The ten commandments of the Wakefields

1. Jessica acts like a sociopath but everyone forgives her because…gosh darn it, it’s so hard to stay mad at her for long!

Jessica wants Liz to try out with her for a part as twins on a soap opera. Liz is like, above all that nonsense (despite filling in at the Miss Teen Sweet Valley Pageant, and appearing on the talk show as Jess) so Jessica tricks her into going by making her believe she’s been invited to a focus group about twins. Which of course, Liz is stoked about, because it’s super-important research . Then they have a fight in the waiting room for the audish, and they are so awesome they are hired right on the spot!

2. Liz Wakefield is an amazing writer and reporter, and we always need to be reminded.

Jessica finally convinces Liz to do the show when she sends her stuff to the Los Angeles Times and offers Liz up to write articles about the experience for the. The editor of the times says he knows her work because HE SCOURS HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPERS LOOKING FOR TALENT. Oh, jesus.

3. Ned and Alice come in last place for parents of the year.

Not only do they let Jessica go and party with the cast, she allows her to spend the weekend in LA with Lila and Amy under the watchful eye of Mr. Fowler. She also lets the star, Brandon Hunter, take her to a rock star’s house in the Hollywood Hills. Where they just hang around playing charades, not doing coke off every surface like it would be every week (Hey, I’ve seen Californication). Speaking of…

4. Famous movie stars and rock stars fall in love with one or more of the twins.

Jessica starts dating Brandon,despite him being twenty-two and she sixteen. Really? parents are ok with this? And the tabloids? pedo much?This is not the first time this has happened- Didn’t Elizabeth date some rock star in Malibu? And then later Jessica dates some guy in Manhattan? Not to mention Jeremy Frank, Jamie Peters…

5. The entertainment industry has no realistic rules.

Wouldn’t Jess and Elizabeth have to be supervised on the set?  Aren’t there child labor laws? Do all actresses really get to keep their outfits? Also, when Jess and Liz decide to get back at Brandon for being such a douche, they fuck up the scene to make him confused. Sure, great, waste the director’s and the crew’s time to suit your own needs. Furthermore, the show airs the same afternoon as it’s filmed. Really? Also, the director did not like how one of their final scenes worked out, so they DECIDE TO DO THE SCENE LIVE during the airing. REALLY? REALLY?

6. Everyone gives a shit about what the Wakefields do.

Apparently, everyone hears about Jessica’s dates with Brandon because they are ALL OVER THE TABLOIDS. I know soaps were way bigger in the early 90s, but really? All over the tabloids?  Perhaps in a sad little soap opera rag you see at the checkout stand. Everyone at Steven’s college is jerking off to the twins pictures apparently. And probably also Steven.

7. Once again, everyone forgives Jessica because she’s just so…well, she’s Jessica!

Elizabeth thanks Jessica for tricking her into doing it because she had so much fun. And Jessica basically cuckolds Sam in the tabloids, but he forgives her only after Jessica realizes Brandon is a douche. So she goes to her backup boyfriend. Sam, dieing a fiery death is much better than having to deal with this fucking maniac Jessica.

Also, this is an Elizabeth gem. The director asks her how she likes working on the show.

“I have to admit that at the beginning, I was skeptical, maybe even a trifle smug. I thought soap opera actors were overpaid and underworked, and I really didn’t see the appeal of watching a bunch of people dig themselves into one problem situation after another.”

“Liz!: Jessica tried to shush her.

“It’d alright,” William said, his eyes twinkling. “I appreciate her honesty. What do you think now?”

“Now I realize how hard everyone works to put out a good product. I plan to talk about the glamor and the hard work aspects in my latest article. And I appreciate how the cast and crew has been so open and helpful with me. “

Oh, gee Liz, thanks for giving your approval to soap operas, they were going to cancel them because of your disdain. Oh, and people digging themselves into one problem after another? Shall I count the number of times you’ve been threatened by a killer? Or saved someone’s life? Or started a class war? And did she use the words ‘a trifle smug”?

