You could cut the sexual tension between Todd and Ken with a knife, or #114 “V” for Victory

I am doing this after watching Bring It On: In It to Win It on ABC Family this weekend. It was SO Sweet Valley High. Although it was very difficult for me to tell all the blond girls apart. The VERY blond girl was Jessica, and the other blond from California was so Eizabeth. And they stole the plot from this book. Although, I guess there is a finite amount of cheerleader plots one can think of. Anyway, it was often. Not only was there a cheer-off, but there was an honest-to-god cheer rumble. No joke.

Previously, Jessica quit the squad because Heather Mallone was a beotch, and then Jessica formed her own quad but then the squads combined and they won the state championships after most of the girls learned backflips within a span of a week. And Todd and Ken found out that Liz had an affair with Ken, so none of the four are speaking to each other.

So SVH has a huge sendoff for the team, which included the whole school at yet another pep rally with the marching band (SVH has a marching band?) and all the MEN’S sports teams sending them off. There is a big parade to lead them out to their bus where they will head to Yosemite for the competition. Who is driving the bus? Why aren’t they going with a chaperone? These kids are minors. They could have easily had Mr. Collins. I am sure he would love to be in the middle of a cheerleading competition. They also painted the bus. So they own it? The lowly copy editor who reviewed this book never caught these things?

So they get to the competition and are sharing a bunk with a team from Alabama, which you know talk in exaggerated accents and walk around with haystalks in their mouths. Because they’re not from California. There’s tons of combinations and cheerleading terminology are thrown around, and I’m convinced half of it is fake. Jess and Heath fight about what cheers they should do, because apparently at a National competition, you can do that last minute. Reason #345 that this teams needs ADULT SUPERVISION.

Heather’s old team is there, and the new captain Marissa James is an ass. Heather seems threatened by her and suddenly starts fucking up during the competition. Obvs because Marissa is blackmailing her to do so. So we are left with what Heather is trying to hide. I was thinking a coke habit or a lesbian love affair. Jessica boots her off the team (again, can you do this at a National Competition?) but Liz is all in a huff and gets sexually aroused about follow rules exactly, so she makes her put Heather on the squad. It turns out Heather cheated on a math test to be a part of the squad. Yea, that’s the big secret. The gals come through in the end and come in second overall.

Now that that is out of the way, on to the GOOD STUFF. Ken and Todd approach each other in the hallway and start to have words with each other. They get into a physical altercation, and Bruce walks by and says “hey, the Wakefield twins are not worth it”. Bruce, stop making me want to make out with you. So Todd and Ken jump him. There’s a lot of boys rolling around on each other, and it’s mega-gay. So the boys make up and realize what they really want are their girlfriends back. You know what this calls for..ROAD TRIP!

They head out and plan to surprise the girls at Yosemite. They pass Winston on the way and drag him along, although he really doesn’t want to go. They get there and there are no boys allowed inside. I am surprised that Jessica agreed to go. So as they turn around to drive back the six hours they came, they HAPPEN to stumble upon a cheerleading uniform store. What are the odds? So they decide to get costumes and go in drag to get into the competition.

Okay, Which commences my biggest pet peeves ever– men dressing in drag and acting “feminine” for comedy. I am not talking about an actual drag show, but taking supposed “manly men” and making them act “gay” or “girly” with the punchline being acting this way is so stupid and ridiculous because the irony being that “real” men don’t do this. When men act “like women” they usually act really dumb, shallow, week and stupid, which is pretty sexist. I am not sure if I am explaining it well. but the end result is some massive transphobia and homophobia. Like men who act “feminine” are ones to be laughed at. Also, several people are killed and tortured and ridiculed each year fro acting or appearing different from the gender they are “supposed” to act like, so no, it’s not really that funny to me.

However, this is the most personality that Ken has shown-ever. Even when he was blind for a while. I just really need to quote this verbatim.

“Ken!” called Todd. “Can I borrow your blue eyeshadow?”

