Monday, February 28, 2011

SVT Magna Edition- A Christmas Without Elizabeth

I read this book MANY times as a kid. It was one of my favorites for many years (before I knew that it was -of course- totally just a recycled plot...) and this is one of the few that I felt was important enough to keep (although now I regret what I did get rid of...). Reading the inside title page, I see that this book was intended for readers age 8 to 12...that's just the RECOMMENDED age, right? I hope I don't get arrested for reading this!! The tagline of the book is actually my most favorite part- "What if Elizabeth had never been born?" My mind rejoices at the thought even now. When I first read this I imagined Christmas Without Elizabeth = more presents for Jessica. But I was WRONG, dead wrong, in fact!!!! (Excuse my little joke, I had to.)
My most vivid memory of this book was Elizabeth's guardian angel. She was a hippy chick named Laura and she was hungry like 24/7 (I like Kevin Smith movies, and I know that angels don't need to eat, but Jamie Suzanne wrote this book so that explains it). Basically, Liz steals some money from her school and gives it to (if memory serves) some cute homeless girls, everyone gets mad at her and her life is all messed up, so she wishes she had never been born. The angel shows up, shows her life without her. It's not as cool as I imagined it would be, sadly. Oh, and there's a party (Christmas party #3, so far).
Moving on to the cover, we see Elizabeth as an angel (at least I think it's Liz) and it's one of those super cool fold-outs. Inside, we see a sad, short-haired, purple-less Jessica on Christmas. There are only three stockings (No Liz and NO NED...I wonder what happened to him). This book is from December of 1993, and Jess's outfit confirms that. High-waisted pants (or possibly a skirt), red sweater (cheap-looking), white collared shirt under it. No sun-kissed Cali glow or devious gleam in her eyes. So...Christmas Without Elizabeth = Jessica sad...this won't be good.

It's Christmas in Sweet Valley (for the 2nd time in the twins' 6th grade year!!!!). We begin with Jess hosting a meeting of her party-planning committee (wow- 3 double letters in that word!!!)- in Elizabeth's bedroom. They're planning a Christmas party at SVMS, and Jess is head of the committee (her name was picked out of a hat for the job, seriously legit). Liz observes that Jess has enlisted all Unicorns to help her (because they're party experts). Then we get a description of the Unicorn Club, and it leads to one of the twins. Proving Liz is the responsible one, we learn that she is treasurer of the school's party money. ($386!!!! Quick, somebody book Johnny Buck!!!!) Then Lila speaks, and we get a description of Lila:

*She lives in a mansion
*She has a housekeeper named Mrs. Pervis (haha, Pervis)
*She is rich
*She has more clothes that the rest of the Unicorns COMBINED (so if there's 11 of them in the club -not including Lila-...she has a shitload of clothes)

