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The Gentle Art of Listening is the 9th episode of Season 1 of Beverly Hills, 90210.
On a teen help line, untrained volunteer Brenda becomes the trusted contact for a date-rape victim. Meanwhile, Brandon falls for a worldly older woman.
At school, the cheerleaders are doing a dance in the quad as Brandon is watching a specific cheerleader. He catches her eye and another person looks at him. Brenda joins them in the quad as Kelly and Donna approach her and tell her that they are leaving and invites her to joint hem. Steve asks Brandon if he is going to join them at the battle of the Beverlys. Steve tells him about the girls that are there and they notice the other girl that was looking at Brandon earlier. At home, Brandon complains about the girl that was looking at Brandon, but Cindy tells him that it is cute that a girl has a crush on him. Brenda comes home and goes directly to her room, which alarms Cindy. Brandon offers to talk to her and see what the problem is. Brandon goes into her room and asks her if she is on anything. Brenda tries to throw him out of her room and eventually tells him that she is tired of shopping all of the time.
Brenda wants to try out for cheerleader, but she doesn't want to hang out with those girls since they are all annoying. Brandon tells Brenda that Andrea volunteers at a place where they take calls from people with problems. At school, Brenda approaches Andrea about the teen line, but Andrea tells her that it is difficult to join and she has to be dedicated to the job. Brenda agrees to the three-month training period and Andrea tells her to join them. Brenda observes the other call-takers and then Andrea picks up the phone to Kelly who wants to talk to Brenda. She gets upset and Brenda answers the phone to a crisis that Kelly is having that Donna wants to get a nose job. Brenda tells her that she can't talk and needs to get off of the phone. At Brandon's work, the customers are hearing moaning and groaning from the back room. Brandon goes to see what the problem is and finds Nat getting a message. Brandon tells him that the customers are getting the wrong idea.
At the hotline, the day ends and the coordinator asks if Brenda will return and she says yes. Andrea and Brenda wait for their rides to get there. Andrea's ride comes first and Brenda waits for Kelly to show up. When Kelly hasn't shown up in a long time, Brenda knocks on the door to the building and goes to call Kelly for a ride. Brenda calls her and while she is waiting in the hotline room, a call comes in and Brenda answers it, but it is not Kelly. A girl on the other line tells Brenda that she really needs to talk to someone and even though she is not supposed to, she starts talking to her. The girl doesn't want to give her name, but starts to tell Brenda that she is alright and she is at a pay phone near her school. The girl says that she likes a guy at school and he says that he likes her, but when Brenda talks to her, the girl stops talking. The girl finally continues to tell Brenda that when her and the guy she likes were having sex, she told him to stop, but he didn't. She was asking Brenda if she had been raped or not.
Kelly eventually shows up and tells Brenda that she didn't do anything wrong and the girl needed someone to talk to. Brenda tells Kelly that she thinks that she knows the girl, but she doesn't even know if she was right. At home, Brenda walks in and finds her mother getting things ready for recycling, following Brenda's volunteer attitude. Cindy tells her that she is very proud of her for volunteering. At school, David is introducing the football team for the pep rally. Steve and Brandon are in the back of the crowd and Brandon tells him about him experience getting a massage. Brandon tells Steve that he likes the girl, but she is older. Steve then walks away and the girl looks at Brandon again. Brenda approaches Andrea and starts to tell her about the previous night. Andrea cuts her off and tells her that she understands that it is too hard for her and that it is ok that she can't handle it.
At work, the massage lady, Nina, is at the Peach Pit and tells Brandon about her experience in a sensory deprivation tank. She then tells Brandon that she has been thinking about Peach Pie and orders a slice a la mode. Brandon goes back to the back and asks Nat about Nina and Nat explains that she was a wild child. At the chat line, Brenda joins them and the coordinator thanks her for showing back up. Andrea sees Brenda and is shocked to see her there. The coordinator talks to Brenda about how to act during a call. Nina continues telling Brandon about her new age treatments, such as body rubs and wraps and massages. Brandon is entranced by her and she asks if she can do a body wrap on him and he agrees. At the hotline room, a phone call comes in and Andrea asks the caller if she is a first time caller and the caller tells her that she has called before and talked to Brenda.
After getting into a little trouble for answering the phone, the coordinator tells Brenda that she will be there if she has any problems. Brenda talks to the girl and she tells her that the guy tried to have sex with her. When Brenda asks her what school she goes to, the girl stops talking and hangs up.
The next day at school, Brenda begins to get defensive about what happened at the hotline, but Andrea stops her and tells her that she is proud of her. Brenda was able to piece together that the girl goes to school at West Beverly since the girl told her that they had just won a competition and Brenda realizes that she was talking about Grudge Week with Beverly High. Brenda then gripes at Andrea for not being involved in the school. Brenda continues to think about who the girl could be. Scott approaches the girl that keeps looking at Brandon, but she just walks away.
