I'm always interested when people in the mainstream are first exposed to body piercing… in part because it reflects the popularity of the lifestyle, and in part because when body modification cracks into the mainstream a lot of people who wouldn't have otherwise have a “eureka! that's for me!” type moment and decide they want to do it as well.
Anyway, I was watching Beverly Hills 90210, Episode 4.03 (“Little Fish” if you want to find it on YouTube or something — 2:58 in that clip by the way, not that the quality is very good) yesterday — yeah, laugh it up — and at the start of the episode, where they're in line signing up for classes at university, there's a guy that appears to have on lobe stretched to about 3/4″, as well as a labret piercing. This episode first aired September 22nd, 1993.
Can anyone confirm this or get me a higher quality shot for the BME encyclopedia? Or maybe even I'll get lucky and someone knows who this is so I can find out if the piercings are real, fake, or imagined? And is this the earliest TV body piercing reference in truly mainstream pop culture? It's got to be close… The earliest movie I can think of is Silence of the Lambs (1991).