Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Unicorn Club #3 - The Best Friend Game

Intro: Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? Life still hasn't returned to normal for me and it kind of really sucks right now, but I decided that my return has been postponed long enough. Please forgive me if this post is not up to my usual standards as I am not the same person I was 2 months ago. Also, I still have yet to buy my own laptop and the one I'm using SUCKS. Like big time. Hopefully I'm able to get this post published with minimal difficulty. Now, onto the real reason you're reading this...My triumphant return!!!!

Cover: This book was published in March of 1993, which is made painfully obvious by the outfits our beloved Unicorns are wearing. Those patterns are HIDEOUS!!!! Ewww. In a stunning nod to continuity, all of the girls are wearing the official club jackets they were given for their work on that stupid movie in book #2. In the background we have (from left to right) either Mandy or Lila (I'm guessing Mandy because I don't think Lila would ever wear such an ugly skirt, even in 1993), token black girl Maria, and some scary looking girl with frizzy hair. In the foreground we have one of the Wakefield twins (judging by the outfit I'm going with Liz) and some creeper guy who I'm assuming is the host of said Best Friend Game. I'm very concerned with where his right hand may be...

Flipping over, the back cover is narrated by Liz. Apparently there's a new club in town...The Eight Times Eight Club (aka- The Eights) and those bitches seem to be one-upping our beloved UC at just about everything these days. Oh snap, no they didn't!!!! DAMN!!!! The Unicorns hate them and it seems the two clubs will soon be competing against each other on some stupid game show...

Story: We begin with Liz telling us how much she loves mystery novels, and that she once got a B in her second grade class. This book is already boring the hell out of me and I'm only like 2 pages in...sigh. I MISS BRUCE!!!! Why wasn't he in any of the UC books? Anyways, as I mentally add a few paragraphs about the overall greatness that is B-Pattz, Liz babbles on about the Unicorn Club and basically recaps books 1 and 2 for us. I wish I had read this book first and spared myself the headaches of that stupid Maria book!!! Luckily, it's been awhile since I read books 1 and 2 so I am forced to pay attention. It seems the UC still has yet to replace Mr. Clarks toupee that they destroyed in book 1, so they're still trying to raise that damn $300. In the meantime, they've come up with a few very stupid solutions (ie. a video advertising spray-on hair).

Luckily, we are soon spared from that lame subplot and the real story surfaces. It seems some bitch named Amanda Harmon (who?) has started a new club at SVMS. It's a group of 8 eigth-graders that call themselves the Eight Times Eight Club. But apparently this isn't TOO important right now because the UC quickly abandons their hate session to watch their new favorite game show- The Best Friend Game. It's some crappy cable access show on channel 32. Two teams of up to eight players go head-to-head answering questions about their BFFs. The Unicorns are all obsessed with watching this crap, and they freak out when the host (Brandon Blitzen) announces that the show is looking for contestants. All they have to do is write an essay about their clique. I think you know who gets roped into writing that...

Liz quickly knocks out the essay. Of course, she makes sure to mention Mandy's 48-page battle with cancer, and the fact that Evie is Asian. She also discusses Maria's movie career, and mentions that Mary lives with her adopted family. If memory serves, Mary's mother returned BEFORE she could be adopted. I guess she abandoned Mary again. Poor girl. Liz quickly mails the essay (e-mail woulb have been faster, hun...) and the waiting begins.

To pass the time, Liz and Jess go to the daycare center and visit the poor disadvantaged children that frequent it. Jess has a fun idea for the following weekend- taking the little brats to the SVMS football game!!! Because this is Sweet Valley, 4 of the parents are allowing their children to go to this game under the supervision of the world's most irresponsible 13 year-old... This is going to end REAL well, I'm sure.

I'm assuming that all of the story thus far took place on a Friday, because the story picks up again on a Monday morning at SVMS. Jess and Lila waste no time bragging to the Eights about how they're going to be on TV. Liz reminds them that they haven't been selected yet. But Jess and Li don't care, they've lived in Sweet Valley their entire lives and they are well-aware that they WILL be chosen. That's just how life works in SV, duh Liz!!! The book gives us a little more detail about those damn Eights- they always dress exactly alike. They have matching plaid shirts and plaid scrunchies in their hair. How 1993 of them!!!

On Thursday, the UC is notified that they have been selected for the show, and they immediately begin to work on building their knowledge of one another. We learn some "interesting" favorite food trivia facts here, such as:

*Liz's favorite food is pineapple upside-down cake (I started to mark this as a continuity error here- see my "JFK" entry- but it's quickly explained that Liz learned to love pineapple in a cooking class she took the year before)
*Jess loves chocolate mousse
*Ellen likes banana chocolate chip ice cream
*Lila, of course, is more sophisticated. Her favorite is pesto spinach pizza.

We also learn a few of the girls' astrological signs:

*Maria- Capricorn
*Ellen- Pisces
*Mary- Aries
*Lila- Leo
(Of course, as soon as someone brings up Liz and Jess's birthday, they subject is quickly changed and we are left to speculate on our own.)

