Synopsis: Brandon gets a job at a fancy restaurant where he soon discovers that the owner is exploiting him with low wages. Brandon eventually quits and goes to work for a more reasonable boss at the Peach Pit Diner. Meanwhile, Brenda’s new friend, Tiffany, has a problem with shoplifting and when she’s caught, she implicates Brenda with her. Also, Cindy doesn’t find homemaking any easier after hiring a maid, named Anna.
Thank God, the real theme song comes in, because I was not doing well with that other intro. This episode is mostly great because obviously the TV execs clocked that they’d made a big mistake – huge by not letting Shannon Doherty’s inner bitch shine and making her play second fiddle to Brandon fucking Walsh. I mean really. This is a really good/hilarious episode, so let’s dive in.
Brenda kicks off with some Heathers-level megabitch as Cindy is planting petunias or something in the front yard of 933 Hillcrest Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (yes, I looked it up, because it was making me crazy), because Cindy refuses to cough up $120 for some overnight horseback riding adventure that all her new BFF’s are doing in Topanga County (note: I may have just made that name up). I don’t really get how all of a sudden she’s just accepted as one of the chic clique, especially since she was a total snooze last episode, but hey. The Walsh kids head off to school, leaving Cindy to her gardening (as if, even), when a Hispanic woman appears out of nowhere, and just wants to clean stuff. (Pause. because of the face I’m making right now.) Cindy is feeling awks, because she can’t understand-o Spanish-o, and thinks it’s a case of mistaken identity – but of course it’s Jim’s doing, since he wants to keep up with the other white neighbours in every capacity during this entire episode. Also the phone keeps cutting out – we find out this is because off-the-chart usage of mobile phones are screwing with Ma Bell’s ability to provide service (seriously, Cindy curses ‘Ma Bell.’)
Meanwhile, over at West Beverly (was anyone else super bored by the Cindy storyline), Tiffany Morgan, a character we’ve never met before, has picked up her on-again, off-again best friends foreverness with Kelly, which for some reason causes Brenda to become a bit psycho, creepily watching them from afar while getting the goss from the random – not Donna – friend who somehow is part of this episode. FYI Donna is not featured at all in this episode, and pretty much everyone else ditched class this week, except Andrea Zuckerman, who trots out wayyy overconfidently in the kind of shirt you expect Marcia Clark probably wore on weekends where she didn’t want to show too much skin. Andrea should have brought a bucket with all the drooling over Brandon, who’s looking at the bulletin board (like West Beverly is the community centre or the Piggly Wiggly, now, said my eyeroll) because those car insurance payments won’t make themselves. I’m not even making that up, he totally says it.
Back to Brenda, please, because I can’t bear the goodie-two-shoes brigade. They’re studying Les Miserables which is awesome, because the teacher basically has to sell it to the class like it’s V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic – and of course, seeing that this is 90210-land, Brenda proceeds to spend the rest of the episode facing her own Jean Valjean-esque situations, because screenwriting 101. Although Brenda has earned my respect by slagging off Cindy’s wardrobe in the first 5 minutes when she’s trying to suck up to get the cash for my little ponies, she really embarasses herself doing shit like laughing extra hard at Tiff’s jokes and excessively complimenting her in front of the whole class. Keen, much?!
After school, the girls head to a sale (while Money Talks plays for like the 50th time), and poverty-stricken Brenda tags along, trying on what she describes as a gorgeous vest but is in reality, some manner of satiny tank top. Brenda stares wistfully into the mirror and out loud starts asking all her friends if they think ”one event can really change your life?” I mean who would do that? These are the popular girls, Brenda – keep your shit together!!! Brenda sighs and puts the ‘vest’ back. Sidenote – the price tags in this store (which in my head is the same shop as that ‘very expensive’ Pretty Woman one) are absolutely gigantic, like, they look like nametags off The Price Is Right which is bananas but I guess the producers didn’t think the tremendous obviousness of Tiffany’s kleptomania would read.
