Recap: The Walsh family has just moved to their new house in Beverly Hills. It's the first day of school in a new city; Brandon is being woken up by his alarm, and Brenda is trying to pick out an outfit and later complains to her mother that she doesn't have the right clothes or hair. That's true enough, but Brenda hasn't yet had her California makeover.
Brandon and Brenda drive to West Beverly High in a shitty little brown car. The car, and the fact that it's co-owned by the two of them is an inconsistency in later episodes, but this pilot is filled with minor inconsistencies like this so I'm just going to let them all go. What I can't let go of, however, is the bizarre spectacle of the valet parking service that West Beverly High offers to its students. And it's pretty dumb because there appear to be open parking spots all around. Wouldn't it just be faster and more convenient to pull into a spot instead of handing over one's keys to a valet?
We get a whole montage of students arriving in expensive cars like BMWs, Mercedes and Corvettes, while the teachers show up in beaters like Chevettes and Pintos.
As Kelly Taylor pulls up in her convertible BMW, she's greeted by Steve Sanders, who demands to know why she hasn't called him all summer. Then jokes that during her recent nose job, they took a foot of her nose off. It's probably stupid insensitive remarks like that that ended your relationship, Steve. Kelly then almost runs over Scott Scanlon, a dorky freshman who blows his head off by accident in Season 2.
The city bus pulls up, and we get our first glance of Andrea Zuckerman. Blech. She's attending West Beverly High illegally because she doesn't live in the proper school district. If I'd have been there, knowing what I know, I'd have blown the whistle on her and cheered while they steel-toed her ass back to Van Nuys. Ever since this pilot, I have hated Andrea Zuckerman and all of her smug awfulness with the intensity of a thousand suns.
Brenda and Brandon are in the Vice Principal's office, going over their school records from Minneapolis. The VP is impressed with their grades, but warns that West Beverly is a tough school and that the students are very competitive. Nice warm welcome.
David Silver and Scott Scanlon are ambling around the campus, and Scott complains that he can't find his locker. David, on the other hand, is more interested in checking out the babes and eyes one who's poured herself into a tight green dress.
Chemistry class. A fat and disheveled teacher warns the students to choose their lab partner carefully because they'll be partners for the rest of the semester. At that moment, a fat chick walks in and everyone turns away from her in horror as if she's Quasimodo. She's not thin, cute or fashionably dressed so no one wants to be her lab partner. And just as Quasimodo is eying the empty chair beside Kelly, Kelly spots Brenda entering the classroom and waves her over as though they're friends, and so they become lab partners. The sad plight of Quasimodo is never resolved.
Brandon walks into his Spanish class and takes the only vacant seat, which happens to be beside Steve Sanders. The teacher declares that the entire class will be conducted in Spanish, and asks those who don't understand to please raise their hand. Everyone just stares at her blankly until Andrea, sitting in the front row like the insufferable brown-noser she is, raises her hand with the most self-righteous, pompous ass look on her face that makes me want to smack her. And then everyone else in the class follows suit and raises their hands as well.
The Blaze newsroom. Brandon walks in looking for Andrea. He greets her with an "hola" because he recognizes her from Spanish class, and she snaps back with a hostile retort. He tells her he wants to write for the paper, and that he used to be the sports editor at his school in Minneapolis. She gives him two options: 1) cover a story about toxic waste disposal, or 2) cover the upcoming women's water polo match. Brandon assumes he's having a normal conversation with a mentally stable person and chooses to cover the water polo match. Andrea immediately looks disgusted and announces that he's just failed her first test. The hell? Apparently, whenever boys say they want to write for the school paper, Andrea administers a bullshit test and offers these two options. And guess what? Without exception, every guy has chosen the water polo story. No duh. And then she yammers on and on about maintaining the standard and integrity of the paper, the long hours, the deadlines, blah, blah.. For someone who's attending this school illegally, she's pretty damn uppity. Brandon gets up with a dazed, uncertain expression on his face and I just want to yell, "Run, Brandon! Run far far away from The Blaze and don't ever come back!"
Lunch outside on picnic tables. Brandon looks for somewhere to sit and eat, but no one will make eye contact with him. When he sits down at one table, the people who were sitting there actually get up and leave! I bet if Quasimodo had been in this scene, she totally would have invited him to sit with her.
Kelly and Brenda arrive for lunch. Kelly is educating Brenda about the intensity of the school, and how it's filled with rich kids. Correction, Kelly: they're the kids of rich parents. The kids themselves didn't do anything to earn that money. Brenda and Kelly sit at a table with Donna Martin and two extras.
