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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Welcome to Enid’s pity party.

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I actually like the way Enid is depicted here. I like her full (healthy) face and think she looks pretty. Don’t love the hairstyle and the pink/green outfit combo, but you win some and lose some.

I decided to read this one because Enid is so often depicted as Elizabeth’s “yes” girl that I have been lying awake at night wondering what ENID’s hopes and dreams are. Well, the twins have their own chapters from their POV in this one. Enid can’t even get a whole book to herself!

Magically, it is Christmastime again. Not to be mistaken with the MS hoax or the psycho killer Christmases, mind you. Liz is fucking moping around because Todd is going to Vermont for the break. GET OVER IT. Really. She’s like so depressed about it and mopes the entire time. He’ll be gone for about 8 days. Liz, why don’t you cheat on him, that always seems to make you feel better.

So Liz is depressed so Enid of course feels it is her personal duty to be there for Liz and drop everything to make her feel better. Enid gushes how luuuuucky she is to be friends with Liz, because “she was warm and friendly and everyone at school likes her”. Once, when Enid was a raging alcoholic wildchild, she would never DESERVE the friendship of someone like Liz. Enid got high freshman year and drove around with a guy named Brian and they killed a kid. Yet another thinly veiled reason to scare kids off alcohol and drugs.

Oh barf: “Enid didn’t have a boyfriend at the moment. Recently she broke up with Hugh Grayson. It would be fun to go shopping, see movies, and just hang out with Elizabeth. Romance was special, but so was best-friendship.” Seriously, Enid has a really unhealthy obsession with Elizabeth. For her Christmas present, Enid buys her a silk, heart-shaped box. Um.

What else is going on in pathetic Enid’s life: oh yea, her parents are divorced, and her father is coming into to town but her mother is bad mouthing her father to Enid. Enid meets him at his hotel, and realizes he is already drunk before noon. She calls him out on it and tells him his drinking is out of control, he tells her “I remember a time when you enjoyed a drink or two.” BAM! HE WENT THERE!

Also, Enid has been hanging out with Jeffrey French, but it seems all he wants to do is talk about Elizabeth. Elizabeth, being the egomaniac she is, brings cookies to Jeffrey on Xmas Eve, and further torments him so he can still be in love with her. HATE. LIZ. SO. MUCH. Enid’s pissed because she came over to Jeffrey’s in her very special Xmas outfit, which consisted of “a white turtleneck, swingy red skirt, and green headband.” Welcome to third grade, Enid. And her present to Jeffrey, a quart of ice cream (wtf? Please don’t ask.) Enid finally starts to get mad at Elizabeth for always having to be the center of attention and making it all about her.

Furthermore, she sees Jeffrey and Liz together at the Xmas party, so she finally gets some ovaries and gets mad at Liz, and goes of with her friend Brian, a guy from her “wild past”. They get high and drunk at Miller’s point.  Jess meets a guy at the party and five minutes later she drags him to Miller’s point- and she calls people a slut? She sees Enid all sloshed and immediately runs back to the party to gossip about it. When she gets back everyone calls her a fucking idiot for not helping Enid. Hah hah. Also, why in the holy hell are these kids so uptight about alcohol and drugs? It’s one of the most unbelievable aspects of the books.

Enid and Brian go for a joyride and then drive off and Brian flips the car. Luckily, Enid’s father gets there just in time to save them from the exploding car! Plus, he’s cured! He’s going to rehab! Everything is perfect! It’s the miracle of Christmas!

So Jeffrey is suddenly over Liz, he and Liz have a hearty chuckly over their painful breakup, and he realizes that he maybe does like Enid, but Enid actually grows bigger ovaries and decides she doesn’t just want to be Jeffrey’s alternative to Liz. So it ends with their relationship up in the air. Hundred bucks says their realtionship is never mentioned again.

Enid really needs to get a new idenity other than Liz’s best friend. Actually, Enid with a substance abuse problem is waaaayyyy more interesting than Enid the sycophant.

I seem to have a touch of the multiple sclerosis, or Super Edition: Special Christmas

Reeeeediculuuuuuusssss! But, this one reminded me of why I love SVH. As in, truly enjoy it for its own sake. The drama! The intrigue! The scheming!

First of all, I want you to know it took me a lot to do a “Christmas” book. I don’t celebrate it, detest the commercialization of it (I suggest you watch this movie) and am tiring of it being shoved down my throat every year. My current job is the first job I’ve had that has not forced me to take vacation days during the break. Anyway, this is not about me. On with the drahma.

It’s nearing winter vacation, and SVH classes are winding down. In fact, they cancel classes one day to have a Christmas party in the gym. Okay, maybe it is before schools realized the idea of inclusiveness (my elementary school classrooms always had Xmas trees) but canceling classes? They are also doing a secret Santa, and Jessica has her sights set on rubbing her loins on the new German exchange student, Hans. She is convinced that he has her as her SS. but actually he has Lila. Also, Lila and Jessica are competing for the title of Miss Christmastime, which a useless titles sponsored by the town. Probably the same town councilmember that proposes the Miss Teen Sweet Valley. Gross.

