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].

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Choose your own (mis)adventure: Two Boy Weekend

You’re a popular, blond teenager. Your boyfriend is going to be away for four days. Do you:

  • (A) Pine after him by listening to your favorite songs that remind you of him, and spend the time hanging out with your girlfriends- it’s fun to have some girl time anyway!
  • (B) throw a massive temper tantrum, try to convince said boyfriend to cancel his plans despite it being important to him, practically threaten suicide, and sit on the beach for hours crying and feeling sorry for yourself

Great! You chose (B). Now, while you sit on the beach contemplating how awful your life is, you see a cute guy on the beach. Do you:

  • (C) Be faithful to your boyfriend for two fucking seconds. Maybe just admire him.
  • (D) Decide that he is the best looking guy you have ever seen and declare yourself in love with him. Of course agree to go out with him because he is instantly in love with you.

Great! You chose (D) You guys spend the whole weekend together. He doesn’t share anything about himself, but spends hours listening to you babble on about yourself.  After that weekend, and after your boyfriend returns, this guy, Christopher calls you incessantly after you ask him not too. Finally, you agree to go out with him one more time, and he threatens to smash into a brick wall with you in the car unless you promise to go out with him. Do you:

  • (E) tell your parents and seek help immediately. Maybe even call the police?….
  • (F) Decide to go out with him anyway, because you don’t want your boyfriend finding out about him. After all, your boyfriend is getting an award at a dance at the country club, and that will make you and him king and queen of the party, so you don’t want to miss that opportunity and therefore will continue to let Christopher harass you and threaten you. After all, you got a new dress!

You’ve chosen (F). Great! It’s the day of the party. However, Christopher finds out about the party, since he’s been stalking you. He shows up to break the news to your boyfriend, and probably to physically harm you for not choosing to be with him. When he arrives, he sees your identical twin sister and thinks it’s you. He starts talking to her and trying ti win her over. Should your twin sister:

  • (G) avoid this psycho, reveal herself to be your twin, alert some security at the party…or get the fuck away from this guy, or
  • (H) pretend to be you and agree to take a walk in the deserted woods with Christopher, so he won’t ruin your chances of being queen of the country club dance.

Well you chose…(H). Way to go…I guess? Still thinking your sister is you, he ties her up and shoves her in the trunk of his car in hopes of kidnapping her. This brings up some major issues because this is not the first time your sister was kidnapped. Not long ago, she was held hostage and fed frozen pancakes. Finally, after about an hour of dancing in the spotlight, you begin to feel a TAD BIT worried about your sister. You find her boyfriend and go off to find her. Just your luck! You catch them just as Liz is being thrown in the trunk. Jeffrey punches him out and you free Liz from the ropes. Yay! Does Liz:

  • (I) freak out from the incident, go ballistic on you, screaming for the police and have a flashback to her earlier ordeal?
  • (J) Hop out of the car, smooth her sensible skirt and laugh the whole thing off.

Great, you chose…..give me a fucking break. You chose (J)? Really? Really? Well, ok. So Christopher gets hauled off by security. Turns out he’s an escaped mental patient who has done this to girls before. Tee hee! Silly you! You probably should have asked more about him and not talked so much about yourself. You all head back to the party. Your boyfriend, A.J., asks you where you’ve been. You:

  • (K) Explain that you were cheating on him and because of your selfish actions, almost got your sister raped and/or killed.
  • (L) Say that things just aren’t working out, maybe you need time apart, and end up parting amicably so that the break up is NO FAULT of yours and he actually apologizes to you.

of COURSE you chose (L). You’re Jessica Wakefield.

—-

Francine, stop trying to make rape-chic happen. Seriously, were we supposed to think Jessica was dumb? Or that this was funny? What is the lesson learned? That they should just expect it because they are Wakefields, it’s part of life, if this happens it will all work out? That if they just ignore the guy threatening them, they can work it out themselves? That girls are powerless about the men that threaten violence against them? There was no lesson learned….Jessica has NO consequences from cheating on her boyfriend, not telling anyone about the guy threatening her, almost getting Elizabeth killed. She learns nothing. Elizabeth, as usual, enables her by cleaning up her mess.

