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'90210': Aimee Teegarden reacts to Rhonda's racy move

February 10, 2009 |  9:00 pm

Aimee_teegardenSpoiler alert! If you have not watched Tuesday’s episode of ‘90210,’ do not read any further.

Rhonda! You sneaky girl, you!

When Ethan hit the shy band girl with his car in last week’s episode, I admit I cheered; I thought Rhonda was sweet, charming -- unlike Annie -- and smarter than I was giving her credit for. Faking her injury to get closer to Ethan? Annie won’t know what hit her.

Alas, gentle viewer, the resolution to the budding love triangle won’t arrive until March 31. “90210” is taking a hiatus and will return in a new timeslot: Tuesdays at 9.

Luckily, 19-year-old actress Aimee Teegarden, who plays Rhonda and is best known for her role on the critically beloved "Friday Night Lights," graciously agreed to weigh in on Rhonda’s recent about-face:

How did you react when you found out that Rhonda puts the moves on Ethan?
It was surprising. I read that they kiss and thought, ‘What are they talking about?’ It was a little weird. I don’t know. I think kissing is totally weird on stage or in front of cameras. I wasn’t quite expecting it so fast. Like, dang, Rhonda gets down to business! She gets the come-hither look in her eyes. It was kind of shocking originally, but then I kind of enjoyed the fact that she becomes so upfront about it, more so than I would be.

Do you think Ethan is attracted to her?
I think Ethan is very attracted to Rhonda. I think Rhonda’s kind of amazing! (Laughs)

Yeah! Take that, Annie! But seriously, at first Rhonda's this poor sweet thing and then she’s on the prowl! What do you make of that?
I think she’s been hiding in the shadows and all of a sudden she has this opportunity. I’m sure she’s had a crush on Ethan for years and years, sitting behind him every day, and now she finally has this opportunity to just really talk to him. It’s escalated because they’re both going through new things, new beginnings, and really opening their eyes to the world.

Before you started to shoot, what were your first impressions of Rhonda?
I thought she was a typical band geek. I was only told that she was a character who was going to shake things up after she gets into a car crash. That was it. But then I got to know more about her. There are a lot of layers there to explore if I come back for more episodes.

What were your impressions of the new "90210"? How did you get involved?
I had seen part of an episode, but not the whole series. It just seemed kind of fun. I was literally driving home from Texas -- I had just finished up “Friday Night Lights” -- and my agent called me while I was somewhere in the middle of Texas and Arizona. He said, "So, there’s an offer to do ‘90210.’ Do you want to do it?" and I said definitely. It would be something really different, going from the small town of Dillon, Texas, to shooting in Beverly Hills.

What were the big differences?
The thing about ‘Friday Night Lights’ is that we shoot very differently from every other show. We do three cameras all the time, it’s all [handheld cameras]. There’s no rehearsing...I’m sure the editors must have a field day, but we don’t have to say the same lines over and over. We can change them up as long as it’s in the same vein of where the scene’s heading. We have a lot of short days. We shoot a lot of scenes very fast.

Coming on to '90210,' everything is different about it. There’s pieces of tape on the floor where you’re supposed to hit your mark. There are certain 'ifs' and 'buts' you have to make sure are in there. It’s a lot glossier than ‘Friday Night Lights.’ The first day on '90210' I cried. It was like, ‘I don’t know my lines.’ It was bad. Anyone who was there on my first day, when we shot all the hospital scenes, would have said so. The second day I was fine and I was with it. But the first day was a big shock.

All of your scenes were with Dustin Milligan. Did he help you or try to make you feel more comfortable?
I kept saying, "I’m so sorry. I keep messing up your scene." And he’d be like, "Ah, no problem. We mess them up all the time. Just take your time. Enjoy it." He was really cool.

I'd be remiss not to ask you about what's going on with "Friday Night Lights." How's the waiting for a renewal going?
It’s always a waiting game in TV, but I’m optimistic. I wholeheartedly believe the third season is one of the best things on TV right now. I think it’s amazing. I think we scared some people off in the second season, but I think the third season more than makes up for it.

Anything you can tell us about what happens when "90210" returns next month?
Ethan acts out like a typical guy where he backtracks after making all of these advances on Rhonda. Afterward there’s a fall out between the two of them. But there are also issues with him and Annie. So in the next episode, he’s kind of stuck in between the two girls. It’s a bit of a love triangle. There’s a lot of room for Rhonda to come back. It all ends in a cliffhanger. So there’s space -- if "Friday Night Lights" doesn’t work out.

Well, we don’t want that to happen!
I know! No, it would be nice, though, to go from one set to the other, year-round, right?

-- Denise Martin

Photo: Aimee Teegarden. Credit: Getty Images

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