My friend was recently on the "90210" set and the first thing I asked him about his visit was, "What did those girls look like in person?" He shook his head and told me, "The girl who plays Silver ... it's scary."
It is scary. Two of "90210's" stars -- 18-year-old Shenae Grimes and 21-year-old Jessica Stroup -- are significantly and horrifyingly underweight, especially when you take into consideration that what we're seeing on TV includes 10 additional "camera pounds."
The gossip from the set is that Shenae and Jessica have gotten even thinner since the show started and that some of their cast members have become so concerned that they are planning an intervention.
I hope that's true. Think about how tired and cranky you get when you haven't eaten. Now think about the extremely long hours and the intense pressure that these young women are subjected to. If Shenae and Jessica don't start taking their health more seriously, their bodies are going to react negatively.
In an LA Times piece addressing the issue, a few older and highly respected actresses (like Holly Hunter and Kyra Sedgwick) were also called out for being on the super skinny side, but there is something far more inherently wrong about casting emaciated actresses in a show targeted at young women. "Gossip Girl" may be "every parent's nightmare" and "mind-blowingly inappropriate," but at least those exceptionally hot-looking girls look like they've eaten breakfast.
Clearly the olden days of the original "Beverly Hills, 90210," which featured girls with normal teenage bodies (until Tori Spelling got implants), are long gone. An Entertainment Weekly article about this very issue made the observation that "Mad Men" is the only current show where "the exaggerated hourglass ... is the very definition of sexy. But, alas, her curves are another prop of the era."
Maybe the positive thing about all of this is that the audience has responded with an appropriate amount of shock, horror, and concern. And perhaps we're finally acknowledging the fact that someone actually can be too thin.