Redundancy, Inc.

I am really running out of ways to express how awful these are, how ludicrous the plots are, and how despicable the twins are. So, this time, I will just explain the plot and then scream about how dumb it is.

Liz and Jess are both having money woes. Elizabeth wants to buy an expensive warm-up jacket for Todd, and Jessica wants to buy…probably some baby hooker outfit at Lisette’s so she can snag some town drug dealer/serial killer in disguise. Okay, for real, she wants a portable disc player, a birthday present for Sam, and to repaint her Hershey Bar room. They are bemoaning this while having party at their house, where conveniently the only people who are invited the main characters and characters that conveniently fit the plot du jour.

Abruptly, Lila and Amy have to leave because they both have to write letters to people that they have been putting off (on a Friday night).

YES, BECAUSE THAT IS THE NUMBER ONE ABSORBER OF TEENAGER’S TIME! KEEPING UP CORRESPONDENCE! WOW, THANKS FOR REALLY CAPTURING THE STRIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER!

This suddenly gives Jess an idea for how to make money. She will start a letter-writing business! Because so many people always have letters they want to write!

WOW, BRILLIANT IDEA YOU GUYS. BECAUSE THIS IS THE #1 COMPLAINT OF EVERYONE IN THE EARLY NINETIES. TOOOO MANY LETTERS TO WRITE! I MEAN, THE iPHONE WOULD HAVE BEEN INVENTED IN 1994 BUT STEVE JOBS WAS JUST TOOOO BUSY WRITING LETTERS TO WORK ON IT.

Elizabeth actually likes the idea, and they decide to start their own company called Letters R Us. They will take requests from people who need to have letters written, and charge $5 for each letter. Jessica will be in charge of setting up the PO Box for people to send their requests, will organize the requests, and drop off the finished letters at the post office. Elizabeth will write the content of the letters.

REALLY LIZ? REALLY? THAT’S EQUAL WORK? DO YOU REALIZE THAT ALL JESSICA NEEDS TO DO IS ORGANIZE LETTERS? THAT IS BASICALLY STACKING ONE LETTER ON TOP OF THE OTHER, BUT YOU NEED TO TYPE OUT EVERY SINGLE ONE? IF YOU ARE THAT DUMB, YOU DESERVE TO BE TRAMPLED ON MY JESSICA.

They put up ads all over town (ah, these pre-internet stories are so quaint) and they get several letters the first day they check the PO box. They go through some of the requests where people write to them explaining the background info about why they want to send a letter, and what they want the letter to say.

OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IF YOU TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE ALL THAT, THEN WRITE THE FUCKING LETTER YOURSELF! THIS MAKES NO SENSE!

Jessica looks through the letters, and sees one from a girl in high school who is feeling neglected by her boyfriend, and starts to develop feelings for someone who she is becoming friends with, the star of the boys’s basketball team. Omg! Jess realizes that shwe is talking about Todd “Wizzer” Wilkins and the person is Shelley Novak, annoying emo star of the women’s basketball team, who is feeling neglected by her boyfriend Jim, who is spending a lot of time putting the yearbook together. (Save your time, Jim. This school year lasts 15 years). Jessica sees this, and doesn’t want Liz to see it. She figures that Shelly will send the letter, and Todd won’t do anything but just be flattered. So, she wakes up extra early, takes the letter, retypes it and changes Shelley’s name, and puts it back in the pile so Liz won’t get upset.

AS OPPOSED TO JUST THROWING OUT THE LETTER? WOULDN’T THAT HAVE BEEN QUICKER AND EASIER, YOU FUCKING MORON?

Liz happily writes the letter and is clueless. Meanwhile, Liz is spending so much time on the letter writing business to get the jacket for Todd, that she starts neglecting Todd, even though he makes picnic lunches for them with strawberries and brie cheese that he plans on feeding her. Liz gets frustrated and wants to write a letter to Liz saying they want to break up. He requests Letters R Us to write it, and Jessica sees it first, and intercepts changing the name, and Liz ends up writing her own break up letter. OH THE IRONY! Jessica figures Liz will figure it out, and Todd will finally come to his senses. Actually, it’s more like she feels guilty for not telling Liz the truth the first time she figures she’ll just keep up the charade and avoid the outcome.

