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‘90210’ Panelists Tackle Tough Topics at PaleyFest

April 14, 2009 3:38 PM

Cast members and executive producer Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair from The CW series “90210” took part in an intimate panel discussion Saturday night as part of this year’s PaleyFest. The event, held in the real-life 90210 at the Paley Center for Media, was light on the cast banter, but not the topics.

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IN THE '90210' Rob Estes, left, and executive producer Rebecca Rand Kirshner Sinclair.

The night started with a brief clip from the original “Beverly Hills, 90210,” selected by the Paley Center for Media to go along with the event. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno”), a huge fan of both the original and its current incarnation, served as moderator for the panel.

After the screening of an upcoming episode, “Between a Sign and Hard Place,” scheduled to air April 21, the discussion included bipolarism and teenage pregnancy, two major storylines currently on the series.

Ms. Kirshner Sinclair explained that tackling the issue of bipolarism felt “timely,” noting that in her opinion it seems more young people are facing mental health issues.

“Bipolar kids are almost, like, the epitome of teenage kids,” Ms. Kirshner Sinclair said of today’s youth. “I think all teenage kids are kind of bipolar—you have great highs and great lows. … It’s sort of identifiable, and yet I don’t want those kids to feel embarrassed.”

In “Between a Sign and Hard Place,” directed by one of the show’s stars, Rob Estes, Erin Silver (played by Jessica Stroup) deals with the public consequences of her mental breakdown as she faces returning to West Beverly High.

Ms. Stroup said it was “exciting” to take on the role. “I wanted a challenge,” she said, adding that bipolarism is something that affects people in her life.

Both Ms. Stroup and Ms. Kirshner Sinclair did research in order to prepare the story arc.

As for the show’s pregnant teen, Adrianna Tate-Duncan (played by Jessica Lowndes, who was not in attendance), Ms. Kirshner Sinclair noted that issue also has been prominently in the news, and the views surrounding the topic are very interesting compared with the way teen pregnancy was viewed 20 years ago.

“They both seem in the zeitgeist,” Ms. Kirshner Sinclair said.

However, Ms. Stroup also joked, “We just wanted to re-create ‘Juno.’” She pointed out that the original 1990s series also had a pregnant college student, Andrea Zuckerman.

Ms. Cody, although flattered by the reference, was quick to correct Ms. Stroup’s pronunciation.

“Ahn-drea,” Ms. Cody reminded everyone, spoken like a true fan indeed.

Also in attendance at the panel were “90210” cast members Estes, Shenae Grimes, Ryan Eggold and Matt Lanter.

—Sergio Ibarra

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