Fact: Brenda and Kelly were frenemies. Now, call me perverse, but some of my favourite episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 involved when they fell out with each other. Remember when Brenda caught Kelly and Dylan out on a date and Kelly defended herself when Brenda called her a bimbo? Brenda’s classic comeback was one of the best lines from the whole ten years of Beverly Hills 90210 put together: “Well Kelly, I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…” Oh-may-zing.
Well, this season two finale is also a bit of a doozy. Get set for when frenemies, father issues, two Aaron Spelling dramas, a bottle of alcohol and a wall collide. Da na na na, da na na na!
A Melrose Place Cross-Over and a Mexican Stand-Off
The episode opens with Brenda and Dylan stuck on the wrong side of the Mexican border after Brenda forgets her license. She and Dylan have been in Baja and she’s lied about it to Jim and Cindy, telling them she was with Kelly all weekend. Brenda’s flipping out because border control have called Jim Walsh and he is mad. He yet again forbids Brenda from seeing Dylan (how many times has he done that already?) and Dylan acts like a bit of an indignant douche when he kisses Brenda and telling her he’ll see her at school… tomorrow. Methinks the issue spreads a little deeper than the trip to Mexico, but we’ll tug at that thread later!
Meanwhile, Kelly’s been busy having it off with Jake Hanson from Melrose Place, who’s been hired to construct a wedding canopy for the impending nuptials of Kelly’s knocked-up mum Jackie and David Silver’s father Mel. That’s right, folks, this episode is one of the cross-over episodes used to introduce us to Beverly Hills 90210’s sister show Melrose Place. Anyway, for a 17-year-old girl, Kelly is pretty confident with her sex banter, telling Jake it’s “looking good”… and she’s not talking about the canopy. I still can’t talk to men like that, and I’m 31. Has that what my life’s become? Envying the scripted flirting on an early ‘90s teen drama? Anyway, moving on…
Jackie storms out to the backyard wearing what has to be the loudest, most conspicuous maternity dress I’ve ever seen. She rips Kelly a new one for lying to Cindy Walsh about Brenda’s whereabouts and Kelly’s embarrassed that she now looks like a kid in front of Jake. She has a go at Brenda the next day at school, but Brenda doesn’t seem to care too much about that, asking, “What does Jake have to do with this anyway?”, to which Kelly replies, “Brenda, I do have a life”. Remember that – it sows the seeds for a showdown between the long-standing frenemies later in the episode, so stay tuned…
Never a Bridesmaid
Elsewhere, in the West Beverly Blaze office, to be precise, Andrea is down because she hasn’t been invited to Kelly’s mum’s wedding, telling Brandon, “I thought I’d made some real friends at this school, but there’s always been a part of me that’s never been sure. I didn’t expect to be a bridesmaid like Brenda or Donna, but I thought I’d at least get an invitation”. When Brandon reasons that there must be some mistake, Andrea replies that “the mistake was I deluded myself into believing that Kelly and I were friends”. Oh Andrea.
Okay, firstly, I think it’s a little weird that Jackie has let Brenda and Donna be bridesmaids, even if she only did it to make Kelly happy. I guess all her old friends are her ex-dealers or aren’t sober or something. Secondly, if I can digress here to bring up something that’s bugged me for a while, Andrea may not have expected to be a bridesmaid this time, but after all the bonding talks she had with Donna about being virgins and, I don’t know, being her friend for ten years, you’d think Andrea would get to be one of Donna’s bridesmaids when she married David in the last ever episode. (Sorry, spoiler alert too late). I mean, Andrea came back for that episode and everything, but Donna instead had Janet, who had only been in two or three seasons, as a bridesmaid. Is Andrea not good enough for you Donna?
Persona non grata
A tortured looking Dylan (in all fairness, when does he not look tortured?) comes into the Peach Pit to get some answers from Brandon and Brandon makes it pretty clear whose side he’s on – big Jim’s. Dylan then launches into a story about how his dad Jack once married a woman who didn’t like him and eventually told Jack that Dylan was “persona non grata”, as in “not welcome”, and just what was Brandon trying to tell him? That he was again persona non grata? “Yeah, I guess so”, replies Brandon. “Okay”, says Dylan. “I just wanted to hear you say it”. Way to lay all the responsibility on Brandon, Dylan.
So anyway, back at school, Dylan and Brenda make out in front of the lockers before Dylan tells her they need to take a break. It gets all dramatic as a teary-eyed Brenda watches Dylan as he thumps his hand in a tortured soul/manly/rebel/cool guy way on the top of a doorframe as he walks away. In a parallel storyline, Jake cools things off with Kelly.
Frenemy Lines are Drawn
I pretty much skimmed over all that mopey stuff to make way for the good stuff – the Kelly vs. Brenda showdown! It’s the wedding rehearsal and Kelly is upset about Jake. Brenda says, “Don’t you realise that Jake is just a fantasy for you? That’s probably why you like him so much”. Kelly gives her a death stare.
Let’s pause the action for a sec to talk about Donna’s amazing dress – a tight little white number with rosebuds on it. It’s beyond adorable.
Back to the action – if there was a Beverly Hills 90210 quote hall of fame, this would be in it:
Kelly: Dylan McKay, that’s all we ever talk about! Did it ever occur to you that other people have relationships that they take seriously!?
Brenda: How can you even compare your problems with Jake who you barely even know to my problems with Dylan? I mean, you’re not even up there with Donna and David!
Donna: What’s that supposed to mean?
Kelly: That means that Brenda’s being a self-centered little bitch!
Brenda leaves and Donna, always the pushover, chases after her. Kelly then has a meltdown in front of everyone: “I have a life, too, you know, mom. I have feelings. Nobody here pays any attention to them, but they’re there”.
