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.

Advertisements

“Bruce Patman’s Advice for Dating”

Actual product sold at the fund raiser*.

I find it interesting, since the last post about Lila’s Story, all the love for Lila coming through. I’m not excluding myself from this, you all know my love for Lila. In fact, so much that I role play Lila (halp!) I also know a good chunk of us would consider giving it up for Bruce Patman in the backseat of 1BruCE1 (again, myself included, god help me).

The question is, even today, as adult, smart, strong, independent women, we still find Lila and Bruce to be the “favorites.” Why is that? Shouldn’t we, looking back, realize that the characters we should like the most are, say, Olivia Davidson? She’s smart, artsy, independent and likes to go against the crowd? What about Liz, who is loyal to her friends, likes to write, and is passionate about issues? We still find them irritating. Yet we find a gal who is essentially a spoiled brat who gets her rocks off putting down others. (Sorry Lila, you know it’s true girl)

It makes sense for us as pre-teens to love them because as pre-teens we are told through peers and media that money and looks are what matters. True, that message is still around us all the time, but as adults, shouldn’t we have a better time seeing through that? I think it is that Francine (aka ghostwriters) did such a good job of consciously AND unconsciously validating the characteristics of the rich, good looking characters and making them the protagonists, and having the other characters always ruining their fun. So much to the point that even today, we as adults rereading them root for the Bruces and the Lilas of the story.

I’m not calling anyone else about that, because I consider myself one of these people. I find myself cheering when Lila makes a snarky comment or devises an evil plan and rolling my eyes whenever Liz brings up some issue about basic human goodwill. If all of us smart women of today are buying into that, what hope was there for us as awkward tweens?

Anyway, moving on to Bruce. I gotta say, I wanted more insight into Bruce’s mind. How does he feel about all the women he’s (supposedly) conquested? Does he keep a Barney Stinson-esque list? What are his techniques? How often does he look at himself naked in the mirror and talk to his cock? Does he even have any male friends? Does he actually talk to anyone in the senior class? Sorry, none of that. We get a watered down narrative about Bruce’s temper tantrums and his rich white man problems.

I want to take a swim in his chin cleft.

Furthermore, Bruce doesn’t even get the point of view narrative through the whole thing! The twins even get some screentime! And, as we are reminded for the gazillionth time, Roger has just moved in after he found out he is a Patman, and he is having a hard time adjusting to the new lifestyle. Ok, we get it. Just eat some caviar and enjoy it already. He is happy that Bruce is finally acting like a friend. The ice queen Marie Patman still hates him. Man, she is a piece of work.

Strangley, we get a Claudia Kishi-esque description of Bruce’s outfit:

Bruce was wearing a navy linen sports coat and an imported silk tie. The creases in his gray trousers looked as if they’d been cut with a knife. He had even slicked his hair back with a dab of gel. Bruce looked fantastic- his dark, chiseled good looks shown off to their best advantage.

Grandpa Patman is paying them all a visit, who started the big Patman fortune (I thought they were old money?) Gramps prides Bruce in being Bruce, and chides Roger for having his shirt untucked and not caring about the family business. Like Bruce does? He spends most of his time stroking 1BRUCE1, pressing pleats into his chinos and lightly brushing girls’ breasts.

A typical Friday night for Bruce.

Gramps proposes a contest between the two boys- he gives them two thousand dollars each, and gives them four weeks to see who can make the most profit off of it. What then ensues is some of the dumbest hijinks ever. Hold that thought.

Meanwhile, SVH has dopted project SAVE, and one member of each of the grades is selected to the committee. I’ll give you three guesses who the junior class rep is. Tracy Atkins is the senior class rep, and Bruce is getting a hard on for her because she just got a new haircut that according to him, makes her look like “a supermodel”. Bruce is obsessed with her, despite her disinterest in him. She’s got no personality, kind of a hybrid of Liz and pe-makeover Lynne Henry. Oh no wait, her “special needs” little brother goes to the Nicholson school that project SAVE is fund raising for. Apparently, the school needs five thousand dollars to stay open another year. Jeez. What sort of crap school is this? Taught out of a cardboard box? That pays for crayons, maybe.

