I get by with a little help from my memes.

I guess at some point someone at Bantam books suddenly read one of their own SVH books and thought “we still publish these? Really?”  and realized how horrible they are. Someone thought- “we need a new image!”  So they brought some “young hip” consultants  to revamp the SVH books. So, just like Robin Wilson, within a month, we get new fancy new look covers and more schmaltz and intrigue. the new era of SVH- the one that led to the eighteen-book-long miniseries including police, jail, arrests, fighting, tv dating shows, high school gang rivalry, and of course, everyone’s favorite child-murderess. There’s really no way to capture the absurdness of this one, except for having an imaginary conversation with this book and scream at it and also incorporate some of my favorite memes.

Liz and Jess are getting ready to go out one night with their bestest, nicest, genital-less boyfriends when somehow they both come to the conclusion that they haven’t had a school dance in a while.

REALLY? REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Then they come up with the idea that it should be a JUNGLE prom. And…..that they should get the local non-profit, Environmental Alert, to sponsor it.

For sers, Capt. Picard. HOW WOULD THIS HELP A NON PROFIT ORG? THE MEASLEY TEN BUCKS A TICKET WOULD BARELY COVER THE PRINTER CARTRIDGE COSTS FOR THE OFFICE OF THIS ORG. I’ve worked in non-profits, I know unless you are going to write a check with six zeroes, nothing truly can make that big an impact. AND IF YOU WANT TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT, DON’T HAVE A DANCE! NO CREPE PAPER AND LEFTOVER FOOD THAT IS WASTEFUL! NO CONSUMERISM FROM BUYING ALL THE CLOTHES!

Later the gang is at a beach party and they CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT HOW AWESOME THEIR SCHOOL IS. And here is the description of how happenin’ this party is.

DeeDee Gordon and Bill Chase, the drama club president and top surfer, respectively, were doing the twist. Amy Sutton, whose knockout legs looked longer than ever thanks to a hot pink lycra mini-skirt shimmied up to her boyfriend Barry Rork. Tall, well-built Ken Matthews grasped his petite girlfriend, Terri Adams, by the waist; she squealed with delight as he lifted her high over his head. April Dawson and Michael Harris were hopping around, clapping their hands and singing along to the music.

IS THIS REAL LIFE???? REALLY FUCKING CURRENT AND HIP WAY TO DESCRIBE A HIGH SCHOOL PARTY. PEOPLE CLAPPING? NOOOOO!!!!!!!! MY MIND!!!! IT IS BLOWN!!!!

Meanwhile, kids from Big Mesa come by and raid the party, wearing Big Mesa gear. And by raid, I mean, steal the boombox and knock over the table of chips and dip. Big whoop. No big deal. of course Bruce Patman has a roid rage and THREATENS TO WEAR HIS CLUB X JACKET AT THEM. Apparently, it’s an all-out war of the schools…just like twenty books later? Really? DOES ANY EDITOR EVER FUCKING READ THESE THINGS? In the midst of the raid, Bruce spots a beautiful girl who saves him from being trampled, and his boner gets a boner. Don’t even worry about that, because it’s not resolved until the last book of the series and he ends up dumping her to get an over-the-pants hand job from Liz. But whatever.

Even better: at some point, Big Mesa’s newspaper publishes as issue that INSULTS THE ORACLE. OH NO THEY DI’INT!

Oh then something something, Jessica does something to piss of Liz but then makes Liz feels bad for feeling bad for Jessica, and Elizabeth declares she will never fall prey to Jessica’s selfishness again, it’s time to put Liz first! That will last five minutes.

Then someone decides that there should be a prom king and prom queen, BECAUSE THAT WILL HELP THE ENVIRONMENT. And the group likes the idea so much, they will send the prom queen (not the king, mind you) on a trip to Brazil to represent the org and give speeches.

HOW IN THE FUCK DOES THAT HELP? ThE JET FUEL ALONE COULD POWER A WHOLE THIRD WORLD VILLAGE.

