You’ve got to make your own kind of music, sing your own special song

Is making fun of Olivia's receding hairline too easy?

Olivia’s an artist. Did you know that? She’s super artsy dresser too. And she’s an original. And she usually has paint splattered on her clothes. Because she’s an artist.
But for real you guys. Olivia has a studio in the garage that her parents set up for her. Which is pretty cool. Even the Kishis didn’t do that for Claudia. Also, why is it that the free spirits are always artists? I’m a mid-level manager in higher education administration, and I consider myself a free spirit. Aren’t I? Where’s my book? Liv is starting to experiment with Abstract Expressionism. You guys, I took 4 art history courses in college so I’m so the expert on this stuff.

Which, way to go ghost writers, for looking in an encyclopedia (that’s the written version of Wikipedia for those of you born after 1986) for things to include for her artwork. She’s trying to experiment with stuff but is nervous that other people won’t get it. Which, I’m just sayin’, is a valid concern, because I am sure in Sweet Valley, people’s houses are filled with pre-Raphaellite Ophelias and Van Goh’s “Starry Night”.

Olivia is also taking classes at the local college and meets fellow artist James. They never actually attend any classes, but that is where they meet. James, oh James. James is totally that douchebag artist who lives for nothing but his art. And lives in squalor because he loves his ART! Olivia has a total girlboner for James, but James is more interested in fondling his charcoal brushes than Olivia’s peasant skirts.

James shows Olivia his shiity artist loft, with his super high ceilings, concrete floors and cupboard of ramen noodles. James is SUCH the archetypal hipster in that he lives in a loft in a seedy part of town to gain “cred” while simultaneously gentrifying the area, and then acting all holier-than-though about it. Olivia gets her hemp underwear in a bunch because she is starting to think that she may not be making a lot of money as an artist and is she willing to give up everything to be a slave to her art like James? Surprisingly, James doesn’t make a move. James reminds me of Miles from Work of Art on Bravo, who is a total douche. (Are you watching that? It’s similar to Project Runway, except instead of Heidi’s German accent, we get China Chow’s Brooklyn accent and just as much crazy personalities).

Oh, James, that good looking guy that you just keep hanging on to every word and get excited to see him even if he treats you like shit every time but you think this is the time he will realize how awesome you are and you hate yourself for coming back for more because you consider yourself a total feminist and this isn’t you but you are just mesmerized by his skinny build and his tats and his ability to talk about deep things even though he can’t do simple things like do his dishes or his laundry and oh my god he is such an asshole but oh my god he is really hot. Not like I have experience with anyone like that or anything….

Coincidentally, because it helps the plot along, Olivia’s cousin Emily shows up for a visit because she wants to look at colleges in California. Emily is a professional college-applier, and it is all she talks about and thinks about. SERIOUSLY, WHY DOES E VERY CHARACTER HAVE ONE DIMENSIONAL IDENTITIES? Why can’t she like art AND college? Like parties AND be on the school newspaper. Ugh. ALSO, if Emily is really into getting into good schools, shouldn’t she be someone who is occupied with grades and extra-curriculars because that helps college? Her only activity is actually applying to colleges. A color coordinated Filofax organizing brochures and applications doesn’t impress the Ivies. I don’t get how this shit gets written.

Olivia doesn’t really like Emily and vice versa. Emily comes with Olivia to meet James and although she acts like a giant tool and annoyed that they taqlk about art, James’ douchey artist in peril charms works on Emily. So much that she borrows some of Olivia’s clothes and goes to see James on her own, trying to convince him that she is artier than he thinks. I don’t know folks, I just report what I read.

