Decades late takes: Kelly and Dylan were Beverly Hills, 90210’s weirdest pairing

Actors Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, and Brian Austin Green from the television series Beverly Hills, 90210. (Photo by mikel roberts/Sygma via Getty Images)
Actors Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, and Brian Austin Green from the television series Beverly Hills, 90210. (Photo by mikel roberts/Sygma via Getty Images) /

It’s a little too late to be taking sides in Beverly Hills, 90210’s love triangle, but Kelly and Dylan were definitely not a compatible pairing.

For a series like Beverly Hills, 90210, it’s rather daring to pronounce one of it’s most famous and debated couples as “weird.” After all, the show basically existed with the purpose to put its young characters in and out of romantic relationships, and so many oddball combinations arose that were probably much stranger. But Kelly and Dylan’s beginnings as a couple were anything but normal and stable.

When it comes to the Brenda, Dylan, and Kelly love triangle, Kelly and Dylan were by far the weakest duo. Not for lack of trying from Jennie Garth and Luke Perry, but there wasn’t very much chemistry between them. Kelly and Dylan seemed like a relationship of convenience, both in the world of Beverly Hills, 90210 and behind the scenes. Since Kelly acted as the natural foil to Brenda, who better to swoop in to date her boyfriend?

Someone other than Kelly was better suited to date Dylan, that’s for sure. What made Brenda and Dylan an interesting couple was that they were opposites. They came from different worlds and had different perspectives. For better or worse, Brenda and Dylan made some sort of sloppy sense. But Kelly and Dylan? They were much too similar on paper to ever take flight.

In seasons 3 and 4, Kelly and Dylan give it their best shot, but they continue to clash over seemingly minuscule matters like jealousy and insecurity. Kelly often wanted more from Dylan than he was willing to provide, and Dylan reciprocated with a refusal to even meet Kelly halfway. With every argument, it’s harder to invest in their relationship and instead just wonder why they’re even together in the first place.

However, something magical happened in season 4, episode 22, “Change Partners.” Brandon calls on Kelly to stand in as his date to impress the university’s task force, which would help further his fresh career in politics. Usually when a teen drama bends in a new incestuous direction for a group of friends, it doesn’t feel earned. But in one scene, Kelly had more chemistry and made more sense with Brandon than she ever did with Dylan.

It’s rare that a television series can tease a potential future pairing in its fourth season that doesn’t feel like grasping at straws. There’s something honest and deep between Kelly and Brandon that somehow always remained at arm’s length with Dylan. Why, then, did Dylan have to keep volleying between Brenda and Kelly? He should have dated outside of the group more in those first few years. If we’re being real, no one in that group was made to last except for David and Donna.

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Still, the series finale pushes Kelly and Dylan closer together, and The CW’s 2008 reboot revealed that, although they’re estranged, they share a young son named Sammy. Before getting into the thick of my 90210 binge, with Brenda and Dylan’s imminent departures and Kelly and Brandon’s official will-they-or-won’t-they, I have to confess that I’m not on board with this weird pairing.

You would think that Kelly and Steve would have been the weirdest love match on Beverly Hills, 90210, but when push really comes to shove, Kelly and Dylan should never have lasted longer than their sordid summer before senior year.

Beverly Hills, 90210 is available to stream on Hulu.