Recap: The first episode of the series (after the pilot) opens with a Brandon Walsh dream sequence. He's walking along the beach carrying a surf board, looking very young and muscularly undeveloped. He encounters a sexy blonde women wearing a bikini that has unflattering, high waisted bottoms. Ah, swimwear from the early '90s.
Before Brandon's dream can turn into the wet variety, he's pulled out of it by his twin sister, Brenda, when she barges into his room and snaps at him to get ready for school. Brenda has really short bangs in this episode, and they look terrible...and Brandon's hair looks a lot different than it does in future episodes. Right now he's sporting a wave of light brown hair across his forehead, which looks alright, but it's a lot less fussy than the carefully sculpted 'do and manicured sideburns that soon becomes his trademark look on the show.
Brandon and Brenda are eating breakfast while Mama Walsh is on the phone with Papa Walsh. We learn that she's struggling to adapt to her family's new life in Beverly Hills. She doesn't quite have the lingo down yet, and remarks that she can't remember if the kids today are using the term bad or rad. As a former teen from around that time, I honestly can't recall anyone in my high school ever using rad in a sentence, but then California is a lot different than Ontario, Canada, so I'll just accept that and move on.
Brenda's outfit for school looks as bad as her bangs. It's an awful pink floral dress accessorized with white socks and brown laced up boots. Was that look really ever in fashion, or just some stylist's weird concoction?
The two run into Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin, two stereotypical Beverly Hills blondes who, for the time being, are relegated to look and talk like shallow bimbos. There is inane conversation about how Kelly is going to spend the weekend "evening out" her tan, and that this weekend, the beach is the place to be. Not sure what tan Kelly is talking about, since she looks whiter than Casper. As Brandon swiftly disappears, Donna declares that he's dope. Not a dope. Dope.
The girls encounter Steve Sanders and we endure him and Kelly bickering about how much they hate each other since their recent breakup. In this episode I hate them both equally, but the information about their breakup will be important to us later, but also a relentless point of reference in seasons to come.
A pre-pubescent David Silver and his dumb looking friend Scott (the guy who wisely shoots himself in Season 2) stare at the girls. David worships the snobbish Kelly Taylor and expresses his hope to see her in a bikini at the beach this weekend. Ew. When he spots Steve, he rushes over so he can associate himself with someone "cool". (Steve is not cool, David. He's a pompous douchebag.) David gushes to Steve about how much he likes his famous mother, Samantha Sanders, in the TV show The Hartley House. When Steve ignores the dork, Scott remarks that he doesn't think Steve likes him. No duh. So far, the teen-on-teen interactions in this episode have been so schlocky.
The Blaze newsroom. Andrea Zuckerman is sitting in front of a very large computer monitor wearing very large glasses, so we can correctly assume that she is not part of the vapid, stylish set at West Beverly High. When Brandon enters the room, she immediately gripes that he's late. I notice that Brandon pronounces her name Anne-drea, rather than Ahn-drea (which it later becomes). There are a few episodes to come where she makes a big annoying deal out of being called Ahn-drea.
She haughtily hands Brandon his latest assignment for The Blaze, which is an editorial on his experience transferring from the Midwest to Beverly Hills. He doesn't like her suggested title, and she totally bitches on him when she suggests he change it, and then snarks that the deadline is the following day. The staff adviser reigns in Ahn-drea's bitchitude and tells her that the editorial can wait until Monday. Hee! Suck on that, Anne-drea!
Brandon complains that Andrea is relentless (she is so, so much worse than just that), and she totally takes it as a compliment. If this girl were a person in real life, she'd have no friends in high school, and probably everyone would hate her in college too.
Brandon encounters Scott in a dark computer lab. Scott's working on his design of the floor plan of "the perfect dance club". He explains to Brandon that he had to use his imagination for the floor plan because he's too much of a loser to get into any clubs. Well, that and the fact that he's probably only about fourteen years old.
Out of nowhere, two jock bullies appear and begin to mock Scott. He insults them back and one of them grabs him and pulls him out of his chair, threatening to erase the floor plan from the computer. Brandon starts to object, when what to our wondering eyes should appear, but the ghost of James Dean! Well, not really, but a darn good lookalike. Dylan McKay, who looks about thirty-five years old here, saunters over and warns the jocks to leave Scott alone because he's not in a good mood. This is apparently a scary enough warning for the ruffians, who quickly bail and flee the lab. Dylan's hair is very fluffy in this episode, but like Brandon's it will soon begin its gel-enhanced metamorphosis. Dylan compliments Scott's good work on the floor plan, then disappears as mysteriously as he appeared.
