Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman

In today’s installment, the part of DeeDee will be played by Amanda Bearse. The part of Bill will be played by Bill’s chest. I wish he looked a bit more Zabka-esque on this cover. (Also, this never gets old.)

DeeDee used to be interesting because she used to take drafting classes at theCivic Center. Hold on to that nugget because it will be conveneient later. After she got together with mega-hunk Bill Chase, she is all about him, and talks nothing of him, and gets all jealous and crazy about him. And can’t even wipe her own ass without checking with Bill first. Ew.Bill, even though he is a nice guy (he’s such a nice guy) he is getting sick of it. He dumps DeeDee (say that 10 times fast) and she practically throws herself off Miller’s point. By the way, I’m ready to push her. Hey ghostwriter, you should portray DeeDee as needy, not mentally challenged.

Liz to the rescue! Meanwhile, there’s a talent show coming up, and Mr. Collins has APPOINTED Liz as the coordinator. She wants DeeDee to design the sets (is Olivia Davidson busy?) but DeeDee can’t do it by herself because suddenly she is a three-year old and she can’t even wipe her ass by herself without freaking out. Liz hatches a plan with DeeDee’s best friend, Patty Gilbert (Patty’s black, by the way) where Liz will pretend to be sick for the week and make DeeDee take over to prove that she can take charge and handle herself on her own. Wow Liz, great plan! And you can get out of doing the work, AND be the hero in the end!!

Uh, do I need to tell you the end? DeeDee takes over, gains confidence, and Bill gets her back. But, they are going to take is slow because DeeDee needs to be her own person! She’s a modern, independent woman! And she’s fascinating because she takes drafting classes at the civic center!

Oh yea, that. Alice and Ned take a trip to Mexico for the week and leave the twins at home. Of course, Jessica throws a party. Lila has her college boyfriend put up a flyer in the frat house about it. Chyah, because frat guys are just looking for a suburban teeanger’s house to party at. Only if you are in a John Hughes movie, I guess. The last thing Alice says before she leaves is, “whatever you do, don’t ruin the sketches left on my drafting table, it’s the only copy”! Dun dun dun…..good use of foreshadowing there. Someone spills beer on it during the party, and DeeDee, since OH MY GOD SHE’S BEEN TAKING DRAFTING CLASSES AT THE CIVIC CENTER came and fixed it. Her sense of enabling the Wakefields…oh I mean taking charge gives her her confidence back!

I liked Robin Wilson better when she was fat.

Cover Courtesy of The Closet

I feel bad for Robin Wilson. Not only does she no longer remember what cheesecake tastes like, but she really is miserable all the time. So much for losing all that weight, winning Miss Slut Teen Valley or whatever, and being co-captain of the cheerleading team. And she doesn’t have those two candy bars smushed in her purse to look forward to as an afternoon snack. She must have lost her personality and backbone from dieting so much. All she does is mope around school with no true friends, and mope around until the weekend when she can see George Warren, and then mope when she’s out with him. This girl is just screaming for some Cymbalta, because her depression hurts everywhere. But she’s a cheerleader! And thin! Life should be perfect.

To make matters worse, her own mother sold her out for a new kitchen! Aunt Fiona, and it’s never explained whose aunt she is, has offered to pay for Robin to go to Sarah Lawrence College. If she enrolls, and a year early, not only will she pay, but she will also remodel the Wilson’s kitchen. Ms. Wilson already had her tiles picked out before she considered what Robin wanted. Robin has no backbone the entire book and misses out on every chance to stand up for herself. She is seething inside, and everyone talks about how Robin is independent and makes her own decisions…but Robin, you need to let people know what those are instead of just walking around, being all emo. Also, is Sarah Lawrence code for lesbian?

Well, Robin has a big diving match coming up, and everyone who’s anybody is going to be there, simply because Elizabeth wrote a feature on it in The Oracle. (Technically, shouldn’t John “Rapey” Pfeiffer be covering sports? Detail, details. ) Robin’s family and Aunt Fiona don’t come because they think it is a waste of time. And Robin’s mother is too excited on the plans for her new kitchen. Why don’t you take that money and get some psychotherapy for your daughter? George is at the match, and realizes that Robin’s family should be there, and goes home to get them. Robin, meanwhile, watching from the diving board, suspects that George is cheating on her and has a mini-mental breakdown. Yea, this girl’s self-esteem is through the roof! George brings her family back, Aunt Fiona has a change of heart, and Robin tells them that she doesn’t want to go to college early because she’s so happy in Sweet Valley. Really? All is well. Until Robin develops a raging case of anorexia.

