Redundancy, Inc.

I am really running out of ways to express how awful these are, how ludicrous the plots are, and how despicable the twins are. So, this time, I will just explain the plot and then scream about how dumb it is.

Liz and Jess are both having money woes. Elizabeth wants to buy an expensive warm-up jacket for Todd, and Jessica wants to buy…probably some baby hooker outfit at Lisette’s so she can snag some town drug dealer/serial killer in disguise. Okay, for real, she wants a portable disc player, a birthday present for Sam, and to repaint her Hershey Bar room. They are bemoaning this while having party at their house, where conveniently the only people who are invited the main characters and characters that conveniently fit the plot du jour.

Abruptly, Lila and Amy have to leave because they both have to write letters to people that they have been putting off (on a Friday night).

YES, BECAUSE THAT IS THE NUMBER ONE ABSORBER OF TEENAGER’S TIME! KEEPING UP CORRESPONDENCE! WOW, THANKS FOR REALLY CAPTURING THE STRIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER!

This suddenly gives Jess an idea for how to make money. She will start a letter-writing business! Because so many people always have letters they want to write!

WOW, BRILLIANT IDEA YOU GUYS. BECAUSE THIS IS THE #1 COMPLAINT OF EVERYONE IN THE EARLY NINETIES. TOOOO MANY LETTERS TO WRITE! I MEAN, THE iPHONE WOULD HAVE BEEN INVENTED IN 1994 BUT STEVE JOBS WAS JUST TOOOO BUSY WRITING LETTERS TO WORK ON IT.

Elizabeth actually likes the idea, and they decide to start their own company called Letters R Us. They will take requests from people who need to have letters written, and charge $5 for each letter. Jessica will be in charge of setting up the PO Box for people to send their requests, will organize the requests, and drop off the finished letters at the post office. Elizabeth will write the content of the letters.

REALLY LIZ? REALLY? THAT’S EQUAL WORK? DO YOU REALIZE THAT ALL JESSICA NEEDS TO DO IS ORGANIZE LETTERS? THAT IS BASICALLY STACKING ONE LETTER ON TOP OF THE OTHER, BUT YOU NEED TO TYPE OUT EVERY SINGLE ONE? IF YOU ARE THAT DUMB, YOU DESERVE TO BE TRAMPLED ON MY JESSICA.

They put up ads all over town (ah, these pre-internet stories are so quaint) and they get several letters the first day they check the PO box. They go through some of the requests where people write to them explaining the background info about why they want to send a letter, and what they want the letter to say.

OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IF YOU TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE ALL THAT, THEN WRITE THE FUCKING LETTER YOURSELF! THIS MAKES NO SENSE!

Jessica looks through the letters, and sees one from a girl in high school who is feeling neglected by her boyfriend, and starts to develop feelings for someone who she is becoming friends with, the star of the boys’s basketball team. Omg! Jess realizes that shwe is talking about Todd “Wizzer” Wilkins and the person is Shelley Novak, annoying emo star of the women’s basketball team, who is feeling neglected by her boyfriend Jim, who is spending a lot of time putting the yearbook together. (Save your time, Jim. This school year lasts 15 years). Jessica sees this, and doesn’t want Liz to see it. She figures that Shelly will send the letter, and Todd won’t do anything but just be flattered. So, she wakes up extra early, takes the letter, retypes it and changes Shelley’s name, and puts it back in the pile so Liz won’t get upset.

AS OPPOSED TO JUST THROWING OUT THE LETTER? WOULDN’T THAT HAVE BEEN QUICKER AND EASIER, YOU FUCKING MORON?

