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The Bubble

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The Bubble is the 4th episode of Season 1 on CW teen soap 90210.

Plot

A PLAY MAYBE? – Annie, Harry, and Debbie are shocked to learn that West Beverly's theater director can no longer oversee the school musical. Kelly persuades Brenda to take over as the play's director, but they end up arguing over Kelly's involvement with Ryan and her latent feelings for Dylan. Meanwhile, financial struggles lead Dixon to get a job at the Peach Pit, and Naomi confronts her father's mistress. Harry Wilson reveals that West Beverly's theater director is no longer able to direct the school musical, "Spring Awakening," prompting Tabitha to offer her services as the new director, much to Annie, Harry and Debbie's surprise.

Tabitha's approach with Adrianna doesn't go over well, so Kelly convinces Brenda to take over as guest director of the play. Kelly and Brenda get into a heated conversation about Kelly's involvement with Ryan Matthews and how it may affect her son. Dixon is worried about the family's financial situation and talks with Nat Bussichio at the Peach Pit about a part-time job. Naomi confronts her father's mistress and is shocked when she learns the direction in which her parents' marriage is headed. Annie is still upset with Ty Collins and agrees to a date with Ethan, only to be disappointed by its outcome.

Synopsis

If anything could top last week's excitement surrounding the return of the much-loved Brenda Walsh, it was finding out the identity of Kelly Taylor's baby-daddy. Message boards, chat rooms, and web forums exploded this week with chatter, speculation and anticipation as fans of the original series debated who it might be. Was it Brandon, the do-gooder politico from Minnesota? Dylan, the legendary bad-boy who broke up BFF's Kelly and Brenda? Or could it be Steve, the macho frat-boy with the blonde afro? But first we must pretend everyone watching cares more about the new cast than the timeless love triangle that captured a generation. And so we open on the Wilson's enjoying an oh-so-wholesome family breakfast at Casa Wilson. Daddy Principal is explaining to the family that the director of the school play suddenly had to quit. Uh-oh, chorus member Annie doesn't look too happy. Well don't worry Annie, there just so happens to be a fading celebrated former actress living with them. Grandma Tabitha offers to direct the play, pretending Harry asked her to do it all along. Annie looks pleased... well until Tabitha mentions "breathing through her ass". Suddenly Annie's expression looks more queasy than happy. I predict this will not end well. Deep breaths, Annie. Deep breaths.

Naomi and her parents are outside their home posing for their Christmas photographs. In September. Seriously? Now I know Beverly Hills pretty much has one season all year long, but could they at least try to pretend they aren't the most completely fake family in the universe? I guess Naomi agrees with me because the girl is pissed and she's not gonna take it anymore! She wants to know why they're doing this without her sister, who is apparently in Paris. Tracey explains that they'll just photoshop big sis in later. This infuriates Naomi who is already sick of how false everything is. Her father is oblivious to her anger and her mother flat-out refuses to discuss her husband's philandering, preferring to pretend it isn't happening. And now they're photoshopping Christmas pictures, pretending they're all one big happy family. Who exactly is this family trying to convince? Oh right… themselves. Devastated, Naomi reaches out to the one person she can trust... her own philandering ex, Ethan.

And speaking of Ethan, it seems that the lacrosse team hottie has a thing for Annie. And she's clearly into him, too. But apparently she's never learned rule number one of the girl code: you don't date your friends' recent exes… At least not if you don't want major drama on your hands. Not a month in LA and Annie is already up to her emaciated clavicle in drama, 'cause here comes Ty and he's scamming for a date. Too bad she's already got one – with Ethan. What's this girl's deal? Ty is totally hot and he's obviously into her. And he doesn't have a semi-psycho ex who will ruin her socially for dating him. (Yes, that's a jab at you, Naomi.) Where's this girl from anyway, Kansas? Oh, wait. Anyway, Annie totally turns down Ty, who takes the hint pretty clearly. Don't sweat it, Ty. If the girl can't see what a total catch you are then it's obvi the girl need Lasik stat. Can anyone call Dr. McDreamy?

Someone else needs glasses too: Dixon, who clearly needs a lesson in parking. He manages to knock the side mirror off the expensive import parked next to him with his dinosaur of a ride. The alarm goes off and here comes the owner, who's looking pretty peeved. Dixon manages to calm the kid and promises to pay for the repairs himself. He's afraid to involve the insurance company cause Daddy might take away his keys. Oh, the horrors! Taking public transportation in the most elite zip code in the country? Social. Suicide. Cause driving an old minivan to a school lot full of BMWs and Porches' is so much better, right? Anyway, Richie Rich agrees to take cash for the repairs, but now Dixon faces a new problem. How is he supposed to earn that kind of cash in just a few weeks time?