Olivia decides to quit art to be more practical and gets a job at her mother’s department store and starts hanging out with the owner’s son, who actually buys clothes for her. Emily reports to James that Olivia has given up art, and James suddenly realizes that Olivia probably won’t fall for his douchebag artist persona ANYMORE, and finally admits that he loves her. Olivia realizes that she should continue with art, because it’s what she loves! Besides, as we all know, she won’t live past high school anyway, so might as well makes some splatter drawings! Yes, I went there. Plus, her mother was an artist and gave up on her dream, and now she’s a measly manager at a dept store, and she doesn’t want Olivia to make a mistake. Yay, all is resolved! Who’s up for a triple bacon cheeseburger and lard fries at the DB?

Of course, it wouldn’t be an SV book if we didn’t include the inhaling and exhaling of the Wakefield twins. Because it is Christmastime again, they also gets jobs at Simpson’s Department Store. Liz does such a good job she gets medals for department store working, and Jessica is all set on nailing the son of the owner. She has never met him, but is convinced that once they meet he will ask her out- of course not even stopping to consider if she will like him, but he does have money and status, of course. The intense fixation on this just feeds into Jessica’s diagnosis of a Socipathic Narcassist, and is not at all charming, which I am sure the writers thought they were doing. So her plotline is the wacky hijinks that happen as she tries to be in the same place with him. Imagine her surprise when the guy chooses Olivia over her. Zing!

Oh yes. Important to mention that this is the book where Olivia wears a record in her hair. Prompting Lila to snark: “She thinks this is Greenwhich Village or something”. Oh, to remember the time when Greenwhich Village was actually Greenwhich Village. New Yorkers, are you with me?

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36 thoughts on “You’ve got to make your own kind of music, sing your own special song

  1. Kristin says:

    Wasn’t Olivia the character who is basically a zombie (dies in Senior Year, comes back for University?) I love your description of James as Miles – dead-on. I’m kind of loving that show – interesting to see what the process is for me, as a total non-artist with no clue how anything gets created ever.

    I just wrote a fanfic that I thought fans of this page might enjoy, it’s a horror-ish take on the BSC. http://crushable.com/other-stuff/fan-fiction-forever-13/

  2. Whallie says:

    LMFAO! James’ “lifestyle”. I too met a dude that was just like James. Instead of noodles he drank coffee all day to stay full. Um…yeah, I was gone in about 5 nanoseconds.

    But I forgot. Doesn’t Liv go back to art but also focuses on doing something with it so she doesn’t end up like J one day? I thought she talked about being a teacher or something…

  3. maybeimamazed02 says:

    This cracked my shit up. A few things:

    1) Even as a law student, I was called a “free spirit.”
    2) Yeah, the Emily caricature is beyond ridic. Even in Gossip Girl (books and show), not known for its deep characterization, Blair is involved in a lot of things BECAUSE it will make her look good to colleges.
    3) In high school, I was big into theatre, choir and dance–all the artsy-fartsy shit my crappy town offered–and I was also big on getting good grades so I could go away to school. So ridic how it’s one or the other here.
    4) I too have liked the hot assholes, but usually for me, they’re guys in bands.
    5) I HATE HATE HATE the whole “live for your art or you’re a sellout” cliche. Most people I know (myself included) who create stuff in some way, have office or restaurant gigs because, you know, we like having health insurance and paying our rent. The whole starving-artist romanticism is soooo stupid–my theory is you can actually create better art if you’re not worrying about money all the time.

    Bang-up job as usual, IHW!

    • Whallie says:

      The crazy thing is that art supplies are expensive. So how does this iron deficient noodle head even get the cash to pay $12.00 for Robert Smith Red?

  4. Jen S says:

    Okay, who Aryaned Olivia’s hair on the cover? She’s supposed to have super curly hair!

    Ohhh, James. Olivia, James is Gay. Yes, the homosexual agenda has entered SV and is intent on you taking it out for overpriced vegan lunches at that one vegan cafe with the shitty food and horrendous service, because you have filthy blood money from The Man in your purse that you snatched from the emaciated hands of orphans, so the least you can do is spend it on food for the suffering Artiste, who needs enough fuel to finish his masterpiece, “Love Is A Cruel Illusion”, done in oil and ketchup on canvas and paper grocery bags. Don’t worry, he may sleep with you someday, if you buy him enough vodka. Or at least half heartedly make out with you and pass out and pin your arm down without ever getting it up. Not that I have experience with this, or anything.