“Coming!” Ken called in a falsetto voice. A moment later he sashayed into the bathroom like a runway model, adorned in a classic cheerleader costume. “How do I look, dah-lings?” Ken drawled, his hands on his hips. He pirouetted slowly, pausing to exhibit the cheerleading costume from a variety of angles…Ken whirled in a circle, displaying the flare of his skirt.

Todd put his fingers to his lips and let out an approving whistle.

“Hubba hubba!” said Winston, twisting around to watch the show.

“I always know you’d make a great girl,” said Todd with a grin.

Here’s your eyeshadow, honey,” said Ken, batting his eyelashes at Todd, “but make sure to return it.”

Ugh. See what I mean? Furthermore, I think that Ken and Todd have been dying to do this and flirt with each other, but haven’t had an excuse.

So they sneak into the competition and apparently all the officials are idiots and believe they are women, but everyone else knows that they are men and think it’s a big joke. Jessica gets onstage and makes them do a routine, which includes a lot of “gay” type dancing and “flitting around” which makes me ill. I can’t even talk about it. By being onstage, the guys realize that Marissa’s team slicked the stage with baby oil so SVH would fuck up. Thus, her team is disqualified.

Finally, I HAVE to share all the dumb cheerleading stuff. Could the ghostwriter PLEASE do some research?

There are some triple herkies, Y-split, a “funky monkey” routine where they wear sunglasses and try to act like gangsta rappers, a cheer where they spell “R-O-W-D-I-E” (isn’t it”rowdy”), of course the twin factor “mirror-imaging” .

This was one of the most unbelievable plots ever. And that is saying a lot.

Grade: A

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37 thoughts on “You could cut the sexual tension between Todd and Ken with a knife, or #114 “V” for Victory

  1. Kat says:

    The cheerleading terminology sounds suspiciously made up. I was a cheerleader in high school, but not an expert of anything but still… A Herikie is a jump where one leg is bent and one is straight (and it’s not very hard or impressive as far as jumps go). I don’t know what the fuck a “triple herkie” would be though besides three in a row, which is just kind of lame. No idea what a “Y-slip” is either, but maybe my squad (which wasn’t really that good) just never did them.
    I do remember the various spellings of “rowdie/rowdy” in certain chants too, no idea what that’s about. For the record the “y” variation was more common.

  2. Magpie says:

    I think the moment where the evil baddie Reno squad sweep the stage with their pompoms (in order to smear the baby oil everywhere) ranks as one of my favourite SV moments. It’s got to be one of the worst denouements in the entire series! Also, are we seriously expected to believe that Jessica wouldn’t be averse to a little cheating herself if it got her through a maths exam?

    The weirdest thing is in the Senior Year series, when the squad is given a COACH. Who actually steps in when the bitchiness gets out of hand. Too bad she wasn’t there when Annie was suicidal!

  3. Melody_Grey says:

    A marching band? At SVH? I bet it was just the Droids in costume. I remember vague parts of this book like the Todd/Bruce/Ken fight and the guys stopping by the cheerleading uniform store. Wasn’t there something like the skirts had the elastic removed and the squad had to perform in red Lycra catsuits? And a mirror image routine?

  4. Amber Tan says:

    “Bring It On: In It to Win It on ABC Family this weekend….Not only was there a cheer-off, but there was an honest-to-god cheer rumble.”

    BWAH, ihate wheat! There was indeed a cheer rumble. I too was sucked into the back-to-back cheerleader movie conundrum this past weekend. ABC not only played the original “Bring It On” but followed it with “Bring It On: All or Nothing” and the coup-de -grace “Bring It On: In It To Win It”. Because poorly written comedy-dramas about shallow bitches is dandy family-style entertainment, doncha know. BTW, has anyone else noticed that there seems to be a plethora of cheerleading-related TV shows on lately?

    Although the whole thing “Bring It On” movie marathon was a major time suck, it was (marginally) better than cleaning the garage. However, the biggest surprise came from my SO, the man actually sat down and watched this unholy cr@p with me. I had expected some well-earned razzing but instead we had a lovely time snarking away together…made me think of everyone here at the dairiburger. 🙂

    “a team from Alabama, which you know talk in exaggerated accents and walk around with haystalks in their mouths. Because they’re not from California.”

