This is the Problem with 90210

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As 90210 inches closer to its second season finale, the show has a major problem on its hands. It's an obstacle that has prevented it from being consistently suspenseful on a weekly basis:

Everyone is too nice.

Think about it: Who is the main antagonist on 90210? What are the major dilemmas?

The series airs on the same network that features other primetime soap operas such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries. Those dramas focus on sexual liaisons, backstabbing friends, violent deaths and other pulsating cliff-hangers.

On 90210? Naomi lied about a sexual harassment case and Adrianna felt awkward about ditching her band. Sorry, but compared to the aforementioned shows, those situations are a G-rated snooze.

Naomi with Liam

Naomi and Liam are together, in love... and boring.

Granted, 90210 might simply be aiming at a different audience and taking on a different tone. There's nothing wrong with a series that centers on more light-hearted fare and tries to depict realistic situations.

But it still needs more layered characters. Take Jenny on Gossip Girl, Damon on The Vampire Diaries. These are individuals that, simply out, often stir $hit up. They're written well, so viewers don't hate them - but they're multi-dimensional and often cause serious trouble.

What happened to that side of Naomi? Or Liam? These students were meant to be the bitch and bad boy of West Beverly, respectively, but they've since morphed into soft, simplified versions of their former selves.

It's a much more interesting, entertaining scenario, for example, when Naomi and Annie are bitter enemies instead of close friends. Not all characters have to be in a close-knit clique. These friendships have felt forced all season long.

For months, meanwhile, Jasper was meant to be the main villain... but was he even that bad? As I've railed against for weeks, the hit-and-run storyline was completely botched by the writers, as it never gained momentum (or made sense) and Jasper even acted like a loyal, loving boyfriend for a bulk of his relationship with Annie.

I love 90210 and I'm hoping it ramps up the suspense over the next few weeks. I'm encouraged by the return of Jen and the troubling news she has to share, and also hope Liam's father is up to something truly evil.

But with its ratings dropping, the show needs to create a lot more drama than Deb simply pecking her Yoga instructor on the lips and then feeling guilty about it.

Raise the stakes, writers. Make this a show people are truly buzzing about all week, for reasons other than curiosity over when Shenae Grimes last ate a full meal.


Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.



Silver: How hard can it be? Look: lights on, lights off. Done.

Navid: I'm worried about you.
Annie: Don't be.