Later, Brandon finds Dylan lounging on the steps in front of the school. He introduces himself and suggests that they have lunch together. Dylan is so obviously too cool for lunch, but instead offers to take Brandon on a field trip to the beach. When they arrive there, they encounter three surfers (two guys and a chick) who know Dylan, and we're treated to a montage of them surfing...well, Brandon is really just boogey-boarding. He engages in banter with the surfer chick, who he learns is from the Valley. She describes Dylan as a man of mystery, wrapped in a riddle. She also shares with Brandon that her real name is Sarah, but that the two surfer dudes call her Betty, as in a Dumb Betty. It's not explained very well why she'd want to hang out with two guys who call her a dumb anything. Anyway, Dumb Betty invites Brandon to join them for a 6:00am surf, and he agrees to come.
Kelly and Brenda are clothes shopping. Kelly describes the clothes as "gross", "grosser", and "grossest" but is apparently able to pick out a non-gross pair of jeans for Brenda to try on. Unfortunately, Brenda is forced to admit that she can't afford the $150 price tag and Kelly's all like whatevs, and they go to the sales counter where she uses her "plastic" to pay for her new outfits.
Steve's house. In a nonsensical scene, Steve talks to his mother on what I'm assuming is a PA system. As they discuss having dinner together, he describes her - to her - as a woman who is both talented and famous. I'm not sure how much more contrived this dialogue could be. Anyway, Mama Sanders asks if Steve knows David Silver, since his father (Mel Silver) is a producer for a television series in which she wants a part. She persuades Steve to put in a good word for her to his father. He agrees, but then abruptly cuts off their conversation so he can watch her in a re-run of The Hartley House. That was weird. Weren't they about to have dinner together? Aren't they in the same house?
Mama Walsh is on the phone with her absent husband, once again discussing the adjustment they've all been making after relocating to California from Minnesota. Turns out Papa Walsh will be home the following day, but she's annoyed that she prepared so much food for dinner. Brandon is skipping dinner and fibs to Mama Walsh that he's going to the library to work on his editorial for The Blaze, but really he meets Dylan, who drives a cool Porsche.
Brenda's bedroom. Brenda's trying to create some trendy outfits for herself, and her mom comes in and offers to help. My advice would be to do something about those awful bangs first.
Dylan and Brandon are hanging out on the Sunset Strip. Or 'the Strip' as a non-tourist would probably say. They meet up with the three bonehead surfers, and soon decide to change location. But when Dumb Betty wants to ride with Brandon and Dylan (does the Porsche seat more than two?), the two surfer dudes act weirdly possessive of her, and articulate that she goes wherever they go. Or what? I'd like to know. But I don't find out, because Dumb Betty submissively agrees to ride with the two idiots.
In the open-top Porsche, Brandon learns that Dylan enjoys the collected works of Byron for his leisure reading. And then Dylan delivers the schlockiest line ever heard on prime-time television: something about how he and Byron are "mad, bad and dangerous to know". I'm groaning. Really a lot.
The gang arrives at the Bel Age Hotel. Dylan is tip-toeing around the lobby and acting super sneaky, which makes Brandon uneasy. He reaches his limit of unease when they enter one of the hotel rooms, which Dumb Betty declares as "outrageous" because it's furnished with a couch and a coffee table. Dylan picks up the phone and orders room service, which prompts an angry Brandon to leave. Dumb Betty implores him to stay, but he refuses. In the hallway, a server passes Brandon and Dylan arguing. The server knows that Dylan placed a room service order just twelve seconds earlier - a contrivance which serves to enlighten Brandon that the hotel room actually belongs to his father, Jack McKay. Brandon still opts to leave, even with Dylan imploring him to stay and play along in front of the surfer boneheads.
The Walsh house the next morning. After Brandon and Brenda bicker about who is hogging the bathroom, he tells her about the incident with Dylan last night. But Brenda has already heard all about him. He's "major trouble", she warns. No duh, but oh the irony! Brandon declares that he doesn't care, and that he just wants to go back to being his uncool self.
Kelly Taylor pulls into the Walsh driveway in a red convertible, honking for Brenda - a move which does not impress Mama Walsh. Brenda appears wearing torn jeans and a horrible striped top with heavy black shoes. What kind of beach attire is that? Plus, her bangs look worse than ever. She begs Brandon to come to the beach with her and Kelly (and Donna), and he agrees.
We're treated to a montage of sports and horseplay on the beach. As soon as they arrive, Kelly glumly says she doesn't see a single person she would want to talk to. Likewise, I'm sure, Barbie Doll. It's also apparently a chilly day, so I guess it won't be the best opportunity for her to even out her non-existent tan. Along the way they encounter Steve, who hurls an insult about Kelly's sleeveless outfit on such a cold day. Their hostile banter is getting old fast.
Brandon strolls along the beach and encounters the three surfer boneheads. The dudes declare that the beach belongs to them, as does Dumb Betty. She looks upset and turns away, but then they mock her for wanting to hang out with the cool set from Beverly and West Beverly High. She retorts with the most idiotic comeback, declaring that she wouldn't socialize with those those for anything. Uh, isn't Brandon one of those those? Dumb Betty offers Brandon a drink, but he declines and guilts her for drinking, then urges her to be careful. What a dopey scene.
