TV by Numbers


Grace Duffy gets to grips with life in America’s sexiest zip code, 90210

90210, the bastardised offspring of popular nineties drama Beverley Hills 90210, is an oddity of a show if ever there was one. Lingering between drama and comedy, it half-expects you to take its vapid, nonsensical characters and their melodramatic dilemmas seriously, while half-wallowing in its own cheesy implausibility. 90210 likes to think it’s more relevant than it is, foisting half-drawn sketches of what are (presumably very real) LA stereotypes upon us, as played exceptionally – Home & Away-esque – badly by a cast cultivated almost entirely from Canada. But let’s not hold that against it – Canada is infinitely preferable to the States – and despite all these shortcomings the show somehow manages to be awesome.

It’s fond of half-addressing issues that might genuinely affect people in high school – sexting, dobbing in your friends, being wrongfully accused of shagging your friend’s boyfriend when her sister was the true culprit – not to mention the slightly more controversial issue of being the adopted black son of a very white Midwestern family. However, it graciously does all this in a very ‘this is sort of, kind of, important, but here are some naked people instead’ manner. Characters come and go freely – a Narc cop appeared in two or three episodes of Season One, left a totally unresolved storyline, and has literally never been seen since – and the regulars undergo such heroically hilarious endeavours each week, it’s hard not to keep watching.

In one recent episode, Adrianna (that same girl who, in season one, found out she was five months pregnant while somehow still rocking a size zero) broke up with her boyfriend Navid and started a “relationship” with Teddy, only to realise her mistake, dump Teddy, and return to Navid, only for him not to want her, because she [shock!] kissed Teddy while she was still going out with him. Phew! Still with me?

Let’s not forget Silver, the would-be heroine of the piece who underwent a mental breakdown and became bipolar in the space of half an hour last season, but seems strangely rational in her behaviour this season. Or as rational as you can be when you’re from Los Angeles.

So who’s the real draw, then? Naomi is the queen of this other realm: a terrifically astute, glamorous, Machiavellian maneater who towers above all with her hoity attitude and statuesque frame. Oh, and she’s gorgeous, a real feast for the eyes of both sexes. I shall mourn the demise of her relationship with the [similarly ludicrously hot] Liam until the end of my days. Silly though it may be, that pair made me feel until Naomi’s evil sister tore them apart… and Liam has very nice abs.

90210 airs on E4 every Tuesday at 9pm.