Brandon approaches Dylan and tells him that he thinks that he has a chance with an older lady. Brandon then asks for Dylan's advice on how to deal with an older woman, especially after having sex. As Dylan is walking away, Brandon asks about what he should say to the older woman in the morning after waking up next to her. Dylan tells him to say "Would you like a cup of coffee?" Brandon asks Cindy is she can go surfing with Dylan before school and when she says ok, he tells her that he is going to the library after working and that she may not see him after school. When he is getting ready in the bathroom, Brenda tells him to hurry and bring her to the hotline. Brenda sits down and tells Brandon that she is having a hard time and she can't tell Brandon about it. When Brenda walks out of the room, Brandon tells her that he won't tell her anything about the older woman.
At the hotline, Brenda waits around for the girl to call. At about 9:30, Brandon is waiting at the Peach Pit for Nina to show and when she does, Brandon is happy. At the hotline, Brenda begs with the coordinator to stay just a little longer to wait for the girl to call. The coordinator tells her that if the girl doesn't call, thy have to assume that she is ok. The coordinator walks them out of the building and Brenda and Andrea stand outside and wait for their ride. Brenda turns around and bangs on the door to be let in the building. Brenda tries to get Andrea to come back in with her and eventually she does and they both bang on the door. At Nina's house, Nina introduces Brandon to her boyfriend, Richard. Nina tells Richard that Brandon will be her guinea pig with an herbal wrap. She then gives Brandon a Tibetan Book of the Dead. At the hotline, Brenda and Andrea wait for the girl to call for 45 minutes, but they keep getting other people calling. They decide to leave, but before they leave, Andrea decides to answer the phone and it is the girl.
Brenda talks to the girl and the girl is upset and tells her that the guy brought his friend along with him. Brenda asks her who she is and then yells at Andrea for telling her not to talk to her, but the girl gets upset that she is talking to someone else and asks for Andrea's name. The girl hangs up, but Brenda thinks that she knows who the girl is. At school the next day, Brenda approaches Bonnie and tells her that she is Brenda. Bonnie tells Brenda that she is not comfortable with talking about it with Brenda in person. Brenda tells her that she just wants to be popular and is willing to have sex with popular people to become popular. Bonnie tells Brenda that she is just jealous of her and walks off. Brenda goes to see Andrea and tells her that she talked to Bonnie in person and she refuses help. Andrea reminds her that she can't help people if they don't want to be helped. After the pep rally, Steve and Scott are talking and Steve is approached by two guys who congratulate him for something that he did in the pep rally.
When Steve asks what they are doing later on, they reply that they aren't doing anything special and then walk away. In the school hallway, Bonnie is waiting for her friend to stop talking to two guys and then the other cheerleader tells her that she will get a ride from the two guys and then walks off with them. When Bonnie walks to her car by herself, she is surprised by someone pointing a flashlight at her. The guy asks her if she needs a ride and it turns out to be the two guys who talked to Steve earlier. They ask her to have fun with them tonight and they tell her that they like her. She pleads with them, but when they tell her to get in the car and she won't, they try to force her into the car. At that moment, the police pull up and stop the guys and take them away. Bonnie's mother is there and comforts her.
Brenda, Andrea, and Brandon wait down the street and watch the scene unfold. When Brenda walks off, Andrea tells Brandon that Brenda realized that the events with the guys happen right after the Grudge Week events.
Donna tells Kelly and Brenda that her parents wouldn't let her get her nose done, but they are buying her a new car. Steve asks Brandon about the older lady and Brandon explains that nothing happened. Brandon then sees the girl that has been staring at him and approaches her. Her name is Lucy and he introduces himself and tells her that she has a nice smile. She walks off smiling and then says hi to Scott, which makes him happy.
- Jason Priestley as Brandon Walsh
- Shannen Doherty as Brenda Walsh
- Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor
- Ian Ziering as Steve Sanders
- Gabrielle Carteris as Andrea Zuckerman
- Luke Perry as Dylan McKay
- Brian Austin Green as David Silver
- Douglas Emerson as Scott Scanlon
- Tori Spelling as Donna Martin
- Carol Potter as Cindy Walsh
- Lisa Dean Ryan as Bonnie
- Kim Gillingham as Nina
- Dale Weston as Carol
- Pat O'Neal as George Sudaris
- Michael Woolson as Erik Budman
- Heather Hopper as Lucy
- William Forward as Richard Cohen
- ❝ How many days in a row can you go shopping before you're declared officially brain dead? ❞
- ❝Brandon – Mind if I pick your brain for a minute
- Dylan – Hey be my guest, you know you may even find something in there❞
- This is the first episode where Brenda and Andrea spend time together, just the two of them
- Brandon asks Dylan for advice on being with an 'older woman'
- Cheerleaders appearing in this episode were from Marina High School in Huntington Beach, CA.
- get up! (before the night is over) | TECHNOTRONIC
- cheerleaders perform for grudge week
- chocolate #2 | THE TIME
- Brandon, Steve and Dylan talk about girls in the quad
- since i met you baby | IVORY JOE HUNTER
- Nina gives Nat a back rub in the backroom and Brandon comes in
- devil or angel | THE CLOVERS
- brandon talks with nina