By the time the repressed vibe of the Reagan and Bush eras had concluded in the United States, the 90s saw a resurgence in sexual rebellion. Granted, the decade seemed more focused on an apathetic, asexual revolt more than anything else, however there were certain signs of the times in the form of Madonna’s Sex book, Kate Moss and Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” video. The sexual vibe on Beverly Hills, 90210, thus, had to be reined in. Enter Tori Spelling’s character, Donna Martin.
Donna’s virginal nature throughout the early seasons of the series is in contrast to the more seductive images of fellow main characters Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) and Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty). Her high school boyfriend, David Silver (Brian Austin Green), is initially respectful of her desire for abstinence, until, of course, he cheats on her. What this says about the benefits of being chaste is somewhat nebulous.
Tellingly, the show aired for the exact span of the 90s’ ten years. While Donna becoming a sexual being was part of what tainted Beverly Hills, 90210, it was perhaps Christina Aguilera’s cameo that signaled the ultimate demise.