Wow, did anyone ever tell you that you should be a model?

Well, this will be an easy one to sum up. Just reread Alone In the Crowd and replace songwriting with basketball. And being frizzy-haired with being very tall. And Guy Chesney with Jim Roberts, who is apparently 43 years old.

Shelley Novak? Really tiresome. She’s super awesome at basketball, but that doesn’t stop her from moping around 24/7 because she’s too tall for boys to like her. She meets Jim at a dance lesson** and he takes pictures of her. CONVENIENTLY there’s a photo contest but Shelley makes him promise that he won’t submit any pictures of her because-my god, she’s so tall! And so thin! And athletic! God, it is so embarrassing! Well, Jim does submit it, he wins, Shelley gets mad, makes a hundred people tell her a hundred times that she’s gorgeous and should be a model, realizes Jim is the same height as her, they kiss, and everything is fantastic. Nevermind that she’s a talented athlete. At the final game, everyone in the universe shows up to cheer her on and of course she wins the championship game through the power of having a boyfriend. Aaaaannnd the women’s basketball team is never heard of again. The SVH cheerleaders also cheer at this game- I am surprised Jessica doesn’t protest because it’s not a men’s game.

Again, Shelley’s life problems are solved once she gets a boyfriend. And is being tall really that awful? Shelley is six feet tall and very thin and pretty, and apparently in Sweet Valley, there are model scouts crawling the place, but they never see Shelley? I’m also sick of these non-Wakefield characters moping around and thinking their lives suck and being totally self-absorbed. Yes, they are teenagers, but please, Sweet Valley needs to put Zoloft in the water pumping to all non-Wakefield homes. That or their parents need to smack some sense into them. In Ms. Novak’s defense, she does try. But of course, a mother’s love is no match for the kiss of a teenage boy.

**Yea, this happened. In order to create a plot device where Jim and Shelley meet, they have a college student majoring in dance just randomly offer to teach dance classes after school. And Jim and Shelley sign up, which is so ubnlikely because they are both really shy. There are no  other teachers/chaperones present, of course. It turns out this dancer guy is the most!gorgeous!guy!Jessica!has!ever!seen! and she and Lila and Amy make fools of themselves trying to get his attention. Turns out he has a girlfriend. In reality, he would likely be gay. Wahhh-waaaahhhhh. Wacky hijinks all around.

Wow, and the title- see what they did there? It’s a pun. And has not two- but THREE different meanings! Shelley does “perfect shots” in basketball, and she has the “perfect shot” at love, AND Jim takes the “perfect shot” of Shelley to enter in the contest. Bravo, writers. [slow clap]

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#129 Cover Girls

Cover Girl? What?

Oh, Cover Girls. Damn.

There’s a two-week minibreak at SVH so the students can take two-week internships. Actually, not a bad idea, Chrome Dome, it’s good to give these kids a slice of the real world. Except it would make for a boring series if the twins were REAL interns- making photocopies and staring at a computer. I’ll give you my opinion about interns- if they don’t have a specific role or position, they are really a pain in the ass. I was at a previous job when I supervised several interns and it was actually way more work for me to give them things to do, and when I did, they complained it wasn’t enough substance. What did they expect, they weren’t getting paid! Ugh. Anyway, I’ve uncovered the ads that the twins answered when looking for their internships.

EDITORIAL INTERN

Looking for an aspiring writer, who despite turning up their nose at fashion mags, suddenly will attach their lips to the ass of anyone that works in the editorial department. Preferred qualifications: someone who is so full of themselves that when they pitch an idea, and it is not immediately the cover story for the magazine, will pitch a fit and feel like they are not being appreciated. Will neglect friends and boyfriends because she actually believes she will get a job at Flair if she works hard enough. Will ignore needs of friends because she thinks her internship is superior. Will automatically be given the job if she can manage to finagle her boyfriend to visiting her at work and he magically is offered a job as a model and then throws jealous fits when he talks to supermodels. Send resume and cover letter. No calls please.

