Recap: It's the classic prom episode -yay! To set the mood for the big night ahead, the episode opens with some charming black and white footage of prom night in Beverly Hills “a long time ago”.
In a hallway at West Beverly High, Brenda and Donna are hanging up a giant banner promoting the prom. Donna's a little sad that high school is nearly over, but Brenda tells her she can't get wait to get out of there. She also tells Donna she's not going to the prom because she doesn't have a date...and she also has no interest in coupling up with a social reject who doesn't already have a date lined up. Donna begs her to reconsider and tries to entice her by reminding her that Cathy Dennis is scheduled to perform. [I had no idea who that was, so I Googled her and found out that she's a British singer-songwriter who had a mediocre career as a singer in the early '90s, but later carved out a successful songwriting career.]
Steve is displeased when Brandon tells him he doesn't have a date for the prom and is planning to spend the evening playing poker with Tony Miller. Steve brusquely orders him to get out there and find himself a date, and reminds him that this is his one and only senior prom. Brandon, however, is pretty blah about the whole thing and doesn't think prom is that big of a deal. Steve disagrees and argues that it's a very special occasion...one on which the whole gang should be together. But Brandon isn't swayed and adamantly refuses to show up without a date. Steve then resorts to desperate measures and urges him to ask Ahn-drea (blech!) to go with him, swiftly pointing out that you don't necessarily have to be in love with - or even remotely attracted to - the girl you ask to be your prom date.
The Blaze newsroom. Two junior writers (Toby and Howard) are arguing about the layout of the upcoming issue. Ahn-drea orders them to stop bickering - like she's one to talk - and Gil astutely remarks that the bickerers remind him of her and Brandon. When Brandon enters the newsroom, Ahn-drea asks him if he can cover the school board meeting that evening, and his immediate response is, "Forget it." She reminds him that it's the last meeting of the year, and insists that he should attend for old time's sake. Brandon suggests sending Toby or Howard to cover the meeting, but they claim they can't do it because they already have plans. Brandon reluctantly agrees to go.
DJ booth. David is selecting music to play over the pretend airwaves when Donna and Brenda enter the booth. David invites Brenda to the pre-prom party his dad's hosting at his condo, but she declines since she won't be at the main event. Donna tells her she could still come to the pre-party, but Brenda's not into it and leaves the booth. David tells Donna he can't understand why Brenda is date-less, since there must be fifty guys who would love to go to the prom with her. That has to be a gigantic overstatement. He then pulls Donna into his lap and tells her that he wants to book a room for the two of them on prom night at the Bel Age Hotel - one with a king sized bed. Donna looks nervous and tells him that she needs more time to think about whether or not she's ready to lose her precious maidenhead, and warns him not to push her. David obediently backs off...but not before reminding her that a hotel room at the Bel Age on prom night might be hard to come by if he doesn't book it soon.
Dylan's house. Kelly and Dylan are lounging on the couch together eating strawberries. They aren't overly concerned about getting to school on time, since they're only two weeks away from graduation. In fact, she suggests skipping school altogether so they can stay in bed all day, but Dylan tells her that he can't miss his AP English class because Gil will have a conniption fit. He then changes the subject to their prom night plans. He definitely wants to leave the prom early...so Kelly jokes about booking a room at the Bel Age Hotel with all of the other West Beverly High couples who will be getting it on. Dylan tells her he's far more original than that, and informs her that he has to go to Berkeley to meet with a professor friend of Gil's, and suggests that they make a weekend out of it. Kelly's definitely into the idea and excitedly lists all of the things she'd like to do in San Francisco: sail, ride the cable cars, eat in China Town. After that, they get into another of their heavy petting sessions.
The Walsh house. Mama Walsh is leafing through her high school yearbook, staring nostalgically at all the old photographs. Papa Walsh enters the kitchen, glances at the yearbook, and reminds her of how geeky her prom date was. When Brandon enters the kitchen, Papa Walsh recalls how a friend of his smoked a lot of pot on the night of their prom...and apparently he got so high that Papa Walsh ended up spending the entire evening in the bathroom, trying to convince his friend that he wasn't being chased by giant purple bubbles. Please. I'm no drug expert, but if the guy was hallucinating giant purple bubbles, he was definitely ingesting something a lot heavier than just weed. Mama Walsh tells Brandon he should go to the prom stag, and Papa Walsh actually suggests that since Brenda is also dateless, maybe the two of them could go together. Brandon looks suitably mortified by that idea, and tells his parents that he's planning to ask Ahn-drea to be his date - which, he freely admits, is almost as pathetic as going with his sister.