Robin is Jo from The Facts of Life, and George is 39 years old.

This is definitely in the top 5 worst.

Oh yea, even the subplot is…what’s the word?…oh yea, FUCKING RETARDED. I hate to use that word, but nothing else really fits. Jessica has to make some money (I think to pay off a credit card debt or something) so she takes a babysitting job. A college guy who writes music needs someone to watch his sister so he can have time alone to compose music. Of course, this guy is the most!gorgeous!guy!Jessica’s!ever!seen! so she plots ways to be around him, and manipulating his sister to get his attention. When the guy seems annoyed by Jessica, she is dumbfounded- how is it possible that anyone can resist her? he must be faking it. Jessica tells him that she’s a master at the recorder* to impress him, so she figures she can learn to play the recorder in a day. She buys one, but of course gives up after five minutes because it’s not lip gloss or the local escaped mental patient she can flirt with.

Elizabeth wanders into her room one day (but how can she find anything? It’s like a TORNADO struck Jessica’s bedroom!) and picks up the recorder and plays it a little. Turns out she’s FANTASTIC at it, and loves it. However, she doesn’t want to tell Jessica, because she knows that she is always better than Jessica at everything and doesn’t want to make her feel bad once again. Chyah. So she sneaks around with the recorder while Jessica is not home. She shows more guilt over the recorder than she does when she cheats on her boyfriend of the moment. To not keep you in suspense, Jessica finds out, doesn’t give a shit, and Liz becomes a recorder virtuoso. Fuck a duck.

Oh yea, Jessica and her soulful musician. Finally, she resorts to fainting in front of him to get his attention. Musician guy is so upset that he reveals that all along he’s secretly liked Jessica (DAMMIT! Can anyone please reject Jessica? And not validate her selfish behavior?) and asks her out, although he’s off to Julliard in a few weeks. Jessica loses her boner because she doesn’t do long distance relationships. Well, at least she’s aware of it, considering she threatened suicide when her boyfriend was away for the weekend.

*Before you make fun of the recorder, I’ll have you know it’s way more than the plastic instrument you played “Hot Cross Buns” on in grade school. My mother is quite the accomplished player and performs with legit ensembles (and sometimes at Renaissance faires, to her chagrin). Shout out to my Mom! [waves].

Deceptions: A play in 3 acts



Scene 1: The Wakefield’s split-level, Spanish-tiled house. A party celebrating Liz’s return from her crazy orderly captor.

NICHOLAS MORROW: Liz, I’ve taken one look at you and your perfect California looks, you’re ill-cut feathered bangs, and I’ve fallen deeply and madly in love with you. I must have you at any cost.

ELIZABETH WAKEFIELD: Wow, that is not all inappropriate considering a creepy man just kidnapped me and said the same thing. But he fed me frozen pancakes.

NM: Oh, I’m very rich and good-looking.

EW: In that case…wait! I’m in love with Todd!

NM: Fuck Todd I want you.

EW: Well, you are feeding my ego, so yes, I’ll go out with you secretly.

Scene 2: Enid Rollins’ pathetic fucking non-Spanish tiled house.

ENID ROLLINS: (answering the phone): Hello?

EW: Enid, omg! What am I going to do? This is SUCH a disaster!

ER: Ok, I’ve cleared my schedule. I’ve canceled visiting my dying grandmother to talk to you.

EW: Oh my gaaaawd! Nicholas is like totally in love with me! And he’s so rich and good-looking! But I am supposed to be in love with my good-looking boyfriend Todd! Two guys are in love with me! Life is SO HARD!

ER: Wow, that IS a huge problem. I mean, forget that I have a drunk father, I once almost killed a kid, and I was born with frizzy brown hair, how can you stand to be you! [puts a gun to her head]

Act II- at The Cote D’Or, a posh restaurant an hour outside of Sweet Valley

Scene 1- back of the house

WAITER: If I have to make one more pat of butter look like rose petals I am going to quit.