Liz happily writes the letter and is clueless. Meanwhile, Liz is spending so much time on the letter writing business to get the jacket for Todd, that she starts neglecting Todd, even though he makes picnic lunches for them with strawberries and brie cheese that he plans on feeding her. Liz gets frustrated and wants to write a letter to Liz saying they want to break up. He requests Letters R Us to write it, and Jessica sees it first, and intercepts changing the name, and Liz ends up writing her own break up letter. OH THE IRONY! Jessica figures Liz will figure it out, and Todd will finally come to his senses. Actually, it’s more like she feels guilty for not telling Liz the truth the first time she figures she’ll just keep up the charade and avoid the outcome.

REALLY JESSICA? YOU DID IT AGAIN? INSTEAD OF JUST TELLING LIZ THE TRUTH, OR CONFRONTING TODD, YOU TAKE THE TIME TO REWRITE THE REQUEST??? AND ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID LIZ??!?!?!

Well, what do you know, Liz and Todd break up, and every time one of them times to explain the mishap, one storms out of the room, prolonging the fighting for at least five more chapters. Finally, Jessica, probably feeling bad, writes a letter to LETTERS R US, posing as Todd, asking for a letter to his girlfriend explaining he is sorry and how much he loves her. Aw, all is well, Todd and Liz make up, and Liz is able to give Todd the jacket. What does Todd do in response?

BUYS LIZ A FUCKING MATCHING JACKET!

Todd: “I wouldn’t think of wearing this unless you let me order a matching one for you. After all, I want everyone to know we’re meant for each other, now and for all time.”

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WILKINS, THEN HOW ABOUT YOU STOP GIVING HER KISSES THAT HAVE NAMES AND STOP FIGHTING AND BREAKING UP AND NOT MATCHING CLOTHES?

These books are not helping my anger management issues.

Ted Kaczynski would agree; Who’s Who?

Image courtesy of The Closet

Maybe Ted Kaczynski would agree with me here…. about how technology is a harm to society (to grossly paraphrase). Because, the use of the internet and cell phones would completely negate the occurrence of this book ever being released. But wait, he would say that the use of any telephones takes away personal freedom. Wait…I don’t know. But I did just have a flash of a super thriller in which someone is sending mail bombs in Sweet Valley and Liz coaxes the person to stop by offeringt to co-write their manifesto and publish it in the Oracle. But anyway.

Let’s all thank god that we were able to have this bestowed on us as a reminder of simpler times when lack of cell phone and internet communication can lead to wacky dating hijinks.

Liz and Jess are at the mall together and they see a new company called Lovestruck Dating Service where “Teens Are Our Specialty.” Ok, stop right there, that is really weird and creepy. Someone wants to make money off of getting teens to hook up. Of course, Jess is interested. She doesn’t want the same kind of guy she always dates (someone with a pulse and the ability to walk on the beach at night) and doesn’t know if she wants a daring, wild type or a cultured sophisticated type. So she’ll fill out two, and invent two alter-egos!

Daniella Fromage seemed to be an intellectual. She liked foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. Her idea of a perfect evening was meaningful conversation in front of a crackling fire, with opera on the stereo.

In other words, seventy-eight years old.

Magenta Galaxy was a wild rocker whose passions were “everything new and hot”. She liked fast cars, loud dance bands [what is that? Like a jam band?], the latest fashons- the wilder the better. Her perfect evening consisted of cruising the hippest music clubs in L.A. and ending up in a coffee shop at four in the morning, eating hamburgers and dancing on the countertop.”

In other words, a bartender at Coyote Ugly or a speed addict.

Two buys answer her ad, Pierre (the sophisiticated one) and Bret S (the rocker type). Jessica models Daniella after Suzanne Hanlon, the uppity bitch who Ken used to date. Suzanne teacher her about vacationing in Italy and famous painters and old art films and gives her Gucci shoes and silk blouses. Magenta is modeled after Dana Larson, who tries to make her listen to punk bands, but of course is weird and bizarre to Jessica, because of course anything mainstream that the twins listen to is really what is cool, and any subculture is used for comedic affect.