As luck would have it, the UC soon discovers that the Eights have also been selected to appear on the show. The Unicorns are pissed, so they blow off steam by shopping for purple outfits to wear with their club jackets. (Yet I see NO purple clothing under said jackets in the cover pic...WTF.) Liz also decides to promote the Unicorn's appearance on the show by writing an article for the school newspaper. The rest of the UC is upset that she also has to include the Eights in her article to avoid being accused of media bias. Lila handles this matter by calling in a favor and getting an article published on the front page of the local section of the Sweet Valley newspaper. There's even a giant photo of Lila to go along with it. HA!!! I love Lila. The Eights are pissed, natch, and they retailiate by slapping 8 ball stickers all over the SVMS locker rooms. This infuriates the UC because, if you recall, they're still on probation for the toupee incident, and a stunt like that might make the principal re-reconsider his decision to allow social clubs to form on school grounds. OH NO!!!! If I were a Unicorn, those Eights would get quite the talking to after school let out...maybe that's why I was not invited to join. The principal is also still bitching about his toupee money, so the UC quickly cleans up the mess made by the Eights.

The following day is the day of the football game. SVMS is playing -wait for it- BIG MESA!!!! NOOO!!! I hope there's not a rumble on the football field. I'm imagining that there will be, and those poor kids from the daycare center will be caught in the middle of it. But luckily this is still middle school and the worst drama that happens involves the Eights passing out their own special edition of the school newspaper featuring an article about their appearance on the show. Jess is so pissed about this that she manages to lose two of the children she is supervising. (Hands up if this surprises you...) Jess runs around the field in a panic, but she finds the kids before halftime starts. As she's leading them back to the group, the Eights run out onto the field and perform a special halftime cheer. Everybody applauds and is in complete awe of how awesome the Eights are, and the UC has finally had enough!!! They decide that the MUST beat the Eights (on the show, of course...damn, I was hoping for some sort of rumble) and Liz is positive that it can be accomplished. All the Unicorns have to do is practice nonstop...

To gain support, the UC hangs banners all over the school. Of course, the Eights also have banners. This leads to a standoff, and a bet is proposed. The losing club must perform "Puff the Maic Dragon" in front of the entire school!!! Awesome, I LOVED that song when I was a kid, and everytime I hear it now I think of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents. ("You a pothead, Focker?" Haha, NetFlix it if you haven't been fortunate enough to see it!!!) Apparently both clubs consider this humilitaing for some reason, probably because they're all too absorbed in their Johnny Buck and Melody Powers cassettes to appreciate a true classic...

Finally, game show day is upon us!!! Ned and Alice show up at the studio for the taping, along with Steven and some of his friends. Yes, HIGH SCHOOL BOYS!!!! Plus, a bunch of the Unicorns' other friends are in the audience. (Wait, they have OTHER FRIENDS?!?! Who??? Bruce??? Please, please, let him show up. I miss him terribly!!!) Of course, the Eights have also brought their own supporters, AND they have matching t-shirts. Those bitches!!!! I despise them. Go Unicorns!!!

Brandon Blitzen starts the show by pairing everybody up with their own teammates and the questions begin. Because this is confusing as hell in my notes, I'm charting this out for you. We'll begin with who is being ASKED the question, followed by their answer and follow it up with the real answers in parenthesies).

*Liz, Question: What is Jessica's definition of happiness?, Answer: Shopping in Beverly Hills with Johnny Buck. (A happy, safe family...awww)
*Lila, Question: If Ellen were stranded on a desert island, what one item would she bring?, Answer: A CD player. (In typical Ellen fashion, Ellen asks WHY she is being sent to this island, and then responds with FOOD. See, she's not completely stupid, although I would have gone with a BOAT or an airplane, but that's just me.)
*Mandy, Question: What is Mary's idea of a perfect date?, Answer: Someone preppy, because Mary is preppy. (A nice person is Mary's response...well, I should hope so!!!!)
*Maria, Question: What is Evie's prized possession?, Answer: Her violin. (It's actually her grandmother's store. Evie is such a sweetie!!!)

Obviously, that round was an epic fail. It kind of pisses me off nonetheless because the questions were SOOOO general and vauge!!! Not to mention TYPICAL as hell. How does this show get ratings?!?!

On the opposite side of the stage, the Eights dominate the round and answer every question correctly. The Unicorns decide that they need to pick the most obvious, generic answers for the following round. It fails epically, and the score stands at 95-0 after the first two rounds. The final question involves Liz having to answer a question about what rating (1-10) Jess would give to the food in the school cafeteria. WTF on that, this show sucks!!! I'm changing the channel...oh wait, this is a BOOK. Damnit!!! Jess tries to cheat and tap out the answer but Liz refuses to cheat and she gets it wrong. Jess freaks out because the Unicorns look like complete idiots and the Eights win the grand prize of $25 to spend at some CD store. (Wait, $25 each, or $25 total? I'm confused...oh wait, who cares, it's finally over!!!!) In consolation, the UC receives some soap and shampoo samples and a free dinner at some place called Weird Wally's. It's described as a clown-themed restraunt that caters to little kids. Oh, the shame!!! The whole club is upset, and this leads to them all getting in some stupid fight about how they suck at being best friends or whatever. Sigh, at least it's better than the last book. I wanted to bitchslap Maria when she was wallowing in her bedroom!!!

