It feels like old times: The cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 is back together on TV, heralded each week by the grinding guitar that plays over a scene of them frolicking in front of a white background. And just like old times, Shannen Doherty is discussing on-set strife with her castmates.
Granted, the discussed strife dates back decades, during the initial 90210 run, the first four seasons of which Doherty starred on. There is, thus far, no indication that Doherty resumed beefing with her co-stars on the reboot BH90210, which began airing on Fox last week. Regarding the tension of old, Doherty recently told People:
“Somebody had a problem with me being late, but perhaps they didn’t know I was late because my dad was in the hospital, or maybe because I was in a horrible marriage. I didn’t share, or I wasn’t asked. I’m not saying it was all a misunderstanding, but a large portion of it was a misunderstanding.”
Aren’t all feuds basic misunderstandings, even when the misunderstanding is as simple as: “I’m way more powerful and willful than you are!”?
Doherty’s reputation on the set of the original 90210 is the stuff of legends. Her departure ahead of the show’s fifth season was rumored to be a firing, though in a 2000 Entertainment Weekly oral history, the show’s creator-producer Aaron Spelling said, “She thought it was time to go. And the cast did too.” Also in that piece, Doherty said:
“There are things that I would call bullshit, and [the lateness charge] is probably one of them. I was late maybe four times in four years. A bunch of times [other cast members] were extremely late. I don’t think that lateness had anything to do with it…. There were a lot of petty jealousies on that show, and I had never dealt with that before.”
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In a 1992 Rolling Stone article, Doherty admitted to on-set arguments, and offered this perspective on her reputation: “If you consider ‘difficult’ being a strong woman who sticks up for herself, yeah, I admit to it... I’m open to different ideas, but if you get on my bad side and don’t listen to me and you don’t treat me with as much respect as you treat a man, you’ve got a problem.”
I always thought Doherty got a bum rap—virtually all famous people are “difficult” to some degree; she just seemed more outspoken and honest than most. Also, I always highly suspected that her reputation for being a “bitch” came from the scene in Heathers in which Winona Ryder’s Veronica asks, “Why are you such a megabitch?” And Doherty’s Heather Duke chirps, “Because I can be.” She was just too good at delivering that line, which is to say that whatever Doherty was selling, I was buying and loving. I stopped watching 90210 when she left.
Relatedly, you should watch the clip below from a 2010 episode of The View, in which Sherri Shepherd asks Doherty the insane question, “So why didn’t you consider yourself a bitch?” Doherty has been talking about her supposed antics since they supposedly occurred. We’re nearing on three decades. Whether she is hard to work with is, as far as entertainment journalists are concerned, the eternal question.
I never believed that she was the only source of problems on the set, either. In 2015, Tori Spelling claimed to Us Weekly that Doherty and Jennie Garth got into a physical altercation:
“I remember… I could hear the door fly open and everyone screaming and crying,” Spelling recalled. “That’s when I was told the boys just had to break up Jennie and Shannen. It was like a fistfight.”
Doherty’s behavior got so bad that Spelling called her dad to get rid of the actress. “I felt like I was a part of something, a movement, that cost someone their livelihood,” a tearful Spelling shared. “Was she a horrible person? No. She was one of the best friends I ever had.”
But those days are long gone. Or something. Doherty recently said to People:
“I have felt misunderstood my whole life. The only difference is that now I’m okay with it. But there have been moments where we’ve been able to talk about things.”
“It’s always interesting to get back in with a group you have so much history with. We can see how we’ve grown, or not grown. It’s a very interesting dynamic to be around.”
This last one kills me. “We can see how we’ve grown, or not grown.” (Emphasis mine.) Interesting. Very interesting indeed.