Board of Education meeting. Brandon arrives at the meeting and finds Ahn-drea there, which is really annoying, particularly since she made such a big deal about sending him to cover it for The Blaze. The meeting comes to order by Dr. George Ephardt, the ultra uptight, douchebag of a superintendent. He announces that the first order of business is to vote on implementing wardrobe guidelines at all district high schools. Ahn-drea furrows her brows in confusion and tells Brandon that this issue wasn't on the official agenda. Brandon shrugs indifferently and tells her that since he's not coming back to West Beverly High next year, he really couldn't give a rat's ass. Ephardt's voice drips with disgust as he recounts how he recently witnessed a student at West Beverly High wearing a loud yellow t-shirt that had a picture of a Rastafarian smoking a joint. Egads! Ephardt wants to restore an appropriate learning environment in the area schools...and to do this, it's apparently necessary to ban all clothing that depicts the smoking of doobies. He opens the floor to comments, and Felice Martin approaches the microphone to speak. She agrees with Ephardt and snootily declares that the primary problem in the district's schools is discipline, and snootily adds that “anything doesn't go” in the real world. She's acting pretty uppity for someone who carried on a sleazy affair in a hotel room behind her husband's back. Ahn-drea raises her hand to speak and demands to know why this item wasn't included on the published agenda, and then accuses Ephardt of purposely keeping it under wraps so that none of the students could show up to the meeting and express dissent. He brushes this off as a mere oversight, and then tries to shush Ahn-drea, but she tells him she would like it to be noted that she thinks dress codes are oppressive and a terrible idea. Ephardt snippily tells her that her comments are duly noted...and three seconds later the board votes to implement wardrobe guidelines, and it passes.
The next item on the agenda is senior prom. Ephardt narrows his cold, beady eyes and sternly decrees that any senior student found in the possession of alcohol, drugs, and/or is intoxicated will be suspended, tarred, feathered, flogged, and have all senior privileges revoked - including graduation. Brandon leans over and asks Ahn-drea if this item was also omitted on the official agenda. She gives him a knowing look and sarcastically tells him that it must have been another convenient oversight. Brandon furrows his brows concernedly and suddenly looks like he might give a rat's ass after all.
The Peach Pit. The gang chows down on diner food while discussing what went down at the board meeting. Steve isn't worried about the no drinking rule, and says that anyone who's dumb enough to be caught drinking on prom night deserves whatever punishment they get. He jokes about how the board will now try to outlaw sex on prom night, and an alarmed David blurts out, "They can't do that, can they?” Poor horny David. Kelly says she's glad she's not coming back to West Beverly next year, since it sounds like it's going to be a prison. Donna tells everyone that her mother has been trying to get wardrobe guidelines passed for years. Steve disdainfully asks whassup with Felice, and Donna tells him that she has ambitions of one day running for mayor. Mmm...with her scandalous past, I highly doubt she'd win. Steve notices Ahn-drea across the diner and asks Brandon if he's asked her to be his prom date yet. Brandon says he hasn't, but that he'll get on that immediately...so he gets up, goes over to Ahn-drea, and comes right out and asks her. She tells him what a sweet offer it is, but declines because she's planning to go to the prom with Jordan Bonner. I'll bet Brandon didn't see that coming.
Donna's house. Donna's in her room, getting ready for bed when Felice enters carrying a garment bag that contains Donna's prom dress. She says that she just picked it up from the tailor's, and apparently the tailor remarked to Felice that he hasn't seen such a tiny waist since Vivian Leigh. Yikes - he must be one old tailor. Donna tells her mom that she heard what happened at the school board meeting, and Felice says she feels very strongly about the dress code issue; in fact, if she had her way, all students would be forced to wear starched uniforms. Donna gives up on the pointless conversation and climbs into bed. She tells her mother that between finals and getting ready for the prom, she's exhausted. Felice suddenly acts uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy and tells Donna that she and her father are very proud of her for making it to graduation...and that they can't wait to see her in her cap and gown. Donna summons her courage and tells her mom that she's planning to sleep over at Kelly's house on prom night. Felice chuckles and asks her if she thinks she was born yesterday...and says she knows Donna is just trying to avoid her curfew. But considering it's prom night, she's OK with Donna staying out as late as she wants. She tells her to go out and have a wonderful time, and adds that she trusts her. Donna looks mightily relieved that her mother didn't twig onto the real reason she wants to stay out all night, which is so she and David can hit the sheets for the first time.