Obviously, Jessica is thinking about bikinis and men she could hypnotize with her crusty blond bangs, and Elizabeth is thinking about helping poor Brazilllians start a gossip column in their village. This heat things up, and both girls want to be prom queen. Jessica is mad at Liz because obviously, Jessica is destined to be prom queen and Liz should be aware of that. Um, Jessica,

Liz and Jess fight, and Jessica goes into turbo-sociopath mode. They actually have daily prom committee meetings – because the school decided they would sponsor this- because it is the Wakefields after all-and Jessica never shows up and expects Liz to do all the work. liz knows this, but her nipples get hard when she makes to-do lists, so she can’t resist. Then the twins start campaigning for prom queen against each other, like it’s the only thing that matters. And blah blah blah, fight, fight, boyfriend snuggle, silent treatment, etc. Then Jessica decides to not allow people from Big Mesa because of the rivalry to win her favors. And then does a half-assed attempt at sticking to the theme by giving out “save the rainforest” and if A WHOLE RAINFOREST WAS PROBABLY KILLED TO MAKE THESE BUTTONS.

Liz mopes around because she’s fighting with Jessica, and thinks she should maybe drop out of the prom queen campaign. Her friends convince her she’s still worthy, she keeps protesting and OF COURSE they have to tell her a thousand times that she’s fabulous. Enid does a power point presentation for Liz on why she’s such an awesome friend. Except that liz remains a sad Keanu.

Time to get ready for the prom- the twins, although not speaking to each other, bith picked dresses that match their personality. Jessica chooses a pink, low cut number (to represent her vagina) and Liz picks a froffy blue off the shoulder number (to represent the cold glare of judgement). So how did they look? Let’s find out….

My thoughts:

How does Jessica get her hair so….crusty? And SOMEONE GET HER A FLAT IRON…STAT! And Liz….I just don’t even…

Elizabeth decides to make a prom mini-year book for the prom. Documenting all the pics of them prepping the prom and to…remember the three hours they spent in their high school gym? These kids are the most self-fellating bunch of kids ever.

And thus we have the part where Jessica turns into SOCIOPATH-OTRON 5000 ™. She starts seething at Elizabeth for taking what is RIGHTFULLY HERS. Todd wins prom king and she thinks Liz is a shoe-in. She then sees her dancing with Sam, and luckily, some kid wondered in from a another, more realistic YA novel where they drink, and Liz spikes Liz’s drink with vodka. Liz and Sam get drunk after a few sips and they do the tango and the Charleston (YES THAT HAPPENS). Suddenly Big Mesa raids the gym and everyone runs out to their cars, and Liz and Sam jump in the jeep, and apparently have an alcohol blood level of .98, they crash the van and Jessica and Todd run after them, only to see the jeep turned over and Sam and Liz presumably dead.

WHERE ARE ANY ADULTS/SCHOOL OFFICALS DURING THIS DANCE? GOOD FUCKING LORD.

Meanwhiles, during this time, Lila is seeing a counselor at Project Youth named Nathan because of her traumatic experience with J-Rape Pfeiffer. Who is also a counselor at SVH. Is that ethical? Real-life therapists, please shed some light. What is NOT appropriate is that he calls her “Li” and sees her on the beach and approaches her and wants to hang out with her.

WHAT? One of the first things i did with my new therapist was decide what we would do if we ever saw each other in public (we would not acknowledge each other- that’s how I roll). Lila starts having feelings for Nathan, because of course she’s a damaged, silly woman who will stupidly show misguided affection for the first man that pays attention to her. During the Big Mesa raid, Lila freaks and NATHAN THINKS IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO PULL HER INTO AN EMPTY CLASSROOM SHUT THE DOOR AND ATTEMPT TO EMBRACE HER.

You know what happens in the next few books. The judicial system changes to fit Liz’s needs and Margo drowns children. Double fried-chicken skin butter bacon burgers all around at the Dairi Burger!

Oh, just murder them already!

WHEN SHADOW PUPPETS GO BAD

UUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHH you guys I thought I had closed the chapter on the original Super Thrillers. To my chagrin (what’s a chagrin?) there is STILL this one and I don’t get it, it’s still summer, but Liz is with Todd, and they are still interns at the Sweet Valley News, and somehow they are not aware that this Seth guy writes mystery novels in his spare time. What is going on? Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt about to come in and kick Jessica’s chair over (better yet, a kick in the face).

So, yea. There’s a recent murder in town. Jessica overhears phone calls. The police are inept. Parents are not consulted. Drugs are involved. Jessica meets a twenty something accountant who of course has no choice in life but to ask her out. But he’s an undercover cop. Because, of course he is. There’s drugs in Sweet Valley! Someone must stop this! Jessica gets held hostage by their boss at the newspaper and is almost murdered. Liz saves the day at the last minute. After the FOURTH time Jessica is almost murdered in the same summer (or is it?) she skips off ready to shop at the mall and to get a boner over the latest hunky janitor who was just hired, or something.

