Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 22) - "Say Goodbye"

We've FINALLY reached the end of the first season! Of course, I'm about halfway through season two on YouTube, so it's not the end of an era or anything just yet. My wrap-up on the entire first season will be posted at some point as well.
If memory serves, the book version of today's episode made it onto my Top Five SVH Moments list. This is the book where Tricia Martin dies, I believe. But, being that the show does not include Tricia OR Steven, I know this will be NOTHING like the book. Lucky for me, as I only read that book once. It was, however, part of a weird experience growing up...
The year was 1992 and I was about six years old. My sister and I shared a set of bunkbeds in a house that was built not far from a Native American burial ground (which we NEVER got to have a party on...damn you, SVT, for all your fun adventures!) and all this sacred land. We always thought our house was haunted (I'm not so sure of my beliefs on the subject at this point, but as a child I believed EVERYTHING was haunted, thanks again, SVT!) and one night a few books flew off of the tall bookshelf that was right next to our beds. This book was one of them. The others were 'Steven's Bride' and 'Caroline's Mystery Dolls', and they had been neatly ordered on the shelf. Nothing else was disturbed, but it became a running joke between me and my sister. Because we thought EVERYTHING was hilarious as children, including the paranormal. One of us would "hide" on the top bunk and throw this book when the other walked into the room, yelling "SAY GOODBYE!!!" as we threw. It was funny for whatever reason, and it amused us greatly. Weird, I know.
Okay, now that you all think I'm a complete loser (if you didn't before reading this, that is!), let's get season one finished!!!

We begin with Todd talking to the basketball coach. I love basketball!!! And so does Todd. He just got a scholarship to some snobby private school. He's going to be the new starting forward!!! (They only start ONE?!? Don't most teams start TWO? I think so.) But -there's always a BUT- the school is in VERMONT!!! Todd discusses it with Winston at the Moon Beach, and Win thinks Liz will understand. Apparently, Fairmont Academy has produced more NBA hopefuls than any other school. (And Google says it's in CALIFORNIA, I think Todd is LYING!!!!) If I were Todd, I would have gone to Oak Hill, just sayin'.
Todd goes to tell Liz and finds her at (surprise!) the Moon Beach. WITH Nicholas Morrow!!! Todd's upset that Nicholas is already moving in on Liz, but he's running late and has to go pack for his new school. Liz is mad that Todd hasn't had time to spend with her, so he promises to spend the following night with her. Alone. Holding hands and making out, I imagine. Win announces that he is throwing Todd a going away party that same night. Oh shit!!!
Liz talks to her parents during the commercial, and they allow her to go visit Todd for Thanksgiving, which is like a month away (WOW, judging from my TV timeline, they've been in school for about SIX months and it's STILL only October? Weird). Why she even bothered to ask, I have no idea. They didn't seem to care when Todd moved in or when she AND Jess got kidnapped or when they had that party with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries... Todd isn't thrilled, so Liz says she'll come for Christmas instead, but Todd says he'll be really busy with the basketball season for like forever. Liz doesn't take the hint and she gives Todd a really ugly framed photo of herself. It's REALLY not her best photo, he would probably have been happier if it was a pic of JESS!!! Liz promises that nothing will change between them.
Win throws his Moon Beach party and Enid drags Liz to it. She tells Liz to focus on the food and not cry. I. HATE. ENID. Seriously!!! Of course, Bruce has to tell Liz how HOTT the Fairmont Academy girls are rumored to be. Todd doesn't help matters. He's too busy working the room to even say hello to Liz. She talks to Nicholas instead and tries to pull Todd away from everybody. So they can go to Miller's Point and hold hands and kiss, I guess. Winston isn't having that. He quickly jumps up and makes a toast in Todd's honor. It involves something about a Mork and Mindy lunchbox, whatever THAT means... (*Googling*) Bottom line: Everybody will miss Todd a lot and Liz is pissed that she has to share Todd. I would think she would be used to that by now... Liz screams at Todd and they fight. Todd thinks she's hooking up with Nicholas, and Liz thinks he's ignoring her. And SarahLynn could care less. Where's Jessica?!?! And BRUCE? Todd goes back to his party and Liz goes home.
Two weeks pass and Jess finally shows up! She's decided it's time for Liz to date again. She pimps Liz out to every guy at school, and tries to flirt with Nicholas. Of course, Nicholas likes LIZ, not Jess. He asks Liz out for a boating date and Jess is very unhappy about this.
Of course, we HAVE to have a revenge-driven subplot. Jess decides that she'll call Todd and lure him home. Then he will find Liz and Nicholas. Somehow, Jess thinks this will end with Nicholas in her arms. I fail to see her logic for the 137th time. Lila does as well. She knows this plan will backfire, and it does.
Todd flies home at rapid speed and arrives in time to see Liz and Nicholas returning home. He promptly leaves upon seeing this and Liz chases after him. Jess is left alone with Nicholas and she makes her move. He promptly rejects her.
Liz finds him at the pier with Winston. Winston leaves them alone (FINALLY!) and Liz explains. It all ends with Todd wanting to move back. Liz refuses to let him ruin his basketball playing opportunity, but she does get him all to herself for the weekend. Yay, I guess?
Even grosser is the MONTAGE! Lots of Liz and Todd moments. And kissing. Ewwww, that's really too much!!! I could have done without the montage this time...
Todd gets on the plane to Vermont and promises to make it work with Liz. Liz randomly runs into Nicholas, who JUST HAPPENED to be hanging out at the airport... She agrees to go have lunch with him. Of course, Todd runs off the plane for some reason and witnesses all of this...

****The SarahLynn Summary****
*Always wait until your significant other's plane has taken off to begin dating another guy.

Great TV Viewing ( Season 1 , Episodes 19, 20, and 21) - "Kidnapped

This was my FAVORITE SVH episode of all time! I had this one on VHS, and my most vivid memory is a promo preview where the TV versions of Jess and Liz introduce this video, which one of them (I forget who) promises is a "total 9-1-1". Oh, the '90's!!!! The VHS also had a special behind-the-scenes feature AND a music video ("Rose Colored Glasses"). I rented this tape from my local video store (Home Video, *RIP*) so many times that the owner eventually ended up giving it to me. I guess nobody else ever rented it except for me and my sister.
Anyways, this episode introduces us to Nicholas Morrow (which actually somewhat resembles what happened in the books!). This is also where I learned what Ether is. And who could forget Crazy Carl?!?!


Part One
We begin at the Moon Beach (yay, Moon Beach!), where Winston is desperately hitting up his friends for money. It's his mom's birthday and he's broke. Of course, Liz is full of helpful suggestions. She's also wearing a candy striper outfit. (Why do they call them "candy stripers"? When I was in the hospital, they were simply called "volunteers", and they didn't wear stupid outfits like that...) Apparently, Liz is now working at the hospital (which is NOT called Fowler Memorial...WTF?!?!) and some talk show host is currently recovering there. Of course, Jess is all over this. She dreams of hosting a talk show (again, those crazy '90's!!!), and she is desperate to meet Jeremy Franks (who I think was called Jeremy FRAKES in the book...) but Liz won't hear of it. Liz takes her non-paying job way too seriously, so Jess is left alone to come up with a scheme.
Liz goes to work and tends to the ailing Jeremy. He has a broken leg, and I totally forgot how that happened, if they even bothered to explain it. Anyways, it isn't serious. The studio is on Jeremy's ass about finding a new co-host for his show, "Frankly Speaking". Liz cheers him up by sneaking him a pizza because he hates hospital food. I guess some rules are made to be broken?
Liz leaves Jeremy to eat his dinner in peace. She prances around the hospital and suddenly an orderly crashes his cart into her. Sadly, he doesn't cause any major damage, and Liz apologizes for being in the way. Of course, Liz is the #1 candy striper, so the charge nurse yells at the orderly. I assume that this is supposed to be Crazy Carl, but his name has suddenly become PETER. Seriously?!?! Anyways, he's a major creeper, I can tell just by looking at him, but Liz is a Saint so she just keeps acting nice. A new group of candy stripers shows up during all of this, and Liz is shocked to see that Jess is among them.
Liz finishes her shift and goes home to do more saintly deeds. She helps Winston bake a cake for his mother (and cancels a date with Todd to do so, he's pretty pissed about it) and Todd whines the entire time. He gets even bitchier when he learns that the cake is a pineapple cake and doesn't have frosting! Me, I would also get bitchy if somebody blew me off to make a freakin' PINEAPPLE cake. I'm allergic to pineapple, you bitch!!! Todd thinks that Liz is spending way too much time with Win, and he makes that known. Seriously, Todd is a whiny little bitch in this episode. I think he needs a nap or something.
Back at the hospital, Jess works her way into Jeremy's room and introduces herself. She asks for an autograph and, when Jeremy goes to sign it, she hands him HER headshot. LOL, that girl is just too confident sometimes! He stares stupidly at her, and she decides to change the TV channel for him. Of course, Jess grabs the bed remote by accident and causes even more damage to poor Jeremy. I hope he sues for this... The head nurse comes in and catches Jess. Jess is re-assigned to bedpan duty. GROSS!!!! I went to nursing school, and I know from experience that bedpan duty is a form of punishment!!!! *Shudders at the memory*
Liz finds out about this, and she bitches at Jess for being in HER ward. She complains about how annoying Jess is as she goes to finish her end-of-shift paperwork. (Because volunteers have to do paperwork? Unlikely story. Even as a nursing assistant, we did very minimal paperwork, so I sincerely doubt a volunteer would have a pile of it like Liz seems to...) Amazingly, somebody did ALL of Liz's paperwork without her knowing. I begin to question the operations of that hospital, since they cannot even be trusted to keep simple paperwork in a secure location...add that to my list of things to include in my lawsuit. Of course, Crazy Creeper Peter did it all, but Liz doesn't have any idea.
Once again, Jess finds herself in Jeremy's room. She's pretending to be Liz and carrying a big picture of water. Uh-oh. Of course, it's time for Jeremy's sponge bath! She sees his naked ass and drops the entire pitcher of water on him. Of course, the head nurse is a witness to this and Jess's candy striper career is finished!!!
I guess the hospital closes for the night, because the next scene is Creeper Peter in a dark reception area. He creeps around and steals Liz's personnel file from the administration.
Meanwhile, at the Moon Beach, Win presents Liz with a thank you gift for the wonderful cake. He's made Liz a friendship bracelet, and Todd is none too happy about this. He thinks Win has a major crush on Liz (which he does), and he thinks Liz is flirting back. Todd leaves in a huff and Liz goes home alone. When she gets there, she sees a massive bouquet of flowers on the kitchen counter and she assumes they're from Todd. Of course, you and I both know that they aren't from Todd... Liz goes to thank Todd, and he's all like "WTF?!?!" He thinks that Win sent them, so he goes and yells at poor Win. Win denies being in love with Liz, but Todd is unconvinced.
Liz goes back to work, and Peter creeps around her all night. Liz asks the charge nurse about him, and she assures Liz that he's just shy and quiet. He's harmless... RIGHT!!!! Meanwhile, Jess and Lila have a plan to get Jess the co-host job. Jess sneaks back into his room (seriously, where is the security in this place?!?!) and threatens to unleash an army of teenage girls armed with headshots and audition tapes. Jeremy is in pain, and he begs Jess to call off her troops. She agrees, as long as he promises her the job. He gives in, an we get a (really unnecessary) MONTAGE! The girls chase Jeremy, and Jess wheels him around the hospital to escape them. It would have made more sense to leave him in his room and simply tell the girls that he'd been released, but Jess doesn't think like I do, I guess. Of course, Jeremy backs out of his promise as soon as the threat is averted. Jess is pissed and she sends him to the operating room with a confused nurse. (Again, grounds for a lawsuit...) He, naturally, wants to avoid unnecessary medical procedures, so he again agrees to let Jess be on his show.
Across town, Todd is still brooding around the Moon Beach. Liz is with him. They go to leave and SOMEONE has placed a love note on the windshield of the Jeep! Of course, Todd automatically jumps to conclusions and blames Winston. He seethes in anger as he throws the love note into the trash and Liz drives away. Crazy Peter is creeping nearby, and part one ends with him popping out of the shadows. Obviously, this was included for the benefit of viewers who were too stupid to realize that Win did NOT send the notes or flowers. STALKER!

Part Two
Jess and Lila are thrilled when they receive exciting news. Young Society Magazine's Bachelor of the Year is moving to Sweet Valley! His name is Nicholas Morrow and he's 17. Pardon my ignorance, but I was not aware that teen magazines had Bachelor of the Year issues. Is this normal? I have no clue. Anyways, it seems Nicholas' arrival is the perfect excuse to throw a PARTY! Jess and Lila are already fighting over him, and both rush home to "make" him his favorite food, which is fudge. Okay then. I want to know what the hell happened to REGINA?!?! Why does she not exist? Is she already dead or what?
Checking in with Liz and Todd, Todd is still upset about the whole Winston thing. Liz further complicates things by agreeing to help Win with some video essay project. Todd is PISSED, as usual, but Liz refuses to break a promise and she agrees to meet Win as soon as she finishes her shift. Jess comes home and demands that Liz help her make fudge for Nicholas, but Liz is already running late, so she leaves Jess alone in the kitchen, promising to drive her to the welcoming party.
Flash forward to the end of Liz's shift. She walks out of the dark hospital and gets in the Jeep. Crazy Peter is hiding in the back and he quickly covers Liz's mouth with a Ether-soaked rag before she can scream. Fade to black.
Jess is unaware of this incident, so she goes to the party on her own, mad at Liz for blowing her off. As she leaves, Win calls and leaves a message on the machine. He too is upset that Liz blew him off. He tells the machine that he is going to the hospital to find her.
Meanwhile, Liz is waking up in some ghetto shack out in the middle of nowhere. She's bound and gagged!!! Sweet!!! Crazy Peter comes in dressed like a lumberjack and rips the duct tape off her mouth. Liz screams, but there's nobody around for miles. Peter screams with her, and it's more than a little creepy. Has anyone ever seen the movie 'Cold Storage'? It's a horrible, sucky movie that I watched on NetFlix a couple days ago, and Peter reminds me of the guy in that movie.
At Nicholas' party, everybody is wondering where Liz is. Jess is upset that nobody is hitting on her and they're all obsessive over Liz, so she lies and says that Liz had to babysit for Mr. Collins. Everybody accepts this and Nicholas finally arrives! Jess talks to him, and brags about co-hosting the talk show. Nicholas is unimpressed. He hates talk shows. (I used to LOVE talk show! Ricki Lake, Richard Bey, Jenny Jones, Montel, Maury, Springer...My guilty pleasure as a child.) Todd eventually realizes that Winston is also not present at the party, and he is worried that Win is with Liz. I guess the idea of hooking up with Jessica has yet to develop inside his feeble little mind, so Todd still cares about Liz even though Jess is obviously preoccupied with Nicholas. Todd drags Jess away and brings her home. He hears Win's answering machine message and assumes that Liz met up with him at the hospital, because she obviously hasn't been home yet. Todd calls the police. Why, I ask? There's no physical proof that Liz has been kidnapped. For all he knows Win and Liz are studying or babysitting together somewhere. I guess even simply trying to steal Liz away from Todd is illegal, because the police spring into action.
Liz is still being held against her will. Peter promises he won't hurt her because he loves her. That's what they always say! Liz tells him that the ropes around her wrists and ankles are hurting her, so Peter unties them. She promptly hits him with a lamp and makes a run for it. Since this is only like halfway through part two of a three-part story arc, he catches her. She hides in the bathroom. The mirror is broken, so Liz grabs a large piece of glass. Sweet! I really hope Peter gets it in the eye.
Meanwhile, Winston is searching for Liz at the hospital. He finds the Jeep and searches it for clues. The keys are in it, and Liz has left her purse on the seat. The police show up and arrest Winston. That doesn't make sense to me. They still have no proof of any foul play. I could see questioning Win and treating it as a missing person/runaway case, but arresting Win is ridiculous. I guess they can wait AN ENTIRE MONTH to QUESTION a Wakefield in a manslaughter case (see: A Night To Remember), but a missing Wakefield requires serious, immediate action. Curious. The police inform Jess and Todd that Winston has been arrested, and they think he's responsible.
Meanwhile, back at the Crazy Shack (aka- Peter's Pad), Peter is heading off to the hospital for his shift. See, he has to make people think everything is normal and follow his regular routine. Liz plays nice and tells him she'll miss him, and she asks him to wear the friendship bracelet that Win gave her in part one. He's obviously none-too-bright and he happily puts it on as he leaves. Sadly, Liz forgot to stab him with the broken mirror (OK, it probably didn't even cross her mind) and she goes to work on her ropes again. She easily frees herself and runs to safety.
Winston is out of police custody and everybody suspects him. Because a sixteen year-old is capable of such behaviors, even if they show no signs of being psycho. Wow, Winston's friends sure have a lot of faith in him, *sarcasm*. What a bunch of assholes! Todd threatens to kill Win, which is probably not the best route to go if you believe that somebody knows something others don't. Win swears that he didn't do it, but everyone continues to suspect him. They still allow him to help them look for Liz and pass out flyers during the MONTAGE! though. Even Bruce helps. Jess cries, and Todd comforts her...where have I seen that before?!?!
While canvassing the hospital, Win runs into Peter and shows him the Missing Person flyer. He notices that Peter is wearing the bracelet that he made for Liz... At the same time, the cops find Liz and Todd STILL thinks Win is the guilty party. Winston figures out that Peter is responsible, and Peter conveniently chooses that moment to attack Jess with a scalpel. Peter thought Jess was Liz, and his outburst gets him arrested on the spot. Todd apologizes to Winston, and the police bring Liz to the hospital. Of course, they aren't bringing her to a doctor or anything, and there are no parents in sight. I guess Ned and Alice didn't take this too seriously, they were probably waiting for actual evidence of a kidnapping... Anyways, Liz and Jess hug, and Todd and Win join in as well. Everybody cries, and I begin to wonder why part three is necessary...

