So my Beverly Hills, 90210: Teen Pop Culture & Trauma series is finally getting underway. This is my first body of work I am premiering in Boston. I have a lot of work ahead of me. My drawing/paintings skills are definitely rusty, and it will take a lot of work to churn out images of the quality I want. This is perfect, because this is a body of work I am insanely passionate about doing…which exactly the kick I needed to get my art game back on.
As a teen, my favorite TV shows had a huge impact on my life. When my life unlike that of my surrounding peers, I was able to connect with them week to week on relating to our favorite shows. The shows also worked as an escape, and as friend. For me, it was Buffy Summers, always feeling like the world was going to end, or someone might die. This TV show of vampires and teenage heroines felt more like my life/what I was feeling than anything else around me. Also, those undead metaphors made it easier for me to deal with the actual dead…but let’s not go into vampire studies now.
I was too young to be of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 generation. The show’s lifespan was the entire decade of the ’90s. The show has now recently been syndicated for SoapNet, where at any given day the show airs not once, not twice, but four times. Also, don’t forget the CW’s new version, 90210 reaching out to a new generation of fans, while still featuring a few of the original’s iconic characters. For a few overlapping generations in the U.S, it’s very difficult for someone not to have an opinion on this show.
Beverly Hills, 90210 was the first U.S. soap opera specifically aimed at teens. It straddled chronicling the epically dramatic relationships and friendships of the cast, along with topical teen issues. Any sort of problem or lesson tended to be solved in an episode. No matter what, these privileged teens prevailed against their trials and tribulations. Things always end up okay, at least for the main characters. The candy-coated nature of the show makes difficult issues digestible. You end up seeing the Beverly Hills, 90210 version of life’s difficulties. ….and it’s ridiculous. Yet your brain prefers the ridiculous and the colorful over the cruel and painful. So does the American public.
Why else would we love seeing Brenda/Shannen Doherty cry so much? We love to see her cry, and for our own reasons, we need it. We need our hollywood versions of teen pain. So, it’s time for some paintings of this. Cry Brenda Cry!