In typical Liz fashion, Liz goes home and cries. Eventually, she gets her composure back and begins to realize that the Eights got every question correct because they are all shallow, and shallow people are incapable of independant thought. Or some shit, I honestly stopped caring like forever ago!!! Basically, the Eights are all lemmings, and the Unicorns are all just sooo individual. Liz is all like "Who cares if Lila is a Taurus? We're best friends because we SUPPORT each other, not because we try to imitate each other..." (Damn you, writers, Lila is a LEO, you told me this and I AM taking notes!!! How can you mess up the continuity like that?!?!) Either way, lesson learned, and this shit can wrap up anytime...please, it's Saturday night and I have places to be!!!! Oh, the things I do for my readers (assuming I have any left after my absense!!!!).

The following day, the Unicorns avoid each other as much as possible. Liz tries to reason with everyone, but even Mandy blows her off. Not helping the situation any, a group of boys stages a "Worst Enemies" show in the cafeteria at lunchtime. Basically they really only make fun of Ellen, which infuriates me to no end!!!! I actually like her...those guys are total douchebags, IMHO. The Eights approach Liz and demand to hear "Puff the Magic Dragon", and Liz promises to deliver a performance on Monday.

School ends, and we pick back up the folowing morning. Conveniently, the Unicorns had previously volunteered to run some sort of open house at the daycare center. (Sidenote: What kind of establishment allows a group of 13 year-olds to oversee an operation such as this? I could see this happening in Stoneybrook, but this is NOT a BSC book, and I am beginning to wonder if the writers are aware of this. I miss the OLD Unicorn Club!!!! They would NEVER waste their precious Saturdays doing this shit!!!) Because all of the kids will be there, Liz finds it imperative that the Unicorns put aside their differences and band together so the kids aren't upset. Because, if you recall, those daycare center brats rallied to save the club back in book 1...again, biting the BSC, damn!!! So Liz goes on Def-con and somehow manages to talk Mandy into calling an emergency meeting. Everybody shows up, but nobody bothers to put any effort into their appearance, so you know they just don't care!!! Nobody is wearing anything purple, OMFG!!!! They all act like total bitches to each other and argue some more about why they lost. Liz eventually convinces them that they are still best friends, because their differences are what make each of them special. And, since the Eights are all essentially the same person, the Eights suck. Whatever, I was over this like 2 chapters ago. Liz fixes the situation, and then the Unicorns realize that they still have to hold up their end of the bet. Luckily, Liz has a plan for that as well... MODERNIZATION!!!! They're going to perform a RAP version, complete with a dance!!!! Leave it to Liz to ruin what might have been the ONLY enjoyable moment of this book. Bitch.

Monday arrives, and the Eights start the day by harassing the Unicorns about their obligation. The Unicorns fake distress and whine about how humiliating it is and how tough the song was to learn. The Eights laugh at them, but they are quickly silenced when the Unicorns enter the cafeteria rocking sideways purple hats with green dragons on them. (Were those hats made by Ed Hardy? I think so.) The Unicorns launch right into their routine and everybody loves it. People actually stand up and start dancing to the beat. Only in Sweet Valley!!!! The Eights slink out of the caf in defeat and the Unicorns all congratulate each other on a fabulous performance.

Unfortunately, Mr. Clark is waiting outside the cafeteria. He is still on that toupee thing (seriously? It's been 2 whole books dude, get over it!!!), and he drags the Unicorns into his office for a little chat. Amazingly, he then reveals that all of their stupid alternative suggestions for curing his baldness have led him to the revelation that bald is beautiful. He no longer feels the need to hide it, so he agrees to let them off the hook. Well, not entirely...he wants $100 from them. But he plans to use the money to fund a beach volleyball court AND the Unicorns will get a plaque informing all future students that they sponsored it. Way to re-enforce their negative behavior, guy.

The book concludes with the Unicorns leaving the office. They're still BFFs and it's all good (for now) so the story can end anytime now... On the way back to class, Lila announces that she's going to the daycare center after school to visit her favorite child, Ellie. Liz hears this and begins to think about the time that Ellie ran away to Lila's mansion... Thus setting up book 4, which I do not own, but I DO remember reading it!!! It was a favorite, actually, so if anyone has a copy feel free to send it my way :)

Conclusion: Seriously, could I have chosen a more boring book to recap?!?! Probably not, but at least I finally got a recap posted!!!! Hopefully I will be buying my new laptop within the next week or so, which will allow me to post at my normal rate again!!!! I missed this more than you will ever know, and I thank you for sticking by me during all of this. I have no shortage of appreciation for all of you guys, and I hope I was able to entertain you.