Yup, the Wakefield twins are the same annoying shrews in France, too

Elizabeth "Wow, France is full of poor schmucks I can help"; Jessica: "Hey France, check out my boobs!"

I really hate when an SVH book exceeds my expectations, but that happens…rarely. Here is the last of the “old school” Super Editions I have yet to caption, and I was avoiding it because I thought I knew the plot. The twins head to France, so I thought that meant Elizabeth getting a job as a famous artiste and meeting men at the Louvre, and Jessica falling in love with a guy in a beret and making out on top of the Eiffel Tower. But shame on me, the girls are actually off to Cannes, not Paris. Way to throw me a curve ball, Francine!

Yea, but the book turned out to be full of rehashed plots from other books. I ask for the thousandth time- do the ghostwriters even READ the other books? Quality control was not big in the 80s I guess.

So we are on another mysterious Spring Break, this is when Liz is between Todd and Jeffrey (not that way, you pervs!) The twins are on a French exchange program, sponsored by Ms. Dalton, who, is nowhere to be seen chaperoning this thing; the twins are by themselves on the plane. I don’t even know where the other students are. Furthermore, the twins are just pawned off onto a single mother who does enough and now has to feed and house these spoiled brats.

Liz is excited to improve on her French and thinks that by the end of the week she will be fluent. Ferme la bouche, Liz. Also? The twins are like, super stoked to make friends on this trip, and the first few days are all up in arms that they don’t have someone to hang out with. Like they can’t possibly fathom being somewhere where not everyone is clamoring to hang out with them.

They are staying with a woman named Avery Glitze, who we hear several times is a slender woman. The fuck? Like it matters? The fam speaks English, but Liz insists on speaking in French. Of course.

Avery has a son named Rene, who at first is awesome, because he hates the twins on site and makes overtly snotty remarks to them all the time.  But as meddler Liz finds out, Rene is ANGRY! He’s HURT! Because his American father abandoned the family. And you know what happens to teens without a heterosexual two parent household…So Rene hates all Americans. Plus, he was swimming at the beach once and his friend drowned so he’s also afraid of the water. Kind of unrelated, but very convenient to the plot. The meaner he is to Liz [he actually invites her to go to lunch with he and his friends, and berades her the whole time. It’s kind of awesome] the more she tries to meddle with him and find out his feelings about his father and Americans. It’s such an unstable inverse relationship between the two.

Jessica decides to take a jog one morning, and meets some guy at his house because he drivesd an expensive car. She agrees to let him take her out and see the town. Oh, I mean “the Riviera”. She finds him boring because he doesn’t want to talk about her all the time. Meanwhile, Liz finds a puppy and it turns out that it belongs to a Countess. The Countess invites Liz over and they chat and she tells liz that she is an intelligent, intriguing young lady. This is the theme of the trip- Liz seeking out people who will kiss her ass. The Countess instroduces Liz to her grandson, Jean-Claude (of COURSE that’s his name) and they go and hang out. J-C is like the French Bruce Patman.

Jessica is bored with Marc but of course gets all hot under the collar for J-C, so she pulls the old twin switcheroo (A-GAIN) and pretends to be Elizabeth and secretly hangs out with J-C behind Elizabeth’s back. Liz thinks J-C dumps her so she spends her time working on Rene. She discovers that Rene’s father writes him every month but Rene throws away the letters. Liz, in her meddliest of meddling, SAVES one of the letters behind Rene’s back and convinces him to read it. BUTT THE FUCK OUT, LIZ. (I couldn’t figure out how to say that in French).

Meanwhile, nerdy Marc stops by the house and Liz figures out what Jessica’s been up. Liz, so devastated by the fact that she hasn’t made ANY friends on the trip, forces Marc to hang out with her. He takes her to a gallery opening, where she talks to the artist about her interpretation of his work, and the artist points out that Liz is a mature, intelligent insightful young lady. Of course.

Liz, of course, is talking to all of these people in perfect, fluent French. Of course.