And Jessica’s , um…”Internship”

PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT

World-famous fashion photgrapher Quenton Berg looking for an underage girl to be his personal slave. Must be willing to hatch a plan to seduce him in order for him to make her a model. Must endure humiliating tasks and put up with a supermodel’s bitchy antics. Preferred qualifications: must flaunt their goods with a poor lowly mailroom clerk in order to create love triangle. Will stop at nothing to be noticed as a supermodel.

I wasn’t too thrilled about this one at first because quite frankly the cover makes me want to punch someone in the face. The Daniel twins always looked like 35 year old porn stars to me. Also, what does it have to do with anything? Liz is also wearing a three-year old’s bathing suit. Although it does remind me of when sunflower patterns were all the rage. I maaaayyyy have had a sunflower babydoll dress that I maaaayyy have worn with bike pants and Doc Martens.

But seriously! How do they come up with this stuff! Of course, even at Flair magazine, everyone clamors over the twins despite being two-week only high school interns. It’s like the Hills, where they are magically handed glamorous jobs and talk about absolutely nothing but themselves. And what happened to Ingenue magazine? At least Flair mag is actually in LA.

And isn’t it just like SV for someone to be discovered as a model in two seconds flat? And Todd totally gets to march around in a skimpy Speedo, and Liz is kind of disgusted. And apparently sexual harassment is on the menu at Flair. While Jessica is napping, the mail room guy makes out with her. And Jessica shuts herself in the darkroom with Quentin and makes out with him so he won’t know who it is.

However innocuous, this quote really cracked me up. “As they walked to Todd’s car he chatted excitedly about the possibility of modeling for Quentin- studiously avoiding any mention of Simone, Elizabeth noticed. She had never seen Todd look so happy and alive. And she never felt so rotten.” O rly Liz? Being jealous of Todd working with a supermodel makes you feel the most rotten ever? Even more than when you were kidnapped and almost raped? And when you were held at gunpoint several times? Or attacked by a werewolf? Or when you got drunk and killed your sister’s boyfriend and was on trial for murder? Yea. those don’t even compare.

Raise your hand if you are soooo over Todd and Liz cheating on each other and/or getting jealous and/or fighting in every g-damn book.

The one where Jessica wins the fashion show and the boy or #49 playing for keeps

So this one really bothered me. I mean, all of them bothered me, but this one had my head spinning.

A.J. is cute, for a SVH boy. His hair needs some layering and less feathering. Also, I was promised that he was a redhead. So I was thinking Prince Harry redhead, so I am let down. Also love the matching bland-colored shirts. Jessica needs a better bra.

So after the Slam Book fiasco was resolved, A.J. Morgan and Jessica are dating. But Jessica is putting on the pretense that she is shy, quiet, and studious…like Liz. Everyone is telling her to be herself, but she knows that A.J. doesn’t like obnoxious borderline cases like the real Jessica, and she wants to keep him. I don’t even know why they are dating, because she acts a fool all the time. She reads him bad poetry and tries to talk about wordly things. They even go to a Save the Whales meeting.

Meanwhile, some rich girl Pamela who goes to a private school is trying to steal A.J. A.J. totally wants to bone her, but is trying not to cheat on Jessica. He enjoys Jessica’s seriousness, but is really torn up because he’s a teenage boy and wants to pork a girl. So he is kind of attracted to Pamela.

Meanwhile Lisette’s (you know, the super classy store in the mall) is having a fashion show contest, and the winner gets a custom-designed wardrobe. How does this help the store? Publicity, I guess? Everyone and their mother kisses Jessica’s ass and tells her she would obvs win this thing (ugh) but she thinks A.J. wouldn’t approve. After an awkward double date with A.J., Jeffrey and Liz, she decides to enter. Jessica, honey, it was probably awkward because Jeff is a closet case, not because of you.