    And medals for customer service? Jesus, I may not be down with the artist posing crap but those damn capitalist pigs will do anything rather than give you a raise. I don’t blame Jessica for saying screw this noise and heading for the source.

  5. Mary Anne Bruno says:

    Believe it or not, I always thought Olivia was black. But the light skinned black with European features (the only way she would be friends with Elizabeth and not be considered a charity case for Elizabeth to work on).
    And I thought she was dating Roger Patman. Maybe she started dating someone else and I was too distracted by the amazingness that is the Wakefields and missed it?

    • Whallie says:

      @MellzBellz: Sounds like Lady Gaga read this book too. But I’d choose the record over a huge dead crustacean on my head any day.

  6. BartTempleton says:

    Wait, I don’t get it. Does she end up with the hipster or with the department store fellow? I know it has to be either one or the other, because this is Sweet Valley, where girls cannot exist independently of their relationships with boys.

    ” Which, I’m just sayin’, is a valid concern, because I am sure in Sweet Valley, people’s houses are filled with pre-Raphaellite Ophelias and Van Goh’s ‘Starry Night.’ ”

    Burrrrrrn. Good line.

    • EitherOar says:

      I *almost* love the burn. I mean, wouldn’t pre-Raphaelite art and Van Gogh be a little too edgy for Sweet Valley? I picture Monet, but only ones with colors that match the Spanish tile, or for the truly adventurous, a repro of David’s painting of Napoleon crowning Josephine, but with Liz as Josephine…

      • BartTempleton says:

        Is that the one where she’s tipping forward like “I’m a Little Teapot” with her hands clasped in prayer? Ha! The smugness and fake humility of the stance fits Elizabeth to a tee.

        Correct on the pastel Monet, but I also get the feeling that Nalice–especially Alice–would be the sort of nervously “moderate/centrist” left-leaners who would have fleshy, ostentatious nudes (Rubens, etc) in their house just so they could tell their similar friends: “We have no fear of the naked human form.” (See: every minority-character SVH plot, where the ghostwriters go out of their way to point out how Nalice HAVE NO PROBLEM, NOPE, entertaining or accepting Liz’s Black/Hispanic/Asian human “projects”).

        These are all the delicious details that it would take one of us here to inject into a satiric movie version of SVH. My fear with Diablo Cody’s alleged forthcoming version (apart from my horror of it being played “straight,” as in a regular teen flick) is that its humor will be of the broadest, most obvious sort. basically, that it would be a send-up of generic YA fiction tropes (the popular girl, the jock, etec) and not a humorous excavation of these particular characters whom we all know and love.

  7. BartTempleton says:

    I also like the concept of “quit art.”

    How does one “quit art?”

    Isn’t that like “quitting” Love, Truth, Beauty, Song?

    • Vanessa Saxton says:

      I read it! It’s utter and complete crap! I am so disappointed. But I was excited to see the sun streaked blonde hair, aqua eyes, perfect body, Jessica sounding like she’s scheming reference (in so many words). I sent the link to IHW. I hope her next blog post mentions something about the craptasticness!

      • Nora Dalton says:

        Wow. It’s pretty craptacular. The writing in the SVH books seems so much better in comparison. Still will rush out to the book store when it comes out though.

      • Janet Howell says:

        Holy cow. Thanks for the link. Amusing.

        Orgasms have no place in the Sweet Valley world. It’s *gasp* impossible.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow. I read Fran’s mini bio on the site. Who woulda thunk that she was a theater lover and poker enthusiast?

        Why am I so obssessed with these fuckin’ books? They contributed to my screwed up childhood…

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