Brandon continues along the beach and encounters Dylan with his surf board. He's surprised that Brandon is still mad at him about the hotel thing the other night, and assures him that he doesn't regularly hang out with the three bonehead surfers. The two kiss and make up and all is well again.
On the beach, David and Scott approach Steve, who grits his teeth and forces himself to be nice to these lessers. He passes along a nice word to David's father from his mother, Samantha. In private, Scott points out that David's father doesn't even know Samantha Sanders but David doesn't care because now that Steve has interacted with them, they're "in".
Kelly, Donna, and Brenda sit on the sand. Kelly looks around grimly and declares that this party is "totally beat". This is a party? It just looks like a random group of people who decided to go to the beach that day. The three girls get up to leave, and Brenda announces that she's going to go find Brandon. She finds him right away, and the two are shocked to witness Kelly and Donna driving off without them in the red convertible! But there's no time to dwell on that...no time! Trouble is afoot when they notice Dumb Betty's lifeless body in the water. After dragging her to shore, Brenda runs off to call 911 and Brandon starts mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while simultaneously ordering her to breathe.
The Emergency Room. The doctor praises the Walsh twins for saving Dumb Betty's life. He tells them that she's an alcoholic because of her blood-alcohol level. Really? One blood test can definitively diagnose alcoholism? Also, why is this doctor revealing personal health related information about a patient to two non-family members?
Mama Walsh arrives at the hospital to pick up Brenda and Brandon, looking worried but then proud when she learns of their heroism. Hugs all around.
Dylan is at the beach with the two surfer dudes...again. For someone who just told Brandon that he doesn't really hang out with those guys, he really hangs out with those guys a lot. Brandon approaches the group and admonishes the two surfer idiots for not even knowing that Dumb Betty was hospitalized after nearly drowning. He calls them scum, which prompts one of them to take a swing at Brandon. Dylan quickly breaks up the fight, and warns the surfer dudes that Dumb Betty better be all right. Or what? I'd like to know, and I actually do find out because as added punishment, Dylan stomps his foot on one of the boneheads' surf boards, snapping it in two. He then shoots them both the evil stink-eye and stomps off. He catches up with Brandon and invites him to breakfast, but Brandon is too busy working on his editorial for The Blaze.
Brenda's bedroom. Brandon tells her that Kelly called yet again (presumably to apologize), and Brenda opts to continue ignoring her calls. Brandon thinks she's being too hard on Kelly, but I disagree. I thought that leaving the two of them stranded on the beach was a major dick move. Brandon gives Brenda his editorial to read. It's titled "The Green Room" and uses a surfing analogy to describe how to cope with the phoniness of living in Beverly Hills. It's about 40 seconds long and mediocre at best, but Brenda declares it "beautiful" and is so touched by it that she's now willing to call Kelly and forgive her. Yeesh...I'm really not getting past those terrible bangs.
Dylan is at the Bel Age Hotel, speaking French on the phone. He's trying to reach his father. Eventually the operator informs him that she speaks English, so we can all follow along with his depressing conversation. Dylan also asks if "Mrs. McKay" is in, which is a huge inconsistency in future episodes when his mother Iris shows up from Hawaii, but I won't nitpick further. Dylan looks suitably crushed when he learns that neither parent has left a message for him and sad, stringy guitar music starts playing. As the camera pans out, we see that Dylan is crouched on the floor of the "outrageous" hotel room, looking lonely and sad.
West Beverly High. An annoying DJ is talking over the PA system, recapping some sporting events. Steve approaches David and invites him and his father to lunch with him and his mom. At long last Steve learns that this Mel Silver is an oral surgeon, not a television producer. Steve rudely walks away, muttering about how much time he wasted his time on the wrong dweeb. Steve really is a giant douchetard.
Andrea stops Brandon in the corridor, calls him her pet name "Ace" (which will make me cringe for seasons to come) and gives him a momentary look of hostility. Gaa, I hate her. But then her aura of bitchy gloom lifts, and she tells him that she liked his editorial and is glad she made him do it. It is really all about her, isn't it? These two have such weird, combative banter in these early episodes.
Brandon then runs into Dumb Betty, who is suddenly a student at West Beverly, and is all better after her near drowning. She tells him her parents were cool about it. Were they also cool about her hanging out with two verbally abusive ass clowns, and missing school to surf all day long? Oh well, I guess it's good to know that this girl actually has parents. We also learn that she's going to join a program, presumably something like AA. She is grateful to Brandon for helping save her life, and gives him a hug.
Kelly and Brenda appear in the hallway, and Kelly remarks to Brenda that everyone's talking about how she and Brandon saved Dumb Betty's life. They make plans to have lunch together. After Kelly exits the scene, Brandon tells his sister he thinks they're "going to make it here". I thought that had been established in the pilot episode. Then they turn sharply and walk in tandem down the hallway together, their arms around each others' waist.
Gross. Grosser. Grossest.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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