So Pamela chick enters the contest, and tries to trip up Jessica by ruining her outfits. The show was ultimate cheese. Pam rips the back of one of Jess’ dresses, so instead of turning around, Jessica “dances” backwards. Also, she models a denim dress that zippers up the sides (classy) but Pam jams the zippers, so Jess belts the dress with it open on both sides. Gross. Finally, she and Pam have a shrieking fight that the audience overhears, and A.J. realizes that Jess is a firecracker and they live happily ever after. And Jess wins a wardrobe of cheap mall attire.

Okaaaayyyyy, so you think the message here is that you should never compromise who you are to get a boy right? Don’t think so fast. Well, you shouldn’t change yourself if you are already shallow, superficial and slutty. So on the one hand we are getting the message that Jessica should be herself, but on the other hand her “act” of being smart and serious is not going to get the guy. Being a superficial, flirtatious slut is what gets the guy. See the twisted logic? This kills me. It’s like Francine was almost on a roll with sending an important message, but then fucks it up with her deluded superficial bullshit.

Other thoughts:

Why the hell doesn’t A.J. hear old stories about Jessica? He doesn’t seem to have any friends. They could give him some general-friends like Aaron Dallas and Tom McKay (when he was straight). Also, I don’t really get what is special about him. He seems rather boring. He makes Todd look exciting, and that is saying something. He’s outdoorsy, we’re told, but whatever.

Elizabeth feels bad that Jessica has to pretend and wants her to be her true self. She “misses the scheming, manipulative Jessica”. And I quote. Wha? She really misses the Jessica that steals her boyfriends and calls people fat? I hate the Wakefield family.

Pamela is a total vixen. She lures A.J. to her house- and get this- one of the straps of her sundress slides down. This is the closest we get to talking about sex since the Bruce-Liz-amnesia thing.

Amy Sutton doesn’t enter the fashion show because she thinks she’s too fat. She has to sit on Lila’s lap in the Fiat and Lila complains how much she weighs. Great friends.

When Jessica enters the fashion contest, the salesperson asks her size and Jess is all “size 6, duh”. As if the salesperson is supposed to have read the series.

Grade: D

Why the hell does modeling always have to be part of a YA series plot? or Sunset Island #3, Sunset Dreams

Okay, why the fuck is Sam wearing a big pile of hats? And who is the guy supposed to be at the bottom? Is that Billy or Presley? Because it doesn’t look like either of them.

So, now we get slutty Sam’s point of view. She takes care of twin 13-year old girls, who are total hussies. For instance, they have a rule where they don’t date boys under the age of 16. Nice.

Flash Hathaway, a creepy photog in a liesure suit who hangs around at teenage parties, claims that he can make Sam a famous model. So they set up a time for Sam to model some pictures. He has her posing like a porn star and in see-through lingerie. Sam stupidly thinks they are sophisticated. He sells them to a strip club and they use them as advertisements for exotic dancers. The twins and their Dad see them and Sam almost gets fired.

Meanwhile, things are heating up with Presley Travis, Flirting with Danger’s bass player, and I am not talking about the weather here. He speaks in cliched southern drawls and expressions.

Check out the baby prostitute ensemble Sam wears to her first meeting with Flash: “She had on her tightest white Lycra miniskirt and neon-orange bra top under a cropped white jacket. Her hair was sprayed into a huge mass of red waves and curls, and her orange matte lipstick matched the orange of her bra top. In her white high-heeled ankle boots she stood over six feet tall.” Wow. Orange lipstick? Waves AND curls? My head hurts from the ugliness.

The one where we learn that sluts don’t make good cheerleaders, or #10 Wrong Kind of Girl

Annie looks like Brittany Murphy, pre-anorexia and cocaine. Like in the Clueless days. Jessica’s smirk and stupid wavy bangs make me want to punch her directly in her size-six stomach. Ugh.