Part Three
Liz goes on Frankly Speaking (yes, Jeremy is alive and well, and still hasn't let Jess co-host) and tells her story. Jess is jealous that Liz is on TV. Suddenly, Jeremy announces (it's a live show) that Peter has escaped police custody during the commercial break! I'm no expert, but I would think that they would tell Liz and Jess about this privately and escort them out of the studio, but Jeremy just lets Liz stand on stage and looked shocked.
Liz and Jess get 24 hour police protection. Jess has another giant zit on her face, and I'm getting bored by the lack of ACTION!!!! Jess is too, and she wants to go to this new club with Nicholas and Bruce. I also want to go!!! PLEASE!!! Unfortunately, the cops refuse her request and she is forced to sneak out. What she doesn't know is that, while she was inside the Moon Beach, Peter crept up and slashed the tires. Jess gets a flat while driving home, and Peter makes his move. Jessica is now missing. Of course, the police are clueless and so the search party re-forms. I imagine that a search party led by Liz will be much more effective than an effort led by Jess.
Peter brings Jess to a ghost town and ties her up in the old saloon. He thinks she's Liz and he professes his love for her. Jess, of course, proves that she is NOT Liz and puts on a bitch act. She tells him he's insane and orders him to release her. He realizes his mistake and Jess informs him that Liz also hates him. Probably not a good thing to tell somebody who's got total control of your fate, Jess... Peter promptly freaks out and throws Jess into a hole in the floor.
Liz goes on Jeremy's show and pleads with Peter. She starts reading from a script and then switches to her own plea. She offers Peter whatever he wants and says she'll trade places with Jess. The cops are pissed that she said that, but it's not like THEY have done ANYTHING helpful in this episode. You would think they would have stationed at least ONE officer outside of the MB on the night Jess was taken!!
Anyways, Peter has rigged up some sort of fuse and barrel combo back at the old saloon. He calls Liz and tells her to meet him in an hour. And she has to come ALONE. Of course, everybody tags along and hides in various locations and Liz wears a wire. Peter also shows up alone and tells Liz he'll take her to see Jess. Liz demands to know where she is, and Peter gives some cryptic clue about her location. The cops prove their competency yet again by rushing in and apprehending Peter, ruining everything in the process. Now Liz has ONE HOUR to find Jess! Liz remembers that Peter had a "special place" where he wanted to take her, a place where nobody's been for years. It takes her all of 2 minutes to realize he was talking about a ghost town, and the search party reforms and searches MONTAGE!-style!!!! It was absolutely necessary!!! Love it. And -the best part- BRUCE IS THERE!!!! Yay!!!
Lila and Nicholas enter the saloon and find Peter's fuse. They walk right on top of Jess (she's been covered by floorboards) and leave, thinking nothing of any of it. Suddenly, the fuse ignites and a fire breaks out!!! Everyone has a "DUH!" moment and Liz runs into the burning saloon to rescue Jess. Jess is passed out, but Todd helps pull her to safety just in time! She survives and becomes the new co-host of Jeremy's show. I guess he finally gave in when he remembered that every job in Sweet Valley is only allowed to last until the end of the episode.

****The SarahLynn Summary****
*Never be nice to anyone. Or else they might fall in love with you and kidnap your ass.
*But don't worry, they LOVE you and won't hurt you.
*Unless you tell theym that you DON'T love them.
*Oh, and, Bruce will help search for you!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 18) - "Dancin' Fools"

Again, I have no memory of this episode. Raise your hand if you're surprised. I'm really just trying to knock this one out as quickly as possible so I can get to recapping the following episode. It's a THREE-PART episode!!!

We open at Sweet Valley High, where everyone is abuzz about some World of Dance freestyle dance competition. Lila is entering with the hope of dethroning the reigning Queen of the Dance, which just so happens to be our very own Jessica Wakefield! Jess has won two years in a row, and Lila walks away with a certificate for a free car wash. This year, the stakes are raised. The Grand Prize is a spot on the World of Dance show!!! Winston also wants to enter, but nobody wants to dance with him. Awwww, poor Win.
Jess's partner (I forget his name) is fruity as hell. I can tell by his see-through shirt and LEATHER vest combo. He looks like Mr. Slave from South Park...

Anyways, Mr. Slave will NOT be able to dance with Jess this year. Madonna has asked him to be a backup dancer! O.M.G.!!!! Whatever will Jess do?
At the Moon Beach, Todd is bitching about his hatred of all things cultural. He thinks dancing is for pussies, but Liz forces him to do it every year. Why? I have no idea, it's not like she can ever compete with the greatness that is JESS... Speaking of Jess, she's looking for a new partner and she will be holding open auditions all week. Koichi (yay, I'm starting to like him!) wants to dance, so he decides to try out. Win also wants to dance. Apparently, Win has been dancing for years and he's actually really into it. I'm not really surprised by this. Of course, Liz offers him some encouraging words and he decides to give it a shot.
Jess holds her auditions. A bunch of sucky dancers show up and I start to grow bored with this episode. I wish my cable was working so I could watch something besides this. In the hallway, Manny comes up to Enid, looking straight out of Saturday Night Fever. They do some lame dance and agree to be partners. Good luck with that.
Todd continues to bitch some more. (Again, at the Moon Beach, I swear this show only has like 3 sets...) Liz finally drops his ass and Koichi volunteers to be her partner. Lila, meanwhile, has hired a world champion dancer named Rico. Jess shows up and whines about how much everybody sucks, and Liz suggests she let poor Winston be her partner. Jess gives in and goes and puts on her hot-ass workout apparel. She watches Win dance, and decides he'll suffice.
Of course, this leads to a MONTAGE! Everybody dances and I try not to throw up. Stupidest. Montage. Ever. These kids are a far cry from Dancing With The Stars. Not that I've ever watched that crap, but I did see Save The Last Dance one time, so I am a qualified expert. (Side note: Actually, I was captain of a state champion dance squad back in the day. So there.)
Two weeks pass, and Jess's original partner returns the day before the competition. Of course, Jess immediately drops Winston and Liz is none too happy about it. (Also, Jess has a MASSIVE zit in this scene. I never noticed how bad their skin was, *shudders at the thought of life before ProActiv*) Liz must be getting her period or something, because she keeps up with the bitching. She and Todd fight about the dance contest some more...blah, who cares?!?! Todd is the jealous type, I get it already!!!!
Tragedy strikes when Jess's partner gets yet another job offer. He's going to teach dance on one of Mr. Fowler's cruise ships. Obviously, Lila had a hand in this. Jess gets her back by stealing her partner (Rico). Lila partners with Winston out of desperation. Rico totally blows off Jess's scheduled rehearsal, so she gives him a print-out of the choreography right before they go on stage. What Jess doesn't know is that Rico doesn't speak English. It's pretty obvious, being that all Rico ever says is "Time to dance?"... Apparently, the only dance Rico knows is the Mambo. Oops.
The contest starts. Liz and Koichi do some sort of country line dance type-thing. It's pretty stupid so I won't bore you with anymore details. Koichi cleverly dances off stage and Todd dances on... I think Koichi and Todd set this up as a surprise for Liz, but I could really care less. Liz is happy, and I hope she gets disqualified for switching partners mid-song. Next comes the crapfest that is Enid and Manny. They do some sort of stupid disco dance and I wish I could slap Enid. Really, I've had enough of her after that last episode. Whatever happened to Mike?!?! Told you he wouldn't last...
Lila and Winston take the stage. They have VERY sparkly outfits, and I like it A LOT!!!! They do some serious Dancing With The Stars shit, and I'm still in awe of all their sparklicious goodness. I love sparkles!!!! I want them to win.
Finally, Jess takes the stage. Of course, she is doing some sort of slutty Jessica Dance and it would really be more appropriate for the mainstage at a strip club. But it's HOT, so I'm enjoying it. Rico comes on stage, Mamboing his little Latin ass off. Of course, Jess didn't plan for THAT, so their routine is horrible and everybody laughs because it's so uncoordinated. Jess drags Rico off stage.
Lila and Winston win the contest!!!! It turns out that the spot on the World of Dance show is only for a MALE dancer, so Win is the clear winner here. Lila's upset, but she is rewarded for her efforts with a certificate for yet another free car wash. Karma's a bitch, or something.

****The SarahLynn Summary****
*Again, I got nothing. This episode was pretty pointless and I only recapped it so I could get to the BEST part of season one...

Up Next: Great TV Viewing -"Kidnapped". Three part episode!!!! Crazed orderlies, the arrival of Nicholas Morrow, trashy TV talk shows, and BRUCE!!!!!

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 17) - "Working Girls"

Again, an episode I do not recall. I'm assuming that somebody in Sweet Valley has FINALLY gotten a job, and that in itself is worthy of an entire episode. Damn rich kids. As I write this, I'm hiding from my boss. Somebody called in sick, and he expects me to come in early to cover, but I'm not having that. It's bad enough I have to work in like 3 hours, but I draw the line at devoting my free time to a place that hasn't bothered to promote me in the 2 1/2 years I've worked there. Of course, this has nothing to do with Sweet Valley, and you know whoever got off their ass and got a job will never work said job again after this episode ends. But maybe there will be some shots of Bruce or something equally cool, so I'll give this one a shot...

It's Career Week at Sweet Valley High. Liz has signed herself and a very reluctant Todd up to be interns at the newspaper. Jess is going to be an apprentice to some fashion designer named Dante. I hope it's Dante from Clerks and Mallrats. And I hope Jay and Silent Bob show up, but I know they won't. Lila's dad is opening a new chain of restaurants, so he signed her up to waitress at the Moon Beach (Yay, Moon Beach!!!) and Lila is not very happy about this. Liz tells Lila that it could be a great learning experience for Lila, but I doubt it. Lila will never have to work a day in her life, and I hate her for that.
Everybody goes to work. Jess likes Dante a lot, but his assistant is a total bitchface. She makes Jess get her coffee and give Dante's dog a flee bath. Dante notices Jess's outfit right away (of course he does, Dante is a creeper and she's wearing a little red plaid skirt) and compliments her on her talent.
Lila fails miserably at her Moon Beach job. Some moronic manager leaves her alone with the customers, and Lila gets everybody's order wrong. Everybody complains and Lila wants to quit. Of course, a hot delivery guy shows up and Lila immediately forgets about that. His name is Heath (awww) and he likes the fact that she's working. As opposed to all the other rich, spoiled shitheads in Sweet Valley. He thinks it's nice to meet a girl who isn't stuck-up, and I laugh because he's obviously NOT from around here. Lila plays along and neglects to mention the fact that her daddy is LOADED, and I can only imagine how this will blow up in her face.
Meanwhile, Todd sits around and brags about how awesome his job is. He gets to review something called "Dream Girls", and he totally thinks it's like a strip club or a whore house or something. Of course, Liz snaps him back to reality and tells him that it's actually a MUSICAL about like 80 year-old ladies that dance. Or something, I kinda spaced out. Todd goes right back to hating his "career", and Liz bitches about how she has to write about hockey. Ewww, I hate hockey too. Todd is super jealous of this, and I wonder why they don't switch assignments. It's not like they'd get in trouble or anything. I don't think this is a paying job, and we all know they will never work these jobs again...
Anyways, back to important stuff. Lila and Heath go out on a date to the opera. Heath is surprised that Lila is so cultured, being that she's all broke and all. Heath can't afford opera tickets, so he brings a picnic and a radio and they have their own little opera. He made all the food himself, and it's super fancy-like because he's a chef-in-training. He's again impressed by Lila's love of food, and she says that she learned all of this from her dad being a dishwasher (he actually was one before he got super rich) and bringing home scraps for her. Scraps?!?! Seriously?!?! This pulls on Heath's heartstrings, and he insists that Lila bring home the leftovers for her poor, ghetto family. It's actually kind of sweet, except for the fact that everything is based on a lie. Before their date ends, Heath says that Lila could turn the Moon Beach into a fine culinary establishment with her vast knowledge of food. And I totally see where this is going...
Next, we get a MONTAGE!!! Lila transforms the MB into a 5-star place. Folded napkins, tablecloths, fancy food, and all that. Jess works on some original designs, and Dante hovers over her shoulder like the creeper that he is. I think he's either going to hit on her, or else steal her designs. I wonder where Winston and Koichi are during all of this. And where is BRUCE?!?!
After the montage, Jess does all of her apprentice duties for the day in record time. Dante's bitchface assistant still hates her, but Dante is blown away by the fact that Jess did everything he asked, plus found time to design some ugly purple jacket with double stitching and some sort of lapels. Dante loves this ugly jacket design, so he sends Jess off on some meaningless errand (delivering a pre-fashion show bottle of champagne to some hot Asian designer) and, after she leaves, Dante steals her design and puts it in his fashion show.
Back at the Moon Beach, Bruce (!!!!!) is impressed by the changes Lila has made. Of course, he compliments Lila on how nicely she's adapting to becoming blue collar. He calls her on her shit and asks her how long she's going to continue fucking with poor Heath's head. Lila doesn't want to lose Heath, so she tells Bruce to STFU and let her keep pretending. Besides, Lila has a plan...
Heath comes into delivery some meat (yes, he's a MEAT delivery guy...) and Lila puts her plan into action. She tells Heath that a friend of hers (aka- Daddy) is opening a chain of restaurants and he needs a new chef. Lila set up an interview for Heath so he can get hired and not be broke anymore. It's kinda sweet. Lila gives Heath a C-note and tells him to buy some new clothes. Heath doesn't want to take poor Lila's money, but she assures him that she can get more $$$$. He's suspicious of this, but he still takes the money because he wants to get a job and take care of Lila. Seriously, this guy is so sweet.
Jess finds out Dante stole her design. Of course, he denies it and his assistant backs him up. Jess whines to Liz and Todd about it at the Moon Beach. Winston and Koichi show up (oh, there they are!) and a plan begins to form... Of course, they ALWAYS have to have a revenge plan.
Heath goes to his interview and Lila waits for him in the lobby. He comes out all super pissed and Lila wants to know why. Heath tells her that he told the "old sleezebag" off and that Lila doesn't have to worry anymore. Heath said that, through the entire interview, Mr. F talked about Lila like she was "his girl", and his office was full of pictures of Lila. Heath thinks Mr. F is Lila's SUGAR DADDY!!! It's pretty hilarious, actually. And even I smiled at this. Lila is forced to set Heath straight and tell him the entire truth. It's a lot to deal with, so Heath quickly peaces out.
Later, Lila finds Heath and talks to him. He's very quick to forgive, because Heath is pretty awesome. Lila also talked to her father, and Heath is his new dessert chef. Mr. F was impressed when Heath stood up for Lila at the interview. So Heath goes off into oblivion at Fowler Grill, never to be heard from again, and Lila lives exquisitely ever after.
Of course, we still have one storyline to wrap up. Win and Koichi show up at Dante's show. Koichi speaks Japanese, and Win pretends to be his translator. They impersonate that really important Asian designer mentioned earlier. Koichi says that Jess's jacket is hideous and he hates Dante for designing it. Dante quickly tells him that it's not a Dante design, and of course the REAL Asian designer shows up at that exact second. Of course, he LOVES the jacket (why, I fail to see the appeal) and wants to know who -since it wasn't Dante- designed it. He also wants Dante to do a complete collection around the jacket. Of course, Jess now has Dante by the balls. He offers him whatever she wants in exchange for her help. Jess walks away with a promise of a summer job, full credit for her designs, AND Dante's bitchface assistant is now forced to work for Jess. Ha.