West Beverly High. The following morning, Brandon asks Tony what time the poker game is starting, and Tony tells him there may not be a game after all. He heard that one of the most gorgeous girls in school doesn't have a prom date, and he wants to see if she'll go with him. He then informs Brandon that this “gorgeous girl” is his sister, and Brandon looks understandably icked out.
In the next scene, Tony runs into Brenda in the hall and tells her that he heard she's not going to prom. She mumbles something about how she doesn't care about the prom, so Tony forges ahead and asks her if she'd like to be his date. She stares at him incredulously, and he quickly promises that he'll go all out...and that their goal will be to just have a good time. She thinks it over for a few seconds and agrees to be his date, and he almost looks surprised at her answer. Elsewhere in the hall, Donna tells David she's thought it over, and her verdict is that she wants him to book the best hotel room he can find. She then gives him a sultry kiss. David and his penis are delighted by this new development, and he whispers to little Stiffy, “She's awesome.”
Dylan tells Gil about his upcoming trip to Berkeley, but says he's worried he might not get in because of how badly his grades suck. Gil half-heartedly tells him it's possible he might have a shot at being admitted because he's a good writer. Mmm...I'm no university admissions expert, but I'm pretty sure it takes a lot more than just being a good writer to get accepted into a school like Berkeley.
For some reason, AP English is being held under a tree that day. Gil tells the class he'll be one of the chaperones at the prom - and this makes everyone clap. That said, he's been ordered to read an pronouncement, which is basically the same thing that Uptight Ephardt read out at the school board meeting: any student found drunk or with alcohol/drugs will be suspended (tarred, feathered, flogged etc.) and banned from participating in the graduation ceremony. Dylan and Ahn-drea ask him who's going to be responsible for enforcing this rule and Gil says he has no idea...but advises them not to become test cases.
The Walsh house. Brenda and Mama Walsh return home after shopping for Brenda's prom dress. Brenda remarks that she can't believe she found such a great dress on the day of prom, and Mama Walsh concurs that she couldn't have found a nicer dress if she had had months to shop. Papa Walsh enters the kitchen, and Brenda pulls the dress out of her shopping bag to show him...and yikes. It's a super short, shiny, silvery, shapeless number. Papa Walsh asks her about Tony Miller, and she unenthusiastically says he's a jock...and he asked. A sad look suddenly washes across her face and she tells her parents that prom night won't nearly be as awesome as the Spring Dance episode. "That was special," she recalls wistfully. Well d'yuh. That was the night she and Dylan doinked for the first time in a fancy hotel room. Mama Walsh assures her that she'll have special evenings like that again.
Kelly's house. Jackie is helping Kelly pack for her weekend trip to San Francisco. She advises Kelly to take a jacket along in case it gets cold, and Kelly jokes about how she sounds like such a mom. She then tells her what a great mom she is for allowing her to go to San Francisco with Dylan. Jackie kind of shrugs and points out that Kelly is eighteen years old and graduating from high school. She then wishes Kelly a wonderful prom night, and a wonderful weekend...and the two share a wonderful hug. Jackie really is the awesomest TV mom ever.
Donna's house. Donna has squeezed herself into an impossibly tight, strapless brown tube dress. Her hair is a badly curled mess, and the 'do really makes her head look ginormous. She tells her mom she was worried her dress wouldn't fit, so she didn't eat all day. Felice ignores that red flag and gushes about how much like a princess Donna looks. I was kind of surprised by Felice's reaction, considering how skimpy in the cleavage area the dress is. It seems like exactly the sort of outfit she'd disapprovingly frown upon. She hands Donna a jewelry box, which contains a crucifix necklace. Donna gently tries to tell her clueless mother that she doesn't think that a crucifix goes with her form-fitting prom dress, but Felice insists. When she puts it around Donna's neck, she lets out a small gasp and tells her how perfect it looks. The two hug, and Felice manages to keep a totally straight face when she tells Donna how beautiful she is.
