[Cover from The Closet.]
The halls of SVH are all abuzz with the new personal ads in The Oracle. Oh, how archaic! People place personal ads and then people write letters to an anonymous mailbox. High-schoolers nowadays can place an ad on craigslist and be banging a thirty year old within the hour. Anyway, for some reason, Lynne Henry is organizing the whole thing, and she doesn’t even work for the paper. I don’t know why. One smooch from Guy Chesney and she goes from frumptress to Mary Tyler Moore.
Liz suggests that Penny place an ad and Penny gets all stand-offish, and Liz decides to pity her because Penny doesn’t have a boyfriend, and Liz is all, well, I’m awesome and I have a hot boyfriend so I should help her. And Liz seriously won’t leave it alone, and writes endless entries in her journal about poor, pathetic, unlovable Penny. And practically puts a gun to her head to write an ad. And here is where we get to know the real Penny. No longer is she the secondary character that dumps big deadlines on Liz’s shoulders, but she’s someone who appears to be a bitch on the outside, because deep down, she just wants to be loved! Even Jeffrey thinks Liz is being annoying about it.
“Not really,” she said slowly. “Just someone I wish I could help, that’s all. ”
He chuckled. “The usual.”
Seriously, the gross thing about Penny is that she’s into school and writing and ambitious. My god, what a troll! This will all resolve itself when she goes off to college and meets a hot literature grad student but not having a date to the dance in Sweet Valley is akin to leprosy, so let’s all pity Penny for a moment, shall we?
Penny places an ad that tries a bit too hard, but is kind of funny and gets in equally funny response. Little does she know that who answered her ad was Neil Fremount, who hangs out with super dick Kirk Anderson. And we know Kirk is a dick because he drives a Trans Am. They answer the ad as Jamie, as a goof. They make plans to meet at the mall so they can see the gal show up and see what she looks like. And hence we get one of the first covers from Jimmy where the characters are not posing for a Sears portrait studio. That’s Penny, in the mall bookstore, annoyed that Jamie is late, and wearing her red headband to let him know that it is her.
The guys show up, laugh that it is Penny and tell Neil that she will make him write term papers for her. Seriously though? That seems way more exciting than stuffing my face with cheeseburgers and going to the Beach Disco every five minutes. Meanwhile, it started as a joke, but Neil has really started to feel something! And he’s gone out with lots of pretty girls (ahem, Jessica) but finds them boring. He likes Penny’s sass and brains.
Penny gets upset and Neil finally stands up to his dick friends and he and Penny meet at the Dairi Burger for some cutesy flirting. All is resolved. And Penny has a date to the dance! Phew! I thought she’s have to spend all weekend at home studying for the SATs. Thank god she was saved for that.
Meanwhile, Jessica and Lila have a wager over who can attract the best guy with their personal ad. Jessica meets one guy, Paulo, who she can’t even deal with because he’s overweight. Jessica makes up a story about how she has a deadly disease (Mono? MS?) and gets headaches. Paulo, the bumbling fat idiot thinks she’s really brave. Then she meets a totally hot college guy who wants to know all about her. Turns out it’s the same guy that Lila has met as well. Turns out that he is a student doing a sociology project on girls who place personal ads. So Jessica is made an ass of, which was nice. Why in the holy hell are college students answering ads placed in a high school newspaper?
Here is Jessica’s ad:
Are you devastatingly handsome? Are romantic and wild? Do you like girls who aren’t afraid of danger? Are you the type of guy who goes for what he wants? Are you in college? If you answered yes to all the above questions, drop me a line. I’ve been looking for you.
That sounds like an open invitation for someone to kidnap her and feed her frozen pancakes.