****The SarahLynn Summary****
*I got nothing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 16) - "Love On The Line"

Well Loves, basketball season has ended at long last (minus the Playoffs, but those aren't as time-consuming) and I am free to have a life again! And, by life, of course I mean wasting countless hours of your time by flooding your wonderful brains with new recaps! Sadly, I must inform you that I have left my Handy Dandy Recapping Notebook at work, and I have no intentions of going there on my day off to retrieve it, lest they tell me to clock in and help out my poor, toiling co-workers! So, you're stuck with what I have on-hand: a few episodes of SVH that I watched yesterday. I actually managed to finish all of season one, so I may be able to string this out for a few days...
I must have missed this one the first time around, because nothing seems familiar to me. It's called "Love On The Line", and that makes me think about LOVELINE! And, of course, Dr. Drew! I spent much of my formative years listening to his show on the radio (I didn't have cable growing up, so I never even knew it was a TV show too), compliments of my big sister (yes, we shared a room). Young SarahLynn fell asleep every night listening to Dr. Drew tell me more than I ever wanted to know about sex. (Did you know that it's possible for your rectum to come out? I do, thanks for that, random LoveLine caller.) I guess that contributed to the person I am today...for better or worse. I'm just hope Dr. Drew appears in this episode, because that would make it more interesting.

We begin at one of the three sets that they used for this TV show- The Moon Beach! Yay, Moon Beach!!! Winston is hanging out with his friends and speaking Japanese. No, I did not accidentally turn on the alternate languages again, Winston is getting a Japanese exchange student. He thinks learning dude's language will make him feel more at home. (What is with these Sweet Valley kids always wanting to offend their foreign visitors by mutilating their languages and mocking their customs? Just ask Prince Arthur of Santa Dora...) Win takes a sip of his shake and realizes that Bruce has spiked it! Not with Jungle Juice, but with HOT SAUCE. I can already tell that this episode is going to be EPIC *SARCASM*. This storyline is unessential to the main plot (until the very end when they randomly decide to connect), so I'll just get right to the "drama". Regretfully, it's all about stupid loser Enid...
Next, we continue our a-typical opening by flashing over to Enid. She and Manny are working at some Teen Hotline. (Sadly, this is Sweet Valley, so it's NOT like LoveLine. These kids are lame.) They don't say if this is the Project Youth Hotline that Amy Slutton loves so much, but I think it is. Enid's talking to some guy whose parents are divorcing (see, I told you they were lame) and he's whining about it. Dude, my dad left when I was 12 and I dealt with it, so should you! Enid has divorced parents and she is also lame as hell, so she sympathizes and they get to flirting. Which, by all standards, seems inappropriate in this situation. Obviously, nobody learned anything from the whole Nate Prichard-Lila-Jungle Prom incident. Enid agrees to go on a date with the guy. His name is Mike and he's the STAR quarterback (because all these kids are always STARS, never just quarterbacks or basketball players, always STARS!!!) at Bridgewater High. I wonder if he knows Sam. I hope so, because I'm already about to cry from boredom and I could use a little Sam and Jess action right about now...
Enid tells Liz that she's afraid to go on the date. Mike is awesome (NOT!), and Enid is just so ordinary and lame and stupid and boring and SHE SUCKS!!!! (True.) Liz reassures her that she's HOTT and interesting, and I laugh because she totally isn't. But this Mike guy sounds like a real loser anyways, and he's ugly as hell, so he'll probably LOVE Enid. Liz orders Enid to go out with Mike, and Enid scurries off to meet him at -where else?- The Moon Beach! Yay, Moon Beach!!!!
Enid meets Mike and totally freaks because he's so (not) HOTT. She goes up to talk to him, loses her nerve, and runs out the door with a napkin dispenser for some reason. Jess is outside, and Enid begs her for help. Jess agrees to go inside and talk to Mike about how Enid is actually awesome. (Right...) Of course, Jess has a contractual obligation to want Mike for herself (because it's 5 minutes into the episode and she hasn't met The One yet), so she tells Mike that she -Jess- is Enid. Jess totally steals Mike from Enid, and I love her for it. Enid sucks.
The following day, Lila is super impressed that Jess hooked up with the STAR quarterback. Of course, Liz is less than impressed because stupid Enid is upset. Jess smooths it over by telling the Losers' Club that, if Mike was to find out, this could cause Mike to lose faith in the Teen Hotline! And then he won't call them when he has a problem, or something. I really don't care, but it's enough to shut up Liz and Enid.
Back at the Teen Hotline, Mike calls Enid and tells her he had a fabulous time the night before. (I bet he did...) He wants to take "Enid" on a hot air balloon ride because she's always wanted to go. But, obviously, the real Enid is a pussy, so she talks him into going mini golfing instead. Sweet! Enid drags Liz and Todd along on the date. If you guessed that she begged Liz to be her, then you're right!
Mike shows up and kisses "Enid" (Liz). Todd almost kills him on the spot, but he doesn't. However, he DOES threaten to kill Mike, so I'll let it go. Liz/"Enid" immediately decides that, since Mike likes Jessica, she will act like Jess. She does a real bitch act, and then there's a MONTAGE!
They play mini golf, and Todd bends a putter in half because he's SO angry that Mike hasn't told "Enid"/Liz/Jess to fuck off yet. Finally, Mike has had enough of "Enid"/Liz/Jess's bitchiness and he throws up the deuces. Liz tells Enid (the real one, *sigh*) that it's time to make her move. Todd is relieved that he can now make out with Liz on the mini golf course. Is NOTHING sacred to this guy?!?! Surely, there must be children observing this and getting scarred for life. I guess that's how the Teen Hotline stays in business.
Enid goes and finds Mike. He's playing a solo game of air hockey and not being very gentle with the equipment. He seems to have an anger issue, but I guess Enid has taken the day off from trying to solve everybody's issues. Still, Mike defends "Enid"/Liz/Jess when Enid comments on her bitchiness. He really likes her, so he basically ignores Enid and runs to talk to "Enid"/Liz/Jess (I'm SO sick of typing that). Of course, he finds her kissing Todd. So Enid is forced to explain everything as I try to stay awake. I wish I could jump into the TV and kick her ass for being so stupid. It all works out though, because Mike really likes the real Enid. And so their inappropriate relationship begins at last. No word on if he still calls the Teen Hotline... My guess is that he faked the entire divorce-thing just to hit on some new girls because he already banged all the Bridgewater skanks. I'm guesssing that this will lead to some sort of revenge plot. All of the episodes have one, it usually follows the montage and it's dramatic wrap-up.
Nobody tells Jess about any of this, so we end with Jess in a hot air balloon, waiting for Mike so she can be Enid again. Winston and his exchange student hop in and tease Jess about some stupid shit. Finally, Mike (and his crew of losers) shows up and tell Jess that the truth is out. At that moment, Jess's balloon takes off and she's stuck on a 4 hour ride with Win and his exchange student.

Winston meets his exchange student. Koichi is pretty cool. He knows English (of course) and he gets instant popularity. Even Bruce (!!!!BRUCE!!!!) likes him. Win is a little jealous at first, but Koichi assures him that it's just Japanese culture to be nice to people you don't like. Koichi gets revenge on Bruce by putting a plastic octopus on Bruce's MB burger (Koichi's dad makes rubber food in Japan). Everybody is impressed, but not me. I hate when they randomly introduce new characters 3/4 of the way through the season.

****The SarahLynn Summary****
*Enid is BORING. I hope she never gets another episode.
*It's perfectly acceptable to date people that you are supposed to be helping. And I am SO calling Dr. Drew and asking him out.
*Koichi is Japanese, yet he has no accent whatsoever.
*Liz and Todd make out WAY too much for a couple that has never even come close to having sex.
*Worst. Episode. Ever.
*I hate Enid more than I have ever hated a TV character in my entire life. Even more than that fucking Agent Self from the last seasons of Prison Break, and that's saying A LOT!
*Someday, I may devote an entire blog entry to my hatred of Enid.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

SVT Super Chiller #4 - The Ghost In The Bell Tower

I remember that I LOVED this book for some reason. I must have read it 10 times as a child. The twins' cousin Robin was a main character in this one, and she was always one of my favorite random characters. I remember the story very vividly. It took place at the beginning of summer vacation and the Wakefields (along with Robin and her little sister, Stacey, AND Joe Howell) went to help Aunt Helen (another one of my favorite characters!) renovate some old hotel. And, the best part, in was HAUNTED! Like, REALLY haunted. For reals! It scared the hell out of young SarahLynn, and I still have a fear of bell towers to this day.

First Impressions:
The cover shot features the twins, of course. I was always disappointed that Robin didn't make the cover. Liz is in a green t-shirt, and Jess is wearing a salmon-colored one. Jess appears to be singing opera or saying the Pledge of Allegiance. There's a guy in painters' whites at the top of the stairs, and he's glowing with an eerie green light. One can assume that they are in the bell tower, and thus he is the ghost.
The inside pages reveal that this book was published in June of 1992. Of course, our old friend Jamie Suzanne has taken credit for this masterpiece, so I get out my tally-pad and prepared to keep track of how many snacks/meals/ect. we are subject to reading about.