With a line timed just like Rocky Horror’s Brad Majors’ when he says, “Say, does anybody here know how to Madison?” after witnessing the Time Warp, Mel quips, “Do you think it’s too late to elope?” Then a pipe bursts in the living room and there’s water everywhere. How poetic! The answer? Have the wedding at the Walsh house, of course! The gang come up with this plan at the Peach Pit later that night, where Andrea walks in and says her mom had Kelly’s invitation stuffed in her purse this whole time. Oh Andrea!
Don’t be Such a Cow (Do those of you reading from the US say “cow”? If not, it’s ‘80s/’90s Aussie slang for a bitch, FYI)
The Walsh house is in a flurry as the wedding is set up and, from the white wooden chairs and pastel balloons to the bright pink bows, it looks like every fancy set I’ve seen on late ‘80s/early ‘90s shows set in LA – especially the rich parties in Troop Beverly Hills. Let me just say that before Donna Martin, it was Shelley Long who reigned supreme as the fashion queen of Beverly Hills. Who else could pull off a skirt that looked like a peach foldaway side table? I’m sure her outfits inspired Lady Gaga in some way. Hey, they may have even inspired a young Tori Spelling, who was, in fact, in Troop Beverly Hills. Note to self: recap this movie at some point.
But I digress again. Instead of helping Brandon and Steve set up for the wedding, Brenda is in her room, moping in bed. She urges Cindy to do something to get Dylan to come to the wedding: “Is dad the only one who makes decisions in this family? Don’t you have a say in what goes on around here?” That’s right Brenda, pull the feminism card to get your mom to bring your boyfriend back because you’re miserable without him. That makes sense.
Just on a side note, I love how these people are making this wedding out to be bigger than Ben-Hur and a pivotal social event in their lives when they’re actually not that close with the bride and groom. I doubt Dylan’s even met Mel Silver?
Cindy allows her arm to be twisted and gets Brandon to deliver a note to Dylan urging him to come to the wedding, but only because I think she wants Dylan back in order to covertly flirt with him. Carol Potter, who played Cindy, has recently admitted that there was a bit of sexual tension between her and Luke Perry back in the day, and Beverly Hills fans may have detected that this chemistry showed onscreen in scenes where you can see Dylan checking her out. I also noticed a time when Dylan lingered a little too long putting a lei on Cindy when he returned from a trip to Hawaii.
Anyway, Kelly arrives at the Walsh house and her fashion here is deeply questionable. What I mean is that she’s literally wearing a cow print. And by literally, I mean there are literally prints of cows on her denim shirt. Now do you get my “cow” subheading? Huh? Huh?
Kelly goes up to Brenda’s room and Kelly is of course the first to apologise. Brenda then also says “sorry”… until next time. The audience will be treated to the “duck” comment next season, after all.
Dylan, lured by Cindy’s note, arrives at the house and has a conversation with Jim that’s pretty much the same as a million other conversations they’ve had before – and he is once again forbidden from seeing Brenda. Are we supposed to still care by this point? This, to me, is of secondary importance to the early ‘90s formal wear we’re about to be exposed to…
Bridesmaids, Bad Boys and a Blossom Hat
While the pink tulle bridesmaids dresses are pretty out there, the outfit of the episode by a mile goes to the bride, Jackie. I have to do a few screenshots from different angles for you to truly appreciate how much is going on here.
And then there’s the piece de resistance, the headgear.
I never thought I’d say this, but Shelley Long from Troop Beverly Hills, eat your heart out. Could Jackie Taylor be the TRUE fashion queen of early ‘90s Beverly Hills? I could probably write a whole article about her earrings alone. I won’t, though, don’t worry!
While Mel and Jackie are getting hitched, Brenda has some fantasy about marrying Dylan. I’ve got news for you Brenda. It’s not your dad that’s going to ruin that fantasy for you – look no further than the bridesmaid on your right for that. It is also worth noting here that Andrea is wearing a Blossom hat.
Steve catches up with Kelly after the ceremony to tell her that he now realises they’re never getting back together. “Probably not”, she says. “But then, who would have thought that my mother would be marrying David Silver’s father? Life takes some weird turns”. Way to reel him back in, Kel. Keep on dangling that carrot, why don’t you? It’s not all bad for Steve, though – he ends up hooking up with a young Denise Richards.
Another bad boy rocks up at this baby boomer wedding – it’s Jake and he wants to see where things go with Kelly, telling her, “You’re a very dangerous girl”. Oh Jake, show some self-restraint – she’s 17. Wow, I sound like Dylan when he warns Jake (who looks like he’s wearing too much eye makeup) to “be careful” because Kelly’s “a young girl, emotional”. Um, last time I checked Dylan, you and Kelly were supposed to be the same age.
Elsewhere, David catches Mel and Jackie on their way upstairs and says, “Ah ha! You guys are sneaking up to the bedroom already”. Inappropriate much?
Big ol’ Jimbo pays Dylan a visit at the bar and reaches out an olive branch, but Dylan throws it in his face and a bottle of alcohol against the wall. It’s here where Dylan’s daddy issues explode: “I trusted you like a father, man, not just with my money but with my feelings”. We all know what happens in this scene – the often imitated, always mocked cry to “take a shot, Jim! Take a shot!”
Dramatic music plays as he storms off, juxtaposed against the joy of the wedding, and we see Andrea catch the bouquet. Now that I think about it, I believe that she is indeed the first to actually get married. And you know what? I’m not 100% sure because I haven’t re-watched Andrea’s shotgun wedding episode yet, but I don’t think Kelly, Brenda or Donna were her bridesmaids. Well, how ‘bout that?