David and Scott are each juggling food trays and a large stack of books. Don't they have lockers to store their books? Oh, that's right, Scott's too dumb to find his locker. A group of jocks notices them and one of them throws a football at Scott, and all of his stuff goes crashing to the ground. It was actually pretty funny to watch.
A plane flies by with a sign advertising a back to school "jam", and helpfully provides the address. Freshman, however, are barred. The invitation was offered by a girl named Marianne Moore, a rich and obviously completely insane party girl.
In the car on the way home, Brenda and Brandon are recapping their day. Brandon tells her it was hard not to know anyone, and that he thought people were afraid to say hello. Actually, it looked a lot more like they were too snobbish, unfriendly, and self absorbed to give him a second thought. The twins agree that they want to go to the "jam" that evening, and Brenda announces she's planning to go with some girls she met at school. Brandon agrees to meet her there.
Kelly pulls up in front of the Walsh house and honks for Brenda. That's so damn rude and lazy. Mama Walsh accompanies Brenda to the car so she can meet the girls, who openly laugh and remark how embarrassing it is to find themselves in the presence of someone's mother. Mama Walsh asks Kelly what time her curfew is, and Kelly looks confused, as though she's never heard the word before. And so Mama Walsh negotiates directly with Brenda, and they decide she has to be home by 12:15am. That was totes embarrassing.
At the party, Kelly is complimented by a random guy, which thrills her. Thanks to her new nose job, she is looking fantastic. Brenda waves at Brandon, who's standing beside Steve...and Kelly takes notice of him and thinks he's cute. Brandon, in turn, thinks Kelly is cute, but Steve's reaction is unenthusiastic and he tells Brandon he recently dumped Kelly.
David and Scott show up at the party, despite being freshmen. David spots Kelly, is instantly smitten and tries to get closer to her. Poor Scott then gets pushed into the swimming pool and everyone laughs.
Brandon wanders around the grounds and comes upon a girl in a gazebo wearing a maroon velvet dress with a big sash in front and black tights. She looks unhappy, and he starts chatting with her about how badly the party sucks. She agrees, calls him sexy, and invites him to dance. She declares how much she hates these parties, but that she has no choice but to attend since it's her house. Well, she did send up a plane with the sky written invitation, did she not? Her parents insist that she be social, and apparently the only way to accomplish this is by hosting a "jam" at her house and inviting 1,000+ classmates. Brandon is smitten by the nut and tells her he wants to call her, and she writes her phone number on his forearm with lipstick and warns him not to smudge. Marianne is weird.
As people start to leave the party, it's clear that Steve is too drunk to drive his Corvette home. He spots David Silver and persuades him to drive him home...but David is anxious about doing this because a) he doesn't know how to drive, and b) he doesn't have a driver's license. Somehow, though, he manages to safely arrive at Steve's house. He helps him inside, but doesn't properly put the car in park and it coasts backwards and smashes into another car. David panics and flees.
Chemistry class. Kelly is doctoring a fake ID for Brenda so they can get into clubs. The fat, disheveled teacher, who looks like he's about to keel over from a heart attack, yells at them for not paying attention. He seems like a really mean, crappy teacher. After school, Kelly suggests using the new fake ID to get into a club called the Blue Iguana. Brenda easily succumbs to peer pressure and agrees that this is a fabulous idea. Opposite of fabulous, however, is whatever's going on with Kelly's outfit in this scene. I'm not even sure how to describe her multi-colored pants...so I'm just going to leave it at that.
The rich, unhappy party girl, Marianne, is eating sushi alone and wearing headphones. Incidentally, it looks like she's wearing the exact same outfit she wore at the party. Brandon joins her and jokes about going to Paris for the weekend and she thinks he's serious, not realizing that not everyone is spoiled enough to have the resources to jet off to Europe for a couple of days at a moment's notice. Eventually they agree to go on a local date.
The Blaze newsroom. Brandon asks Andrea for advice on a nice restaurant to take a girl out to dinner, and in response she bitches him out for not submitting his article on toxic waste disposal. Wait - that was a real assignment? I thought it was part of her asinine litmus test on how to tell if a boy was serious about writing for the school paper. We also learn that Andrea didn't go to the "jam" because she wants to focus on getting into an Ivy League school. Because apparently you can't do both. My best guess here is that Andrea realized no one at the party would want to talk to her, and she'd end up in a corner snarling to herself. She eventually suggests a restaurant for Brandon's date, but then looks all bummed out and jealous. Andrea really needs to make up her mind and decide if she's going to be a full-on bitch and deal with the consequences, or just be nice to the guy she's crushing on...because right now she's acting very bipolar-ish.