Also, Regina is never mentioned by Bruce, nor is Bruce’s feelings about her death. Supposedly it happened during that school year, but either he is totally over it or the ghostwriters didn’t want to bother with that extremely important plot point. Also, he interacts with Liz, who finds him slightly annoying. Did he not remember the coma-date-rape incident? Tracy Atkins asks Liz for advice about Bruce, and Liz is all, “if you like him go for it!” What a friend.

Bruce has a 1BRUCE1 fender-bender and needs it fixed, so that’s $500. Then he decides to buy $100 concert tix to surprise Tracy with. Who declines him after Bruce shows up at her house unannounced expecting her to drop everything and go with him. The nerve of that girl! Bruce can hardly believe it either. Then Bruce plays poker with some guys from the country club, and loses seven hundred dollars. Roger meanwhile, is unsuccessfully at the stock market. Yes, this sounds riveting, doesn’t it?

Liz and her saint-in-training Tracy think of the perfect fund raising idea: Harbor Days! For two Saturdays, vendors will set up booths in the park and give half the profits to the charity. Any SVH student can also set up a booth. That is….not really a good fund raising idea. Plus, the four students seem to pull this together in about three days with no adult help. Chya right. Bruce first decides that he wants to sell copies of his black book of all hot girls’ phone numbers. For real, he really thinks this is a good idea. Luckily Tracy come up with the idea that Bruce should sell “Bruce Patman’s advice for Dating” books. So, he writes the book in like a day and they create copies and are ready to go. Here’s a sample:

What do you say to a girl you’ve just met who you want to go out with? A. You’re gorgeous, B. I dive a Porsche. Want a Ride? C. You’re in for the best night of your life now that you’ve met me. D. All of the above.

Roger decides to sell white caps that he will custom make for people. What? Who will buy those? Since when is he a good artist? Oh, it was the eighties. Bruce, being Bruce, sabotages his paint and trades the waterproof paint for water soluble paint and gets a kid to start throwing water balloons on them. Ruh-roh! For the second Harbor Days, Roger sells enlarged photographs taken by Jim, that guy who started the photography club. Bruce decides to sell homeade ice cream. Yes, it is that ridiculous. Bruce has a plan to once again sabotage Roger’s photo paper, but doesn’t at the last minute. That makes him think he is a hero.

Tracy finds out about Bruce’s antics and breaks it off with him, and Bruce gets a bit of a guilt complex and ends up just giving all his money to the SAVE charity. And, fior that matter, why is SAVE always capitalized? Is it an acronym? So, at his parents coming-home-from-vacation-surprise-party-that-for-some-reason-SVH-students-were-invited-to, Grandpa Patman wants to declare a winner of the contest. Turns out Roger also gave his profits to charity, so they are both broke. Grandpa Patman realizes the error of his ways and apologizes for the contest. Hank Patman also says that Patman industries will be the benefactor of the Nicholson school and it will never have to close. Seriously, he could have decided that sooner so the Project SAVE committee wouldn’t have to go through all the trouble. A tie is declared. Does that mean they will both run the company? Neither? Never really resolved. Are we surprised? Nope.

I wish this never existed. It didn’t do anything to redeem Bruce, and it didn’t to anything to make us hate Bruce, in a good way. Only when he is a secondary character in other books do we get his one-eyebrow-raised, smarmy remarks that we love so much. Here he seemed- developmentally challenged. And not just immature in the way he deals with girls, but seriously challenged socially and mentally. He is completely clueless on picking up the social cues of others, and not just because he was too confident. But because he just…couldn’t. And aside from a brief fling with Tracy and a poker game with someone he knew somewhat, no friends were mentioned. Really, Bruce? Is that why you try to fill that void in your soul with fast cars and innocent women? We can’t expect the ghostwriters to be that deep.

*Cover done by my amazing friend John who has an uncanny talent for creating fake album/book covers.

