Friday, September 6, 2013


WAS THE ORIGINAL "BEVERLY HILLS 90210" A RIP-OFF OF "SWEET VALLEY HIGH"? by Dane Youssef Now maybe this is just me, but.... I just couldn't help but notice... I had read some of the tomes in Miss Francine Pascal's world-renown series. Seriously, it didn't just have a cult following. It was a full-blown mainstream religion. It took the whole world by storm. And check out "90210." Not the big 2008 re-boot that's all the more recent. I'm talking about the original series that completely defined more than 90% of the 1990's. Which "S.V.H." did itself for reading, the 80's and girls. In a good way, of course. But in really looking at the two... 'couldn't help but notice the blinding similarities. "SVH" was a white-hot commodity back then. Hell, it was a worldwide phenomenon. But the original 90210 series that first premiered in 1990. I know it found it's very own voice and became very influential. But I noticed a really funny thing. Really funny. It was... well, exactly what the headline up there says. In the first season of a show, it's still defining it's voice. And the show seemed like... "Sweet Valley High." No really, it seemed like early on... Season One was entirely patterned after the "S.V.H." book series. Not just the characters, but the plot threads, the gimmicks... even the same tone! The scheming and manipulative plots of a lot of the girls, the focus on the school newspaper which let to major-league journalism, kids who looked like models and were impossibly perfect, the lurid affairs, the fact that these were all gorgeous children whose everyday problems were even gorgeous in some way. The use of themes as date rape, homosexual rights, alcoholism, domestic violence, Anti-semitism, drug abuse, teenage suicide, homicide, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, bulimia and abortion. Some of the characters even sound the same! They just changed a few things--like cutting up the likes of Liz, Todd, Jess, Bruce, Lila, Winston, Steven, Enid, Devon, Ned, Alice, Nicholas and Regina, Jeffrey, Amy, etc... and just moved a few things around. Very few. But I'm very astute, friends. I could tell. Come on, look at the show early on... the location of Southern California (most soaps in the '80's took place in the South since "Dallas" paved the way for that), the use of the twins (Liz and Jess, Brandon and Brenda), the parents of the twins are very similar in each series--the dad is even a lawyer in both series! Did "90210" creators Darren Starr, Aaron Spelling and co. hear about the fanatical book series trend Miss Pascal was partly responsible for? And seeing all the hype it was getting, just try to turn it into a TV show--and with very, very, VERY slight differences so as they wouldn't have to give her one red penny for it? Anyone who really read the books and watched S01 should easily pick up on what I'm getting at. Well... I'm anxious to hear from the rest of you. Please... open the floodgates. Let's speculate, shall we? --For "90210" and "The Valley"... Both of Them, Dane Youssef