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Beverly Hills, 90210 was one of the most popular teen dramas during the early 1990s. It ran for ten years (from 1990 to 2000), and had all but changed its entire principal cast by the end of the show's run. It is generally agreed that the show declined in quality after the cast graduated high school.
The show focused primarily on the Walsh family, particularly fraternal twins Brandon and Brenda, who had just moved into Beverly Hills and were (at least initially) suffering a certain degree of culture shock. It is worth noting that the Walshes were the only original characters absent in the finale. The action also included the twins' friends Dylan, Steve, Andrea, Kelly, Donna, and David. The show managed to touch on almost all social issues, including drug use, drunk driving, rape, unprotected sex, abortion, and even apartheid. (There is a persistent rumor that Spelling wanted to license a U.S. version of the Degrassi franchise but was turned down by that show's producers).
The show's casting includes some of the most dramatic examples of Dawson Casting in recent memory, to the point where many sites often refer to the trope as "90210 Syndrome". Luke Perry was 24, Ian Ziering was 26 and Gabrielle Carteris was 29 playing 16.
Had a Spin-Off in Melrose Place (which itself had a less successful spin off in Models, Inc.) and a more recent Sequel Series simply titled 90210. The new series is mostly focused on a new cast of characters though Donna and Brenda have made cameo appearances and Kelly is an important recurring character. Also Kelly's sister, main character (Erin) Silver is technically from the original.
- A Man Is Always Eager: All the guys, no exceptions.
- Alcoholic Parent: Kelly's mom. She got better.
- An Aesop: Most of the episodes
- The Beautiful Elite
- Beta Couple: Arguably David and Donna in the earlier seasons.
- Betty and Veronica: Brenda (Betty) and Kelly (Veronica) with Dylan (Archie).
- Genderflipped with Brandon (Betty) and Dylan (Veronica) with Kelly (Archie).
- Book Dumb: Steve and Donna.
- Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Dylan and Brenda
- California University
- Chick Magnet: Brandon, full stop. Sometimes also lampshaded by other characters. The other main guys can qualify too to some extent.
- Date Rape Averted: Kelly and a cowboy at a costume party. Donna & Brenda to the rescue
- Dating Do-Si-Do
- Dawson Casting: In the extreme, to the point where this trope is often called "90210 Syndrome" outside of this wiki.
- Though there were some aversions (Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling and a few others), the straight examples were very extreme (Most infamous was Gabrielle Carteris who was twenty-nine when she started on the show).
- Derailing Love Interests — Dan Rubin, Andrea's boyfriend in college is a nice, funny and smart guy, until Andrea breaks up with him (for plot reasons) and he is suddenly a controlling, manipulative racist.
- Distressed Damsel: Kelly Taylor to the extreme. Raped, burned, placed in a cult, pregnant/miscarried, addicted to cocaine, sleeping with everyone (but David), shot, and so on.
- Domestic Abuser: Ray Pruitt repeatedly abuses Donna. Most infamously, he pushes her down a flight of stairs, semi-accidentally.
- Dump Them All: In the original Beverly Hills 90210, this is how Kelly resolves the Dylan/Brandon love triangle. "I choose me!"
- Everyone Can See It — Brandon and Andrea, lampshaded a million times on the series; by Steve, by Kelly, by the entire Walsh family although Brandon would protest much.
- Flying Saucer: Only once.
- Four-Girl Ensemble: Donna was the sweet naive one, Brenda was the Deadpan Snarker, Kelly was the pretty one, and Andrea was the smart one.
- Girl of the Week
- Hair of Gold: Kelly and Donna.
- Happily Married: Jim and Cindy Walsh.
- High School
- It Came From Beverly Hills
- Just Friends — Brandon and Andrea
- Killed Off for Real: David's friend Scott and Dylan's wife Toni Marchette.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Lonely Rich Kid: Many
- Meganekko: Andrea
- Memetic Number: 90210 itself. Parodied in a Mad TV sketch that paired it with Halloween 20.
- Minnesota Nice: The Walsh family in season 1, shown to be much more polite and down-to-earth than the Beverly Hills natives.
- Modesty Bedsheet
- Moment Killer — Andrea and Brandon are about to have sex, but are thwarted by Kelly (the only person who knew about their rendezvous) by a surprise party which kills the mood.
- Monochrome Casting: Aaron Spelling later said he regretted it. In fact he said it was his greatest regret regarding the show. Despite this supposed statement, Spelling objected to his real-life daughter dating a character, an Aborted Arc in Season 4, because he was black.
- Nice Guy: Brandon Walsh.
- No Going Steady: With Kelly probably being the worst offender.
- Opening Credits Cast Party
- Overprotective Dad: Papa Walsh was this for Brenda, while Brandon got a lot more slack.
- Parental Incest: Valerie's Freudian Excuse
- Put on a Bus: When Shannen Doherty left the show, Brenda went back to
MinnesotaLondon to attend college.
- Reckless Gun Usage: A Very Special Episode uses this to kill off one of the regulars, in front of Brian Austin Green.
- Remember the New Guy?: Valerie Malone, who arrived on the show following Brenda's exit, was introduced as a lifelong friend of the Walshes. Her existence had never been acknowledged prior. Also principal Harry Wilson was introduced as Kelly Taylor's never-before-seen-or-mentioned neighbour and life-long friend. See, photoshopped picture, so it must be true.
- Revolving Door Casting: Relatively limited in the earlier years, but by the end the show had gone through many, many cast changes.
- Second Episode Introduction: Dylan doesn't appear in the pilot.
- Self-Harm: In one episode, Donna finds her assistant cutting herself, after suspecting it. She tries to help her, eventually persuading her to get therapy.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Brandon and Steve; Brandon and Dylan.
- Special Guest: Various musical performers, including Babyface.
- Spoiled Sweet: Even though Kelly and Donna were both spoiled rich kids (and maybe somewhat shallow), neither one of them really had any Alpha Bitch qualities as the series progressed.
- Teen Drama: Trope Codifier. It borrowed heavily from Degrassi Junior High but on a network budget, stripped out the more overtly educational elements and maxed the "shiny" end of the Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty.
- Their First Time: Dylan and Brenda, on prom night. Others had their first time during the course of the series too, but theirs was particularly highlighted.
- Theme Twin Naming: They even have a cousin Bobby which is lampshaded by Kelly.
- Tonight Someone Dies
- Troubled but Cute: Dylan and others.
- Unintentional Period Piece: This was the first of the many, many iconic teen dramas of The Nineties, and the first of many to fall into this trope.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension — Brandon and Andrea constantly revisited this with each other.
- Will They or Won't They? — Brandon and Andrea, the high school years, as Andrea's married off in college when she gets pregnant.