Pierre takes her to a French restaurant, where they talk about the French Riviera or Monet paintings or some shit. Brett takes her to the Rock Spot, which plays loud music that Jessica has to pretend to like. Here’s my beef with this book. Jessica pulls of her personas so the guys are convinced, but the guys seem really boring, and it doesn’t seem as if Jessica actually likes them, or has fun. The important thing is that her plan worked, and she is delighted when they both ask her out again. So, apparently, the most important thing here is to trick the boys and have them ask you out, not that you actually like them or enjoy their company. But am I surprised by this by now? Why do I keep having expectations for reasonable, healthy behavior from these books?

Pierre’s date of course makes fun of people who dare to be intellectual. Jessica actually mutters “Viva la differance!” which made me laugh, but of course they go to an artsy film with weird symbols. Jesus, they could have seen an indie film, not The Cremaster Cycle. And of course, the punks at the rock club are just weirdos who thrash around to the music, not people who have an obvious passion for the music or the culture. If it’s not Jamie Peters music, it’s just “weird”.

Jessica can’t have Brett or Pierre call her at home, so she gives them Lila’s number, who will take a message for Jessica. Because Lila doesn’t really give a shit, she mixes things up and now both Magneta and Daniella have dates on the same night. If course, it’s aperfect time for a twin switch! They will all go to the same restaurant but Liz and Jess will meet in the ladies room and switch outfits every fifteen minutes. Liz, of course agrees to this assinine plan. They both wear black leotards and black skirts and just switch up the accessories. Hence we get the outfits depicted on the cover. And for once, we really don’t know who is who! Well done, Jimmy, well done. Well, the plan works…sort of. Elizabeth exposes Pierre as a fake, and Brett tries to tell Jessica something, but she is too busy thinking about her awesome plan to hear what he has to say.

Liz has both guys come over on Saturday afternoon so Jessica can come clean. Coincidentally, Dana and Suzanne also come by to pick up their clothes. ….and if you don’t see this plot twist coming, you’re as dumb as Jerry “Crunch” McAllistar. Turns out Pierre was really a rocker trying to be sophiticated, and Brett was a suave cultured guy trying to be a rocker. Oh the hilarity! So they actually hit it off with Dana and Suzanne, who are more like them, and Jessica has no one. But, just so the ghostwriters can assure us that Jessica never loses, some guy asks for her number while she’s playinbg tennis, because he enjoys her fierceness.

My dear readers, I realize you want me to get on with the outfit descriptions, because that’s really the point of this book.

One of Dana’s outfits: “She was wearing four thick bangles on each arm. They went perfectly with her skintight black pants, black and white checkered shoes, and lime green t-shirt. In one ear she wore a guitar pick dangling from a silver wire.”

Jessica’s first date as Daniella: a cream colored silk blouse, blue linen pants, a red, blue and gold silk scarf, and blue suede flats, and a small red bag. As Michael Kors would say, “too matchy-matchy.” As I would say, “real estate agent.”

Jessica’s first date as Magenta: “tight black bicycle pants, a black tank top, and a red leather jacket she had borrowed from Lila” and bnagle bracelets and guitar pick earrings. And, of course, the infamous blue stripe in her hair. This sounds like my outfot for the first day of fourth grade. (Minus the blue hair and my jacket was a windbreaker, not leather.)

Another outfit for Magenta Galaxy: “a strapless minidress with a necklace of dice and tiddlywinks around her neck. In among the clicking pieces were Scrabble tiles that spelled out ‘Hard Rock’.” Wow, tiddlywinks IS an actual word. It passed my spellcheck. And, isn’t that one of those obnox necklaces that everyone had, that weighed ten pounds because of all the charms?

Yea, and wearing something that says “Hard Rock” does not make you more “rock”. It’s like wearing the band t-shirt to the band you are going to see.

The highlight of the book? The fact that the proper grammar was used for the title.