Good Lord. Please don’t make me spell out the plot further. As Murtaugh would say….

And in case you haven’t heard…the SWEET VALLEY TEN YEARS LATER website has launched, confirming the actual release of Sweet Valley Confidential. I will admit, I didn’t believe that it would actually happen! But it IS for real! Although ten years for SV is practically 25 years for us. They must be 4 levels of dreams under…I’m going to implant the idea in their brains that Liz should shut the hell up. (Can’t stop with the Inception references!)I have my thoughts on the first chapter at a later time. Thanks to the site for linking me. And not hating me for crapping all over the author they represent. And who would have thought Francie liked poker?

And some housekeeping- I’d like to update the links to the right. If I am missing yours or someone else’s YA blog, drop me an email.

Coming soon- my interview with Amanda Howells, former Sweet Valley University ghostwriter and a giveaway of her new book….

On the Run: The ending gives away the story, dumbass

It’s the clip-art magnifying glass of doom! Despite witnessing the murder of their houseguest’s girlfriend and then almost being butchered in a garage, the twins lives are pretty much back to the ho-hum of Sweet Valley. They are back interning at the Sweet Valley news for free, and Elizabeth is still believing that one day the editor will give her the assignment of her life, she’ll write it and win the Pulitzer Prize. Keep making coffee and making photocopies, loser.

Meanwhile, the news has a new intern named Darcy Kaymen, who is a redhead and immediately takes a dislike to Elizabeth, who she deems as pompous and boring. We love Darcy! The great thing is, Liz doesn’t try to win Darcy over and concert her to a Wakefield-worshipping zombie, she just kinds of sits and takes it. Awesome! Meanwhile, Darcy and Jessica become besties, because they both enjoy lipgloss and psychopathology.

But oooooo, there’s national news about a well-known criminal case in New York. Frank DeLucca, a notorious mafia leader was arrested but people are afraid to testify against him. Ned has something to say about it: He “feared that DeLucca might be let off and horrible chain of underworld crime would continue.” Because they live in a 1930s film noir. And this guy’s conviction would make New York virtually crime free. Rumor has it that they found a witness but he was going into the witness protection program.

Meanwhile…there’s a new guy, Eric,  that works in the coffeeshop downstairs. He just moved to town and seems very mysterious. I WONDER HOW THAT IS RELATED TO THE SEEMINGLY PASSING MENTION OF SOMEONE GOING INTO THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. Darcy gets hard on for him, but Liz gets a bigger hard on when she finds out that Eric likes sappy love poetry. This makes Darcy mad, so she hates Elizabeth more. Some other business comes up where Darcy thinks that Eric is really some guy who murdered a girl in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and that Liz is in trouble, but meanwhile some weird guys in suits are following the twins around but meanwhile, some kid starts choking in the coffeeshop and Eric’s father is revealed to be…dum dum dum….the doctor who testified! of COURSE they moved to Sweet Valley of all places.

Just when everyone has a big laugh about the mixup and about to head to Casey’s for a deep fried quadruple scoop of bacon and nutella ice cream, some of DeLucca’s guys come in and hold Eric’s family and Liz hostage! Liz somehow saves the day by teaching Eric and his father about the power of trust and they are saved, the bad guys are arrested, and the seedy crime underworld is virtually eradicated. Yay!

I couldn’t deny you the pleasure of hearing Eric’s poetry that caused Elizabeth’s high-wasted briefs in a knot.

No sparrows light here

the sheaves picked clean,

and summer gone

with nothing left to stave off cold

or hunger.

Maybe to love

is always to hurt deeply and not just

to hurt, but to destroy,

knowing this

awful farewell

has been in store for us.

Liz was ready to cheat on Jeffrey with this sap. The only thing stopping them from getting to third base was that Eric and his dad needed to leave Sweet Valley and go ON THE RUN again. See what they did there? Good thing that the nothing else crazy and murder-related happens during this summer….except when it does.

Ted Kaczynski would agree; Who’s Who?

Image courtesy of The Closet

Maybe Ted Kaczynski would agree with me here…. about how technology is a harm to society (to grossly paraphrase). Because, the use of the internet and cell phones would completely negate the occurrence of this book ever being released. But wait, he would say that the use of any telephones takes away personal freedom. Wait…I don’t know. But I did just have a flash of a super thriller in which someone is sending mail bombs in Sweet Valley and Liz coaxes the person to stop by offeringt to co-write their manifesto and publish it in the Oracle. But anyway.

