There’s a new face in the 90210—but sadly this Emily’s last name isn’t Valentine.
For those unfamiliar with the original incarnation of Beverly Hills, 90210 (shame on you), Emily Valentine was the charismatic nutcase who infiltrated everyone’s lives in Season 2 and developed a terrifying crush on Brandon. She also liked to burn things. 90210’s new Emily seems a bit more balanced, at least initially, but she already has the makings of a villain.
This Emily is Annie and Dixon’s cousin. She’s played by Abbie Blonde, who freakishly enough looks exactly like Original Recipe 90210's Jennie Garth. (You might remember her from the new series as Kelly, Silver’s older sister who vanished when the creators decided they were done with the old characters.) Emily is cute and bubbly and completely insufferable, which is the point—I hope. If we’re actually supposed to like this character, the writers and the actor need to hash things out a bit. A Kansas transplant, Emily is excited to dive into the sexy, celebrity-laden world of Beverly Hills.
I’m worried. I watch 90210 for the crazy, so don’t think I’m against the idea of a newcomer stirring things up. But there’s something that smacks of desperation here: the sudden introduction of a never-before-mentioned family member into the main character’s life is classic “Jumping the Shark” territory. And relax—I’m not saying 90210 has made that leap. (Frankly, it kind of did back and Season 1, and look how well it recovered.) But why Emily? Why now?
Season 3 is already overstuffed, thanks to the introduction of obnoxious side characters like Oscar (Blair Redford) and Charlie (Evan Ross). Oscar served his purpose, mucking things up between Ivy and Dixon—not to mention Ivy and her mom. And Charlie continues to put a kink in the Annie/Liam romance we’ve been craving for, like, ever. At this point, enough is enough. We’ve spent too much time on peripheral storylines that just aren’t that interesting. There’s plenty of drama among the series regulars: It’s time for 90210 to stop throwing new faces at us and seeing what sticks.
Because it's not like there wasn’t enough entertainment in Monday night’s episode. I still enjoy Teddy’s budding relationship with Ian, even though—spoiler alert—Kyle Riabko has already announced his intentions to skip out on the series. And how cathartic was Naomi’s final confrontation with her rapist? The Naomi-Silver-Cannon showdown should have been the focal point—it could have more than carried the episode. I care more about the characters I’ve followed from the get-go than the contrived interlopers. Ooh, Emily has a crush on Liam. Honey, everyone has a crush on Liam. He’s Liam. Have you seen him shirtless?
Whatever. I’ll ride this out, especially because 90210 has offered an ample amount of pleasant surprises in the past. And hey, if they can turn Emily into a fully-fleshed, worthwhile addition to the regular cast, I’m all for it. That’s how we got Liam, Teddy, and Ivy, and I’m not ready to part with them anytime soon.
Side note: If the writers decided to send Adrianna back to rehab for the rest of the season, I’d be pretty OK with that. Just saying.
What are your first impressions of Emily? Does she worry you as much as she worries me?
Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom