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Home » Culture and Criticism

Adventures In Random DVR-Pausing: Word Processaurus

Submitted by on July 17, 2012 – 12:22 PM28 Comments

I laughed for five minutes at the word processor, which is dated even by the contemporary standards — well, “standards” — of the scene. Dylan’s aggro-floof of hair? Nineties. Pajama top worn as unisex/”who cares what time it is, creaaaaaating doesn’t have a dress code, maaaaan” top top? Nineties. Suitcase word processor with super-clacky keys? Eighties.

It kind of doesn’t fit with Dylan’s character, either. I totally buy that he’d use dated “tech,” but — really dated, like a quill pen, as a shout-out to Byron, because he’s That Guy. Dylan is the type of medium-talent workshop bullshitter who would spend more time gasbagging about how writing his shit out longhand with a #2 pencil puts him in closer touch with his blah blah than actually writing anything interesting, and no, the proto-memoir he collaborated on with Ohhhhhhndrea about his dad doesn’t qualify, Zuckerman’s strenuous gas-operated-leaf-blowering of sunshine up Dylan’s butthole notwithstanding.

I really hate Dylan, you guys.

Anyway, also, this is just one of about six hundred scenes in which Kelly is flopping around in the background, bored shitless and micro-pouting with her tiny lips, while Il Pretensioso is trying to work. She’s moments away from whining that she wants to fuck, or shop, or something, and can’t Dylan just stop working and entertain her because (spoiler) he’s not going to get to put the “berk!” in “Berkeley” in the end anyhow, and as the series wore on, I came to loathe Kelly most of all, but when it comes to her not respecting Dylan’s writing, ALL THE HIGH-FIVES, GIRL, because come on.




  • bristlesage says:

    So, okay, I never watched 90210, but I’ve listened to many a conversation about it and read quite a few internet things about it, and I am left with a question: did anyone like any of the characters? It seems like they’re super-fun to make fun of, but it seems like no one really likes any of them.

    Then again, this could just be confirmation bias, or that fact it’s more fun to write snark, I guess. But I need help figuring out why people watched the show!

  • Elisa says:

    I watched 90210 and when it came out I was like 14 or 15. I liked it the first time around…I just remember thinking that Brandon was cute and not understanding why everyone was nice to him but mean to Brenda. I thought it was really unfair. Never liked Kelly or Steve or whatever character Brian Austin Green played. Dear god, why did I watch this if I hated everyone?! It defies logic. Probably due to Jason Priestley’s eyes.

    Anyway, Dylan is SO TOTALLY that guy. He’s so deep with his “old school” (but not old school enough) typewriter. With his James Dean haircut and car. His “tortured” squinty-eyed look. I stopped watching when they graduated so I don’t think I ever saw this but I am not surprised. Of course he would attempt writing even though he’d never written a word before in his life (and refused to go to college because he was too cool). It’s in his SOUL, man!

  • Annie in TX says:

    I had a word processor like that until I graduated college in 1998. We were poor, so I don’t know what Dylan’s excuse was.

    @bristlesage: Having watched 90210 in its entirety (thanks, SoapNet!), I can say that while I enjoyed some of the characters, I always was glad I didn’t have to be friends with any of them. Kelly was a Grade-A Drama Magnet, and I just don’t have the time or energy for that. I could have dealt with high school-era Donna, but Andrea’s probably more my speed.

    Bonus answer: I would have been off-screen friends with Muntz, Steve’s fraternity brother, who seemed like an okay guy.

  • Jo says:

    I watched it in secret at my friend’s house and loved it, but I was about 12. None of the characters are particularly likeable, but the drama of it all was fun. Back then I liked Andrea but in the few episodes I’ve seen since, she comes across as really irritating and bossy.

  • jive turkey says:

    I love this. All of it.

    I did not own a computer until the year 2000. I was straight-up Brother word processor all throughout college. Anyone else remember how violently those things would shake when they ‘printed’? It was ridiculous.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    I had one of those typwriter/quasi computer things in college. I never made it work right, and it was always repeating lines over and over or suddenly deciding to put big chunks of whatever I was writing in its “memory” instead of on the paper, then erasing it at will.

    I love you, laptop, even though you burned through two hard drives in a year. Buy the extended warranty, you guys. Best money ever spent.

  • ferretrick says:

    Remember the first season, when just about every episode tackled a Social Issue Facing Today’s Teens? Yeah, I watched it because I thought those after-school special episodes were actually edgy and well written and it was a big, moving drama.

