Recap: On the West Beverly High radio/PA system, an announcement is being made about the upcoming mother-daughter charity fashion extravaganza. During a staff meeting for The Blaze, Ahn-drea is being her usual self-righteous, pompous butt-hole self when she asks if anyone is interested in covering this frivolous event. Brandon suggests that she do it, and she snorts derisively in response. According to her, the story should be written by someone who has a viewpoint that's a little less slanted...and also a disposition that isn't so prickly bitchy about bloody everything. Brandon points out that she should be able to write without bias since she is pretending to be a journalist. When I look at Ahn-drea, I see her as one of those people who hates anything fun and likes to ruin it for everyone else.
Brandon can't leave well enough alone and encourages Ahn-drea to take part in the fashion show. He even goes so far to suggest that she let her hair down, take off her glasses, and wear something "kind of stylish". Haha! She looks insulted by the implication that most everything about her physical appearance could use a makeover. Brandon just calls 'em like he sees 'em. But there's another more serious hurdle: Ahn-drea can't bring her mother because of the awkward out-of-district situation, so Brandon's solution is for Ahn-drea to go to the fashion show with Brenda and Mama Walsh.
Scott is hanging around David while he's videotaping Kelly in the hallway. She's dispersing outfits to various girls for the upcoming fashion event, but discreetly tells Brenda that she saved the best outfits for the two of them. David plans on shooting a behind-the-scenes documentary type thing about Kelly at the fashion show all weekend.
Kelly's house. Jackie Taylor (Kelly's mom) is in a bikini showing off her fabulous figure while hanging around the pool with her girlfriend, Linda Thompson (Brody Jenner's mom).
Linda Thompson is busy buffing her nails and looks fairly disinterested in hearing about Jackie's happy new life and her new boyfriend, Don. A few minutes later, Kelly arrives home from school with Brenda in tow. Jackie lays it on pretty thick about what a knockout Brenda is. Knockout is a bit of an overstatement to describe Brenda Walsh, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the schmoozer.
For her date with Don, Jackie has squeezed herself into a low-cut, short skirted strapless backless number. It's pretty slutty for a woman of any age to successfully pull off, let alone someone in the 40ish age range Jackie's in. Kelly tells her "it's a bit much" in the way it offers much too little coverage of her body. Jackie's also buzzed from drinking all afternoon, another thing Kelly disapproves of. But Jackie just brushes off all the judgments and giddily tells Kelly not to wait up. Ew. Too much information, Jackie. Kids don't generally like to be reminded that their parents have active genitals.
The Walsh house. Brenda announces that she wants to eat microwave popcorn for dinner because that's what Kelly's having. Oh Brenda. Would you jump off a bridge if Kelly said she was doing it? Apron-clad Mama Walsh is appalled to hear that someone in the world is not having a healthful, home-cooked evening meal at a cozy dinner table with close-knit family members. Incidentally, the Walshes are having chicken diablo for dinner and it sounds delish.
Kelly's house. The next morning Jackie storms through the front door, looking like ass. Her eye makeup is all smudged and she's missing one of her long, dangley earrings. Don broke up with her because he wants to see younger women...or maybe just doesn't want to see her anymore. She barks at Kelly to reschedule her many appointments then heads upstairs to sleep off her hangover. When she notices that Kelly has emptied her alcohol stash, she gets even angrier. Kelly's suggestion to call her AA sponsor doesn't help matters, and Jackie pulls a major guilt trip about how she has to rest up in order to transform into her "gracious, witty self" in order to host the mother-daughter charity fashion show the following day. It's really too bad this woman can't learn to be more of a happy drunk.
The Walsh house. Brenda is talking on the phone with her backside facing the camera, displaying the strategic rips in the buttock region of her jeans. Mama Walsh is not impressed, and politely suggests that she put on something from which her ass cheeks don't hang out. Brenda retorts that what she's wearing is nice, and then starts to wax on about how super awesome Kelly's mom is and what a great sense of fashion she has. Mama Walsh looks slightly crestfallen and remarks that she probably doesn't have much in common with Jackie Taylor or her ilk. In response, Brenda accuses her of being close-minded, which seems like an unnecessarily bitchy thing to say to such a motherly mom. Brenda's bitchy side really starts to emerge in this episode...and from this moment on, it only gathers steam and intensifies until she leaves the show after the fourth season.
The Blaze newsroom. Ahn-drea has come to school wearing her hair down instead of in her usual ponytail. While I appreciate her attempt to look less frumpy, her hair just looks ratty and unkempt and therefore not much of an improvement. She's decided to take Brandon's advice to heart and participate in the fashion show, and he invites her to dinner at the Walsh house that evening so they can talk it over with Mama Walsh.
In the hallway at school, Kelly tells Brenda she wants to hang out at her place after school because her mom is getting on her nerves. Brenda's a little surprised at Kelly's interest in spending time at her house and remarks that it would be great to have a mom who's more like a friend. Right - because that always works out so well with rude, self-entitled teenagers.
The Walsh house. In the kitchen, Kelly is bonding with Mama Walsh as she prepares dinner. Mama Walsh drops the bomb that Ahn-drea will be joining them for dinner, and Kelly and Brenda both kind of roll their eyes and clear their throats while restraining chuckles. Hee! I doubt they like Ahn-drea any more than I do.