REALLY JESSICA? YOU DID IT AGAIN? INSTEAD OF JUST TELLING LIZ THE TRUTH, OR CONFRONTING TODD, YOU TAKE THE TIME TO REWRITE THE REQUEST??? AND ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID LIZ??!?!?!

Well, what do you know, Liz and Todd break up, and every time one of them times to explain the mishap, one storms out of the room, prolonging the fighting for at least five more chapters. Finally, Jessica, probably feeling bad, writes a letter to LETTERS R US, posing as Todd, asking for a letter to his girlfriend explaining he is sorry and how much he loves her. Aw, all is well, Todd and Liz make up, and Liz is able to give Todd the jacket. What does Todd do in response?

BUYS LIZ A FUCKING MATCHING JACKET!

Todd: “I wouldn’t think of wearing this unless you let me order a matching one for you. After all, I want everyone to know we’re meant for each other, now and for all time.”

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WILKINS, THEN HOW ABOUT YOU STOP GIVING HER KISSES THAT HAVE NAMES AND STOP FIGHTING AND BREAKING UP AND NOT MATCHING CLOTHES?

These books are not helping my anger management issues.

If Book Covers Could Talk: In Love Again

Courtesy of The Closet

Liz: Hi Todd!

Todd:  Hey Liz, you sure look pretty.

Liz: Thanks. Randy Mason made a time machine, and I traveled to the future to a place called Urban Outfitters, and got this dress.

Todd: Wow! Who are we posing for?

Liz: I don’t know, but keep smiling!

Todd: Well, that won’t be hard, I am so glad my family moved back to Sweet Valley and now we are super rich! Too bad I go to Lovett Academy, the snooty prep school. The kids here have names like Campbell Rochester, hang out with celebs like Michael Jackson and take seminars on ancient Greece. Since we don’t go to the same school anymore, I rarely get to see you.

Liz:I know! It’s so hard!

Todd: THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!

Liz: Who said that? Jessica? Enid?

Todd: Oh never mind. We should spend every waking moment together after school, going to Secca lake, where you can give me a b-

Liz:…book to read that expresses how much I love you?

Todd: Sure…yea, I guess. That’s what I meant.

Liz: Oh Todd, but this is so hard! By being with each other, we are neglecting our other commitments! The Oracle will fall apart without me!

Todd: Well then…maybe we should break up.

Liz: Oh Todd, you really mean it? It’s just like when you were here!

Todd: I know, but this may be awkward, because Courtney, the girl whom I rejected for you, has decided to take her revenge out on us by convincing her radio-producer father tio sponsor a battle of the area schools to see which school is best. There will be a geography bee, really races, and rope climbing. Oh, and a trivia bowl. Because those things prove the best school. All the schools will agree to this, and the entire event will take place at Lovett Academy. All the schools will get a week off, of course and somehow coincidentally, we will end up doing the same event- rope climbing. Only you will be on the SVH team and I will be on the Lovett team. And the competing against each other will serve as a metaphor for our competing commitments and lifestyles that keep us apart. Only Courtney will loosen your rope, causing you to fall snd almost break your neck. This near-death experience (your 15th) will cause me to see how much I really do love you, and I will convince my parents to let me enroll back in Sweet Valley High, where I really belong.

Liz: But Todd, that seems so unlikely to happen!

Todd: I know, right? It’s so far-fetched!

Liz: I mean really, a geography bee? Of course it would be a spelling bee! Who do you think I am, an idiot?

Todd: No, of course not. Now shut up and let’s get to the Dairi Burger so I can hand feed you some french fries and lick the salt off your fingers.

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.

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].

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]

Bring It On! or #113 The Pom Pom Wars

So, last time we left the gals, Jessica quit the team and found out about Liz and Ken’s torrid affair. Which still totally infuriates me, because it was so thrown in there after the affect! And with Ken, of all people! And suddenly Liz’s obsession with ken comes out of the woodwork! Even last miniseries when she was all up in Bruce’s speedo!!!