Liz is a bitch, and she hates Lila because Lila is way cooler than her (or she's mad about the Unicorns being in HER room), so she kicks the Unicorns out of her room and whines about her bad day to Jessica. Elizabeth's version of a bad day is a B- on an English test and a huge pimple on her chin. (My version of a bad day: Having to read an entire book where NOBODY tries to kill Elizabeth...) Jess helps her cover up her zit, and tells Liz some of her ideas for the theme of the Christmas party. (I'll list these all at the end in case you care to read them.) Jess pats Liz on the shoulder ("Bitch, that's MY thing!!!!") and leaves her to wallow in her misery. To make herself feel better about her own life, Liz goes to do some volunteer work at the Sweet Valley Homeless Shelter.
The shelter has its own daycare center, and Liz stops to buy some crepe paper so the kids can decorate for the holidays. Liz thinks about how disadvantaged the kids at the shelter are, and she pities them.
At the daycare center, Liz meets her two favorite kids. 4 year-old Al (she's a girl, it's short for Alexandra), and 11 year old Suzannah Glass. (Suzannah is ELEVEN, what is she doing at daycare? Oh well, I like her and Al, so I'll shut about.) Al is adorable. She calls Liz "Lizbeth", and my heart melts a little. Suzannah is a total sweetie, she asks Liz about her day and Liz BITCHES TO A HOMELESS CHILD ABOUT HER DAMN PIMPLE!!!!! (Dude, Suzannah should slap Liz for whining.) Liz regrets bitching after a few minutes, when she realizes that Suz (I'm getting sick of typing her full name, so I'm just going to go with "Suz" for the rest of this) is POOR, so Liz automatically thinks Suz had an even worse day. Liz -condescendingly- thinks about how all the kids at the shelter go to school in one tiny classroom with a tutor hired by the county. (I don't know if this is realistic or not. I would think that these kids would be allowed to attend normal school, but this IS Sweet Valley, after all...) Surprisingly, Suz is HAPPY. Her mom is getting a job and they're moving into an apartment.
Later 9at dinner, of course) Jess shares her newest theme suggestions with her family. Steven agrees with me that they are all pretty lame and he makes fun of Jess. She calls him a "dweeb", and I laugh because that was before my time!!! (Side note: Jess thinks that Santa has reindeer named "Blister, Goner, and Cuba".) Mr. Wakefield suggests they have a sock hop (FUN!!!! I went to one once, but it was at an all-girls school so it probably would have been more fun with BOYS), and tells Jess how he and Alice once won an all-night twist contest. Ned and Alice demonstrate their moves as Liz watches and thinks about her happy life. She wishes Al and Suz could have just some of what she does. (And SarahLynn wishes Crazy Margo would show up and eliminate her so I don't have to listen to another one of her self-righteous, stuck-up, prissy thoughts...)
Chapter 2 begins with (what else!!!) LUNCH. The Unicorns are at the Unicorner (I always loved the fact that they named their lunch table) and Belinda Layton (From "Standing Out" I LOVED HER!!!!!) is there, just thought I'd mention that. Jessica is lording over her party-planning, and we hear more party ideas. Nothing really interesting happens, except Denny Jacobson appears and we're reminded of the time Janet saved him from a runaway tooth (yes, a TOOTH...Long story, see 'Elizabeth the Hero") as he suggests another lame party idea.
Meanwhile, Liz and Amy are at the shelter again. Al and Suz have more good news (read that out loud, LOL)- their dad also got a job (he's been gone for TWO MONTHS, he left to find work up north after Al got sick and Mrs. Glass got fired for missing work TO CARE FOR HER SICK CHILD *Ummm, FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT, call Ned Wakefield and SUE THEM!!!!!*) and he's asking for an advance (on his FIRST DAY, bold move there) on his pay so he can send them money for the apartment. Al is super excited and she wants "Lizbeth" to see the "'partment" and -most importantly- THE SWING SET!!!! (*Thinks back to the sweet custom swing set I had as a child*...swings, trapeze, teeter-totter, tire swing, slide, monkey bars.) The lady in charge of the shelter lets Liz and Amy leave with Al and Suz to see their new home.
Their apartment is "small", but they love it because they're HOMELESS and it's a HOME, plus they're not ungrateful spoiled brats like a certain set of blonde, blue-green-eyed twins... The sheer size of the place (it's a 3 bedroom, so it can't be THAT small) makes Liz think about her BIG bedroom at home, and her shelves of Amanda Howard mysteries. Liz likes her stuff a lot (and I don't like Liz). Suz is just happy that the place is quiet and it has privacy, Al is excited that it has a 'bafroom' (awwww).
Back at school, Jess is still taking suggestions for her party. Nothing significant about this scene, but we do get to see Sarah Thomas and Sophia Rizzo. Their parents just got back from their honeymoon (and Jamie Suzanne just pimped ANOTHER book!!!!). I start writing a congratulatory card for Sophia's Mom and Sarah's Dad..
Sadly, Mrs. Glass shows up at the shelter that evening with bad news. Mr. Glass (from 'Unbreakable'? Uh oh, they've got bigger problems...) did not get his advance (because the boss couldn't afford it...what company HIRES NEW EMPLOYEES when they cannot afford to spend $$$?), so there will be no apartment. Al is sad, and Suz is really quiet. Mrs. Glass tells Al that there will be other apartments. Al's (adorable) response: "But this one had a swing set!" It's truly heart-wrenching. The Glasses will be spending the holidays at the shelter.
That night, Liz has a dream... she's swinging on a swing set and she sees her family standing on the street. They're -OMG- homeless!!!! (I wonder if Alice decorated the cardboard boxes that they live in? Spanish-style, I'm sure!!!!) Liz is saddened by this, but luckily she wakes up safe and sound in her own bed. She gets up and has breakfast, thinking about how sad and pathetic the Glasses are the entire time.
At school, Todd comes up to her and practically demands that she help him pick out a gift for his mother. Because he doesn't know how to shop for girls, and ended up buying himself a catcher's mitt instead of the intended gift. Liz is having a crisis of morals (she remembered that she has the school's party money, and is thinking about the can see where this is going, I'm sure) and she asks Todd if it's ever OK to do the wrong thing for the right reason. Todd is a typical 12 year-old boy, so he has no idea how to answer. He avoids giving her and answer and leaves her to figure it out for herself.
The next morning, Liz has made up her mind. She adds some of her own savings to the school's money and stuffs it into her jacket pockets (it's mostly ones, so she has to divide it up between the two chest pockets)... If I had $386 in ONES, I would SO go to the strip club and blow through that stack, but Liz is 12, and I don't think Sweet Valley has a strip club. Jess accuses Liz of bra-stuffing (she calls her "boobular", and I find that hilarious) and Steven accuses her of stealing...Liz thinks he knows what she's about to do, but he was just pissed that she stole his last clean socks (stealing socks from a 14 year-old boy = GROSS). So off Liz goes, prepared to save the day.
Like any sensible adult, Mrs. Glass refuses to take the money from Liz. She is a proud lady, and seeing a spoiled 12 year-old with a fist full of dollars probably just pisses her off. But then Liz brings up Al and Suz, and of course Mrs. G caves when Liz plays that card. She takes the money, promising to repay it as soon as her husband comes home.
When Liz gets home, the Unicorns ambush her and demand their money. Liz bullshits her way out of giving it to them, and Lila ends up paying for everything because she just got her weekly allowance. (LUCKY!!!! I wonder if George wants to adopt me?!?) Maybe Liz should introduce Lila to the Glasses...Lila does like to work on one charity case every year, after all. Liz can't remember ever liking Lila so much in her life. (Yeah, because she saved Liz's ASS!!!! Appreciate it, bitch, it will probably never happen again.)
Liz goes to a Christmas tree lot later that day. She has borrowed $6 from Steven so she can buy the Glasses a tree (haha, even in 1993 trees cost more than THAT!!!!). The tree she wants is $38. She tells the sales man how much she has and adds that she keeps an emergency quarter in her shoe (quick, rob her ass!!!!) in case she needs to make a phone call from a payphone (25 CENTS?!?! Wow, 1993 was cheap!!!!), and the guy thinks it's cute (I sort of do too, no lies, I like when Liz acts her age). and when he hears about her newest charity cases -I mean, friends- he gives her a small potted tree for them. (Because these homeless people NEED a tree, I guess...I would have gotten them FOOD or toilet paper or something useful.) Liz brings her tree over. The Glasses LOVE it, but Al loves her swing set more than anything on the planet. Suz shows Liz her small bedroom, and she thanks Liz for helping them. (Mrs. Glass TOLD her 11 year-old that a 12 year-old lent them money?!?! Wow, I would probably keep that to myself.) It's actually a very touching scene, and I cry because I'm happy that Suz is happy. That girl really deserves it.
Liz heads home, praising herself for being such a saint. Jess still wants the money for the party, Liz keeps stalling. Jess still doesn't have a party theme, but people are getting pissed about the lack of funding from Liz. The Christmas party is on Wednesday and it's already Monday (That's what happens when you put JESSICA in charge of stuff...2 days before the party and NOTHING is done), so Liz needs the money like yesterday!!!! Liz has been so wrapped up in her money situation that she forgot all about helping Todd shop for his mom. He's upset (but not mad enough to make any threats or throw any punches...) and he's NOT going to the party with her. He thinks Liz is unreliable, I think she's just STUPID. Anyways, Liz manages to manipulate Jess into giving her more time. Jess mentions that Suz called and invited her to a welcome home party for her dad, so Liz is sure she'll have her money back soon. But Liz still feels bad as she looks in the mirror and thinks about what a manipulative bitch she's become. She accuses herself of being conniving and a liar, and thinks that she's becoming JESSICA!!!! (I hate her even more for that bitchy thought...)
The next morning, Liz has a new pimple. Todd is still mad and he makes fun of her for having such an ugly face/gross cystic acne. Then Lila comes up, furious. She threatens to sue (Her dad has SEVENTEEN lawyers, oooooh). She wants to know the difference between slander and libel. (so do I!!!!)
Lila: "Which is the one where you write something awful about somebody and cause them to be publically humiliated right before the holidays on the eve of a very important Christmas party and make them so upset they cry and their mascara runs?"
Liz says it's LIBEL, and she's still confused. (I actually LOVE that Lila quote, a bit of a run-on, but still pretty funny and totally something a 12 year-old would say.) Lila's upset because the Sixers' gossip column had a typo. Instead of talking about Lila's bedroom makeover (lots of purple and her own TV and VCR...damn, that must be sweet!!!!), it reads "Lila Fowler has recently redecorated her BROOM...Luckily, Lila's WICH enough to afford it". Liz points out that "WITCH" is misspelled, so it must be a typo and therefore not her fault. Lila is doubtful, but she has already ordered all the remaining papers destroyed. She also makes fun of Liz's zit, hahaha.
Anyways, Jess wants her money, but obviously Liz doesn't have it. This doesn't makes Jess's day any easier. She still needs to find a date for the party, and can't choose between Denny, Janet, or Bruce (I'll settle this- BRUCE = MINE!!!! He's going with me). She's leaning towards taking Janet, because Janet scares her!!! I love Janet. Liz says the money's at the bank for safekeeping, Jess believes her lies. Jess goes back to work on her planning- she is now trying to combine party themes so everybody's happy.
The next chapter opens with the beginning of Christmas vacation. (I think "BIG For Christmas" begins at the start of vacation...totally doesn't fit with this book AT ALL!!!!) Liz runs out of school, avoiding everyone, and goes to the Glass House (AWESOME MOVIE!!!! NetFlix it if you haven't seen it) to collect her money. Mr. Glass is still M.I.A., but somehow the ladies can afford to bake cookies (I'd be PISSED if someone owed me money, didn't pay it back, and was BAKING COOKIES when I came looking for my funds...), but then Mrs. Glass explains that they could only afford one batch (and I feel that!!!! Being broke sucks, but sometimes you just have to spoil yourself and bake some cookies or some Rice Krispie Treats). Liz thinks about all the times she and Jess baked cookies by the dozens without even thinking twice. (Good for you, bitch!!!! These poor children probably haven't tasted anything but free government food in months, and you're just bragging at this point!!!! I hate you, and the Glasses probably do too!!!!) Jamie Suzanne must weigh 637 pounds, because food is mentioned at least once in every chapter. It starts to rain (and that means everyone is Sweet Valley is FUCKED!!!! You know it) and Mr. G is still not home. It's snowing where he is, so everybody worries. Not helping matters at all, the landlord shows up and demands the rest of the rent. He insults the Glasses for being poor and homeless and ghetto, and then tells them to get out of his building ASAP.
Liz goes home feeling like total shit. She almost caves and tells her parents what she did, but then she overhears them discussing how tight money is, so she keeps her mouth shut. Jess still wants her money (anyone else see a theme?!?!), but Liz again talks her out of it.
The next morning, Liz wakes up to another rainy day. She fantasizes about going to the Glasses, meeting Mr. G, having breakfast with the family (waffles, Liz is specific on that detail), and getting paid back. She also adds in a little praise for herself and is probably still imagining a halo above her golden-haired head when she arrives at the Glass House. There's a heartbreaking scene where the Glasses move back to the shelter (Al makes me cry when she says "Bye, 'partment. Bye, swing.") and Liz talks to Suz in her room. Suz can fit everything she owns into one small box, and she's leaving her books behind because she know she'll have to move again soon. Liz is sad about this, and she cries with Suz.
Once again, the Unicorns are demanding money when Liz gets home. Liz finally breaks down and admits she doesn't have it. She gets accused of ruining Christmas, and Jess wishes she never had a twin (Note to Wakefields- STOP MAKING CHRISTMAS WISHES!!!! They always come true and then I have to read about them...). Liz runs out of the house in tears.
She ends up at the Sweet Valley Mall. It's all decorated for Christmas. She sees the kids telling Santa their wishes, and she wishes that she had never been born as she cries some more. Suddenly, an angel decoration falls from the ceiling, comes to life, and tells Liz that she her name is Laura- and she's her GUARDIAN ANGEL.
Laura is hungry and wants a corn dog. She says words like "groovy", and she looks like a total hippie. (DIE HIPPIE!!!!! *Cartman Voice*) Liz tries to run, thinking Laura is one of Sweet Valley's many Christmas Crazies, but Laura freezes everything and Liz is stuck right where she is. Laura forces her to listen. She's here to help Liz's ungrateful ass, and Liz is going to go along with it since she wished she had never been born.
Liz is STILL doubting Laura. Laura is still hungry, so they go to a frozen yogurt place and Liz tries to order. Nobody hears her, because she wished herself out of existence. She's nothing- just a "possibility". I like where this is going. Liz has a headache from all of this new age metaphorical parallel universe bullshit, and I like it even more because of that.
Laura reveals to Liz that she is actually in training, and she's trying to earn her angel wings (just ring a bell, Laura!!!!). Her mission: Show Elizabeth what life would be like if she had never been born. Liz is forced to go along with this. Laura grabs Liz and they fly. (Is it just me, or does somebody ALWAYS fly in these Christmas stories?)
Laura and Liz end their flight in front of a movie theater. A Sophia Loren movie is playing, but Laura had actually meant to show Liz Sophia RIZZO (because she's just a trainee, and she pretty much sucks at being an angel). Liz wants to know why, and Laura basically explains the plot of 'The Butterfly Effect' to Liz. (Change one thing and everything else changes.) Only Laura calls it "the sweater effect" (like pulling a thread from a sweater and unraveling it all...reminds me of the movie 'Zoolander') and it's not as cool because Ashton Kutcher isn't in this story. I wish he was.
They locate Sophia and she's walking down the street with her hot mom (well, she WAS hot at one point...not so much in this parallel universe), on their way to visit Sophia's brother Tony. I immediately thought he was in jail (possibly because of that one time he beat up Steven), but he's only in reform school. (I picture Tony as Toby Cavanaugh from 'Pretty Little Liars' for some reason...) Sophia and her mom are wearing tattered used clothes and they look like shit. They give Tony his Christmas gift (it's got wrinkled wrapping paper and the bow has been used before, so you know it probably sucks) and he hates it. He's a real dick about it, and I remember why I hate the Rizzo family (except for Mama, she's hot!!!!). Liz asks why Sophia's mom isn't married to Sarah's dad (because Liz was never born, so she wasn't around to meddle in their lives...Liz just doesn't seem to get it) and we learn that -much to my disappointment- Sarah Thomas is DEAD!!!!! (I HATE HATE HATE YOU, Jamie Suzanne!!! Who's next?!?! Bruce?!?!? You murdering bitch!!!!)
Sarah died because Liz saved her life once when her father left her home alone and she fell down the stairs. ("Left Behind" #21, one of my favorites!!!!) Because everything revolves around Liz. They go to the cemetery and visit Sarah's grave. The book then makes me super sad because they mention that Sarah LOVED rainbows (I do too!!!! Sarah and I are totally BFFS!!!!)...then the book proceeds to crush my little heart when we learn that Sarah's middle name is Lynn. (Sarah Lynn...I bet they named her after ME!!!!) Liz cries at Sarah's grave and, for once, I cry with her. Liz also learns that Denny Jacobson is dead. Laura reminds Liz that she saved him from drowning in book #74, appropriately titled "Elizabeth the Hero". (Real nice, JS, using dead kids to plug your other SV books!!!! Anything for $$$, I guess.) His whole family was so sad about his death that it caused Denny's mom to have a nervous breakdown. Their whole family left the Valley. (They sound like some smart people to me...)
Because Liz is a dumbass, she makes Laura take her back in time (shocking, I know, TIME TRAVEL + Sweet Valley happens like 4 times a year) and they witness Denny's death (kind of an odd choice for a SV book, something I would expect to see in SVH though). We also learn more about this Laura character. She's from L.A., she lived in the '60's, and she was a troubled kid who didn't have many friends. I imagine Liz would have been all over this girl if the circumstances were different...
Our heroes time travel again - this time they end up at the SVMS Christmas party. Laura lands in a cake in the school kitchen. She eats some of it. Lila and Ellen come in (wearing leather jackets, so you know they're badasses!!!! AND...NO PURPLE. None. This is truly a parallel universe!!!!) They blame Brooke Dennis for eating the cake. They're really bitchy to Brooke (where's her Rock Star Mom?!?!), and it's because Liz was never around to show everybody that Brooke is awesome. We also learn that the Unicorns are now the Sharks, and some other people that I don't care about have had bad things happen to them because of the lack of Liz. Most important to our story is the fact that Patrick Morris is now a runaway, and Laura gets sad as she tells Liz this. Basically, Sweet Valley is screwed!!!!
The party continues. We see Amy, Maria, and some girl named Billy (is she supposed to be Billie Layton?!? I would think JS would know how to spell her name). They worship Lila -EVERYBODY DOES!!!!!-. Janet Howell is a real badass in this universe. The Sharks hang out with Charlie Cashman and Jerry McAllister (aka- CRUNCH, the future drunk driver/guy who put Liz into a coma that one time) and THEY SMOKE CIGARETTES!!!!! Ellen is still their bitch, some things never change. The Sharks are going to play a trick on Jess, so Liz goes home to try to warn her. (Liz is an idiot. She MUST know by now that she DOESN'T EXIST!!!! I just want to smack her.)
On the way to Calico Drive, Liz sees her dad sitting in a shady bar in the ghetto part of Sweet Valley (probably where the Barretts and the Martins live). He's not wearing his wedding ring, and he's drunk. I wish I was drunk. That would make reading this crap somewhat tolerable. She also stops by the homeless shelter (see, she really IS in the ghetto) and sees the Glasses having a horribly sad Christmas.
Apparently, Sweet Valley has turned into one giant ghetto without Liz around to be the center of it's universe. Her own house has weeds on the overgrown lawn, hanging shutters, busted out windows, and peeling paint. I imagine a red Fiat Spider is up on some blocks in the oil-stained driveway, surrounded by 40 ounce bottles. Worst of all- there's no Christmas decorations!!! (Fun Fact: the Wakefield's address is 1214 Calico Drive...I am SO writing them a letter!!!)
The inside of the house is all messed-up too. There's dirty clothes and trash everywhere (parallel universe Wakefields = HOARDERS!!!!), but Liz's heart breaks when she sees that their Christmas tree is all small and beat-up looking. (I guess $6 fabulous mini-trees have also ceased to exist.) Plus, there's only three stockings by the chimney.
Liz sees her mom. She looks super old and dumpy (Alice, that is) and she's super depressed because Ned left her. JS even goes so far as to say that, since Liz wasn't around when everyone thought her mom was having an affair, her father went "Jumping To Conclusions", which is actually the title of the book where it happened. I'm guessing a certain someone with the initials of JS wrote that as well... Steven has become a badass. He has a tattoo (at age 14), long hair, and an earring. Laura tries to raid the fridge but there's NO FOOD (OMG, Jess must also be dead...that girl eats dinner like 4 times a day...). Alice cries because Ned left her, and Liz cries for the fourth time in this book.
Liz floats upstairs and looks into her bedroom. It's just a dusty storage room now. She cries some more and suddenly remember that she came home to see Jess. Jess is doing even worse than Alice!!!! Her dark blonde hair is "mousy" (that just SOUNDS gross), and she is all pale like a regular person. Liz thinks that Jess hasn't seen sunshine in a really long time (I guess even celestial objects are influenced by Liz's presence). Worst of all - Jess's closet is HALF EMPTY (I would say HALF FULL, but that's because I'm not a bitch like Liz, and I know that clothes are expensive!!!) because she doesn't have Liz to borrow from. Plus, all of her clothes are old and used-looking and NOTHING is purple. Liz looks at Jess some more, JS mentions Jess's hair being short and greasy, and her sallow skin and THICK GLASSES. Jess is wearing a plaid jumper that doesn't fit her and she is super sad. Suddenly, the Sharks knock on the front door and Jess runs downstairs to see them. She wants to be a Shark MORE THAN ANYTHING!!!! Poor Jess has become as pathetic as Lois Waller.
The Sharks lie to Alice and say they want Jess to go caroling with them. Alice is desperate for Jess to be accepted, even if it means she'll be spending Christmas alone (awww...she can come over to my house!!!! I always spend the holidays alone with a bottle of Moet...). Janet tells Jess that this will be "A night to remember" (damn, how many books is JS going to pimp out here?!?! This hasd to be at least six or seven by now) and tells her they want to make her an associate club member (like Logan from the BSC!!!! Logan is awesome). Jess gets to go to Lila's house for a makeover before she gets initiated, and she's all OMG!!!! about it, because she's NEVER been to Lila's before.
The Sharks give Jess a fakeover, and they make Ellen give up her club jacket (who are these girls?!? Hell's Angels???). Liz and Laura lurk about downstairs (Laura is raiding the fridge, and this time she has hit the motherload!!!!!), and they overhear Charlie and Jerry/Crunch talking about Jess's initation task and how crazy it is. The Sharks are taking Jess to City Hall, so Laura and Liz teleport themselves there.
Jess's task is to climb to the roof and steal the city's Christmas Star. It's just a tacky decoration, but CH has a high roof, so Jess could be seriously hurt!!!! While waiting for the Sharks to show up, Laura tells Liz more about herself and why she's helping Liz. Apparently, Laura's parents got divorced and she lived in a homeless shelter before she died. It wasn't as nice as Sweet Valley's shelter, so she ran away to an empty house. She had a few random roommates there, and a black cat lived with them. One night, the house caught on fire!!!! Everybody survived, even Laura. But, as the house was burning, she realized that the damn cat was still inside, and she died trying to save it. As she finishes telling her story, the Sharks show up.
Jess is worried about getting hurt. To reach the roof, she has to climb a the city's Christmas tree (a big pine tree all fancied up for Christmas) and transfer from there to the roof. Liz watches in horror as Jess ignores her fears and begins to climb. She begs Jess not to, but she doesn't exist (remember?) so Jess just keeps going. she reaches the top of the tree and reaches for the roof. The SVPD shows up and the Sharks run away, leaving Jess behind. She tries to grab the edge of the roof, but she slips and clings to the edge of the roof with one hand. Liz is freaking out, naturally. Jess loses her grip and starts to fall...
Luckily, Liz is spared having to witness Jess's death. A white mist surrounds her and Laura and the entire world spins like a giant carousel. (That happened to me last night, but it was probably because I was super drunk in honor of Justin Bieber's birthday!!!!) Liz starts to feel sick, so she closes her eyes as Laura says goodbye to her...
Liz is magically transported to the SVMS auditorium. She finds herself surrounded by friends, and everybody is thrilled to see her. Sarah and Sophia are there (stepsisters once again), and so is Patrick Morris. Liz wonders how Jess managed to make the party happen, and her questions are answered when she sees the Glasses. Mr. G. came home earlier that day, unharmed and -best of all- with a pocket full of cash!!!! Suzannah called Liz as soon as he arrived, but Liz didn't exist at that time so she spoke to Jess instead. The two of them figured out what Liz had done with the money (yes, Jessica figured something out for herself!!!!), and that gave Jess a perfect idea for a party theme. The whole party is for Liz!!!! They're even taking donations for the homeless shelter in her honor (Lila's dad threw in a check for $1000, he must have needed the tax write-off), and Al donated a nickel (awww, really, she's freakin ADORABLE!!!!!). Ned and Alice are there, together, and so is Todd. He's decided to forgive Liz for being so spacey lately (how big of him...I'm not her biggest fan, but even I approve of her helping the Glasses because that Al is just so damn cute), so everything's good with the world again. There's even a banner that says: "MERRY CHRISTMAS, ELIZABETH! SWEET VALLEY LOVES YOU!" Liz is touched (haha, Touched BY AN ANGEL!!!!) and she cries happy tears. Jess proposes a toast in her honor (awww...I have an older sister myself, so I have a soft spot in my heart for stuff like this. Jess is actually a really good sister, and she loves Liz SOOOO much that it -almost- makes me love Liz too!!!!).
Adding to my happiness, we learn that the Glasses have gotten a new apartment -WITH A BIGGER SWING SET!!!! Conveniently, Ned just happened to know a guy who had a 3 bedroom apartment he wanted to rent out. I just love how everything in SV always works itself out in the last chapter. I do feel happy for them, unbelievable luck aside. I guess that's the whole point of all these Christmas stories...
On a final note, Liz looks at the cake (yeah, that bitch got a CAKE and a PARTY!!!! Jealous!!!!) and sees that somebody has stuck their finger in it. (Seriously, gross. I'm going to guess that Jamie Suzanne snuck into the book and helped herself to a sample...) Liz thinks of Laura, and I guess that this proves that Laura was there observing all of this... Liz suddenly really wants a corn dog, and I kind of do as well.

