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Beverly Hills, 90210 wasn’t simply a television show. It was an institution for those coming of age in the 1990s. Every week, viewers tuned in to see what became of the ultimate love triangle of Brenda, Dylan, and Kelly. Would Brandon’s furrowed eyebrows eventually pop off his forehead? So many questions. Here are some answers.
1. The show’s name: As written, the show first came to fruition as The Class of Beverly Hills before it was changed to include the iconic zip code. Furthermore, the series school — West Beverly High School — doesn’t exist, but Beverly Hills High School didn’t allow their name to be used in the script.
2. Producer Aaron Spelling: His creation didn’t make waves initially, but the network stuck it out. By S2, the network ordered special summer episodes, bringing each season’s total to 32 instead of 24.
3. Jennie Garth’s role: Garth was the first actor to be cast in a regular role. She auditioned 5 times before landing the Kelly Taylor part.
4. Luke Perry’s audition: Perry originally wanted to play the douchey Steve Sanders, but he was cast as the rebel Dylan McKay instead. The network’s plan for Dylan included just 3 episodes, but the role quickly went regular.
5. The original plan: Producers intended the show to almost exclusively revolve around twins Brandon (Jason Priestley) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) as they adjusted to West Coast life after moving from Minnesota. The family-friendly plan was quickly abandoned for a more scandalous, soap-opera format.
6. A love triangle: The Brenda/Dylan/Kelly love triangle was at times subtle and other times very obvious. The storyline spanned the entire length of the series and is considered one of more enduring and memorable themes of the show.
7. Shannen Doherty’s bratty ways: Shannen’s reputation on set was one of a hellraiser. She argued with everyone and created enemies with the crew and production team, but the real reason she was fired? She destroyed a season finale episode’s continuity by cutting her hair, which was the last straw for producers.
8. Doherty’s replacement: Both Drew Barrymore and Alicia Silverstone turned down the role of Valerie. Alyssa Milano was nearly cast before Tiffani Amber Theissen scored the part.
9. Brian Austin Green’s temper: At the time of Theissen’s casting, she was dating Green, who was not pleased when her character ended up getting it on with the vast majority of the male characters.
10. Tori Spelling’s audition: Legend has it that Tori secretly auditioned (for the role of Kelly) under a fake name to prevent casting agents from giving her special treatment. Producers did realize Tori’s true identity and created the role of Donna Martin just for her.
11. Donna’s virginity: All of Donna’s classmates ended up losing it during high school, but Aaron Spelling made sure Donna didn’t get lucky until college. So tricky, those fathers.
12. The Peach Pit: The whole gang’s hangout (and place of employment for Brandon and Nat) was based upon a real-life West Los Angeles restaurant, the Apple Pan.
13. Gabrielle Carteris’ real age: Carteris was a relatively advanced 29 years old when she first played 16-year-old yearbook editor Andrea Zuckerman. After the 5th season, her age difference was too apparent for producers to keep her on as a college freshman.
14. Drawing out the high school years: The characters spent two years as juniors in order to keep the show focused. Once the players eventually graduated, producers planned for a move to college to keep the show going.
15. Ratings drops: Shannen Doherty’s sudden, hair-induced departure caused a mild ratings drop during the 5th season. After Jason Priestly and Tiffani Amber Thiessen left during the 9th season, the ratings fell so much that the show was beyond recovery.
16. The show ran for 296 episodes: Not one regular actor appeared in every single episode of the series.
17. The 2008 reboot: Although the reboot (featuring Doherty, Garth, and Spelling) lasted 5 full seasons, it never captured the ratings of the original series.