Ken actually does something useful- suggests that Jessica start her own cheerleading squad. So Jess goes out and recruits good dancers and gymnasts, along with Lila and Maria and Jean, who Heather booted. And…Jade Wu! I totally thought she would never appear in the series again. I must eat my words. And some gal Patty Gilbert, who I am apparently supposed to know about.

Jessica also blackmails Liz to be on her team. Either she joins or Jess tells Todd about Ken. So, um, yeah.

Lots of pages that throw in some cheerleading terminology and how Jessica is getting frustrated with her team. Blah blah blah. Apparently one can learn to do backflips and extensive pyramids within two days practice. Including Liz.

Lots of instances where Liz is crazy jealous of Ken and Jessica and mean to Todd. Seriously, this needs to get resolved quick because these scenes are just the same things over and over again.

Heather’s squad only has four people: her, Annie Whitman, Amy Sutton, and Sandra Bacon. And she forbids them all from talking Jessica. Although that is mean, I love how Jessica has tasted her own medicine and IT IS BITTER! I would have loved for Annie Whitman to be all, “remember when you made me feel so horrible I tried to kill myself when you kept me out of the squad? Payback’s a bitch!”. And didn’t Jessica once keep Amy Sutton off their stupid fucking baton twirling team once in the twins series? Maybe I just dreamt that.

Ok, so a scout came to one of the games and wants Heather’s team to go to the nationals. Ooookaaaayyyy, I was not a cheerleader in high school (surprise) but I don’t think that is how the national cheerleading competition works. First of all, you need an ADULT SUPERVISOR which they clearly don’t have.

Jess wants to be recruited to the nationals too, so she has her squad show up to the scout’s house. Listen, i am sure his wife is pissed enough that her husband watches high school girls shake their asses all day, he doesn’t need them showing up at his house. So he loves them but tells them that Heather already has the team that is going. On the way back they decide to stop at the football game in progress and sabotage the halftime. Jess gives her cassette to the PA guy and they come out and do their thing before Heather’s squad can. And the crowd goes wild!! Also, every student is at the football game, apparently.

Jessica get a brilliant idea that the school should VOTE on who gets to go to nationals, and approaches Chrome Dome with the idea of a cheer-off. NOTE TO ADULTS: IT’S OK TO SAY NO TO JESSICA. Ignoring any type of precedents, respect for the National Cheerleading Association, or boundaries, agrees to it. I think he even cancels class. What the fuck. Does everyone in the school really care? I’ll bet Lois Waller throws up in her mouth when she realizes she’s required to go to this shit show.

So both teams kick ass, and it’s a dead tie! The other members hatch a plan to tell both Heather and Jessica that they will each be the sole captains and to join the teams. Of course their egos both agree. So then they go to the regionals and win. Because forming a team within the span of three weeks makes you the best. But, I guess if you have the Wakefield twins, you’re the best.

MIRACULOUSLY, Heather and Jessica now get along. Nice plot consistency. At point, Ken comes up to Liz thinking she’s Jess and invites her out that night. Liz plays along and tells Jess that Ken had to cancel so she can go out with him. So they go to Miller’s Point or whatever and start making out and BAM! Ken realizes it’s Liz and BAM! Liz realizes she’s suddenly over Ken. If she got over him that quickly, did we REALLY need to hear all the incessant whining over her feelings?

They go to tell Todd and Jessica to come clean but it turns out that Jess and Todd found out and are super-pissed. Todd and Liz cheating on each other? It must be a Tuesday.

Can we talk about the cover? There are too many fucking blondes, I can’t tell who is who. First i thought the girls in the bleachers with the stringy hair were Liz and Jess, spying and plotting on Heather’s team, but then I realized that must be Heather and someone else spying on Jess’ new team. And that must be Jessica doing that spazzy jump. Isn’t Jade Asian and Patty is black? Where are they?

My grade: A-

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 where cheaters always win, or #27 Lovestruck


Ken doesn’t really look that Lovestruck. In fact, he looks annoyed. Maybe it’s his wavy hair. Or hint of some man-teats.

