I used to watch Beverly Hills 90210 religiously back in the day. Every Wednesday for a solid eight years straight you could set your watch by my ass hitting the couch at 8:00 sharp. In retrospect, I have no idea why I looked forward to this show so much. Out of the original cast, there was not one single character I related to or even slightly enjoyed watching. "Why would I have watched this show?", I pondered to myself. Then I realized it….. I watched this show for the supporting players; the unsung heroes of Beverly Hills. The friends, teachers, parents, and significant others all provided the entertainment for me. It is with this in mind that I start this series of Beverly Hills 90210 character profiles. Instead of profiling the main characters one at a time, I will profile my favorite supporting players who were, in my opinion, the real stars of this zip code.
Let's kick off this series of profiles by looking at the category of:
The first one up is definitely one of my favorite parents on the show……Rush Sanders. I mean c'mon, his name was RUSH; a name which obviously had to be symbolic. Most people might be led to believe that the symbolism lies in the fact that "Rush" was Steve's fast paced, go-getting Dad. I tend to believe however that the name Rush was more representative for the "rush" of excitement that came over me whenever this douchebag appeared on screen. Watching Rush in action, gave me as a viewer, a deep insight as to where Steve inherited his total propensity to be a complete jackass. Let's take a look at some of Rush's finer moments.
-- Letting Steve believe that he was adopted rather than telling him that he was really his father; and his birth mother was just some random woman he had an affair with. He was denying being his own son's father for the sake of his own reputation. Classy move. Why didn't he just kick Steve in the nuts and laugh at him while screaming, "Go lose another girl to Brandon you sack of shit!"
--Doesn't every fraternity have a legendary alumni come back to coach the intramural football team? Nope…just the KEG house. Not only did this jerkoff show up to "coach" an intramural team; he had the audacity to give Steve shit about Brandon being on the team. I guess to Rush, the value of KEG brotherhood outweighs the countless times Brand-o bailed his son's ass out of trouble. Strangely enough, all of the guys in the fraternity thought it was cool having a KEG intamural legend like Rush Sanders around. The sad part is, this was supposedly the wildest fraternity on campus. I'm sorry, but Wormser and Lamar doing morning exercises in their underwear in Revenge of the Nerds, was wilder than this bunch of toolboxes. I guess someday if I have a son; and he pledges the fraternity I was in, I'm going to throw on the old fraternity letters and coach the two activities that I excelled at in college: Beirut (beer pong) and pulling five foot bong hits without even coming close to coughing.
(quick note: If anybody happens to have this episode on tape; watch the one segue between scenes where Rush demonstrates the play action pass. It's absolutely priceless.)
--Last but not least, Mr. Sanders owned a building that housed a sweatshop clothing factory. He then convincingly lied to Donna the Crusader, that he had no idea it was there. Taking into account that a photographer in Paris once convinced Donna she had a big future in modeling; it wasn't that difficult to pull the wool over her eyes. I wonder if the sweatshop had an intramural flag football team?
On an entertainment level scale of 1-10 -- the guest panel of International Judges gives Rush Sanders entertainment value a solid rating of 7…. The score would have been higher, but for some reason the Iranian judge gave a score of 0, soley based on the fact that Randy Spelling played another one of Rush's children, Ryan. When asked why Randy Spelling playing Rush's son had such a negative effect on his vote, the judge had this to say: "Randy Spelling just shouldn't be on television. I think he would be better suited to be a counselor at a camp for the blind." He then proceeded to unbutton his shirt to reveal a black t-shirt underneath that had "Moustache Rides" printed across the front of it. Needless to say, I told the Iranian Judge that his services would no longer be necessary. As security physically removed him, he began screaming, "I'll trade you a Steve Garvey for a Rube Walker." Call me harsh, but there is just no place for Iranians, that are obsessed with the movie Mask, and have a vendetta against the Spelling family on my guest panel of judges. The nullification of the Iranian's vote makes Rush Sanders official score rise to an even more impressive 8.
The other father on this list is easily one of my favorite characters on the show overall. Let's take a look at the resident, playboy dentist of Beverly Hills….Dr. Mel Silver. In my extensive research on Mel, I came across this "X-E Exclusive" transcript of a first season scene that ended up on the cutting room floor.
(Episode: 16 Scene 53: The setting: Silver Household-Mel enters David's bedroom)
Mel: "David, could you stop dancing and take off the headphones. I need to talk to you."
David: "Make it quick Dad. I was just getting ready to go out and stalk Kelly Taylor for a little while."
Mel: "David, have you ever been curious as to why you have never seen your father show anything even resembling an emotion in your lifetime?"
David: "I used to wonder about that. Then I saw the show Small Wonder and I realized with your lack of emotion and monotone voice, that you were probably just a robot like Vicki."