The school needs another event to celebrate the Wakefields like I need a hole in the head

Gah, how much do you want to throw a punch? That smug smile. Those awful bangs.

And seriously, was this even necessary? Does SVH really need more of something that gives Jessica attention? I think Francine is taking the concept of “popular” too literally. From what I remember, the popular kids in my school weren’t necessarily the most well-liked. Many girls hated them, others feared them, but they had some sort of control over the others. So I doubt that every student is so excited for Jessica to be in the spotlight of some dumb talk show. The plot is too dumb and trite to actually explain, so I’ll give you the main players.

ERIC PARKER: An alumn of SVH who is now a famous talk show host. For some reason, he wants to film his show back at his alma matter, and wants to find the “all-American, well rounded college student” for his segment on “Growing Up in America.” Yea, battling werewolves and murdered boyfriends makes you All-American. Good going, Parker.

JESSICA: Attention whore, of course doesn’t just WANT to win, but thinks she DESERVES to win. She is concerned because she doesn’t have many extra-curricular activities. Apparently being a sociopathic cock tease doesn’t translate well on a resume. So she decides to write an article for The Oracle so she can put “journalist” on her application. She writes a story about all the bad dates she’s been on, but changes the guys’ names. Guess who Reginald Rich is? Also, according to Jessica, he kisses like a dead jellyfish. Last I checked, jellyfish couldn’t untie your bikini top.

BRUCE: Is all pissy that Jessica spread the rumor about him. He vows to get even with her. People have been teasing him about the “dead jellyfish” comment all week. To make himself feel better, he rubs himself in baby oil and rolls around in a big pile of money, then cries himself to sleep while masturbating to a picture of himself.

LILA: Gets super-psycho-competitive with Jessica because Lila is picked as the alternate. Lies on her application and makes it seem like she does tons of activities and isn’t rich. Tries to sabotage Jessica by making her miss the interview. Teams up with Bruce to set Jessica up by driving her out to an expensive store and leaving her there, and framing her for shoplifting. Bruce “puts in a call” to the store pretending to be police warning the store of a shoplifter that fits Jessica’s description. This “frenemy” thing with Jessica is…actually quite sick.

ELIZABETH: Ugh. Makes it all about her. Gets all pissy when Penny Ayala loves Jessica’s article right away and feels like she never gets the attention as a reporter. Decides she needs to try more activities so she and Enid become junior park rangers (laaaaaaaaaaaame). Of course, the head ranger recognizes Liz’s tremendous sense of maturity and responsibility and makes her head junior ranger. Liz gets overwhelmed and decides to quit, only AFTER SHE GETS THE VALIDATION. So she makes it all about proving she’s the best, and leaves the park rangers high and dry. When Jessica doesn’t make the interview, she decides to go on as Jessica.

Lila is surprised to see that “Jessica” made it back from being held in jail, and IT NEVER OCCURS TO HER THAT IT MAY BE LIZ. Jessica is fine with Liz appearing on the show, and actually doesn’t care that she couldn’t appear because she just enjoys the attention it gets her. And Elizabeth still gets to feel all holier-than-thou because she can still think the whole tv show thing is immature, but meanwhile got to be on the show. Where have we seen that before?

And what parents or friends REALLY can’t tell twins apart? Well, I guess these are the same people who though crazy Margo was the twins.

The Morning After…Pill that I need to take to expunge this horrid mess from my memory.

Yup, I went there. Because this was SVH horribleness at its…best. So, it seems that the Pascal empire probably brought in some consultants because their series was getting dated and the kids wanted something more! They needed more scandal, more serial killers, more cheating! So then they stopped everything, whipped out the super special “A Night to Remember” with the Jungle Prom. And then the covers got more modern and the birth of the minseries happened. Apparently Liz and Jess were vying to be the Queen on the Jungle Prom, and Jessica wanted to humiliate Elizabeth, so she spikes her punch. However, Liz runs off with Sam and kills him. You know, the usual teen fare.