Okay, just a warning: I’ll be quoting verbatim from many parts of this one. Because it is so fucking horrible you won’t believe it. First:

The cheerleaders at Sweet Valley High were the cream of the crop- the prettiest, most sought after girls not only in the school but in the town of Sweet Valley, California. They included Robin Wilson, the current Miss Sweet Valley High; Helen Bradley, a stunning redhead, Jean West, a pixie brunette; and Maria Santinelli, who could do backflips that took everyone’s breath away. Finally, there was Jessica, who at five feet six, with a crown of glorious, sun-streaked blond hair, and sprakling blue-green eyes, was the envy of most of the girls in Sweet Valley High…..Of course, looks were only part of it. It took more than that to make the SVH cheering squad…you had to keep your grades up…and the cheerleaders had some indefinable style….above, all she had to have talent.

Great! If they are unique women, they shall only be known by hair color and looks. Second of all, there doesn’t seem to be an adult coach or anything overseeing the team, so wtf? Can a school really allow the students to pick their own members based on looks? ARRRGGGHHHH!!!

So Jessica labels Annie a slut because she has “dated” several different guys, including Rick Andover, Bruce Patman and others. As far as I know, Annie hasn’t slept with any of them, but gets the nickname “Easy Annie”. And she doesn’t want a tramp on her team, because others will start thinking they are tramps. Is it REALLY not possible that someone at SVH does not already think that Jessica is a slut? Can someone PLEASE call her out on her hypocracy? I think the real reason she doesn’t want her on the team is some jealousy thing, because Annie is really thin (we have to hear about it every page) and talented and may move in and steal the attention from guys.

Oh another reason Annie is a vile outcast: she lives in AN APARTMENT! AND HAS A SINGLE MOM! OMG! THE HORROR! Her mother had her at sixteen (wow, at least some teenagers in SVH are having sex) and kind of doesn’t act like a mom and I get the feeling this is why Annie gets her validation from male attention. Which, is a legit reason, but can we please have some characters with non-traditional family structures that are well-adjusted? Because, you know, it does happen. And by my calculations, Annie’s mother is my age. Wow. I need to sit with that thought for a while. Again, Francine implies that if you don’t grow up in a family with 2 straight parents, 2.5 kids and a dog, you are a ruined and tainted person.

Liz is tutoring Annie to get her grades up to she can be eligible to try out for the cheerleading team. And Liz can’t stick her nose out of people’s business and thinks that without her help people will fail.

Oh right, Annie and Jessica have a dance-off at the Beach Disco. How Britney and Justin of them.

Oh, Annie did some modeling when she was thirteen. Who HASN’T been a model in Sweet Valley? The hell? The writers need to understand that pretty people don’ t automatically become models. There is an in-between on the scale of attractiveness.

Annie makes it through the semi-finals and finals and impresses everyone, apparently she is good. And thin and pretty. But Jessica schemes and wines and bullies the rest of the team to pick Cara Walker and Sandra Bacon. I wish Robin Wilson, as co-captain, would stand up to Jessica. I wonder how she even puts up with her.

Also to mention that the team has a manager, Ricky Capuldo, who is shy and is afraid of dating girls, but loves to hang out with the cheerleaders. Um, gay much? But he does have a major thing for Annie. And calls Jessica out on her shit, so that put him on my short list of SVH characters that are bearable.

So Annie doesn’t make the squad, and she tried to kill herself. I guess I should feel bad, but I feel like this does not do justice to the notion of suicide, and glosses over it and suggests people try to kill themselves are just overreacting about an event, and ignores any deep-rooted depression and issues. But why would I even expect Francine to take this seriously? The doctors say she has “no will to live”. Jessica suddenly feels guilty and realizes what a cruel, heartless, selfish wench she’s been. However, that doesn’t carry past the last page of this book, so don’t get too excited.