Mel's condo. David and Donna are the first to arrive at Mel's little pre-prom party. Mel opens a bottle of champagne, pours each of them a glass, and proposes a toast to the two of them.
The Peach Pit. Brandon is working the evening shift, but since it's prom night, the diner is totally empty. Brandon remarks how depressing it is, so Nat depresses him further with the sad story about how he missed out on his prom because his date got the flu. (So she said.) Mercifully, the phone rings, and it's Ahn-drea calling for Brandon. She babbles about how flattered she is that he asked her to be his prom date, and then starts wailing that Jordan Bonner suddenly came down with the flu (so he said)...and that now she's all dressed up with nowhere to go. Brandon promises to pick her up in twenty minutes and dashes home to change into his tuxedo.
Mel's condo. Steve arrives at the pre-party with Celeste, who has thrown all good sense out the window by agreeing to be his prom date. As Steve pours himself a drink, Celeste walks over to Kelly and introduces herself, and says she's heard lots of nice things about her from Steve. Kelly looks cute (if a little underwhelming) in a knee length white v-neck party dress and upswept 'do. Steve strolls over, toasts the two ladies with some champagne, and urges them to drink up. After that, Brenda arrives with Tony Miller, and she's decked out in her super short shiny dress and her hair looks just as badly curled as Donna's. Plus, her eyebrows are really over-tweezed, and it makes her entire face look weird. Tony tells Brenda that she looks hot in her short little dress, and she snaps at him to get his mind out of the gutter. As the gang continues to enjoy their champagne, no one notices that Donna is starting to get a little hammered. After a few more minutes of drinking and mingling, they all decide it's time to make their grand entrance at the prom. Mel stops them before they head off to their rented limos and makes them pose for a group shot. After everyone leaves, Steve slips back into the condo to retrieve an unopened bottle of champagne and cackles, “One for the road!”
Inside the limo, Steve gleefully opens the bottle of champagne. David and Donna are a little nervous about breaking the "no alcohol" rule, but Steve just laughs off their concerns...and this emboldens Donna to accept a glass. She toasts to a night they will all remember for the rest of their lives (oh the irony), and then chugs the entire glass in one gulp. She then holds it out, wanting more.
As everyone emerges from their rented limos, camera flashes make it look like paparazzi are snapping photographs of them as they head toward the hotel's entrance. Inside the main party room, they're thrilled to find party favors like quarters to call a cab (in case people get drunk, I assume, which is really sending out a mixed message), disposable cameras, and condoms. Donna drunkenly jokes to David that the condoms will come in handy for them later. True...but ew. Singer Cathy Dennis gets things rolling with a song called “Why”. As people start drifting toward the dance floor, Brenda stares longingly at Dylan as he dances with Kelly. This doesn't escape Tony's notice, and tells her he wants her to have a good time, but says she has to meet him halfway. She abruptly stops mooning over Dylan and heads over to the photographer with Tony to get their official prom photo taken.
We get a pointless montage of prom couples getting their photographs taken, and almost every photo is of horrible quality. The only ones that don't look blurry or totally unusable are the ones of Steve and Celeste, and Brandon and Ahn-drea (blech). On the dance floor, an inebriated Donna looks totally ridic as she suggestively wiggles her tightly encased body at David. Gil notices Donna's drunken gyrating and it's obvious he realizes that something is amiss with her...but he keeps it to himself. David suggests to Donna that they step onto the balcony to get some air, and Donna's up for it...but as soon as she breathes in the night air, she feels dizzy and nauseous. David encourages her to eat something, but she tells him she needs to get to the ladies room before she starts hurling. She then stumbles across the hotel lobby looking very wobbly.