    Yes, I feel a deep sense of shame.

  • Jenn says:

    I didn’t watch the show when it first aired (I was a little too young and just never got into it later), but I’m watching it all now for my blog. I just started the fourth season. The only person I can stomach for an entire episode is Donna (and sometimes Steve). I really liked Kelly for the first two seasons, when she would give people good advice and had actually thought through things teenagers should think through, like using condoms. But cheating with your best friend’s boyfriend? No, girl.

    I hate Brandon with a passion. Mr. Self-Righteous Hero, Friend to All, Defender of the Little Person, or Whatever is the P.C. Term That Little People Prefer. David is ridiculous. Brenda is whiny. Andrea would never in a million years be friends with these people. And Dylan always has to be right.

    What’s that over Dylan’s shoulder, a vacuum or a bong?

  • bristlesage says:

    Thanks, everyone, for explaining why you watched it! I realize my comment came off a little judge-y, and that was not my intent, so I’m sorry about that.

  • Gwen says:

    My family had a work processor like that. My family didn’t have a computer in the house till after I graduated from high school in 1997. Looking back, I’m amazed how I was able to any work on that stupid thing.

    This is an unpopular opinion, but I thought Brenda was one of the best female characters on that show. She was self-righteous brat in her right, but she was the only one who actually had a spine and didn’t seem to take crap from anyone. I was upset she left. And how they wrote off her character was plain stupid to me.

    Here is my take on the rest of the characters:
    Dylan played the I’m-a-tortured-soul card too much for me.
    Brandon was goody-goody all the time.
    I have not hate for Steve.
    David needed to go away.
    Andrea was annoying.
    Donna was dumb.

    And there’s Kelly, who was whiny back-stabbing friend. I remember watching episodes where everyone just could not understand why Brenda was upset at Kelly for hooking up with Dylan. It seemed everyone wanted Brenda to just let it go and forgive Kelly so quickly. I was glad that Brenda stayed mad at Kelly for long time.

    Speaking of Kelly, anyone remember when she became a coke head? Good times.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    It’s also hard, sometimes, to remember how different TV was at this point in cultural history from what it is now. 90210 was, at the end of the day, an Aaron Spelling primetime soap, and as such it did its job…and the demographic may not have been quite savvy (or old) enough to realize that Brandon was a condescending, sexist asshat, or that the casting of the “rehabilitation” of Kelly’s “slut rep” as a success was very fucked up. But the conversation that we had with TV 20 years ago was not a conversation.

    Then…the internet came. [dun!]

    Seriously, though. Sometimes you look at older TV and you’re like, henh? But a world in which TV was actually expected to be GOOD was not where we really lived, back then. Which is probably why my parents wouldn’t let me watch any of it and good on them.

  • meredithea says:

    @Annie in TX: I totally remember that word processor in your room! I just had a full-on college flashback. /off-topic

    I have never seen an episode of 90210 because I based too much of my (completely non-existent) cred on that back in the day. Now it’s just a gap in my pop-culture knowledge.

  • SarahS says:

    Oh, this show. I was 11 when it first aired, and of course had posters of Dylan and Brandon plastered all over my bedroom. Watching it with a more critical adult eye, both those guys were grade-A douchebags.

    I never got the Brenda-shaming even back then. No wonder she fled to drama school in London! Her friends were the WORST. The episode where they all assume she slept with the director to get the part, and even Brandon wouldn’t defend her? Honestly.

  • SarahS says:

    Then again, if it wasn’t for 90210 we never would have seen the power of David Silver’s rapping and the electric slide solving all of the racial tensions in Los Angeles.

  • Dorine says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that David Silver is having a kid with Megan Fox. Does not compute.

    I was one year younger than the characters on this show were supposed to be and lived in a small behind-the-times town in middle America — I loved this show and watched it from debut to season finale — when it started, we had just got Fox on our cable system and it was so novel to have one of the non-big-three networks. It was appointment TV because I am old and a) what is a DVR? and b) VCRs required more money than this college student had lying around.

    Even then, I still knew it was ridiculous.

  • Sandy says:

    Sarah S, that YouTube clip is mortifying. Once David Silver started rapping, I had to flip back here in shame. SHAME. Remember when that friend of his was shot?