Brenda and her gal pals arrive at the Blue Iguana with their fake IDs. Brenda is allowed in, but Kelly is barred. This leaves Brenda wandering around the club by herself, and soon she's being ogled by an older man. Hey, it's Maxwell Caulfield from Grease 2, and also that terrible Dynasty spin-off! He approaches Brenda and offers to buy her a drink. As the two get acquainted near the bar, she learns that he's a lawyer in his mid 20s. Brenda lies and tells him she's a sorority girl, and that everyone in her sorority transferred to L.A. from Minnesota State. Maxwell Caulfield totally buys the implausible story...or maybe doesn't probe too deeply 'cause he's mostly interested in getting laid.
Brandon is on his date with Marianne, riding with her on a motorcycle in the dark. A horrible erotic sounding song is playing in the background, and it really sounds like it should be in a porn movie. And then suddenly the two are in a hot tub, drinking wine or champagne. Marianne points out that Brandon has a hairless chest - hee! - and then moves in to give him some serious tongue kissing action before suggesting they get naked. (The porn music really would have fit a lot better in this scene.) Brandon gets a little wigged out and tells her she should hold out a little...like, maybe longer than the first date. Marianne is thrown by this, and assumes she has to put out in order to prove that she's not a bore. Hmm...acting the slut with every Tom, Dick, or Brandon doesn't necessarily guarantee an outgoing personality, but it does suggest that this girl has some serious self esteem issues.
Brenda goes with Maxwell Caulfield to his apartment, which seems like an insanely stupid thing to do with a strange man you just met at a bar. He looks thrilled that he's about to get lucky and kisses her in front of a wall of bubbles. He starts to undress her, but she swiftly rebuffs him. He looks pissed off, but agrees to drive her home to the sorority house she pretends to live in. He gives her his number, but Brenda claims she doesn't have a phone - another ridiculous lie he doesn't seem to question. At this point, he should probably be at least a little suspicious that Brenda may not be levelling with him about everything.
Brenda calls Kelly at 6:00am, and tells her all about her evening with Maxwell Caulfield. Afterward, Kelly's mother comes to her room to complain about the phone ringing so early. It's a different actress who plays her mom in later episodes - and it's a good thing 'cause this woman doesn't seem very well cast in the role.
At school the next morning, Kelly laughs at Steve for getting his car smashed up. She tells him that she witnessed a geek driving him home, but as for which geek it was...she isn't sure.
Chemistry class. The fat, disheveled teacher is giving the class a pop quiz. He's playing classical music and acting like a mental patient. Kelly and Brenda obviously didn't study so, they don't know the material...and guess their way through the quiz.
Spanish class. A delivery of flowers arrives for Brandon. He has to sign for them and discovers they're from Marianne. Andrea looks sullen and resentful, while Steve is impressed. I am puzzled because it's a little weird for a girl to have flowers delivered to a guy, much less after only one date...and in front of an entire classroom of people they both know.
The Blaze newsroom. Andrea is presiding over the work of running the newspaper. During a chat with Brandon, she brings up his date the other night and criticizes Marianne by calling her stupid and rich. Marianne may be stupid and rich, but Andrea is petty, judgmental, and has a black heart. Brandon defends his new lady love, but Andrea is incapable of having a conversation that isn't tainted with her jealousy and insecurities.
Steve is trying to track down the geek who was responsible for smashing up his car the night of the party, and he's offering a reward of $50. Why he's bothering with a reward, I don't get. Just file a claim with your car insurer, Steve. David Silver is frightened and tries to disguise himself in a silly hat and glasses. While talking to Scott he realizes that the baseball cap he was wearing the night of the party is still in Steve's car. A doomed caper is imminent so that these two dorks can try to retrieve the incriminating evidence.
Brandon is jogging during gym class. A couple of guys in the class are intrigued that he received flowers from Marianne, and they want further details. Brandon suddenly turns into Bravado Brandon and makes it sound like he nailed Marianne, and invites the guys to "use their imagination". Ew. And then word travels faster than the speed of light. Suddenly Brenda knows all about it! And she tells Brandon that the whole school knows about it! Even the school DJ is gossiping about it on the air! All over campus there are groups of kids huddled together, whispering and surreptitiously staring over at Brandon.
Brandon encounters Marianne in the hallway, and she punches him in the stomach and tells him she can't trust him anymore. It seems like a giant overreaction for a girl who was well on her way to riding Brandon's baloney pony in the hot tub before he put a stop to it. As she stomps away, she announces that the next big party will probably be at her house. Was that an invitation, or should Brandon wait for another sky written message?
Spanish class. Steve calls Brandon a legend, and then Andrea appears out of nowhere and completely flips out. She reprimands Brandon for the whole Marianne thing, even lapsing into Spanish for dramatic effect. Her reaction might make a dose of sense if she were Brandon's girlfriend and he was cheating on her, but she's NOT his girlfriend (or even a friend for that matter), so it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Why he doesn't just tell Miss Fatal Attraction to go pee up a rope is beyond me.