BUSBOY: If I have to clean up after one more of these waspy couples, I am going to scream. Wtf is with this place? Cote d’Or means Gold Coast in French. We should be serving fried chicken skins in a basket.

WAITER: Oh jeez. I have to go check on table number 3, which is some rich daddy’s boy and his underage date. Shoot me now.

Scene 2: front of the house

NM: So computer, computers, computers…my daddy’s Ferrari, computers, my deaf sister, computers….

EW: writing, writing, writing, my sister, journalism, writing, being boring….

NM: Well, do you love me now that’s I’ve tried to buy your affection?

EW: Nope, you’re actually quite boring…. and I’ve gotten the ego boost I need…Omg! Is that Todd? What is he doing here?

Todd Wilkins: (approaching the table) Liz? is that you??? Why are you cheating on me????

EW: No, asshole, it’s Jessica.

TW: Phew! I know Liz wouldn’t cheat on me. She’s the patron saint of morals.


Scene 1: The basketball game

TW: Well, I’m glad that I found out that Nicholas and Elizabeth had a date without causing any drama or anything. I’m just going to fuck up the entire basketball game.

Scene 2: boy’s locker room

NM: Glad I could talk to you in here Todd, where the half-naked men are.

TW: hold on, let me lather up. Can you get my back?

NM: I wanted to tell you that I tried to get into Liz’s pants, but there’s a double padlock on her crotch with “Todd Wilkins” written all over it.

TW: Okay, I’ll let it go this time, because I know Liz would NEVER cheat on me again.

Scene 3: outside the school

EW: Oh Toddie! I never meant to hurt you! Will you ever forgive me?

TW: Well, I wasn’t going to, but I talked to Nicholas about it and..uh…well, those luscious lips, that Greek-god sculpted body, the….uh, I mean he was honest with me.

EW: Great! I’d never cheat on you! And I am 100% sure this is the last time we will ever fight or one of us will be jealous!

It’s a ho-down, literally, or Super Edition: Spring Fever

Jessica seriously needs a bra.

I kind of like the ones where they travel. And by like I mean are horrified by the way they make every place they travel into a horrid, cliched version of the actual place. This time: the twins tackle the midwest!

It’s Spring Break AGAIN and the gals are off to spend a week with their great aunt and great uncle, The Walkers in Walkersville, Kansas. Their relatives own the fucking place and run everything in it. Their great-uncle is the mayor. It’s basically like the town in Pleasantville, and Jessica is the one that brings color to the people. Or something.

Also, many of the cliches are for southern towns, not midwest, so I think they may have even screwed up in their offensiveness. There’s barns a plenty and five and tens, and a soda shop. Apparently anywhere outside of Southern California also is in a time warp. The gals just think it is adorable, and oooohhh and ahhhh throught their Southern Califorinian entitlement. I this were real life they’d be complaining that there is no In ‘n Out Burgers. Whatevs. The Walkers (their great aunt and uncle, no relation to Cara) are pretty old fashioned and want the girls to act like proper ladies. You and me and everyone else do too. Seriously. Jessica is all pissed at the oppression. They go the carnival and Jess rubs herself over one of the carnies who runs a corral. She sneaks out at night to see him as he teaches her to ride his horse. Of course, after one date, Jess is using the l-word. Seriously, this falling in love business is annoying. The guy, Alex, has a twin brother Brad, who may be perfect for Liz. If you can’t predict how this will turn out, you’re a moron.

Meanwhile, the gals of the town totally hate the twins. Mostly because the Walkers have talked them up so much as sophiticated Californians and the gals feel threatened. Annie Sue Sawyer (what a hick name, ghostwriters) especially hates them. Meanwhile, other gals in town start copying Jessica’s cutting-edge, California fashion sense. Even the chubby girls in town. How dare they! What is Jessica’s cutting-edge fashion? A headband. With rhinestones. Seriously.

The twins works for an afternoon at the soda shop. They milk cows on a farm. Blah blah blah. Jessica is a total brat for disprespecting the Walkers and sneaking out each night. They are so UNREASONABLE to expect her to be in by nine every night. Of course, Liz bends over and takes it and covers for her. Sigh.