But, as a postscript, this is one of the “better” SVHs. And by “better” I mean quite entertaining with all the random shit they throw in and the ridiculous events. Also, Lila is the schemer who comes up with the ways to trick Liz. Lila is at her best when scheming.

Oh yea, that’s only seven commandments. Whatevevs.

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Yea, because that’s the most logical explanation.

[photo from The Closet]

Andrea Slade is the new girl, that’s who. Instead of Liz putting her hand on her shoulder, we have the other option, Jessica looking with such hatred that it may cause the person to try to kill themselves. However, love Andrea’s “bish plz” look.

So Andrea Slade is the new girl, and her appearance causes many an internal monologue.

  • Liz: Oooooo!!! A new girl! I must insert myself directly up my ass and help her! New girls are usually a pathetic mess, so it can be a project for me! Plus, I am getting bored of this Enid girl who keeps following me around.
  • Nicholas Morrow: Thank god there’s a new girl in the junior class! I’ve dated my way through all the high school girls, and I thought for a minute there I would have to date someone my age.
  • Andrea: Oh my god, thank god I moved to Sweet Valley from New York City. I mean, Sweet Valley is so damn perfect people who don’t live here must be jealous!
  • Jessica: Ugh, any new girl is bound to take any attention away from me. I’m going to completely ignore her. Besides, anyone Liz likes must be boring.

Conveniently, this is then first book we hear about Jame Peters, the hunky rock star that makes Lila, Amy and Jessica squirm in their panties. Conveniently, hmmm, Andrea is secretive about her father…and conveniently, Jamie Peters mentions that he’s going to move to a small town in Southern California.

If you are not a complete moron, you’ll figure out that Jamie is Andrea’s father. She wants to keep it a secret because people will treat her differently when they know her father is famous. I’ve learned this lesson from watching numerous episodes of Hannah Montana. Not only that, it must be weird and icky to hear people mention all the time that they find your father hot. However, from the way he is described, Jamie Peters appeared in my mind as the douchey singer of Puddle of Mudd.

After spying on Jamie Peters’ backyard, the bitch trifecta (Lila, Jessica, Amy) see Andrea hanging out at the house and jump to the conclusion that Andrea is Jamie’s underage girlfriend. Yea, because that makes the most sense? You’d think that being his gf would make Andrea more popular and the envy of the other girls, but in bizarro Sweet Valley World, this makes her someone worthy of being burned at the stake. Because she is judged for supposedly having sex.

So everyone finds out, and Andrea runs away to sit forlornly at the marina, and then who does Jamie call for help- ELIZABETH! Because he’s heard Andrea talk about her new friend Elizabeth a lot. Barf. Nicholas ans Liz find her, bring her back and they all hang out at Casa Peters and make nicey nice with Jamie.

is Andrea never mentioned again? She is another blond, pretty nice girl, who in my mind is played by the same actress as Heather Sanford. She really should tell people Jamie Peters is her father, because really there’s nothing else about her that screams interesting personality.

Also, a funny secondary storyline, and I mean for real ha ha funny, is that Lila decides she’s going to be a musician and is working with a hippy drippy music teacher who tries to find an instrument that speaks to her, which is the marimba. Lila gets all into it and forces Jessica and Amy into listening to her play all the time, and they give her shit for it. I know it doesn’t seem funny when I write it, but seriously, it’s nice to see some scathing humor make into these books.

And do we ever hear about Jamie Peters again? I am surprised he doesn’t write a song dedicated to Elizabeth and her kind heart. Maybe he can perform at a school dance and give the Droids the night off for once.

the first death of the series or #12 When Love Dies

Hey all, I had some time to read an old skool one…be back next week!

Good lord, Tricia Martin. Leukemia is the least of your problems. Let’s talk about how you are dressed as an Amish school teacher. And I’d suggest some hot oil treatment.

So Tricia has leukemia and breaks up with Steven so it will be easier for him when she dies. Cara throws herself on Steven and to get back at Tricia he goes for it. Finally, Steven finds out the truth and goes to Tricia to be with her when she dies. Blah blah blah.