Christmas Party Theme Suggestions
*Jazz theme
*Cookie Party (I bet JS never turns down an invite to one of those...)
*Christmas of the Future
*Mistletoe Party
*Come-as your-favorite-Christmas-ornament
*Santa's Reindeer
*Santa's Elves
*Soccer game (WTF?!?!)
*Christmas Through Literature (I won't tell you whose brilliant idea this was, because I'm sure you know)

In Case You're Keeping Track...
*Elizabeth's Cry Count: 5 (may have been more, she cried for a good 3 pages at one point, but they didn't say if she stopped for a snack or anything, so I just counted it as one. Five cries seems to be about average for a Magna Edition...)
*Snack/Meal Count: 4 (With NUMEROUS mentions of food in every chapter...I think I gained about 10 pounds just reading this book!!!!)
*Party Count: 2 (One in reality, one in the parallel universe...good to know that some things are NOT affected by Elizabeth.)

*Al is ADORABLE!!!!! Really, she was my favorite part of the story.
*The mere idea that Elizabeth does not exist!!!!! Of course, it's WAY cooler inside my own head than it actually is in the book. But, if Jessica had been doing alright, I really could have cared less about any of those other people whose lives were shattered... (except for Sarah Thomas, I don't want to live in a world without her!!!!)
*Jessica throwing an entire party for Liz. Had I been invited, I would have had to find something better to do that night because I still think Liz is a bitch, but I really do like when Jess shows us how much she loves Liz. If you have a sister like I do, I know you probably understand this dynamic!!!! I want to throw a party for my sister after reading this!!!!
*Janet and Lila as badasses!!!! (However, the Lila I know and love would NEVER be caught dead with the stink of cigarettes on her designer fashions from Paris!!!!) And Ellen as their bitch. They should have made them that cool in the first place!!!


*Laura's food obsession...I'm surprised JS didn't make her FAT!!!! But I guess the skinny girls in SV have been able to eat like pigs for decades, while the poor fat Lois Wallers of the world have to suffer and go on diets...
*NO BRUCE!!!!! He's only mentioned ONCE!!!! Damn you, JS!!!!
*There were NO OUTFITS in this book. JS only bothered to describe the bad, ugly ones. I would have liked to know what fabulous '60's apparel Laura was rocking.
*This book took FOREVER to recap!!!! There were just TOO MANY chapters.
*Liz is responsible for EVERYTHING positive in SV...If JS keeps this up, Liz is gonna get a ego, just sayin...

Friday, February 25, 2011

SVT #1 - Best Friends

Today's undisclosed bookstore purchases included -much to my happiness- the first SVT book. I have very fond memories of this book (it wasn't the first SV book I ever read, I started my SV reading at the young age of 7 when I picked up my sister's copy of Bruce's Story) and I read it several times. I remember that Jessica joins the Unicorn Club and starts dressing differently, and Liz is not happy about it. And I remember that everybody was REALLY mean to Lois Waller (I always liked her, and I felt so bad for her), plus the twins took ballet and got their own bedrooms.
This was written by Jamie Suzanne (why does FP get SO much credit for writing these books? It's kind of odd, considering that even BOOK NUMBER ONE was written by a ghost writer...) and was published in August of 1986. That means that yours truly was EIGHT MONTHS OLD when this book first graced the shelves of your local bookstore. I never realized that before, but in retrospect some of these books are so...dated!!! I'm kind of sad that I grew up in a world lacking lime green Triumphs...
The cover features Jessica and Elizabeth. I assume Liz is the one with the arm stretched across the other girl's shoulders. I wonder if this is the origin of Liz's trademark shoulder-pat, and I am now even more excited to start reading.

The story begins at the end of a school day. Jessica is telling Elizabeth to wait for her so they can walk home together like they always do. We learn that they are twins, and that they live in Sweet Valley (hence, Sweet Valley Twins). Liz is mad at Jess for stealing her barrettes, making her late to science class, and getting peanut butter in her hairbrush (I don't want to know). Jessica mentions how ill-fitting Lois Waller's leotard was in gym class and Liz (THE NICE TWIN) says, "She can't help it it she's fat." (My mouth dropped open, NOT EVERYONE IN SWEET VALLEY IS PERFECT?!?!) Jessica talks about how much she loves the dancing they're doing in gym class -it's ballet, and we learn that she wants to be a star ballerina someday (wow, foreshadowing book #2 on PAGE THREE of book #1).
Elizabeth is starting a newspaper and she asks Jess to write for it. (Liz, you do her homework, you of all people should know that Jess hates to write.) Jessica denies her, and Elizabeth thinks about how she -Elizabeth- is "the (twin) in charge. She had to remind Jessica to do practically everything, and help her with her math homework, and pick up after her." I have a hard time believing that Liz is "in charge", sounds more like she's Jessica's BITCH, IMO.
They go home, we learn that they live in a big Spanish-style split level (no mention of them having a pool). The book also says that BOTH of their parents work- Mom part time at Sweet Valley Design, Dad is hear of a successful law firm, so you know they're like a million times better than your parents!!!! They have an after school snack with Steven (Oreos for the girls, cake for Steve), and I start counting how many meals they eat in this book. Steven makes fun of them for being so identical and we learn what the twins are wearing, and I imagine that it looks something like this, with ponytails for both of them:

Lila calls, Jess talks to her and "sounded like she'd been talking to a member of the royal family" (correct, Jamie Suzanne, Lila IS royalty). We learn a few things about Lila. I made a list:

*She has the biggest wardrobe in Sweet Valley (I wonder if it leads to Narnia)
*Her dad is rich and he buys her whatever she wants to compensate for not being around (in other words, Lila has Daddy Issues)
*She's a member of the Unicorn Club

Since it's only book #1, Liz has no idea what the Unicorn Club is, so she asks, "Did Lila's dad buy her a unicorn?" I laughed at this, I admit, because Liz is supposed to be the SMART twin as well. Jessica takes this more seriously than I do, and she educates us on the Unicorn Club. Then she starts talking about Janet Howell, so I made another list:

*Janet is Lila's cousin (Is she rich too?)
*She is the prettiest and most important girl in the 8th grade
*She is President of the Unicorn Club

Jessica goes to practice ballet, Elizabeth does homework alone, thinks about how her bedroom is sort of "babyish", and she so kindly describes it so I can make yet another list:

*White wallpaper, with pink flowers on it
*Pink rug
*White bedspreads, pink pillows
Jessica decorated it, Elizabeth hates pink. Jessica's side is a mess, Liz is a super neat freak.

