The Agony And The Egg-stasy: Revisiting "U4EA," The First Full-Length "Drugs Are Bad" Episode Of Beverly Hills 90210

My friend and I sometimes joke about how the writers of Beverly Hills 90210 must have sat in meetings and spun a wheel to see what they would write about each week. The wheel had three storylines to choose from. The first option was for one of the gang to help someone. This person was usually never seen again, such as Brandon and Brenda's cousin Bobby, Brandon's "little brother" Felix, Kelly's friend Amanda, the guy that David helped come out to his parents, I could go on. The second option was a love triangle: Brenda, Kelly, Dylan; Brandon, Kelly, Dylan; David, Gina, Dylan; David, Sophie, Steve; etc, etc. The third option was to introduce one of the characters to drugs and, inevitably, give them a drug problem: David, Kelly, Donna, and Dylan.

This all happened over the space of 10 years, but here, my friends, is a recap of the very first "drugs are bad" episode of Beverly Hills 90210, unless you count the time when Cindy walked in on Jackie snorting coke in the bathroom at the mother-daughter fashion show in season 1. That's right, folks, it's season 2's "U4EA" – that's Bevery Hills 90210's fictional street name for ecstasy.

So how does the gang wind up at a rave and how does one of their own get their brain fried (we'll explain that expression later) on drugs? Da-na-na-na, da-na-na-na!

The episode opens with Brandon and Emily making some sexual innuendo about liking the idea of Brandon's books in her locker before she invites Kelly, Brenda, and Donna to an "incredibly hip underground club" that you need to exchange an egg to get into. The whole gang's invited--even David and Andrea, who agrees so she can write an article about it for the Blaze. I wouldn't count on getting a coherent interview with anyone there, Andrea.

Steve's all over it, of course, and offers to take Andrea as his date. Um, can we talk for a sec about Steve and Andrea's relationship? I'm convinced that Ian Ziering and Gabrielle Cateris conspired to drop onscreen hints implying that their characters were getting it on in secret. I can sometimes detect glances between them and I remember one time when Andrea sat on his lap. If I ever get to interview one of them, that's the first thing I'd ask.

Anyway, Jim and Cindy are oblivious to the fact that Brandon and Brenda are going to a rave and give them a curfew of 1:30 AM. Something tells me one of them won't make it. They meet the gang at the Peach Pit and Brenda expresses to Brandon her concern that they're only there because Emily said so. "You don't like her, do you?” Brandon asks. Um, if Brenda's "have a good time at the gynecologist" comment from a previous episode is anything to go by, not to mention her general demeanor, then, no, no she doesn't. In fact, Christine Elise, who played Emily Valentine, says in the season 2 DVD box set doc that she was "stiff-armed" by Shannen Doherty in real life. I sometimes think that while the writers tried to make Brenda pure, wholesome, and good--see the very early episodes--her not-so-pleasant real life persona (if you believed the gossip) shone through to make Brenda, well, not so pure, wholesome, and good.

But I digress! There're some outfits to talk about! Brenda is rocking double denim and a black vest top; Kelly is wearing a little black lace dress that you could probably buy today at Topshop; Emily is baring some midriff in a crop top, jeans, and a black leather jacket; David is honoring his love for oversized clothes with an enormous black jacket; and our fashion queen Donna is wearing black short shorts (of course), a body suit with a wide scoop neckline, and a belt with a big silver buckle, a 90210 fashion staple. Writing this fashion rundown has made me realize that they are all black and denim coordinated. It's truly a thing of early '90s beauty.

But where are Steve and Andrea? The gang thinks they must be stuck in traffic. Sure, I bet they are, wink, wink. When they eventually do arrive, the conversation they're having explains that they were held up because of Andrea's grandmother's stories. They must have been incredibly long because in the meantime, the rest of the gang have been to the convenience store to exchange an egg, David's well on his way to getting drunk on the whiskey he bought from the dodgy store clerk, and they've arrived at the club. Kelly wastes no time being judgmental of David. Seriously Kelly, you snuck out to an underground club, what did you expect people to be doing there? Donna rightly points out that "not everyone who has a drink or two is an alcoholic." No, but it can stop you from graduating. Boom!

Brandon stresses for about the fifty millionth time in the course of the series that he doesn't dance, so I guess he's come to a club to just sit there totally sober. He points out another guy not dancing, a huge guy with long hair in a half up-half down style and a big 4 on his shirt. Emily explains that he deals U4EA. Subtle. Kelly, meanwhile, is complaining about being single. Between this and Steve offering to be Andrea's date, you'd think this was the Spring Dance, not a rave. Brenda points out a guy wearing a fishnet shirt and says, "What about him? Pretty buff." Kelly rightly points out that you can see his nipples and, besides, she's digging the drug dealer. It must be that half up-half down hairstyle. Ah, the early '90s.