We begin with our favorite twins, as well as Steven and Joe Howell, watching a scary movie. Knowing what I now know about Steven, it will be next to impossible for me not to analyze his relationship with Joe throughout this book. I will try to keep the gay jokes to a minimum (remember, I DO have two moms, so my jokes are made with nothing but's just how I deal) and not offend too many people. Summer vacation has just begun, and already the kids are bored. Joe and Steven are having a sleepover, no comment. Jess talks about how much she loves horror movies, even though she's getting scared. The guy in the movie that got killed by the ghost was hot, so she's enjoying this movie. Suddenly, creepy moans echo throughout the Wakefield house. Jess is scared, but Liz uses her amazing powers of logic and deduces that Steven and Joe are playing a lame practical joke. They do a lot of that, and it will be important to this story. Jess is upset that she missed the end of the movie, but Liz just shows off some more by explaining how it ended. Because she's smart and logical, so she knows everything. Jess is still mad, and she tells Liz that not everything can be explained logically...
And that's basically the whole premise of the book, given away in the first chapter. You could almost skip right to the end right here. But that would spoil all the fun, so you know I won't do you like that!
At breakfast the next morning, Steven and Joe are still gloating. About their practical joke, of course, nothing else, no joke to be made here. An unexpected letter arrives. It's postmarked from a place in Holton, California. The envelope says it originated from a place called the Lakeview Inn (henceforth referred to as "LVI", to save me the extra typing). It seems that Aunt Helen has recently inherited the 15-room inn from a dear old friend who passed away. She is now restoring it, and she wants to save money by using child labor as opposed to qualified contractors, so she is inviting Liz, Jess, and Steven to help. Joining them on their adventure is their cousin Robin and her 8 year-old sister Stacey. Once the renovation is complete, Aunt Helen will hold a family reunion to celebrate. Ned and Alice are thrilled to be rid of their brats for an indeterminate amount of time, plus Aunt Helen recently suffered a heart attack and Alice feels better knowing somebody will be there to help her. Because two 14 year-olds, three 12 year-olds, and an 8 year-old are useful to an elderly old lady who lives in the middle of nowhere, obviously without a telephone. Without so much as asking, Alice agrees that Joe Howell can go on the trip so Steven isn't surrounded by girls all summer. Because Steven is GAY, and he hates girls!!!! (Sorry, I had to.)
Janet Howell helps Jess pack. Janet is thrilled that Joe is leaving. He has also been playing jokes at home, and she's gotten very sick of it. Lila also "helps" Jessica pack, and she suggests that Jess bring her entire wardrobe. Because it's not like she has a twin or a cousin her age who will borrow her clothes... Janet demands that Jess wear purple every single day, and Jess agrees to rep the Unicorn Club in Holton. I hope Janet didn't see the cover of this book, because Jess obviously forgot her promise. Steven and Joe bring Jess yet another suitcase from the attic. (She's already borrowed one from every member of the family, while Liz has only packed one suitcase and still has room left over. I guess Liz used up all the SpaceBags...) Jess opens the suitcase and finds a severed hand. Obviously, this is another joke. Jess, Janet, and Lila all freak out and totally fall for it until Liz busts in and gets all logical YET AGAIN. She shows them that it's just a fake, and Jess again reminds her that not everything has a logical explanation. They really just go around in circles with this in this's like 'A Night To Remember', only with LOGIC instead of all that Prom Queen BS. Jess swears to herself that she will teach Liz a lesson. Sweet!!!
Our travelers set out for Holton and arrive several long hours later. Holton is a small hick town without a mall. Jess is properly horrified. The only place to shop is some small drugstore. It sounds like HELLton to me. Aunt Helen meets them at the bus station. Robin and Stacey are also there. We learn that Robin is an exact double for the twins, but a few months younger, while Stacey has red hair and freckles. Tough break, kid. Aunt Helen drives everyone to the inn in her vehicle, an old school black limo (!!!!I always wanted to drive one of those!!!!) that she inherited along with the inn. Aunt Helen tells us that Holton used to be a gold mining town in the 1800's. After the gold dried up, it became a vacation town. The Lakeview Inn was the center of the town. It was a gambling parlor in its hay day, but now it's sat abandoned for almost 70 years. At this point, I stop reading to ask the BF (who has vast construction and renovation experience) if it's possible for this crew to renovate this old place. He says that it would be full of asbestos and lead paint and many other hazards. To accomplish anything, specially trained Haz-Mat guys would first have to gut the place before it would be safe to enter, much less inhabit.
Where's your logic now, Elizabeth?!?! Oooh, SarahLynn TOLD you! WHAT?!?!
On the outside, the place looks like every dilapidated building in Sweet Valley. The lawn is overgrown, the porch sags (add possible bug infestation to the list), the paint is peeling (lead paint chips, lovely!), and the shutters are hanging. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I swear that was the EXACT description of the Wakefields' house in the alternate universe of 'A Christmas Without Elizabeth'... There's also a creepy old bell tower (of course) and Liz notices it right away. It gives her the creeps. Aunt Helen knows what's up, and she comments that the LVI may be haunted. NO SHIT!!!! She obviously doesn't know the title of the book. It's not called "The Potential Ghost In The Bell Tower"...
Since this is a JS book, Aunt Helen ushers everyone inside to eat. Everything is all dusty inside, and there's sheets on the furniture and cobwebs. Obviously, Aunt Helen did not have any Haz-Mat professions come in before she moved it. Stupid old lady! She has managed to clean up a few rooms- a few bedrooms, the kitchen, and the dining room. Aunt Helen dictates responsibilities as they eat. (Damn woman, they haven't even unpacked yet!) The girls are assigned to cleaning out the attic. Their main goal is to clear a path to the bell tower so the city inspector can come and see if it's safe or not. The boys are assigned to fixing up an old boathouse. ("Behind the boathouse/I'll show you my dark secret..." Hahaha, that one wrote itself!) Aunt Helen also brief them more on the history of the LVI:
Aunt Helen inherited the place from her friend, Alexandra Whyte. Aunt Helen used to vacation in Holton when she was a girl, and she remembered the LVI fondly. (Damn, how old is she?!?!) Aunt Helen has always been fascinated by the place, and she loves the possibility that it may be haunted. Of course she does! Haunted hotels = $$$$!!!!
The girls choose their bedrooms (yes, Steven and Joe are sharing a room). Jess picks a room with purple comforters and a portrait of some old guy on the wall. According to Aunt Helen, the old dude is named Phineas Whyte, and he was Alexandra's father. He was also the original owner of the LVI. Robin and Stacey take the room next door. Everybody goes to bed.
In the middle of the night, Robin and Stacey show up in the twins' room. Their room is FREEZING cold, and they may have hypothermia because their lips are starting to turn blue. Liz goes into their room to investigate with her powers of logic. She notes that their room is very cold, but the radiator is on and making a ticking sound. Jess helps the situation by telling Liz that ghosts create cold spots. Robin and Stacey spend the rest of the night in the twins' room.
In the morning, Jess and Robin discuss the possibility of the inn being haunted. They put on some blue eyeshadow (yes, that's an important detail) and Liz makes them promise not to tell Aunt Helen anything. because she might have another heart attack or something. Jess decides that it was probably the work of Steven and Joe. They head downstairs for breakfast, and Steven and Joe jump out at them. They're wearing sheets and pretending to be ghosts. Real mature.
After breakfast, the girls go upstairs to the attic and the boys go to the boathouse. A crew of painters is already hard at work outside. Liz is still creeper out by the bell tower, and by all of the old junk in the attic. Jess, Robin, and Stacey start sorting through a trunk of old clothes, and Liz finds boxes of books to sort through. Aunt Helen tells them to keep anything that looks interesting, and the rest gets thrown away (or maybe the guys from American Pickers showed up for it, who knows). Of course, Liz finds an old photo album and Alexandra's diary. The diary is from August of 1919, and the photos just so happen to correspond to that same time period.
While "working" on the boathouse, the boys discover a bunch of secret old mining caves. They refuse to tell the girls where they are, because they're MAN-CAVES!!! There's nothing gay about that or anything...
Everybody comes downstairs for lunch, and Liz hides the diary in her room. The portrait of Phineas Whyte has magically changed into a picture of a woman holding a baby and wearing a blue dress!!! Liz runs to tell Jess. She finds Jess in the kitchen, making some really disgusting sandwiches. (Peanut butter and maple syrup, I want to throw up just thinking about that.) Liz drags Jess and Stacey upstairs (hmmm...where is Robin?!?!), but the painting has magically transformed back into Phineas Whyte. Jess tells Liz that there must be some sort of logical explanation...or maybe it's THE GHOST!
Liz is freaked, so she goes to work with Aunt Helen in the garden. The painters have finished the outside (wow, that was some fast exterior work!) and are moving inside. The rest of the girls return to the attic and try on more old clothes. Robin and Stacey suddenly need to go back downstairs to get a drink, and they leave Jess all alone. She finds an old hat with a veil and wonders out loud if it was a bridal veil. One of the workers is suddenly standing behind her (CREEPER!) and he confirms this.
The worker is named Bill. He has black eyes and hair that's parted and slicked-back in an old school style. Jess thinks that it works for him. She WOULD think such a though. Bill has been working at the LVI for years, and he knows all sorts of interesting hotel info. He shows Jess the blueprints for the LVI, and tells her about the secret passages that the owners used to use to spy on the gamblers. Conveniently, one of those secret passages runs right between the bedrooms that the girls are sharing. Robin and Stacey come back and ask who she's talking to. Jess looks up from the blueprints and realizes that Bill is gone.
That night, Liz fills their bedroom with fresh flowers from the garden. She locks the bedroom door so no ghosts can get in (actually, she locks it so Steven and Joe can't trick them anymore), but Jess isn't so sure that it will work.
In the morning, Liz wakes up to see that her flowers have dies overnight. Actually, they look like they have been burned. She's suspicious of this, especially when she goes into the dining room and sees that the flowers she left there are still very much alive and well. Aunt Helen is serving breakfast, and she compliments Liz on her lovely flower arrangement. She says that their aroma is so strong that she could smell them in the kitchen. Liz, however, cannot even smell them in the massive dining room, so she's even more suspicious. After breakfast, Jess again runs into Bill upstairs. She observes that, even though the other painters are hard at work, Bill's whites are spotless. He tells her about the 2-way mirror in the secret passage between the bedroom and how the owners used to use it to spy on poker games.
Robin and the twins decide to explore the wonders of downtown Holton. Stacey stays behind at the hotel with Aunt Helen and the boys. Jess and Robin spend an eternity in the drugstore, trying to find the perfect lipstick shade. On the way back to LVI, the girls discover two sets of footprints that lead to the caves. One set is smaller than the other, Liz notes in her handy dandy notebook. The girls explore the caves (Robin conveniently has a flashlight in her purse) and a ghost attacks them. They run, and Liz drops her notebook in the process. The ghost disappears, so Liz goes back and collects her notebook. She also wipes away the footprints from the front of the cave. Jess and Robin agree that it was probably Steven, up to his old tricks again, but they return to LVI and find him exactly where they left him. Liz still refuses to give up her logic.
The girls spend the afternoon baking brownies. They eat an entire pan and help themselves to another batch. Seriously, these girls are on the express train to Obe-City!!!
Before bed, Liz read some of Alexandra's diary and learns all about the LVI and Alexandra's father. She falls asleep while reading and wakes up when she hears a scary noise of some sort. The room is pitch-black, and Jess says the lights won't work. The mirror on the wall (you know, the 2-way mirror in the secret passage that Liz has no idea about) starts to glow and a warning for Liz appears in blood-red letters. A scary, glowing face appears as the message disappears. Liz is properly terrified. Jess screws in the lightbulb and the lights come on. Liz is scared, but she refuses to give up her logic, even though she can't explain this one. She decides that she's dreaming.
In the morning, (during breakfast, of course) Jess and Robin laugh about the joke they played on Liz. Jess is frustrated that Liz still doesn't believe in ghosts, and she asks Robin how she made the scary, glowy face appear. Robin has no idea what she's talking about. *Cue scary Twilight Zone Music*
While everybody else is hard at work, Liz returns to the cave. Just as she suspected, there are two sets of footprints leading out of the cave. She measures the prints and returns to the LVI. She measures everybody's shoes and solves the mystery pretty quickly. While in Robin's room, she notices the bookcase and recalls an Amanda Howard mystery. She starts pulling the books off the shelf and finds the secret passage. The sign with the scary warning is still sitting there, and Liz quickly figures out that it was a trick. She decides to exact her own revenge on Jess and Robin.
Liz goes to Steven and Joe and tells them that she knows Joe and Stacy were hiding in the cave and tricking them. She convinces them to help her scare the others. Her plan includes making a fake ghost and floating it on a raft across the lake. Bill shows up just then and suggests that they put lights on their pseudo-ghost so it will be perfectly visible from the inn.
After dinner, the girls are sitting in the living room. We learn that Robin has a crush on Joe (don't waste your time, honey, he's probably gay). Liz tricks them into going upstairs. She lures them to the window, and the "ghost" appears on the lake. Suddenly, the entire thing bursts into flames! Liz convinces them that she now believes in ghosts, but she still isn't scared. She goes to congratulate Joe and Steven on a successful prank, but neither of them knows how the ghost managed to explode, so of course Liz comes up with a logical explanation.
In the morning, everybody is super tired from the sleepless night. Not much is getting accomplished upstairs, so Liz sends Robin and Stacey back to bed. Jess is exhausted, so she sneaks in a little nap on some old blankets. As she slips into her sleep, she hears Liz humming a lullaby.
She wakes up to pure darkness and stumbles her way to the only source of light- a small attic window. As she stands there, she hears a creaking noise behind her and a ghost appears! Jess opens the window and sees Liz in the garden. She screams for help, but the ghost just keeps coming closer and closer...
Downstairs, Liz sees Jess trying to climb out the window and she runs upstairs. She stops Jess from jumping and turns on the light.
After this, Liz decides the prank war has gone too far. She sits everybody down and gives her Nancy Drew speech. She knows that Robin and Stacey froze their own room because the radiator was clicking, which means it was just turned on. Plus, Robin wore the blue eyeshadow the next day, and it was a perfect match for their blue lips. She has also figured out that the painting in her room changed because Jess switched it while she was busy with the diary, and Robin switched it back while she was trying to drag Jess and Stacey upstairs. Also, the dead flowers were burned in the oven, which is why Aunt Helen was able to smell them in the kitchen. See, she has a logical explanation for all of it. Way to state the obvious there, Lizzie!!!
Aside from all of that, nobody can explain how the glowing face appeared in the mirror, let alone the ghost in the attic. They blame it on Steven and Joe and everybody accepts that theory. Except for Jess, she knows that it's impossible because Steven and Joe had no knowledge of the secret passage, but she keeps her thoughts to herself.
All of this ghost nonsense is pushed aside to make room for a celebration! Because every book MUST have some sort of party, Holton has something called Gold Rush Days. People dress up in costumes and there's a street fair. Much to Liz's happiness, there are also historical lectures. Even Aunt Helen thinks that sounds boring as hell, so Liz goes alone. She meets the Holton historian. His name is Homer Bates (Bates...not exactly the best choice of surname for a plot involving a hotel of any sort, if you ask me!) and he is OLD. Like, 91. So he knows all sorts of shit about the LVI. Liz pumps him for information, and he tells her all about the ghost.
Apparently, the ghost is of a young man named William Cliff. He once loved a girl who lived at the LVI, but the ho loved some other dude. She went off and married him, breaking Bill's heart. As she was saying her wedding vows, the bell in the bell tower began to ring unexpectedly. Somebody went up there and discovered William draped over the railing. He was pronounced dead, cause of death: a broken heart. After that, the LVI closed forever and the bell never rang again. As legend has it, William haunts the inn and will continue to haunt until the bell is rung again...
Back at the LVI, Jess helps Aunt Helen wash the loads and loads of sheets. As she removes each load, it seems as if the washer and dryer keep re-filling themselves. I know exactly how she feels, but i think this is supposed to be the ghost at work.
While Jess is occupied, Liz decides to do some more research. She continues to read the diary and discovers some major drama...
*August 9th, 1919- Alexandra Whyte turns 17 and receives the diary as a birthday gift.
*August 10th- Will comes to visit. Alexandra knows he's in love with her.
*August 11th- Will stops by again. This time he brings a rose for Alexandra. Liz finds it pressed into the diary.
Okay, so not exactly MAJOR drama, but it IS 19191 and Alexandra is 17 and UNMARRIED. That's like, illegal and shit. Liz takes a break from that snooze-fest and runs a bath. As she goes to get in, she realizes that the water has now turned ice-cold! Of course, nobody admits to doing this, so Steven and Joe are blamed for all of the day's events.
During the night, Liz and Jess's beds are somehow switched. They know nobody could have done it, because they're ancient beds and VERY heavy, plus the noise would have woken them up. Jess and Liz tell Robin and Stacey about it, and Liz chooses that moment to tell everybody what she learned the day before. Still, even after all of this, Liz refuses to believe in ghosts.
They go back up to the attic and try to get some more work done. (Because, as we all know, the best way to deal with a haunted bell tower is to EXPOSE it further... Me, personally, I'd just light a match and haul ass out of the LVI.) Bill is hanging out up there, so they ask him about the ghost. He makes up some bullshit and avoids discussing the issue. His only suggestion is that they stay away from the supposedly haunted bell tower. Then, he vanishes. The girls look everywhere for him, and they decide to ask the foreman about him. The plot thickens as the foreman reveals that he doesn't know anyone named Bill. *Dun, dun, dun*
Robin, Stacey, and Jess want to leave immediately. Liz vetoes the idea, saying "You want to leave Aunt Helen alone with a ghost and some weird man named Bill?" ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! So, 1) Liz now believes in ghosts, and 2) Liz is too stupid to realize that BILL = GHOST. I figured that out like three chapters ago (j/k, I knew all along!)... Liz again proves her smartness by suggesting that they stay and try to find a way to get rid of the ghost. If I recall correctly, that creepy old historian guy -Elmer? Or was it Homer?- told you EXACTLY how to accomplish this THREE CHAPTERS AGO...Dumbass! I'm really getting frustrated here!
Later, the girls talk about Bill, and what a creeper he is. Liz FINALLY puts 2 and 2 together and deduces that Bill is short for William, and William is the name of the GHOST. Nice job, Nancy Drew would have figured all of this shit out by page two!
Liz shows the other a picture from Alexandra's photo album. It's Alexandra and William (aka- Bill, aka- attic creeper) on September 19, 1920 (more than a year after the diary began, so some part of that story is missing). Everybody finally gets it, and the window opens on its own. The wind blows the photo out of Jess's hand and "GET OUT" appears in blood-red letters on the wall. It all stops just as suddenly, and Liz makes everybody promise not to tell Aunt Helen.
In the morning, Aunt Helen continues to encourage gluttony by making a fresh batch of muffins before going to some sort of meeting. The girl take the muffins out of the oven and they're crawling with maggots! Disgusting. They throw them in the trash and the maggots disappear.
The girls strategize and try to come up with a plan for banishing the ghost. I have a plan- go to the bell tower, ring the stupid bell, wave bye-bye to the ghost, and peace out. They're not as smart as I am, despite the plan being perfectly laid out for them earlier in the book, so they go and try to enlist the help of Steven and Joe. They're in the boathouse, and it's taken them 2 days to paint one wall. My notes originally asked "what are they doing?", but given the recent developments in Steven's character, I will have the good taste not to ask. The boys think they're playing a trick on them, so they offer no help. Assholes.
They return to the LVI. Jess eats a ton of cookies while Liz reads the diary, hoping to find some sort of clue. While she's reading, Aunt Helen and Steven and Joe leave and the girls are left alone. Liz declares that it's time to confront the ghost once and for all! Of course, it starts to rain as she says this.
They climb the stairs to the attic and Liz tucks the diary under her shirt. Lightning knocks out the power (of course), so they begin to clear the way to the bell tower using the flashes of lightning to illuminate their work. (Where's that flashlight now, Robin?) They move an old trunk, and it begins to move on its own. Other stuff does too, and soon their exit is blocked behind them. They keep working, clearing a path as stuff continues to build up behind them. Clothing flies up out of an old dresser and it attacks them. Stacey finds an old bayonet and slays the mighty clothing dragon, and the bell tower door stands before them, fully exposed. I liked it better when BRUCE was fully exposed in SVC... An electric both runs across the ceiling and surrounds the bell tower door. A voice commands them to go away, but Liz is undeterred. She knows that the ghost won't hurt her (because she has the diary, I fail to see the logic of this) and she opens the door. She and Jess climb the steps, and -oh yeah- the steps are crawling with nasty spiders.
Bill is standing at the top of the stairs. You knew he would be. He tried to warn them, and now he has to kill them! SWEET! Kill Liz first! Liz is a smug little bitch, and she just knows that Bill is bluffing. She climbs farther up the stairs. Bill whines that he doesn't want to hurt her, but he has to. He cannot leave until he is reunited with his beloved Alexandra.
Liz decides that it's Storytime, and she begins to read to him for the diary. It turns out that Alexandra was forced into marrying the other dude. She actually loved Bill, and she was going to stop the wedding and tell everyone that she was going to marry him instead. She was prepared to be his for all of eternity. Bill wonders why she never returned, and Liz tells him that she died recently. I guess she never returned to the LVI because the memories were too painful and she didn't know that Bill was just hanging out there, waiting for her to return. Bill is sad, and he gives up all hope upon hearing this. He asks Liz and Jess to ring the bell and they do. He disappears.
Magically, they are able to fully renovate the entire place in 2 weeks time. (The BF tells me that this is impossible, it would take at least 2 years to accomplish all of that. See, he IS useful sometimes!) Whatever the case, Ned and Alice roll up to the LVI in their van (didn't know they had one...) and Stacey and Robin's parents also arrive. Aunt Helen BBQs up some good food (burgers, chicken, AND steak...what, no HOT DOGS, or RIBS?!?!) and everybody has a good evening. The girls sit by the lakeshore and admire their hard work. Suddenly, they see Bill and a young-looking, super glowy Alexandra Whyte walking on the lake. Everybody waves, and the ghosts disappear into the night. Jess asks Liz to explain THAT logically, and Liz come back with "True love is very, very logical". She would say that.