Meanwhile Jessica finds out that local tv star Jeremy Frank (are there really local tv stars? Who actually watches public access?) has broken his leg so Jessica convinces Liz to volunteer to be a candy striper with her. Jess acts like an ass if front of Jeremy and keeps hurting him and spilling stuff on him. She even walks in on him naked. It’s crazy! I thought everyone in Sweet Valley had no genitals. They just looked like Barbie and Ken dolls. So Liz and Jeremy plan on getting back at Jessica (the ONE time I thought Liz had a good idea) and Jeremy pretends he is in love with Jessica and proposes to her. You’d think Jessica would catch on but she is so dense that she is flattered and accepts his proposal. Jeremey then pulls a “you’ve been punked!” on her.

Oh, and Liz is the one that discovers that Tricia has leukemia and convinced her to go to Steven because of course without Liz’s advice how would anyone ever live their lives?

Whenever anyone goes to the poor side of town, the streets are always littered with bottles and garbage. Like the city of Sweet Valley is so disgusted with poor people that they do not ever send over sanitation trucks.

At the end, Liz is kidnapped by Carl, a creepy orderly in the hospital. Probably has something to do with her beauty and size six figure. We’ll figure it out in the next book, peculiarly named Kidnapped!

How about some vomit-inducing Liz and Todd foreplay talk:

“He thinks Tricia has another boyfriend, but I’m not so sure. Why would she be so miserable if she had someone else?”

“You’re right. I don’t buy it either. Somehow I can’t imagine Tricia with anyone but Steve. They seemed perfect together.”

“Like us, you mean?” Elizabeth fed Todd a french fry off her plate, yanking her hand away with an outraged giggle when he began nibbling her fingers.

Todd laughed. “Face it. Nobody is like us. If we were crazier about each other, they’d have to send out the little men in the white coats.”

“You’re so romantic, Todd.”

Lesson learned: having a deadly disease is great for your looks. If I had a nickel for every time I read about Tricia’s thin frame and beautiful pale skin…

Grade: C

I want to lose my virginity to Johnny Angel or Sunset Island #5, Sunset Reunion

These covers always crack my shit up. So way over the top. Billy looks like a massive tool. Or is that supposed to be Presley? It’s such a 90s view of a rocker. He’s wearing a hat because it’s the winter break and the gals are planning to get together in Orlando because Sam is working as a dancer at Disney World. She dropped out of Kansas State and started working there. Reading this gave me the dry heaves because I, too, worked at Disney World when I was around Sam’s age and it was probably the most horrible experience of my life. So please don’t ask me about it.

No sooner are they there when Carrie gets a call from Rock On magazine. Graham Templeton (the famous rock star she was the au pair for) is doing a concert in Miami and they are doing a feature on him, and Graham recommended that Carrie be the photographer. So they all jet out there on a whim and hang around at the concert. Mega-hot singer Johnny Angel is the opening act, and of course he is curious if Sam’s curtains match the drapes.

Graham is also back on drugs, snorting lines in the bathroom between interviews and the mag wants to print that he fell off the wagon, but Carrie wants to protect him so she gets fired from the gig and who do they hire- none other than the creepy Flash Hathaway! He’s the one that took the porno pics of Sam over the summer. Like there are only 2 photogs in the world. Lorell, their enemy from the island, is with him and they are an item. Ick.

Ok, then it totally goes downhill and turns into a ridiculous SVH novel. They all go to a party on Graham’s yacht, and Emma flirts with a boy and realizes she misses Kurt. Flash flirts with Emma and Lorell gets jealous and proclaims her undying love for Flash. Sam goes down to the bunker with Johnny Angel and they almost do it when Johnny’s girlfriend walks in. Sam is upset because she thought Johnny was her soulmate so she goes and hides on the dingy. Carrie and Sam go to comfort her. While they are talking, Lorell in unhinges it and they are lost at sea. How many SVH plots can you count here?

So they are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a dingy, and Emma totally saves the day because obviously her rich white ass has been sailing/boating before. They are obvs rescued, and Emma realized that she CAN set her mind to anything, and is encouraged to fill out her Peace Corps application.