Annie Sue sees Jessica with Alex, and blackmails her so she won’t tell the relatives about her hanging out with a “carnie”. She blackmails her by making Jess give her her hideous accessories. In a storyline totally ripped off from Little House on the Prairie, Annie Sue’s Dad buys her the horse that Alex has been training and Jessica has bonded with. Annie Sue insists on riding her and the horse gets out of control, but Jess saves the day by fucking getting on another horse and rescuing Annie Sue from the crazy horse. From then on Annie Sue totally forgives Jessica and admits she hated her because she was jealius. They make up and are bffs. Annie Sue has a party for the twins at her house and there is a big toast to Jessica and she is the hero. The Walkers totally forgive her for sneaking out and acting like a brat the whole week because she saved the day. Note to everyone: STOP VALIDATING JESSICA’S BULLSHIT!

So there is a big town squaredance and the twins want to double-date with Alex and Brad. Their grandparents don’t want them going with boys they don’t know. Jessica declares that this is the worst. thing. that’s. ever. happened. Elizabeth agrees. I know this is early in the series, so they don’t have the gang wars, werewolfs, vampires and killing each others boyfriends while driving while intoxicated. However, Elizabeth discovers theor boyfs secrets! He’s really one person! FUCKING SURPRISE! Did they not realize it the second they also realized they never saw the two together! Alex declares he feels like two people and wanted to get to know both of them. Liz doesn’t tell Jessica so she can remain happy. They all squaredance off into the sunset.

Other stuff:

When they arrive in Walkersville, Liz muses, “this is what I imagined when I read about the pioneers moving West.” Seriously, get a grip. It’s not like they use outhouses and covered wagons. There is life outside Southern California.

Jessica, of course, packs like 10 suitcases, including her new favorite outfit: a jumpsuit with rhinestones all over it. Sweet!

When Liz is hanging out with “Brad”, he tells her he’s never seen the ocean before, but looking into her aqua-blue eyes is like seeing the ocean for the first time. BARF!

I love (aka hate) how when they travel, they use every cliche about the place they travel. What’s next? A trip to Alaska where Liz rescues some abandoned huskies, and three days later wins a dogsled competions, and Jessica falls in love with an “eskimo” and convinces them to decorate their igloos pink?

Grade: B

The One with Todd’s Evil Twin, or #24 Memories

It’s a lucky day here at the Dairi Burger, because I recently uncovered a fantastic cultural artifact: an agenda from a Sweet Valley High PTA meeting.

October 25, 1993

1. Welcome!
2. Update on annual fundraiser: Father-Daughter Date Auction. Fathers, start prepping your daughters to auction off to the fathers! Highest bidder wins a free membership to the Country Club!
3. Beware of the town drunk. He’s been showing up at the school and peeing in our perfectly manicured, size-six bushes.
4. The vote was unanimous: Yom Kippur will be canceled this year, and we will have two Spring Breaks instead, so that our students can have more than one kooky vacation adventure.
5. Scoliosis screenings will begin this week. Mr. Collins has graciously volunteered to conduct the screenings.
6. The Wakefield twins took a shit this morning. It was so lovely and perfect and slender, we will have it on display at the school for all to admire.

My main motivation for reading this one is: what is the motivation for Cara to wear that sailor suit? Although it is kind of cute. Steven also looks like Christopher Reeve. And 37.

So Tricia died recently, aka about 20 books ago, and Steven is pretty crushed. He often gets together with Betsy, Tricia’s sister, to talk about Tricia and look at old pictures. If you remember, Betsy and Tricia’s dad is the town drunk. Recently, Steven has been having fun with Cara Walker, former gossip and Jessica’s friend. See, Cara has changed. Her parents got a divorce so she knows what it is like to lose someone. I don’t want to play who hurts more, but is a divorce the same as a teenager dying of cancer? I would say no. Stop making Cara out to be a saint.

Steven feels guilty for liking Cara because he feels he is being disloyal to Tricia. So he struggles with that and keeps being an ass to Cara. Cara takes it because she has always had a crush on Steve. They do date-y things like go on a picnic at the zoo (huh?) and go to the Village Inn and eat the early bird special and dance to the cheesy band. Meanwhile, Steven’s friend Artie Western(yes, his real name). And yay! We’ve identified another senior at SVH! So far he and Bruce are the only seniors at the school, apparently. Cara doesn’t want to compete with a ghost, she dumps Steven’s whiny ass.