Well, barely anything happens plot-wise, because they gotta stretch it out over six books. We meet Margo, who begins to run from her foster home on Long Island (repreSENT!) and the raspy voice in her head tells her to head to Southern California. Meanwhile, she leaves her foster sister in a kerosene-soaked kitchen and tells her to stick a knife in the toaster. Wow, that’s great. Didn’t the ghosties worry that someone would imitate it? Like when Marylin Manson told kids to bring guns to school?

Apparently at the dance, there was a big showdown with Big Mesa. And apparently no one reads anything because we have the same plotline later on, with no reference to a previous school rivalry brawl. During the fight, Bruce falls for Pamela Robertson, but apparently she is the biggest slut since…Bruce. Double standard much? That’s Brucie on the left bottom of the cover watching Pammy being dropped off for a night of sexin’.

And obvs the brunette is Lila, we know this because of the preppy scarf over the sweater look. She is running from Nathan Pritchard, the school counselor who tried to take advantage of her at the dance. Only he didn’t really, she just thought that up. Stupid Lila! Doesn’t she know rape is usually something women cry when they are confused? Lila goes totally emo and George doesn’t know what to do so he calls Lila’s heathen mother, who ran off to Paris with her boyf a while back.

And then we have an Olivia storyline, which is even painful to have to go over again. She is taking art classes at a special arts and farts and craft school, and some guy wants to buy her painting for a thousand bucks. He tricks her into thinking she will be making a speech at an arts foundation, but really its his house and he tells her to trick her there to be alone with her. Instead of not trusting him, she falls in lurve because he’s rich. In Sweet Valley world, stalking is a huge turn-on, bonus points if its a rich guy (ain’t that right, Nicholas?)

And then there is the sob story with the twins. Yikes. Can’t even bring myself to summarize. Better to relive some of the craptastic quotes.

[Bruce on the rivalry with Big Mesa] For several weeks tension had been building between the two schools. A few weiners like Todd Wilkins had tried to diffuse the situation. Yup, he called Todd a weiner. Good insult, Bruce.

[Alice talking about her latest interior degin job] “You’ll love the plans for the new wing of the city building,” Alice Wakefield was saying as she drove toward the school. “We’re going with a Spanish-style look, with lots of sunlight.” Why wouldn’t she go with Spanish-style? It’s the only style she knows.

Amy was used to talking with people about their problems. She was a volunteer on the Project Youth Hotline after school. But it was different when the people in trouble were your own best friends, Amy had discovered. I bring this up because I can’t fucking stand how after like two hours of hotline work, Amy has become a saint. And seriously, are there that many people calling the hotline? And once people realize they are talking to Amy, wouldn’t they hang the fuck up?

[Bruce again, on the prowl for Pamela] He stepped out of the Porsche, patted the hood protectively, and walked up to two girls who wee passing by. Normally he wouldn’t bother with girls as plain as these two- the heavyset one had thick glasses, and her friend was mousy looking. Good lord, she has glasses! How do they even let her out of the house? Also, note they go to Big Mesa, because SVH would never let these girls roam their halls.

“I was flipping the channels on the TV late last night and I saw the strangest program” Mr. Wakefield began…”It’s a brand new show. Has anyone heard of Hunks?” Wow, totally early 90s reference, probably written because of the popularity of Studs. Wait a minute, why the fuck was Ned watching this? This leads into a future plot where everyone feels bad for Nicholas Morrow and gets him on the show. I can’t wait to read that plotline. Except that I can.

[Margo at a job interview] She smiled broadly. “You know how active teenage boys are!” What I know about teenage boys could curl your hair, lady, Margo bragged silently. Wait, hold up! Now Margo is a slutty McSlutterson? That was never mentioned again. Of course, Margo the serial killer is a non-virgin, because girls who have sex are evil. And if you have sex before the age of 18 in Sweet Valley, your fate is apparently to be pushed out of a window and murdered.

[Winston talking to Bruce] “I heard you were chasing after some new woman- did you finally catch her? That would explain all the extreme happiness”. “Either that or the Dow Jones is up,” Maria said dryly. Sorry, I just had to include this one because it is a rare occasion that one of these alleged teens says something remotely witty.

