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].

Advertisements

Robin Wilson should be in the X-Men

[photo from The Closet]

Can we come to a consensus that this may be one of the best covers ever? Robin is GORGE! FEROSH! FIERCE! (I’ve been watching Season 4 of Project Runway). She does look a bit like Britney Spears in the face. Also, cute shirt! But look, it’s so beeeg! She us just wasting away!

Ok, so this book was especially difficult to read, especially as someone who has struggled with weight issues since…well, birth.I will give this ghostie credit; they did seem to do some research about eating disorders.

We once again are from the viewpoint of Robin Wilson, only 70 books later and after her magical transformation. However, she is still unhappy, maybe even more so. She is really insecure about her boyfriend, George Warren, who isn’t coming home from college to see her as much and he is spending time with his attractive partner. ONCE A CHEATER ALWAYS A CHEATER, RIIIIGGHHHHT?

Robin is quite insecure, and acts all passive-aggressive with George and doesn’t say how she is feeling but acts all withdrawn and mopey. I want to hate her for it, but she does have some issues, and hasn’t exactly have friends who role model appropriate relationships. Which brings me to…Robin still hangs out with the cheerleader/sorority gang who she supposedly was shunning? I guess Maria and Sandra are alright (i.e. boring) but she is around Jessica a lot, and Jessica still hasn’t gotten over the fact that Robin was once fat. In fact, they all are planning a fundraiser with the world’s largest ice cream sundae, which Robin was in charge of, but Jessica keeps passive-aggressively taking over. Ugh. And Robin kind of takes it. And does she really want to be a cheerleader that badly? She’s also on the diving team. Which leads me to something else: Robin gets thin and suddenly she’s a superior athlete. Doesn’t that take some work? You can be thin and a shitty athlete, easily. This concept is insulting to athletes. Wow, is there anyone SVH doesn’t offend?

And since when are Robin and Elizabeth such besties? Of course it is convenient for Liz to be the friend so she can jump in and save her.

Robin at first feels that she needs to be skinnier so George will not dump her. But then it kind of spirals out of control and Robin stops eating as a sense of control because she is so anxious about planning the fundraiser and not being confident in her relationship with George. And it is pretty heartbreaking and shockingly realistic when she has a panic attack when trying to eat her lunch.

BUT as serious as her eating disorder is, about a week or two passes and suddenly her cheerleading uniform is 3 sizes too big and her bathing suit is practically falling off. I mean, seriously? This girl has insane metabolism. I mean, seriously, if skipping dinner one night allows her to lose 20 pounds, what the fuck? Either that or she has an insane mutant X-Men superpower.

Finally, at the fundraiser she collapses from pneumonia from having not eaten. I’m no eating disorder treatment expert, but at the hospital, a doctor comes in and curtly says “you have anorexia. So eat your breakfast.” Um, problem solved?

George comes to see her in the hospital and is concerned and apologizes for being distant. Now, the way this COULD have gone was that George could have said, I love you, you’re beautiful, and George’s love could have cured her and they all go laughing off to the Dairi Burger for triple cheeseburgers. (Kind of like that rad episode of Full House where DJ is ano for a day and then after the big family talk, they all have a spaghetti dinner and stuffs her face.) BUT, some credit here, Robin acknowledges that the problem lies within her and having George as a boyfriend doesn’t solve everything, and she needs to get help before she can be with him again. Well done, ghostwriter, whoever you are.

Lois Waller makes an appearance again, only for Robin to be mortified at how Lois can be so chubby and STILL have a boyfriend? I think Robin is more baffled by Lois’ apparently healthy attitude toward her body. Go Lo!

Um, yea. Pretty intense. I have to say it was handled better than I thought, but of course the issue is not brought up again and Jessica starts picking on fat girls again.

Quotes!

“Why is everyone in this country so obsessed with being skinny?” asked Elizabeth angrily. “it’s not right. Girls and women are made to feel ugly if they don’t look like models or beauty pageant contestants.” Um, maybe BECAUSE OF BOOKS LIKE THESE?