One night Jessica is late for dinner because she and J-L were picnicking on a small island (where J-C of course brought several types of cheeses to sample) and the sailboat capsized in the storm. Liz makes Rene help save them and they both dive in the water, saving them! I feel like this is the eighth time that one of the twins jumps in water to save someone. Well, at least here , here, here, and here. In fact, Rene suddenly overcomes his fear of swimming, JUST TO SAVE THE WAKEFIELDS! Liz cures his fear! He also then decides that Liz helped him overcome his hatred for his father! Liz is all, “good thing I saved the letter from your father and read it!”

Liz also forgives Jessica for deceiving her, pretending to be her, and stealing her date, and thus enabling her. Audrey Glitze also forgives Jessica by totally disregarding her rules and staying out late. Because she’s a fucking Wakefield.

This all happens in the first three days of their vacation. I shit you not. The book ends with the twins looking forward to the second half of their time in Cannes, now that they all have made friends and established themselves as the center of the world. If the book were to go on, I am sure the French president would have made them dignitaries or something.

Oh, I almost forgot. Audrey’s daughter, Ferney (yea), is staying with the Wakefields. It is an exchange, remember? Ferney is a dead ringer (pun intended) for Tricia Martin. Wait, another one? What, is she a cylon? Of course, Steven, who is always home to hang out with her, total neglects Cara and Cara has a near-meltdown. The exact same thing that happened when that Andrea girl showed. up. DO YOUR HOMEWORK EDITORS. Is that too much to ask. Also, do Cara and Steven fight as much as Liz and Todd? That might be true.

44 thoughts on “Yup, the Wakefield twins are the same annoying shrews in France, too

  1. Rio says:

    It’s time for another round of COUNT THE CLICHÉS!

    1. The twins on an unchaperoned trip. (And another one to France. Read the “Once Upon a Time” trilogy; it’s somewhere in the 100s.)
    2. Ms. Dalton sponsors, chairs, or supervises some SVH event.
    3. Liz’s motivation for going on vacation is to add to her résumé.
    4. The “No fat chicks” rule (re: Avery Glitze. What the fuck kind of name is that? It doesn’t even sound French).
    5. a) Someone’s parents are divorced.
    5. b) They use the divorce to justify acting like a tool.
    6. Jess gets bored upon finding out a guy has interests other than kissing her more passionately than she’s ever been kissed before.
    7. Liz randomly meets and impresses nobility/royalty.
    8. Liz meddles.
    9. Jess pulls a twin switch in order to get closer to a hot guy.
    10. A boat accident.
    11. Liz to the rescue.
    12. The French love cheese.
    13. Someone overcomes some long-held neurosis for the sake of the Wakefields.
    14. Nobody has the balls to call them out on the shit they’ve pulled.
    15. Nothing taking place in realtime.
    16. Steven and Cara have problems over someone who looks like Tricia Martin.

    So, that’s 16 SVH clichés. Is that a record?

  2. Malika says:

    ‘this is when Liz is between Todd and Jeffrey (not that way, you pervs!)’

    Pity, would have been far more interesting. Does any snog action happen between the twins and these countless anodyne male characters?

  3. Becca says:

    I used to love the Special Editions, so I feel like I would have read this one but I don’t remember it at all. It sounds ridiculous. And if I were Cara I would totally dump Steve’s ass. Is he going to ignore her every time someone who looks like Tricia shows up? Time to move on! Sheesh.

    Also, why is it that people in shows are always going to France on exchange trips? I have nothing against the country and would love to go, but this just reminds me of The Facts Of Life special in France and Beverly Hills, 90210, when Donna and Brenda go there.

  4. Janelle says:

    I was thinking about all the special editions the other day when I was talking to my sister. I told her that she’s just like a Sweet Valley book! She went on a three-week study abroad trip to London (during which she met a new boy, dated him briefly, then got back together with her boyfriend), she’s going to spend a couple weeks this summer on our uncle’s horse ranch, and all sorts of other random things that would be (and are) the perfect Sweet Valley Special Editions!

  5. cnester says:

    Becca, I had the same problem. I loved Super Editions, and I in fact KNOW I read this one, but I don’t really remember it. Though Ferney does ring a bell. I want to read it. I think I still have it at my parents house in a box of “books to keep”. Genius.