Because the Oreos and cake weren't satisfying enough, the Wakefields are having a nice family dinner. Elizabeth makes salad, Jessica says ballet is "more important than food" (and SarahLynn says "Jamie Suzanne must be a closet anorexic or have a food fetish, she's mentioned weight twice, and there's already been a meal AND a snack in chapter one alone..."). Parents suggest the twins go to REAL dance class at the so-creatively named Dance Studio. We also learn that Liz has friends other than Jess- Amy and Julie- and that Jessica doesn't like them. Amy Sutton does HOMEWORK during RECESS and wears boring clothes, so Jess and I aren't her biggest fans. But Liz hasn't turned into a superbitch yet (it's the first book, remember), and she still actually likes her friends. She and Jess fight at dinner, and smart readers observe that the twins are developing into two separate people and they seem to be growing apart.
The next day, we accompany the twins to SVMS, and we learn that it's a sprawling building that sits on acres of land. Bruce Patman makes his first appearance of the series!!!! (On page 11, in case you want to go back and witness this great moment firsthand!!!) Here's what we learn about Bruce:

*Elizabeth thinks he acts like a bully and a jerk
*Elizabeth also thinks that Bruce considers himself to be the most important person in the world (I personally agree with Bruce on this!!!! Love.)
*Bruce cannot tell them apart, he calls them "Blondie"
*He is RICH
*He's a really cute 7th grader

Jessica falls in LOVE (11 pages in!!!!) and "star(es) dreamily after Bruce as though he were a rock star or something" (Wow, Jamie Suzanne, that was some great writing there!!!! "Or something", WOW, I bet that took you ALL NIGHT!!!!). Liz wonders when Jess became interested in boys. Liz hasn't met Todd yet, so she still isn't into boys.
Liz and Jess split up, going with their separate friends. At lunch, they sit at separate tables for the first time in their lives. (Meal/snack #3 of this book, in only 2 chapters.) We get to meet the Unicorns at last!!! Representing the 6th grade we have Lila and Ellen. Kimberly, Betsey, and Mary are from the 7th grade, and Janet is the lone 8th grader in the group. We get to hear how pretty and special and lusted-after the Unicorns are, and we get to hear about Jessica's looks (again, blonde, blue-green, dimples, identical twin) and how well she fits in with them. Jessica wants to be in the club, naturally. They have meetings at THE DAIRI BURGER (where the HIGH SCHOOL BOYS hang out!!!! WITH NO PARENTS!!!!) and eat pizza at Guido's (it's LUNCH time, and they've already mentioned TWO restaurants...again, explain this food obsession!!!!). There are 12 members in the club (but we only meet these 6, so I think Janet's lying) and they've very EXCLUSIVE!!!! Jessica expresses her desire to join, and gets a "maybe". Jamie Suzanne feels the need to tell us that: "When Jessica Wakefield wanted something, there was no 'maybe'. There was only 'yes'." (That's an odd way to put it...Jessica doesn't know the word 'no', this could be trouble in the future.)
The next day Jess goes through the closet and suggests more purple clothing (because stores in Sweet Valley stock unreal amounts of purple clothing these days), but Liz is like a bad Rainbow Brite villain and she hates all the fun colors so she vetoes the idea. Jess picks out their outfit- jeans, white turtleneck (possibly to hide a hickey, since the answer is always 'YES'), lavender sweater. She wants to borrow Liz's sneakers, Liz says no and suggests she wear her "docksiders" (*Googling* Those are hideous, and I would not pay $100 for a pair of those, ewww) but Jess says those are like, so 1983!!!! So Liz lets her borrow her brand new sneakers as long as she's careful with them. Liz suggests that they clean their room after school (screw that, Jess and I are going to this Dairi Burger place after school, 'k, Liz?) and Jess agrees. Liz says "Bruce Patman could be under that mess and you wouldn't know it!" Jess says "I wish!" (I wish too, Jess!!! I bet Liz actually DOES have Bruce hidden under there *see my Freshman Year story*) Damn, Jamie Suzanne is giving me weight issues AND making Jess into a Whore of the Future and we're only in chapter #3.
After school, Liz waits for Jess and looks forward to cleaning their bedroom. Nerdy as it sounds, she's mostly looking forward to hanging out with Jess, even if she does have to help clean up a mess that isn't hers. It's kind of sweet, actually. But Jessica doesn't feel the same way, she blew Liz off to go to the Dairi Burger with Lila. She gets invited to be a Unicorn, but she has to do three pledge tasks first. So I have to make what I hope will be THE LAST list:

*Steal a teacher's lesson plan book and replace it before the end of class
*Trick three girls into using the boys' restroom

Jessica is up for it, and she thinks that they're going to ask Liz to join as well, but they are asking Tamara Chase to join instead. I guess Janet finally realized that she was the only 8th grader in the group because Tamara is also an 8th grader.
Jess does her first two tasks with ease. She tricks poor Lois Waller into using the boys' room, but she can't bear to trick Liz, so she tricks some 8th grade girls instead and that disappoints the Unicorns slightly. Her third task is the hardest. Liz wakes up the next morning, lays out some yellow sweatsuits for them before going down to breakfast (it's PANCAKES). Jess gets out of bed and curls her hair with hot rollers. She brushes out the curls (NO, that is SO '80's!!!! Just break them apart!!!!) and puts on makeup and an entirely different outfit (which Jamie Suzanne does NOT describe, BITCH!!!!!). Elizabeth likes it and wants to copy, but she doesn't have time. She's sad that Jess doesn't look like her anymore. Jess sees Bruce on the way to school and he whistles at her. Lila and Ellen think she looks gorgeous, and Liz is even more sad.
Liz cries in the bathroom and hears girls come in and talk about how hot Jess is. She has a Moment- and suddenly, history is made!!!! Liz takes out her ponytail, parts her hair down the middle, pulls the front back, and clips it into the style that she will probably wear every day for the rest of her life. Lois comes in as she's leaving (second time these two have used the restroom at the same time, they both must be very regular...I take it as proof that they have the same diet). Lois LOVES Liz's hair and so does everybody else. Classes are canceled at SVMS for the day so all of the students can stand around and tell the twins how beautiful and special and different-but-still-BFFs they are. Their parents share similar statements at dinner (because they hadn't eaten yet in this chapter, so far we have concluded 4 chapters and 4 meals, plus a snack).
The next day is the first day of ballet class!!!! Liz wears a black leotard and tights, Jess puts on one of the series' most infamous outfits- THE PURPLE LEOTARD!!!!

Lila let her borrow her purple leg warmers, and Jess wants to dye her shoes to match. They talk for two paragraphs about Bruce!!!! Jess LOVES him, Liz hates him because he calls Lois "The Pig", and tells everybody in the lunchroom what she's eating for lunch. Jessica remarks that Lois "eats enough to feed an army" (Because Jess has gone an entire 6 paragraphs without a meal or snack, she is suited to judge...way to go, Jamie Suzanne!!!!) I hope Judy Blume's "Blubber" is on their 6th grade reading list, but I know it isn't because it's WAY too advance for their level of education.
They get to class. The receptionist at the Dance School is named Mrs. Hanley, but I mis-read it as "Mr. Hanky" (South Park!!!), so I am now picturing a large piece of poo wearing a Christmas hat and saying "Hidey-ho!!!", greeting the twins. Sarah Thomas (the one with the cute rich dad that slums it with Sophia's mom) is also there. Jessica comes out, all dressed for ballet, in her legwarmers (with pink hearts and yellow stripes on them) with a filmy purple scarf around her waist. Her hair is loose and wavy with glittery barrettes that have streamers attached. She has blue shadow to her eyebrows (I guees the Unicorns taught her about makeup at the next meeting), and the teacher is a real bitch about it. Jess changes and cries after class.
In the next chapter, Liz hears that Jessica is about to be named a Unicorn!!!! (I wish they said EXACTLY what the date was, so I can request the day off of work to celebrate this as a religious holiday.) Liz is sad (she's been sad a lot in this book, maybe she should see a psychiatrist) because that means Jess won't have time to hang out with her. She tells poor Lois Waller to tell Jessica talk she has to walk to ballet class by herself, and Lois "looked thrilled at the chance to do the favor". Jamie Suzanne, you are a BITCH for making Lois's character not only FAT (in no uncertain terms you have reminded of this on several occasions), but desperate for attention as well. Could JS have made the poor girl any more pathetic? I doubt it.
Later, Liz cries some more about Jess (after ballet class, as she walks home alone). She's super upset that Jess is going to be a Unicorn, and I add "separation anxiety" to my list of Liz's psychiatric problems. Liz has a heart-to-heart with her mother (and Alice seems to agree with Jessica wanting to do her own stuff, Alice probably thinks Liz's little newspaper is a lame idea, and I'm sure she knows how awesome Lila is!!!!) and there's some stuff about the twins having separate interests and how it's part of growing up. Basically, being twins = special, built-in BFF...blah, blah, blah. Liz talks to Jess, but continues to be sad, not that Alice notices this or anything.
Finally, it's Unicorn Voting Day (but this is a DICTATORSHIP, so why do they have pretend elections?) and Jessica promises Liz that she will get her into the club so they can spend time together. Jess mainly agrees to this because "(she) had a load of math homework that night and she wanted Elizabeth in a good mood"...haha!!!! Jess goes to her first meeting at Janet's house. Janet has a white canopy bed, and I'm jealous because I always wanted one of those... Jess has a fabulous time. While she's gone Liz invites Amy over and they talk about their paper. They name it the Sixers, and Liz has a good time in the process. Long chapter short, Liz likes being friends with Amy.
Flash forward to Jess's third Unicorn meeting (so, like two weeks later?). Topics of conversation: hairstyles, talking about clothes and boys. (Bruce?!?! Are they talking about BRUCE???). Jess begs them to let Liz join, despite Janet saying Liz wasn't "Unicorn Material". (Somebody should make a quiz for that.) The Unicorns finally agree to it- but, Liz has to do a terrible, super hard pledge task!!!! Liz is thrilled, until she learns her assigned task:

*Invite Lois to Dairi Burger
*Replace whipped cream on Lois's sundae with shaving cream

It's super lame, and a horrible crime against perfectly innocent ice cream. Plus, why does it have to be LOIS? (If I were Jamie Suzanne, Liz would be doing that to AMY instead of poor abused Lois.) Liz agrees with me, and she's all self-righteous about it. She refuses, and Jessica is humiliated because she BEGGED to get Liz into the club. She calls Liz a "first class priss", and I laughed out loud because I have never heard that word used before. Luckily, Jess remembers that she and Liz are identical, and the Unicorns won't know the difference if she assumes Liz's identity for one day.
The following day, Jess dresses Liz in the out fit that they're wearing on the cover and they pose for the covershot (or so I imagine). The previous evening, Jess called Lois, pretending to be Liz. She invited her to the DB after school, and Jess is pulling a twin switch. Lois was "thrilled" to be invited, she even thanks Liz for calling. (Seriously, JS, FUCK YOU!!!!)
Jamie Suzanne just won't let her hatred of Lois die. (I wonder why she even bothered to include her in the story if she hates her SO much...maybe JS sees some resemblance to herself in Lois and hates her for it.) Lois is referred to as "the school hippopotamus", "her pal, the blimp", and apparently Lois's DB sundae order is so gross that Jess "nearly gagged". (OMG, Lois asked for A CHERRY and COCONUT, what a pig!!!! SarahLynn says, "Mmmmmm, sundaes!!!!") Jess pulls the whipped cream switch (even though I'm Team Jessica all the way, I must admit that I sort of hate her for this), Lois eats it. Then she cries (awww) and runs away.
With her daily evil deed out of the way, Jess goes to ballet class. The teacher still hates Jess and Jess wants to quit. But that would ruin the entire plot of book #2, so the teacher announces that they will be doing a recital in two months on the Sweet Valley High auditorium stage. I lose all respect for their teacher, but laugh my ass off in the process, as teach goes on to say that she "has danced on the stage many times", and the way she talks about it is like she is literally referring to the SVH stage (and I wonder exactly how qualified she is to teach the class, being that she's bragging about dancing on a high school stage many times!!! Real professional, that lady.), and I'm STILL laughing about this, even as I recap. Aside from that, Jessica is suddenly determined not to quit (because she wants to have her moment in the spotlight in the next book), and she vows to be the STAR OF THE RECITAL!!!!!
Next thing we know, Liz is a Unicorn!!! Her first meeting is in Ellen's room (which is full of rainbows!!!! I want a rainbow room!!!!), but Liz is not impressed. Unicorns = Shallow, got it, Liz. Some boy is referred to as "dreamy", and Ellen says she "would do anything to go out with him". (I suddenly have a scary vision of Ellen's future. I imagine she got pregnant early into her high school career and was probably sent away to a special school...*Freshman Year #3, perhaps?*) The Unicorns talk about slutty girls at school, and I make a list of them for Bruce:

*Sandra Ferris (red bra under WHITE shirt to Dairi Burger)
*Jennifer Morris (Sandra isn't as bad as her)
*Roberta Manning (former Unicorn, dated a high school boy until her parents caught her and grounded her, kicked out of club... we'll talk more about that later.)

We also learn that some girl named Leslie Carlisle wears a 36E bra size...I do not, so I Google it just to see what it looks like...