    Were they wearing shoes? ‘Cause y’all know folks who live in the South jist cain’t uh-ferd shoooz ’til after hawg-butcherin’ time. [sarcasm]

    “When men act “like women” they usually act really dumb, shallow, week and stupid, which is pretty sexist.”

    Agreed — this sh*t is totally sexist and I’m glad to see you calling the idiotic ghostwriters on it. Welcome to the f’in patriarchy.

    “I am not sure if I am explaining it well but the end result is some massive transphobia and homophobia.”

    You are indeed explaining it well, ihatewheat. The whole thing sounds absolutely vomit-inducing, which is par for the course in SV.

    Re: the cover — Those hideous uniforms with mismatched pompoms — yuck! BTW, is the cheerleader standing on the shoulders of the two cheerleaders stage left supposed to be Todd? If not, that gal’s sporting a serious mustache. Never mind the spanky pants — better bring on the hot wax, stat!

  5. Abby says:

    Melody– after Heather came clean to her team about the math scandal (god, who would care?) and told Marissa she wasn’t going to keep screwing up on purpose, Marissa and Co. started pranking them by ruining their skirts, wiping the floor with baby oil, and locking them in their cabin.

    Ihatewheat- I can’t believe you didn’t mention the most ludicrous part of this book. After the girls are locked in the cabin, they get out by making a pyramid and reaching a ceiling window (uh…okay). The pyramid they make…is a 10 person pyramid, one right on top of the other. So, 4 girls are STANDING on the bottom supporting 6 girls standing on top of them…and the girl at the top is roughly 15-20 feet off the ground. I’m no cheerleading expert, but I think most pyramids are a little heavier on the bottom than that.

  6. Lemur says:

    Blue eye shadow … of course it was blue. It was the 80s. And WTF is up with spelling “rowdy” wrong? Freakin’ douchenozzles.

  7. Ellie says:

    I’m pretty sure everyone from Alabama really is that dumb.

    I do agree, however, that the men in drag routine is unbelievably offensive. Can we please discuss the odds of encountering a cheerleading uniform store en route from SoCal to Yosemite National Park? There can’t really even be stores that sell nothing but cheerleading uniform.
    If such a thing does exist, I think I have to kill myself right now. I simply can’t live in a world in which that store stays in business.

  8. Sarah C. says:

    Straight men dressing up as women=superhomoerotic.

    I bet “the flare of his skirt” wasn’t all Ken displayed when he “whirled in a circle.”

    I don’t get the single-gender competition. Are male cheerleaders non-existent in California? They have them in Bring It On. Being a male cheerleader would be a great way for Bruce to touch something besides boobs.

    Also, why is Liz on this trip? Did she become a cheerleader in the later books?

  9. Abby says:

    In Francine’s world, male cheerleaders are non existent. The guys are too busy playing basketball and football.

    Lemur- I am assuming the spelling of ROWDIE was for rhyming reasons- the letter Y does not rhyme with “rowdy”, and E does. I believe the cheer actually goes ” R-O-W-D-I-E, that’s the way we spell Rowdy!”

  10. Shelby says:

    Ellie – I agree that the men in drag scenario is offensive, but so is your assumption that people from the South are all stupid. Just sayin.

  11. Kelly says:

    I totally remember reading this trilogy! Why would they be sharing a bus with people from Alabama??? It’s not like they picked them up on the way to Florida or something. So the Alabama team flew to Sweet Valley so that they could ride in a bus to Yosemite??

    “However, this is the most personality that Ken has shown-ever. Even when he was blind for a while. ” LOL!

    And you’re right, the only thing that would make this better would be Mr. Collins as the coach/chaperone.

  12. Ariel says:

    Both my high school and my college had male cheerleaders, and no one thought anything of it! Other than thinking the guys’ backflips were awesome. And on the college squad, they were literally the foundation of the team: if you’re going to do a lot of lifts, you need people with massive upper body strength at the base.

