Happy 90210 Day
Where the Jews go to school
Today is National 90210 Day (check your calendar), which is only an official holiday for those of who grew up watching Beverly Hills, 90210 and thinking it was an accurate representation of life on the West Coast. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2004 after college, I learned that Beverly Hills High, which the original hit Fox show was based on, was actually populated by Persian Jews, not WASPs from Minneapolis à la Brenda (Shannon Doherty) and Brandon (Jason Priestly).
Though the rebooted version of the series, which airs on the CW, does include an Iranian character, Navid Shirazi (pictured!), back in the old days the Tribe was represented solely by Andrea Zuckerman, who, naturally, was smart, nerdy, and had curly hair and glasses. She was the editor of the school newspaper and came from “wrong” (read: Lower-middle-class) side of the tracks, and was played by the Jewish actress Gabrielle Carteris, who though tasked with playing a high school sophomore was actually old enough to lie about her age on JDate (had it existed).
Also Jewish in real life but less obviously so on the show were Ian Ziering, who played the superficial ladies’ man Steve Sanders, and, of course, Tori Spelling, who played the virginal Donna Martin. Spelling earned the role based on talent alone; it had nothing to do with her father, the show’s producer, Aaron Spelling.