90210's Open Relationship

Buzz, Love

Does the new 90210 include an open marriage? Or is it just cheating?

I finally watched the CW's new 90210 last night, and it was better than I thought it would be. I saw the fourth episode, "The Bubble" (you can watch the full first and second eps on the CW website).The relationships on the show are for the most part pretty predictable. There's a love quadrangle between four high schoolers who are dating each other's ex's. (Which begs the question: are friends ex-boyfriends off limits? And can you be friends with your ex?)

Then there are the old-schoolers, Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh. Kelly is teaching at West Beverly high and has a baby; check out the clip above to find out who the father is. Brenda Walsh is back in town too, but, at least in this episode, doesn’t have a romantic storyline.

The most interesting relationship in the show is between Tracy and Charlie Clark, the parents of requisite popular, spoiled rich girl, Naomi (AnnaLynn McCord). Towards the beginning of the episode Naomi confronts her mother after discovering that her father is sleeping with another woman. Her mother brushes off her daughter's concerns, saying, "it's only a fling," the mistress doesn't live in West Beverly and Naomi shouldn't get involved in her parent's business.

Tracy appears unfazed when her husband receives phone calls from his mistress and then leaves Tracy and Naomi to rendezvous with his paramour. Cheating is an integral plot component in these soapy dramas, so a wife-approved paramour is an unexpected, but welcome, twist.

Naomi doesn't handle the affair as well as her mother. She's convinced that there's something wrong with her parent's marriage, that they must not love each other, that her mom is crazy for being so nonchalant about her father's other lover.

But wait! Maybe Naomi is wrong: Her parents might have an open marriage; couples in non-monogamous relationships have all sorts of arrangements, and allowing each flings without emotional involvement is a fairly common set-up.

But alas, the show might be going conventional. Later in the episode Naomi goes to visit her dad's new dulcinea, Gail, and finds out that the fling is in love with the father. Naomi spots the address of her family's beach house at Gail's office and tells her mother that the liaison is more than a passing romance; Charlie is about to move his mistress into the Clark family's second home.

We don’t see the conversation between Naomi and her father's lover so it's unclear if she's right about her pop's actions, but the news is enough for Tracy, who appears devastated that her husband lied to her. If Tracy and Charlie did have a working open marriage Tracy a) wouldn't have believed her daughter because she'd know the status of her husban's relationship with the other woman or b) would already know that Gail was moving in to the family's beach house.

We'll have to wait until the next episode to find out how the Clark's relationship evolves, but we're hoping it turns into something interesting, and not another lying, cheating tired soap opera stereotype.