The twins come in and explain the situation to her doctor, and

Dr. Hammond pressed his hands together and stared at Jessica for a long time. “Do you really want to help Annie?” he asked….”I don’t know” he said slowly, “Perhaps…it’s possible. Now Jessica, you must tell me something. Are you willing to have Annie on the cheerleading squad? If you aren’t, then please say so right now. It would be terrible to raise her hopes and then let her down again. That would be quite traumatic.”…

Wtf? Why does the doctor even entertain this thought? Seriously, if someone was brought in because of an intentional overdose, they would be sent to psych to be under observation for a few days, and here this doctor is prescribing a talk from a stupid teenager to help Annie. HE THINKS THAT BECOMING A CHEERLEADER WILL OVERCOME A SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION. Someone take his license away! ARRGGHHH! THE RAGE! So anyway, Jessica asks Annie to be on the team and that wakes her out of her coma or whatever. And all is happy and well. You’d think that maybe Jessica would learn something, but we have a hundred or so books after this that prove she learned nothing.

So…[taking deep breaths]…what is the moral of this one? If you want to change your life for the better, you need to be validated by an exclusive group that bases people on looks. That’s one. The other one is, just as we saw in the Robin Wilson weight-a-palooza, was that the best way to get revenge on those that are being mean and judgmental is to become just like them and be accepted. Seriously, if Robin and Annie are that talented and good looking, they could go off by themselves and make their own clique. Thirdly, if you are blond and pretty and come from an upper-middle class home, it is okay to date around. However, if you are poor and brunette and come from a single family home, it’s considered slutty. These are great messages, Francine. Thank you.

Other thoughts:

They mention that Mr. Collins is in his late-twenties. So, Mr. Collins is actually younger than I am. Yikes.

Want to hear some gross Lizz-Todd lovey dovey talk?

Elizbeth felt Todd as he put his strong arms around her, hugging her tightly. “When we hold each other like this, I believe you. But you had me scared.” “Scared? You? The star basketball player of Sweet Valley High is scared by little old me?” she teased. “I’d better run right down to the Oracle office and stop the presses.” Todd’s response was a tender kiss. “if the opposing team had five beautiful blondes exactly like you, I’d be helpless,” he confessed when they finished their embrace. “But that’s be impossible, because there is no one exactly like you, Liz”.

I threw up in my mouth when I read this. Also, what Todd says is actually kind of gay when you think about it.

Grade: B-

Rage factor: 146 million

The one with the infamous Jessa Fields #32 The New Jessica

Firstly, I love the way people find their way here through internet searches.

Here are the most popular searches that have gotten people here:

  • Jessica boobs
  • touching boobs
  • Amy Wilkins (some fanfic maybe?)
  • bulimia tips

Nice, guys. Nice.

This one comes right after the whole Jeffrey French hoopla. Jessica is getting all pissypants after maybe one or two people mistake her for Liz. She is wearing Liz’s peach sweater knit dress (ew) so what should she expect? She feels she doesn’t have her own identity (I could call her some things that could give her an identity) so what better to solve this than…A MAKEOVER! Makeovers give her a sense of control in a world of chaos. Luckily, Lila’s Dad just recently tried to buy his daughter’s respect by bringing her back tons of stuff from Paris. I am surprised she lets Jess borrow it.

So Jessica’s makeover consists of:

  • dying her hair black
  • appearing paler
  • losing more weight to be “gaunt” (those exact words)
  • speaking in a “slightly” British accent (wtf?)
  • reading European fashion magazines
  • sipping capuccinos at Sweet Valley’s Eurotrash coffeeshop
  • renaming herself “Jessa Fields”

Of COURSE she makes a splash at SVH. I hate how Jessica always gets so much attention, it totally validates her borderline behavior. And the kids of SVH (all 5 of them) canNOT stop talking about Jessica. In fact, the day she shows up in school with her new look, “girls were jumping up to surround Jessica, touching her hair, walking around her to inspect her outfit, exclaiming excitedly”. Fucking please. And Ms. Dalton totally allows it.