Steven mopes around long enough for Jessica to spout the most insightful thing she has ever said. She tells him that he should go for Cara, because the advantage she has over Tricia is that “she’s still alive.” Steve gets super peeved, but that wakes him up. The twins trick them into meeting and he and Cara walk into the sunset together.

Oh yea. Elizabeth, as the fucking patron saint, pays a visit to Betsy and asks her to let Steven go and to let him have a life. Because Liz has wisdom far beyond her years. It is so fucking condescending and classist, because as Liz travels to Betsy’s house on “the wrong side of town”:, suddenly the streets are lined with filth. Wasn’t Sweet Valley supposed to be perfect? I’ll bet there is one street where the Martins, David Prentiss, and Roger Barrett’s mom lives. Because if you don’t live the typical waspy, rich lifestyle in Sweet Valley, you live in squalor and filth. No in-between.

Secondary story: Jess hears that Winston’s cousin is coming to visit and is a big time Hollywood producer. So she signs up to do a project with him so she can meet this visiting cousin. It is uber creepy how she keeps inviting herself over to hang around with him and the adults are okay with that. Turns out Jess heard wrong and he is a really a civil engineer working on waste disposal. Hahaha, how hilarious, Jessica is once again a manipulative sociopath with no regard for anyone’s feelings but her own. I feel like this storyline has been used a dozen times already. And how when the twins are secondary characters, there always seem to be a really bad attempt at a humorous storyline.

Oh, and this one got really Saved By the Bell on us. SVH is playing a charity volleyball game with another school, and of course the team to represent is Liz, Jess, Ken, Bruce, Lila and some others. Isn’t that basically the whole school? The opposing team has a Todd lokkalike that Liz goes gaga for but it turns out he’s pretty chauvinist and nothing like Todd. The moral? Stop living in the past and move on! Also, Todd’s a tool!

Steven reeeeaaaaallllyyy needs to not hang out with high school students anymore. It’s becoming borderline pathetic.

The one where yet again no boy can resist Jessica or #107 Jessica’s Secret Love

Jessica’s guy looks like an insurance salesman.

Wow, I gess after the whole getting chased by lunatic werewolves, I guess plots that matter are hard to come by. This was written by a 12 year old. Sigh. Another book where Jessica is validated simply for being a skinny blonde. So the twins are home from a stint in London and are at the beach, and some guy hits Jessica on the head with a frisbee! He come over to apologize and BAM! within three seconds they decide they are soul mates. Maybe I am just too old and cynical to buy this. So they make out after saying 2 words to each other. Then the guy runs off and says he can’t be with Jessica. After this encounter Jessica decides that Mystery Beach Man is the most. important. man. she’s ever. met. She claims to care for him more than she did for Sam, the alleged love of her life that Elizabeth killed when she was driving drunk. Who boy. So Jessica mopes around and Liz totally enables her.

So if you are still awake to be involved in this plot, Sue Gibbons is Alice’s friend’s daughter who is coming to Sweet Valley to get married. And she’s eighteen. And her mom just died so she decides what better to share her wedding joy with than complete strangers. And the Wakefields are totally the Ingalls here. In case you don’t have the intelligence of at least a first-grader, I don’t have to tell you that Sue’s fiance turns out to be the beach guy. And his name is Jeremy Randall, and he’s twenty-three. And works for a nature non-profit in nyc. Okay, so I am sure he finds some hot blonde teenager while visiting CA and decides that she is the love of her life, rather than some girl he wants to bone. We further learn why J & J are menat for each other: they both like the same engagement ring, they both want a wedding on the beach, and their names begin with the same letter. Yes, for real.

Sigh. What else? Jess convinces Bruce to take her to the same restaurant Jeremy and Sue are at and to pretend to be her date so make Jeremy jealous. She tricks Jeremy into taking him in to going to Miller’s Point (what a cock tease). Oh, and Lila falls in Lurve with Jeremy’s friend Robby who pretends to be rich to pretend to impress Lila, but in fact he is bone broke and then Lila’ all conflicted about it.

Jess somehow tricks Jeremy into trying on his tux and then she puts on Sue’s wedding dress and that’s when they realize they were really meant to be. There is some sobbing and ego-stroking galore.