Let’s all thank god that we were able to have this bestowed on us as a reminder of simpler times when lack of cell phone and internet communication can lead to wacky dating hijinks.

Liz and Jess are at the mall together and they see a new company called Lovestruck Dating Service where “Teens Are Our Specialty.” Ok, stop right there, that is really weird and creepy. Someone wants to make money off of getting teens to hook up. Of course, Jess is interested. She doesn’t want the same kind of guy she always dates (someone with a pulse and the ability to walk on the beach at night) and doesn’t know if she wants a daring, wild type or a cultured sophisticated type. So she’ll fill out two, and invent two alter-egos!

Daniella Fromage seemed to be an intellectual. She liked foreign films, modern poetry, French cuisine, and world travel. Her idea of a perfect evening was meaningful conversation in front of a crackling fire, with opera on the stereo.

In other words, seventy-eight years old.

Magenta Galaxy was a wild rocker whose passions were “everything new and hot”. She liked fast cars, loud dance bands [what is that? Like a jam band?], the latest fashons- the wilder the better. Her perfect evening consisted of cruising the hippest music clubs in L.A. and ending up in a coffee shop at four in the morning, eating hamburgers and dancing on the countertop.”

In other words, a bartender at Coyote Ugly or a speed addict.

Two buys answer her ad, Pierre (the sophisiticated one) and Bret S (the rocker type). Jessica models Daniella after Suzanne Hanlon, the uppity bitch who Ken used to date. Suzanne teacher her about vacationing in Italy and famous painters and old art films and gives her Gucci shoes and silk blouses. Magenta is modeled after Dana Larson, who tries to make her listen to punk bands, but of course is weird and bizarre to Jessica, because of course anything mainstream that the twins listen to is really what is cool, and any subculture is used for comedic affect.

Pierre takes her to a French restaurant, where they talk about the French Riviera or Monet paintings or some shit. Brett takes her to the Rock Spot, which plays loud music that Jessica has to pretend to like. Here’s my beef with this book. Jessica pulls of her personas so the guys are convinced, but the guys seem really boring, and it doesn’t seem as if Jessica actually likes them, or has fun. The important thing is that her plan worked, and she is delighted when they both ask her out again. So, apparently, the most important thing here is to trick the boys and have them ask you out, not that you actually like them or enjoy their company. But am I surprised by this by now? Why do I keep having expectations for reasonable, healthy behavior from these books?

Pierre’s date of course makes fun of people who dare to be intellectual. Jessica actually mutters “Viva la differance!” which made me laugh, but of course they go to an artsy film with weird symbols. Jesus, they could have seen an indie film, not The Cremaster Cycle. And of course, the punks at the rock club are just weirdos who thrash around to the music, not people who have an obvious passion for the music or the culture. If it’s not Jamie Peters music, it’s just “weird”.

Jessica can’t have Brett or Pierre call her at home, so she gives them Lila’s number, who will take a message for Jessica. Because Lila doesn’t really give a shit, she mixes things up and now both Magneta and Daniella have dates on the same night. If course, it’s aperfect time for a twin switch! They will all go to the same restaurant but Liz and Jess will meet in the ladies room and switch outfits every fifteen minutes. Liz, of course agrees to this assinine plan. They both wear black leotards and black skirts and just switch up the accessories. Hence we get the outfits depicted on the cover. And for once, we really don’t know who is who! Well done, Jimmy, well done. Well, the plan works…sort of. Elizabeth exposes Pierre as a fake, and Brett tries to tell Jessica something, but she is too busy thinking about her awesome plan to hear what he has to say.

Liz has both guys come over on Saturday afternoon so Jessica can come clean. Coincidentally, Dana and Suzanne also come by to pick up their clothes. ….and if you don’t see this plot twist coming, you’re as dumb as Jerry “Crunch” McAllistar. Turns out Pierre was really a rocker trying to be sophiticated, and Brett was a suave cultured guy trying to be a rocker. Oh the hilarity! So they actually hit it off with Dana and Suzanne, who are more like them, and Jessica has no one. But, just so the ghostwriters can assure us that Jessica never loses, some guy asks for her number while she’s playinbg tennis, because he enjoys her fierceness.

My dear readers, I realize you want me to get on with the outfit descriptions, because that’s really the point of this book.