Meanwhile, Jessica may be an even bigger sociopath than this Christopher guy. I’ve GOTTA transcribe Jessica’s reaction to A.J. having the NERVE to go away for four days. And when her friends wouldn’t wallow in her self-pity with her.

Her friends’ laughter drifted to her, and Jessica felt a surge of loneliness and betrayal. They were acting as if nothing was different, she thought. They weren’t making the least effort to cheer her up, and they were all going to Ken Matthew’s party later and didn’t even care if she went or not. I could disappear off the face of the earth, and they’d never know the difference. Feeling completely rejected, she dove into an oncoming wave and swam a few quick strokes out. She cut through another wave and felt her hair drag out behind her. They’d be really sorry if I drowned, she added silently. Then they’d wish they’d been nicer to me when they had the chance.

I call your bluff, Jessica. Drown yourself.

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.

Don’t get our hopes up!

Don’t we wish that Liz left the country for a while and we didn’t have to deal with her barrettes and piousness? Regina Morrow apparently handed Liz one brochure about some school called Interlochen and Liz had dreams of wiring her amazing short stories overlooking the alps. Liz found out about this place too late after the deadline but fuck me gently with a chainsaw! There’s still a scholarship that she is eligible to apply for! The possibility of Sweet Valley without Liz is too much for her friends and family to imagine. It would kind of be like Jessica without a halter top. Or Robin Wilson without a cheesecake. Or Todd without cheating. You get the picture. She’s INTEGRAL! So everyone reacts to this in the most illogical, irrational, immature way ever. Did we expect anything less?

Q: Liz notices that Jeffrey seems kind of bummed and quiet when she talks about going away. Why do you think this is, Liz?
A: Well, he probably doesn’t realize how important this is to me! So I think the solution is to talk about how much fun I am going to have there nonstop! That will make him realize how much I want to go, and then of course he will support me!

Q: Well, Liz, Enid seems kind of bummed too. Do you think it is for the same reason?
A: Of course not, she doesn’t want to see me be happy! She’s just SO SELFISH! I am just going to not talk to her anymore. Screw any feelings she may be having about the matter! She’s supposed to be my best friend and worship me unconditionally!

Q: Jeffrey and Enid, what are you going to do to make sure Liz stays?
A: Well, instead of talking to her about how we feel, we are going to make her a super-secret but super-special scrapbook filled with pictures of her with us. And we’ll sneak around suspiciously together to get it complete. And in no way would it give her the idea that we are seeing each other.

Q: Jessica and Steven, how will you handle this.
A: Well, in the most mature and reasonably way possible- by sabotaging her interview! Jessica will wear a slutty outfit, and Steven will act like an imbecile. In other words, like ourselves.

Q: Liz, how do you feel about the way everyone is acting?
A: Well, in the last minute, I decided that I don’t want to go anyway. I thought Switzerland was magical. but what could be more magical than Sweet Valley and all of my friends?  The people are too snotty and judgmental. However, I’ll just forgive everyone for the way they are acting! What? of course I won’t hold Jessica accountable for her hideous actions! I’ll just hig her and tell her that I’m so glad she’s my sister, thus enabling her selfish behavior! Yay for friends! let’s all get triple scoop Sundaes at Casey’s!

BUT! ALICE WAKEFIELD ACTS LIKE A PARENT!:

You seem to be asking an awful lot of [Jeffrey]. You suddenly announce that what you want more than anything in the entire world is to move to Switzerland for an entire year and study creative writing. The way you put it, Jeffrey would be a real chauvinist if he didn’t back you on the whole project. You keep emphasizing how important it will be for your development, your writing, your future. Have you even asked Jeffrey how he feels about the whole thing? It seems you’ve done an awful lot of assuming for him. You’ve assumed he’s behind your plan. You’ve assumed that he is going to wait around for you. And now you’re assuming that he’s interested in your best friend! Don’t you think it’s time you two actually sat down and talked?

