the Buzz for April 1st, 2011


Lyle Lovett — “Nobody Knows Me (Like My Baby)”
(from Lyle Lovett and His Large Band) — Nobody Knows Me - Lyle Lovett and His Large Band

I must admit I really miss the era when reruns of classic primetime soaps like Knots Landing and Falcon Crest filled its daytime schedule, but flipping over to SoapNet these days can still be a font for a hell of a lot of shameless entertainment, with its afternoon visits to The O.C. and Sherry Ann’s forever fave One Tree Hill. (Take it from me: you can get sucked into these programs, lose half the damn day and not even know what hit you if you don’t exercise extreme caution when surfing past this channel!) And over the next few weeks, you’ll be able to get an extra dose of frothy fun, courtesy of SoapNet’s two-hour late-morning block of Beverly Hills, 90210 episodes, which have just reached the pivotal point in the series’ remarkable decade-long run. Rolling into its sixth season (which began unspooling in the fall of 1995), 90210 had weathered Shannen Doherty’s stormy departure (and, even better, the initially bizarro choice to swap her for Saved By the Bell‘s seemingly sticky-sweet Tiffani Amber-Thiessen — an unexpected knockout as a brazen, vampy vixen — had paid off in spades), but the show was gearing up to face life without its male MVP Luke Perry, the loss of whom on paper appeared to be incalculable. To compensate, Aaron Spelling and his savvy team made a handful of wickedly wise moves, including subtly moving their star romantic heroine Jennie Garth — and her eternally hilarious onscreen rivalry with Thiessen, the bitchy ballistics from which never got old — completely to center stage, and bringing in as Tori Spelling’s co-star the ravishing Canadian actor Cameron Bancroft, whose character — a holy-rolling college quarterback with the hots for the only female virgin with cosmetically altered breasts to be found in the whole of Beverly Hills — gave the show a peculiar gravitas it had often lacked theretofore. The result was a spectacularly soapy mix of sex and social responsibility that, even though it was becoming unmistakably long in the tooth, made 90210 a deliriously delicious weekly delight once again. (If you’re wondering why in blue hell I’m regaling you with this review, it’s because my favorite episode from this season — the one in which Perry’s new wife is accidentally shot to death in a hail of drive-by bullets from a mob hit that is actually intended for Perry himself — just re-aired Wednesday morning, and the episode closes with this tune, a tender ballad which might just be the finest hour of Lovett’s Grammy-winning career as a vocalist. And even though I’ve probably seen this episode a minimum of 200 times — and, indeed, own this entire season on DVD — and have the lion’s share of it committed to memory, I still couldn’t tear myself from the TV and was on the edge of my seat (and, uh, awash in tears — I’m a softie, sue me!) the entire hour.)