[Elizabeth] glanced over at Lois one more time. Lois would never be a fashion model, but she clearly had a great relationship with Gene, and her outlook on life was completely optimistic. So what difference did it make if she couldn’t wear size-six jeans? None at all, Elizabeth told herself confidently. None at all. SMUG BITCH!

The one where Jessica gets a taste of her own medicine or #112 Jessica Quits the squad

Oh great. Another one about fucking cheerleading. Apparently these gals get into motorcycle accidents often because they are always forgetting the way they act. I am glad that I just read#10 recently for a compare/contrast.

I also want to say that I like the pic of the twins on top of these later miniseries ones, I think they actually looks pretty. But, of course, the pics on the main cover look nothing like that. Continuity errors are kind of a theme though.

Yes, that’s Ken Matthews that Jessica is kissing. And he is a hot commodity in this book. They actually ran out of guys to dry hump, so they got back to Ken. And the title totally gives away the ending, because Jessica quits at the last chapter. But I am getting ahead of myself.

So after the Jeremy Randall fiasco, Jessica is feeling mistrustful of love, until she realizes she has feelings for Ken. Weird! You can be friends with a boy before dating him!

Heather Mallone moves to town, and she is totally the Regina George of SVH. She’s super gorge, and everyone falls all over her. Jessica hates her on sight. Mostly because she is jealous. Thanks for perpetuating this mean-girl mentality. Everyone is all up in Heather and the boys in the school actually pant over her. Literally. I really don’t blame Heather for being a total beotch right back to Jessica, because Jessica is hate-worthy. If they had made friends right at the start, they’d be bffs and doing lines of coke off Bruce Patman’s crotch together. But Heather is a total asshole. She points out how much fat is in Jessica’s lunch. oooo, burn!

Heather was also a cheerleader at her old school, and so good that the squad, with the exception of Jessica, decide they want her on the team. Uh, don’t they have a process? Anyone can walk on? Can someone please get these girls an adult to coach them and supervise them?

So Jessica, being Jessica, decides to put Heather through a series of tests to see if she’s “fit” to be a cheerleader. Um, HAZING? ADULT SUPERVISION, PLEASE? One is to be seen talking to the chess club. Heather does it and has no qualms about it. Jessica is miffed. She makes Heather wear a hideous outfit to school, consisting of patchwork overalls and an orange cowboy hat. Everyone ooohs and aaahhhs over her, claiming that grunge is so in right now. [Checked the publish date. 1994. Yup, that sounds about right]. Finally, Jessica makes Heather sing the national anthem during homeroom. She does and makes it jazzy and rappy. Whatever that means. HAH! I love seeing Jessica defeated. Everyone, inclusing Lila, seems to love Heather.

Suddenly, Robin Wilson learns that she has to move away to Denver. Everyone is all sad and Robin is crying over missing all her best friends on the team. Robin, are you really that upset? Are these really your friends? Amy throws a going away party for her and Heather arrives and flirts with Ken Matthews. Jessica accidentally on purpose pushes her in the pool. Yea, that’s an original storyline.

For real, Jessica is a sociopath. And not in the she-s just such a bitch way, but in the actual clinical way. I know she may have secretly always hated Robin, but her first thought was when she heard Robin was moving away was, good, I get to be the sole captain of the team, and her second thought was great, I get to buy a new sexy dress for Robin’s going away party. Jeez. So the gals on the team totally drank Heather’s Kool-Aid, and automatically make Heather the other co-captain.

Now, Heather starts beating Jessica at her own game. I have to say, it makes me like Heather, even if she is supposed to be the enemy. She keeps showing up Jessica at practice and showing the gals cooler moves that are more dance-y hip-hoppy than Jessica’s stuff. Jessica is sick for a meeting and kicks Maria Santinelli and Jean West off the team. Heather also institutes a new diet, which consists of:

You can start with one half a grapefruit for breakfast and a big glass of water. For lunch you can have any kind of vegetables you want as long as you don’t put anything on them. You can even eat rice with your vegetables as long as it’s brown rice. For dinner you can have a salad, but you have to use lemon juice for your dressing. Oh, and in the afternoon, you can have a piece of fruit OR a carrot stick.”

