When Beverly Hills: 90210 debuted in 1990, critics and audiences instantly likened Luke Perry’s Dylan McKay to James Dean. Leather jacket: check. Motorcycle and/or cool car: check. Devil-may-care attitude: check. Killer looks and a way with the ladies: CHECK.
Gentle readers, I submit to you that James Dean is too weak a parallel to draw with a character as transcendent as Dylan McKay—I mean, after all, even Garfield has many of the aforementioned characteristics. To wit:
Dylan was complex, irreverent, romantic, and deep. Often depressed, he was nonetheless always ready to step in and be the knight in shining armor—even if that meant delivering tough love. Dylan couldn’t be contained; he thrived on sun, surf, travel, and the physical expression of love. His passions could not be limited to just one woman—he was drawn to dramatic, brooding Brenda and Kelly, the ultimate California girl.
Thankfully, Dylan himself gave us a guide on how to comprehend him. Observe as he tells Brandon that he’s most like Lord Byron—“mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”
As we head into the weekend, I can wish you no greater happiness than to reflect on Dylan McKay. May his rebel spirit inspire every step you take.