Oh friends, I can’t take any more sadness, my heart’s already broken because of Luke Perry. I normally take celebrity deaths in stride but this one really hurts. When I was a kid, watching Beverly Hills 90210 was a family affair, and my parents and siblings would all watch it, then talk about it afterwards. Scott Scanlon’s death in season 2, because he was playing with a loaded gun, lead to a very serious conversation with my parents, and I will remember crying over him, always (I was 7 when that episode aired.) On our last family vacation in 1992, my parents rushed to our hotel in time so that us kids could watch the newest episode of 90210, so great was our collective love for the show. Dylan McKay was family—and I stayed with Beverly Hills 90210 until the bitter, bitter end, well past the time it was considered a cultural phenomenon and into the era where people would ask “is that show still on?” (Side note, Dylan and Brenda 4eva. Kelly needs to keep “I choose me” as her mantra, ok?!)
I understand intellectually that time marches on, and we all age—but I genuinely wasn’t prepared for the reality of what that means (is anyone, ever?) Up until 2014, I hadn’t had anyone close to me pass away—now, it seems like every 6 months there’s a funeral for friends or family. Nothing reiterates that you’re getting older and that nothing can stay the same more than having people you love no longer be with you. For better or for worse, it truly is the most natural thing in the world, but it still hurts like hell each time there’s a loss of a good person. Especially so in 2019 when it feels like little acts of kindness we can show to each other are revolutionary in the face of the day-to-day mundane evil, hatred, and indifference that’s demonstrated to us by our government and their rabid followers.
Luke Perry’s death this week was a shock of cold water when I already felt like I’m adrift—he was a safety blanket because his presence in anything was an automatic shorthand to going back to a time when I felt safe, loved, and oblivious to the dangers of the world. It hurts even more when your long-held belief of his decency are confirmed, and he’s no longer the teen heartthrob you idolized, but a man with children who are barely adults, and a family who I’m sure loved him dearly. Here is a man who was actively working in Hollywood for 30 years, and at one point was probably one of the most famous people alive with no one telling him no, and there was never any hint that he was nothing but a kind and gracious person who made sure that his interactions with people were the same.
As a woman, specifically, when you can’t walk down the street without noticing multiple men staring at your chest or finding little ways to invade your space and to let you know that you’re considered less than, to hear that Dylan, our Dylan, was nothing but respectful and kind, breaks my heart even more now that he’s gone. He was one of the good ones, and there aren’t a lot of good ones around. Especially in Hollywood, where representation desperately matters, and every week it seems like new horrors of abuse come to light.
Which brings me to my larger point: Keanu, like Luke, is a short cut to a happier time for me, and I’m sure many other people out there. He’s Ted “Theodore” Logan! He’s Johnny Utah! He’s Jack Traven. He’s everything.
Keanu, like Luke, is known as nothing but a kind soul and a gentleman, when so few are in supply, and his movies have been a part of my life (and I’m sure many, many others) for as long as I can remember.
So please, can someone bubble wrap him for the next 30 years to make sure he’s safe? I think I speak on behalf of all ’90s girls (and more than a few ’90s boys) when I say our little hearts can’t take it, and we need him to be with us for a very, very long time to come.
Header Image Source: 20th Century Fox (All Images)