Episode 13: #realness
By: Carlos Uribe
90210 is a show about wealthy kids who do business and go to college in the zip. Or something.
It can be ridiculous how hard this show tries to be relevant and cool in the face of rapidly declining ratings. There's a special guest appearance from Terrell Owens and the title of the episode is a hashtag. It simply feels like it's trying too hard to keep it's audience. What is more surprising is that people keep agreeing to come on the show. It's not like anybody is actually watching this drama anymore. It's not going to give them a significant amount of exposure and it's difficult to believe this show is able to pay them a lot of money. That the show has the budget to actually bring special guest stars on a regular basis can probably be explained that this is the money they would have used to pay Gillian Zinser. The question is whether these guest stars and attempts to reach a young audience is working or not. It really seems to be failing which makes one question just how effective is a guest star at getting people to watch. The idea is that these guest stars will have a fanbase that will follow them into a show and increase exposure. If they like what they see then they'll stick around. This might have worked in the past but I can't think of a recent example where this has actually saved a show. It's not really a ploy that I'll usually pay attention to but the episode title really calls to attention on how this drama is continually losing relevance with it's core demographic. The actual episode wasn't actually that bad on it's own right.
So what happens? It's actually pretty sad because it appears that Max is leaving the show for now. He's going to MIT and cutting all ties with Naomi. He's not only divorcing her but he realizes that he can't even be friends with her. Their divorce might be one of the amicable in television history but their attraction is too strong for them to be in the same room for long. He does grant Naomi her desire for closure by having sex with her one last time. It's a pity that the show is sending him on a bus but it makes sense that they would want Naomi to be single again. 90210 is primarily a relationship drama so having it's protagonist be in the dating scene is a natural status quo for the show to exist in. This opens them up to a lot more story opportunities that a marriage had closed. Opportunities that the writers are going to want to explore. At the same time, the door isn't completely shut out on Max making a return appearance. It's possible that the two will reunite in the series finale because they still love each other. I like the idea that they are the ultimate endgame simply because they share a lot of chemistry together and Max remains my favorite of Naomi's love interests. It might be because he remains one of the most realistically written nerds on television and it's easier for me to relate to him than anyone else on the show.
There was a large part of the show where it seemed like Navid was finally given a plot of his own. The secret society he wants to join is just the show's excuse for Liam to be an underground fighter. This society leads to him hitting on a hit girl named Michaela. Michaela falls for his charms and the two go on a date. They seem to like each other but it's really a way to create more drama in the never-ending Silver baby plot. That's because Michaela is Shane's sister and Teddy is trying to get Silver to use her as the surrogate. Just as I thought that the plot was losing steam, the show manages to throw a wrench in the works that makes it possibly interesting again. The only problem is that Navid remains a dull character and his involvement in this baby drama might truly be what kills it. It speaks a lot that Navid can't seem to actually get a plot that can stand on it's own but only works to act as a supporting character. Is there any way the show can have him go back to Princeton so that the show can write in scenes for characters who have their own stand-alone lives? If so can Annie go with him? She remains just the worst.
I have a feeling that Riley's going to have to agree with me. He's just passed away and not once does the series try to show Annie being affected by his death. There's one scene where she jokes about it but she never actually seems sad about it. It would work if she was in denial but there isn't a scene that would back this idea up. It simply doesn't feel like Riley has actually died or that he mattered to her. There is no funeral scene and the show quickly moves Annie into the developing the blog storyline. It turns out that I shouldn't be reviewing television shows but talking about my personal life because she's quickly able to get a book deal out of it. When the publisher's assistant tried to state that he thinks this is going to be the next 50 Shades of Grey, it's hard not to laugh at the sheer idea of Annie being a talented writer. Annie only agrees to this deal if she remains anonymous because she hasn't told her brother that she was a prostitute. Which brings me to my next point: Riley has just died but that's not the trauma that Annie is processing. The emotions that are really bothering Annie is that she's just starting to react to Patrick paying her for sex. She's been shot, her roommate was kidnapped, and her boyfriend just passed away but she can't move on from an event that happened over a season ago. If she's still struggling to process that she was the kind of person that got paid to have sex then how is she still surviving? She should be completely and utterly emotionally broken by now. Of course, if she was then that would be two characters failing to keep it together.
I believe that it's time that Liam go see a therapist. I'm not just saying this because I think therapy scenes can be really strong. He's recently been kidnapped and he's suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. It's gotten so bad that he's ready to snap at almost every scene. He's suffering from an emotional breakdown and it would help if he got some professional help. It might help make him an effective underground fighter but it's jeopardizing his acting career. He's not the only one whose actions are going to hurt his professional reputation. Adrianna decides that the best way to get out of her contract is to act out until Dixon releases her. She tries some petty shoplifting before moving on into actually ruining a show on purpose. A show where Dixon had planned to trade her contract for clients that are less established but who haven't dated him. Her actions ruin the deal and Dixon releases her from her contract because she's impossible to work with. The plot was fine but I wonder if this means it's the end of Dixon's label plot or whether he's going to try and save it. I'm not sure if he'll actually be able to.
#realness is basically on the same level of quality as most of this season-it's barely entertaining. It made a major misstep with Annie by rushing her blogger plot without allowing her to deal with Riley's death. The good news is that Naomi and Max basically kept me entertained for the whole hour even if it was watching his time on the show run out. Here's hoping that the next episode doesn't call attention to itself on how relevant this show pretends to be.