An Open Letter to the Kids

To those of you too young to have watched Beverly Hills 90210:

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because I truly believe you’ll never understand. I grew up cursing baby boomers for claiming my generation would never understand the ’60s, the Beatles, Vietnam, JFK, the whole thing — that you had to be there. I found their attitude startlingly arrogant, small-minded and self-absorbed.

I could watch “Woodstock,” I could listen to Abbey Road and Jefferson Airplane, I could read about it in pretty much any issue of Rolling Stone. I didn’t need to be there.

But maybe I was wrong.

Because if you were born in 1990, even if you watched all 10 seasons of 90210, there’s no way you could comprehend what it was and why it mattered to us. It will likely just seem like a badly acted soap opera. You wouldn’t be able to understand the strange combination of detachment and involvement with which we watched. The balance of irony and genuine love.

You couldn’t possibly get Dylan, or Brandon, or Brenda and Kelly. And why they mattered. Is it because you were born too late? I suppose, though I’m more apt to blame your generation’s lack of interest in history, and lack of self-awareness.

For a select few of you, though, all might not be lost. If you open your mind, and start with the Season 1 DVDs, about a pair of high school kids from Nowhere, Minnesota trying to adjust to the fast life in L.A., maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to get at the truth. Maybe you’ll be able to see what we saw, feel what we felt. Not all of you. God, no. Most of you will fail. But maybe the best, the brightest, the most creative will be able to unlock the mystery and understand what 9/02/10 really means.

For you few, the chosen ones, it will feel like the first time. It will feel completely new.

And I’ll be jealous of you. Welcome aboard.


The Dilemma


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Filed under Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

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