from the blog of Claire Middleton

Cover Courtesy of The Closet

My first day at Sweet Valley High. Really? Really? This is a high school? I was enrolled in only three classes, French, English and History. The rest is lunch. Ugh. I am so sad that I transferred. The whole school seems to revolve around these obnoxious blond twins. One came up to me and wanted me to join some stupid sorority. I guess they have a quota for brunettes. Another one keeps bugging me for an interview and she keeps asking me all these personal questions and seems mad when I flinch away when she tries to put her hand on my shoulder.

I’ve realized what can make this school more bearable: I’ll join the football team. It’s the only thing I like and it seems like in this school everyone has a one-dimensional personality trait. I’ll be “the tomboy.” Plus, it seems that this high school has had every cliche possible except for the “girl tries to join the boy’s sports team.”

Hubba hubba! I met this guy Ken Matthews who is also trying out as quarterback for the team. He’s got a great ass and is total himbo, two things I love in a guy. He’s totally into me but he has this annoying girlfriend Terri, who apparently has his dick on a leash. She seems to get mad whenever we hang out, so I’ll just do it some more. Word on the street is that Ken was blind for a while and Terri led him around the halls and he figured he may as well hit that. I actually heard her wailing, “I wish Ken was still blind!” I think being here is punishment for that brief time when I gained five pounds.

Ok, not cool you guys. Someone found out that my brother died of cancer and he was the one who made me love football. The slutty Wakefield twin did a cheer that mentioned him during the tryouts. If that was not bad enough, once I went running off the field, the annoying Wakefield twin ran after me trying to comfort me. What the fuck is this place?

Ken got quarterback, I’m second string, and Terri got Ken back. Joke’s on her, I gave him an tug job behind the bleachers after school today. He sobbed during it. Weird. It’s amazing how all problems here wrap up by Friday afternoon, just in time for a dance. Well, at least now people will leave me alone, and I can just show up for random parties or talent shows and the like.

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.

Women’s Lib! or #76, Miss Teen Sweet Valley

Only in Sweet Valley: the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Miss Teen Sweet Valley contest and holding it in the SVH auditorium. They are doing this as a fundraiser. How this will make them money I don’t know. I guess they are expecting all the pervs out there to buy tickets. And also, why the fuck is this allowed in the school? Am I surprised by it?

Liz and her fucking matching barettes.

Jessica is ecstatic of course, and is sure she will win. In fact, she waits a bit to sign up because she doesn’t want to make the other contestants scared.

It was hard to keep her intention of entering , and winning, to herself. But it was better to wait and see who else was signing up in order to evaluate her competition. If the other candidates knew Jessica was entering, they were bound to get discouraged and withdraw. In either case, the pageant would be canceled or Jessica would win simply because she was the only person in the contest.

How do the ghostwriters sleep at night?

Elizabeth, on the other hand, suddenly grows a spine and goes on a campaign to get it canceled, because she feels it is demeaning to women. She writes a long article in The Oracle. The Sweet Valley News reads it and wants to print it. Seriously, because the ONLY news worth printing in Sweet Valley has to do with the Wakefield twins. Plus, the local news LOVES the story and has the twins on tv to debate the issue. Please let that be a shitty local access channel, and not the nightly news.

Jessica really really wants to win. Why? So her brother’s college friend will notice her. And she’s an egomanical sociopath. Wow, great reasons. The guy, Frazer, actually ignores jess and doesn’t seem interested. Wh-wh-wh-what? How is it biologically possible that a guy ignores Jessica?

Meanwhile, Jess is taking modern dance lessons to work on her talent portion. Her teacheris very short with her and keeps giving her a hard time. That’s impossible! Jessica is amazing at everything she does! How dare someone day otherwise! Oh, actually, he’s hard on her because HE’S NEVER SEEN TALENT LIKE HERS…EVER. And it’s his duty to encourage such talent. Again, stop. validating. Jessica.

Liz finds a loophole in which she can get the pageant cancelled, but all for her love of Jess she lets it go on. Any person wishing to have an event in the school auditorium needs permision from the superintendent, who has been out of town “visiting the Soviet Uniton meeing with Soviet educators.” The fuck? He’s a superintendent of schools, not a spy for the CIA.

So Jessica fucks up during the dance portion, and is all ashamed and doesn’t want to go. In order to help her, Liz enters the swimsuit part posing as Jessica, because doncha know that she has a perfect size-six, tanned body.

So, Jessica finally wins. And she starts to think…I screwed up the dance portion…did I really win just because I’m pretty? Of course because she is about to have a profound thought about the superficiality of it all, it is forgotten of course. Through rumors she heard that the prize was 10,000 bucks and a shopping spree, but it turns out the prizes are reallya haircut at the new styling salon in the mall, a month’s free bowling at Al’s Alley, a set of encyclopedias (omg remember those?) a twenty-five dollar gift certificate for Things for Girls, ten free movie rentals at Quick-dash. Bwahahaha.

Ok, but then…this is infuriating. Frazer then shows up and is like, I’ve liked you this whole time but was afraid to ask you out. WHAT? It’s like even when Jessica doesn’t get what she wants it’s like it’s because she is so awesome that it will always work out in the end anyway.

Other thoughts:

One of the other contestants is deaf (not Regina, she’s dead) and Jessica was all, oh it’s okay because her hearing aids were hidden behind her hair.