Brenda and Dylan

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I loved you more than I ever thought I could love anybody
Brenda and Dylan are a fictional romance on FOX teen soap Beverly Hills, 90210. They are portrayed by Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry.


Brenda and Dylan first meet at the Walshes', and Brenda decides to dye her hair blonde as she thinks Dylan prefers blondes. Her hair comes out looking orange and, embarrassingly, she happens upon Dylan while out for a run in the neighbourhood, where he assures her that the hair color doesn't matter to him. This is the first time the two are seen flirting.[1]

They don't really reconnect until Brenda tags along on a hangout with Brandon and Dylan, and when Brandon gets sick, Brenda and Dylan hang out alone. This is the episode where they actually end up kissing and embarking on possibly the most iconic relationship of the series. The same episode also sees the beginning divide of the Walsh household where Dylan is concerned, notably Jim's prejudices that Dylan is like his imprisoned father.[2]

Brenda learns that Dylan is a recovering addict when Dylan helps Brandon, after the latter gets into a car accident while intoxicated[3]. This does not seem to faze Brenda as she and Dylan continue their relationship throughout the remainder of the season. Aside from the common teen relationship hurdles, such as whether both Dylan and Brenda become attracted to other people while together and how they handle that[4], they also experience some true difficulties, such as when Brenda fears she has a malignant tumor[5].

A pivotal moment in their relationship occurs at the 1991 Spring Fling, when they sleep together for the first time.[6] When Jim gets offered double the fees and a promotion back in Minnesota, he takes it and Dylan and Brenda are faced with separation. At the last moment, Jim decides against moving, after seeing the impact the presence of the Walsh family has had on their community.[7]

Intensity and family

Brenda feels overwhelmed by the maturity of her relationship with Dylan[8] after a pregnancy scare and decides to end things with him. Dylan is devastated and has a tough time following the break-up, but briefly reconciles with Brenda when he's injured and offered hospitality at the Walsh house. Brenda is adamant about her decision, though, and the couple does not get back together.[9]

Dylan is tempted to drink again and does so on a group camping trip where he is very mean to Brenda as he feels rejected by her, while she tries to reassure him that they can be friends and that she is there for him. Brenda doesn't know Dylan is drinking again, but Brandon helps out his friend and Dylan's drinking is abated.[10] Once the group starts up school again and enter their junior year, Dylan's attracted to a biker girl, who just transferred and they go on a date. Brenda is furious and lashes out at the girl for dating more than one guy. This provides a catalyst for Brenda to realise that she is still in love with Dylan and they get back together.[11]

The couple are happily reunited, but hit a snag when Dylan begins drinking upon his estranged mother's arrival in town, and Brandon reluctantly admits to Brenda that Dylan was drinking on their camping trip.[12] Brenda is frustrated and hurt that Dylan didn't confide in her, but adamant that she support and stand by him. Brenda also gives Iris McKay a talking to regarding her abandonment of her wayward son, and the two women eventually find common ground.


Losing My Religion by R.E.M.
Plays on the radio in Dylan's car when Brenda breaks up with him
Beach Blanket Brandon
Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
Brenda and Dylan get back together


Your relationship with Dylan isn't over. This is just one moment in a very long lifetime
Iris to Brenda[src]


"90210 was a show that not only celebrated girl-empowerment but had this wonderful character named Brenda Walsh [Shannen Doherty] who represented the notion that a teenager could be sexually active and not be careless, but actually a role model. Unfortunately, my first set of network executives did not see the world as I did. Someday I will write a long article about the censorship that occurred after Brenda lost her virginity at the Spring Dance to her boyfriend (who had been AIDS tested) because she was happy and not full of remorse."[8]
  • In a 2012 interview with Glamour, Doherty had this to say about the love triangle:
"I actually remember getting that storyline and being incredibly upset about it. And it wasn't because Brenda was losing Dylan. I thought that it was really wrong that we were putting that out there, that we were saying, 'Yes, it's okay for a best friend to fall in love with her best friend's boyfriend and cheat with him.' Where's loyalty, where's friendship?"[15]


Brenda and Dylan/Gallery


Notes and references

  1. Higher Education
  2. Isn't It Romantic?
  3. B.Y.O.B (1.11)
  4. A Fling in Palm Springs
  5. It's Only a Test
  6. Spring Dance
  7. Home Again
  8. 8.0 8.1
  9. Summer Storm
  10. Camping Trip
  11. Wildfire
  12. Necessity Is a Mother

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