Dance floor. Celeste tells Steve she's going to go powder her nose, and urges him to go dance with Kelly for old time's sake. She really is much too nice and thoughtful to be dating a moronic doorknob like Steve. Nevertheless, Steve approaches Kelly and Dylan and asks if he can cut in, and Dylan consents. Kelly happily dances with Steve and tells him how happy she is that they made it through their senior year. Steve tells her he always thought they'd be a couple at the prom, but she assures him that she's happy with Dylan, and he says that he's happy she's happy. Kelly tells him she really likes Celeste, and that he deserves a nice girl like her. The hell he does...especially since he breaks Celeste's heart when he cheats on her in Season 4. Elsewhere on the dance floor, Brenda is dancing with Dylan, and they both look really uncomfortable. She tells him she knows what a rough year it's been for him, and that she hopes it's the worst year he'll ever know. She then remarks how everyone seems to be going their separate ways now that senior year is nearly over, and Dylan mumbles that that's probably supposed to happen. She tells him she's almost over him, and he says he is too. Well d'yuh. I'm pretty sure Dylan was over Brenda when he started hooking up with Kelly during the summer episodes.
The evening progresses with a lot of bad dancing to bad '90s music. Donna has spent most of the evening in the crapper, willing herself not to vomit. Kelly enters with a cup of coffee to help sober her up...but Donna miserably announces that she has to throw up again, and runs into the nearest stall. Brenda happens to enter the ladies room at that moment, so Kelly fills her in about how totally shit-faced Donna is.
Mrs. Teasley asks Brandon and Ahn-drea why they're not dancing, so Brandon makes an exception to his "no dance rule" and takes Ahn-drea onto the dance floor. Fortunately, he only lasts for a few seconds before declaring that it's time for a break. Whew.
Next, we get an aerial shot of Donna hunched over the toilet, retching. Kelly and Brenda are on either side of her, freaking out about how they're going to whisk her out of the hotel without anyone realizing she's drunk.
Brandon and Ahn-drea are sitting at the table. He's holding the room key that Tony Miller passed on to him when it became clear that he had zero chance of getting it on with Brenda. Brandon, who I can only assume has completely lost his mind in this episode, invites Ahn-drea to check out the room with him...and, giggling, the two head upstairs. Blech!! This is such a bad idea, Brandon.
Kelly steps outside of the ladies room to tell David to go get Donna's purse and meet them in front of the hotel. I don't know why no one suggests finding a back door or a service entrance through which they could quietly slip Donna out of sight...but then, of course, we'd miss out on all the drama of the Donna Martin graduates! protest in the next episode.
Brandon and Ahn-drea are inspecting the swanky hotel room that Tony Miller booked. They lounge around on the bed, and Ahn-drea remarks how they're the least likely couple to doink each other...yet here they are, together in a hotel room on prom night. She saucily tells him that maybe they shouldn't waste an opportunity like this, and Brandon laughs nervously as he desperately tries to formulate the least offensive way he can extricate himself from the delicate quagmire he so recklessly got himself into.
David is still on guard duty outside the ladies room, dismayed that he's not going to get the after-prom sex he and his penis were promised. When the coast is clear, Kelly and Brenda emerge from the bathroom with an unsteady Donna...and - oh sweet baby Jesus - it really looks like both of her breasts are in grave danger of popping out of that tight tube dress. Kelly and Brenda do their best to keep Donna upright as she walks...and Steve, Dylan, and David walk behind them in an effort to prevent anyone from noticing the way she's weaving across the floor. Somehow they manage to get her down the stairs, and Donna insists that she's all right, but then almost falls over. As they rush her through the lobby - really a dumb idea - Mrs. Teasley sees them and asks if they're leaving. With less than ten feet from a clean getaway, Donna chooses that exact moment to topple over and collapse onto the floor. Mrs. Teasley eyes her suspiciously, and advances for a closer look. Donna acts all drunk, and stabs her finger in Mrs. Teasley's direction and stupidly blurts out, “I've had. Too much. To drink.” Kelly explains that Donna hasn't eaten all day, and Dylan adds that they were just in the process of hauling her out of there...but Mrs. Teasley stops them and sternly tells the group that she'll take it from here. Everyone looks very concerned. Donna raises her arms above her head to reach for David - a dangerous move considering the skimpy cleavage area of her tube dress - and asks him if she's in trouble. David doesn't have the heart to tell her that she's totally screwed, so he stays silent and just kisses her on the forehead.