By doing what every mid-western transplant in Beverly Hills does, of course. Head to the Peach Pit and beg good ole Nat for a job. Nat checks out Dixon's resume which is full of things like "dog walker" and "snow-shoveler". Dixon admits he's never had a real job before but that doesn't mean he won't work hard. Well, it just so happens that Nat has an opening. And he's got a soft spot for mid-western kids who go to West Beverly High. He makes an oblique reference to Brandon and hires Dixon on the spot. I knew that Dixon was the new Brandon – journalist, politico and new Nat hire. He's even talking about saving up for a new set of wheels. Remember Brandon's clunker, Mondale? Remember the Mustang? I wonder if these kids will get two junior years too.

Speaking of our favorite 90s teens, the now grown-up Kelly and Brenda are getting breakfast in the West Beverly cafeteria, which is way trendier and more colorful than the sterile, prison-like cafeteria we had at my high school. And why yes, I am bitter. After growing up watching the original incarnation of this show, I fully expected a sprawling, beautiful campus with a fountain and a quad. And a clock tower. With palm trees and Dylan McKay types to drool over. Yeah, that didn't happen. But I digress. Our favorite frenemies grab a table, gabbing about the old days and even mentioning my all-time favorite cIassic 90210 moment "Donna Martin Graduates!" We hear that our old pal Donna has a baby, but there's no mention of David… odd, considering he is Kelly's step-brother and Donna's husband… or maybe it's ex-husband now? I guess we'll have to wait and see…

Outside, Naomi catches up with Silver who barely spares her ex-BFF a nanosecond. Naomi swallows her pride and begs the other girl not to blog about her family's personal problems. Translation: I am an evil hypocrite. Please don't do to me what I did to you by exposing my father's affair to the entire school. Silver just looks astonished that Naomi is even speaking to her, much less asking for a favor and she tells her so. Naomi makes her distraught-Naomi face and I stifle the urge to drink. If I had a shot for every time she makes that expression I'd be a raging alcoholic.

Speaking of alcoholics. Tabitha is watching play rehearsal and the rampant evil director/spoiled actress clichés are almost unbearable to behold. Her criticism is sharp and even granddaughter Annie isn't exempt from it – in fact, Annie gets it worse than anyone. She even goes so far as to tell Annie that in the theatre she is not her grandmother, just her director. Her over-the-top theatrics are ridiculous and embarrassing, not just to Annie, but to the audience as well. I had to fast-forward through parts of it (thank God for Tivo) because it just got to be too much. When someone starts talking about singing from your loins well… let's just leave it at that.

Annie begs Daddy Principal to fire Tabitha but he tells her he absolutely cannot do that. But fortunately for Annie, Tabitha picks that moment to approach him in the hallway complaining about everything from the poor lighting and cheap costumes to the coffee on his tie. Annie shoots him a triumphant look. She knows when she's won. Ah, but there's Kelly walking by. Doesn't she even have an office? And she conveniently knows just the person to direct the play – the actress Brenda Walsh, of course. Harry takes Brenda to meet Tabitha and she is surprisingly gracious. Back in the day Brenda could get a tad bitchy but she was very polite and flattering without gushing. Tabitha is just starting to warm to Brenda when Harry drops the bomb: Brenda will be "assisting" Tabitha with the production. Grandma looks a bit put-out by this news; she didn't think she needed any help. Brenda tries to appease the older woman, but I think we're in for some major backstage drama. At least I sure hope so!

And speaking of drama, Annie's dealing with her own. Gal pal Silver warns the new girl not to get involved with Ethan – it's a surefire recipe for heartbreak. She says she's seen the "Naomi/Ethan bubble" and it doesn't pop. Of course, Annie is sure that they're dunzo and she tells Silver there is nothing she can say to change her mind. She's going on their date and that is that. Well, you tried, Silver. Don't forget to bring the tissues and the Haagen-Daaz.

