February 1, 2015
BH90210 8.28, Skin Deep: It’s Not Getting Hot in Here But Take Off All Your Clothes Anyway
Summary: Remember Muntz? He’s getting married! Brandon and Steve don’t understand why he would want to make a commitment to a woman he loves. They’re more excited about the idea of throwing him a bachelor party. Kelly confronts Brandon over a copy of Playpen she found, but he’s not apologetic. A sex shop called Guilty Pleasures is opening, and he considers the magazine research. He and Kelly disagree over whether the store should be able to open in Beverly Hills.
Donna and Noah have a catalog shoot for her line, and though most things are going well, there’s an assistant who’s too clumsy for Donna’s tastes. Donna snaps at her, and when she goes to apologize, we see (but Donna doesn’t) the girl, Monica, cutting herself in the bathroom. Steve and Brandon have a ton of ad offers now, but Steve’s been keeping Janet out of the office, running errands, so they don’t have to see each other after their awkward date. When Janet does come in, she suggests that they get bachelor-party decorations at Guilty Pleasures.
Valerie suggests that she and David go away for the weekend. He sees that she’s been reading an article about jumpstarting your love life. Kelly has lunch with Erin and Jackie, the latter of whom announces that she’s going to have a facelift. Kelly doesn’t see the need for it. She’s surprised when little Erin starts talking about how ice cream is fattening and she’s watching her calories. Later, Kelly talks to Brandon about how Jackie and Erin seem to be trying to fulfill a male fantasy. He promises to still find her sexy when they’re old and gray.
Donna helps Monica make a love connection, then notices that her arm is bleeding. Monica says her new cat scratched her. Donna’s still concerned no matter how much Monica downplays the situation. Kelly and Brandon continue talking about fantasy and vanity; she says she just wants to make sure he’s not thinking about someone else when he’s with her. After all, he’s been looking at Playpen. Brandon doesn’t think it’s a big deal.
The next day, Brandon, David, Steve, and Muntz go to Guilty Pleasures, where Brandon pauses to interview a protester before they go inside. The owner doesn’t care about the protests – he’s happy for the additional publicity. He also doesn’t care about the objectification of women because he has the First Amendment on his side. David buys a bunch of stuff in hopes of making Valerie happy. Steve swings a discount with the owner in exchange for ad space in the paper.
At the beach apartment, Donna tells Kelly and Noah about Monica’s cuts, which she doesn’t think are cat scratches. Kelly – who, after all, majored in psychology – thinks Monica cuts herself. Noah says they don’t know for sure, but Donna decides to keep an eye on her. At the Beverly Beat, Brandon asks Janet her opinion on magazines like Playpen. She’s fine with them and with sex shops because they help people express themselves sexually. She reports that her parents were hippies, so she’s always had this kind of attitude about sex. Steve thinks they have that in common. Janet’s still mad at him.
David brings his new purchases to the bedroom, but makes the mistake of saying he’s just trying to help her relieve tension. She thinks that means he thinks she’s tense. At the Walshes’, Kelly objects to Brandon’s article about Guilty Pleasures, saying he’s just using it as a platform to say pornography is awesome. She wants to make it about morals and ethics. Brandon doesn’t think it should be a crime for him to engage in a mindless activity like looking at naked women.
Donna finds a little knife in Monica’s things and confronts her over cutting herself. Monica blasts her for violating her privacy. At David’s house, Valerie’s already done with his new experiments. Monica’s love match falls through, and she confides in Donna how much she wishes she could have a flawless body like the shoot’s model. Donna tells her that one guy rejecting her doesn’t make things hopeless.
Steve tells David that he went back to Guilty Pleasures, and it made him feel sad about not being in a relationship. After all, if he were dating someone, he wouldn’t have time to go to a sex shop. He thinks David’s lucky to have a girlfriend he can have make-up sex with. Donna confronts Monica again about her cutting, and this time Monica admits to it. Donna encourages her to get help since she’s been unable to stop on her own. She shares her own experience with painkiller addiction. Monica notes that she still won’t be model-pretty, but Donna says her emotional state is more important.
While the guys go to Muntz’s bachelor party (which is in the middle of the day so his fiancée doesn’t find out about it), Kelly and Valerie complain about their boyfriends’ recent trip to Guilty Pleasures. Valerie’s fine with David going, but she wishes they’d gone forever. They’re in agreement about how annoying it is that the guys fantasize about other women instead of them. Meanwhile, the guys all complain about how women want things from them they don’t understand. Steve says Janet’s not like that, and Noah reminds him that she dumped him.
The stripper arrives, and suddenly no one can put together a complete sentence. Brandon wants to ask the stripper about her real life so he can’t be accused of objectifying her. Steve’s like, “Treat her like…a human? But why?” That night, he goes to the beach apartment to fight with Kelly some more about how stupid bachelor parties are. He reminds her that she and the other girls went to a strip club for Toni’s bachelorette party. Further, Brandon isn’t to blame for how all men see women. Kelly notes that he’s certainly not helping. She’d like to know where he stands, but isn’t it obvious?
Valerie puts on some sexy lingerie for David, then brings some bondage equipment into the bedroom. This is a little too much for him. On the boat, Donna tells Noah that she’s worried about the message she’ll be sending if she only uses a gorgeous model in the catalog. Women will feel that they’re inferior if they don’t look like her. Women already compare themselves to others, and the thing with Monica has brought it to Donna’s attention. She feels like she has the opportunity to make a statement.
Steve brings Janet breakfast to let her know how much he appreciates her. He feels bad about not giving them a chance, so they should go out again. Janet declines – she gave Steve a lot of chances and none of them worked out. He’s surprised that she’s turning him down after saying she’s in favor of sex without commitment. Janet points out that she’s not going to hook up with the wrong person. Brandon announces that they’re not doing trades for ads anymore, which means Steve has to pay full price at Guilty Pleasures. Also, they won’t be advertising for them anymore.
Donna brings in some new models for the shoot, wanting to have real women model the dresses she created for real women. Also, now Monica will feel better about herself and be cured of her insecurity issues! Yay, Donna! Valerie and David finally discuss their relationship problems, which don’t actually exist, since Valerie never thought they needed to jumpstart their sex life. She was just reading the magazine to get her horoscope. Womp womp. Then they have sex outside.
It’s the end of the episode, which means Brandon has to go tell Kelly that he did something wrong and she has to apologize for overreacting. Specifically, she approves of his article about Guilty Pleasures, which mentions that if people don’t want the sex shop to stay in business, they shouldn’t shop there. Brandon promises that he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. That…wasn’t her point at all, but A for effort, Bran. Kelly presents him with a Kama Sutra kit, because Brandon has earned a reward for admitting he was wrong.
Thoughts: The model in the article about jumpstarting your lovelife looks like a cross between Tori Spelling and Elizabeth Berkley. In other words, super-’90s.
Brandon and Kelly are the new Steve and Clare. Just break up! David and Valerie’s relationship is better than yours! Steve and Janet’s non-existant relationship is better than yours!
You can tell this episode is old because no one’s heard of cutting.
With the guys’ and girls’ stereotypical views on each other, I’m surprised no one brings up that famous ’90s book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.