While the other girls hit the trails, somehow Tiffany invites Brenda to hang out, and Brenda totally wets herself over it, and has to dial back – real cool Bren. They head over to the Walshes – despite the fact that Tiffany’s parents, who build shopping centres, are out of town and live in a giant mansion. When they arrive, it’s muy embarrassing-o, because Cindy’s not been able to stop herself cleaning alongside Anna, who is thinking ‘Santos Dios, when will this white lady shut uppppp,’ since Cindy is banging on about the fact that she hates the idea of Anna, but that Jim loves ‘the idea’ of Anna. WTF indeed – this is making me really kind of hate Jim and Cindy but then I remember that they don’t know any better. Anyway, the girls come in and Brenda is mortified to spot Cindy and Anna on their hands and knees scrubbing the carpet with sponges, like that’s a thing. Tiffany is everyone’s hero when she says ‘you’d never see my mum with a cleaning utensil in her hand!’ Cindy is well and truly burned, so she decides Tiff is ‘shifty,’even though that doesn’t make sense. I think she probably means Tiffany is a fast girl. Once upstairs, Tiffany belittles the décor and then stashes a bunch of shoplifted clothes in Brenda’s closet, and because Brenda is totally desperate for amigos, she just goes with it. Perhaps Cindy was on to something – that Tiff is majorly shifty!!
Before hanging out with Tiffany AGAIN the next day, Brenda spends like 100 hours in front of her Holly Hobby mirror calling herself pathetic before putting on a velvet Blossom hat. I’m not quite sure about any of the clothing on this show yet – its like they’re genuinely pulling things out of a charity bin. The two go out and Brenda tells Tiff all about the slumber parties she and her gal pals used to have back home in Minnesota – the levels of nausea are probably why I stopped feeling any sympathy toward Brenda even as she is a pawn in Tiffany’s shoplifting games. They head back to the scene of the crime (I guess in part so those massive price tags get some more screen time, because the props department needed a boost). I’m sure you can guess what happens. OF COURSE idiotic Brenda goes to the counter to ask for another size for her friend (who is like 3 feet away) and they both get pinched for stealing. Brenda freaks out and starts acting like a mum, for real, while Tiffany defiantly stays cool, and ends up bribing the store owner which is kind of awesome – I think the real lesson here is know when to bribe your way out of trouble. The bitch of it all is that the store manager has already said that they’ll call their parents – uh oh!
This scene is barely worth mentioning except for the fact that it’s chronologically so out of tune with everything else, because we appear to be back in time an hour, watching Jim and Cindy almost get it on (ew!) because Brandon’s out at his new job as a busboy in the fanciest restaurant evahhhhh. Cindy awesomely finds a huge box on the floor and assumes it’s a present for her (a woman after my own heart), but loses her shit when it turns out to be a matchy matchy turquoise shell-suit for Jim. She has a whine, and they’re thankfully interrupted by the return of Brandon. Phone call – Brandon’s like ít could ONLY be Brenda,’ and I don’t even know why that’s funny, because they actually have no friends, so of course it is. Jim answers, and just shouts ‘THATS IMPOSSIBLE’ down the phone, before rushing off to free Brenda. WTF though, surely the point of a bribe is that you don’t get in trouble at the end of it? Makes no sense at all. Fast forward Brenda being all ‘I’m so ashamed, can we never speak of this again,’ while pushover Jim is like ‘sure honey,’but Cindy doesn’t say a word, so you know mama has some drama.
It’s the next day, and before heading off to his tennis whatever, Jim and Cindy give that new shell-suit some airtime by power-walking around the neighourhood, while Cindy won’t shut her yap about kids these days. Back at the house, Brenda is dressed like she’s five, and slinking around miserably, although she does take a time-out to call Kelly and bitch about Thieffany. Kelly flips over while on her phone (also in the intro montage, you’re welcome), and says she’d had to curb her BFF-ness with Tiff, because she was too intense, and even stole Steve Sanders. This shocking revelation is followed by the best line ever: “She’s Klepto, Nympho, all the O’s!” Meanwhile, Anna is working even on a Saturday and can magically now speak broken English enough to ask if she should wash the contraband she found buried in Brenda’s closet – yikes!