One of the best.covers. ever!

Liz is rocking the Mom jeans. And the goddamn barettes, again. This is the sad part- Jessica’s outfit is kind of what people are wearing lately. In fact, I am a lil ashamed to say I wore something similar yesterday, A Blazer over a tunic with a chunky beaded necklace. Don’t worry, I’ll burn it. The belt over the shirt is even “back in”, as they say. I still don’t like it, I can’t stand clothes that defy functional purposes. And the hair would look good if it weren’t for those awwwwful bangs. I hate how it makes the wave over the forehead. It’s almost a little Donald Trump-esque.

Also, the one disappointing this is that SVH never really detailed outfits, which was my favorite part of most YA novels (I had a field day with Claud and Stacy’s outfits from the Baby-Sitters Club, and loved Sam’s stupid Mickey-Mouse boxes, suspenders, and red cowboy boot ensembles in Sunset Island) but here we get full descriptions!

  • “She had tied her hair back in a lose ponytail, and a few tendrils curled in wisps at her cheeks [I hate this look. Very Laura Ingalls Wilder]. Her eyes were drakened with lavish makeup- definately sultrier than her usual look. White powder helped achieve the ethereal , pale effect she was striving for….she was wearing an olive green leather skirt with a slit up the back. The skirt was so straight it was hard to walk. Matching hose with a lacy pattern and three-inch heels…a silky, oversized blouse and green leather belt worn on her hips…a chunky necklace and big gold earrings” ICK! So matchy-matchy!
  • “a black silk jumpsuit [cameltoe central] and red high-heeled boots…a red scarf completed the look…along with oversized earrings that Elizabeth thought were a but much for everyday.”
  • “a new outfit from Lisette’s [where else?]…a white, really slim-cut skirt that that was several inches longer than what she usually wore, with a white sweater with sequins on it. A white beret completed the look”. [I think this was the outfit I wore to my sixth grade class photo].

Liz gets really upset because she loves being a twin…I guess she forgot all the times Jessica fucks her over and stole her boyfriends. Liz even thinks Jeffrey likes Jessica’s new look and they have a dumb fight and Jessica even tries to make a move. Blah.

How many books does modeling have to be a central plot point? So everyone obvs tells Jess she should be a model so she goes to a photographer who tells her about a gig in the local dept store, but then they see Liz and they’re all, THAT’s what we want, a gorgeous, perfect size six California blonde with silky blonde hair and blue-green eyes. Well, not in those words, but you know what I mean. So finally Jess drops her look so she could be in the show, and then the twins BOTH get to be in the show! Yay! Happy ending! The moral is, beauty is more than skin deep. And by that I mean, you should always base your appearance on what a model casting agent tells you.

I was feeling very listy today!

Other thoughts:

Jess uses shampoo-in black dye that supposedly washes out after 2 washings. Uh, wouldn’t that rub off everywhere? And does that mean she didn’t wash her hair throughout the whole book?

Jessica thinks her new look makes her look “slightly Eastern”. Does she mean Eastern European? Middle Eastern? Wtf?

Oh, there’s a subplot where Liz thinks she loses her diary. Snoozefest 2007.

When complaining about her chores to Cara, she assumes Cara does the dishes and her brother takes out the trash. Obvs, how dare we go outside the gender norms.

Mr. Collins recognizes the peach dress that Jessica is wearing as the one that Liz wore a couple days ago. Why in the hell does he remember that? Dirty old man.

Jessica’s white outfit, the whole thing, cost $67. I know there’s inflation, but I thought Lisette’s was high-end fashion, not a loosely veiled version of Mandee.

Fun fact: the twins’ grandmother has a PhD in history. Random.

Also, I just realized that this book contained no school dance/picnic/auction/big game/danceathon! Omg! How did they survive?