One of Dana’s outfits: “She was wearing four thick bangles on each arm. They went perfectly with her skintight black pants, black and white checkered shoes, and lime green t-shirt. In one ear she wore a guitar pick dangling from a silver wire.”

Jessica’s first date as Daniella: a cream colored silk blouse, blue linen pants, a red, blue and gold silk scarf, and blue suede flats, and a small red bag. As Michael Kors would say, “too matchy-matchy.” As I would say, “real estate agent.”

Jessica’s first date as Magenta: “tight black bicycle pants, a black tank top, and a red leather jacket she had borrowed from Lila” and bnagle bracelets and guitar pick earrings. And, of course, the infamous blue stripe in her hair. This sounds like my outfot for the first day of fourth grade. (Minus the blue hair and my jacket was a windbreaker, not leather.)

Another outfit for Magenta Galaxy: “a strapless minidress with a necklace of dice and tiddlywinks around her neck. In among the clicking pieces were Scrabble tiles that spelled out ‘Hard Rock’.” Wow, tiddlywinks IS an actual word. It passed my spellcheck. And, isn’t that one of those obnox necklaces that everyone had, that weighed ten pounds because of all the charms?

Yea, and wearing something that says “Hard Rock” does not make you more “rock”. It’s like wearing the band t-shirt to the band you are going to see.

The highlight of the book? The fact that the proper grammar was used for the title.

Because nothing is worse than having divorced parents.

There is a reason that I’m not all that keen on trenching through the books past 100. They text is longer, the covers are glossier, and the stories are blander. Not that they are better, but they lack that cringe-worthy crappy writing and storylines that we’ve come to love so much. It’s almost more of a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where I crave the crap that the older books give me, because I feel lost without them.

Waaaaayyyyyyy back when I read the previous book where Liz and Todd practice being married for real by having a strained, sexless relationship. Just like real marriage! Rim-shot! Meanwhile, Bruce and Liz got total boners out of investigating their parents ancient affair. After everyone in the school, including Todd saw them dry-humping in the Wakefield kitchen, the twins vowed to help Bruce get his parents back together.

The twins show off their prowess as comediennes by having goofy adventures and mishaps as they try different tactics to get Bruce’s parents to call off the divorce. The methods are pretty much as useful and realistic as Wile. E. Coyote’s. Highlights include krazy-gluing the ignition keyholes in their divorce lawyer’s cars so they miss the divorce proceedings, Jessica mailing a love letter, forgetting the stamp, sticking her hand in the mailbox and then getting arrested for it. And the police don’t seem to remember her from the time she witnessed several murders, spiked her twin’s punch thus killing her boyfriend, and almost being killed twice by an evil doppleganger. But, whatevs.

It’s all worth it just for this self-important journal entry from Liz:

Todd can’t understand why I want to help Bruce so much. I’ve explained to him that Bruce is my friend and that I know what he’s going through. Todd acts like he understands, but I know he is still sort of baffled. I guess I am not being completely honest with him. But how can I tell him that I need to know once and for all that Bruce and I are not meant to be with each other? The parallels between my relationship with Bruce and Mom’s relationship with Mr. Patman mskr me uncertain? After everything that has happened, how can i tell him that I am still plagued with doubt?

Because the marriage troubles of two adults is somehow all about her.

Er, maybe that little old incident where Bruce tried to get you drunk and take advantage if you while you had your personality transplant may help you clear up your doubt? Or when Bruce fucked over your friend Regina and drove her to her drug-induced death? Just sayin’.

As we’ve deduced so far, Bruce doesn’t really have any real friends. he mopes around all the time feeling sorry for himself over his parents’ impending divorce. I’m not sure why this is making him emotional- did he ever actually show any love for his parents before? Nevertheless, emo Bruce is almost as sexually alluring as asshole Bruce. His brooding and nasty remarks to the twins totally do it for me. I HATE MYSELF.

The B-story is supposed to be cute, but just further shows what a shallow witch Jessica is. Michael Hampton is new at school, and is shy and awkward, which Jessica reads as cool and a sexy loner. He always manages to be around when Jessica looks like a doofus, so she pretends to be Elizabeth. Michael declares he is in love with Elizabeth and gets total bone over the fact that he meets a girl who is as awkward and clumsy as he is. Elizabeth realizes this and makes him realize it’s Jessica he really wants (of course) and finally he asks Jessica out. Because it is inevitable- any guy will end up asking her out. We find out after the fact that the date was horrible because Michael was so nervous he spilled stuff all over Jessica. Instead of relating to him because she just went through a clumsy phrase herself, she dumps it and has a laugh about it with her friends. She also remarks that his famous movie director father already cast his movie, so there was no need to try to date Michael anyway! Meanwhile, Michael Hampton is crushed and is probably on the verge of suicide. That, or is being all emo with Bruce and/or writing I-hate-love songs with Dana Larson.