[When the police finally show up to question Elizabeth about the accident]. “Elizabeth, we’re trying to be patient with you, but you’ve already been given a lot more breaks than you know about. Normally, in a case like this, we would have pulled you in weeks ago.””Frankly, I’ve been wondering why you didn’t,” Ned Wakefield admitted. AAARRRRGGHHHHH! The twins are so fucking perfect that even the police give them special treatment? Questioning my ass, Elizabeth would have been HANDCUFFED AND DRAGGED AWAY at the scene of the crime. AND Jessica hides the fact that she spiked the drink, and lets Elizabeth go through the whole trial? And Jessica isn’t arrested for withholding that? Ugh. Why am I even surprised?

Jessica fights for gender equity, or #86, Jessica Against Bruce

I truly believe that there was a meeting room where all the ghostwriters came together to throw ideas around. One late night, when they were all depressed and realizing that this was the only job their English lit degree from Harvard would get them, they started playing a drinking game. They had to go around the table and think of the most absurd storyline ever. On a dare, once of them submitted a manuscript and bam, it later lined the shelves of B. Dalton as glorius #86.

Bruce is super-bored and complains that there is nothing to do in Sweet Valley. And by that he means there are no more girls to forcibly dry hump or formerly poor cousins to demean. The Scooby gang goads him into actually doing something to make SV more interesting….

….meanwhile, the whole school has an assembly. Probably because one of the Wakefields deficated in the shape of an angel and they want to show it to everyone. Nope, it’s because the “International Federation of Teachers” is sending a delegation to the school for the next three days, to observe their school. They are going to choose a host committee and Elizabeth practically pees her pants with desire to be on the committee. Why are teachers traveling from all over the world to observe them? Do you think this is anyway connected to the superindendent’s super secret rendevouz with Soviet educators?

Meanwhile, Jessica is mooning over the fact that her boyf Sam is away for a bit. Apprently he is at a month-long class for high school seniors interested in environmental science, somewhere in Colorado. So he missed a month of regular school? How is that allowed? Why am I questioning? Better get used to missing him, Jess. In a few books we all know that Liz is gonna off him. Anyhoo…

Bruce shows up in school the next day with a leather jacket with an X on the back. How did he get those made so quick? Ronnie Edwards (‘member him? He used to date Enid a while back. Now THAT was a crazy thing to do.) is also in it. Everyone confronts them at lunchtime and Bruce declares it’s a club for REAL men. Jessica implies that that means they play GI Joes in the backyard. Heh, that was actually funny, Jess.

Jessica asks why girls can’t join, and what begins is the beginning of a perfect setup if this was to somehow be made into a movie musical, and I am crossing my fingers like crazy that it does. Maybe Bruce and Jess can break out into some verses of that Broadway ditty “Anything you can do, I can do better” . It’s all girls suck, blah blah. Bruce is quite the misogynist. Finally, Bruce DARES Jess to join and see if she can handle it. Jessica, drunk of the attention this is getting her, agrees. She is such a pioneer for the women’s movement, that Jess!

So it turns out the club is based on dares and someone thinks of a dare, and they spin a wheel to see who does it, and if they don’t do the dare, they get another spoke on the wheel and increase their chances. I am going to ruin the plot now and tell you that Bruce rigs the wheel so it always lands on Jess. Jessica’s first dare is to drive to the bottom of Bruce’s driveway with no headlights on. Snore. The club seems to be a wayward home for minor characters. some football player named Tad and some guy Michael Harris.

Meanwhile, Liz is chosen as the LEAD delegate for the international teachers, and when they arrive, it’s very Goblet of Fire-y. Each one embodies a total stereotype of their country. I think the teacher from France does a mime routine.

Liz is all strung up about Club X, mostly because she is acared how it will look to the international teachers. So, she calls this Project X hotline, that is used in every book since the one where Tom went gay. Yea, because having Amy Slutton on the other end of the line is going to help.

“I don’t want to butt into her life, but I want her to stop doing what’s she’s doing. Does that make sense?”