The whole werewolves in London thing happened right before this, and Liz is traumatized because she fell for a serial killer. So she starts going crazy with self-help books and attending “Primal Woman” seminars. During the seminar Liz picks a new name, which is Runs-with-the-Wind. She suggests the name She-Who-Shops-A-Lot for Jessica. See? Once every few hundred books there is something REMOTELY funny.

Jessica’s outfit choices for her fake date with Bruce: white palazzo pants, sheer babydoll dress over leggings, or a fitted coral suit. Hawt. She ends up wearing a silk aquamarine dress with an elastic back holding the bodice in place, with a matching bolero jacket piped in white. SWEET! I think I wore that at my Bat Mitzvah.

Oh, it magically happens to be summer again. Love how the time warp continuum works in Sweet Valley.

Sue Gibbons is annoying. She supposedly works for an environmental group but is quite shallow and materialistic. Liz is all condescending and points that out, and for once I have to agree with her.

Aother thing: when Jessica raids Elizabeth’s closet, she chooses the dress that Elizabeth wore to the jungle prom. THE ONE THAT SHE WAS WEARING WHEN SHE KILLED JESSICA’S BOYFRIEND. And she doesn’t bat an eyelash. ghostwriters, get a grip! Copy Editor, get on your game!

Also, this whole love thing was insulting. They really throw around the word too much. I can understand that Jeremy and Jessica may want to fool around with each other, but this whole true love thing in ridiculous. And he’s twenty-three, so ew.

You know what? Bruce Patman was eerily charming in this book. He agrees to pose as Jessica’s date then kind of makes fun of her and makes her pay for his dinner. It’s a sad sick world when Bruce is the character I am enjoying.

Grade: F (I would go lower if I could)

This mini-series drags on for like another four books, and I don’t know if I can bear it. Just by reading the backs it looks as if Jeremy is faking with Jessica to somehow get Sue’s inheritance, and I don’t understand the logic of that and quite frankly I don’t care.

Also, didn’t the Wakefields have a dog? Did something happen to it or is it lazy writing?

On deck: the Pom Pom wars, some AJ Morgan action, Annie Whitman slutfest, Club X, Steven Wakefield drama….

The one with the crash landing or #20 Crash Landing!

Ok, when I say this one was bad, I don’t mean like so bad it was good, I mean so fucking stupid. George Warren, Enid’s boyf, has fallen in love with former fatty Robin Wilson while they are taking flying classes. [cue needle scratching across record]

Um, what? Flying lessons? The last I heard of any teenagers taking flying lessons was when Theo and Cockroach convinced their parents to let them do it and then decided it was too expensive. Why the fuck is Robin taking flying classes? Isn’t she too busy cheerleading and losing weight at explosive rates? I know they are rich kids, but please.

So George takes Enid up in his plane one last time before he plans on dumping her (uh, why?) but they crash land in the water. See how the book got its title? So Enid is now paralyzed and George feels guilty for wanting to dump her and reluctantly stays with her. Enid knows about him and Robin but manipulates George into staying with her. They even go to a dance (it is Friday, after all) and Enid really sees that George is really in love with Robin and needs to let go. Um, sad?

But, she still can’t walk and Liz thinks it’s psychosomatic. So she hatches a plan using Mr. Collins son Teddy. This is rull appropriate. She leaves him in the pool with Enid and Teddy pretends to drown and Enid is forced to jump up and save him. It was totally like when Nellie Olsen fell off Laura’s horse and pretended to be paralyzed but then Laura pushed her into a lake forcing her to stand up. Except that it wasn’t as cool.

And here’s the icing on the cake: Liz is a HERO after playing that trick on Enid. People at school run up to her and cheer. Errrrr, isn’t Enid the one who just became unparalyzed? Shouldn’t someone give a shit?

Um, the cover? It makes it look like Liz is saving Enid right after the crash. Or, if they are in the hospital, shouldn’t she not move Enid around like that?

Other thoughts:

Robin Wilson gets all stressed and guilty, so of course she starts stuffing her face. Eating is weakness. The book takes place over the span of a week, and she puts on ten pounds. And both Liz and Jessica both take notice in the form of condescending thoughts in italics.

