Photo Cr: FOX
Best First Down
There’s no time like the first time. Soap teens agonize over losing their virginity. On soaps, true love waits for sweeps periods, driving viewers crazy with anticipation and making those over the age of 18 feel vaguely uncomfortable. Our contenders for Best First Down: the original Fox-y teens Brenda and Dylan from Beverly Hills, 90210 versus their soCal descendants Seth and Summer from The O.C. This one’s going to be tough to call.
Consider the evidence:
Beverly Hills, 90210: Spring Dance AKA Brenda and Dylan do it in a hotel room:
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The O.C.: Heartbreak AKA Summer Throws Seth Down, Later Reveals She Has No Idea What She’s Doing
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Before Beverly Hills, 90210 on television good girls always said no. So did most good boys. Teenage sexual activity was always portrayed as wrong. Neither Blossom nor Carol Seaver would ever consider it. Then, in the early 90s, 90210 came along. Series creator Darren Starr, who would go onto create another zeitgeist defining show, Sex And The City, dared to treat teenagers as three dimensional human beings with hormones. As quaint as the show seems now with it’s after-school special style lessons of the week, it was revolutionary at the time. Dylan McKay was the Chuck Bass of his era. He was considered a bad boy because he lived alone, was in AA, and had eight foot long sideburns. When, after spending the whole season falling in love, Brenda and Dylan consummated their relationship after the junior prom, America freaked out. Fox was condemned for encouraging immoral behavior. The show bowed to pressure, making Brenda regret her decision. But you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Television writers felt empowered to craft more honest portrayals of teen relationships.
Thirteen years later, sex was a given in teen dramas. The O.C.’s first season honestly depicted the hard-partying ways of rich Newport Beach teens. The O.C. replaces 90210’s preachiness with hilarious dialogue. While 90210’s only famous line is, “I choose me,” The O.C. is a quoteapalooza. Seth and Summer were the show’s funniest couple. Their sex scene showed how times had changed. Brenda and Dylan planned their first time. Summer threw Seth down on the bed, made sure he had condoms, then announced he was about to get lucky. The clever twist came afterwards: the sex was realistically awful. Seth had a classic talk with his Dad, where he learned that he’s forgotten that whole foreplay thing. Summer later revealed she’d been feigning sexual experience all along, since no popular girl would ever admit being a virgin.
The Winner: The O.C., by a last minute field goal. 90210 was the original, but The O.C’s superior writing pulled it out in the clinch.
MVP: Brenda Walsh’s prom dress wins the prize. The shot of Brenda and Kelly wearing identical black and white dresses is still instantly identifiable decades later.
What do you think about the choices for winner and MVP? Whether you agree or disagree, leave your comments below!