Uh, how many girls followed that diet after reading this? And subsequently started growing fine hair all over their bodies and stopped mentruating?

Woops, I gotta back up. So Ken and Jessica are totally hot and heavy. Problem Liz is SUPER JEALOUS because she once had a fling with Ken. We are told it was when Todd moved back to Vermont for a short time. Wasn’t that say…a hundred books or so ago? AND WE NEVER HEARD ABOUT IT??? And what about Jeffrey French? Did he just never exist!! ARRRGGHHHH continuity! Liz acts like a complete and total douchebag. Even worse that Jessica would. She mopes around and is totally rude to Todd, and tries to bring Jessica down and convinces her to be mistrustful of Todd. When Jessica is getting ready for her date with Ken, Liz tells her she looks fat. Nice. Real nice.

Apparently Ken and Liz would spend hours talking about books and movies. Ken? Ken Matthews? The same one who hated cultural stuff and only liked football? And were totally in love. Although, Ken seems to be in love with Jessica because he takes her to the Box Tree Cafe (natch) and makes a picnic for her with brie cheese. Who the fuck does that? If someone did that for me now, at my age, I’d laugh at them. But maybe that’s just me, and you could charm your way into my pants in about five minutes by talking about obscure British comedies. But I digress.

At the end, Jessica finds out about Liz and Ken because she finds a framed picture of Ken and Liz doing those stupid carnival photo booth things. And is peeved. Plus, Heather pulls the last straw at the big game by leading the girls in a cheer that Jessica never learned, leaving her lookin stupid. So Jessica quits and huffs off the field, thus fullfilling the title of the book. So really, the titles gave away what happens in the last chapter, so that was pretty dumb.

I also want to point out that Heather moves to town, joins the squad, Robin learns she is moving away, actually then moves away, and Jessica quits…all in the span of a week.

Oh, you can bet I’ll continue this miniseries. Seriously, caring about cheerleading issues is at the top if my list.

Other thoughts:

When Heather is announced as cocaptain, guys call out “Babe-ormama! What a dish!” Seriously, Francine. Have you ever actually heard teenagers talk?
Lila actually gives Jess a pep talk and tells her that Jessica is better than all this crap, and that Lila is on her side. Aw, see, Lila does come through sometimes.

Can Annie Whitman please run up to Jessica and say NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS, BITCH!

Grade: A-

Poll: who is the blame? Jessica or Heather? Who is a more annoying couple? Jessica and Ken, Liz and Ken, or Liz and Todd?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other thoughts:

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

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

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

My grade: F

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

The one where Robin Wilson loses 100 pounds and joins the cheerleading squad in a timespan of a week, or #4, Power Play

Jessica “I like gingham”.

Elizabeth: “I am going to give you an open-mouth kiss”.

Also, Elizabeth has a receding hairline.

I digress. Jayzuz, this one was disturbing. So many horrible messages sent to young impressionable minds. So let’s get into it. If you remember in book three, Jessica strung Robin Wilson along and took advanatage of her. She even told her she would nominate her to be a Pi Beta Alpha. Now that the whole thing with Bruce went haywire, she wants to forget it. Elizabeth thinks it is unfair and thinks Jessica should keep her promise. Okay, I’ll give her that. Jessica doesn’t want anyone fat in her sorority. So, you would think that Elizabeth would be on Robin’s side for Robin, but no, she just does it to prove a point to Jessica, Lila and Cara, the trifecta of c*nts. So to try to dissaude her, they give Robin these impossible hazing tasks, like running five miles around the track while people oink at her. And make her go to the beach in a bikini. Ok, everyone say it with me: WHY DOES THE SCHOOL ALLOW THIS? MR. COLLINS, DO SOMETHING!