Meanwhile, Ethan is having some difficulties at home taking care of his mentally-challenged brother. Naomi arrives, hoping to lean on Ethan for support, but winds up lending him support instead. She offers to help him with his brother and she handles the situation beautifully. She is gentle and kind and manages to calm down his agitated brother. Ethan watches her at work, a soft smile on his lips. Once his brother is settled down with popcorn and a movie, Naomi and Ethan speak quietly about her father's affair. Naomi wants to go face her father's mistress, Gail. And she wants Ethan to go with her. He agrees but when Naomi actually confronts the home-wrecker it doesn't go according to plan. Why? Because surprise, surprise, she's moving to Beverly Hills. Worse, she's moving into their family beach house. Guess Mr. Clark has been lying to his wife about how serious the affair really is.

But since Ethan is busy with his brother and Naomi, Annie is left sitting alone at the Peach Pit waiting for a date that never shows. Worse, here comes Ty, to witness her humiliation… told you to go for the James Marsden doppelganger with the private jet, Annie. Ty leaves with his friends, and Annie is left to drown her sorrows in a diet soda. Awesome comfort food Annie. Hey Silver, where's that ice cream?

Meanwhile, Ryan has been trying to deepen the relationship with Kelly but she's holding him at arms length. She's not ready to reveal her secrets, nor does she want to talk about her baby-daddy. He tries to get answers from Brenda but Kelly's old friend isn't quite the rumor-monger she used to be. She's not comfortable discussing Kelly's private life and tells him so. In the parking lot, Brenda forces Kelly to admit her feelings for… wait for it, wait for it… Dylan McKay! Yep, it turns out the motorcycle riding bad-boy with the legendary sideburns is the father of Kelly's son, Sammy. Not so shocking really, except for the fact that those blonde curls are awfully reminiscent of frat-boy Steve Sanders. What is shocking is Brenda's lack of emotion when mentioning Dylan's name. I guess Brenda Walsh has finally moved on from her first love. Of course, now that 90210 is back, anything is possible. A promised Brylan reunion would definitely score some much needed ratings for the failing CW network. (So would ditching that cringe-worthy yellow and green motif but hey, nobody asks me these things). I wonder if this means Luke Perry is coming back to the show that made him a teen heartthrob and multi-millionaire? Time will tell.

Well, now that Ethan has given Annie the shaft and is officially "on-again" with Naomi, Annie realizes she screwed things up with Ty and badly. She brings him a container of snickerdoodles which doesn't exactly impress him but Annie is determined. She presses the tin into his hand and presses her lips to his. Ty doesn't exactly resist and deepens the kiss. It lasts longer than it probably should in a high school hallway but when the two break apart both are glowing. Ty tells her that she's lucky she's so damn cute or he wouldn't even be having this conversation. They make a date and all is forgiven… for now. Because if the promos for next week are any indication, those two are in for some trouble.

Starring

Rob Estes as Harry Wilson
Shenae Grimes as Annie Wilson
Tristan Wilds as Dixon Wilson
Dustin Milligan as Ethan Ward
AnnaLynne McCord as Naomi Clark
Ryan Eggold as Ryan Matthews
Jessica Stroup as Erin Silver
Michael Steger as Navid Shirazi
Lori Loughlin as Debbie Wilson
Jessica Walter as Tabitha Wilson

Special Guest Stars

Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh
Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor
Joe E. Tata as Nat Bussichio

Recurring cast

Jessica Lowndes as Adrianna Tate-Duncan
Christina Moore as Tracy Clark
James Patrick Stuart as Charles Clark
Adam Gregory as Ty Collins

Guest starring

Chandra West as Gail McKinney
Ryan Doom as Steven Ward

Quotes

"You know girls in Beverly Hills... I wanna roll in style"
Dixon Wilson
"I'm a black kid, living with a white family. It doesn't get any more different than that"
Dixon Wilson
"Guys aren't like girls. We don't hold grudges. Life's too short"
–Dixon teasing Annie
"I am such a gynormous idiot"
Annie Wilson
"I'm sitting here waiting for a guy in a bubble, an impenetrable bubble"
Annie Wilson

Trivia

Opening Tagline: Annie

Music

  • "Disturbia" by Rihanna
  • "The Trance" by Headland
  • "How Many Ways" by Señor Happy
  • "Changes" by Lori Denae Frankfort & Evan Frankfort
  • "Leaving" by Lori Denae Frankfort & Evan Frankfort
  • "Day I Die" by Drug Rug
  • "Mamma Who Bore Me" by Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater
  • "She's New" by Señor Happy
  • "Not Nineteen Forever" by The Courteeners
  • "Even The Score" by Señor Happy
  • "Feel Good About It" by Marching Band
  • "Don't Believe In Love" by Dido
  • "Adventures In Solitude" by The New Pornographers

Photos

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