***The SarahLynn Summary:***
*You can renovate an entire hotel -inside and old, plus the attic and a boathouse- in two weeks' time, while having a scary adventure at the same time. And you can even manage to work in at least 2 parties.
*Aunt Helen is an enabler. The snack/meal count for this book is 13. I'll let that speak for itself.
*Steven and Joe are stupid.
*Child labor is cheap and efficient (see Summary Point #1).
*Ghosts are real, and so is true love.

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 15) - "Stolen Diary"

I'm really just recapping this because I watched it last week and took notes on it. My SV Notebook is getting pretty full, so I thought I'd clear out some of the stuff I have in the backstock. I was saving it for a rainy day, but, in the interest of getting it out of the way, I though I'd spend my day off posting at least THREE recaps to make up for my broken promises and recent drought of posts. Again, this is an episode that I have no clear memories of, but the name implies that it involves a stolen diary, so I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that Elizabeth is somehow involved in this plot.

Hey, who's the ho in 1BRUCE1 during the theme song?!?! Bitch, I hate you!!!!
The episode begins with everybody all excited about some beach volleyball tournament. That sounds fun, I wish it was summer so I could play outside instaed of just sitting here blogging...No offense. Liz won't be able to go, even though she PROMISED Jess that they would go together. Apparently, Todd is an idiot and he needs help shopping for yet another gift for his mother. And, since Liz has picked out every gift he's ever given her since the age of like 12, she must accompany him on his expedition to the Mall. She promises Jess that they will go to a movie that evening instead.
Jess sits at home and waits for Liz. (I have no idea why she didn't go solo to the beach...) Liz comes home late, with Todd. They had burgers and went to a movie after shopping, forgetting about poor Jess! Todd's kind of a dick when Jess tells Liz that she wants to spend some sister-time, and Jess snaps at Todd about it. Liz has had enough of their fighting (if she ONLY KNEW what was coming...) and she ditches them both to go write in her diary. I imagine that Jess and Todd then proceeded to sneak out back for a moonlight swim/fuck-fest...oh wait, that's not until college!
The next day, Jess is still upset that Liz loves Todd more than her own twin. She's sort of jealous of their relationship, and it's kind of sweet. If only SVC hadn't come along and spoiled EVERYTHING! Jess and Lila go to the Moon Beach (of course they do, since they all have an unlimited supply of disposable income somehow...) and some guy named Chris Sanders hits on Jess. Lila says that he's only doing it because he's been in love with Liz for like forever, and Jess wishes Liz would just hook up with the dude so they can be rid of that horrible, boring Todd Wilkins once and for all...or something, I now question her motives. Jess tells some girl named Peggy (who, conveniently, is obsessed with Todd) that Todd and Liz broke up and Todd is looking for a more aggressive girl. Peggy sees her chance and she literally jumps on Todd. She kisses him, and of course Liz chooses that moment to walk in. She sees Todd and Peggy going at it, and she runs out in tears. Todd throws Peggy off of him and some random Asian guy that I've never seen before (he looks like Harold from Harold and Kumar, but he isn't) is sitting with Todd and he delivers the funniest dialogue of the episode:

Asian Guy: "That happened to me once..."
Todd: "What did you do?"
Asian Guy: "Moved to America."

It's a very well-delivered line. And Todd is wearing a pinkie ring, I just noticed. Pimp shit.
Todd tries to call and explain everything to Liz later that night, but Jess answers and pretends to take a message. But of course she set the whole thing up, so she neglects to tell Liz anything about Todd's phone call. She convinces Liz that Todd is a dick and that she should get over him. Liz doesn't return his call, and Todd just gives up just like that. WOW, way to make an effort...
Jess sets up a date between Chris and Liz, telling Chris that Liz is like WAY into him. On the date, Chris is super pushy and tries to kiss Liz like a million times. She's still not over Todd, so she rejects him and he just doesn't get the hint. She runs inside, dropping her diary into the street (for whatever reason, she brought it with her on this date...her logic escapes me) as she runs away from him. Of course, he notices it in the street and takes it with him. He's so excited about reading it that he pulls over at the end of the block.
The next day at school, Chris tells everybody that he hooked up with Liz and he can prove it! Bitch told him EVERYTHING! Bruce and Manny help spread the rumors around, and Todd is super pissed when he finds out. In typical Todd fashion, he steps up to Chris and demands to know why he's lying. Chris retorts by telling Todd that he knows ALL his secrets. Todd calls his BS, and Chris tells everybody about how Todd and Liz tried to have sex (no, he simply implies it, he doesn't say it outright)on the 4th of July, but a stuck zipper got in their way. Todd is livid, and he assumes that Chris is obviously telling the truth. Bruce laughs, but then Chris tells him that he knows about how Liz found Mrs. Patman in the poolhouse with the cabana boy. (Sounds like a game of CLUE to me...) This leads to a montage!!! Chris tells EVERYBODY everything! Enid actually CRIES when she hears what Liz had to say about her, and everybody else is pissed about Liz blabbing their personal business.
Jess tries to defend Liz, but then Lila brings up the fact that Liz also blabbed about her. Apparently, Jess accidentally stole a tube of lipstick once. Jess confronts Liz, and Liz swears that she never told anybody anything. Jess knows she would never lie, so they try to figure out exactly how Chris knew so much about Liz's personal life. Liz finally figures out that she wrote all of those secrets in her diary (SOME FRIEND SHE IS!) and Chris must have stolen it somehow. They come up with a plan for revenge.
Jess goes to the MB and runs into Chris. She tells him that she can't stop thinking about him, and she always has to have everything Liz does, so she wants to meet him in their special place. You know, the one Liz probably told him about on their date. It's a place for their "special friends", and this scene totally reminds me of their cameo in The Basketball Diaries. It's not something that belongs in a teen TV show, that's for sure, but damn- the girl can act!!! Of course, Chris totally falls for it and runs to his car to read the diary and find out about the "special place". Winston is hiding in the back and he pops up and grabs the diary. Chris doesn't fight him because his car is surrounded by an angry mob.
In the end, Liz apologizes to everyone and tells them that she only wrote all that stuff down because it's like, memories and shit. Or something, Everybody forgives her, and she makes out with Todd. They soon discover that Jess set their whole breakup up, and she admits to doing it because she was jealous. It's all very touching and shit, and Liz promises to make more time for BOTH of them and they all hug.

***The SarahLynn Summary:***
*It's like Sweet Valley Confidential: The Prequel...

Great TV Viewing (Season 1 , Episode 14) - "Poetic Injustice"

Since I've finally finished recapping SVC, I decided to go back to watching my SVH DVDs in between book recaps. Today's episode is one that I do not remember, but the title implies that it is about poetry. I hate poetry, so this should be fun...

The episode begins with everybody going to some coffee house to hear their teacher -his name is Adam- reading some of his poetry. I guess SVH has a poetry club now, and everybody is involved. Todd isn't a fan of poetry, he thinks basketball is better (and I am inclined to agree), but Liz drags him along anyways. Jessica is in agreement with Todd as well, but Lila is suddenly very interested in the poetic arts, and she teases Jess about her complete lack of interest in anything intellectual, so Jess agrees to go along.
At the coffee house, some peop[le read their lame poetry and it's just weird. But Lila totally gets it all, even though the rest of the poetry club is just like "WTF?!?!" Adam reads his own stupid poem, and Jess does what she does best -falls in love with his ugly ass. He joins them and Jess flirts. She pretends to be super into poetry to impress Adam and it seems to work. (What is with these SV teachers? They seem to spend an awful lot of time with their students outside of normal classroom functions...CREEPER!) Jess agrees to join the stupid poetry club, hoping to impress Adam for whatever reason. Seriously, this dude is old and ugly and I wonder what she sees in him...
The next day, Jess is walking around reading some Walt Whitman poems, and everybody makes fun of her. Liz shares one of her poems with Adam, and he gives her one of his to read as well. Jess shows up for the poetry club meeting in her cheer uniform. Damn, I love when she wears that! Again, everybody makes fun of her for being an idiot. It's really sort of sad. Poor Jess! Adam reaches into his man-purse (yes, he has a man-purse!) and pulls out a poem to read. It's about him loving a girl with dark hair (and it's totally inappropriate for a school club, just sayin', keep your private life private!) and Jess automatically thinks that he wrote it about her. She says that the dark hair is only a cover, so nobody will suspect that Adam is madly in love with her. Okay then...
Jessica is inspired by Adam's poem. She writes and writes and it pisses Liz off. Liz currently has writer's block, so Jess drags her out to the Moon Beach for a break. Liz accidentally leaves her poetry journal on Jess's bed, with Adam's poem sticking out of it.
At the next poetry club meeting, Winston has decided to grow facial hair so he looks more poetic, I guess. (What is with these kids are their totaly devotion to their extracurricular activities? It's not like they'll ever mention them again after these 22 minutes...) Win even writes a poem about his new goatee. Both are extremely pathetic, and this episode really sucks! Jess reads her poem, and it's a typical Jessica piece. Of course, everybody laughs because they think she's shallow, but she gets made because she thought she was being deep. Awww, poor Jess! No wonder the girl never applies herself, everybody just laughs at her. Adam, however, does try to encourage her. He tells her that she has real potential, and she just has to keep working. he also tells her that the way people perceive her has an effect of all of this, and sometimes you have to transform yourself to create something new. (That is NOT something you should EVER tell Jessica! She takes everything SO literally, and now I can't wait to see what she comes up with for this one...) Jess is thrilled that Adam can see who she really is, and she decides to take his advice.
The next scene shows us Jessica in a bathrobe. She has a towel on her head (uh-oh!) and she is trying despearately to write a fabulous poem for the big reading on Sunday. She can't think of anything, so she opens Liz's poetry book and finds Adam's poem. Of course, she has no idea that he wrote it and she decides that Liz won't mind if she "borrows" it.
Sunday arrives, and everyone gathers for the big poetry reading. Adam's been wearing the exact same black sweater for most of this episode, and it totally reminds me of when I used to watch Passions on NBA. This girl, Whitney, wore the same outfit for like 4 months straight (one day in Passions-time, but still!) and it drove me so crazy that I had to stop watching for a couple weeks. When I got bored and decided I had waited long enough, I turned on my TV and there she was in the exact same outfit, only now she was knocked up by her brother... It was pretty twisted, and my BFF and I still joke about this, seven years later! Anyways, all the poetry reading does not culminate in anybody being impregnated by their brothers (mainly because nobody seems to have a brother...), but instead we are treated to a MONTAGE! of everybody performing. The song that plays is called "Rose Colored Glasses". It was on one of the SVH VHS tapes as a bonus music video, and I remember watching it with my then-BFF, so it has special memories for me! Love. Even better, Patti is wearing a KANGOL hat! Remember those? I do, LL Cool J looked SOOOO hott in his back in the day! Double Love.
Jess shows up late (of course!) and she's got a surprise for everybody! Her hair is now dark, and she's dressed like a hippie! OMG! I did NOT see THAT coming... She gets on stage and reads Adam's poem as her own. Of course, Liz busts her out to everybody who will listen and she demands to know why Adam isn't pissed about it.
Adam just sits back and watches her read. He says he's just happy that Jess is interested in something, and that they should all encourage her and not tell her that it was his poem. Through all of this, Todd is staring creepily at Jess. He thinks she looks hot as hell, and Liz gets super pissed about this. (Just wait a few years, Lizzie...)
At school the next day, BRUCE!!!! is walking through the halls with Manny. They're sick of all the stuck-up SVH bitches, and they wish there were some new conquests. They happen upon Jess, who is bent over in some short shorts (with a very nice shot of her ass, thanks, creeper camera guys!) and they don't recognize her, so Bruce hits on her. She turns around and Bruce is shocked, but still a little turned on.
Not everyone is so impressed. Lila says that Jess looks like "Elvira at a Pearl Jam concert" (who is Elvira?). Enid says (in a VERY annoying voice that reminds me of Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Jess looks "kind of funky". I just want to punch Enid for the way she says that. Her squeaky little voice annoys the hell out of me!!! Jess is all like "Whatever, haters!" and she says to Lila, "Adam says I look great." Lila responds with, "He HAS to say that, he's your teacher!" Ummm, NO LILA! He SHOULDN'T say that, because he's your TEACHER! Did you learn nothing from the whole Nathan thing? Either way, Enid is a dumbass and she tells Jess that she was actually reading Adam's poem, not Liz's. Jess is PISSED, especially when Lila declares that Jess knows nothing about poetry and everyone storms away all prissy-like. (#WhiteGirlProblems, seriously!!!)
Jess confronts Adam and he tells her that she is really talented and she shouldn't stop writing. She's pissed that he let her make a fool of herself, but then his girlfriend shows up and she looks EXACTLY like Jessica (please, let her turn out to be Crazy Margo!!!! PLEASE!!!! This episode SUCKS, and I'm dying here!!!). It's a Real WTF moment, and nothing is really resolved. Jessica goes home and is magically blonde again.
Later, at the Moon Beach, everyone is still discussing poetry, and Lil and Enid are fighting about some Walt Whitman (again, #WhiteGirlProblems). Jess jumps in and quotes it perfectly, and everyone realizes that she is actually pretty good at poetry. Jess doesn't feel so stupid anymore, and even Liz is impressed, so the episode ends there.