Oh, and the Xmas ball is being held at the Patmans. Is everyone invited? All 83 students?

The Wakefields set up their tree and Ned suggests blue and silver decorations. Maybe because he is secretly one of the chosen people? Do the twins even know they are a quarter Jewish? If they found out would the whole school be spreading rumors about it? Would Jessica be kicked off the squad?

Ok, onto the good stuff: the Wakefields find out that Suzanne Devlin is coming to visit again…her last visit was less than good for the frail egos of Sweet Valley. The Wakefield offspring are horrified and they pretend it is because Suzanne was so horrible last time. Really, Liz is mad because Suxanne made a fool of her, Jessica is pissed because someone will potentially out-sociopath her and take the attention away from her. Steven, I am not sure why he is mad. Maybe because Suzanne being around will cause him to spend more time at college, where I’d imagine his parents are paying through the roof for his housing which he is never at.

The Wakefield bunch scheme and scheme…Liz tries calling Suzy to convince her not to come. Jessica plans on…shortsheeting her bed. Steven just sits there and offers no helpful suggestions. Pretty much like always.

Meanwhile Todd is planning a visit home. He will be staying with Ken and the genetically-engineered Matthews family. Firstly, Liz doesn’t blonk an eye at this…considering SHE HAD AN AFFAIR WITH KEN RIGHT AFTER TODD MOVED. Oh, that’s right, they stuck that in after the fact. Liz is nervous about being alone with Todd.

Meanwhile, we get a lil bit from Todd’s perspective, including a flashback to when he was skiing in Killington, Vermont when he ran into Suzy. And one thing led to another and…they took a WALK TOGETHER! I know, totally scandalous. What a whore.

So we also get a brief POV from Alice when she picks up Suzy from the airport. I actually hate when the writers write from the adults’ perspectve. It’s insulting or something. Alice has decided to hide the fact that Suzanne has multiple sclerosis from the twins because Suzanne has asked her to. Of course, the parents in this worls are always at the mercy of the sixteen year olds that tell them what to do. Alice notices that Suzanne looks pale and weak, and that made her look “lovlier than the last time she saw her.” Note to teenage girls: get a serious illness.

Finally, Jessica cooks up a scheme with Aaron Dallas, whom Suzy screwed over last time. Jess makes Aaron invite Suz to a pre-party as his cousin’s house and tells her to meet him there. When, in fact, he will give her the address of a run-down warehouse or something. What? That is the worst they could come up with? Oh yea, this is coming from the twins who once in middle school decided to get back at someone by making them a faulty chair.

So the twins and Suzanne share some champagne before they head out [WAIT, THE TWINS ACTUALLY ARE DRINKING? And they do it like it is no biggie. I am actually kind of proud of them for acting like real teenagers.] Suzanne also takes her new meds and wonders briefly about the interactions. She calls her doctor in NYC to ask him but just leaves a message. Suz heads out in the Fiat and of course passes out while driving and the car flips over or something. She ends up in the hospital and the “look on Todd’s face” was all she needed to know about how he felt about Suzanne, and she is okay with that.

Also, Suzanne’s doctor from New York flies in to see Suzanne. Um, inappropriate much? He also comes to deliver the news that…oh my god, this is the worst plot twist…that she has mono, not MS. Can someone revoke his license immediately? “We’ve been racking our brains all day, and we finally figured out what happened. You see, you had an udetected virus and several months later began to experience a very rare complication from it.” I don’t have a medical degree, but isn’t there a very simple blood test to see if someone has mono? I only know because everytime my nose starts running I am convinced I have mono and demand that my doctor do the test.

So Todd and Suzanne have Liz’s blessing…yea right, like she’s give Todd up that easily.

Oh, and Winston is really Jessica’s secret santa. Yawn. Jessica switches Lila’s Miss Christmastime dress with an elf costume and hilarity ensues. Double yawn.

So many tidbits!

  • Dues for Pi Beta Alpha are seventeen dollars a semester, and Liz complains its too much. YOu know what Liz, then QUIT!
  • Olivia’s secret santa arranged for the swim team to come serenade her in the Dairi Burger wearing only speedos! Hotttt!
  • The Droids were performing at the Beach Disco, and they wrote a song for Todd’s homecoming for him and Liz called “I’ll Wait for You.” Why are the Wakefields in the center of the fucking universe?
  • Aaron Dallas: “Jessica, you should really go into politics. You’re really good at getting people on your side you know that?” Jessica: “What a wonderful way to put it.” Don’t encourage her!
  • When their parents tell the twins about Suzanne’s MS and how she could possibly end up in a wheelchair: “A wheelchair!” Elizabeth exclaimed. As hard as she tried , she couldn’t imagine pretty, vivacious, independent Suzanne trapped in a wheelchair. I know! It is such a tragedy when an attractive person has a disability!

My grade: A++++

p.s. I totally scored at a used book store and got one of the BSC Claifornia Diaries, a Friends Forever book, and other good stuff. Stay tuned.