Life Lessons Learned From Beverly Hills, 90210

I have been highlighting my hair since I was in seventh grade. I really couldn’t even tell you what my real hair color should be. Here is my best guess: If you head out to your local drug store and walk down the aisle with boxes of hair color, take a look at “Blahhh” or “Meh” that would be the best description of my natural color.

Since I have been cursed with such lackluster hair, I have been forced to shell out big money every few months to make sure I remain a bouncy blonde and not some crazy lady pretending that her six inches of dark roots is her attempt at ombre.

A young gal was highlighting my hair this week and she was over sharing stories of her “bad boy” and “womanizing” boyfriend. I patiently listened to her story, nodded periodically, and even gave the shocked “No!” every so often. When she finished the sordid details of her love life, I decided to pass down some sage wisdom from a slightly older, wiser, been-there-done-that-lady. Here is what I told her:

“Honey, you date the Dylan, but you marry the Brandon.”

I knew I was in trouble when she got this dumfounded look that screamed “What the hell are you talking about?” Then I got the “Who?”

Dylan McKay and Brandon Walsh? 90210? The real 90210. Only one of the greatest shows ever! Really? 

First, I felt old. Then, I felt sad for the wayward young girl that didn’t have 90210 during her formative years to guide her along her journey to maturity.  Then, I got to thinking about my own Monkey and Mimi and all of the conversations I will have with them in the future and I shudder at the thought. What if I just lock the kids in a room and force them to watch all ten seasons of my favorite show? When they are done, they can come out and we can discuss what they have learned. I am confident all of those difficult conversations will be addressed in each hour of 90210, and I will simply just need to reiterate some of the most important…

Beverly Hills 90210, Life Lessons

1. Don’t get drunk at prom and pass out in front of the principal. While I am sure you are charming, no one is going to stage a walkout and chant “Mimi graduates, Mimi graduates.”

Beverly Hills 90210, Life Lessons, Donna Martin

2. Don’t wear the same dress to the spring formal as your best friend, don’t date the edgy new girl who takes drugs, don’t dress slutty at Halloween parties, don’t date the broken hottie that has mommy issues, and don’t lose your virginity at the spring formal you wore the same dress as your friend — for reasons other than you are wearing the same dress as your BFF. Didn’t you learn anything from Brenda’s pregnancy scare?

Kelly, Brenda, 90210, Same dress

3. Just because your friends have bigger houses, amazing clothes, a bitchin car, tons of money, and the super, cool, fun mom that is sometimes in and out of rehab, the grass is not always greener and your friends probably wish they had a snarky, sarcastic Mom like yours that can make a mean pepperoni roll. Boom!

Beverly Hills 90210, Life Lessons

4. Drugs are bad. So are diet pills, cults, gambling,  plagiarizing your college papers,  cheating on your girlfriend with her BFF, cheating on your boyfriend with his BFF, cheating on your girlfriend with a lame music executive —OK, let’s just generalize that with cheating — it’s bad – all bad.

Beverly Hills 90210, Life Lessons

6. Violence against a woman is never OK, and if some guy pushes you down the stairs, he does not love you. While I do not condone violence, I would kick a guy’s ass if he ever laid a finger on my Mimi.

7. When faced with two options and neither feels right, always choose yourself. While she made lots of bad choices during the course of the show, Kelly got this one right—“I choose me!”

Kelly, beverly hills 90210

So there you go. Six very important lessons that cover all things I need my children to know as they grow up to be functioning members of society.

Man, this child rearing is easy!


About the writer


Amanda Mushro is a mommy of two who blogs at Questionable Choices in Parenting. Sometimes she thinks she is doing a great job as a mom, but then she does something that really makes her question her own parenting abilities. Find her on Twitter @QuestionableCIP and Facebook.


Julie 3 years ago

While I do feel *slightly* old, I watched every single episode of Beverly Hills, 90210. Loved it and I still watch it on the Soap channel. I think all teen girls should watch it. Definitely some valuable lessons!

Nina 3 years ago

LOVED 90210. And love this! What a fun post!

Heather @ Kraus House Mom 3 years ago

The younger generations have missed out on so much!

Life with Kaishon 3 years ago

I can’t even believe there are people out there that don’t know about 90210. My mom wouldn’t always let me watch because she thought it was too risque. I sure did love it when I could sneak it in though. : )

Kristen Brakeman 3 years ago

Very funny!

I loved the parents on 90210. It’s rare that parents are included in these shows and theirs were so wholesome. It killed me.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 3 years ago

I can safely say Beverly Hills 90210 kept me out of (reasonable) trouble during my teens.
And yes, one should marry the Brandon, but the Dylan’s are sooo much hotter…

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Yes, those darn Dylans were so freaking hot, but man did they break our hearts. Happy to say I dated (a lot) of Dylans but found me a real nice Brandon to marry and have beautiful babies. Ahhh to be young and wild, sigh!

Roshni 3 years ago

hahah!! Loved this!! So just watch the show as an example of what not to do!!

Jennifer 3 years ago

Agreed! I was in my earlier teen years when this was on and I watched it all the time!

Mikalee Byerman 3 years ago

…but Kelly DIDN’T marry the Brandon!!! She ended up with the Dylan in some nebulous “we’ll see what happens” bullsh*t ending!!! I almost died!!!