Mel: "I'm not a robot David. The truth is I used to be pretty much like you when I was younger. I had the ability to laugh, to cry, and to change the tone of my voice. I was your typical happy-go-lucky kid."
David: "What happened to you?"
Mel: "I was afflicted with the "Silver Family Curse". It's a hereditary condition that starts in the teenage years. With each passing year, you gradually lose the ability to feel or show any type of emotion whatsoever. By the time you reach your early-mid twenties you will be a lifeless shell of a human being just like me. David, enjoy your youth. Have as much fun as possible while you still can because you don't have much time left."
David: "Wait a minute. What about Grandpa? He's still fun. All of my friends loved him when we were at his and Grandma's house last weekend."
Mel: "Be realistic…. your grandfather has a hot tub. It's almost impossible to dislike a man with a hot tub. Oh and as for "your friends"? If I could laugh right now, I would. Face it David, the only reason they let you tag along is to keep Donna occupied, so they don't get stuck having to talk to her. Don't feel bad though, it could be worse. You could have gotten stuck being the token Jew like Andrea Zuckerman did."
David: "We're Jewish?"
Mel: "Only when the plot calls for us to be. Any other questions while I'm here?"
David: "Yeah…. How does a balding, boring, middle-aged man with the charisma of Rain Man, manage to have so many extra-marital affairs?"
Mel: "That's a good question. How about you grab your coat and video camera and I'll tell you the answer on the way to Kelly's house."
David: "Can we stop at the Peach Pit for a Mega-burger before you drop me off?"
Mel: "I'm afraid we can't. For some reason, Nat and I are not allowed to ever appear in a scene together."
(End Scene 53)
This scene definitely helps shed a little light into exactly why Mel had an emotional range that in comparison makes Ben Stein look like Dom DeLuise in "Cannonball Run" outtakes.
Actually, I made that whole "lost" scene up. The truth is that Mel showed no emotion because he really just didn't give a shit about anything or anyone. Let's look at some examples:
-- He threw a pre-party and served champagne to a group of underage teenagers before their prom. This blatant disregard for the childrens safety was the catalyst for the whole "Donna Martin Graduates!" fiasco. When Felice Martin confronted him as to why he would serve her underage daughter alcohol, he displayed a level of remorse equivalent to a pride of lions feasting on a zebra in a Discovery Channel documentary. I bet he cared more about the tux rental shop charging him to remove puke stains than whether Donna would be allowed to graduate with her class.
-- Another memorable Mel moment occurred right after his father died, leaving David a sizable inheritance that included his treasured, classic car. His father had just died, yet Mel was more upset by the fact that David inherited the car that he himself had never even been allowed to drive once. With a son like Mel, it doesn't take a psychologist to analyze why he left almost everything to his grandson. I say almost everything, because a little known fact is that Ray Pruit received a check for a thousand dollars from Grandpa Silver after he died. In the memo section of that check, it read: "For acting out my fantasy of knocking Donna Martin down a flight of stairs."
-- These examples pale in comparison though, to the way he reacted upon finding out that his daughter Erin had disappeared. David, in the midst of coming down off of a speed binge, had "fallen asleep" on a park bench while babysitting his little sister. Young Erin, who had the mental capacity of a second trimester fetus, saw this as her opportunity to wander off in search of a mother who didn't cut her baby powder up into lines before applying it. After finding out his daughter was missing, Mel arrives at the house and proceeds to argue with Jackie about their custody battle. He then proceeds to totally overlook the fact that maybe falling asleep while babysitting a toddler is one notch below having "Drug Problem" tattooed on your forehead on the subtlety scale. Instead of realizing his son has a problem, he just bitches at David for being irresponsible. Oh, and as for his missing daughter, Mel was totally content to sit back and let the police look for her. Why? He didn't give a shit…that's why. Personally, I've shown more concern and put forth more effort to find a missing television remote, than Mel exerted for his missing daughter.
On the entertainment level scale, the panel all sat there speechless unanimously awarding Mel Silver a perfect score of 10! The silence was finally broken when the Israeli judge said, "He has his own medical practice; his last name is a type of jewelry; and he is boring as hell…. That is quite simply the most accurate portrayal of a middle-aged Jewish man I have ever seen!
(It was later learned that the Israeli judge was really the Iranian judge who was thrown out earlier. It seems he snuck back in wearing a yamulke and ended several sentences with "Ya schmuck.". This poor excuse for a "disguise" surprisingly worked. I caught up with the U.S. judge and asked him how he could not notice, that the Israeli judge, looked identical to the Iranian judge who was removed by security earlier in the day. "Hey dude, when it comes to being around people from the Middle East, it's all the same. I avoid eye contact and try to breathe through my mouth.", he was quoted as saying.)
Coming Soon: Favorite "Bad Boys" of 90210
With a brand new "celebrity" panel of judges… (Guaranteed not to include Whoopi Goldberg, Bruce Villanch, or Caroline Rhea)