I want to make sure I mention that Winston Egbert hosts a cookout on the beach for the junior class. He runs around the party in some stupid apron/chef’s hat combo and yells ‘Boy-gers, get your boy-gers here!” like some New York Street vendor. What a chode. I’ll bet he grows up to be Jeff Dunham.

Stepsisters: A Dramatic Reading

Cover courtesy of The Closet

MRS. WHITMAN: Annie, I’m back from another modeling gig in New York! Nevermind a boozy, single mother in a small town in California works as a model in New York, but I have some wonderful news!

ANNIE: You’ve found me a new Daddy? Because being from a single-parent household caused me to become a slutty suicidal basket case.

MS. WHITMAN: That’s right! He’s a famous fashion photographer!

ANNIE: YAY! How sophisticated!

MS. WHITMAN: But there’s just one thing…..he and his daughter are…black.

ANNIE: OH NO! WHAT WILL EVERYONE SAY?

MS. WHITMAN: Don’t worry kitten. They are totally and intentionally not at all stereotypical! They live on the Upper West Side! Cheryl loves opera! Everyone will love them! Plus, I just bought a house next to the Wakefields! What can be more perfect than living next to that wonderful family?

ANNIE: Probably not having a black stepsister. What will I tell everyone! Wow, this is going to be so hard for ME!

—–
ELIZABETH: Hi Cheryl! Welcome to Sweet Valley! I’m Liz, I write for the school newspaper, wear sensible skirts, and I am so welcoming and inclusive of all races.

JESSICA: Hi Cheryl, I’m Jessica, I am a cheerleader, I like headbands and lip gloss, and I am not even noticing that you are black! Wakefields are so open and welcoming of all races.

CHERYL: Hey, hi guys. Wow, people in Sweet Valley are so nice. Sweet Valley is the most beautiful place ever, even though I grew up in New York City. I’m not at all bitter for my father dragging me out of NY to live in a small, all-white town. I look forward to getting to know more kids.

—-

CHERYL! OMG! I have to throw a party for Cheryl. Let me invite all our token students of colors Cheryl will feel better. Let’s pull Manuel Lopez and Jade Wu out of hiding. And, thank god Patty Gilbert was recently introduced in a previous book. And maybe some others that were never mentioned before.

ELIZABETH: Steven! You’ll be home that weekend! Why don’t you invite some college friends!

STEVEN: Good idea, I need to make some first. Plus, I’ll put an ad on the dorm bulletin board advertising for a black friend.

ANNIE: PERFECT! I am so glad we are neighbors. Nevermind that Jessica drove me to a suicide attempt once.

(At the party)

CHERYL: Why are there so many students of color here, Annie? And why do most of them say they don’t know you?

ANNIE: I, well, I just thought…it would make you feel more comfortable…I’m sorry…WAAAAHHHHHHHH (goes crying out of the room)

ELIZABETH: Oh Cheryl, you should not be so mad at Annie. I mean, this has been really hard for HER. She didn’t know how to make you comfortable, and was worried that other kids would be mean to you. Your move has been really stressful on HER. Come on, everyone, let’s go comfort Annie. Oh, but by the way, I am tolerant of all races. (They all leave)

CHERYL: Really? Really? Dad wanting a piece of ass from that model, and I have to live in crazy WASP town?

[At the football game]

STEVEN: So Cheryl, how are you liking your first football game??

CHERYL: I thought I’d miss New York City, but this is way better than all the museums, shows, culture, and shopping combined! I see why you all like it here! It’s the best place ever! It looks like things are going to be ok. Sweet Valley really seems to have a handle on this racism thing.

STEVEN: Well, get used to it, soon your days will be filled with football games, picnics at Secca Lake, and food binges at the Dairi Burger. And if your lucky, you may even be struck by a rare disease or attacked by a sociopath.

CHERYL: Gee, I hope so! Except that…I can’t drive!

STEVEN: What? You can’t drive? Let me withdraw from my college classes this semester so I can hang around here and teach you to drive.

CHERYL: Great! Our driving lessons will be a metaphor for the struggles we will have as Sweet Valley’s most famous interracial couple.