Check out their outfits for their night on the town in Orlando. Emma wears a short pink dress with black bike shorts with lacy trim underneath, Sam wears a short denim skirt with a tapestry vest (remember those?) with no shirt underneath, and Carrie wears a white sheer bathing suit cover up over a white lycra miniskirt and a white sports bra. [Shudder]

These books were never really real, but when you start throwing in rock stars and stranded at sea crap, it makes me hate it.

So an heiress, a tramp, and a nerd walk into a bar….or Sunset Island #1

Okay, originally when doing a blog, I wanted to blog the Sunset Island books, by Cherie Bennett. A year ago I was super depressed so I ordered the whole series on ebay (best $60 I ever spent) and read them over again…I think I gave away my original copies. It totally worked better than prozac, these books always give me the warm fuzzies. I think I was in junior high when I read these, and if I do say so myself I was quite an advanced reader (I read Flowers In the Attic in the seventh grade) so they did seem a bit childish. But awesome nonethless.

They were basically a combo of the Baby-sitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and Beverly Hills 90210. And like the BSC, there were vivid descriptions of outfits, which were my favorite to read. And with some drinking and some talk of sex. Shocker! The three gals are au pairs on Sunset Island, which is a fake island off the coast of Maine.

Ok, so the characters are:

  • Emma: super-rich heiress who wants to break away from her privileged background and hides her wealth from people because she feels people will jusge her. Is very prim and proper.
  • Sam: a redheaded tease who was wild and crazy. She was from Kansas and a dancer. And very thin, as we are told every page. She has a dance scholarship to Kansas State.
  • Carrie: the “fat” one. She got accepted to Yale and was a photographer and had low self esteem. Oh, I’m sorry, they used “curvy” not fat. She is going to Yale in the Fall.

Omg! Hot dogs and sea shells! Double tank tops! Yay! These things represented the epitome of fun. This whole book was kind of like BSC #8, Boy-Crazy Stacey, except for the whole series!!! Did I just blow your mind???

Well, Emma meets the hot swimming instructor Kurt, and he is all working class and she doesn’t want to alienate him by declaring her heiress status (I think she is worth about 125 mil) so she lies to him and her friends. She and Kurt go out on some cheesy dates. Meanwhile, her arch nemesis from boarding school, Diana and her friend Lorell show up on the island and try to make things hell for Emma. They basically act like Jessica and Lila. Finally, Kurt and her friends find out she is rich and yell at her for lying and get mad at her but then they all make up in the end.

Other stuff:

They meet the members of a local band called Flirting with Danger, namely Billy Sampson who Carrie gets a major crush on and some guy Presley who has a southern accent that the author needs to put in all the pronunciations. Sam is all over him. Also, like the BSC, stuff goes on with the kids that they take care of that mirror what is going on with their lives and teach them lessons. The kid that Emma takes care of is in love with her and buys her expensive presents he can’t afford. The lesson is to stop lying to people you care about about your socioeconimc status. Or something.

Emma’s mother is a mess. She dates a 25-year old artist named Austin Payne who shows up on Sunset Island and is all over the teenage girls. Yuck.

Some creepy photographer named Flash Hathaway also hangs out on the island trying to convince girls o pose for him. Creepy, and comes into some plots later on.

Lots of fun outfit descriptions! When she gets to the island, Emma goes to the trendy shop and spends two thousand dollars on stuff like a read leather mini skirt and matching cropped jacket. Noyce. Carrie’s outfit: “an oversized loose-weave pink sweater over a long, flowing gauze-and-chiffon flowerprint skirt. When the oversized sweater slipped off one shoulder Emma could see the narrow strap of a lacy pink loetard. Sam looked stunning in a sheer antique white lace blouse and a black and white polka-dot lace miniskirt”. Holy early nineties, Batman!

We even get boy-clothes descriptions! Billy was wearing “torn, faded jeans and a navy t-shirt that he filled out to perfection. His streaky blond hair was tied back with a piece of rawhide, and he had a tiny diamond stud in one ear.” Welcome to Jon Bon Jovi, circa 1989.

