The Story Behind The Gut-Wrenching The Next Fifty Years Episode Of Beverly Hills, 90210


Long before school shootings plot lines began inundating teen programs like “One Tree Hill” and the “Degrassi” episode “Time Stands Still,” “Beverly Hills, 90210” explored gun-related deaths with “The Next Fifty Years.” In the episode, David Silver’s (Brian Austin Green) nerdy childhood friend Scott Scanlon (Douglas Emerson) accidentally kills himself after he finds his father’s gun. In addition to gun violence, the episode taps into evergreen themes like popularity, friendships, and self-esteem.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, “90210” co-writer and executive producer Charles Rosin explained that the show received positive ratings “because of our commitment to bring issue-oriented social drama into the mix.” With “The Next Fifty Years,” the show’s writers saw an opportunity to bring a real-life tragedy to the fore. “I distinctly remember hearing about a 17-year-old who had been accidentally shot and killed in a hotel near Disneyland on grad night,” recalled Rosin.

The executives at Fox were less than enthused about the idea and tried to talk Rosin out of it. “Thankfully,” said Rosin. “The powers that be backed off once they sensed my passion and understood my motivation, which was nothing short of changing the gun laws in America, and our political culture in the process.” While the episode itself isn’t especially preachy about gun laws, it does end with a poignant message. “It doesn’t matter what you say about somebody once they’re gone,” David tells Brandon. “What matters is how you treat them when they’re still here.”



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