you shut down when Antonia died"?! I mean, couldn't a 14-year-old figure that out? Great spiritual guidance, dude! And speaking of the pastor, how much more heavy-handed could the whole "Dylan and Kelly will be linked for life" crap be? As if godparenting is about how the child perceives them as a couple?!

And WHY WHY WHY was there the whole exchange about RAIDING THE MINIBAR!? Why were they emphasizing the little bottles of rum, without any concern (unusual for Kelly, in fact) that DYLAN IS AN ALCOHOLIC!

How could Gina just barge into a hotel room? How could she know which room they were in? It's not like desk clerks'll give out that kind of info. And hotel room doors automatically lock when they close.

And, finally, why, after Gina walked in, did Kelly stuff her itty bitty mouth full of cheese? Was that her commentary on the plot? Gina? The show?

Dwanollah says e., all of the above.

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