So high school kids and their love lives can often be shallow, but I really don’t know why some of these kids are together. They never really talk about why why and how George and Robin fell in love. Their love of planes? Their burning desires for mainstream acceptance?

Sorry y’all, I couldn’t give you more. This one was dreadful.

My grade: F

Next time: Rags to Riches: it is so fucking ridiculous you won’t believe it.

The one where Amy Sutton returns a changed woman or #27 Bitter Rivals

Wow, I forgot what a disgusting waste of human space Amy Sutton was. So, here we head back to the pettiness and shallowness that is the hallmark af our beloved SVH. It was actually kind of refreshing since the last book was actually proactively positive. Anyway, Liz gets word that Amy Sutton in moving back to SV after she moved to CT fir a few years. Liz is stoked, but Enid starts getting jealous after hearing how fabulous Amy is. Because she feels soooo honored to have Liz as her best friend, and doesn’t want to lose her. Gag.

I love how in the BSC they often describe outfits, but they don’t do that much in SVH except say that Liz wears cardigans and jean skirts, and Jess wears low cut dresses and skimpy bikinis. But this cover alone makes up for it. Enid has a mega-perm! And belted pleated pants (could they be Z. Cavariicci?) Liz has some matching pants! I think the belt is attached to the pants!The polo isn’t bad, it looks kind of hispterish. Amy’s got a wicked pink dress with a matching belt. Sadly, this would pass as pretty retro-stylish right now. In fact, I’m wearing leggings right now. (Shut up! They’re from American Apparel!)

Amy comes back and is not the fun-loving, tomboy that Liz remembers, she is so stylish and pretty and of course, very skinny. She also won’t shut up about all her boyfriends. Amy also doesn’t give a shit about Enid and is mean to her, but Liz doesn’t notice. Finally, at school, Amy is all popular and shit and makes the cheerleading squad and is all bffs with Lila, Cara, and Jessica. She has an actual crowd of admirers that literally follow her around.

If my memory serves me correctly, those three were horrendous towards Amy in the Sweet Valley Twins series. But, just as we learned in Power Play, the best revenge on your enemies is to conform to them and gain their approval. Sigh. If Amy was so fantastic, she should have arrived and when Lila and all them kissed up to her, she could be all fuck off and start her own clique.

Amy keeps standing Liz up and taking her for granted, but Liz is a total pushover and takes it bending over. Seriously, Liz is supposed to be sooo sensitive and a good friend, but practically forgets Enid at the drop of a hat if Amy calls. She and Enid are trying to plan a magical skiing weekend, and Liz insits in inviting Amy, but Amy keeps making them reschedule and Enid is PIIIIIISSSSED. For once, I feel bad for Enid.

So, Lila is having a party (as she does every fucking day) to introduce her friends to her cousin Christopher. Based on pictures and stuff, Amy has declared that she is in LUUUUVVV with him, and Lila plays pimp and decides that Christopher will be Amy’s boyf. It’s a costume party (a-gain) and Liz and Enid both come as skiers…without each other knowing. Theis makes Liz realizes that Enid is her true best friend. Also, it turns out that Christopher and Enid were actually camp counselors together a while back, and hangs out with Enid the whole party. Amy gets mad and confronts Enid and is all, back off bitch, you can’t have Christopher or Liz, they’re both mine. Great, just what SVH needs, another borderline personality disordered evil blond cheerleader. Liz finds out and FINALLY realizes Amy isn’t who she used to be. The moral is…I don’t know.

Other thoughts:

Lila’s parties are always large, catered affairs with themes and like, small, cut-up cucumber sandwhiches and pastries. These sound pretty hot for a Bat Mitzvah, but do you really expect high school students to show up and be okay with the fact that there is no booze? Oh, and Jessica goes as a sexy Cleopatra.

Amy wears a black jumpsuit and black cowboy boots out to lunch. Hawt.

Amy no longer gives a shit about schoolwork, because it takes a lot of time being popular, pretty and thin. Great role modeling, Francine.

Liz is so excited and takes like months planning a brunch with her Amy and Enid….at the Pancake House. Real classy. But then Amy only orders a grapefruit and judges Enid for getting pancakes and bacon.

There is something off about Enid and Liz’ relationship. It’s true that it is great when you have a friend you can talk about your problems with or talk about your life goals or whatever, but that is all Liz and Enid do. Seriously, they could have a little fun sometimes. Or just laugh as stupid shit. They never do. Sounds kind of boring. I’m just sayin’ you need a little of both.