  6. Amy Slutton says:

    Who was Andrea and which book does the issue with her take place in? For some reason I was under the impression that this whole tihng with Ferney was the first time (of several) that Steve has one of those “Ghost of Tricia Martin” splits from reality. LOL, I love how Steve is totally deluded that Ferney is just like Tricia, and then at the end he finds out she’s a total airhead.

    I was also irritated by the Liz speaking fluently in French thing. Even worse, don’t they try to convince us that Jessica can get by speaking in French too? As if!

  7. Magpie says:

    Amy Slutton, Andrea was a girl in the book “The Ghost of Tricia Martin”. She worked in a boutique in the mall, and Jessica came across her one day while on another of her “charging money to her mother’s card” sprees. I think the truth is that Tricia must have had a really plain face, given that she managed to have two doppelgangers and most people don’t have any.

    Isn’t Rene the one who turns up again later in the werewolf trilogy? Of all the places they could choose to stay in London, the twins end up in the same hostel as him, and OF COURSE he’s never quite gotten over Liz. I think we can add that to Rio’s cliché list: guy falls in love with a Wakefield twin and can never escape the curse.

  8. Jen S. says:

    Cara: Steve, we planned to go on a picnic and underage marry today! Why aren’t you dressed?

    Steve: Sorry, Cars, but Head!Tricia is here and I have to devotedly and frantically pretend she’s my dead girlfreind come to life in order to find the source of “All Along The Watchtower.” See you next week!

    Cara: Whull…maybe I won’t forgive you this time!

    Steve: *Snort* Yeah, sure. Go cry to my pyscho sister–OH WAIT SHE’S IN FRANCE! YOU FAIL!

    Cara: Oh, boo hoo hoo! (runs off)

    I totally remember this one too! Rene calling for ketchup to pour over Liz’s french Breakfast Pancakes had me in stiches.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Wait, Liz meddles? I don’t think I read this one.

    … Seriously, Jessica’s pose on the cover really is incredible. Also?

    This all happens in the first three days of their vacation.

    I have nothing to say except… gaaaaaaaaaah.

  10. h. says:

    didn’t francine pascal live in cannes for a while? or near it? i would not be surprised at all if this is one of the books that she actually had some kind of significant contribution to, which just makes how awful it is that much worse.

  11. ihatewheat says:

    YES! Liz always impresses some sort of royalty with her aplomb and poise. It’s like we have to be constantly reminded if how awesome she is, because the writers know we won’t believe it.

    Wait, Rene comes BACK? As the werewolf?

  12. Anne says:

    Rio, I am in the middle of the Once Upon A Time trilogy, and there is one point where Liz says she’s worried because she’s going to France and no one will speak English.

    a) This is your millionth trip to France… if you don’t know the language by now, you won’t learn it honey… give it up! And aren’t you fluent from *this* book?
    b) Her job is teaching English to French children as an au pair… she is getting paid to speak English… I’m sure someone will know what you’re saying otherwise how would they know how you’re doing at your job?

    Seriously though, why didn’t they make the ghostwriters at least read the synopsis of the other books? Or have a card catalogue of places they’d already been/plots they’d already done?

  13. Rio says:

    “I think we can add that to Rio’s cliché list: guy falls in love with a Wakefield twin and can never escape the curse.”

    Ooh, good point, Magpie. It’s only a matter of time before René flies out to Sweet Valley with a box of frozen pancakes in his carry-on. . . .

  14. Bart_Templeton says:

    No, Rene’s not the Werewolf. He’s just in London.

    WTF, IHW? You haven’t read LOVE AND DEATH IN LONDON YET? Get off yo ass…start reading…

  15. Amber Tan says:

    Another brilliant analysis — thanks, ihatewheat!

    “BUTT THE FUCK OUT, LIZ. (I couldn’t figure out how to say that in French).”

    F*ck you in French is “Je te merde” (juh/tuh/mared). It literally means “I surround you with shit” but sounds much prettier.