Instead of telling Robin that she shouldn’t go through this, she helps her complete the tasks. I think she secretly wants to see Robin go through it. So Robin does do everything they ask, so they give her one final task: get Bruce Patman to ask her to the Discomarathon (another dance-a-thon?). That’s a punishment, he may try to touch her boob. Or drug her and date rape her. It could happen. So Elizabeth goes to him and promises to write a feature for him in the Oracle if he asks her to the dance. His ego wins out, and they go to the dance. Once they get there, he acts all Bruce Patman-y and says to everyone when he arrives, “Ok, that’s it. I brought you to the dance, Tubby. I’ve got better things to do now. Hey! Anyone want to steer the Queen Mary around the floor tonight?” Wow, real nice. So Robin is humiliated and finally realizes that everyone is having a laugh at her expense with this whole pledging thing. Just NOW she realizes it. So she runs out and after that withdraws from everyone and walks around not talking to anyone and all withdrawn. And acts pretty suicidal. Jessica and the Pi Betas blackball her.

So apparently, a few days go by and Elizabeth starts noticing that Robin is losing weight. Then, maybe another week goes by and suddenly she is a size zero. And BOOM everyone wants a piece. Even Patman. And get this…Elizabeth talks to Robin’s mother!!!! What a fucking tool. Ok, the nominations are heating up for the Miss Sweet Valley High title. Ok, what school sponsors a beauty pageant? WTF??? In what fucked up world is Francine in? Of course, Robin wins, which is a big fuck you to the Pi Betas, because Miss Sweet Valley High is ALWAYS a Pi Beta, doncha know. Then, Robin tried out for the cheerleading squad and is made co-captain with Jessica. Uh, Robin has never cheerled in her life, now co-captain? Apparenty the only requirement for the team is being skinny.

Ok, back it up. Apparently, Robin also happens to be one of the smartest students at Sweet Valley. But that doesn’t seem to matter here. Only when does she win Miss Sweet Valley does she get acceptance and self-confidence. Ugh. And she gets acceptance from the people that once mocked her. UGH! Seriously, if Robin is smart, just wait it out a year. She’ll go off to a good college and be successful and Jessica will have three kids by age 20. But no, being thin and popular is the ultimate success. Of course, how could I forget.

And obviously, since Robin is fat, she is a bumbling idiot as well. Don’t you know the two go hand in hand? When Liz is with her, she stuffs her face with candy bars all afternoon. When she gets the news she is pledging, she rushes to the fridge to eat an entire cheesecake. Francine really hates overweight people. According to her, they get what they deserve.

When Robin is losing weight, there is an obligatory scene where she explains to Liz that she is not starving herself. I think it is a little late for a public service announcement.

Oh yea. There is a side story about how Lila is shoplifting because she wants more attention from Daddy. Elizabeth forces her to confront the store and tell the truth. Because Elizabeth is full on Little House on the Prairie syndrome.

The moral of the story: thin is in.

Other tidbits:

Robin wears tent dresses everyday, because my god, no one must make clothes in her size, ANYWHERE. Actually, if she were around today, she’d be totally hip.

Omg, a really dumb Todd/Elizabeth moment: Liz won’t tell Todd why she is pissed at Jessica, so Todd apparently pretends to be a fortune teller: “Don’t tell me. Let me gaze into zee futur. Ziss beeg trouble starts with a J is look almost as bee-yoo-tiful as you.” I cringed when I read that.

We get a description of Fowler Crest (Lila’s estate): sculptures on the grounds, red brick courtyard with a big fountain filled with tropical fish. Francine has such a fetish for rich people.

During the campaign for Miss Sweet Valley, the football team has a sign that says “Robin has us Throbbin'”. Heh.

On another note, I sheepishly netflixed the first season of the Sweet Valley High tv show. Oh god, what a mistake. It was paaaaaaiiiiinful. Not funny and no matter what they were wearing or what they were doing, the twins looked like porn stars. And there was this horrendous scene at a dance (where else?) where Elizabeth and Winston do a choreographed dance (you can see a lil of it in the credits. And Todd is fugly (Ryan James Bittle) and Bruce looks about 50 (Brock Burnett). Full cringe factor in effect.

My grade: F

Next time: Perfect Summer and then Lovestruck, told from Ken Matthew’s perspective. Because he’s so insightful. Or something.