My grade: B

What’s next? I haven’t really decided yet. Maybe the one where the Morrows move to town. Or maybe the one where the two students are engaged. I kind of feel like ragging on Bruce Patman, so maybe one with him in the central story, Or maybe when Todd moves away. The possibilities are endless!

The one where you think Jessica has sex but the title and cover are misleading, or #5 All Night Long

I was totally not allowed to read this one. For the apparent sexual content it promised. BUT….when I did read it, it did not deliver. Jessica was out all night because she wouldn’t sleep with a college guy on the first date and she couldn’t get a ride home until the morning. LAME!

I digress. First, let’s start with the cover. Why did Jessica and her date stop at the Sears portrait studio? Why in the hell does Scott have a porn moustache? He looks old enough to be my father. Or a little bit like a drag king. Creepy. And Jessica and her damn feathered hair.

Jessica hangs out with aformentioned moustached college guy, Scott, at a beach party. They are drinking! SHOCKER! And they are passing around a joint. This is how Jessica knows she is in the “fast lane”. Jessica has no real contact, just talks in sexual innuendos and acts like a third grader, like dumping mud on him and runs away. Hot. I’ll have to try that one. They go to some abandoned boathouse or something and Scott starts kissing her “like he means business”. She protests and he pins her down and threatens that he won’t let her leave until she “gives it up”.

Hold it there. Here is the chance for the issue of date violence and date rape to be addressed, but good old Francine decides to go with the blame the victim route. Scott says, ” Go ahead, Jessie baby. Tell them. Tell them how you lied to [your parents] so you could sneak up here with me. Tell them how you just happened to be in a deserted boathouse, practically naked, when I came along and tried to take advantage of you.” Great. Fantastic. He leaves her in the boathouse to find her way back.

The All Night Long refers to the time it takes Jessica to find her way back and get a ride home. When she gets back she bullies into covering for her. Elizabeth is a total doormat, so does it and has multiple panic attacks in the process. Oh, and fights with Todd. Big shocker. Jess actually makes Liz feel bad for not helping her enough. She even has to pretend to be Jessica in front of her Mom so that she can cover. How does her Mom not know? Jessica basically blames her whole situation on Elizabeth, justifying her dumb actions as Elizabeth not stopping her. Whoa. Some serious denial. And totally yells at Elizabeth that she hates her once she gets back, and Liz just takes it and begs for forgiveness. Based on the novel that is about an inch think, I’ve diagnosed Jessica with Histrionic Personality Disorder:

    • Constant seeking of reassurance or approval.
    • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions.
    • Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval.
    • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior.
    • Excessive concern with physical appearance.
    • A need to be the center of attention (self-centeredness).
    • Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification.
    • Rapidly shifting emotional states that may appear shallow to others.
    • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details.
    • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.
    • Make rash decisions
    • Threaten or attempt suicide to get attention

Yep, seems about right.

Other things:

When describing Olivia Davidson, the arts editor for The Oracle, it mentions that she is “big on anti-nuke rallies and eats alafalfa srprouts and whole-grain breads”. Oh come on, Francine, we know what you really want to say- that she’s a dyke. Just say it.

Enid also recouts a college party she heard about from her cousin. “It was kind of a grown up pajama party, with everyone wearing nightshirts and nightgowns, and on the floor strewn with mattresses for them to sit on instead of chairs. According to Enid’s cousin, things had gotten pretty out of hand, especially with all the drinking that had been going on.” The fuck???

These characters either have no sense of humor, or they were purposely written with the sense of humor geared towards four year olds. When Todd and Liz are fighting over the fact that Liz is being manipulated by Jessica, she calls off their Saturday night date. “I’d rather go out with Jaws!” is her retort. Okay, maybe the reference meant more in 1982. That would mean today, that insult would translate to “I’d rather go out with Shrek!” Okay, it still doesn’t work.

I think Bruce Patman is a thinly veiled allegory for free market capitalism and corporate greed. And Liz represents socialism. It’s like Animal Farm with teenagers.

The moral: if you manipulate and emotionally abuse your sibling long enough, you will finally break them down. Or something.

My grade: B