    Rio — You are cracking me up with that list. Nicely done! 🙂

    “the other day when I was talking to my sister. I told her that she’s just like a Sweet Valley book”

    Hee! Where I come from them’s fightin’ words, Janelle. Although I am wildly jealous of your sister’s travel itinerary. 😉

    Seconding Bart_Templeton’s request for Love and Death in London…(Bi, BT. How ya been?)

  16. Amber Tan says:

    Oh, and according to Wikipedia, Francine Pascal lives in both New York and the south of France.

    BTW, aren’t French pancakes called crepes? And your snarky caption for the cover is made of win, ihatewheat.

  17. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Actually, “fuck you” in French is “Va te faire foutre” (i.e. “Go fuck yourself”). This came in handy when I was trying to run off creepy French guys that were following me and my friend (like Jess and Liz, we’re both blonde. French dudes LOVE blonde girls because they scream “American.” Ugh).

  18. Amber Tan says:

    Interesting, maybeimamazed02. The person who told me to use “Je te merde” is a native Parisian. Is it possible that different versions of “fuck you” exist by region? If so, cool! 🙂

    Also, the same person told me that instead of calling someone a “bitch” you should refer to said person as “une vache” ( a cow). If you have other variations, please share. 🙂

  19. Rio says:

    One version of “bitch,” which may or may not be exclusive to French Canada, is “chienne” (female dog). “Enfant du chienne” means “son of a bitch.”

  20. TDB says:

    No, nikki, it isn’t just you. I was waiting for someone to comment on how stupid both twins look in the cover art. It does nothing to justify guys fawning over them. Meh…

  21. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Amber Tan–I’ve heard “la chienne” for “bitch” (literally, female dog).

    According to the interwebs:
    “va te faire foutre”–fuck off

    So it looks like there ARE regional “fuck you”‘s. Awesome!

  22. Amy Slutton says:

    “I surround you with shit”! LMAO!

    Calling someone a cow also seems to be quite popular with the Brits. I quite like it myself 😀

  23. Amy Slutton says:

    Oh, also just a bit of probably useless info – some time ago I labored over a SVH timeline just for the hell of it, to try to see what took place when. This Spring Break apparently takes place right after #27 Lovestruck – we know this because at the end of that book, in addition to the little promo for the next book, they’re all like “tune in next month when the Wakefield twins go on a fabulous trip to France”

  24. Lauri says:

    The cover:
    Jess, “Wow, the flying thing that brought us here is going up in the air again.”
    Liz, “OMG, did you know Sweet Valley isn’t the only place with running water, electricity, and a beach? I had no idea.”

  25. Magpie says:

    Adding to the requests for you to recap the werewolf trilogy, ihatewheat! Those books are particularly awesome (in a Sweet Valley kind of way), and I can’t wait to see what your snark will do with them 🙂

    maybeimamazed02 and Amber Tan – another insulting word the French use (I came across it a lot in Paris) is “putain” for women. I think it means whore/bitch. I wish Rene had said that to Liz. She’d probably think it was a complimentary word.

  26. Amber Tan says:

    Gosh, this is incredibly informative group. Thanks for all the new swear words, maybeimamazed02 and Magpie! My co-workers thank you as well. They’ve tired of hearing the same words in English. Or would that be ‘American’? 😉

    Let’s see…I had heard ‘la chienne’ for ‘bitch’ and ‘putain’ for ‘whore’ but ‘putain’ could also be construed as ‘fuck/ damn’. My friend also suggested something along the lines of “Ne t’on pas m’emmerde” — “Don’t bring shit down on me.”

    Alas, most of the foreign language curse words with which I’m familiar are in Italian (my grandmother’s contribution to my education). Do the Wakefields ever visit Italy? Maybe for dual internships at a winery or a leather shoe factory?

    ETA: Oh goody! Here’s another way to say “Fuck off” — Fous-le-camp. c/o http://www.parislogue.com/travel-tips/swearing-in-french-pschitt-never-sounded-so-sweet.html. More dainties at http://www.francetravelguide.com/french-swear-words-my-10-favorites.html.