During dinner, Brandon brings up the fashion show and asks his mom if she would mind it if Ahn-drea tags along with her and Brenda. Uh oh. Awkward. Mama Walsh doesn't know anything about any fashion show because her bitchy daughter hasn't mentioned it to her. Brenda lamely lies that she forgot, and of course no one believes her and assumes that she's ashamed of Mama Walsh. Way to break your mother's heart, douchebag. And in front of company too. Mama Walsh gets upset and leaves the table, but adds to the general awkwardness of the moment by assuring Ahn-drea that she's welcome to join her and Brenda for the mother-daughter event.
In the kitchen, Mama Walsh talks everything out with Papa Walsh, trying to figure out if Brenda is embarrassed by her. Papa Walsh doesn't think so, but theorizes that Brenda doesn't know how to behave in Beverly Hills. In my opinion, Brenda doesn't know how to behave, period. Brenda enters the kitchen and asks if she can help with the dishes. Mama Walsh lectures her that having a mother who's down to earth is not something to be ashamed of, and Brenda snottily retorts, "Or something to be so proud of." Is it too late for Jim and Cindy to give up Brenda for adoption? Upon reflection, Mama Walsh thinks she may have overreacted to her daughter's snub (hmm, no...I don't think so) and agrees to participate in the fashion show, which is so much more than Brenda deserves.
Kelly's house. Kelly gets home after dark and finds the deadbolt on the front door locked, so she goes around back and crawls through the doggie door and is greeted by a friendly, slobbering pooch. Hey, I didn't know they had a dog! I hope it's being fed and walked regularly between Jackie's drunken binges. Kelly finds her mother passed out on her bed with an empty bottle nearby, panics, and tries to wake her. But Jackie just growls, wanting to be left alone. The next morning, Kelly calls Linda Thompson and scolds her for letting her mom drink so much the night before the fashion show. It starts in two hours, and Jackie is scheduled to be the host and MC.
When Jackie finally stirs from her stupor to get ready for the event, she jump-starts her brain with a line of cocaine. Yeesh. There's no way this situation isn't a looming disaster.
The fashion show. Backstage, Mama Walsh is wearing a very pretty red gown and has her hair all poofed up. She should try wearing it like that more often...it looks nice. Brenda is wearing a white Grecian number, and Ahn-drea is in a pretty, off-the-shoulder dress. She's wearing her hair down again, but this time it looks like she got a much needed cut, and so her 'do doesn't resemble a rat's nest as much as it did the other day. Also, for a few seconds she takes off her round glasses and actually looks less stern and uppity than she normally does. She really should consider getting contacts.
Kelly and her wino mother arrive late, both looking rushed and harried. David approaches Kelly about videotaping a pre-show interview, so Jackie wanders off in search of a bathroom so she can continue to powder the inside of her nose again. As she's snorting blow, Mama Walsh enters the bathroom and gets an eyeful. Geez, Jackie, use a stall next time. Minutes later, when she's introduced to Mama Walsh, she's barely able to hide her embarrassment and abruptly excuses herself to attend to her hosting duties.
Let the fashion show begin! Jackie does a good job as MC for about a minute. Her first misstep is making fun of a mother-daughter duo for their lack of enthusiasm...though in Jackie's defense, they did look pretty unenthusiastic. It gets worse when she flubs her lines, mixes up the cue cards, and loudly complains about a light that's shining directly into her eyes. The audience starts to murmur about the spectacle that's unfolding in front of them. Donna's mother even remarks that Jackie must be "on something". In this episode, Donna's mother is played by a tall, statuesque looking brunette - a different actress than the one we see later on in the series. But as with most of the casting changes from these early episodes, it was definitely for the better. I love Felice Martin in all of her uptight, repressed glory. But more on that in the seasons to come.
From the podium, Jackie announces Cindy and Brenda Walsh and mispronounces Ahn-drea's name and calls her Angela. Gads. And then things go completely off the rails when Jackie rambles on about how she used to be a model, complains that women are exploited, and reprimands all men for not wanting to be with women older than thirty. That last thing is simply not true about a lot of men, but let's not take seriously the ravings of a scorned cokehead.
Kelly has been standing backstage all this time, but it gets to be too much for her, and she turns and flees. Brenda runs after her. Kelly is crying, spilling everything to Brenda about how difficult it is to live with her mom's drinking and drug use...and she wishes she had wholesome parents like the Walshes, who are always sober. It's actually a pretty moving scene, and Kelly's tears somehow caused the formation of a small lump in the back of my throat. I can only hope that this experience made Brenda feel like a total heel about the shitty way she's been treating her own mother.
The Walsh house. Jackie arrives to pick up Kelly, who's been there for awhile, commiserating about her problems to Mama Walsh, Brenda, and Ahn-drea. Kelly tells her mom that she's not coming home with her, saying sorry is no longer enough to excuse her addictions, that she needs a mother...not a best friend, and that Jackie needs to go back to rehab and get some professional help. It's another great scene, and I'm feeling that lump in my throat all over again. Jackie shows no emotion or remorse and tells Kelly she's exaggerating, and that she can stay with the Walshes overnight, but has to be home by morning. She leaves the Walsh house alone, and Mama Walsh rushes into the room to comfort a crying Kelly.
A few hours later, Kelly decides to return home and finds her mom packing. Jackie's decided to go to rehab in the morning! That was a quick change of heart, but since we're approaching the end of a self-contained Beverly Hills, 90210 episode, there was simply no time for any more benders.
David Silver stops by to give Kelly the video he shot of the fashion show. He correctly assumed that she would not want anyone to watch a replay of her mom's disastrous MC performance. Jackie's really lucky that YouTube wasn't around in those days. Kelly kisses David on the cheek, calls him a nice guy, and then hops into her snazzy red convertible to transport her mom to rehab.
Godspeed, Jackie. Godspeed..
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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