When Trevor Donovan, the actor who plays teen Teddy Montgomery on 90210, found out that his character was going to come out this season, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Soon, though, Donovan realized there was nothing to fear: “We were all on the same page about the timeline, and it not just being a flash in the pan storyline, but really showing a realistic arc of a kid coming to terms with who he is,” he told EW last week. “I have been so happy with the way that it has unfolded, the way they wrote it, and with the responses. It makes me feel proud.”
Teddy, of course, isn’t the only highly visible gay teen on TV this season. Such characters have become so prevalent recently that they were even the subject of an EW cover story this January. And as more gay teens appear onscreen, Donovan noted, more real-life adolescents are realizing that there shouldn’t be anything taboo about homosexuality. “I think that’s why the bullying does happen, and the teasing,” he said. “People bully and tease about things they don’t understand, that they’re scared of. So this is enlightening people and bringing it into the mainstream… I think it’s important to educate people, and I’m proud to be part of it.” He also revealed that Teddy will take another huge step toward accepting his sexuality in 90210‘s big prom episode, which airs May 9: “Teddy ends up taking Marco,” the sweet boy he starts dating for real in tonight’s show.
And, to make the occasion even more momentous, none of 90210‘s other characters bat an eyelash when they see the couple together — “It’s become a very acceptable thing. So it’s actually a very positive episode,” Donovan continued. (Additionally, the actor teased that West Beverly will have an extremely “interesting” and “visually stimulating” prom theme, though he wouldn’t spill any more details about it. Could there be more Avatar costumes in our future?)
It’s a good thing Donovan and Teddy feel so secure right now, since 90210‘s about to go through an enormous shakeup. Not only is graduation on the horizon, but at the end of the season, showrunner Rebecca Sinclair is also stepping down. “Because the whole crew’s going off, and we’re all finishing our high school careers, there’ll be changes everywhere,” said Donovan. Though that could be bad news for the series — remember how The O.C. imploded when its characters left high school? — Donovan is optimistic about his show’s chances. “I think there’s enough examples [of teen shows transitioning to college] out there where we can make a really fun show, going on into our quote, end quote ‘adulthood.’ Although we’ve all been in our adulthood for awhile now,” the 32-year-old noted with a chuckle. “But not on TV. So it’ll be good.” Nice to know that a change might do this rebooted soap good.