    And yes, Rene should have called Liz and Jess putains and ciennes. 😉

  27. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Magpie–Indeed, “putain” is “whore” in French. I think it’s “putana” in Italian.

    Multilingual swearing is fun!

  28. Bart_Templeton says:

    Amber Taaaaaaan.

    You’re in trouble, missy.

    If I don’t see you on every thread from here on out, I’m boycotting The DairiBurger.

  29. Katy says:

    This is the first book where, as a child, I realized that they totally made this shit up and didn’t care about continuity. Because this took place at the same junior year spring break as the time they bicycled along the California coast or whatever.

  30. Jenn says:

    Does anyone else wonder why Cara stayed with Steve so long? He was kind of a douche bag to her. Also, why does Tricia get mentioned so much after her death? No one has any love for Regina when she dies!

  31. Rio says:

    “No one has any love for Regina when she dies!”

    Well, Liz does. Bruce, on the other hand, is too busy chasing everything in a skirt, and probably a few things in boxer shorts.

  32. Bart_Templeton says:

    Apparently, I spoke too soon a few threads ago: stirrup pants ARE back, now?

    From around 1992 on, every mall and magazine in America screamed at me the iniquity of the stirrup pants I wore with big shirts—YES, so stone me, already–and Sam and Libbys circa 1990.

    I was told I was beyond the fashion Pale.

    My breach of fashion dignity was treated as though I had committed war crimes.


    Today I saw a fashion-conscious woman in her 20s wearing a tangerine-colored tunic/dress that hit just above the knee, a brand-name designer hobo bag, bangles and drop earrings….and black stirrup leggings brazenly displayed in heeled sandals the same tan/camel color as her skintone.

    My, my, how the haughty have fallen.

  33. Anne says:

    Comment on the whole putain = whore thing. There’s a food in Canada called a poutine (poo-teen), but every once in a while, in French you get someone mispronouncing it. Nothing beats hearing someone order a large whore at a restaurant

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Jessica looks weird holding her coat and laughing into the air. Almost as if she’s flashing someone (below the belt).

  35. Marie says:

    Gosh, I loved this book when I was in, like, middle school. But I remember being totally scandalized because Marc took Jessica to the beach, and all the French women were sunbathing topless, so Jess whipped her top off too! *shocked face*

  36. Erin says:

    Oh my, I had totally forgotten about this one! It made 13-year-old me want to travel to France and meet an attractive Frenchman. Of course, back then I didn’t realize how ridiculous the Wakefields were — I wanted to be one.

  37. eejm says:

    What the hell is in that brochure? Liz is practically salivating over it. If I hadn’t read the book and know better (sadly), I’d think it was some sort of dossier on the helpless, pathetic, ugly, fat French girl whose life she needs to change in the next week.

    Count me in as being pissed about Elizabeth and Jessica being fluent after TWO YEARS of high school French. Imagine how dejected I felt after five years of middle/high school Spanish and I couldn’t say anything more profound than, “Camarero, dos Coca-Colas por favor!”

  38. Amber Tan says:

    Sorry, Bart_Templeton! I’ve been busy IRL but will try to improve my attendance here at the ‘Burger. 🙂

    “Today I saw a fashion-conscious woman in her 20s wearing a tangerine-colored tunic/dress that hit just above the knee, a brand-name designer hobo bag, bangles and drop earrings….and black stirrup leggings brazenly displayed in heeled sandals the same tan/camel color as her skintone.”

    Eeewww…maybe the poor dear was trying out for What Not To Wear?

    “Nothing beats hearing someone order a large whore at a restaurant”.

    HAHAHAHAHA! Does the that come with pommes frites, Anne? 😉

  39. Amber Tan says:

    “Why does Tricia get mentioned so much after her death? No one has any love for Regina when she dies!”

    Well, Tricia was Steve “The Tool” Wakefield’s One True Love who tragically died from leukemia. Her poor fashion sense was obvs a complicating factor.

    But Regina was a coke-head which is like the 9th Circle of Hell in SV so it’s OK to ignore/ forget about her.

    Speaking of Regina Morrow, how is your kitty, ihatewheat?

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