Senior Prom-A rite of passage. A time for elaborate fabric, regrettable hairstyles and legendary cliches. We’ve watched our favorite television and movie stars arrive at this momentous occasion drowning in sequins, aquamarine cummerbunds and broken hearts. To kick off prom season, I invite you to join me on a journey: then, now…forever. Most of us looked forward to our senior prom from the time we were little. We’d watch the neighbor’s teenager (the bad seed who left beer bottles on our front lawn) smile for pictures outside his parents house, then hop into the stretch limo en route to a night he’d undoubtedly forget. And we recall our babysitter blabbing on the phone about her purchased-for-prom Wet N’ Wild lip gloss, declaring that it probably won’t be the only thing she would lose that night. Oh, the things we had to look forward to.
Then, the night finally came. Our dress was perfect, our spray tan hadn’t melted off (yet), and our heads throbbed from too many bobby pins (I now have a sensitive spot on my head). Some of us walked in with low expectations, and some us cried in the upscale port-a-potty because Jimmy threw up on our dress. The night was either a rousing success, or a massive disappointment.
I remember watching promisode reruns of Saved By The Bell, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Full House. And as I write this, I think of today teen set-Gossip Girl (I thought $500 was expensive for a prom dress. Blair wore Marchesa), even Laguna Beach. The wardrobe has more or less evolved (ok, more. Pouf sleeves and side-crimped ponytails should and need to stay locked in the prom boneyard), but the sentiment remains the same: Senior prom is a big deal. It’s time and money well spent on dreams, corsages and after-parties. The hard work is completed, college awaits, and your chapter in hometown, USA has officially come to a close.
Enough sentimental ballyhoo. Let’s get to the my Senior Prom Superlatives. Goooooo Bayside!Best Prom Fight/Resolution: Steve and D.J.-Full HouseSteve brought D.J. to his senior prom. The featured band was Jesse And The Rippers and Aunt Becky was a chaperone. Steve was crowned prom king and his ex-girlfriend, Rachel, was crowned prom queen. Trouble in paradise! It turned out that Rachel really wanted to get back together with Steve, and planted a surprise smoocher on him. Gasp! D.J. witnessed the kiss and prom turned into a nightmare. Cue the “moral music.” Steve told D.J. how much he loved her and that he was much happier with her than with Rachel. Uncle Jesse started singing “I Will Always Love You” and prom ended up being the best night of D.J.’s life. Best Turnaround Time: Brenda Walsh-Beverly Hills, 90210As we’re well aware, I resent Kelly Taylor and Dylan McKay‘s relationship. It’s a union born from deception and secrecy. So when Brenda Walsh decided to skip her senior prom, my heart sank to the bottom of the deep blue sea. Hark! Here comes Tony Miller to ask Brenda to the prom (he opted to skip poker night). Pressure cooker-he asked her the day of. No matter. Cindy and Brenda found a saucy number just in the nick of time, and even had an hour or so to tease Brenda’s hair. Still, a great dress can’t heal a broken heart. The pain Brenda felt at the Bel-Age was palpable as Kelly and Dylan PDA’d the sh*t out of the dance floor, and Tony never got to use that hotel room he paid for. To that point, neither did Brandon and Aundrea.Best MakeShift Prom: Jessie and Slater-Saved By The BellMama and the chauvanist pig loathed each other when prom time rolled around. But there were more pressing matters at hand. The Bayside banner had to be hung and that required a ladder. Down to the boiler room in search of a ladder they went. Oh no, the door locked and no one can hear them in the basement. “I won’t even get to dance at my own senior prom.” Slater can fix that. A slow dance and a smooch made it a prom to remember…covered in soot and a sweaty chambray shirt (and black tapered jeans). Way to turn things around, team.Worst Prom Theme: Country Western-Saved By The BellOn that note, let’s address the chosen theme. Country western? Talk about a forgettable prom. No dressing up, all country music. Booooooooooooooooooo Bayside.Most Emotional Prom Scene: Izzy and Denny-Grey’s AnatomyBack when Grey‘s was REALLY good, I fell in love/was heartbroken by the season two finale. The interns put together a prom for Chief Webber‘s dying niece, and everyone at Seattle Grace attended. Izzy accepted Denny‘s proposal, and took eons getting ready so that she could look perfect for him. While she was doing this, Denny suffered a stroke and died. Unaware of his passing, Izzy took the elevator to Denny’s floor looking happy and radiant. Then, the other interns walk in on Izzy clinging to a lifeless Denny, still in her prom dress. It was hard to watch. First Izzy calmly explained Denny’s cause of death to no one in particular, then burst into hysterics because he died alone while she was choosing the perfect dress. Karev finally took a sobbing Izzy in his arms and cradled her in a chair. It was one of the most moving scenes in television I’ve ever witnessed. And it all happened on prom night. Snow Patrol‘s “Chasing Cars” started playing and I fell apart.Worst Luck (And Judgement): Donna Martin-Beverly Hills, 90210I suppose we saw it coming. Donna hadn’t eaten all day because she was so excited about prom. And that dress was practically painted on. The pressure was mounting for her to sleep with David, then Felice put a crucifix ’round her neck. When Mel Silver offered up champagne at his pre-party, Donna began to unravel (after just one glass). Then, idiot Steve took another bottle for the limo ride (don’t you learn anything, Sanders? You almost got expelled for the legacy key incident) and Donna was dunzo. She attempted to instigate sexy time with David on the dance floor, then got the spins. After some quality time in the bathroom with her gal pals, the West Bev gang tried to take Donna home. Through the main entrance. Where all of the chaperones were. Donna stumbled and couldn’t pick herself up, despite David, Steve and Dylan being there. The poorly-orchestrated escape didn’t get past Mrs. Teasley, and Donna faced suspension/not walking at graduation. It was a tough few episodes, but we all know how it ended. DONNA MARTIN GRADUATES! Still, a lesson for all prom-goers. Eat something.Worst Prom Style: Laguna BeachThe kids in Southern California have lots of disposable income and solid style. But their laid-back attitude worked against them come prom time. Short dresses? Come on! Prom is a time to bust out the floor-length gowns. When else are you going to get to do that? It was a poor showing, and even LC disappointed. She and Kristin Cavallari wore the same short green dress. Note to prom-goers: try to shop outside the periphery of your town. Go big or go home.Best Dressed: Blair Waldorf-Gossip GirlBlair Waldorf is TV Land’s ultimate high school Queen Bee, so it’s only fitting that she win Best Dressed for our prom post. Don’t blame this decision on dollar signs. ABS knocks off Oscar gowns so ya’ll can look your best on prom night. The dress was floor-length, elaborate and a bit too much. All the makings of a perfect prom dress. If you show up in a short green dress, no one’s gonna hand you the crown. That was fun. For the high school set reading this post, enjoy your night. Dress dramatically, avoid the bad stuff and indulge in the good stuff. For those of you who’ve already had a senior prom, I hope you relived some of the better memories. As long as there are good friends, high school romances and dream dresses, there will always be a senior prom. Troy and Gabriella Forever!For you and only you, I’ve compiled some of television’s best (and worst) prom pictures.