For the record, I am twenty-four. Coincidentally this is the age Luke Perry was when he began his role as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. His character was supposed to be sixteen. America's perception of age was radically changed once this sexy "teenager" began entering our homes on a weekly basis. The Luke Perry Effect explains why many twenty-something-year-olds are routinely mistaken for children. If you work with children, this can be a major problem. I was once hall passed on my way to the bathroom. Not cool Mr. Hall Monitor. No wonder you don't have any friends.
Luke Perry is not the only actor to play a role almost a decade younger than his actually age. His co-star Gabrielle Carteris, better known as Andrea Zuckerman, was twenty-nine when the series started. Stockard Channing played high school student Rizzo in Grease when she was thirty-three. The T-Birds look old enough to have illegitimate grandchildren running around Rydell High. And let's remember that the twenty-something-year-old cast of One Tree Hill got fed up with basketball championships and suddenly the time continuum when into hyperdrive and everyone was out of college and back in Tree Hill. The strange thing is that we recognize and accept that these other characters are played by people who aren't really teenagers, but no one seems to question why Dylan had crows feet before he even took the SAT. (Granted he took it later than most of his friends, but what do you expect from a guy who had to visit his father in prison on Saturdays to discuss literature?)
What was it about Luke Perry as Dylan McKay? Maybe it was the pompadour that never seemed to move no matter how fast he drove his Porsche over to the Walshes'.