BEVERLY HILLS, 90210: A TIME CAPSULE OF THE ‘90s
Beverly Hills, 90210 has solidified its place in pop culture as one of the most iconic television shows of the ‘90s. From the cheesy and elaborate opening theme song to the extravagant hairstyles, the drama portrayed a group of attractive teens from Southern California living a privileged life. Lasting from 1990 to 2000, the show has become a timeless capsule for a decade that saw consumer technology become a staple in everyday life.
TECH AND THE INTERNET ON BEVERLY HILLS, 90210
For many of us who have watched the show repeatedly, Beverly Hills, 90210 can offer a sense of escape. It tells the story of a group of rich kids who have access to everything that most teenagers could only dream of. From the clothes they wear to the music they listen to, these teens had an infinity of choices. Moreover, the show depicts the advancement of technology during that time, portraying the internet and computers as key background players in the drama.
By 1990 computers were already becoming more prevalent, and it’s no wonder that they played a part on the show from the very first episode. We see the students of West Beverly carting around expensive laptops like the Macintosh Portable. They were chunky, but that didn’t deter them from being innovative. There was a class in the school called “Tech Shop,” where students learned more about technology that was probably beyond the screen or the era.
The summer of 1991 saw the show grow in popularity, and technology featured more prominently, even though Tech Shop was no longer part of the curriculum. Some dialogue and transitional scenes showed that technology had space at West Beverly High.
Soon after, David Silver, one of the cast members, became a tech-savvy character, tirelessly finding joy in the latest tech. One of the most memorable examples is in season two, where David geeks out over a rear-projection TV in the gaming room while the gang sneaks into the Beverly Hills Beach Club after hours to play poker. David elaborates on the technology through his own words, saying it was « twice the brightness » of other TV screens.
SOCIAL ENGINEERING ON BEVERLY HILLS, 90210
The show’s most notable tech storyline occurred in season three. Steve Sanders, one of the popular jocks at West Beverly High, receives a « legacy key » from a recently-graduated alum. This key supposedly unlocks every door in the school, including the room where they store the grades. Steve is anxious that he won’t make it into the University of California, and this is when the story takes a turn. Steve starts to change his grades using the “legacy key,” which eventually turns into a much bigger situation.
As we reflect on Beverly Hills, 90210, it’s clear that the show’s continuous portrayal of technology and the internet reflects our society’s obsession with them. The show has become a timeless reminder and entertainment for multiple generations.