Dr. 90210 Review

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by AVForums Nov 1, 2005 at 12:00 AM

    Reality TV series have an allure that is difficult to pin down; they should be rubbish, but for some reason the keep pulling you back in (save Big Brother which really is rubbish). Such is the popularity of reality TV programs that they have grown into many different arenas in an effort to attract as wide an audience as possible and keep them tuning in. X-Factor, Animal Hospital, Survivor and I'm a Celebrity... all have their target audiences but I am at a loss as to who Dr 90210 is aimed at.

    Dr 90210 follows the practices of four plastic surgeries, all in the Beverly Hills area. It would seem that each one has their specialties, with Dr. Kotler concentrating on the face area only and Dr. Matlock performing a Hamenoplasty - but more on that later. Mostly, however, we are focussed on the remarkably self centred Dr. Rey and his family. This is clearly because not only is he the most photogenic of all the plastic surgeons, but his wife is even more so. We are slowly invited into the Rey household and become aware of some of the family strains and stresses involved with a doctor working seven am to eleven pm and -

    Hold on! Isn't this about plastic surgery? Aren't we supposed to see fifty year old models get their lips filled with stuff so that they look like something out of Creature Comforts?? Well, yes and no. Thing is, there is only so much plastic surgery you can watch before two things happen: 1) You violently vomit into a nearby ashtray and never watch the series again, or 2) You get bored and turn over to see if some uniquely talentless Moroccan guy will finally get voted off X-Factor. There has to be something else, something more than the surgeries which start out interesting (and fantastically medieval) but will quickly descend into mediocrity.

    The solution in Dr 90210 is to add that personal touch. We get to see the doctor's families, their thoughts on plastic surgery from a moral point of view, even ethically ambiguous procedures that make, what is often considered a shallow area of medical study, seem more important. Going back to a reference above, where Dr. Matlock performs a Hamenoplasty on someone is a case in hand. The reason that the operation was performed was to keep her honour and integrity intact. Tradition in her homeland states that if she has had sex prior to marriage (which she had) then she could be stoned to death. In this case plastic surgery has more than a cosmetic appeal and the restructured hymen will allow the woman to live her life again. Another example would be where someone asked for her breasts to be fixed after four failed operations. Apparently born with one breast a considerable amount smaller than the other, the women went to an ex dentist to have the problem re-balanced. The results were horrific (though one may ask why she went to an ex dentist once never mind four times) and the relief in her face was palpable post operation.

    I suppose that a mention should go to the actual surgeries on this program. I am a hardened horror fan and it takes a fair bit to get me to wince at onscreen action. It's just that some of the operations use tools that you could get at your local B&Q, rather than some high tech silver piece of sharpness. Like when a doctor has removed someone's septum, casually explaining that “this is a file just like those in your shed, but they call this a medical instrument and charge $500 for it!”, whilst vigorously filing away at bits of someone's nose that should never see the light of day, never mind a file - that got me squirming! DIY surgery indeed!

    So back to the original question - who is Dr 90210 aimed at? Well, what this isn't aimed at is for those that want wall to wall bloody surgical procedures - that is not what this is about. No, this is a series about the exaggerated, often unreal lives of those that live in the world of plastic surgery. Therefore, if the thought of watching a plastic surgeons wife spend four thousand dollars on five bits of baby stuff that would be hard pushed to fill the passenger seat of a Civic sounds like fun to you, then this is for you. Similarly, if want to see how plastic surgery can genuinely improve the quality of life for someone, then this is also for you. I don't think that those saying “yes” to the above are from a particular demographic, so you are just going to have to take it on faith that this series has more to it than the name suggests.

    The Rundown

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