This website relates the background setting of Less Than Zero to the TV programme 90210, they are both set in the Beverly Hill area, and both consist of the main characters living in large houses with pools, and air conditioning. However as the website says, this is where the similarities of the two end. Although the characters of 90210 have their problems and situations that can be seen as similar to Less Than Zero, for example drug abuse, struggling actors, and no money difficulties. It is easy to see that Less Than Zero depicts a much darker side of the wealthy youth of the West coast.
The differences between these two can be shown by the fact that Less Than Zero has a much more sombre approach, rather than the characters having drug addictions that they deal with and overcome like in 90210. The characters instead see drugs as a recreational pass-time, as though there is nothing wrong with it, despite the people O.D on a seemingly regular basis.
Less Than Zero epitomizes what may be viewed as being the worst aspects of youth culture: casual sex, with apparently anyone they feel like. Recreational drugs, easily available to anyone who wants them, and access to alcohol underage, as well as vast amounts of money readily available to spend at will, and barley any adult supervision. The lifestyle of the characters in Bret Easton Ellis’ book depicts the idea of the crazy wild-child, run-away young adults that are often associated with the scene of Beverly Hills.
Lesss Than Zero is clearly an exaggeration of what life in the area of California was like during the 1980's for young adults, as practically every single person that Clay meets throughout the story is blonde, the majority is also attractive and tanned. The characters also seem to have no money issues and will happily spend vast amounts on drugs, partying and alcohol with no worries, and seemingly noincome. The only character who has money issues is Julian, who easily borrows some money off of Clay, and then has to pay off his debts.
The website states that it views the darker and more difficult situations that the characters in Less Than Zero experience, such as rape, drug-abuse, over dosing and death as "a metaphor for the youth that gets exactly what they want, going one step too far."