Grade: A + +

Today’s poll: was there ever an outfit from tv/movie/books that you tried to emulate? Many of you know that I rocked the Brenda Walsh bangs through much of high school and college. I also was OBSESSED with the outfit MaryAnne Spier wore to the dance with Logan- the skirt with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the words “London” and “Paris” and whatnot. I wanted one so bad, so my mom bought me some E.J. Gitano version of it. I can’t believe I admitted that.

The Fresh Prince of Sweet Valley, or #16 Rags to Riches

Just a warning, this one is so beyond ridiculous. Everyone’s annoying personality traits are magnified by about a thousand. And I want to fucking kill them all.

Jessica’s boobs look really weird. And Roger looks…not right. Like he has the smirk of an annoying sitcom little brother. On the body of a 35 year old. If his collar was popped anymore, it would turn into a display rack at Hollister.

If you remember, Roger is so poor that -gasp!- he has to work as a janitor after school to support his single mother. Apparently, at the end of the past book, Roger’s mother dies of cancer. After she dies he finds out he is part of the Patman family and heir to the Patman inheritance- his father was actually Bruce’s dad’s brother. So now he is living in the Patman estate. And the patmans are planning on throwing a big party at the Sweet Valley country club to instroduce Roger as a patman into a society. Almost like a debutante coming out thing, I guess.

How convenient that at the beginning of the book Roger is recapping the last few weeks’ events to his girlfriend Olivia. Ok,so his mother worked for Henry (Bruce’s dad) and Paul, his brother. Paul had an affair with Mama Barrett, got her knocked up and then died in a fiery crash. Unbeknownst to everyone, he left his inheritance to Rog. As he tells it,

“I guess my mother fell in love with Paul Patman, and they spent more and more time together, and-” Roger stopped, his face turning red. “I understand, Roger” Olivia said softly.

Mama Barrett was fooling around with Patman and gets knocked up. AND ROGER IS TOO EMBARASSED TO TALK ABOUT IT. Like 16 year old boys are embarassed to talk about sex. I swear, everyone in Sweet Valley has no genitals, like Alan Rickman in Dogma.

Jessica feels she lost her chance to hang around the Patman family when she struck out with Bruce, so she decides she wants to be Roger’s date to the big party, not Olivia. So they are at a BBQ at the patman’s and she sucks up to Mrs. Patman, Bruce’s mom and Roger’s aunt. Mama Patman likes Jessica’s je ne sais quoi (i.e., her Aryan good looks) and helps Jessica plot to get Olivia out of the picture. See, the Patmans don’t approve of Olivia, because-gasp!- she has frizzy hair! And wears flowy skirts and sandals! And likes poetry! How is she not stoned on the streets of Sweet Valley?

Meanwhile, Roger is having a hard time living at the Patman’s. Bruce is being a big dick to him, and Mama Patman hates him. Because he likes to run and not play tennis. Or some other dumb reason. He feels out of place at the Patman estate. His bedroom is large and wooden and has a large four poster bed. What? They don’t let him decorate? He has to live in a replica of a Tudor’s bedroom? He is at a dinner party for the Patman’s friends and he spills wine or something and Bruce and mama P act as if he killed someone. Papa Patman (who we are told is called Henry Wilson Patman) is the only one that is nice to Roger and tried to make him feel welcome. How is he not aware that his wife is a wicked old harpy and his son is a date rapist?

Meanwhile, Jess starts sucking up to Olivia and pretends to help her become someone the patmans would approve of. Liv continually feels like an ass and assumes she is embarassing Roger. For one, at a BBQ she feels like an ass because…she has a full plate of food. Yup, that makes her an ass because she eats more than 400 calories a day.

HOLD IT RIGHT THERE.

This is incredibly infuriating. If Olivia is supposed to be all independent and free spiritied, why should she care about changing her image and fall for Jessica’s manipulations? And if she and Rog are supposed to be so close, WHY DOESN’T SHE JUST TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT? Ugh. Way to make your semi-respectable characters act like shitheads.

