Season 3 Episode 10. I loved this episode so much, I used it to open chapter four of my book about the 07-08 Indiana Hoosiers. This episode has it all. Kelly’s dad standing her up. Black people used to show how they’re not all bad. Brandon and the gang curing one of society’s ills. Black guys and white girls line dancing together. Brandon, smug in his righteousness. And best of all, David. Silver. Rapping. This is episode where David performs “Switch it Up” Oh, the joy of this episode. Here’s how this gem of American film making made it’s way into a book about college basketball.
On a warm, fall, California Friday night in 1992 gunshots rang out in the closing moments of a high school football game. Two students were killed by a rival set from the opposing school. The game took place at Shaw High School, who boasted an undefeated powerhouse of a football team.
An intrepid sports reporter from another high school, a high school from Beverly Hills, with particular interest in the Shaw game, heard the report of the shootings while listening for that week’s scores. He wouldn’t have given much thought to the news of more gang violence in South Central L.A., after all this was mere months after the Rodney King verdict and he’d heard Straight Outta Compton, had Shaw not been his similarly-undefeated high school team’s next opponent. Even then he didn’t think too much of it, until the coaches and school administrators from both schools met in private on Saturday to discuss whether the much anticipated match was going to happen at all. He knew that if you could get school personnel to do anything on a Saturday it must be serious. School administrators from Beverly Hills are not very comfortable with road games to South Central under ideal circumstances, much less the week following football related gang violence.
The game was cancelled, and the dance that was scheduled to follow it was also in jeopardy. Our reporter plus his racially diverse counterpart from Shaw, struck up an uneasy, racially awkward friendship and began working together to not only cover the story and find a way to get the game played (because these things so often hinge on the efforts of the school newspaper staff) but also to end racial tensions.
The Beverly Hills reporter suggested playing the game in Beverly Hills, but the rich white people were scared of the gangs driving up to their neighborhood, so that idea was out. He then suggested a neutral site, but the Shaw reporter told his lily-white counterpart that if the game was played anywhere but Shaw, they might as well hand the neighborhood over to the gangs. White people can be so ignorant sometimes.
Coming to the realization that they had no actual power to make the schools play the game, they decided to really shake things up. They decided to each publish an editorial in the other’s school paper. DAMN!!!! In your face racist establishment!!!
But the Beverly Hills reporter couldn’t let it rest at this incredibly brave and substantive act. He used his column to invite the kids from Shaw to the dance at his High School.
His sister, who was in charge of the dance committee, his best friend, who was repping the musical act at the dance, the musical act and his girlfriend, who were also both friends of the reporter, were all super pissed at the reporter. His sister thought he did this just to ruin her life. She just had no idea of what was at stake here.
On the night of the dance a number of kids from Shaw (black kids, *gasp*) decided to accept his invitation. But they had been drinking *double gasp*. Upset that his grand gesture to heal race relations in California looked to be falling apart and landing on the ground in big drunken pieces, the reporter from Shaw says, “I just didn’t see this coming.”
“No one could have, man,” replied the Ernie Pyle of California High School Sports.
His sister, anger renewed, replies, “Are you out of your mind, Brandon? Anyone could have.”
It turns out that the one thing kids of different races mistrust more than each other is authority. And the one thing they like more than a clash of undefeated football powerhouses is line dancing to a white rapper.
The reporter from Shaw, upon seeing the sudden racial harmony and awkward dancing looks at our hero and says, “No one could have predicted this.”
Brandon, smug once again in his victory over racism and gang violence as well as the ignorance of school authority, says, “Jordan, my man, anyone could have predicted this.”
There was a lot about our next two games in Chicago that anyone could have predicted.
I hope you enjoyed 90210 day as much as I did. It was tremendous fun for me to relive (I didn’t get a chance to rewatch any of them today, this was all from memory) all of these fantastic episodes. I could have chosen to do a lot of things to do to honor today. I chose me