  • Courtney says:

    I watched this show all the way through its run, beginning when I started college and ending after I finished grad school. In college, we’d tape it and everyone on the hall would sit and watch it together (while we typed papers on our Brother word-processors). We loved the show so much, someone got a Brenda doll for their birthday one year and we’d do shots from her white go-go boot before we went out for the evening. In grad school, where we had no cable in town, all the women would go to the bar where there was satellite TV and watch 90210 and Melrose.

    I’m not gonna lie, I miss those shows. And I miss making fun of those shows.

    That being said, when Dylan was in his artistic phase, he either would have sprung for the decked-out Apple or he’d be handwriting his novel in his leather-bound notebook.

  • MinglesMommy says:

    I never watched the show and I still hated them all. Especially Dylan.

  • Cora says:

    @jive turkey: yes! I had one of them for grad school, if you can believe that. I remember printing off the first draft of my thesis and the thing shook the desk so hard it toppled my lamp and my keys onto the floor.

    @ferretrick: why the shame? You’re among friends here. If the Nation can’t empathize, who can?

    Finally, I can’t defend Dylan — no one could — but does anyone else remember Luke Perry on Celebrity Jeopardy? He rocked. I think he was deliberately trying to shatter the That Guy image.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    He was also great as Ponce de Leon on Clone High.

  • SarahS says:

    Luke Perry himself is definitely not so offensive. And, in a craggy way, he’s definitely handsome. It’s just that Dylan was just the wooorst.

    I also remember the infamous “I hate you both never talk to me again!” scene, wherein he seemed to be getting pissed that Brenda had the temerity to be angry that he was a) dumping her for her best friend, and b) admitting that oh yeah, he had cheated on her with said best friend.

    The fact the writers decided to have Brenda forgive them both all within a few episodes, and still hang out with him while they macked on each other constantly in front of her like supreme assholes, is the absolute height of unrealistic storytelling–and this was a show that tried to sell us Dylan and Kelly as soul mates due to their being together in a past life.

    Oh dear, I could go on all day!

  • Jenn says:

    @SarahS – Adding to that, Dylan and Kelly were all over each other at the beach club, where Brenda’s brother worked, not even trying to pretend they weren’t having an affair. Morons. Brenda should have stayed in Minnesota no matter how miserable she was, just to be away from those two.

  • SarahS says:


    It’s not like Brandon would have cared. He was the worst brother ever!

    He never expressed even the slightest hostility towards Dylan for any of his behavior towards Brenda, except for going out with her in the first place, because “she’s a virgin, man!”

    Because it was Brando’s job to police the sexuality of every woman on the show, of course.

  • bristlesage says:

    @Sars: Pawwwwnce!

  • Sandman says:

    “Ohhhhhhndrea” will never, ever cease being funny.

  • Lis says:

    “Speaking of Kelly, anyone remember when she became a coke head? Good times.”

    @Gwen, YES! And it was AWESOME. I mean sad… I mean hilarious. You guys? She was SO ANGRY at her father for not having dinner with her that she took the check(!!!) he wrote her as an apology or some crap and rolled it up and snorted the coke she had confiscated from her douchey “artist” boyfriend Colin who was from New York City(!!) and so of course he did coke, because MAN that’s what artists DO. Ugh. So of course she immediately became a junkie and had to go to rehab where she met crazypants roommate Tara (?) who single white femaled Kelly (same hair cut, clothes, tried to screw her boyfriend etc.) and then she tried to pull a murder suicide in Kelly’s convertible by having them die of carbon monoxide poisoning parked on the beach holding hands… then like Brandon or someone saved them which sucked…

    I hated both Kelly and Brandon so much that I wanted them to just end up together forever because they deserved each other. So full of the high and mighty bullshit all the time. Asshats. Both of them.

  • kategm says:

    I used to watch Original Flavor 90210 sometimes with my sister who was in high school when it first premiered (and I was in first grade or something). So when she turned on the college-years episodes, I’d wind up watching them too. Wasn’t there an episode where Brenda finds a journal from the 60s in the attic and then while reading it, imagines the people as her own friends?
    I can still hear the theme song. It’s iconic, like the Law and Order “ka-CHUNG!”

  • Holly says:

    I had a word processor like that and used it up until I graduated college in 97. I felt lucky to get even that, since in high school the best tool I had was my Dad’s 50s manual typewriter. My wealthy classmates had papers printed on normal office paper or, at worst, rip-off-the-perforated-sides tractor-fed paper. Mine were typed on smudgy onionskin.

    The saddest part was that the floppies the processor took were entirely proprietary, so I lost access all of the college essays I thought were so deep long ago.

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