Believe it or not, when I began college, I proudly decorated my dorm room door with a "KILL YOUR TELEVISION" bumper sticker. I was one of Them, the non-television-watchers, the people who liked to wonder aloud what other, more productive things you could be doing with the time you spent watching TV. And I remained one of Them, more or less, until my senior year of college.
Two things happened that year: I had to attend my school paper's regular editorial board meetings, and my friend Elliott -- whose will is as persistent and inexorable as the tides -- made all of us self-serious aspiring journos halt the meetings at eight p.m. on the dot so we could watch Beverly Hills 90210.
Within weeks, we were all addicted. The next year, when I was in graduate school, it became evident that the idiot box had claimed me as one of its own. Immediately after a rigorous mid-term examination on the comparative differences between post-structuralist and post-modern communication theories, I interrupted my brainiac classmates' postmortem of the exam with, "Whatever! 90210 is on."
That show and I corrupted the department: by the end of the year, we had a regular viewing posse. And within three more years, I was writing about television. Aaron Spelling, you wily peddler of cultural smack! I don't know whether to curse or bless you.
Anyhoodle, 90210 is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about media in general. And I am not ashamed to tell you that when I saw today's "When Teenage Angst Had Its Own ZIP Code," the NYT's oral history of 90210, I squealed in glee for about two minutes straight. Go read it and reminisce fondly about the days when sideburns and red lipstick ruled the airwaves.