Choose Your Own (mis)Adventure: Elizabeth Betrayed

Courtesy of The Closet

What is so horrid that has Olivia Davidson clutching her pearls? And why is Olivia wearing pearls? She must have read somewhere that Sylvia Plath stuffed pearls down her throat to kill herself, and it makes her feel more arty or something. And Penny Ayala, wearing a blue and purple ensemble? Those colors are crazy! Leave the mental patient look to Claudia Kishi. I digress, let’s get to it. I don’t even need to tell you what the “correct” answers are.

You are a member of the school paper, and the editor-in-chief is called away to a conference for a week. Do you:
(A) Not worry too much, you have an advisor to help you and no biggie if it gets published a day late. This isn’t USA Today, you know.
(B) Freak out, martyr yourself to the cause to getting the next issue out on the exact deadline, abandon all your friends to work on it, and worry that if the student body doesn’t read the expose on the new lunch items or the PTA agenda, the world will implode in on itself.

You are Olivia. You have a new boyfriend, Rod Sullivan, even though he seems to have no distinguishing personality traits from any other boring vanilla guy at SVH. He talks incessantly about what an amazing writer Elizabeth Wakefield is and how amazing she is, while ignoring your accomplishments founding Sweet Valley’s best (and only) literary magazine. Do you:
(A) Tell him to put it back in his pants, and then dump him. He clearly does not respect you.
(B) Put up with it. It is Liz Wakefield, after all. She can’t help that she is so amazing. Besides, she seems to be your only friend anyway.

You are Liz. Your supposed friend’s new boyfriend keeps showing up everywhere you are and constantly tells you you are amazing and smart and wants to talk about how you are amazing writer. Do you:
(A) Think to talk about it with your friend. She deserves to know what is going on. Also, tell Rod you are uncomfortable because Olivia is your good friend.
(B) Bask in the praise and admiration. After all, you can’t help that people love you! It’s not your fault! It’s the curse of being a Wakefield!

You’re Liz, and you’ve spent a lot of time struggling over being the interim editor, and talking how hard you are working as the interim editor, that you don’t have the time to complete the English assignment for Mr. Collins. Rod happens to be buy and offers to share his notes on the research paper that is due. You use them gratefully. Mr. Collins notices that your essay is similar to a famous art critic and suspends you from the Oracle for plagiarize. You:

(A) take responsibility and realize that you were trying to find an easy way out
(B) are in shock and awe! You are Elizabweth Wakefield! You are an innocent victim! This is all Rod’s fault for offering to help her! Plus, it is also Olivia Davidson’s fault! For not telling Ron not to do it!

You are Olivia, and you feel horrible about the whole situation. Do you:
(A) Stand by your friend (since she seems to be your only one)
(B) Believe your boyfriend because…he is so amazing? And charismatic? Meanwhile, it takes some berating from Jessica Wakefield to finally realize that Rod is dishonest asshole with a hard on for Liz’s writing. Goddamn, where would you be without these Wakefield twins? Well, most likely crushed under a refrigerator.

Well, there is a theme of TRUTH and HONESTY in this book. Lila gets her hair done and gets it dyed purple, and Jessica refuses to tell her that it looks terrible because she thinks it will hurt Lila’s feelings. Meanwhile, they are at the mall, and everyone stares and laughs at Lila, and Lila is mad that Jessica let her leave the house like that. This, my friends, is further proof that these ghostwriters are from some small cave in Antarctica, because since WHEN is purple hair at the mall UNACCEPTABLE? Wasn’t Manic Panic, like, specifically invented to be sold at malls? Yeesh. So Jessica vows to tell the truth to people, at all times, which results in Jessica raising the socipathic notch up to a thousand. her friends hate it, and decide to giver a taste of her own medicine, which is awesome but only lasts about two pages because they realize that, okay, maybe a little lying is ok. Nothing like a little moral relativism to pass the time between football games and Winston’s hot-dog eating contests.