Oh, it’s tough being a popular jock. All the pressure of being the star quarterback. It can really make high school pretty tough. Ken is dating Suzanne Hanlon. Suze is rich of course, and is uber-sophisticated. You know why? She likes “films” not movies. She also goes to art shows and poetry readings. She hangs out with people who wear black berets. Ken lurves her and pretends to like what she likes. Mostly he just hangs out with her with a blank expression on his face. It’s rully entertaining. Suze’s sophisticated friends hate on Ken for being a jock, but deep down that really hurts Ken. Yea, jocks really have it tough, especially during high school. Cry me a river, Mathews.

Ken goes to Suzanne’s house for dinner, and of course it’s a huge deal with maids serving trout and a butler waiting on them hand and foot. It’s very Upstairs, Downstairs. I’ll bet a hundred bucks the maid was wearing one of those white aprons. Suzeanne’s dad talks about how stupid football is of course and inside that makes Ken MAD! He wants to show everyone that playing football is respectable. Excuse me while I don’t give a fuck.

So, also, Ken is in danger of failing English. If he fails, he can’t play in the big game against Palasades High. And everyone is counting on him! It’s so hard being Ken! The only thing that will help him pass if he complete’s Mr. Collins assignment, to write a short story. I’m not one to defend Ken, but having high school juniors write a good short story is pretty tough. Nonetheless, he totally procrastinates and Suzanne keeps asking him to do stuff and he doesn’t want to refuse because he lurves her.

So this is the kicker. Elizabeth hears that Ken is having trouble so she is all “I should call him and offer my help cuz I’m rully good at English.” BUTT OUT! Gawd, she is so condescending. Ken’s all, uh, ok. Which pretty much sums up his personality. She shows him a short story she wrote and shows him how she created an outline and notes for the story. Which, I hate to say, is a pretty smart thing to do. At the last moment, Ken chokes and can’t write his story. So…wait for it…he submits Liz’s story as his own.

So everyone makes a big deal and actually they want to publish the story in the Centenniel Edition of The Oracle (cuz Sweet Valley is celebrating its centenniel. Woo-fucking hoo.) Liz just takes it and doesn’t put up much fuss. Asshole. She shouldn’t have shoved her way into the situation either. She confronts ken and he’s all, uh, okay. At the last minute Ken write a story about how a high school student is having trouble and cheats on an exam. See what he did there? He admitted what he did without actually admitting it. How Ernest Hemingway of him.

Ok, so Chrome Dome and the football coach call him in and are all, you cheated and anyone else who did it would get expelled, but Mr. Collins is all, I’ll give you a C for the course so you’ll still pass and can play in the big game. WTF? Why is he let off so easy? He wins the big game and everyone metaphorically sucks his cock. Suzanne is all, let’s get out of here football’s boring and he’s all, fuck off Suzanne if you hate football I can’t date you. The moral is: be yourself. And if you are popular and good-looking enough, you can get away with anything.

Stupid subplot: Jessica is in charge of planning the Centenniel picnic and drives everyone crazy in the process. She forgets to order the food and makes about five thousand pbj sandwhiches. It’s a total success anyway and she gets tons of praise. So the moral of this story is: if you are beautiful, it doesn’t matter if you fuck up. Great.

Ok, maybe there was a bit of humor in the book. Jessica keeps getting Lila to do tedious tasks for the picnic by telling her she’s the co-chair and giving her other fake titles. Lila totally goes for it. I didn’t say ha ha funny, I meant amusing funny.

Other thoughts:

Holy shit, it was painful to read stuff from Ken’s perspective. He is fucking boring moron. When he talks about Suzanne, he’s all “ooooo, she’s so pretty, I like her soooooo much.” Yes, that is the way that sixteen year old boys talk about girls.

Suzanne gives Ken some classical music to listen to and he pretends to like it in front of her. When she is not there, he thinks it is lame and wants to ROCK OUT so…he puts on the Rolling Stones. Oh, like they are so hip and current? Douchebag.

When Ken goes to Suzanne’s house, he thinks the butler is her father. Oh, stupid proletariat.