“I know what you mean. Does it involve drugs or alcohol? Because if it does, you should butt in, whether you want to or not.”

Talk about a non-judgemental hotline.

So, Club X’s dares include:

  • diving into a public pool after it is closed
  • cutting the electricity in the school
  • putting glue in the padlocks of the lockers
  • smoking a cigarette in the principal’s office
  • hotwiring a car (Jess ends up stealing Bruce’s Porsche)
  • Walking along train tracks on a bridge (Stand By Me called and wants their plot back)

Meanwhile, Jess wants out but doesn’t want to give Bruce satisfaction. So she ALSO calls Project Youth. They are unhelpful. Surprise.

Jess re-rigs the wheel o’ dares so it will land on Bruce so she can give him the ULTIMATE dare. Are you ready for this? So much buildup. They are having another school assembly for the international teachers and during the assembly, Bruce needs to rerig the PA system so the radio station KZZP plays in the auditorium. What’s so bad about KZZP? They play HARD ROCK music! OMG! The horror! Apparently it is banned in some parts of SV. I didn’t know this was also Footloose.

Of course Jess is torn because Liz will be speaking during the assembly and Liz doesn’t want to be embarassed (i.e., doesn’t want the spotlight on her to be taken away). It still happens, and Bruce is caught and they all get called into the principal’s office for all their stunts. And they get dention for one week. GROW A SPINE, SVH!

Ma and Pa Wakefield grow a tiny spine and also ground Jessica for a week. That’s nothing. Although Sam is coming home that night and she can’t see him. So she convinces pushover Liz to switch places so she can sneak out and see him. She comes clean to him about what she’s been doing and all is well and they smooch.

Grade: B

Kind of a letdown. I thought the dares would be…well, a bit more daring. I can think of dares that would shake them to the core. How about Jessica step inside a synagogue? Or they send Jessica to downtown LA?

Let’s but Bruce under the microscope, shall we? He doesn’t really seem to have any real friends. Maybe his cold, mean exterior is for protection. I am sure he is incredibly insecure. It makes me feel bad for him, and maybe even want to make out with him for little bit. Is that wrong? I am a bad feminist.

Regina’s overdose, or #40 On the Edge

Let’s talk about this cover. Regina? Quite pretty in a “normal” kind of way. Also? Not looking like model material. And the pic of Bruce- is that a headshot? I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some made up. Also, thanks to Merrie who pointed out that Bruce looks like a young John Barrowman.

Good call. Also, Torchwood is pretty good.

Bruce, reverting back t0 his old ways, is fooling around with Amy Sutton. They are working on a project together about teen drug use. (Foreshadowing! Dun Dun Dunnnn…) Regina doesn’t know and Liz decides not to tell her. You could say that’s asinine of Liz, but I have been in the same situation and it is hard to be the bearer of the bad news. (Did I just defend Liz?)

So the Wakefields have a BBQ and Amy and Bruce fool around and everybody knows it is going on and Regina feels like an idiot. She gets mad at Liz for not telling her and basically tells Bruce to shove it. And he does, right up Amy Sutton.

Regina ends up hanging out with Justin Belson, who is a troublemaker with bad grades, who also hangs out with Molly Hecht and some badass named Jan. Honestly, these people actually seem interesting. She is invited to a party at Jan’s house, which will be WILD because Buzz the drug dealer will be there. And he doesn’t get his name from a bumblebee, if you know what I’m saying.Everyone warns Regina that he is bad news. God, they are so judgmental! Like BRUCE is so perfect?

So Bruce and Amy meet with Amy’s cousin Mimi about their drug project. I get the impression that Mimi is a social worker or someone who works in drug rehabilitation, but apparently she’s all that ans a police detective or something. She’s all, “we are hearing about a drug deal that is going to go down at a party with some guy named Buzz”. The fuck? Like there is only ONE drug dealer in all of Sweet Valley?

So Nicholas Morrow gets word about the party and jumps in his car and speeds towards the party. He gets stopped by cops because he was doing, I think, a hundred in a thirty-mile-an-hour zone and doesn’t have his license. He’s all “but there is a teenagers having a party! We must stop them!” Instead of cuffing him right then, the cops are all “we MUST get to that party! You’re right!”My head is in my hands.

