As we work our way through the vintage 90210 episodes on SoapNet -- I believe the "Jackie is pregnant with Cheating Mel Silver's baby" episode is airing today -- I'd like to take a minute to celebrate one of the unsung performances of the show's breakout second season: Jenny O'Hara as Dead Scott's unstrung mom, Pam Scanlon.
Mrs. Scanlon is dreadfully uncomfortable to watch. This isn't unusual for a 90210 guest star of the era, since they usually can't act (see: Sue Scanlon); are the nexus of some ham-handed One To Grow On subplot that makes them central to the gang's doings, never to be seen again; and got dressed in the early nineties, enough said. But O'Hara is genuinely hard to watch from a character standpoint, because we had, or had friends who had, moms like this -- not getting the difference between a kiddie party and one for teens; total hard-asses about getting the cake lit on time; aggressively frumpy and unsophisticated.
O'Hara is a Hey, It's That Incompetent And Mean Nurse Or Overinvolved Mom, and with good reason; her disapproving frown is the best in the business. We salute you, lady.