Brenda faces off with Cindy, who is just like “I guess we raised you wrong,” and B is not having it. She’s crying her head off and just being all if THATS what you think of me which is quite grown up but also makes her look guilty AF. She throws down some GEMS, though, and basically wins the whole thing by saying ‘I can’t have clothes but you have a maid!’ They probably just gave her an Emmy on the spot, because she was ugly-crying at the same time. My favourite moment of this scene is when Cindy calmly tells Brenda to calm down, and Brenda responds by shrieking ‘no, YOU calm down!’
Brenda makes her way over to Tiffany’s place and in front of two random guys (who sidenote look a bit George Michael at the Versace Mansion) who are ‘using the premesis’ (whatever the fuck that means), and openly bitches her out for being a theiving robber who ruined her life, because she values what her mum thinks of her. Tiffany is not even having it, complains about her own life being a trompe d’oeil (because fucking everything in this episode is French, because Les Mis) and calls Brenda a baby loser and tells her to go back home, so Brenda does, obviously. Later on that night, Tiffy comes over and confesses, and Cindy is super duper nice to her about it, which if I were Brenda I would go mental over – like you just bitched me out forever and I was right and now you’re going all soft on Tiffany? Cindy tells Tiff that she should STEAL HER PARENT’S ATTENTION, while I vomit out of my ears and eyes. Then Brenda whispers ‘thanks, Tiff,’ to no one. I’m confused.
After Brandon returns from liberating the people (subplot), the Walsh’s reunite. I forgot to mention that on her DAY OFF Anna has come round to bring bloody dinner to their house, and they’re total assholes about it because it’s weeeeeird. Jim straight up complains about the finger sandwiches served at the club’s tennis crap, and suggest they try Anna’s ‘Mystery Meat.’ If you’re starting to hate Jim now, I’ve saved us a table, can you get the next round in? The Walshes (minus Brandon, who ate twice) dig into their servant’s beautifully cooked dinner for another iconic scene from the intro.
After a terriuble ‘pounding the pavement’ montage inexplicably set to 1950’s music, rejection after rejection, Brandon lands a job at some place that’s known for their CUMIN, FFS. Like, everyone at school knows it’s a super chic place, and Dylan hangs there sometimes or whatever. The owner is a bit like Suzie off Curb Your Enthusiasm, but skankier. Brandon realises that he’s in the “third world” workforce because he’s the only white one in the kitchen – this is extra-super cringe because of the whole Cindy storyline as well, and the one Asian guy who’s totally from the Valley is like ‘sigh – you get minimum wage?’ Brandon blatantly tries (and fails) to do a Dylan squint when he’s thinking about what it all means.
Dylan shows up to Brandon’s work wearing Kriss Kross overalls to take the piss, and when called out for fraternizing with the patrons, BRANDON SAYS HE’S AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR THE WEST BEVERLY STUDENT NEWSPAPER AND ‘A LOT OF PARENTS READ THAT PAPER!’ He demands that the kitchen staff are paid minimum wage in accordance with the law, and then effectively says ‘take this job and shove it,’ before sitting down in the restaurant and bitchily talking back to his former colleagues. So effectively, he’s done nothing. So there, bitch boss-lady!
Dylan, the lesser Viscount of cool takes Brandon somewhere ‘real,’which is obviously the Peach Pit, and history is made. Nat offers Minnesota a job (you know this was true love forever Dylan who set the wheels in motion but would never say) and Brandon falls all over himseld (those car insurance payments don’t make themselves) asking when he can start, and Nat totally improbably replies “how about RIGHT NOW?”
- The English teacher refers to Beverly Hills as the “Golden Ghetto,” after Tiffany says that homeless people should all eat cake, because she so Marie Antoinette.
- Prior to the initial shoplifting scene, Tiff is reading aloud from Seventeen and one of the questions is about INVERTED NIPPLE TROUBLE
- “Only Catherine the Great would pick a horse over shopping” – Tiffany Morgan
- “I once took a can opener from JC Penny,” a defence of shoplifting from Jim. Wtf even – it makes me think he’s shifty AF, because you don’t steal a can opener when you’re cool and 16 and shopliting, so it’s like there’s more to that story.