OMG, OMG!!!!! How old is this Leslie girl?!?!?! She is going to have back pain like crazy when she gets to SVU!!!! I bet she's REALLY popular and probably stalked by Bruce Patman on a regular basis.
Genius that she is, Ellen brings up Liz's pledge task at the end of the meeting, and Liz finds out that Jess did it despite Liz REFUSING TO DO IT!!!!! Uh, oh, Lizzie's mad!!!! She storms out and Jess goes with the Unicorns to the DB. Liz goes home and helps her mom make dinner. They talk again, Liz hates being a unicorn, but being a twin is still special even if Jess is a Unicorn. It works just the same as their last convo, and Liz is still upset.
Liz calls Lois immediately after this. She tells Lois that it was Jessica, and Lois forgives her, but Lois hates Jess still. Lois is switching to private school (because of a PRANK...) and she decides not to after Liz tells her not to, and offers to let her eat lunch with her and Amy. It was just that easy, I guess!!!
Liz yells at Jess -A LOT- and blackmails Jess. Liz will quit the Unicorns if -and ONLY IF- Jess apologizes to Lois (in PUBLIC, OMG)...
One week later, Liz's newspaper is a success. Even LILA and the UNICORNS enjoyed it (being that Jess, Lila, and Ellen are the ONLY 6th graders, am I to believe that 9 7th and 8th grade girls went to the effort of obtaining AND reading this? I guess it's like the LAW in Sweet Valley that EVERYBODY must read Liz's writing- Secret Diaries included!!!!) Lila then suggests -somewhat bitchily- that Lois write a diet advice column, and she calls her "Miss. Piggy". (And I now want to call information and get JS's phone number. I think she's gone TOO FAR, seriously, and it's just the FIRST BOOK!!!!!) Liz thinks to herself about how bitchy the Unicorns are (despite the fact that LIZ called LOIS the F-word -FAT- on page one...pretty bitchy of her, no?) Liz thinks to herself that somebody needs to give the Unicorns a taste of their own medicine!!!! Jess comes up and apologizes to Lois, Lois is thrilled that a Wakefield spoke to her (JS doesn't point this out, but I just know Lois is thrilled). Liz says that she's NEVER doing Jess's homework ever again and the chapter ends.
Later, Liz decides that she hates sharing a room with Jess and her mess (haha), so the whole family spends an entire weekend working on giving Liz her own room (how many rooms does this house have? At least 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, study, den...damn, it is big!!!!). Liz's room:

*Navy blue curtains w/ yellow trim
*Plain, off-white walls
*Cream-colored carpet

So now the Roberta Manning subplot comes into play... The girls and Steven talk. Steve reveals that HE was the high school boy that dated Roberta Manning at the beginning of the book. The Unicorns were jealous, and that's why Janet kicked Roberta out of the club. (Janet then asked Steven to a party and they also dated, but Janet was "too immature" for Steven.) Roberta dumped Steven because HE WAS TOO IMMATURE FOR HER (okay, 13 years old that dates HIGH SCHOOL BOYS and is on my SVSluts list!!!!) and because she has a crush on (wait for it, this is FUCKED UP!!!!) A COLLEGE GUY!!!! (Thankfully, Steven says that this guy isn't interested in her, and I certainly hope he ISN'T, or I WILL JUMP INTO A SVU BOOK AND FIND HIS ASS!!!!) So now Steven likes Mandy (not Mandy Miller, thank god!!!! This Mandy is in 10th grade so she's OLDER than him!!!!!), and I'm happy that Steve has given up on THIRTEEN YEAR OLDS!!!!! Liz again thinks about how bitchy the Unicorns are (so that was why they included this!!!! We're supposed to think: Janet = Bitch.) and vows agains that SHE WILL TEACH THEM A LESSON!!!!!!
To accomplish this, Liz again runs to the phone to call Lois. She has a secret plan to trick the Unicorns, and Lois is in love with Liz these days, so Lois listens intently and says, "Neato! If it works I'll be so happy I'll-I'll go on a diet!" (And SarahLynn says, "I really hate you, Jamie Suzanne. Lois is my girl, stop hatin'!!!!")
So they put their plan into action (at the DB, because this is SUCH an original plan!!!!). This time, the whipped cream on Lila's sundae is replaced and Liz and Amy photograph it for the Sixers. It was really predictable, and I wish Liz was capable of independent though, but obviously she isn't. Lois "gaily" calls out a goodbye as the Unicorns leave the DB (no mention of them PAYING, uh oh!!!! I'm also mad that they wasted YET ANOTHER sundae...I could have eaten it!!!) Lois is happy their plan worked. She is so happy that she decideds now would be a good time for some shameless self-promotion (see, that's why she and I are such good friends!!!) and gives a shoutout to her book (#38, it's awesome, even if Bruce is painted in an unflattering light)- "LOIS WALLER STRIKES BACK!" (They must have thought that was too long, because the book is actually "Lois Strikes Back".)
Two weeks later, Liz's room is finished!!!! (Where did she sleep in the interim?) She has "the biggest desk in Sweet Valley" (take that, George Fowler!!!!), and she loves her room even though it sounds boring and ugly to me.
Jess and Liz decide to setup book #2 AND #3 for us as they walk past the Mercandy house (they mentioned it at the beginning of the book, but now we learn it's HAUNTED, and Nora doesn't live there yet) on the way to ballet. Bruce bikes by (yay!!!! I love when he pops up.) and says hi to Jess -BY NAME!!!!. Liz and Jess have a weird convo where they basically recap the book in far less sentences than I did (and I hate them for it, had I known this was here, I would have just recapped that verbatim for you!!!!) and we see that they're still BFFs despite being so different.
Jessica still wants to be the star of the dance recital, no matter what. Adding to the setup for #2, Amy has enrolled in dance classes. The book ends with Jess again thinking about her starring role...

In Case You're Keeping Track...

*Elizabeth's Cry Count- 2
*Meal/Snack/Dairi Burger Trip Count- 7

*Jessica's dance outfit. I wanted this outfit SO badly as a child, and I still wish I owned it.
*The Unicorns!!!! I always wanted to be a Unicorn. As a child, I thought middle school would be full of super-exclusive clubs made up of the prettiest and most popular girls...and they did exist, only they were CLIQUES!!!!! OMG, It was TERRIBLE!!!! Nobody wore purple or went to any Dairi Burgers, but some of the slutty girls DID date HIGH SCHOOL BOYS.
*Jessica is in love with Bruce. I do not blame her.
*Liz hates Bruce. Good, less competition for me!!!!
*Ellen's rainbow bedroom.

*The food/weight obsession. I never realized just how bad it was. I can see why there's an argument for these books promoting eating disorders...
*Poor, pathetic Lois!!!! I just want to White-Out some of this story and write a happier one for Lois!!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 10) "Uh Oh Seven"

I know I said I wasn't going to do this one, but I'm bored to an entirely new extreme today. So I'll just suck it up and do it just to get it out of the way. Plus, after I recap this, I only have one more episode to do and I will be halfway through season 1 (which I might or might not celebrate this milestone by posting more of my original work...namely, Freshman Year!!!!).
Like I said in my last recap, I hate this episode for multiple reasons, which must be why I have no trouble remembering this one. I remember that this episode is a story written by Elizabeth (yawn) and it involves secret agents, and also Todd. But at least Bruce is included. I may space out for some of this episode (unless it's better the next time around, doubtful) so forgive me if I digress too much and leave out important details.

