Warning: SPOILERS for the That ‘90s Show episode “The Birthday Girl” are ahead!
As was the case with the 1970s when That ‘70s Show was airing, Netflix’s That ‘90s Show throws in a lot of pop culture references from the titular decade, from Eric Foreman drinking a Zima in the first episode to his daughter Leia attempting to rent Clerks in the following episode. That ‘90s Show’s sixth episode, a.k.a. “The Birthday Girl,” has a particularly big ‘90s homage, as it sees Leia, played by Callie Haverda, diving deep into her Beverly Hills, 90210 fandom. Even better, one of the stars from the popular teen drama shows up, with Brian Austin Green reprising David Silver.
That ‘90s Show, which has earned mixed reviews so far, takes place in the summer of 1995, meaning Beverly Hills, 90210 was halfway through its 10-season run. At the beginning of “The Birthday Girl,” Leia has been marathoning 90210 episodes to help her get over seeing Jay Kelso going out with Serena, as Leia had told Jay she only wanted to be friends with him, but that was part of her poorly-thought-out ploy to secure him as her boyfriend. Later on, Leia compares herself to Shannen Doherty’s Brenda Walsh, who “obsesses over the guy, but never goes for the guy,” but she’d rather be like Donna Martin’s Tori Spelling, the “popular blonde with the rich girl attitude” who “always gets the guy” (although Spelling was unfortunately bullied over her looks in real life).
The Netflix (opens in new tab) original proceeds to homage Beverly Hills, 90210 through the lens of Point Place, 53140, where Leia first envisions herself in the Brenda-like role trying to ask Jay out at school and failing, and then in the Kelly-like role (complete with blonde hair), where she straight up takes Jay away from Serena. That ‘90s Show also amusingly did its own take on the 90210 opening credits (which you can watch below), and at the end of these two scenarios, Brian Austin Green’s David Silver, who is clearly way older than everyone else in the scenes, asks if they’ll go to the “fresh” party he’s DJ’ing that night, only for him to be shot down, which he thinks is because he’s a freshman. Then in a third scenario, David hypes up Ozzie, one of Leia’s friends, as a breakdancer, and the kid proceeds to show off his moves in front of the other students.
But the Beverly Hills, 90210 fun doesn’t stop there in That ‘90s Show. During Leia’s birthday party, while she’s crestfallen that Jay didn’t show up, she imagines herself talking with the definitely-a-freshman David, who compares her plight to how no one showed up at the Peach Pit to watch him DJ, not even Donna Martin. When Leia then asks what Donna was like “between scenes,” David questions “What do you mean ‘scenes’?” Initially puzzled by his lack of awareness at truly being Brian Austin Green, the teen girl drops the conversation and ends her imaginary conversation by high-fiving David and telling him he was always her favorite.
If you watched Beverly Hills, 90210 during its original run or caught the show afterwards, then hopefully you’ll get a kick out the homage to it in That ‘90s Show. Brian Austin Green was one of the 90210 cast members who stuck around for the entire run, and he reprised David Silver for three episodes of the spinoff Melrose Place. Green, who used to be married to Megan Fox, has more recently played roles on Anger Management, Magnum P.I. and The Conners, and he’s also taken part on reality shows like The Masked Singer, The Masked Dancer, Dancing with the Stars and I Can See Your Voice.
Netflix subscribers can view all 10 episodes of That ’90s Show now, and if/when it’s announced that Season 2 of the That ‘70s Show spinoff/continuation has been ordered, we’ll let you know. Our 2023 Netflix TV schedule is available to peruse if you’re curious about what programming the streaming service has coming next.