In an even more ludacris C-plot, Mr. Wakefield develops a fetish for meercats. Yes, you read that right.

Because nothing is worse than having divorced parents.

There is a reason that I’m not all that keen on trenching through the books past 100. They text is longer, the covers are glossier, and the stories are blander. Not that they are better, but they lack that cringe-worthy crappy writing and storylines that we’ve come to love so much. It’s almost more of a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where I crave the crap that the older books give me, because I feel lost without them.

Waaaaayyyyyyy back when I read the previous book where Liz and Todd practice being married for real by having a strained, sexless relationship. Just like real marriage! Rim-shot! Meanwhile, Bruce and Liz got total boners out of investigating their parents ancient affair. After everyone in the school, including Todd saw them dry-humping in the Wakefield kitchen, the twins vowed to help Bruce get his parents back together.

The twins show off their prowess as comediennes by having goofy adventures and mishaps as they try different tactics to get Bruce’s parents to call off the divorce. The methods are pretty much as useful and realistic as Wile. E. Coyote’s. Highlights include krazy-gluing the ignition keyholes in their divorce lawyer’s cars so they miss the divorce proceedings, Jessica mailing a love letter, forgetting the stamp, sticking her hand in the mailbox and then getting arrested for it. And the police don’t seem to remember her from the time she witnessed several murders, spiked her twin’s punch thus killing her boyfriend, and almost being killed twice by an evil doppleganger. But, whatevs.

It’s all worth it just for this self-important journal entry from Liz:

Todd can’t understand why I want to help Bruce so much. I’ve explained to him that Bruce is my friend and that I know what he’s going through. Todd acts like he understands, but I know he is still sort of baffled. I guess I am not being completely honest with him. But how can I tell him that I need to know once and for all that Bruce and I are not meant to be with each other? The parallels between my relationship with Bruce and Mom’s relationship with Mr. Patman mskr me uncertain? After everything that has happened, how can i tell him that I am still plagued with doubt?

Because the marriage troubles of two adults is somehow all about her.

Er, maybe that little old incident where Bruce tried to get you drunk and take advantage if you while you had your personality transplant may help you clear up your doubt? Or when Bruce fucked over your friend Regina and drove her to her drug-induced death? Just sayin’.

As we’ve deduced so far, Bruce doesn’t really have any real friends. he mopes around all the time feeling sorry for himself over his parents’ impending divorce. I’m not sure why this is making him emotional- did he ever actually show any love for his parents before? Nevertheless, emo Bruce is almost as sexually alluring as asshole Bruce. His brooding and nasty remarks to the twins totally do it for me. I HATE MYSELF.

The B-story is supposed to be cute, but just further shows what a shallow witch Jessica is. Michael Hampton is new at school, and is shy and awkward, which Jessica reads as cool and a sexy loner. He always manages to be around when Jessica looks like a doofus, so she pretends to be Elizabeth. Michael declares he is in love with Elizabeth and gets total bone over the fact that he meets a girl who is as awkward and clumsy as he is. Elizabeth realizes this and makes him realize it’s Jessica he really wants (of course) and finally he asks Jessica out. Because it is inevitable- any guy will end up asking her out. We find out after the fact that the date was horrible because Michael was so nervous he spilled stuff all over Jessica. Instead of relating to him because she just went through a clumsy phrase herself, she dumps it and has a laugh about it with her friends. She also remarks that his famous movie director father already cast his movie, so there was no need to try to date Michael anyway! Meanwhile, Michael Hampton is crushed and is probably on the verge of suicide. That, or is being all emo with Bruce and/or writing I-hate-love songs with Dana Larson.

I want to make sure I mention that Winston Egbert hosts a cookout on the beach for the junior class. He runs around the party in some stupid apron/chef’s hat combo and yells ‘Boy-gers, get your boy-gers here!” like some New York Street vendor. What a chode. I’ll bet he grows up to be Jeff Dunham.