Then, in a plotline best suited for an ABC Family original movie, Winston has some shenanigans with a lottery ticket. Somehow he accidentally switches his coat with a poor old man’s, and the lottery ticket in the pocket is the winning ticket! Winston is so con sumed with guilt that he returns the coat and the money to the old man, and now his little granddaughter can go to riding camp. Wait, there’s a poor man in Sweet Valley? He must live next to the Martins.

Who’s to Blame…for this steaming pile of crap called a book

Jimmy really earned his paycheck on this cover. Love how Liz is wiping away the single tear.

Previously, Ned and Alice were having marriage trouble. Ned has moved out temporarily to try and work things out or something. They keep mentioning that it is temporary, so why is everyone all upset? On the other hand, I can see why they may be a little upset, because in Sweet Valley, if your parents are divorced or you do not have a hetero-two parent family, you end of as a raging slut, have ‘roid rages, have really bad self-esteem, are dirt-poor, are pathetically boring, are distrustful of men, die of some terrible diseasedrop out of school,  just to name a few. So yea, I guess I’d be upset.

This fight brings out the absolute worst in the twins. Shall we start with Liz? First, she thinks the break up is all her fault because back when the fam tried to take a ski weekend, she gave her mom’s secretary the number where they will be and when then the secretary called, it caused Alice to leave and make Ned mad. So Liz has the gall to think that she is so INFLUENTIAL that she is the CAUSE of her parents breakup. So she mopes about it the whole time in a whoa is me fashion. She totally martyrs herself and cancels all her plans to TAKE CARE of her mother, because forgot the fact that Alice is an adult that can take care of herself. And then, her parents breakup makes her GIVE UP ON LOVE and if a couple so perfect and in love as her parents can’t survive, how can any relationship survive? So she breaks up with Todd for no reason and pulls the histrionics all day. I can see her walking around, and when anyone approached, heaving a HUGE sigh and waiting for someone to ask her what is wrong.

I am not sure who is worse, Elizabeth or Jessica. Jessica doesn’t care about anyone in her family, and sees the separation as a good thing. When Jessica gets in trouble with her mom, she runs to her dad to complain and has her Dad call her mom to debate the punishment. And then she uses her Dad’s guilt to get money from him to buy a new outfit. But should we expect less from Jessica?

Finally Jessica and Steven find out she gave Alice’s secretary the number to where they were vacationing, and Jessica and Steven get mad and oh my god! How dare Elizabeth be so important as to ruin an adult’s marriage! She needs to get away from them! She doesn’t have the balls to pull a Jessica and actually run away, so she goes to stay with Enid, who of course is foaming at the mouth over the opportunity to have Liz stay at her house and get all of her attention. Liz doesn’t want her parents to find her, so she takes Enid’s phone off the hook without telling Enid or her Mom for the whole weekend. Wtf? And Mrs. Rollins doesn’t get pissed at that? Enid on the other hand, doesn’t care, and sleeps clutching the sheets that Elizabeth slept on.

The secondary storyline only serves to enrage me even more. Jessica has been calling a teen party line. Remember party lines? How trashy. She’s met a guy through one of them, Charlie, who has a sexy voice and who she has hit it off with.Although he is hesitant to meet her in person, but finally agrees. They meet at the roller rink, but the guy who meets her there is cute but boring. It takes like three more meetings for Jessica to realize that this is not the same guy that she has been talking to on the phone. Turns out he thinks he’s not that great looking. Despite being totally into him when they talk on the phone, Jessica doesn’t even CONSIDER meeting him and instead comes up with this brilliant plan:

Suddenly, a wonderful idea came to her. Amy had called this morning and said the guy in her tennis class had turned her down. So she didn’t have a date eithetr. Why not get Amy and Charlie, the real Charlie, to go to the dance together as blind dates? Jessica could go with the other Charlie, the handsome one. What was his name anyway? And the four of them could double-date. That way Jessica wouldn’t be mortified by being caught out in public with someone who wasn’t good-looking. And at the same time she would be able to enjoy the benefits of being with bothy Charlies and having both of them be in love with her! It was the perfect plan!

Seriously, I still can’t figure out if the ghostwriters are aware that Jessica is a pain in the ass selfish brat, or hope that readers will find Jessica’s actions endearing. It’s keeping me up at night.