The best disclaimer exec producer Darren Star issues about similarities between characters on Grosse Pointe and the cast of his break-out series Beverly Hills, 90210 comes in the pilot’s commentary track: ”James Eckhouse, the real father on 90210, was definitely not gay and did not have the hots for Jason Priestley.”
Of course, Star’s WB sitcom — about the dysfunctional cast of the fictional teen soap Grosse Pointe — was a barely veiled satire of 90210‘s off-camera agita. The extraordinary cast included Molloy as manipulative diva Hunter; Sloane as Marcy, a people pleaser paralyzed by insecurities; Kohl Sudduth as Quentin, a 30-year-old starring as a teen bad boy; and Al Santos as Johnny, the stoner playing the fake show’s moral compass.
The perception that GP was just a 90210 parody was its undoing; in fact, its 17 episodes offered an incisive send-up of Hollywood, from sweeps stunts (viewers vote to kill or save a comatose Marcy) to celeb rehab (Jason Priestley cameos as himself in Quentin’s Sex Obsessives Anonymous meeting). The real cast inspired several stories too: In a candid commentary, coexec producer Robin Schiff admits to making the buff Santos spend an episode shirtless…just because. Sharper than Entourage and ahead of its time, GP merits a second look. No love of 90210 required.