***The SarahLynn Summary***
*SVH teachers = CREEPERS!!!! Seriously, they really need to stop hanging out with their students outside of school. It just encourages unnecessary crushes and embarassment.
*Poetry is boring as hell, but montages are awesome.
*Jess has a hot ass.
*It's entirely possible to go from platinum blonde to jet black, and back to platinum blonde, in a matter of hours. With NO damage or split ends. And box color will do the job just fine, with NO fillers or toners or conditioning treatments. Yeah, I wish it worked that way! It would have saved me HOURS in Cosmetology classes.
*Jessica is afraid to apply herself, because everybody is a real dick to her when she actually does make the effort.
*Jessica is actually pretty smart sometimes.

SVC Part 2: The SarahLynn Summary

*Jess stole Todd from Liz once back in high school. Liz wasn't too happy about it, but she got over it.
*Liz pushed Jess and Todd to be friends. It worked...sort of.
*Todd and Jessica had sex in college, everyone knew except for Liz.
*Jess got married again and moved to France. She loved Todd, so it didn't work out and she came home.
*Bruce fell in love with Liz. Todd fell in love with Jess. Winston dies, but he was a dick so nobody was that upset.
*Jess and Todd hooked up, Liz moved across the country to get away from them.
*Steven became gay at some point. Jess busted him out to his wife and ruined his life. But not really, because Steven and Aaron are happy together and Cara got over it.
*Lila and Ken got married, separated, and are on the verge of reconciling.
*Liz tried to break up Jess and Todd a month before their wedding. It didn't work.
*Liz had a fuck buddy in New York, but that storyline wrapped up at the perfect time.
*Bruce and Liz hooked up. We got to read about Naked Bruce. I loved that part.
*Jess and Todd got married. Liz was Maid of Honor and she learned to accept and love them.
*Everyone was happy and had a great time. Nobody said "fuck" at any point during the wedding.
*Some other people did some stuff, but it really wasn't important.
*The end.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential: SarahLynn Style

Well, here it is at long last! Better late than never, I suppose. After re-reading this book, I decided that recapping in page-by-page would be just too time-consuming, so I spent HOURS laboring over this and arranging all of the sordid events into a chronological order of phases. The book begins in 2011, but it flashes back to 2000, 2005, and 2010 at random points in the story. All of the flashbacks had my head spinning and it was almost impossible to get a clear conclusion on the flashbacks as they were told through multiple perspectives (including BRUCE!!!), so I decided to fully dissect it and break it down into time frames and perspectives. I hope it's slightly less confusing this way!

It's And the circles have returned! I assume that is Liz on the front and Jess on the back, but it bears a striking resemblance to ME as I switch back and forth from super straight to sexy curly hair. I am assuming that FP so thoughtlessly did not include me in the book, so my first assumption is probably correct. Either way, that side-bang on the front looks a little over flat ironed to me, but I like the lavalier on the back cover. I always wondered what a "lavalier" was as a child. I imagined that it had something to do with LAVA, but I know now that I was pretty far off on that one. The inside of the cover is pretty cool as well. It has the throwback SVH Liz and Jess, and I have a hard time accepting that image of them since they were supposedly high school juniors in the year 2000. It just doesn't fit.

FP decided to begin the novel with a list of helpful people. She gives credit to like a million people, basically her entire family, and even a few celebrities. I consider the latter to be little more than name-dropping. She mentions Justin Timberlake, TI, and Beyonce. I wonder if she actually knows them, or if she just had to acknowledge them because she mentioned their songs? I wish I knew TI and Justin Timberlake and Beyonce (not so much a fan of her, but she IS married to Jay-Z, so I wouldn't pass up the chance to meet her). I basically skimmed this part, but a few people did jump out at me. Somebody is credited for helping FP with their knowledge of "technospeak" (let's review- Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube...hardly new technologies, but I guess FP is getting old and maybe has no idea what a Twitter is). Another person is credited for "knowing everything there is to know about Sweet Valley", and I begin to wonder exactly what Francine was on when she wrote this, because the continuity errors alone prove that this person actually knows NOTHING about our beloved SV. But we'll get more into that later...


Phase 1: Junior Year of High School, Year: 2000 (or rather, someone's twisted perspective of SVH #1)
Let's take a second and do some math here. If Liz and Jess were juniors in high school in the year 2000, they would have graduated with the class of either 2001 or 2002. I myself graduated in 2003 (an entire year early! I was supposed to be c/o 2004), so I realized now that, if my parents had let me move to Sweet Valley like I BEGGED them to as a child, I would have gone to high school at the same time as they did! And then I would have met Bruce and probably married him by now! Thanks, parental units, for ruining my chance to be Mrs. Patman...

Todd calls to wish Jessica luck with pledging Phi Beta Alpha, and Liz is upset about it because she's crazy madly in love with Todd. She tells us how, even though Todd is a jock and totally not her type, she's loved him ever since she first saw him. FP gets a couple continuity points for telling us that Liz and Todd first met in kindergarten. Todd was holding a ragged, ripped old baby blanket and crying for his mommy. Liz gave him a tissue (she would do that, even at the age of 5) and he threw it on the floor and continued to cry until snot ran down to his mouth. Lovely. Anyways, this was enough to make Liz fall head over heels for him, and he never noticed. (I guess that "sort-of-boyfriend" shit back in the 6th grade doesn't count, because it's NEVER mentioned.) Now he's calling for Jess and Liz is JEALOUS, but she's LIZ, so she just lets it go and thinks about how Jessica and Todd make sense because Jess is a cheerleader. Okay then. Also, Jess has lost her driving privileges and has to ride to school with Liz after all that awkwardness. Of course, Liz picks up Enid. Enid blabs about how hott Ronnie Edwards is for several blocks, and Jess quickly gets bored. She jumps out of the car at a stoplight and gets in 1BRUCE1 with Bruce!!!! I can't say that I blame her for that.

Later, we learn that Todd was actually calling for Liz, but Liz was in the shower. Todd is a dork, so he got a flustery when Jess told him that. He wanted to ask Liz to the PBA/PBE dance, but he obviously has no idea how to talk to girls, so Jess "helps" him along and tells him that she has to hang up now because she's pledging PBA. He wishes he luck and hangs up, which she somehow takes to mean that he's going to take her to the dance. Liz drives Jess to school, and she ditches her for Bruce. Jess hopes Bruce asks her to the dance, but all he wants to know is who Liz is going to bring. Jess lies and says that Liz is a whore and going with a bunch of college guys. Jessica gets out of Bruce's car and walks the rest of the way. She thinks about how Liz has EVERYTHING and it all comes so easily to her. Jess has to work for what she wants, and she shows us that she's a very insecure person. I'm now wondering why Jess is so interested in Todd (and more than a little upset that SVH #1 did NOT go down like this...), but then we learn that she is only using him as a cover for a date with Rick Andover. Rick is a BAD BOY, and her parents wouldn't approve, so she lies and says Todd is her date. She goes out with Rick and he gets into trouble that results in Jess being brought home in a cop car. The cops think she's LIZ. Caroline Pearce sees this, and the rumors fly...

Phase 2: Senior Year at SVU, 5 Years Later (2005)
Here's where things start to get complicated. Obviously, Liz and Jess have made amends since we witnessed that boring SVH drama. I like how the flashback ended without telling us how it all ended, but I guess that would have been too much effort on FP's part, and I read that book, so whatever. Moving forward 5 years, our favorite twins are now college seniors. They share an apartment (or rather, they rent two bedrooms on the top floor of some random lady's house) and Liz and Todd are madly in love. Todd and Winston are roommates, just an FYI. That will be important later...

Poor Liz is too sick to go to some frat party with Todd. She promised she would go, since it's basically a party in Todd's honor. Our beloved T-Wilk has recently snatched the state title away from UCLA (probably because Kevin Love was still in high school at this time, so UCLA had a disadvantage...I bet anything that UCLA beat SVU a million times when Kevin Love was on their team) and now Todd's the reigning king of campus. (All of that talk reminds me of a certain JUNGLE PROM, but nobody ever brings that up at any point in the book.) Anyways, Liz begs Jess to do it, and Jess reluctantly agrees after Liz lets her raid her closet.

Todd picks Jess up in his black Audi convertible (what happened to the BMW?) and their conversation is awkward. They aren't exactly friends (maybe because of that time Jess accused Todd of trying to rape her, but again nobody mentions that) and their evening is starting off awkwardly. They have little to talk about, so they separate at the party. Jess soon realizes that everybody at said party is lame, short, and ugly, and Todd is probably the cutest guy there (yes, she HAS been drinking). Jess goes back to Todd and they work the room together. Everybody thinks Jess is Liz, and -get this shit- JESS AND TODD GO ALONG WITH IT!!! That's just FUCKED, seriously!!! It's like the Jungle Prom shit all over again, Todd pretending Jess is Liz. It's quite disturbing.
Jessica tells us why she went along with this- she hadn't had a real relationship since the beginning of senior year, and she was married to some guy named Mike McAllery (who?), but they got annulled. I've never heard about any of this, but obviously Jess is now lonely, so she enjoys pretending that she's in a real relationship. *SMH, what is this girl thinking?!?!* Nobody catches on, and Jess and Todd enjoy their evening, maybe a little too much... Once they leave, the start making out in Todd's car (SERIOUSLY, WTF?!?!) and Todd invites Jess back to his place. Winston is out of town, so they fuck like a couple of stoned test bunnies (and it's SUPER awkward to read, I think I threw up in my mouth a little) and it's powerful and passionate. So powerful and passionate, in fact, that they fail to notice that Winston has come home and accidentally walked in on them.
Jess and Todd's fuck-fest leads to them having a month-long affair. They meet everyday at some ghetto diner, but they don't have sex or anything. Just being together is enough for them, I guess. Liz has no idea any of this is happening,because she has found someone else's life in which to meddle... Which brings us to...

Yes, BRUCE!!!! I love Bruce SOOOO much, but apparently he's become BFFs with the enemy. You see, Bruce's parents were in a car accident and his mother dies instantly. His father spent six days in a coma before Bruce had to take him off life support. It was the hardest decision of this life, and it changed everything about him. He got through all of this with the help of LIZ. She showed up randomly at the hospital every day while Bruce sat, waiting for his father to die. Through this, they bonded and she became his best friend. At the end of all of the sadness, Bruce realized that he was totally in love with her, but he didn't tell her because he didn't want to ruin their friendship. Awwww. Also, Bruce happened to catch Jess and Todd together one afternoon, but he kept it a secret from Liz because he didn't want to be the one to destroy their relationship. See, Bruce has CHANGED!!!! And yes, he is STILL gorgeous!!!!

*Todd and Jessica*
Through all of this, Todd is falling hard for Jess. He rushes to see her everyday and he's always surprised when she shows up. They both feel super guilty (and even I, anti-Liz and shit, think they SHOULD feel guilty for it), but neither one wants to stop. Todd never sees Liz when he looks at Jess, and Jess likes that somebody FINALLY is able to see her and her twin as separate people. Eventually, the guilt and fear of being caught gets to both of them and they break it off, both wishing that it didn't have to end, but both pretending that everything's cool.
The whole thing is almost brought to light shortly after it ends. Liz and Jess run into Win and Todd at the campus bookstore. Win's being immature, and Liz is cleaning up after him, and he casually mentions to Todd that he needs the apartment to himself that evening. Todd protests (he has some paper due), and Win shoots back with some comment about how he left Todd and Liz alone that night of the party. You know, that night when they had the crazy fuck-fest... Yes, Win also thought Jess was Liz that evening. Jess and Todd are all OMG!!!, but Liz is too busy cleaning up after Winston to notice how shocked they are. Win takes one look at Jess and Todd's faces, and he gets it instantly. He drops the subject and Liz doesn't find out, but Todd and Winston's relationship is destroyed. Todd even goes so far as to move all the way across town to get away from Win's hate.

Phase 3: 5 Years Later, 2010
At some point between Phases 2 and 3, Bruce and Winston embark on some sort of dot-com venture. They don't tell us exactly what it is, so I'm assuming it's PORN-related. Winston becomes a major asshole and forgets who his true friends are. Bruce maintains his friendship with Liz, but he never tells her about Jess and Todd. Todd and Liz are still together, but Jessica is off on an adventure in France.

Six months ago, Jessica met and married a very wealthy man. His name is Regan Wollman and he is 42 years old. Since she's spent a whole half of a year being Mrs. Regan, Jess has now grown bored with the commitment. Plus, Regan is a dick! He's perfect on the outside, but behind closed doors he's a very jealous, possessive, and suffocating man. Jess has gotten herself in trouble with him for merely flirting with other guys, and she's had enough of Regan's BS. She decides to leave him. She calls Liz from France and tells her she's going Back To Cali. Truthfully, Jess only married Regan to prove that she was totally over Todd, and now Todd and Liz are getting married (for much the same reason on Todd's part). Jess is going to live with them when she gets home. (I'm sure that will end well...)
In a very long and drawn-out chapter, Jess sneaks away from Regan and arrives at the airport. Her plane leaves in 25 minutes, and she somehow manages to get on the plane in time even though she had to buy her ticket and go through security. She walks fast, and feels like people think she's a terrorist, but then she decides that people can obviously tell that she's not the type to waste $200 jeans on a bomb. Okay then, somebody please remind me next time I go on vacation- True Religion Jeans = fast security checkpoints. Somehow, she makes it from Paris to California in a matter of hours and runs right into her sister's waiting arms.

