9/02/10: The Addicts

Beverly Hills 90210 morphed rapidly from an earnest family drama to a partner-swapping melodrama to hacky, sitcom-style comedy, but one theme remained constant over its 10-year run: the perils of addiction.

Nearly every character on the show grappled with one addiction or another over the years, and the lesson remained steadfast: don’t get addicted to shit. If you do get addicted to shit, seek help immediately. Preferably of the 12-step variety.

Now, then, a look at the grand gallery of addicts who once resided in the Beverly Hills:

Dylan Michael McKay
Weapon of choice: booze, heroin

We met Dylan McKay as a self-realized alcoholic. He was actually kind of a self-righteous prick about it in the early days, when he’d find his pals drinking. Of course, Dylan later fell off the wagon hard, dabbled in heroin and hard drugs, and drank on and off during his years on the show. The writers seemed to fluctuate on how serious Dylan’s drinking problem was, and whether he was OK to drink casually.

Brandon Walsh
Weapon of choice: gambling

Brandon had the gambling jones bad. He thought he could control it. He thought he could just place a few bets on some games through Nat’s bookie, and everything would be cool. Brandon was wrong. He ended up in some pretty bad trouble with some pretty bad people. His addiction would rear its ugly head from time to time, though notably not while playing poker at Dylan’s bachelor party.

David Silver
Weapon of choice: pills

When David got to college, the pressure was just too much, man. He was trying to keep up with his classes, and working at the college radio station at night. It was too much, and he was burning the candle at both ends. The solution? Speed. Did it work? For a while. Then David’s pestering friends caught on that something was wrong and made him seek help.

David was always a more interesting character when he was a strung-out dick, or a suicidal nutjob, than when he was a dork or a respected, goody-two-shoes businessman. So it’s really too bad the speed didn’t work out.

Kelly Taylor
Weapon of choice: diet pills, cocaine

Through a bad-seed friend, Kelly dabbled with diet pills in high school, leading to nothing worse than a fainting spell. It wasn’t until she started dating another bad seed, Colin, that she was introduced to delicious, delicious cocaine. The coke made Colin and Kelly crazy and irritable, and they had vicious, near-violent fights. But thankfully, the gang made Kelly see the error of her ways, and she dropped the coke and the Colin together.

Jackie Taylor
Weapon of choice: booze, God knows what else

Like mother, like daughter. Kelly’s Mom was an on-again, off-again boozehound, which, not surprisingly, affected her parenting skills. Kelly most resented her mother when she was actually on the wagon, because she then tried to make up for lost time and became meddlesome in Kelly’s late-night carousing and hooking up.

Ray Pruitt
Weapon of choice: domestic abuse

Was Ray addicted to throwing women down the stairs? Or did he just really like it? Either way, it was hard to blame him in this one particular instance.

Emily Valentine
Weapon of choice: U4EA

They say one of the biggest signs that you have an abuse problem is when you lose important people in your life because of drugs or drink. Emily Valentine lost Brandon after slipping him designer drug U4EA to try to loosen him up. And good God, did Brandon need some loosening. Emily really got a bum rap here; she was just trying to help a brother out.

And that’s just the major characters. Who am I missing? What other dark addictions haunted the residents of our most famous zip code?

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Filed under Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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