    And get this: they wore PANTS. Or LONG SHORTS in the warmer months. Nothing swishy about them at all.

    And Yosemite? For a cheer competition? I only know from Yosemite for the hiking/climbing. Is it also an athletic haven?

  13. patience says:

    There should have been a companion series: Sweet Valley Band.

    So, was there a scene where the guys shave their legs or was no one surprised at a bunch of cheerleaders with hairy legs? Maybe they are swimmers.

  14. annaloren says:

    “When men act “like women” they usually act really dumb, shallow, week and stupid, which is pretty sexist. I am not sure if I am explaining it well. but the end result is some massive transphobia and homophobia. Like men who act “feminine” are ones to be laughed at. Also, several people are killed and tortured and ridiculed each year fro acting or appearing different from the gender they are “supposed” to act like, so no, it’s not really that funny to me.”

    you explained it fine, and i want to marry you for saying it.

  15. Abby says:

    wow, I guess I need to find more work to do…but to answer your question, Patience, the guys do shave their legs, after much grumbling.

    And Kelly- the Alabama girls shared a cabin with SVH, not the bus. They were already in Yosemite when Jessica and crew showed up.

    And Ariel- evidently, in addition to being a perfect size 6, the girls all had the upper body strength of body builders because they all did a fair amount of lifting. Must have been all those pushups Heather made them do in book #112.

  16. Jade Wu's Toe Shoe says:

    I had given up on SVH by this point, and it doesn’t sound like I missed much – yet I read the recaps and snicker anyhow.

    Incidentally, ihatewheat . . . I can’t wait for ROSA’S LIE. I want you to spare not one bit of snark on it! Because I remember getting teary-eyed when she claimed her grandmother was the maid – and again when she trashed the cake! Horrid little witch! And then I got on the phone and called my grandmother (“Hi, Grandmaman. I love you. I love everything you cook for us. Are you coming over today so I can hug you?”)

  17. Magenta Galaxy says:

    You know what else cheer competitions usually have? FANS!!! I have never much cared for cheerleading, but have caught the occasional snippet of them on ESPN, and my high school went to competitions all the time. And at all those things, they have parents, fans, students, etc. But at this national competition? Nothing! That’s…creepy!

  18. snappleaddict says:

    First off, thanks for the linkage to Tales of a Former Walking Highlighter! I love your blog!

    Okay, enough of my little fangirl moment. Don’t tell me that a cheerleading store doesn’t sell male uniforms. Also, I find it hard to believe that Elizabeth could become a cheerleader so fast. Oh wait, I forgot that she’s perfect, just like her pants size.

  19. Lemur says:

    Abby said: “I believe the cheer actually goes ‘ R-O-W-D-I-E, that’s the way we spell Rowdy!’”

    See, and I was thinking it was the “Let’s get a little bit rowdy! R-O-W-D-Y!” cheer. But yes, now that all of those repressed memories of grade school and high school cheerleaders and my extreme loathing for them has broke through my carefully prepared defenses, I can see how that can work.

  20. Amber Tan says:

    “Don’t tell me that a cheerleading store doesn’t sell male uniforms.”

    Snappleaddict — Of course real uniform stores sell male cheerleading unforms but we’re not dealing with reality here. After re-reading Ellie’s comment, I think that her snark is re: the likelihood of a store that sells *only* cheerleading uniforms existing right outside of Yosemite National Park. Having visited Yosemite on multiple occasions, I can vouch for the fact that no such store exists anywhere near the park. Outdoor gear suppliers, yes, but not a single uniform store to be found in the immediate environs of the park — unless you count camo. 😉 Besides, no uniform store could ever survive by selling *only* cheerleading uniforms. The demographic’s too limited. Plus I distinctly remember seeing many different types of uniforms for sale at the stores where we bought our school clothes. [former Catholic school girl]

    And the uniforms pictured on the cover look like remnants at a retired nightclub entertainer’s yard sale. They’re practically screaming “3rd rate magician’s assistant”.