This episode is on disc 2 of season one, so I'm going to try something new and recap while watching it on my laptop. I was using YouTube, but switching between browsers is a bitch. Anyways, we'll see how it goes.
During the theme song, we see both 1BRUCE1 and the twins' Jeep, but for whatever reason they did not include Lila's lime green Triumph in this show. Perhaps because Triumph ceased making vehicles in 1984. (Right around the time SVH started, I'm surprised business didn't EXPLODE because of Lila...) The Wiki page has photos of not one -but TWO- green Triumphs!!!! Must have been quite the popular color. I wasn't born yet, so I don't know.
We begin our show at Sweet Valley Cinema. We find Winston (sans glasses, when did he get contacts?), Penny, Enid, Todd, Lila (in a hideous yellow jumper with a matching coat, I imagine the real Lila Fowler later sued the producers for character defamation), Liz, Jess, AND -much to my excitement- BRUCE!!!!! Our hero is wearing a white polo under his trusty SVH sweater and jeans, and his dark hair is falling into his dark eyes...*sigh* They all just watched an action movie, I guess, and Bruce claims that girls can't do action stuff like guys can... Enid gets all mad and gives him a weak punch (ARREST HER!!!!!), poor Bruce. Lila wants sushi (movie theaters have sushi bars?!?) and everyone goes along with her on that (hey, if she wants to pay for it, I will absolutely eat some raw fish), except Liz. Liz wants to go cheat on Todd...oh wait, she wants to write a short story for Teen Lit magazine. (I wonder who reads that? What are the articles about- Sweet Valley High? If they were, and the included pictures of Bruce, I might read it.) Liz goes home to write- using a laptop that looks like it belongs to Zack Morris. (ahhh, 1994 technology!!! That laptop must have cost a million dollars back then.) Jess tries to get Liz to stop being such a nerd and come with her to Judy's party (who?), but Liz is super lame so she just keeps writing. Jess suggests that she at least write about something interesting and glamorous- like HER!!!! I love the idea, I might even read Liz's story if it was about long as Bruce was in it.
Cut to inside Liz's head (not literally)- Jess is a super secret spy in a black bodysuit. She has on a short platinum blonde wig, and her name is Platinum Blonde (sounds kind of like 'Bond', get it? *sigh*). Damn, that is a very revealing outfit...super low cut AND she has on hooker boots. (I think I have a similar pair!!!!) Cheesy James Bond/Dick Tracy-sounding music plays and we see Manny- aka Manny Penny in this story. Manny is Enid's secretary and an obvious rip-off of Ms. Moneypenny, and I'm already bored by this. Enid shows Platinum pics of Lila (Gold Fowler in this one...obvious GoldFINGER rip-off) and Bruce (Pecs Galore, haha, in the Bond movies that's -wait for it!!!- PUSSY GALORE!!!!), and I think Bruce looks hott as hell in his photo. Jess's code name is Double D 7 (like 007, I'm sick of Bond references already). Enid keeps talking, and it's probably important stuff I should pay attention to and share with you, but I'm starting to zone out already. GF and PG hate each other, they only get together to "socialize" (read: plot evil things, I'm guessing) and sometimes have sex (it's implied). Anyways, they've been donating Wacky Weasel video games to major cities nationwide and Enid is suspicious. (Enid is wearing a suit and tie and her name is E- rip off of Bond's boss M...I wish she was replaced with E from Entourage, because I like that show and would much rather be watching that right now.) She can't find PG and GF's hideout, so she's giving that assignment to Jess/DD7/Platinum Blonde. Jess gets some spy stuff (beauty mark tracking device- Jess's reaction: "I always wondered what it would be like to have an imperfection"- laser earrings, and lipstick periscope. E then goes on to warn Jess about GF and PG's "muscle"- OctoPatty (half human, half mollusk, whatever that means, I say HALF RIP-OFF OF OCTOPUSSY!!!!)...and I wish this episode was over already.
GF, PG, and OP are hiding out at some bar/piano club. E and Jess show up and run into Manny Penny- he works there too, I guess. Suddenly, real life Todd interrupts Liz's stupid story (for once, I'm happy he showed up) and asks why he isn't in it. We snap back to reality. Todd is wearing a stretched-out green tanktop, and I am so happy that the 90's ended like 10 years ago because that is such an ugly outfit. Somehow, Liz has managed to change clothes and relocate into the kitchen. It could be hours later- maybe days- and I'm thinking that it's ridiculous that it took her THAT long to write all of that. So not impressed. Todd wants to be the hero who saves Platinum Jess, but Liz says that her story is about "a reverse universe" where men play women's roles (ie. Manny the secretary, Bruce as Pussy Galore, Lila as Goldfinger, Jess as Bond) and Todd thinks it's unrealistic. I agree, because that is SUCH stereotyping!!!! (These people have obviously never met Greg Focker- he's a NURSE!!!!) Todd drinks out of the milk carton (from Liz's fridge, how disrespectful, if he did that in my kitchen he would be buying me some new milk) and I want to smack him through the screen. But he redeems himself slightly when he asks who the hell would want to read Liz's stupid story anyways (ummm, Todd, YOU just read it...).
So Liz writes him in. He's known as Simply Luscious- 'Gold Fowler's main squeeze'... I have never heard that expression used before. E tells Platinum/DD7/Jess/I hate typing all of this to go crack him. Jess (fuck it!!! I'm just gonna call her Jess, deal with it) is confident that she can. Jess goes to GF/PG/OP/SL's table and exposes GF for cheating at cards. The dealer is upset, and GF sics OctoPatty on his ass!!!! OP then tries to attack Jess, but Jess is too quick. She shoves OP off of her and asks Todd -I mean Simply Luscious- to dance. SL (hey, that's MY name!!!!) accepts, and instantly reveals to Jess that the Moon Breaker Cafe (Moonraker, ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!) is the secret hideout.
Back to reality, Enid interrupts Liz this time. (Liz has relocated yet again to the Moon Beach.) Enid wants to know why Bruce and Lila are all hooked up, and Jess and Todd, but Enid is all alone. (Ummm, how about Manny???) Enid whines about how boring she is (seriously!!!) and storms off, leaving Liz alone with her laptop.
Liz rewrite her story to exclude Jess and SL Todd's kiss, and instead sends her characters to the Moon Breaker (in the Jeep, of course, although Todd's BMW or 1BRUCE1 or even a certain lime green convertible would have been more appropriate. Bond has impeccable taste in vehicles). Jess leaves Simply Luscious Todd outside while she investigates, and OctoPatty attacks him.
GF and PG are all alone, and back to plotting. All of the video machines have been delivered, except the one for Sweet Valley. They plan to deliver it themselves, and we learn that there are bombs in the machines. (what?!?! NO!!!!) Jess spies on them while they do this (apparently each city will pay them ONE MILLION DOLLARS so they don't blow them up...okay, whatever). Winston is the evil computer guy and he starts the process of bombing some country that won't pay. I look at the time counter and realize that the episode is only half over. It's so boring.
OctoPatty attacks Jess and throws her into a jail cell with Toddy McLuscious (in my boredom, I have began to rename characters). GF straps them to a "sushi wheel" of some sort and is about to kill them, and I hope it happens because I have entirely stopped caring at this point. Even Bruce hasn't been able to save this episode. (plus, I'm in a bad mood today, so that's probably not helping...sorry.)
Luckily, Real Jess interrupts Liz's insanely stupid totally plagiarized story. Jess doesn't want her character to die, despite my wishes. I suddenly realize that Liz is not a main character in this episode (other than a few reality scenes and quick cuts), and I start to like it a little better because of that.
Oh damn, SarahLynn spoke TOO SOON!!!! Liz writes herself into the story (I wish I could do that!!!), wearing a short red zip-up dress that looks like it's made of latex. I wonder where this is this going to be like some of those FanFiction stories I happened upon the other day? (People are DIRTY, filth!!!! All of it!!!! j/k, I like any story as long as it has correct spelling and grammar.) But no, Liz is there to save the day in a non-sexual way!!!! (That rhymed!!!!) She has matching boots (they look like fishing boots or rain boots though, not cute) and her name is Ash Blonde. And there's a totally inappropriate camera shot of her from the waist-up, and I think it must have been cold on the set that day, plus she is not wearing a bra, so that doesn't help. She frees Lushy Simple Todd, and they make out randomly (*gag*) before freeing Jess.
Upstairs, Winston is working on blowing up Sweet Valley and we see lots of old bomber plane footage, ect. It reminds me of the old Muppet Babies episodes where they would open up the closet to grainy film footage of random stuff, and I always hated that part. They have to stop him!!!! Oh wait, he's a prisoner too, so Liz unlocks him with virtually no fanfare and then takes all the credit for saving Sweet Valley.
Everybody has gathered at the Real Moon Beach to read the story. Nobody likes how Liz ended it, or how she made their characters. I would have said, "Your story sucks, bitch. All you did was take the movie 'Goldfinger' and some of 'Octopussy' and changes some stuff -poorly- and pretend I wrote it." But I'm a bitch, so that's probably why they never invite me to their parties or to the Moon Beach or write back to the fan letters I wrote them all back in 1991 (actually, Bruce DID respond to my letter, but that's a story for a future entry, so I won't say anymore)...
Jess is in her cheerleading uniform, so I just lost my train of thought... Umm, where were we? *thinking* Oh yeah, Liz's story sucks, everyone hates it, but I'm having a lot of fun researching the Bond references in this episode. I wish I was watching a Bond movie right now. I have the box set!!!! So the story sucks, but the episode isn't too bad...
So Liz goes back and re-writes the ending...While she frees Winston (aka- Freeplay, whoever that's supposed to be?), Jess fights off OctoPatty. But they're TOO LATE!!!! Sweet Valley will explode in TWENTY minutes (they bombed an ENTIRE country earlier, but nobody seems to care, because Sweet Valley is the most important place on Earth), oh shit!!!!
PG and GF are at the Mall, about to make their getaway. (How they knew that their machine was about to go off, I have no idea, but Jess knew where to find them because of the beauty mark tracking device.) There's a chase, and Bruce (as Pecs Galore) kicks Liz in the face!!! (I'm starting to LIKE this episode, oh no!!!!) But she kicks his ass in return (and it's actually kind of HOTT). And of course this is the obligatory montage for the episode (I incorrectly assumed that Liz would NOT write a montage into her story). There's some more chase, then they find Winston playing the doomed video game in the food court. GF and PG take off, and the twins and Simply Todd Luscious run over to Win. They disarm the bomb in like two seconds, and run off to return it to it's owners. PG and GF are making their escape in 1BRUCE1, but the rear license plate is blacked out (I guess 1PECSGALORE1 was too long to fit...LOL), but luckily this show is made by the same people who make Power Rangers, and thus Liz has a Ninja death star that she throws at 1BRUCE1. Device goes BOOM, 1BRUCE1 is no more. (I bet Real Bruce was not pleased by this...was Liz writing this with her Magic Pen from SVT?!?! I knew she was to blame for the untimely demise of 1BRUCE1 in later years.) Liz again takes 100% of the credit and makes out with Todd the Lush, while Jess shares my feelings about how gross that is.
Snap back to reality. Everyone is reading the story out loud. Lila and Bruce hate that their characters were eliminated, and Jess hates being saved by Liz. All the other people with lame parts in the story are happy, though, and Liz doesn't really even like her friends anyways. Bruce again says girls can't play action heroes (Ummm, sorry babe, but Kickass was a great movie, and I want to marry Michelle Rodriguez for all of her fabulous roles...oh wait, those didn't exist in 1994, nevermind) and the can't write about them (Sorry again Bruce, girls can write!!! Just not Liz, so don't judge ALL of us based on Liz's fake story that was totally written by MEN -both in the Bond world AND the SVH world-ok?). But Liz doesn't care. Teen Lit is publishing her story!!!! (OMG, really?!?! Have none of them seen a BOND MOVIE EVER?!?! Damn female publishers!!!! *that was for my Bruce!!!!*) Four pages!!!! Liz already has the magazine, so it must be weeks later, and she signs Manny's copy for him. Everybody leaves her alone with Real Todd (Thank god it's back to normal Sweet Valley, having to remember what his name was was starting to get annoying)...He asks if she really thinks he's sexy and she says "Of course I do, my little stud muffin.." and SarahLynn remembers again why I hate Elizabeth as they kiss and the episode ends.


*The costuumes. So wrong, but who doesn't love 18 year old twins in horribly slutty clothing?!?
*Lots of Bruce. I love Bruce. Did you know that?
*I hated the story before I realized that it was a total theft of Bond movies. Once I realized that, I had LOTS of fun Googling and discovering the references. I bet Elizabeth loved when Google was much to read and be an expert on!!!! I've learned more from Google searches that I ever learned in high school. (And probably WAY more than Sweet Valley students learn in their 12-16 years of education combined...)
*Not much Elizabeth, until the end of the story. Even then, she was tolerable. Until they went back to the real world, that Liz still sucks!!!!

*My beloved 1BRUCE1 was harmed!!!! Even in fiction, that is NOT acceptable. Destroy your own car, Liz...oh wait, you did that on Jungle Prom night.
*Total plagiarism, and yet Liz got published...WTF?!?!
*Who were Winston and Todd supposed to be? I couldn't figure it out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1, Episode 9) "Coma"

I really, really hope that this is based on the book where Liz rides Todd's motorcycle, falls off, hits her head, and goes into a coma. The name implies that it might be. Didn't Elizabeth wake up from her coma and start acting like Jessica? Is this the one where Liz goes out with Bruce and he (allegedly, as I have no clear recollection of this incident...time will tell, I guess) tries to rape her? I think Todd even punches someone in the face while at a PARTY. Actually, I think that was spread over the course of 2 different books, but it a good story nonetheless. I remember thinking that Liz should hook up with Bruce (this was, of course, years after I realized that he was a fictional character and abandoned my crush on him)...
Either way, the show is nothing like the books, so I don't know why I even bother to guess what the episodes are about. I just really liked the motorcycle story (I reference it in my episode 1 recap, I believe) and all of the Bruce action. I want to see if he REALLY did threaten to rape Liz, because I honestly do not remember this part and everyone is so focused on it.
On a side note, my next recap will NOT be episode 10- "Uh Oh Seven". I do not like this episode whatsoever (and not just because I mis-read the title as 'Uh Oh STEVEN' and there was obviously NO STEVEN anywhere!!!!), so I will not torture myself by watching it. Unless I get really bored one day, or I do a series of posts of the Sweet Valley stuff that I hate... I'll just skip over it and we'll resume our recaps with episode 11- "Secrets".