Liz is currently working as a crime reporter for the local paper. Her career is taking off, so she's allowed to leave work early and pick Jess up from LAX. Before doing that, she stops at home and sees that Todd has made a really ugly banner for Jess's homecoming. (Like that's NOT an obvious sign of things to come or anything... Todd's so excited to see his side chick that he made a freakin' banner!!!) Liz is overjoyed with happiness at the thought of having her two favorite people -Jess and Todd- under the same roof.

Liz blabs the entire way home from the airport. She's super excited about her fabulous job and fabulous life with Todd. She tells Jess right away that they've finally set a wedding date, and she asks Jess to be her Maid of Honor. They get home and Todd is waiting for them. He hugs Jess and they share an electric moment between the two of them while Liz stands there smiling from ear to ear and being totally oblivious to the fact that Jess and Todd wish she would disappear so they can have a Welcome Home fuck-fest. (OK, not really, but I like saying "fuck-fest"...and you just KNOW that's what they're really thinking.) Liz spend the entire evening "clucking around" them like a mother hen, making sure both chicks are comfortable. (Yes, it actually says that. I LOL'ed at that mental image, I must admit.) Through all her clucking, Liz is too self-absorbed to notice that Jess and Todd cannot stand to look at each other. (Because of that whole fuck-fest thing, I assume. Okay, I'll stop now!!!!) Stupidly, Liz goes back to work the next day and leaves Jess and Todd home alone together. (Todd is now a sports writer for the newspaper, so he works from home.)

Actually, Liz secretly DID notice how tense things were between Jess and Todd. She just assumed that it was because both of them wanted HER attention, and they were both jealous of each other because each though she loved the other more. At this point, I jump up and scream "GET OVER YOURSELF!!!! NOBODY WANTS YOU, LIZ!!!! THEY JUST WANT YOU TO LEAVE SO THEY CAN FUCK!!!!" But of course, she is too self-absorbed to listen to me.

Through all of this, Todd decides to enlighten us with things from his perspective. On one hand, he HATED when Jess married Regan. For reasons he can't explain, Regan just made him super angry. Todd is NOT a fan of Regan, he makes that very clear. On the other hand, having Jess around is super awkward, and Todd wishes that she had stayed in France. He's having trouble doing his work with Jess around all the time. She avoids him, but she's just so...there. You can obviously tell that Todd is so NOT over her. He mopes around the house all week, thinking that he should go into his study and write...or maybe watch an old game on YouTube (SVH vs. Big Mesa, you just KNOW that what he's thinking about)...or else watch some porn. Yes, Todd tells us that he occasionally watches porn. (Probably some sick twincest shit...I don't want to know what's on THAT hard drive.) How creepy is it that he's just thinking about Jess and then he's all like "I should go watch some porn..."?!?! See, you just KNOW this is going to end badly. The tension gets to both of them, and they both try to act like they're not hot for each other, when all they want to do is go upstairs and...(I will NOT say it again!!!)

Jess is super on edge. She knows it's only a matter of time before Regan come to collect her, and things with Todd aren't helping her mood. She goes for a walk on the beach to clear her head and relax her nerves. While walking, she runs into Steven (yes, her brother, he's got himself a pretty intriguing subplot in this book, but I'll get into that later) and accidentally discovers a secret that he's been keeping from his wife. He swears her to secrecy, but Jess decides that it's her duty to clue his wife in on this, because she -Jess- would want to know if she were in that situation and she actually thinks it will HELP Steven somehow. Her logic is lost on me, but it makes the story more interesting, and I can totally see Jess thinking that this is the right way to help. Classic Jess, to say the least. As she walks away from Steven, he wishes with all his heart that it had been Liz who found out, because he already knows that Jess is about to ruin his life.

Also unhappy about Jess's return is the one and only BRUCE!!!! He's still Liz's BFF, and he's still upset about the whole Jess-Todd fiasco of five years prior. It drives him crazy, seeing Liz and Todd together. He knows that Todd is undeserving of his precious Liz, but he is the new and improved Bruce, so he cannot bring himself to break them up. Liz calls him when the tension in the house becomes too much for her. He picks her up in his one remaining aspect of The Old Bruce. 1BRUCE1!!!! Yes, it LIVES!!!! We all knew it would, since it's Bruce's prized posession. With modernization, Bruce's beloved Porsche would now be model year 2001, so it looks something like this:

Even now (in 2011), that car goes for over $15,000. Pretty badass, I must say. I am going to look SO hot in that!!!
So Bruce takes Liz out for pizza at some place called "Napkin". He can't get over how in love he is, and it's like the whole Jungle Prom-Pamela thing again. Makes me sick!!! Bruce orders a Bud (hell yeah! Drink of champions right there!!!) and Liz has a martini. Liz automatically picks up on the fact that Bruce is acting weird. She meddles a little, and prods him for info, and she eventually deduces that he's having some sort of girl troubles. He wants to tell her how he feels about her, and he opens up his mouth to reveal everything. Suddenly, Ken Matthews busts into Napkin and robs the place at gunpoint! (Okay, I lied! He's a successful NFL quarterback, so he didn't rob anyone, but it would have been a startling twist...) Ken screams that Winston is DEAD!!! O.M.F.G!!!!

While Liz is out with Bruce, Jess is still sulking around Liz and Todd's place. Steven busts in and starts screaming at her for spilling his secret and thus ruining his life. Todd steps in so Steven doesn't kill Jess, but Steven does manage to tell her to get out of his life and never bother him with her BS ever again. Of course, Jess thought she was helping him, so she's totally shocked by his anger. He leaves and she starts to cry. Of course, Todd sees his chance and swoops in to comfort her. They end up kissing, and Liz comes home with Bruce while they're doing it. They think they've been busted, but Liz is crying about Winston and she thinks that's what Jess and Todd were hugging about. Bruce, however, is not an idiot. He knows what's up, so he makes a quick exit as Liz goes to Jess and Todd and they share a group hug.

Liz takes us through Winston's funeral. Apparently, poor Win was drunk and took a nasty spill from the 20 foot balcony of his massive McMansion in Sweet Valley Heights. Over 250 people attended the ceremony, and nobody gave any eulogies. Winston was just THAT much of an asshole in the last few years of his life. Everybody loved the boy he had been, but not the man he had become. It's all very sad, and even I cried a little. Since Winston didn't have any friends left when he died, Liz goes to his house the following day and helps his father pack up Winston's stuff.

While Liz is busy at Winston's, Jess again finds herself at home with Todd. Regan chooses this moment to show up. He really IS an asshole, and he says some not-so-nice things to Jess right in front of Todd. Of course, Regan is able to pick up on the fact that something is going on between her and Todd, and Todd is still the angry dude we know and love (or not). They get to fighting, and it's the most exciting part of the book so far. Liz comes in and breaks up the fight (Jess just watches, possibly enjoying having two grown men fight over her) and Regan screams at her about Jess and Todd. SHE FINALLY GETS IT!!!! Regan leaves, and Liz is left alone with the cheaters. She has to have the last word, so she screams at them to go to hell. Liz, out!!!! She throws up the deuces and takes off for a new life in New York. (We also get to read Liz's perspective on all of this, but it's almost exactly like Jess's, only it ends with her deciding that she never wants to see either of them ever again.)

**SarahLynn's Note: THAT WAS IT?!?! This whole big fight that is destroying the twins' entire lives boiled down to THIS?!?! I was REALLY hoping Liz would at least catch them in bed together or something, but this just kind of built up and then fizzled out. I think I blame Regan for that. Damn him!!!!**

Phase 4: Present Day (2011)

This is when the book ACTUALLY begins. Like, this is literally the first page right here. All of that stuff you just read was told through flashbacks and multiple viewpoints throughout the following phase. I think it was much easier to tell the story this way...

*New York (Elizabeth)*
We begin our story in Liz's rented NYC apartment. It's old and ghetto-looking, and Liz has lots of locks on the door. She returns home from dinner with a male visitor- HER BOSS! His name is David and they work for some blog/newsletter that covers Off-Broadway plays (sounds FASCINATING...NOT!) and he's a hottie. But Liz isn't really feeling it. She's been in New York for 8 months now and has only hooked up with one guy. And he must have been pretty terrible in the bedroom, because (yes, it's TRUE) she cried after every orgasm. She doesn't specify whether they were her's or his... Still, I could have gone without knowing that. Jessica calls and leaves a message on her answering machine, begging Liz to answer. David wants to know who's calling, and why she sounds like Liz. Liz doesn't want to talk about it (because that would ruin all of the random flashbacks...), so she considers sleeping with David just to shut him up. For some reason, he takes that as his cue to leave and the evening ends without any sex.

*Sweet Valley (Jessica)*
Jessica and Todd are still living together. Jessica is whining to Todd about Liz ignoring her calls, texts, emails, AND Facebook Friend Requests. Todd says that Liz also never responded to the letter he sent her, so obviously she's still mad and hates them both. And Liz is not alone in this. We learn that Jess and Todd have become social outcasts and the subject of Caroline Pearce's gossip blog. Still, they stay in Sweet Valley because Jess doesn't want to leave. She and Todd go to a party at Lila's, and it's obviously just a cheap ploy to re-introduce everyone to their favorite characters. Jess and Todd walk around and feel like freaks in a sideshow. Caroline is all up in Jess's face, bugging her for gossip, and Jess tells her off. She also yells at Lila for inviting Caroline and makes a huge scene. On the way out, she asks Todd if he thinks everybody will still come to their wedding. Yes, a WEDDING! Because the best thing to do 8 months after stealing your twin sister's boyfriend of like FOREVER is to MARRY HIM! Sounds like a GREAT plan to me...

*New York (Elizabeth)*
Liz continues to ignore Jess, and she goes to interview some up and coming (haha) theater writer named Will for her crappy blog-thing. The play he wrote sounds really stupid, so I won't bother to write about it. Dude is kind of a dick. He's crabby and Liz watches him reject like, 137 hopeful actors. (That's kind of...his JOB, Liz...) After the auditions are over, he turns around so Liz can interview him and Liz gets the shock of her life... WILL IS A "DOPPELGANGER" FOR TODD!!!! Yes, one of THOSE! I laughed at the choice of words, and part of me hoped beyond hope that he would turn out to be crazy...
After a great many pages of Liz hating Jess and Todd while going to some more boring play rehearsals, Will gets in a fight with the director and storms out. Liz runs into him at her favorite Irish bar, but she ignores him (because he looks like Todd, I guess) and talks to the hottie bartender. Hottie bartender = Liam. He's Irish with dark hair and pretty eyes and Liz automatically thinks that he's totally Jess's type. He's also an actor, which may be important later.
After a few Stoli martinis, Liz goes and tells Will what an ass he is, and that strikes up a conversation. Will is from Chicago, and he was going to school to be a lawyer. But then, just randomly, he decided to write plays. He dropped out of school (his dad is still pissed about that) and moved to New York. He also randomly broke up with his fiancee. Her name is Wendy, which strikes me as funny since she's also from Chicago, which is the WINDY City. Liz realizes that she likes Will, even if he does have a "slightly crooked fucking front tooth" just like Todd's. (Yes, Liz gives us the first of several "Fuck-words" right there on page 82. I was SO shocked by this. I even called the BF at work to tell him about this, but he wasn't as impressed as I was.) Whatever the case, Liz opens up to him and tells him all about Jess and Todd before she goes home with him. Then it gets kinda creepy. Once they're alone, she tells him that she was avoiding him all week because he looks like Todd. It kills the mood, obviously, and Liz goes home without doing him (I see a pattern here), but they're friends now so it wasn't a total loss. While Liz is sitting at home, her mother calls. Alice begs Liz to come to her grandmother's 80th birthday party. Of course, Jess and Todd will be there, so Liz tries to back out of it, but then she realizes that it would be the perfect way to get revenge on Jess and Todd by showing up with a hottie writer from New York. Because there's nothing pathetic about dating a guy who looks exactly like your ex, I guess. Alice hasn't told Jess that Liz is coming, and I see this ending quite badly. Liz immediately asks Will to be her date. Of course, he rejects her ass SO fast. (Hmmm, I wonder why...) Will suggests that she bring Liam, because Jess would love him and Todd wouldn't be able to deal with it. Or something. Whatever, he's just joking. But Liz is PSYCHO, so she starts developing this whole seduction/breakup plan...
Still a little drunk, Liz goes back to the var and talks to Liam. They go for a drink and he spills his life story to her. (What is up with that?!?! TWO people spill complete life stories to Liz in one day? Just a typical day in the life of Liz, I guess.) Liam was born in Ireland, but he's been in the US for six years. His parents live in California (how convenient) and they're both doctors. Because every struggling actor/writer/bartender/waiter has RICH PARENTS, at least in FP's world. Liam has an English Lit. degree from UCLA (oooh, does he know Kevin Love?!?!) and he owes his parents a visit. Conveniently, it just works out that he HAS to visit right after meeting another West Coast transplant... Liz asks him to be her date, because she's PSYCHO and this is all part of her master plan. He agrees. Will, however, is not amused by this. He is the only sane one here, and he lets Liz know how psycho she truly is. For the first time in her life, Liz tells somebody (Will) to fuck off!!!!

*Sweet Valley (Jessica)*
Jessica has finally grown into her own person! She has a very successful job at MYFACEISGREEN. It's a cosmetic company that specializes in making environmentally-friendly makeup for companies like Revlon, Almay, and L'Oreal. So basically, she develops gimmick products that these low-end cosmetic companies (that probably test on animals) jack up the price on and sell to unsuspecting consumers. Of course, Lila's dad owns the company. He's changed his name to Richard since we last saw him, or maybe Lila has TWO dads now... Either way, Jess loves her job, and everyone loves her. The best part is that nobody compares her to Liz and she gets recognized for being her own person.
To celebrate their respective success, Jess's boss invites her out for a drink. She goes, and she lies to Todd about it. Her boss is gorgeous and totally her type (rich, enough said!(, and she considers cheating on Todd. We get more of her fabulous logic: Cheat on Todd with boss = Breakup = Get Liz back. But, in the end, Jess just LOVES Todd, and she can't bear to cheat on him. Their relationship -however messed-up- is actually pretty deep, and they're obviously very in love. Instead, Jess goes home to Todd, blissfully unaware that Liz and Liam are making their way to Sweet Valley.

Which brings us to...

