Is Beverly Hills, 90210 secretly just one massive after school special? Because this episode was deep. We learned lots of lessons. Let’s begin with something we already know from the previous two episodes:
LA is different from Minneapolis…and it is very hard to be “poor” here. I’m starting to wonder just how long we’re going to beat this dead horse of a revelation. I get it. And so does Brenda! And speaking of horses, if only mom had let Bren go on a $120 horseback riding trip, we would never have gotten into this shoplifting mess.
Kids in LA do not have parents. Yet another dead horse we are beating. Of course the new bad girl Tiffany never sees her rich parents. Because literally nobody sees their parents in Beverly Hills. Parents are basically extinct. That’s why we have to learn all of our moral lessons through these two (solid “jogging suit” Mr. Walsh!):
Rich girls like to steal for fun. Tiffany is quite the character. She used to be best friends with Kelly, but then they went “nuclear” over Steve. They only just started talking again. And Brenda is already jealous that her new best friend might be reconnecting with an old best friend. I agree, Bren, it looks concerning from where you’re sitting:
But anyway, back to the stealing. Tiffany tells us that she steals because it’s the only time she feels alive. I mean, hello, she could buy anything she wants. She has a beamer! But she’s bored. Other things she has stolen? Steve. Kelly says Tif wasn’t even interested in him, just the idea of taking him. Oof. Tif needs some therapy (and we do learn through a heart-to-heart with Mrs. Walsh, the only mom in Beverly Hills, that she’s already seeing a therapist!)
The reasons people steal are complicated and a great homework assignment. What a coincidence, Brenda is reading Les Mis in English class! And her teacher assigns an essay: “explore how one decision, one event can change one’s whole life.” The episode pretty much starts this way. So poetic. And after the first shopping trip, Brenda offers us a great “moral twister”:
Who is more guilty?
Someone like in Les Mis who didn’t want to steal, but had to?
Or someone who wanted to steal, but didn’t?
I don’t know, Bren. All I know is this vest you thought about stealing is NOT worth it. In fact, I’m shocked the store isn’t trying to pay you to take it off their hands.
And in other fashion news…Luke Perry was wearing overalls with only one side buckled:
There are still more lessons to be learned. Brenda learns her lesson about stealing. I won’t bore you with the details other than to say that she writes a touching paper about stealing for actual hunger vs. the hunger to belong. This plot line is all wrapped up in a Les Mis-themed bow! But Brandon has lessons to learn, too. He’s on the job hunt which we learn from a very bizarre montage:
He gets a job at a restaurant working in the kitchen where he quickly learns that the immigrants who work there are not treated fairly. Brandon wonders why nobody does anything about it. Which ultimately leads him to declare that he is an undercover reporter for West Beverly Newspaper and he’s going to expose the restaurant. Is there a good lesson here re: treating the kitchen staff, particularly the illegal kitchen staff, fairly? Yes. But ultimately, I think this plot line was really just a set up to get Brandon a job at a more down-to-earth diner that might just become “The Max” for this show. I can already sense that the diner owner is going to be doling out advice to our crazy kids. And where else are they going to get advice? They don’t have parents!
Tune in next week for Episode 4: The First Time. (Is one of the Walsh twins going to lose his/her virginity? OMG. I can’t wait.)