David and Scott break into Steve's Corvette to retrieve Scott's baseball cap, but the car alarm goes off and Steve is alerted by a beeper he carries around with him. He runs out to the parking lot to catch the thieves in action. David admits that the damage to the car was his fault, and Steve responds by chasing him around the car a few times. While he's being chased, David offers to pay for the damage but Steve points out that he has insurance. Exactly, dumbass.
Brenda is practicing speaking in front of the mirror, getting ready for her date with Maxwell Caulfield. Brandon catches her, and the two talk about the rumor he inadvertently started about Marianne. When he says he feels like a jerk, Brenda is pleased that he feels some remorse about it and wants to atone for it. And then Brenda shares with him that she likes her new fella so much it's scary. What's scary is that this guy can't guess that he's actually dating a teenager despite the many obvious clues that would lead most people to deduce that something is seriously amiss.
Brenda and Maxwell Caulfield are at dinner with another couple. Brenda tells everyone she's studying astronomy, so the guy of the other couple asks her what a black hole is. After looking panicked, she stammers for awhile but is able to fake it admirably and describes a black hole as "a hole that is black". Everyone at the table is satisfied with her demonstrated expertise on the subject, and so the charade continues. After dinner, Brenda and Maxwell Caulfield make out in his car, but she quickly bails on him. He urges her to spend the night with him the coming weekend.
Brandon is doing an interview with the school's DJ, who is super annoying. By the way, is it a normal thing for a high school to have a full on DJ booth...or its own radio station for that matter? I thought the whole thing was nothing more than a PA system across the campus, but then we see that Marianne is listening to the interview on her car radio. Anyway, Brandon is defending her honor and denies that anything sexual happened between him and Marianne. It is a lot of personal information that probably no one really needs to be in the know about.
Chemistry class. The fat, disheveled teacher is playing classical music again, ambling around the classroom as though he forgot to take his meds. Brenda and Kelly are discussing her dinner date with Maxwell Caulfield, and the teacher walks over to them and accuses them of cheating on the last test. He is starting to seriously creep me out.
Brandon encounters Marianne at her locker and once again apologizes for his douchebaggery. He wants a second chance with her on Friday night, but she declines because she's planning on staying home instead. And that is the last we ever see or hear from this rich party girl turned homebody, and I'm pretty glad about that.
Brandon stops Andrea in the hallway and asks her if she heard him on the radio clearing up the rumor about him and Marianne. Naturally she's totally bitchy to him and snaps that she never even listens to the school radio station. I don't think that's actually possible since it always seems to be blaring in every hallway of the school, as well as on the outdoor speakers. Andrea is in a rush and tells Brandon that she has to get home. Intrigued, he covertly watches her waiting for the bus, jumps into his car and follows her bus, then watches her get off in a crap neighborhood in the Valley. He pulls up beside her, and of course she's very angry that he discovered where she lives, and is afraid that people will learn that she doesn't live in a school district near West Beverly High. Brandon apologizes about the Marianne incident yet again - talk about beating a dead horse - and Andrea is finally in a forgiving mood and invites him inside her house. Blech, Brandon!Blech.
Brenda and Maxwell Caulfield are on another dinner date at an expensive restaurant. Brenda decides to come clean on all of her lies and the truth quickly comes tumbling out of her mouth. She has a telephone after all and can give him her phone number; she doesn't live in a sorority house; she isn't in college; and - the coup de grace - she's a junior in high school and is sixteen years old! Maxwell Caulfield is shocked by her admission, and then gets all bitchy about being duped. Brenda starts crying and apologizes, but he's not moved and threatens to sue her parents. Wuh? The man's a lawyer and he wants to initiate a lawsuit that would draw attention to the fact that he's been dating a teenager and almost committed a felony?
Brenda tearfully tells him that he's treating her badly and that she had decided she was going to sleep with him that night. That should have been his cue to run far far away instead of continuing to argue with a sixteen year old about feeling deceived. After he drops Brenda off at her house, she dashes out of the car and runs into her house and into the comforting arms of Mama Walsh.
Brenda enters Brandon's bedroom wearing an oversize blue pajama top and white socks. She refuses to tell him about her bad date, and instead moans about how much she misses the less complicated Minneapolis.
"Are we going to make it here?" she inquires with uncertainty in her voice. After some needless prattling, Brandon comes to the conclusion that the people in Beverly Hills haven't cracked the meaning of life...so I guess we can take that as a yes.
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Recapper: Isabel K. French
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