Okay, their interactions with the boys are ultra cheesy, but they actually do have somewhat real conversations about stuff other than their relationship [cough-Liz and Todd-c0ugh].

Emma’s dream is to study primates in the Peace Corps in Africa. Uh, she may want to do some research into the Peace Corps and realize that’s not the point. Plus, they may be a veiled racist statement but I won’t give the author much credit.

Carrie is an au pair for Graham Templeton and his trophy wife Claudia. Graham is a famous rock star (I think is supposed to be like Bruce Springsteen) who happens to have a house on the island. Sam is an au pair for ultra-slutty thirteen year old twins. Think the Wakefield twins if they both were like Jessica.

Grade: A

I know there was some interest in these a while back, and I will try to put these in the mix. Since I read them about a year again, I am not sure I will get all the nitty gritty details because I spend enough of my time reading SVH novels, but some really fun shit happens that I will try to remember. The girls end up becoming back-up singers for Flirting With Danger, Emma and Carrie start a perfume business, Sam designs clothing and they fight and break up with boyfriends a lot. And they wear really bad (i.e. awesome) nineties fashions.

The one where they think they’re in a baby sitters’ club book, or Super Edition: Malibu Summer

I don’t know what makes this a super edition. Maybe because it’s about 20 pages longer than the usual book? In case we forgot that Elizabeth is the Madonna and Jessica is the whore, Liz gets to wear a hideously conservative suit and Jess gets the bikini.

So, it’s summer vacation and I am pretty sure the next book after this they are back in their junior year. Whatevs. That won’t keep me up at night. Jessica wants to work in Malibu as mother’s helpers, so she convinces (i.e. manipluates) Liz into giving up her job at the Sweet Valley news to do it with her. She even makes Liz interview for her as well. That’s ethical. Jessica takes a job at a small house with a baby because the family are cousins of Tony Sargent, a famous singer. This is someone that was just mentioned here, and I am pretty sure will never be mentioned again after this book. Liz gets a job in a large rich house for a girl that is unloved and neglected. Weird, because I just caught Uptown Girls yesterday. Of course, Liz, at sixteen, teaches them how to raise their child and how to treat each other. Blech.

This one was so bad and tedious I can barely tell you the rest. If I wanted a book about mother’s helpers, I would read Sunet Island. For reals. So….Tony Sargent, the singer, needs to hide out because apparently he banged a groupie and now her boyfriend wants to kill him. So he hides out at his cousin’s house and poses as a Yale senior. Elizabeth meets him when she is over covering for Jessica and they fall in love. Because he likes books. But he is 21! and too old! Her parents won’t approve, so she is struggling. Yelllooooo, you’re in Malibu without them, stop being such a LOOOOOOSSSSER, Liz. Seriously, this is so unrealistic. I think they are trying to create a good role model character, but Jesus H Christ I want to fucking punch Elizabeth. Ok, so there is some sort of big rainstorm and the little neglected girl runs away and Liz runs away with the singer. Jessica saves the little girl from being swept away by the storm and the stalker finds Elizabeth and the guy and attempts to kill him. Ho-hum.

All is well, but Elizabeth is mad when she finds her lovah is really Tony Sargent undercover. She is mad? Pleez. Also, they can never really have a relationship because he is such a big celeb. So she has to give him up. um, WHAT? This put me over the edge. Yea, it couldn’t work, but if you had the chance to DATE a celeb, you TAKE IT! I am nearing thirty and if I made out with a celeb, even B-List, I’d do it! Liz is such a fucking grandma!!!!!!! I am acting as if I am surprised that SVH is unrealistic.

Other thoughts:

Elizabeth talks shit about Lila yet hangs out with her all summer. Just sayin’.

Because Jessica and Lila are sooooooo pretty, they pick up guys wherever they go. Lila picks up a guy at the mall (so unlike her). Turns out he is a younger guy and he hides that fact from her (geeeee, we’ve never seen THAT plot device before.

My grade: C-