*Grandmommy's 80th Birthday Party*
Yes, "Grandmommy". I kid you not. Her party is a fairly small ordeal at the SV Country Club. Jess is wearing a pink Betsey Johnson dress and her entire family is there. Ned, Alice, Steven, and Grandmommy. Plus Todd, Bruce, and Aaron Dallas (trust me, this will all make sense at the end). Liz comes in with Liam and she's dressed in all black. (Must be the "Empire State of Mind"...All Black Everything!) Strangely enough, she and Jess have gotten the exact same haircut. Bruce is still in love with Liz, and he hates Liam right away, until he realizes that they're just friends. When Liam meets Jess, he falls instantly in love. Liz is surprised by this because Liam wasn't attracted to her, and she assumed that there was no way he would be into Jess, since they're -you know- identical twins and shit. But Jess only has eyes for Todd, and Liz relaxes a little. They sit down to dinner without incident, but then a fireworks display from the Sweet 16 party in the next room interrupts. Everyone goes outside to watch the show.
Liam and Jess walk away from the party and Liz watches along with Todd. Todd is pissed, of course, even though Jess is NOT interested in Liam at all. Todd's anger leads him to fight with Jess in front of everyone. Tempers explode and everybody just lets their anger go. Except for poor Grandmommy, she just sits there are wishes she had spent her birthday at Club Med, far away from these freaks. Alice tries to shut everyone up, but it just keeps getting louder and louder. It's like a bad episode of the Maury show, or maybe Springer would be more accurate. Finally, Alice screams at Ned to bring out the fucking cake (yes, Alice says "fucking"!) and everybody shuts up. Poor Grandmommy! I almost want to jump in and invite her out for drinks and maybe some bingo, since her own family is so fucked-up that they cannot even give the poor old lady a 2 hour birthday dinner without incident. At least nobody got punched or pushed into any pools, I guess.
Liz and Liam leave as soon as they can. They fly back to New York that evening and Liz is pissed at Liam for falling in love with Jess and causing all of this. Ummm, pretty sure YOU are also to blame, Lizzie...You did kind of set the whole thing up!
Jess and Todd are left alone, still arguing about how everybody hates them. Todd won't let the whole Liam thing go, even though Jess obviously loves Todd. Todd is starting to act just like Regan, Jess realizes. They go home and ignore each other as they pout about the birthday party. Jess decides that she's had enough of this drama, so she leaves as soon as Todd falls asleep.

*New York*
Life goes on and weeks pass. Liz is busy working on her article again. She finally interviews Will. He apologizes for calling her psycho and she agrees that she was, and that leads to them having a little fuck-fest (hey now, I was good for most of this recap, so I earned that!). It's awesome, earth-moving, and not at all tearful. But it gets kind of creepy when Liz compares Will to Todd again (mentally this time, thank god!). I was more than a little grossed out by that, but it helps Liz realize that she is actually over Todd. So, I guess she needed that. The make no promises of a future (and I have totally figured out how this ends) and Liz goes home.
Jess is asleep in the hallway outside of Liz's apartment. She has a sequined backpack and a Prada bag, and I'm surprised she wasn't robbed...or worse. Liz considers stepping over her and locking the door, but Jess wakes up before she can be a petty bitch. Liz lets Jess inside, and Jess is shocked by how ghetto the place is. Jess tells Liz that she left Todd and she can't stand to not have Liz in her life. I admit, this scene choked me up more than once! Jess cries and Liz tells her to leave. Jess asks for just one more hug, and Liz gives in. She realizes mid-hug that she also needs Jess in her life. They make up very quickly and Liz helps Jess see that she really is in love with Todd, and Liz wants them both to be happy together at last. Jess agrees to go back to Todd and they make up before going to bed.
In the morning, Jess goes outside and Todd is standing there. He tells her that he loves her and wants to be with her. They go back to Sweet Valley, and Liz even lets Jess borrow her new jacket for the trip.
Liz stays in New York for a while. She writes her article and it gets rave reviews from everyone. Of course, she gets offered a high-paying freelance job. She gets to pick when she works, so it doesn't interfere with her blog-thing and she's happy about that. Will's play opens, and Liz goes to opening night to support her newfound fuck-buddy. The play is pretty good, and Will's parents even came to see it. His ex-fiancee comes too, and LIz sees them together. That storyline wraps up nicely when Will and Windy Wendy reconcile. Liz is happy for them, of course.

*August 24th, Sweet Valley*

Liz returns home to be Jess's Maid of Honor. Her wedding is the following day, so Bruce picks Liz up from LAX and invites her to spend the evening with him, because he has something he wants to tell her. (BITCH!) She agrees, but first she has to do something important. She goes home (to the Spanish-tiled, split-level rambler with the in-ground swimming pool on Calico Drive) and gives Jess and Todd her blessing. It's awkward, of course, but she knows she'll get over it eventually. And Jess really loves Todd, so Liz is happy that Jess finally found someone she loves. Liz gives Jess her lavaliere to wear during the wedding, and Jess trades hers. It's the most touching scene in the book, and my copy will be forever tear-stained right there!
Liz goes over to Bruce's that evening. His house is massive, and very tasteful. Bruce is richer than ever, and Liz learns from Steven that Bruce has recently made a lot of money by selling his house. She wonders why he sold his place, and also where he is moving. She decides that he is in love with somebody (yeah, her name is SarahLynn...BITCH!) and it breaks her heart to think of losing him. She can hardly stand the thought for some reason, and she's nearly in tears when he opens the door.
He pours her some wine (possibly in a paper cup, but FP didn't feel a need to be specific) and she can hardly concertrate on what he's saying. She finally just asks him where he's moving. New York, of course, he's in love with a girl who lives there! Liz is devastated when she thinks that she'll have to meet his new girlfriend and be her friend, because she is obvioulsy an idiot. She. Just. Doesn't. Get. It! I want to scream at this point, she is just SO dense!
She finally gets it when Bruce draws closer and kisses her. This book is kind of an asshole, it says "That had never happened before. Not while she was conscious anyway, but that's a long story." Thanks, book, for bringing THAT up and ruining what might have been a sweet moment. Oh wait, LIZ is kissing Bruce...I don't think I like this book anymore.
The book redeems itself (slightly) as Liz thinks back to her past relationships (really, Liz? Do we have to go over this again? I swear, every time this girl hooks up with somebody she goes and compares them to Todd.) Liz thinks about how she could have been with Bruce, but she was always in relationships and "the possibility of Elizabeth Wakefield cheating on anyone or anything was near impossible". I laughed SO hard reading that line. I guess FP skipped every Sweet Valley High book after the Jungle Prom. I believe Liz cheated on Todd at least 137 times in her junior year of high school alone. Where was the SV expert on that one?!?!
The kiss is super hot, and SarahLynn is more than a little jealous. They go upstairs to his bedroom and he unbuttons her blouse (what is with these SV girls and BLOUSES?) to reveal her "taut nipples". Ummm, ewww, thanks for that mental image. She waits for him to slip her skirt and thong (skank!) off of her body. Luckily, we're spared any further description of THAT. The best part is when Liz slips off Bruce's pants and reveals "his smooth, almost sculpted body, and his desire for her". HOTT!!!! Even if it is a Liz-Bruce fuck-fest, Naked Bruce is always appreciated :) They fuck, and the book ends there.

Oh wait, lucky for us there's a epilogue! It describes Jess and Todd's wedding. It's at the Country Club (yes, they actually let the Wakefields come back!) and everybody shows up for it. Jess's bridesmaids wear cream-colored dresses, but Liz wears a "deep blush" color (whatever that is...Google is showing me a coral pink color) and Bruce walks her down the aisle. He was added as an usher that morning, and I'm confused. Doesn't the Best Man walk the MOH down the aisle? I wonder who Todd's Best Man was...probably Ken Matthews, since that's the only character he seems to interact with in this phase. Jess wears a sequined, strapless gown and walks down the aisle to a song from Phantom Of The Opera because she's heard enough "Here Comes The Bride" in her first two weddings. (My walk-down-the-aisle song: "Butterfly" by Crazytown. Strange choice, I know, but that song is an all-time favorite. My first dance song: "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen.) The story ends with a paragraph about the wedding being fun, and much like any SVH dance. Apparently, SVH dances are not much different from real life. Yeah, I just drank some Jungle Juice from a paper cup and am now driving my lime green Triumph over to Big Mesa to stop my evil doppelganger from pushing somebody into a pool. Yep, just another day in the life of SarahLynn!!!
The book ends with a little French lesson for us: "Plus ca change, plus ca change pas", which Google tells me means "The more things change, the more they stay the same". Well, okay then! I'm sure that was intended to wrap everything up nicely for us, but there's STILL more to read, so I won't focus on that too much.

***SVH: Where Are They Now?***
Throughout the book, we got many, many updates on some of our favorite characters. I have made notes and complied them into their own section of this recap. They weren't really essential to the story, but it was nice to know how everybody ended up.
*Aaron Dallas: Went to Stanford and became a successful architect. He moved back to Sweet Valley (he had been living in San Francisco) to work for his uncle. The book mentions that he is a year younger than Steven Wakefield, but I seems to remember him being in 7th grade when Steven was in 9th and the twins were in 6th...but I'll let that slide.
*Steven Wakefield: Married Cara Walker and became a successful lawyer. He is about to be a partner at his law firm. He is the subject of much of Caroline Pearce's gossip these days because he has a reputation for being a cheating husband. Cara is oblivious to everything and spends hours baking. Steven's Big Secret is that he is GAY! Aaron is his lover (they chronical them re-meeting and falling in love, and there's some disturbing stuff about Steven repressing his sexuality in his teenage years...I believe it was something about him getting aroused in the showers back in high school. TMI!) and Jessica tells Cara everything. Steven leaves her and moves in with Aaron. They were both ushers in the wedding and are very much in love and hoping to get married, California laws pending.
*Cara Walker: Moved on after Steven. She went back to school (after giving up MIT for Steven) and still looks like she did in high school. She now has a successful boyfriend, and was able to forgive Steven. She is even speaking to Jessica again.
*Ken Matthews: I was right, Ken was Todd's Best Man. He is now a successful NFL quarterback, but he hasn't played this year because of an injury. Still, he's a very nice and very popular local celebrity. Two years ago, he married Lila Fowler. Six months ago, they separated. Ken still hangs out at their house all of the time.
*Lila Fowler: Lila dropped out of college after three years to become a model. After three months of trying, Lila got frustrated and quit modeling. She currently does not work (because she's RICH!) and has slightly augmented breasts (don't we all?!). Despite rumors that Ken has proposed to her again, she brought Jeffrey French to the wedding as her date.
*Jeffrey French: Lila only brought him to the wedding as a date because she lost him to Liz back in high school. She also wanted to make Ken jealous. Jeffrey is a successful dentist, but he bored Lila and she ditched him. He spent the evening dancing with DeeDee Gordon.
*DeeDee Gordon: DeeDee is an artist and is engaged, even though she STILL likes Bill Chase.
*Bill Chase: Looks amazing and gorgeous as always, despite losing his leg in a shark attack (I wish they had included a flashback to THAT). He now teaches handicapped kids how to surf in the Special Olympics. He is happily married to somebody named Lianne, who is a former WNBA player. She has a thing for Todd, and Bill got a little jealous so they had to leave early.
*Enid Rollins: Lucky for us, there's not a lot of Enid in this book! She is busy being a gynecologist after struggling with a drinking problem during her teenage years. She is extremely arrogant and right-wing, and she is running for city council. Because of this, she keeps her relationship with A.J. Morgan as much of a secret as possible.
*A.J. Morgan: A.J. dropped out of college after one week. He now sells Nikes at the shoe store in the Mall. That sounds like an AWESOME job to me, but Enid is a stuck-up bitch, so she can't be seen in public with him. She ignored him at the wedding, but everyone knows they had their own fuck-fest afterwards.
*Caroline Pearce: Caroline is now SV's most successful real estate broker. She has keys to everybody's houses, and they tolerate her because she is a cancer survivor. She has gained a few pounds since high school, and she has gone 21st-century with her gossip. She is referred to as the "Perez Hilton of Sweet Valley" (which I recall saying in a previous entry) and her website gets over 500 hits a day. Tomorrow's blog might be more interesting than the wedding.
*Bruce Patman: Bruce stayed by Liz's side for the entire wedding. His life is now complete, and nobody has ever seen him happier.
*Roger Barrett Patman: Roger looks the same as well. FP makes it a point to mention that Roger used to be so poor that he couldn't afford to take the bus to school, so he ran everywhere and became a track star. He inherited a shitload of money from Bruce's family when he turned 21. He became a Hollywood producer and has had a few minor hits, but it doesn't matter because he's still rich as hell and down-to-earth. He is married to a rock singer named Zoe Jones. She is just starting her career, but it promises to be a successful one. She performed at the wedding and was the second celebrity (Ken being the first), because all important weddings need at least one celebrity, and this one had two.
*Annie Whitman: Annie married some guy named Charlie Markus, and he saved her from being a slut somehow. I never read that book, so I have no idea what's up with that. She wore a dress that was too close to white to the wedding, and Jess was a little upset about it but she let it go. She brought her 2 year-old boy to the wedding, but Jessica did not let that pass. Annie is now a lawyer and she talks a lot. Charlie is a writer for an auto magazine, but he is in the process of writing a book about Annie.
*Betsey Martin: Betsey stopped doing drugs, but she is now a drinker and a major slut. She spent much of the wedding in the coatroom, but she cannot remember who she was with.
*Nickey Shepard: Nickey is another character that I don't remember. Apparently, he's now an AA recovery center teacher. He and his wedding date -another recovering alcoholic- spent the entire wedding lecturing guests who were drinking.
*Robin Wilson: Robin is now a successful caterer and food critic. She gained back a little of her weight, but she's successful now so it doesn't matter. She caterer Jess's wedding and the food was fabulous. She is married to a lawyer from Steven's office.
*George Warren: Represents a Silicon Valley company in England.

And, of course, THIS guy has to show up...
*Roger Collins: He quit teaching because of Suzanne Devlin (whoever that is)and now writes non-fiction books. His latest book has been on the bestseller list for 14 weeks. He has lived with the same woman for 8 years. They met when she was senior at SVH, but not in his class. (What is FP trying to say here, anyone?) His son is now named Sam. Sam is 19 and a junior at UCLA. (I could have sworn his name was Teddy, and he was younger than 8 years old in the SVH books...)

***Those Who Couldn't Attend:***
*Winston Egbert: Asshole extraordinaire, died on page 175.
*Regina Morrow: Heroically deaf, died from a heart murmur and "a party drug".
*Tricia Martin: The girl who made Steven not gay, died "bravely" of leukemia.
*Suzanne Devlin: Somebody I don't remember, accused Mr. Collins of molesting her, left, came back 6 years later as a changed person with MS. Died in a car crash after mixing champagne and medicine.

(No mention of Olivia Davidson or Crazy Margo or Sam Woodruff...Is it possible that they did NOT die? Basically, anyone who had any part in the Jungle Prom arc has been excluded... Conspiracy?!?! Cover-up?!?!)

***And, Last But Certainly Not Least: The Wakefields!!!***
*Ned and Alice: Ned is a senior partner in the biggest and most successful law firm in Sweet Valley. He is friends with the mayor, and the mayor was a guest at the wedding (of course he was!). Alice still looks like the twins' older sister. She has her own interior design firm, and she is also successful. She even paid for part of the elaborate wedding. Alice struggled with breast cancer, but she went through radiation and is still going strong. She and Ned are proud of all their children, but they still worry about Jessica. They approved of this marriage.
*Steven: Of course, Steven is happily in love with Aaron. He is hoping that this marriage works out for Jessica and that she has finally found true love. He hopes that someday his parents will have three sons-in-law.
*Elizabeth: Liz is crazy about Bruce. They may end up getting married soon...
and, most importantly,
Jessica made a luminous bride. She was happy and thrilled because she was slightly more radiant than Liz on her wedding day. She has finally found true love and is literally shining with happiness. (*cough* For now *cough*) In true Jessica fashion, she was 15 minutes late for her own wedding and her entire party had to wait. But, it was well worth it.

The End.

(Note: My wrap-up of this story will be posted later. Blogger is failing to autosave, so I need to publish this ASAP, lest I lose the last three hours of my life!!!)