Tuned In

The Morning After: Mediocrity Has a New ZIP Code

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Michael Desmond/The CW

To be fair, I can’t properly review last night’s 90210, because I missed the beginning, owing to a TiVo mishap. But unless the beginning included the phrase, “James Poniewozik, you are our $10,000,000 grand prize winner!,” I can’t imagine it helping all that much.

The fact that The CW held back screeners of the show from critics might make you think it was some sort of wild gamble—a daring rethink or an interesting disaster—but instead it was a fairly generic update of the original, just nostalgic enough to seem dated, just risque enough to remind you that Gossip Girl does that much better.

The final product was a combo of teen-show ideas from a generation ago (kids learning lessons from their well-grounded parents, a hoary storyline about a sports-team prank) jazzed up with the occasional fellatio reference. You can pull that novo-retro mix off if the show has a voice of its own, but instead we had the excruciating experience of hearing The Wire’s Tristan Wilds reading lines like, “This place definitely doesn’t suck!” (It was no, “Welcome to the O.C., bitch.”)

Mind you, I don’t begrudge him and Jessica Walter—playing a niced-up shadow of boozy Lucille Bluth—their efforts to try and pay the bills. But maybe we could take up a collection and match their salaries? I’ve got… let’s see… $7.13 here. Who’s with me?