    “You know what else cheer competitions usually have? FANS!!! I have never much cared for cheerleading, but have caught the occasional snippet of them on ESPN.”

    Good point, Magenta Galaxy. In the original Bring It On, the younger brother of the squad captain for the Toros wears a T-Shirt that says “Cheerleading = Death” to the national finals. I soooo want that shirt to wear the next time we go to see my niece compete. 😉

  21. Magenta Galaxy says:

    ^ I totally forgot about that shirt! It’s just bizarre, even for SV, that they’d have a national competition, which in real life is shown on ESPN, where (a) no boys allowed (which was the deal, and why the guys got female uniforms), and (b) didn’t allow spectators. But, I suppose if you take those 2 things away, you don’t have the hilarious guys-in-skirts plot.

  22. Amber Tan says:

    Or there’s always this T-shirt for the fellas: http://www.cafepress.com/cp/moredetails.aspx?showBleed=false&ProductNo=185845020&colorNo=28&pr=F

    “(a) no boys allowed (which was the deal, and why the guys got female uniforms), and (b) didn’t allow spectators.”

    Yeah, Magenta Galaxy, it was really weird in an almost creepy way. In fact, when I first read this book, I kept getting this bizarre idea that the whole competition was a set up and all the squad members were gonna get abducted or killed…or something. What a disappointment. 😉

  23. sari says:

    this = AMAZING!

    i was not an avid SVH reader when i was younger, but your hilarious recaps are inspiring me to go to the local thrift stores and pick some up.

  24. Onnie says:

    this was my fav one ever..and i am so embarrassed to say this but – i re-read this one at least once a year. i dont know why i do it, but i do…

  25. Steph says:

    The cheerleading terminology in the book was atrocious at best. Herkies are real, but I’ve never heard of a triple herky. I can’t imagine going to a cheerleading competition and pulling out the same R-O-W-D-I-E cheer that the pee wee cheerleaders do.

    /embarrassed for being a competitive cheerleader in the past

  26. Cara Walker says:

    Hehe.. I’m an Aussie (where Cheerleading is not as popular as it is in the US), but even I thought that most of the cheerleading jumps and stunts were made up! From watching Bring It On, I know what a herkie is, but I could never figure out what a triple herkie was. As a sad ass at the time, I decided to google it… and found nothing! You would have thought that the GW that wrote the cheerleading madness series could at least have done a little research and find out the names and definitions of cheerleading moves – it is seriously not that difficult!

    My biggest gripe, however, is Liz suddenly being able to perform cheerleading stunts as well as Jess in less than a week, despite the fact she barely exercises in general, let alone perform gymnastics! Never understood the lack of male cheerleaders (in every state, too!) in this book. But I guess that would have wrecked the Todd, Ken and Winston crashing the comp storyline… Gotta love how Francine/GW ignores these important problems just because it gets in the way of the plot…

    As far as the Reno squad storyline goes – the final comp where Marissa and co sweep the floors with their pompoms to spread the baby oil cracks me up! One of my fave uber- shit SV moments, along with the Werewolf series and Return of the Evil Twin (especially the funeral).

  27. Random SVU fan says:

    I love this entire blog, but I HAD to post on this entry, because I love, love, love how you called out this book on the transphobia and homophobia.

    <3!

    Also, I totally wanted to make out with Winston. Just sayin’.

    ~Random bisexual trans guy who once owned way too many SVU books

  28. Deitra says:

    This is one of the few cheerleader plot YA books I read as teen .One was where a bunch of cheerleaders get carjacked by some deranged couple(?) the other was the Fear Street miniseries” “The First Evil”,”The Second Evil” and “The Third Evil”,I just wish Sarah Fear made an appearance in this book .

  29. Ruchita says:

    Hey I’d like to thankyou for this post.. I am not a really great fan of SVH, but i have read a few… including pom-pom wars.. I searched in a lot of book stores but couldn’t find the next instalment – v for victory (i always wanted to know what happened after the todd-liz-ken-jessie thing…!) This post helped me curb my curiousity… thanks 🙂

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