Wednesday, March 6, 2019

RIP Luke Perry

I really wanted to write something about the passing of Luke Perry, but I didn't have time yesterday. I also just was obsessed with any news about it. I tried to listen to Howard Stern's tribute to him but B was hogging the Sirius. I kept getting knocked off because he was listening at work and I was trying to listen at home. I'll have to catch it sometime this week. They actually replayed an episode when Luke came into Howard's studio in the 90's and I caught that in the car yesterday afternoon.

It's not like I knew the guy, but I saw this meme on social media:

And we're not okay. Even my high school boyfriend wrote me a message on Facebook just because I think we were all in shock and Luke Perry was part of a phenomenon I don't think we've seen since.  I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a tv show that was so insta-big, that widespread, that impactful, since. I don't know anyone my age that hears that opening and doesn't do the fist punch. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm sure there are many people who have written why we're all so devastated by this loss like we knew the guy but here's my view. 

Luke Perry was older than me by eight years. But to me, he will always be Dylan McKay and we were juniors and seniors in high school at the same time. I think they technically graduated in 1993 but I think they left them back a year since no one watched the first season when it was on. I think they did junior year twice. 

All I know is that we all went through the end of high school together. I remember being a senior and watching it in my boyfriend's college dorm room. I think that was the episode that Scott killed himself by accident with his father's gun. I remember putting posters up of Dylan and Brandon in my room at my parent's house and then in my freshman year college dorm room. If I look, I bet I can find a photo from freshman year with those in the background up next to the mirror on the door. 

It was also on for TEN years!! And most of us in this age group probably hung on until the end. So we all went through Donna Martin Graduates! to California University and the Condor, to first jobs and careers, and of course romances and bromances. 

Of course there are times it felt silly and contrived. I'm sure people have different ideas of when it may have Jumped the Shark (Luke Perry actually cited to Stern that it was when Suzanne and her husband tried to steal his money as his JTS moment), but it was a constant and we were all invested in Team Brenda or Team Kelly. 

As I'm sitting here writing this, I haven't seen old episodes since SoapNet went off the air in December 2013 (I'm still upset about that), but I can still list probably fifty episodes or at least fifty scenarios that happened to the gang over the years. I'm picturing Dylan and Brenda going to Baha and getting stopped at customs on the way back. Donna being stalked. Kelly being sexually harassed by her boss. Emily Valentine giving Brandon drugs. Brenda pretending to be French. David on drugs. Andrea having an affair on Jessie. Dylan's wife getting shot by her own father. Noah, Claire, Tracy. On and on and on. 

Every time I enter a bodega in the city, I still resist the urge to ask the guy behind the counter for an egg.

I think we're all in such mourning, besides how young he was (52), is also because he seems to have been a genuinely great man. We live in a world with a twenty-four hour news cycle and celebrities who die with regularity. But if I had to guess, more often than not, when a musician or celebrity has died in recent years, it's been from a drug overdose or something with some negative connotation to it. It's not usually a freak thing from something as simple as a stroke. There is no negativity surrounding this death, besides that he died. He didn't have a secret life, found in a hotel room with hookers and blow. He didn't shove methamphetamine up his butt. He didn't commit suicide. No one having public opinions on poor life decisions leading to death. He just died, out of the blue, and it rocked our world. 

We grew up together. It's like finding out your unrequited high school crush that you had on a pedestal all these years, died tragically, out of the blue.

Because of social media and people's need to put every thought in their head out there, usually, you see negative things written by some people about the recently deceased actor/celebrity/musician. Not Luke Perry. The outpouring of love and support and amazing things written about him is staggering. It also seems like he knew EVERYONE. He touched SO many lives in a positive way. Watching Kelly Ripa break down on her show was gut wrenching. Seeing so many people mourn him in a positive way, if that makes sense, just made it all even harder to take.

Dylan McKay was a huge part of my life. I didn't see him on OZ and I don't watch Riverdale. Luke Perry will always be Dylan McKay to me. Hearing the original characters were coming back for some sort of reboot was the best news I'd heard in all of reboot news history.  I posted "OMFG" with the announcement on my Facebook page. And funny enough, my post tagged Gabrielle Carteris (Andrea) and all my friends just wanted to know how I know her. For the record- I don't know how we're Facebook friends but I'm keeping her!! My Facebook friends went crazy because our nostalgia button was hit hard, in a great way, with that news. Only to be punched in the gut within hours.

The original Beverly Hills 90210 brings us back to a time we'll never have again. The internet, streaming, and devices has changed the way we watch television forever, and not necessarily in a positive way. I know a freshman in college who was having a hard time making friends in college. I said can't you just leave your door open and your tv on- Invite people in to watch The Bachelor or something. She looked at me like I had ten heads because- she doesn't even HAVE A TV. They don't watch tv in a communal way like we all did. 

I remember having a thirteen inch tv with a rabbit ear antenna in my dorm room. People on my dorm floor would just walk in to watch 90210 and Melrose Place. Now college students are all solitary, watching streaming shows, alone, on their iPad. We all watched together in my sorority house. There's nothing like that kind of community now. Even if they did get together, they'd all be on their phones anyway, only half paying attention and not discussing the show with each other. It was a simpler time where we all paid attention to the show we were watching because we had nothing else to do. Nothing else to divert our attention.

Losing Luke Perry as Dylan McKay means there's no possibility of a Dylan/Brenda reconnection or Dylan/Kelly if that's what team you were on. In our heads, especially hearing of the reboot, we all had that excitement that Luke would sign on or at least guest star. A piece of our childhood, our teen years is gone forever, way too soon.