Sorry — lots o’ exclamation marks there, but you gotta understand: I just recently finished watching the show on Soap Net reruns. I started watching in my teens, but somehow missed the final seasons. With the finale fresh in my mind, I can now return to my normal, productive life as a full-time freelance writer. Thank GOD for Soap Net.

A few other life lessons:
Have your daddy create a TV show to launch your career.
Don’t piss off the cast (Shannon Doherty’s character wasn’t even MENTIONED in the finale).
Beware of the type-cast (has anyone even HEARD from Ian Ziering since the show’s final episode?).
BE THE DAVID! His character got the girl (Donna) in the end, then the actor (Brian Austin Green) ended up marrying Megan Fox in real life. ‘Nuff said.

Fun post. So relevant to my life.

Hi, I’m Mikalee, and I’m a 39-year-old-90210 addict…

MILF Runner 3 years ago

Totally, totally, totally educational programming. I was already in my 20’s when it was on. I remember nodding like a bobble-head as I watched. I’m with a previous poster – gotta find the boxed set NOW!

June O’Hara 3 years ago

You date the Dylan, but marry the Brandon. Love it.

I recently made a reference to The Brady Bunch and was quickly slapped with the truth that I’m approaching the other side of the hill.

Great post.

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    It is like having a Buehler……Buehler…. moment!

Jackie @ MomJovi 3 years ago

As I just tweeted, I’m SO jealous I didn’t think of this post first. Such a great idea … and just a useful idea to use all that pointless information that floats around in my brain about crank, Baja sweatshirts and slutty girls named Ariel.

Some people get jewelry as push presents. Fun fact: my husband bought me several seasons of 90210 on DVD for me to enjoy during my maternity leave. I even brought them to the hospital with me for labor!

Clearly, I have issues.

Great post!

Jessica Smock 3 years ago

There is something almost timeless about the problems that these characters faced. It’s amazing how much of the show and how many episodes I can remember. I went to an all girls high school, and I used 90210 as my sort of guidepost for how “normal” teenagers behaved — i.e. those who went to coed high schools.

Jools 3 years ago

That made me really laugh out loud (I laughed so loudly it seems inappropriate to use the acronym!).
I’d just had my oldest (he’s 19 now) when I started watching 90210 (im in the UK and we were really behind you guys in tv land) and if I’d just seen it approximately 9 months before and taken heed of their life lessons I wouldn’t have been a 22 year old unwed mum.
Teengirl is going to be forced to watch reruns to save her from herself.

Stephanie ( 3 years ago

You definitely marry the Brand-o! Great post, lady! So proud of you!!!!!

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Always…always marry the Brandon—like us!

Jamie 3 years ago

Danica, that boy (don’t remember his name) wasn’t on for very long. I remember he died during the “don’t play with guns” episode… possibly season 1?

Andrea 3 years ago

Yes, 90210 what a big impressionable part of my high school years. I’ll never forget Kelly confessing, “and he didn’t even use a….blanket”. My name is pronounced ‘On-dree-ah’ like the journalism, smartie nerd from the show, who ran off with Jessie into the sunset and had a kid. The episode where snarky sleepover friend says, “Andrea…what.. is that British or something?” still makes me laugh with irritation.

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Andrea, I think you and I will be fast friends!

Danica Surette 3 years ago

I recognize all the characters except the boy to the far right.

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Hi name was Scott. He was David’s friend that shot himself :( See, I really know everything about this show!

Grace @ Sandier Pastures 3 years ago

I watched this show (now why I suddenly felt old after typing THAT) although my dad has to be present all the time. He freaks out during the kissing scenes and ask me to close my eyes. Kill joy.

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Oh no, Grace! Dads! Just imagine if you were watching some of the shows today with him! He would lose it!

      Christen 3 years ago

      Seriously, even “kid” shows are worse than 90210, nowadays. (I always feel old saying “nowadays”. Lol)
      I used to sneak watching 90210. My mom was also one to cover eyes during kissing scenes. Hehe

Shannon 3 years ago

Ha! I forgot about 90210! I guess I need to brush up and watch reruns. Great show!

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Come on over, I am having a marathon today in honor of my post 😉

Jenny 3 years ago

Now, THAT’s what I call an original post! I used to watch 90210 from the comfort of my rock-hard, thin-mattressed dorm bed in college, and I loved it so much. I didn’t have a reason to search out the box set until I read your post. Now I NEED it and can maybe even write it off on my taxes — business expense for a stay-at-home mom?

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Thanks, Jenny! You made my day :) We all need our vices, you get that box set and enjoy every minute of it!

Debbie 3 years ago

Hi Amanda,

You are right on with 90210. My girls always watched this show. I watched it with them at times and yes, there is a lot to learn from it. It taught them also what is inside is what is important and not the looks on the outside.
Thanks for bring back this memory.

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Thanks so much, Debbie! In all seriousness, there really are a ton of important lessons to be learned from this show. Glad you liked the post!

Liz Benishek 3 years ago

Best show of all time:)

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    You know it!

catina 3 years ago

OMG so true! Im going to start watching re-runs now before my daughter reaches puberty! Loved this post!

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago


    Invite me over and I will watch with you. We can put our kids in the room together!

lisa 3 years ago

Love this! 90210 will always be the answer to every life lesson :)

    Amanda Mushro 3 years ago

    Thanks, Lisa! Everything in life can be related to 90210….everything 😉


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