Meanwhile, the party is in full swing. it seems WAY more fun that any party that Lila has with her fucking finger sandwiches and dumb decorations. Molly is peeved at Regina for hanging out with Justin, who is her ex-boyf and Regina actually feels bad because she knows the feeling. She wants to come clean with Molly, but big mean Jan decides to give her a hard time, goading her on to snort the cocaine. Regina does like three lines in a row, and I am no drug addict, but I know that is kind of a lot. She goes into cardiac arrest just as the cops and Nicholas burst in.

Okay the Scooby Gang are hanging out at Lila’s when they hear the news. Of course, Regina is kind of conscious for a bit and the first person she asks for is Liz. Because of course, the Wakefields are in the center of EVERYONE’s world, and if course you don’t want to walk into the light without getting one last glimpse of their sun-streaked hair!

Anyway, it’s too late. Regina is dunzo. It seems she suffered from a heart murmur and the cocaine gave her a heart attack. Ok, so, if the ghostwriters wanted to send a “drugs are bad” message, they totally fucked up. It comes across as, “if you are going to drugs, make sure you don’t have a rare congenital heart disease. Otherwise, go for it. Especially if you are ugly.”

Liz gets a letter that Regina wrote to her before she went to the party and mailed it. Who MAILS letters to their friends? Oh yea, this is before cell phones and emails. What would SVH look like with that technology? It forgives liz for everything and practically anoints sainthood on her for being a good friend.

Then, as you know, Justin and Molly become outcasts and of course Liz saves the fucking day.

I find it HIGHLY unlikely that Bruce or Lila have never done coke before.

Also, why is Enid and Liz invited to Lila’s? Don’t they all hate each other?

Speaking of Enid, she is all “I know what it’s like to run with the bad crowd”. Oh yea, like that one time you got a parking ticket? Shut up.

Grade: A-

The one where the Swiss invent the miracle cure for deafness, or #18 Head Over Heels

Sorry, going old school for this one. Regina and Bruce are in lurrrrve. You know how we know they are in lurve? They sit in Bruce’s Porsche and murmur sweet nothings to each other. Except Regina needs to be looking right at Bruce, since she lipreads, so I don’t know if and how that interferes with the cuddling. Anyway, Bruce is a changed man. No more date raping girls with amnesia or anything like that. In fact, Regina is the first girl he tells he loves, and Bruce is the first boy that Regina has kissed. For a second, and I mean a SECOND, it kind of softened my heart a little.

Lila is still totes jealous of Regina, because there is only room for one rich brunette. Apparently there is room for two size six blondes, thank god. Jessica is still bitter Bruce dumped her ass and is basically a selfish heartless cunt, so she doesn’t want to see anyone happy, so she really wants them to break up. Jessica and Lila make a bet about their longevity- and the loser has to write the other person’s history term paper. AND it’s 15 pages long. Remember is high school when anything over 5 pages was like writing a novel? Of course this is the mid-80s so no computers, so maybe it’s handwritten. Anyway, why I am fixated on that?

Meanwhile, SVH is holding a carnival (along with dances, they have picnics, carnivals and talent shows ever week) and oh guess who is chairing the committee. Yes, fucking Liz Wakefield. The committee consists of what I guess is the only members of the junior class, so Liz, Todd, Enid, Ken Olivia and Roger, and Todd. Todd acts like a tool at all the meetings and makes bad puns. Winston won’t shut up and keeps trying too hard. Mr. Collins is advising, duh. Apparently you have to run a campaign to be president of the Centennial Committee. [Did I dream it, or is there another book in which they have a Centennial Carnival? Anyone? Anyone?] Ken wants to job, put is peeved when Bruce signs up to run also. Bruce is actually doing it as a surprise fo Regina (yea, cuz that’s the way to woo a high school girl).