Our story begins with Liz and Jess in the Jeep, rolling up to the Moon Beach. 1BRUCE1 makes an appearance in its usual front row parking space (the twins park next to it, and I wait patiently for them to go inside so I can see Bruce), and we hear Liz bitching that she doesn't have time for the Moon Beach because her Oracle article is due in half an hour. Jess ignores her, and says that it's imperative that she go to the MB because some guy named Dean Williams has been spotted (by Lila Fowler, so you know it's reliable info) hanging out there. Typical SVH, Jess has a new love interest less than one minute after the theme song. I guess she's over Prince Arthur. I hope this new guy is friends with Bruce. Liz reminds Jess that this Dean guy has a girlfriend, to which Jess awesomely replies, "That was before he knew I was interested..." That's my Jess, and I totally understand her logic here. I say that kind of thing ALL THE TIME. Anyways, Jess is on a mission.
Todd pulls up- ON A MOTORCYCLE!!!! And it's PURPLE!!!! But he's just borrowing it from a friend for the week. (I would NEVER trade my BMW for a stupid motorcycle, helmet hair + bugs in my face = ewwwww.) He offers Liz a ride, but she refuses despite Jess urging her to live a little. Liz scurries away, and Bruce comes out of the MB. He is looking dapper as always, sporting a striped dress shirt (it looks suspiciously like the one Prince Arthur was wearing in the last episode...) with an orange polo underneath (Kanye West style, like 8 years before Kanye!!!!), and a SVH sweater over it. He teases "Toddy" about having a new tricycle and tells Liz to call him when she's ready to "eat with the grownups" (I have no idea what he means by this, but I would like to note that I AM A GROWNUP!!!!! I try to call Bruce to tell him this, but directory assistance does not have a listing for a Henry Patman, and they've never heard of Sweet Valley, so I don't get very far.) Liz shakes her head disapprovingly and continues inside. I do not miss her.
Jess suddenly sluts up to Todd and tells him she's slightly impressed before going inside. She tells Liz that she should have gone for a ride, but Liz reminds her that her parents wouldn't approve. Then we get to see Jess's love interest...He's rocking a dress shirt with ROLLED UP SLEEVES. Ummm, no, this won't do!!!! COME BACK BRUCE!!!!! Liz bitchily comments that Dean and his GF are a cute couple, and Jess says "Yes, they were..." I love her for that. If only I could bottle this girl's self confidence and sell it to the Enids and Amys of the world- I'd be a billionaire!!! She waits until Dean's GF leaves and then swoops in for the kill. Liz tries to stop her, but Jessica is unstoppable when she's chasing a new guy. So Liz goes back to disapproving of Todd's new motorcycle, but not before we learn that Dean's dad is a mechanic. Todd promises it will be OK and nothing bad will happen, but Liz still isn't convinced. She looks for Jess so she can leave (shortest MB trip ever, nobody even got any fries!!!), but Jess and Dean have taken off in the Jeep (technicaly, it is Jessica's day to use the Jeep, so I don't care that she abandoned Liz). Liz is PISSED, because she has to turn in her article for the Oracle, and we all know that the fate of the world depends on that article getting to Mr. Collins ON TIME!!!! So Liz is left with only one choice- ride with Todd.
It's montage time again!!!! We get to see Liz and Todd riding up a windy cliff road (perhaps the exact same road where Liz killed Sam after the Jungle Prom, I like to think it is) and a song plays, telling me about how short is...I know what's coming!!!! And I'm excited!!!! (If it were Jess, I would be screaming at my computer trying to warn her, but it's Liz, so I just sit back and watch.) A blue pickup truck is driving on the road (Crunch McAllister? I believe that was the name of the guilty party in the book version...and he was DRUNK, oh the irony!!!!) out of control, and we clearly can make out that the driver is drinking. The truck hits the bike and Liz goes flying off, doing some X-Games tricks in the process (I'm not fooled, I know that's a STUNT DOUBLE/professional rider and NOT actually Liz). She falls in the roadside dirt and hits her head as she falls. I cheer, and my BF looks at me like I'm crazy (I am, crazy like Crazy Margo!!!!), but Todd's OK, so my happiness is short-lived.
Enid, Winston, Lila, and Penny are all gathered at the hospital. Enid wonders what would happen if Liz died (I bet they would just replace her with a clone and nobody would even know), and then Jess comes out and tells them Liz is in a coma. Everybody cries (except for me) and the camera switches to Liz.
Liz is in a hospital bed (Where is crazy orderly Carl?!?! Is he lurking somewhere in the background?) and she's all bandaged up. The scene skips ahead three days, and we see Jess sitting beside still-comatose Liz (I like the new Liz!!!), talking about "hunky doctors" and looking pretty. Poor Jess cries again and apologizes to Liz, blaming herself. She begs Liz to wake up, and then Todd comes in and tries to comfort her. She snaps and blames him for Liz's accident, then he flips it and blames Jess...and the drunk driver, but mostly Jess. She orders him to leave, but he refuses and suddenly Liz flatlines!!!! This is by far the most exciting episode yet!!!! We see the doctors rush in and give her emergency treatment while Jess and Todd hug and Jess cries hysterically. But they save Liz (of course they do) and she miraculously wakes up from her coma. Jess runs to her and hugs her and promises everything will be OK. (And I am secretly relieved that Liz survives, because Jess needs her to do her homework and put gas in the Jeep...Poor Jess would be lost without Liz, and I have a big sister myself so I do have lots of respect for that bond, and I'm NOT totally heartless after all!!!!)
Flash forward to a shot of SVH. It has a nice exterior, I observe. Lila and Enid are talking in the hallway (why do these two spend so much time together? I thought Lila was above that) and we learn that Liz has been out of school for three weeks (OMG, who wrote articles for the Oracle while Liz was gone? And who provided condescending shoulder-pats to Sweet Valley's minorities?) and that Enid has not seen her since she was in the hospital. Liz won't take Enid's calls (because she's a total stalker, I assume) or even see Todd, and I sense that changes are a-comin'...
Liz walks into school, dressed in an outfit that is obviously Jessica's, and everyone thinks she's Jess. I am not fooled yet again, Liz is way paler and her skin doesn't glow like Jess's does. Jess appears (wearing thigh-high stockings, just like Cher in 'Clueless'- I totally had like 20 pairs of those back in 1995) and is shocked. Liz is acting very social and outgoing- so she must be brain damaged. Jess accuses Liz of stealing her clothes, and Liz gloats about how hot she looks (even when she's pretending to be Jessica, she still has that horrible bitch-Liz demeanor). Bruce walks up (finally, I was starting to miss him!!!!) wearing a purple dress shirt and his trademark mint green sweater knotted about his shoulders. He hits on Liz and she goes for it (finally, some book/TV continuity!!!!) Dean drool, Jess hates it. Todd comes up, Liz blows him off (IGNORES HIM, you filthy-minded freak!!!!) and agrees to a date with Bruce. (I'm so jealous right now.) Todd tries to get Liz to eat lunch with him, and she tells him she wants to live life, try new things, have fun, and see other people. About. Damn. Time.
Everybody is all over Liz, and Jess and Lila are getting mad about this. Then Liz totally steals the Jeep from Jess and gets Dean to be her date for Bruce's pool party (POOL = bad news in SV, PARTY = also bad news, POOL PARTY = DEATH!!!!!) and now Jess is murderously mad at her evil twin. I do not blame her. That was a bitch move on Liz's part, and she deserves the full wrath of Jessica for it, IMO.
Jess goes to the hospital, complains about Liz, and asks the doctor to give Liz a shot to cure her. That is just TOO CUTE!!!! The doctor suggests Jess talk to Liz about her behavior, so Jess goes to confront Liz. Liz is in a towel (again, totally unnecessary and SO WRONG!!!! I'm still not over this sexualization. Nobody gets NAKED in Sweet Valley!!!!) and Jess is UPSET (she's usually the one in the towel, dammmit!!!)!!!! Jess delivers the classic line: "Ever since your accident, you've been strutting your stuff around here like you're god's gift to Sweet Valley!" (I love the writers for that line, somebody grasped the concept of irony while writing this fabulous episode!!!) and Liz accuses her of jealously. They go back and forth, and Jess is starting to hate Liz for copying her. Liz is annoyingly cocky and bitchy and I want to smack her.
Todd goes to Winston for advice, at the MB, of course. And he whines about not knowing who Liz is these days. Outside, Liz proves this by meeting Bruce (yay!!!! This is the best episode EVER!!!!) and getting into 1BRUCE1!!!!! (Screw Jessica, I wanna be Elizabeth right now!!!!) Bruce is taking her to Miller's Point, but Liz is already good to go (1BRUCE1 just has that effect on the ladies, don't hate!!!) so she starts making out with Bruce in the MB parking lot. Damn, that's a serious make out session. Lila sees this and runs to tell everybody. (I hope Todd's still there!!! But I don't want Bruce to get hurt, so I'm torn as to what I want to happen next.) Lila tells Enid (when did THEY become friends anyways?) that she saw them making out (and she uses FULL names, first and last, so there's no confusing them with anybody else...) and Todd overhears. Uh oh, his rage starts to boil over... Lila tries to save herself by saying that maybe it wasn't Liz, just a lookalike, but not Jessica... Todd is mad, so he doesn't buy it and he storms to the , threatening to kill Bruce. (Of course, I am sitting here in turmoil because I a) want to see Todd make good on his promise and b) want nothing but good things to happen to Bruce...I'm SO confused!!!!) Todd rushes up to 1BRUCE1 (no, not 1BRUCE1!!!! It is an innocent spectator, do not harm that sexy black Porsche!!!) and threatens to kill Bruce. Bruce tells him to go away (and I agree because watching Liz and Bruce is like a million times better than watching Liz and Todd make out) and Todd declines. He pulls Bruce out of the car, but Bruce is a NINJA, and he beats Todd to the punch. Bruce takes Todd's ass down!!!! (And I am beyond thrilled by this!!!) Winston tries to get in the middle, but Bruce threatens him so he steps off. Todd does get a punch in, but Jess shows up and stops the fight by yelling at Liz, telling her to look at what she's done. Liz is all like "Whatever!!!!" and she PUSHES Jessica (what a BITCH!!!! I knew I still hated her) right in front of a car. OMG, Jess almost gets hit!!!! Liz grabs her and hugs her all teary-eyed (BITCH, I repeat, YOU PUSHED HER!!!!) and starts to apologize. I tune her out because I can clearly see Bruce's license plate in the background (I cannot tell if it reads 'BRUCE' or '1BRUCE1', however), and I'm worried about Bruce being injured by that brute Todd Wilkins. Jess forgives her (of course, the episode is about to end, so we have to wrap it up quickly) and they hug. Then I get to see Bruce again. Todd chipped Bruce's bonding, and I hope Bruce calls Ned Wakefield and sues Todd;s lame ass. Liz is over apologizing to Jess, and now she's looking for Todd to apologize to him before the episode ends. Jess tells her that Todd's dead from a Bruce Beatdown (I wish...Todd's inside the MB, don't worry).
Liz tries to apologize, but Todd's mad that Bruce beat his ass, so he's a bitch about it for a couple minutes. Then Liz says she loves him and he forgives her and I still don't care. Todd jokes that one Jessica is more than enough, and I wish Bruce would come back and punch him again because that was pretty sweet. Lila and Jess come in and comment on how gross it is seeing Liz and Todd make out in the middle of the MB (I agree, so UNSANITARY for a place that serves food...), but Jess is happy to have Liz (and her clothes) back, so everything ends right there.

*This episode is my favorite (so far!!!). It had EVERYTHING- slutty outfits, BRUCE, Todd getting dumped, fights, Liz almost dying...
*Some of the dialogue in this episode is actually pretty funny, maybe because the writer totally makes fun of the Sweet Valley Syndrome several times.
*Liz was annoying, but to a lesser degree in this episode.
*Jess really loves her big sister, awwwww.
*Bruce totally kicked Todd's ass.


*NO PARTIES...In the book, they had a party to celebrate Liz's waking up.
*Again, nothing like the book. I guess alleged date rape is not appropriate for afternoon TV.
*Lila and Enid are NOT friends, so why must the writers throw them into scenes together?
*Bruce gets punched :(

Great TV Viewing (Season 1, Episode 8) "Prince of Santa Dora"

Since my work day was cut short (yet again, but unemployment is a wonderful thing so it doesn't bother me...), I decided to post a few more recaps. I had lots of fun re-watching and recapping yesterday, so let's hope today is just as much fun!!! Today I present to you "The Prince of Santa Dora". I know it involves Prince Arthur of Santa Dora, hence the cleverly descriptive title of the episode!!!!
Here's what I remember about Prince Arthur, who I will refer to as PA from now on:
*He's a prince, and he's from somewhere named Santa Dora
*He was penpals with Liz in SVT and he came to SVMS in disguise so he could live a normal life (because Sweet Valley is SO normal, I guess...).
*Todd isn't too fond of PA and Liz's relationship (maybe because she cheated on him with PA, just a guess...)
*He came back in SVH and fell in love with Dana Larson and had to marry her for some reason.
*Dana Larson doesn't exist in the SVH-TV universe, so this episode will be nothing like the book, I'm sure. He probably falls in love with Enid or somebody equally lame.
*The Wakefields had a dog named Prince Albert, no relation to PA, just a random fact.

