In the 1990’s, I was a fan of the show Beverly Hills 90210. I watched it in college and during most of the decade. So, when a new 90210 came this season to the CW, I watched some of it as it had some of the old characters come back like Brenda and Kelly. The premise for this new show is about a family from Kansas who come to Beverly Hills to move in with their mother/grandmother who is an actress and getting older needing help from her son and his family. They have a adopted son and daughter who attend West Beverly High. This is the alma mater of the group who attended back in the 1990’s. I have only watched this show in spurts. However, from an anti-bullying perspective, I have to recommend this show as it is a good one.
There are four main female characters who I would say are friends but have had their share of problems. Two of them use to be best friends (Naomi and Silver), one is a child actress supporting her mother (Adriana) and the other is the one from Kansas (Annie). Naomi and Adriana are BFF’s while Annie and Silver (Erin Silver from the original 90210) have grown close. Naomi told everyone about Silvers parents divorcing in middle school which left Silver bitter. Adriana was sent to rehab for a drug problem and is now pregnant. Annie and Naomi have fought over a boy named Ethan who was Naomi’s boyfriend and is now Annie’s. There is a good chance that Silver will be diagnosed as bi-polar this season and she keeps a blog where she expressed her anger but she has stopped posting so much and channeled her energy into her boyfriend Dylan. Despite this drama, there is not any relational aggression going on in this. At first, I figured Naomi would be the mean girl but not only did she apologize to Silver for doing what she did but the girls are learning to get along. When Adriana was in rehab and became pregnant, Naomi turned out to be a loyal and supporting friend to her despite her strong personality and that she did get mad at Adriana while she was in rehab. Naomi did ruin Annie’s 16th birthday party because Annie stole Ethan from her. However, neither girl has allowed their angers towards one another out of control. As a matter of fact, the feud stayed between them alone. Naomi can be nasty but I have found that she reacts only when she has been offended. She shows her anger and moves on and does not dwell on the issue at hand. Also, Annie and Ethan were talking to a girl from their school who talked about have a devastating experience at the hands of mean girls at a former school and you could see the pain in her face. Instead of making it worse, Annie and Ethan both expressed compassion towards her, not rejection. Even though events occurred. The most important thing is that there are no queen bees emerging nor are there power trips and feeding into anyone one persons relationally aggressive behavior.
I will come out and say it. Despite Naomi’s strong will, need to be cool, the fact that she is spoiled and tends to seek revenge when offended, at the end of the day, she is not a bully and here is why. When two girls fight and hurt one another, this is not a situation of bullying. Even though Naomi hurt Silver with her words and Silver retaliated in her blog posts, Naomi took her responsibility in what happened and made things right between them. Even though Naomi and Annie fought over Ethan, this did not filter into other relationships or fester on involving bystanders. Bullies keep drama going and allow their power to get out of control while their targets do not retaliate. What has occurred on this show is typical adolescent drama. It is normal for girls to get angry over a boy. Both Annie and Naomi behaved badly towards one another. This is what happens when two people are in a fight. People are going to disagree and get angry. However, they keep it between each other and nobody is trying to overpower the other. Bullies also do not stand by their friends when they are in trouble unless it benefits them in some way. What does Adriana have that Naomi wants? Naomi comes from a much more affluent background. She lives in an upscale hotel unlike Adriana lives with her mother trying to help made ends meet each month. Maybe Naomi does not see Adriana as a threat but she has shown compassion and support to her and stood up for her. She does not seem to have any hidden agendas in this. I believe she honestly cares for Adriana. Bullies do not have this capacity within them.
Its important to understand these differences between strong personalities and outright bullies. People will probably say Naomi is nasty and yes, she can be. However, this is only when someone has angered her first. She is not targeting people to intentionally inflict pain for the heck of it. There is nothing wrong with being angry nor is there anything wrong with having a strong personality. Naomi is not perfect by any stretch and she has done some bad things. However, she took responsibility and right there that shows she is not a bully. Please, learn to distinguish between the two. Know that a fight is just that; a fight. Disagreement and anger between people is normal. What is not normal is when it festers, gets out of hand, people take sides, someone starts gaining power and queen bees materialize. On 90210, there is not a queen bee and for this reason alone, this show is much better to watch than others out there. On the anti-bully scale, I give it a thumbs up.