ANNIE: Cheryl, I’m really sorry. I just wanted to make things welcoming for you here. You don’t know how stressful you being black has been for ME.

CHERYL: That’s okay. I’m sorry I am black and this was stressful for you. Will you ever forgive me?

ANNIE: Sure. To show how much our friendship means to you, let’s go get our picture taken. I’ll wear stripes, you’ll wear polka-dots, and we’ll make ourselves look like a mid-40s lesbian couple.

CHERYL: It’s a deal! Then I’ll take you out for a double-scoop Sundae at Casey’s!

ANNIE: I hope it’s a vanilla AND chocolate sundae! Get it?

CHERYL: I think I do! It’s going to be all right after all.

A note: welcome to all new readers! I’m flattered that you all have been checking out the site. While you are at it, become a fan on facebook.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Photobucket

"Todd! I can see your chest hair!"

…or, for you younger, hip folk, Cruel Intentions.

Liz and Todd are so smug in their amazing relationship that they want to spread their smug all over another couples to make as happy as they are. Or, they need some titillating activity to spice up their relationship, and we all know Elizabeth won’t do back-door action. So this is the next best thing.

The players: Aaron Dallas, non-descriptive blonde soccer player. Wait, wasn’t he Jeffrey’s bff? So why does he now want to hang out with Liz and Todd? Why am, I questioning continuity? Heather Sanford, the cool fashion girl who Liz hated on, moved away, probably to Connecticut or London, the only 2 places anyone movies to.

Dana Lason: funky, independent lead singer of the Droids who is fed up with love and wants to concentrate on her music. Wait, what? An SVH female is okay with not having a boyfriend? Better fix that soon!

Conveniently for everyone involved, there is a Battle of the Bands coming up, and The Droids are writing a new song for it. Please note that resident black student Andy Jenkins is mentioned as leading a band called “Baja Beat” because of course he needs to be in an “ethnic” band.

Oner night at Miller’s Point, instead of having sex, Todd and Liz hatch a scheme called “Operation Pair-Up”. Yes, it is capitalized and repeated ad nausem throughout the book. If Aaron and Dana start dating, Todd has to grant Liz three wishes. If not, Liz has to grant Todd three wishes. I’ll give you three guesses what Todd’s wishes are and what Liz’s AREN’T.

Liz and Todd scheme to get those two crazy kids together, there’s something involving a note supposedly written from Aaron to Dana, and none of it matters, because as you guessed it, Dana and Aaron end up together, and laugh at themselves for swearing off love. I mean, really, who are they, Lois Waller or Penny Ayala? Of course they should be dating to be happy!

Get your barf bags in place, because here how it ends up for Liz and Todd:

“You won the bet” Todd conceded good-naturedly, nodding. “You’ve earned your three wishes. So what are they going to be?”

“Let’s see….” Elizabeth thought for a moment. “A dozen roses would be nice, and someone to do my chores and carry my books for a week would be a real treat.”

Todd laughed. “I deserve it- I was going to make you wash my car!”

“But after everything that’s ahppened, there are other things I’d like more.” Elizabeth grinned up at him. “Are you ready?”

Todd grinned. “Your wish is my command.”

“Then I wish you and I will never have such a pointless argument ever again…”

“One”, counted Todd.

“And I wish you’d give me the biggest, best kiss ever, right this very instant!”

“One Todd Wilkins Deluxe Smooch, coming right up!” Todd promised as he pulled Elizabeth close.

Oh good lord. Too. Much. Too. Hate. On. Really Liz? A dozen roses? How about one: not putting you in a coma, two: not allowing you to fall in the hands of a serial killer multiple times and three: not acting like such a boring dud. And Todd, really? You were going to have Liz WASH YOUR CAR? How about One: Not cheating on you with every guy with a lopsided smile that wanders into town and two: going a little further, than, say, GIVING YOUR KISSES A BRAND NAME???

The other redonculous thing is that Dana and Aaron, suddenly for this book, exist for the sole purpose of being friends with Todd and Liz. Liz invites Dana out (to trick her into hanging out with Aaron) to some theater thing, and Dana doesn’t think it is weird that Liz never asked her to hang out before? And now suddenly she is going to Liz for relationship advice? Does she not even hang out with her BANDMATES? And Dana, funky, eclectic, singer of a band has no friends other than Liz? And Aaron, popular soccer player, doesn’t have a groups of “br’ahs”? Ugh. Details, details.