We begin with Jess running through the halls of SVH, looking for Liz. She finds her in the Oracle office (where all the cool kids hang out!!!) and pulls her into the hallway. Jess is all excited about something, and seconds later we meet PA. In a shocking departure from continuity, PA greets Liz with a "It's nice to finally meet you." (Okay, so I just wasted like 2 minutes in my intro talking about how they met in SVT, thanks a lot writers!!!!) Arthur is looking quite Princely in a striped tie, striped shirt, and a suit coat with a crest on it (I assume it's the official seal of the royal Santa Dorian family) and he has bodyguards.
I Google 'Santa Dora' to see what kind of info I can find on PA's homeland, and nothing comes up except a Christmas episode of Dora the Explorer. That show is cool, I learned like half of my Spanish vocabulary from casually watching Dora while I waited for Spongebob to come on... So I guess Santa Dora is NOT a real place (I wonder if Liz knows this as well, since she's so smart) and I start to wonder if this PA character is actually a con artist...
All that aside, Jess is crushing on PA (I bet NOBODY saw that coming) and he's super happy to meet Liz. Apparently they've been penpals forever (continuity points, but explain HOW Liz came to be penpals with a Prince, and tell me where I can sign up to be Prince William's penpal...). He kisses Liz's hand, and guess who is lurking nearby, just waiting to kick some royal ass- TODD!!!! He is not pleased by this, so he storms up looking like he's about to punch PA (I say go for it, if PA punches him back he has diplomatic immunity). Liz smooths it over by introducing them (damn, Todd makes SO many threats but he just can't follow through, EVER!!!!) and Todd suddenly gets all respectful when he learns PA is actually a Prince. He even allows Liz -and Jess- to go to lunch with PA, which we all know is basically like giving Liz license to cheat.
They go to the Moon Beach (where the hell is the Dairi Burger, and Guido's, and the Beach Disco?!?! I guess the MB ran them all out of business) and PA rents the entire place out so he, Liz, Jess, and Todd can have a safe dining experience (watch out, PA, nothing is safe when those Wakefield twins are involved), and we learn his bodyguard is named Paulo. (Paulo is Italian, right? So I can assume Santa Dora the Explorer is somewhere near Europe. Whatever, I'm bad at geography and everybody has a GPS now, so who cares?!?!) PA is in town to work on some business for his Daddy (the King of SD, I can safely assume), and then he's off to Washington to address Congress. Because foreign countries send 16 year old Princes to America to handle things like that...ok. Much to Paulo's disdain, Liz and Jess try to talk PA into letting them show him around Sweet Valley (because I'm so sure that the Moon Beach and Fowler Crest and Sweet Valley Mall can compare to a ROYAL KINGDOM!!!!) and he seems to like the idea. Not wanting to be excluded from the meeting of royalty, Lila busts into the Moon Beach and Paulo tries to throw her out (THE NERVE, Paulo, you're SO fired!!!!) but Lila pushes through and practically gives PA a lapdance as she introduces herself. Jessica -sarcastically- refers to Lila as "our resident Princess" (that's right, better recognize!!!!). Lila invites him to a very exclusive party at her house, and PA tries to decline, but Jess asks him to be her date and no man -not even a PRINCE- can refuse the request of a Wakefield, so he and Paulo are going to a party!!!! (Count it- PARTIES, THREE EPISODES IN A ROW!!!!)
Jess and Liz are in their shared bathroom, talking about PA. Jess thinks he's hot, but way too uptight because of that damn Paulo. Liz says that he's only uptight because he's used to living a Prince's life- ummm, DUH!!!!- and they decide to "loosen him up", which they say in a really dirty way.
Winston is at his locker, which is covered in pictures of JESSICA (super creeper!!!! Seriously), when Lila invites him to her formal party. Win -and I- are shocked!!!! HOW IS THIS AN EXCLUSIVE PARTY?!?! What's next- Enid?!?! Lila must be inviting him to be a waiter... Lila's got a plan (of course!!!!)- she wants Win to stick to Jess all evening long, so she can have PA all to herself, and poor Win agrees to it.
Liz and Todd are still at the MB. It's still closed to the public, and everyone is trying to see PA outside. He sneaks inside and Liz and Jess present him with a SVH baseball cap (wait, why are Lila and Winston stuck at school, while Jess and Co. get to skip to hang out at fast food places with Princes?!?!). Liz distracts Paulo by luring him to the payphone to take a call from the King and Jess helps PA and Todd switch outfits. It's a horrible trick, and I can clearly tell who is who, but Paulo is a moron, so he falls for it. Jess and PA run outside to where Winston is sitting in the Jeep, pretending to be the King on a cell phone (impersonating royalty and kidnapping Princes...perfectly legal, I'm sure). They drive away, and Paulo runs outside the MB- finally getting it, what a dumbass!!!!
Jess takes PA to Fisherman's Warf and they're having a good time being all flirty until PA GETS RECOGNIZED!!!! Oh snap, they quickly change clothes and go into hiding. Switch to -what else?!?!- A MONTAGE!!!! PA has a disposable camera, and he takes pictures of Jess with a fisherman statue, then they go rollerblading, walking on the pier (possibly the same one that Crazy Margo pushed James McDirtbike off of...), playing in the waves (Jess is in a black bikini and I STILL cannot get over the fact that she is so gorgeous!!!). There's a disturbing amount of camera shots featuring Jess's backside, and I wonder for the 137th time just what the hell the director was trying to do here, while hoping that the Daniels sisters are of legal age (judging from Wiki info, they would have been approximately 18 years of age at this time...WOW, I did not look like that when I was 18!!!!). Sexual exploitation of characters that are supposed to be SIXTEEN YEARS OLD aside, it looks like they're having a fun time, and I'm more than a little jealous because it's the middle of winter where I live and my tan has suffered horribly this season. They roll in the sand and almost kiss (!!!!go for it!!!!!), but Jess pulls away, leaving me to wonder who picked the music for this series. These songs are annoying, so I don't blame Jess at all for wanting to get to the next scene.
They walk on the beach at sunset (Paulo is nowhere to be seen...what an incompetent excuse for a bodyguard, I'm SO calling the King and telling- as soon as I find out where exactly Santa Dora is so I can get the area code!!!!) and it's super romantic. PA gives her a necklace- it's a piece of the wall that used to surround Santa Dora, so it's a symbol of Independence in SD. It's ugly, but he's a PRINCE so the chain is probably real (and Sweet Valley Pawn will probably give Jess like $50 for it!!!). He says the wall used to surround the ISLAND of SD, and I really don't understand WHY they built a WALL around an ISLAND. That seems kind of...bitchy- like dude, you're already surrounded by water with no neighbors (haha,take that, Trinidad and Tobago!!!!)...are you just that SPECIAL, or are there like, killer dolphins in the ocean around SD?!?! I still don't understand why anyone would build a wall around an island...were they prisoners? Whatever, moving on... PA says this has been the best day of his life (No Elizabeth = Best day of MY life, too!!!!) and he's enjoyed the freedom Jessica has given him, so of course he's falling in LOVE with her!!!! (I am now waiting for something horrible -like an untimely death- to happen...rule #1: NEVER fall in love with Jessica, even I know that!!!!) They kiss (and I am not nearly as grossed out as I am when Liz and Todd do it!!!)
That damn Paulo is STILL sitting at the MB with Liz and Todd (Lila has joined them, WTF?!?!), wondering where PA is. (And SarahLynn is getting upset that Paulo did not even go looking for him or notify authorities or anything...I could be a way better bodyguard.) Liz and Todd lie their asses off trying to reassure him (Maybe a shoulder-pat would have done the trick...or maybe Todd should punch Paulo for losing the Prince...), but Lila is being Lila, and she tells Paulo that Jess and PA are probably eloping by now. Paulo is like "No way, Arthur is already engaged to this bitch named Isabella, he's probably just holed up in a motel room somewhere in Jessica's Sweet Valley..." OK, so I elaborated, but that's pretty much how it went. Uh-oh!!!! PA is now a LIAR and a CHEATER and (possibly, still not sure) a con artist impersonating royalty to get in a Wakefield's pants.
Scene switch- we go to Jessica, who is standing on a balcony, greeting royal subjects as the crown Princess of Santa Dora (yay!!!! Hail Princess Jessica!!!!) and Lila is her maid. But it's just a daydream. Jess is actually in the bathroom in a purple towel. She's curling her hair, which is in a hideous style- French twist, with a bun, braided sides, and curls...Oh, the 90's!!!! Captain Buzzkill -I mean, Liz- comes in to shatter her fantasies. Jess is SO happy and so in love and Liz can't bear to break it to her, so she just lets it go (real nice, bitch, set your twin up for heartbreak) and tells Todd that she couldn't stand to tell Jessica about PA. Todd gets all noble and tells Liz she HAS to tell Jess, so she caves and promises to, after the party.
Jess comes downstairs and she looks like a Princess. Her dress is flowy long, white, and SPARKLY, and she has white gloves in. *Jaw drop* Sadly, PA has yet to arrive, so Jess goes upstairs to wait so she can make a grand entrance for her Prince (awww). She's super excited and happy, and she thinks PA is going to propose (awww, again. I want to jump into my computer and kick his ass for hurting Jess...and for having a story that's nothing like the book. Dana Larson would have been a cool character). They go to Lila's party (I guess PA finally showed up during the commercials) and get a grand introduction to the large crowd. PA tells Jess she looks beautiful, and I agree (she is wearing a dress almost exactly like one of my prom dresses!!!!). They dance, and everybody joins in after a minute. This song isn't terrible, but Dawson's Creek had way better music, I must admit. Manny's there, and his date is WAY taller than him (this amused me), so I start to look for Bruce. I think I see that Carl guy from the Lawrence Manson episode, but still no Bruce. Oooh, there's the black girl from the aforementioned LM episode (I stand corrected, her name is PATTY, not Penny as I stated in my last recap...ooops), and she's super excited that Jess is going to be a Princess, so she goes to tell everyone (where the hell is Caroline Pearce?!?! She would have spread this little bit of gossip around like LAST WEEK...). Winston is sad when he finds out, and he wonders what PA has that he (Win) doesn't. Patty's answer: "a kingdom". True dat, Patty!!!! Lila is standing with them for some reason and she suddenly proposes a toast, announcing that Prince Arthur is that bitch Isabelle!!!! *gasp, Lila, that was super mean!!!!* Jess is understandably upset, and she throws PA's wall-necklace back at him as she storms away. He chases after her and she begs him to tell her it isn't true. He whines that it's an arranged marriage, a very old custom. (Umm, no, not so old, one of my friends is from Guinea and her parents made her marry a 26 year old when she was FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. She had a baby at 16, moved to America, and divorced his ass. And she isn't the only of my friends that was raised with this abomination of human rights, so I frown at PA for glossing over this issue like he did.) Poor Jess cries as PA tells her that he barely knows that bitch, and that he doesn't want to do it because he loves Jess. PA swears he's going to tell his father about his desire not to marry this strange girl, but he needs time (BULLSHIT!!!! I'm sure Jess will learn as she grows up and starts dating married men that THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO LEAVE THEIR WIFE!!!! Sorry, but guys like PA marry brunettes and cheat on them with blondes, but in the end they rarely leave the brunette for the blonde, that's just how it is). Jess kisses him (much to my objection) and tries to get him to leave the party so they can be alone (smart girl, she probably wants him to knock her up 'by accident' so she can at least get some royal child support from his lying, cheating ass!!!!), but Paulo's there so PA tries to get her to go back to the party. Jess refuses and cries some more, but then she kisses him and they agree to meet the next evening at the pier (oh, no!!!! Actually, wait, I HOPE that Crazy Margo shows up and drowns his ass in Secca Lake!!!!).
Quick fade to black, cue sad 90's love song and montage of Jess standing on the pier, waiting for that asshole PA to show up. (And I continue to hope that Margo has intercepted him, and that he is no more!!!!!) He never shows (and I am quite happy because that means that Margo has gotten him FOR SURE!!!!!), so Jess leaves and goes back home. Liz is waiting, and she has a letter for Jess. Poor Jess is crying, and Liz gives her the letter, saying it's from PA. I wonder why Liz made Jess wait so long if she knew Jess was outside alone, waiting for her asshole Prince. Why didn't she drive to the pier and save her twin from humiliation, I wonder. Maybe Margo (or Nora) has taken over as Liz...
Jess reads the letter (I yell at her to RIP IT UP AND FORGET HIS ASS!!!!). Basically, PA had an emergency and had to leave, but he loves Jess forever, even if he doesn't know what the future holds. It sounds like he's letting her down slowly, but then Liz pulls that damn wall-necklace out of the envelope and Jess puts it on. Liz says, "He really is a Prince, isn't he?" And I laugh at the stupidity of the statement. HE BROKE JESSICA'S HEART AND THEN SENT HER A DAMN LETTER, Liz, WHAT IS SO PRINCELY ABOUT THAT?!?! And Santa Dora doesn't even exist, so how can Jess write back to him? What an ass. Jess wonders how she can ever get back to dating regular guys after dating a Prince, and the episode ends. I feel like throwing up.

*This episode pretty much sucked, there was NO BRUCE!!!!
*Jessica's black bikini (disturbing semi-porn shots aside).

*Arthur is a creep. Simple fact.
*Todd didn't even threaten to punch anyone.
*Paulo is the worst bodyguard on the planet, which only gives proof to my theory that Prince Arthur is a FRAUD!!!!
*Glossing over of arranged marriages. Serious issue, better dealt with in the book. At least in the book, PA had to get married because of something in the SD Constitution...royal decree = much better than using a really serious issue as an excuse.
*No Bruce!!!! Where was he? Maybe he was out shopping for wedding invitations for OUR royal wedding...
*The sexual nature of some of Jess and Liz's scenes. I'm all for being HOTT and having fun, but they are supposed to be 16 years old!!!! No 16 year old I have ever met looks anything like these Wakefield girls (most 18 year olds aren't...and some 25 years olds, too!!!!). Plus, is it REALLY necessary to always have them in bikinis (with gross butt-shots disguised as a fun montage, nonetheless)?