Everyone was so young and good looking. Their skin was firm and elastic, like their enthusiasm. Jennie Garth hovered near the craft services table pretending to casually eat seedless grapes, but actually sneaking Pepperidge Farm Milanos into her purse to eat in the bathroom. She was told that she could earn an extra twenty dollars a day if she wore her own clothes. And you know what they say, cigarette money is cigarette money.
For the first couple of days she would try and strike up conversations with her fellow actors, but they always just looked puzzled. “Are you someone’s on-set tutor?” a kid with too much gel in his hair and too many pockets on his shorts asked. “No,” she said, “I’m Jennie Garth.” The kid shrugged. “You look like my friend’s mom,” he said. “Well, not my friend, exactly, but like, my life coach. He’s 35,” and then the boy slid on his heelies back to his trailer.
It was funny to Jennie Garth that her character Kelly Taylor had returned to West Beverly Hills High School to work as a guidance counselor, much as she herself was now returning to the set of 90210. On breaks, Jennie ate lunch with Jessica Walter and smoked with Jessica Walter and played cards with Jessica Walter. Anything to be next to Jessica Walter. She told herself, and others, that she was excited to learn from such a talent who’d been in the game for so long. The fact of the matter, she just hoped it would make her look prettier, like an anorexic hanging around an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting.
Jennie Garth figured she should probably count her blessings that Hollywood was running out of ideas. It meant work again after such a long stretch. She liked to think of Jason Bateman and the dull, unimaginable decades he spent between his childhood stardom and the sudden resurgence of a promising career. The only thing Jason Bateman had that she didn’t was talent. Well could Jason Bateman scrounge together 25,000 dollars if he had to doing a video for MILF Hunters? See, Jason Bateman, you’re not the only one with a fall-back plan. Jennie Garth hated Jason Bateman so much.
At the end of another day Jennie Garth got into her Oldsmobile and started up the engine. She popped in a Heart cassette. One of her cast-mates walked by with his shirt off, drinking an extra-large Jamba Juice. He patted the hood of the car with his hand, his thumb ring making a metallic tink-tink. “You’re ruining the environment with this thing,” he said dismissively, as if judging someone for the quality of their existence was just what one did in passing, as a courtesy. With his back to her, already fading towards his trailer where the sounds of Guitar Hero echoed over the lot, he added “You should probably buy a Prius, dude.” Jennie leaned out the window and spat out her caffeinated gum. “Well is the environment going to buy me one?” she shouted after him. He didn’t hear her, or he was ignoring her. Jennie Garth turned up her radio and drove home with her knuckles white against the steering wheel. She hoped she did ruin the environment. She hoped the whole world fell the fuck apart. She hoped the show got picked up and they didn’t cut her character from future episodes. She hoped there was still some vodka in the freezer. Jennie Garth was very hopeful.