In other infuriating plotlines, Lila and Jessica “Penny Lane” Wakefield decide that they want in on the band action and decide to be roadies for one of the bands in the battle so they can hang with the band. But hilarity ensues and at the battle Jessica screws up and the amps blow up! Oh noes! Everyone laugh! The band is a heavy metal band, and of course is portrayed as gross and incompetent. Because any character that is not clean cut and hangs out at the Dairi Burger up a Wakefield’s ass is a total comedic plot device of stupidity and any originality is used to show how stupid and weird they are. Meanwhile, this makes my panties drop in under a second, so touche, ghostwriters.

Can any good come of this ridiculous plot and idiotic display of characters? Well, yes. A book about the Droids made me think about some of my favorite fictitious bands. Edited: I seemed to forget lots of important ones, so click “more” to see the full list.

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Teen gambling is a serious issue, you guys.

I think by book 51 the SVH ghostwriters had covered most of the pressing issues facing teens in the 1980s, and it came down to teen gambling and teen pregnancy. Of course, no one dared to do anything that had to do with sex, so it was someone’s job to make a moral tale for all about the dangers of gambling.

It can be dangerous. Remember what happened to Brandon Walsh? He went overboard with gambling on basketball games and eventually….his rich friend bailed him out. Yea, it can be bad.

Ronnie Edwards, who no one likes because he was mean to Enid and is not a Todd or a Bruce, is having problems at home with his single father. You know what that means- a life of dysfunction. He’s been dabbling in gambling and his bookie, Big Al, has given him lots of loans, like a Mustang convertible to drive. He’s showing the car around to everyone and metaphorically swininging his dick around. No one cares. Some guys try to beat him up for his car and Jeffrey and his super strong soccer legs come to bail him out. Suddenly Jeffrey is Ronnie’s best friend. Or Ronnie thinks.

Big Al, the bookie, specializes in taking bets on high school sports. Is this normal in the bookie world? I don’t know. If you are a bookie, fill me in. Ronnie owes a lot of money to Big Al, and Big Al sends his henchmen Max to rough him up a bit. Jeffrey starts to feel bad for Ronnie and considers throwing the game. Then Liz comes sniffing around to judge Ronnie and Jeffrey becomes mildly annoyed with her. Isn’t Jeffrey always sort of mildly annoyed with Liz? That’s why we love him.

The big soccer game. Liz has a person-in-need-boner, so she keeps an eye on Ronnie during the game. She sees Max come in and lead him away. Liz follows them to an abandoned warehouse (Sweet Valley seems to have several set aside for gang fights and torture). When Liz goes to a pay phone to call the police Max kidnaps her and holds she and Max captive. Liz, for whom death threats are a typical Saturday activity, thinks fast and they are able to knock out Max, and escape back to the soccer game in time to tell Jeffrey that he doesn’t have to throw the game. The police come to arrest Big Al and everyone runs off to celebnrate by binge-eating at the Dairi Burger. Except for Elizabeth and Jeffrey, who need time to make out.

In a side story that someone started and then never really came up for an ending with, Jessica, starts designing jewelery. And she uses a lot of feathers and big pieces of metal. How Claudia Kishi of her. Everyone loves them so she decides to bring them to a boutique to sell, and the boutique owner asks for more. Liz charges $900 worth of materials on her mom’s credit card, but then, as you can guess because you are not an idiot, the boutique does not want them anymore. So, Jessica took a GAMBLE on buying the supplies thinking her stuff would sell, but GAMBLING does not pay off. See how that worked? Gamblers never win, people. That’s the lesson of the day. Alice gets tiffed and makes Jessica promise to pay her back every week until she pays off her debt. Yet, as we know in the next book, she’ll probably charge a slutty gold lame dress from Lisette’s because of some dance coming up.

Do I even have to tell you that this one was a total stinker? The only thing that saved it for me was this exchange between Jeffrey and Ronnie:

Ronnie ran over to his side like a sick puppy. “Hi Jeff!” he said. “How did it go?”

“It’s Jeffrey,” Jeffrey snapped. “No one calls me Jeff.”

You heard it hear first. Do NOT call him Jeff.

That and there were about a dozen mentions of students and classmates never mentioned before. I may need to update the roster.

from the blog of Claire Middleton

Cover Courtesy of The Closet

Monday
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.

Tuesday
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.”

Wednesday
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.

Thursday
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?

Friday
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.

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!