Meanwhile, Regina’s fam breaks the news to her: there is a doctor in Switzerland that can cure her deafness. Wow! That’s amazing! That is great news for the deaf community! It’s a mirac–oh. It cost a thousan jillion dollars and only super-rich deaf people can benefit. Fantastic. Regina has to move to Sweden to undergo the treatment. She doesn’t want to go because she doesn’t want to leave Bruce. She doesn’t tell Bruce so she won’t feel guilty.

Jessica, wanting to win her bet, tells Regina that Bruce is only dating her so he can gain credibility and win the Centennial committee election. Only a moron would believe that. So, naturally Regina does. So she breaks up with Bruce and decides to go to Switzerland after all. Liz of course becomes Meddley McMeddlesalot and and tells Bruce about Regina’s cure and how he can’t tell her he loves her so she may not go. So essentially, they manipulate her. Bruce writes Regina a letter to read on the plane, and it is so awful (awesome) I have to reprint it.

Dear Regina,

By the time you read this, it will be too late to change your mind about the treatments. And you musn’t change your mind, my dearest. [Yes, teenage boys love to use musn’t. And dearest? Is he in the Victorian era?]- not for anything. Elizabeth told me everythind, and I must admit that at first all I could think of was rushing over to your house and putting things right again. I never cared about anything but you. I signed up to run in the election last Thursday- exactly five days ago. I was wrong not to mention it to you at once, but I wanted to surprise you if I won. I can’t believe you could ever imagine my using you. I love you with all my heart, and always will [unless you one day die from a drug overdose]. In fact it’s because I love you that I can’t explain this all to you before Friday. If there’s the slightest chance that you might be able to hear again one day after these treatments, you must go through them. I’m, not selfish enough to let you stay in Sweet Valley for my sake, Regina. But I’m too selfish to let you go thinking badly of me. You must know that I’ve loved you with all my heart from the first. [first what? Ghost writers, finish the phrase!]

Awwww. This sounds like my fifth grade self attempting to write a romance novel. Which I did attempt, by the way. Don’ even ask me about it, it is long gone. I made sure I burned that shit. Anyhoo, Jessica obvs loses the bet and Lila writes her history paper and gets a bad grade. So I guess that is supposed to teach you not to cheat? Or that if you do cheat, make sure you pick someone who is smart? Oh and the carnival is a success, blah blah.

Covergoodness! Sorry to say, but Regina does not look like model material. And Bruce is a hottie pitottie. It’s that cleft chin, gets me everytime. Or maybe it’s the pleated chinos. And the fearthered hair. He looks about 30 years older than her.

Other stuff:

Regina has dinner at the Patman estate. Bruce’s mom yells when she is talking to Regina. Marie Patman is such a peach.

Winston runs a booth at the carnival where people can pay to throw pies at him. Oh Winston, making people laugh with you is not going to stop them from laughing at you.

Jess describing Olivia Davidson: “she dresses like a freak in Indian cotton dresses and funny sandals and doesn’t care about anything but drawing and poety. A fate worse than death”. Actually, for me, a fate worse than death is to hang around with a vapid blond twin. But that’s just me.

Oh, Lila flirts with a construction worker she meets at her dad’s office. Ooooo, a working class man! Hawt. I think it’s the setup for the next book.

In the back of the edition of the book I have, there is an exerpt from a Francine book called Loving, about a rich, pretty vapid girl in a boarding school. I think I did read this series. Anyway, if you have the book and read it’s it’s awesome, and actually even more awesome (worse) than SVH. I wish I could find it somewhere.

My grade: B-

Okay, let’s get down to the nitty gritty with this week’s poll. It’s going to be your old standard “who would you rather do”

Nicholas Morrow / Steven Wakefield

Bruce Patman / Ken Matthews

Next time: the miniseries where the twins’ mother and Bruce’s dad supposedly have an affair, Todd moves in, and Liz gets with Bruce again. In other words, awesomeness. I know lots of you have been requesting stuff, but some of the books I don’t have (yet). I am currently on ebay bidding on Return of the Evil Twin and the pom-pom wars miniseries, but I don’t want to jinx it.