Did I manage to get his nipples into the screenshot? Yes? Good.
Meanwhile, Andrea and Steve are trying to find the convenience store, going by directions on a coffee-stained napkin. Again, the early '90s, the days before Google maps and even cell phones. I always like episodes of shows where the plot wouldn't work now because of the invention of cell phones. If they had been around earlier, we wouldn't have been blessed with this b-storyline of Steve and Andrea's, or the episode of Seinfeld where they can't find each other at the movies. Anyway, Andrea and Steve go into what we know is the wrong convenience store and what follows, Steve holding the egg out to the matronly woman behind the counter and asking repeatedly and suggestively to exchange it, is one of the most memorable scenes of 90210 ever, up there with Emily preparing to set fire to the parade float (sorry for that spoiler, but yeah, she does that) and Kelly and Brenda wearing the same dress to the Spring Dance, but maybe not as high as the Donna Martin Graduates rally. Seriously though, Ian and Gabrielle have a great chemistry together. It's no wonder they played up to it in the background throughout the series.

Back at the club, Emily tries to convince Brandon to take U4EA with her but he goes all typical Brandon Walsh on her and says no to drugs. She takes no to mean yes and spikes his soda. By the time Brandon finds out, it's almost impossible for him to get mad because he's already high. Besides, he's more concerned with what the bumps on the tip of his tongue are called.

David is getting more smashed and the gang is getting even more judgmental, including Dylan "Mr Holier Than Thou Ex-Alcoholic" McKay, never mind that it wasn't so long ago he was necking bottles he stole from the honeymoon couple at the camping lodge (note: more people the gang helps and who we never see or hear from again). Seriously guys, cut David some slack. He's just seen his best friend Scott shoot and kill himself, he's at a rave with access to alcohol... how about he lets loose for a night, huh? Brandon sure is; he's actually dancing. It's around this point that he discovers this isn't the first time Emily's had U4EA and he looks at her like she's just covered up a murder.

Brenda starts to stress the fact that they need to go home, so it must be like, 1 AM? It's hard to believe that Steve and Andrea are still looking for the convenience store. Also, you'd think that Andrea would have a strict curfew too, right? Why do I even care about this? Anyway, after Andrea admits to Steve that she has something in common with Brenda--that she doesn't like Emily Valentine--Steve gives her some good advice on how to get Brandon's attention, to "stop apologizing for who you are and get in the game." The more I revisit these old episodes, the more I like Steve. In fact, Ian Ziering's not looking bad at all these days; age seems to suits him, like a fine wine. Isn't he stripping for the Chippendales or something like that? I wonder what he'd look like in a fishnet shirt... What's wrong with me?

Brenda, Kelly, and Dylan eventually find Brandon making out with Emily on the hood of his car. Why is Dylan holding David's hair back when he's vomiting? That hair is gelled so high that it ain't moving. Dylan, just leave the guy to throw up behind a dumpster in peace. You don't have to be so hands-on in your role as Mr Responsibility. In case you couldn't tell, I have a a bit of a problem with Dylan in this episode.

Dylan asks Brandon if he's on something and Brandon replies with the zinger, "You're the expert." Dylan is offended, telling him to "Shut up, man." What? He is the expert, isn't he? Dylan then gives the first "drugs are bad" speech of the episode, telling Brenda that he'll wake up tomorrow feeling like hell and seeing what an ass he made of himself. If that's not trying to act like an expert about drugs, I don't know what is. However, I'm distracted by Brandon, shirt open, rising to stand on the hood of his car. It's pretty hilarious and totally detracts from the serious point Dylan is trying to make.

Andrea and Steve finally arrive and it must be about 2 AM by now. Seriously, Andrea, you have no curfew? Andrea is disgusted when she sees Brandon, but she can't give her drugs are bad speech yet because there's no time, the cops have shown up and they have to leave.

It's 6 AM by the time Brandon gets home. What? Where has he been between leaving the club and getting back to the Walsh house? The time frames are really off in this episode. Brenda has been waiting up for him and says a very un-sisterly, "Mom and Dad trusted us and you totally violated that." Really, Brenda? That's rich coming from the "evil" twin. In another example of this episode totally getting time frames wrong, Brandon says he has to be at work in an hour. This is what happens within that hour:

Brandon has time to change into a new t-shirt before Dylan takes him back to the scene of the crime, where they find out his car has been graffittied and stripped for parts. Brandon admits that he won't be able to lie his way out of this one, so he goes home and tells his parents about his drink being spiked at the club, but chooses to protect Emily. Speak of the devil (which she may as well be now, as far as Brenda is concerned), Emily comes to the house. Hey, it's like, 6: 30 AM. Go to bed Emily. Surely you're coming down or something? Brenda answers the door with a face that could kill. Seriously Emily, go home. Do you really want to be on the receiving end of Brenda's wrath right now?

However, it's Brandon's anger she has to deal with. He tells her that the trust is gone and she reminds him that last night he had told her he'd never had such intense feelings for anyone in his life. Brandon poignantly replies, "I must have been on drugs." Burn! All this, my friends, supposedly happens within one hour of Brandon getting home from the club. He's not even dressed in his Peach Pit uniform yet.

The episode ends with Andrea visiting Brandon at work, where she finally gets to deliver her drugs are bad speech. She's got a prop, too: cracking an egg in a frying pan to show him what his brain looks like on drugs. What's with all the eggs in this episode, anyway?

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