Elizabeth’s short story is called “The New Kid” and it about a boy who moves to Sweet Valley who hates it at first but then discovers how wonderful the town is. Can these kids shut up about their town?

My Grade: F

And now another douchey clip from the SVH tv show. Did they do the Liz in a coma plot? This may be part of it. Check out what a tool Todd is.

The one with the socioeconomic issues, or #9 Racing Hearts

When I read these the first time around, Lila Fowler was my favorite. Probably because she was rich, pretty, and popualar (supposedly). Criminy, her house actually had a name- Fowler Crest. I totally got a Sarah Michelle Gellar circa Cruel Intentions as my picture of her. I would say I still do like Lila. She is a total beast. but at least she is honest and not manipulative and borderline like Jessica. Plus, she’s got MAJOR daddy issues, so cut her a break.

Roger Barrett is sooooo poooor. Bruce Patman is soooooooo rich. In case you didnt already know, Francine, has to mention it about a thousand times. And she only thinks in extreme binaries. Roger is totes channeling Edward Norton. And ick! He has to wear a sweatshirt. Cuz he’s so poooor!

Ok, so there is this big annual race happening at SVH. It has never been mentioned before this book, so I am pretty certain it will never be mentioned again. The winner get some cash plus a scholarship to Sweet Valley College. Uh, okay. A track scholarship? They don’t mention it. Also, there is a big dance that follows the race. Because Sweet Valley can’t go five fucking minutes without having a dance. Lila suddenly shows interest in Roger once he becomes a strong contender for the title, because she “wants to be seen at the dance with the winner”. See, she’s a cold-hearted beast, but at least she’s straightfforward. But uh oh! Roger actually can’t make the race because on Saturday afternoons he is at his job as a janitor in an office building. BECAUSE HE’S POOR! God forbid a teenager has an afterschool job in Sweet Valley. And he couldn’t work at the mall?

Oh wait, Jessica decides she is totally mature and wants to go work at her father’s law office. Seemingly because she wants to learn more about it. But she delivers this gem, probably influences tons of preteen girls to apply to law school.:

It was one thing to defend lost causes but quite another to have to defend really grizzly, dangerous criminals. Civil law, something more along with the lines of her father’s practice , was much more better, she concluded. Conferring with other lawyers-including lots of handsome men- certainly had to be exciting , and a lot less dangerous

But about eight books ago, she was okay with giving it up to the town criminal when he picked her up on the walk home from school. Anyhoo, about five minutes into the job, she got annoyed that she actually has to make copies. What is this, Heidi from The Hills? But, she sneaks out and meets another guy working at the law office across the way. Because she is soooooo pretty and soooooooo popular (as we are constantly reminded) he asks her out. Except that he never wants to go out. They meet in the copy room after everyone goes home. Well, what is the purpose of this subplot? Well, I love when Jessica gets embarassed. Turns out the guy doesn’t take Jessica out of the building because he can;t drive because he’s really fifteen. Oh! The horror! Jessica’s a shallow cunt so breaks it off. But during her late night rendezvous, she sees Roger working as a janitor in the building.

Ok, so of course Liz always has to be so condescendingly moral, she asks her father to ask Roger’s boss to give him the time off work so he can run the race. Oh, because his boss is making him work on Saturdays because he’s just a mean bitter guy. Not because he actually needs to get the office clean because the big shot lawyers like Ted Wakefield will complain. No, he’s just mean. I can’t wait til the class riots overtake Sweet Valley and loot the Dairi Burger.

Yes, Roger wins big shock and realized Lila is not the girl he wants, so he gets together with his friend Olivia. You know, the weird girl who eats alfalfa srouts and wears peasant skirts.

Snore.

Oh wait, Lila may be mentally retarded. Check out the poem she wrote for Roger:

Roger Barrett, a boy so fine

His speeding runner is so divine

In school, too, he is very smart.

He’ll walk away with the trophy from the Bart

In everything he operates in the highest stratum.

We at Sweet Valley are so proud we have him.

Wow Lila, great use of active voice.

My grade: D +