Oh wait, it gets worse. Olivia is supposedly one of Elizabeth’s bffs, so you would think she would get suspicious of Jessica’s interest and I don’t know, maybe defend Olivia? But no, Liz decides she should just mind her own business and let Olivia suffer alone. What an asshole.

Jessica takes Olivia shopping at a trendy boutique, and Olivia remarks that she can’t tell which are the salesgirls and which are the mannequins. Apparently, she’s retarded.

Liz is busy being a total douche to another friend- Reginia Morrow, the rich deaf girl, has been leaving early from school. So, instead of just, oh, I don’t know, asking her friend if she is okay, she and Todd gossip like little girls about it and sneak around and follow her when she leaves after school. They see her with an older ma downtown. Lila is totes jealz of Regina because Regina usurped her position as the only rich brunette teenager in Sweet Valley, and also sees Regina with the older guy and spreads the rumor round that Regina has a sugar daddy. Obvs, this is juicy news over in SVH because they give a shit about the dumbest things.

Oh, so it turns out the older guy is the editor of Ingenue magazine (I guess it is like Cosmo?) and his job is to scout out young teenage girls to profile and model for the cover. Yup, that’s his job. Also, how convenient that the headquarters of a major mag is in SVH.

Reginia is profiled because of her ability to overcome the struggle of being deaf. Okay, no disrespect to the deaf community, but….has Reginia really struggled? her parents are loaded and therefore have been able to get her every treatment available and even had her in a special private school for the deaf her whole life. Not everyone deaf child has that luxury. Also, she is lauded for being able to lip-read perfectly and speak “perfectly”. Again, isn’t that conforming to dominant society and seeing her deafness as abnormal?

In reading this I was already up to my armpits in ridiculousness, but here is the kicker. We learn why Regina is deaf. Her mother used to be a famous model, and when she got preggers with Regina, she was going to quit, but she got one more offer to do a swimsuit shoot, but was told she needed to lose ten ponds, so she took a lot of diet pills which ruined Regina’s ears in the womb. THE FUCK? This made mama Morrow have to give up modeling, and ever since Regina was born, she also had hoped that Regina could model omeday. EVER SINCE SHE WAS BORN? Isn’t that the most awful expectation for a child? Francine thought she was making a tragic background story, I guess.

So back to the Patmans. Jessica tells Olivia the dress she made for herself is fugly, and embarasses her while playing tennis with Bruce and Roger, and other stuid manipulative stuff. Olivia finally breaks up with Roger over it. Both of them are so fucking stupid about it. Jessica convnces doormat Roger to take her to the country club. When they are there he realizes his mistake and declares his love for Olivia in front of everyone, much to Mama Patman’s chagrin. Papa Patman sets her straight and says that Roger is part of the family, so fucking deal with it. Papa patman is the only bearable person in the story.

Other thoughts:

Roger really doesn’t ever mention his grief over his dead mother…

Mama Patman walks around is silk loungewear holding a martini glass. What is this, Falcon Crest?

The SVH cafeteria serves Hungarian ghoulash, in case you cared. Why is Lila eating school lunch anyway?

In his free time, Bruce heads up to the university to cruise on college girls. Do they really want to hang around with a high school boy?

Also, Bruce apparently wears a teeny tiny speedo. Todd says it looks like a band-aid. Gay much?

Contiuity error: is this really the first time Jessica is meeting the Patmans? When she was dating Bruce, didn’t she hang around with them at the country club?

Do these kids ever go to a class?

In every book, one of the twins thinks about how lucky they are to live in Sweet Valley and how they couldn’t believe anyone would want to live anywhere else. Except for the racism, close-mindedness and lack of bars, it sounds like a dream.

Starting a new tradition: a poll with each entry. Today’s question:

Who is more of a DILF?

a. Ned Wakefield
b. Henry Wilson Patman
c. George Fowler
d. Roger Collins