July 27, 2014
Summary: Brandon narrates for us the fact that the gang has now graduated from college. Then he gives us an overview of their summer activities. Donna went to confession to admit she lost her virginity, but kept it quiet from Felice. Valerie got a job (which didn’t last) and put blond streaks in her hair (which did). Steve was hired as KEG’s alumni advisor, but the job didn’t pay much. Kelly moved in with Brandon.
And now, the present! Brandon’s desperate for a newspaper job but can’t even get hired to write obituaries. Kelly finds cards from Tracy in one of Brandon’s drawers, and Brandon quickly reminds her that he broke up with Tracy for Kelly, so there’s no reason to be jealous. Kelly points out that he didn’t have to keep mementos. Valerie accidentally adds to the tension by commenting on how pretty Kelly has made the bedroom (which Brandon doesn’t seem to appreciate).
Over at the beach apartment, David and Donna’s honeymoon appears to be over. She wants him to move in, but she wants them to have separate bedrooms. Donna blames it on Felice, saying she doesn’t want to upset her mother. David isn’t willing to be his girlfriend’s roommate – either they live together and share a room, or he lives somewhere else.
At the Walshes’, everyone’s unemployed two months post-graduation, though Val claims to have a new “executive” job. Steve’s still able to pay his rent, though. Valerie perks up when she learns that he has a savings account. Kelly asks Steve to take Erin to her soccer game, like, of all of the people on this show, Steve is the last person I’d think of to be responsible for my little sister.
Donna collects her allowance from her father, who’s mostly recovered from his stroke. He also has a lead on a job as a second assistant stylist. Brandon thinks he and Kelly should go on vacation, but she actually has a job (at some foundation) that starts the next week. Also, they don’t have money, so how would they pay for this vacation? Brandon throws away all his Tracy stuff, then pulls some pictures back out to look at. Kelly catches him.
Steve hangs out at Erin’s soccer game, offering tips to a kid named Zach. His mother, Carly, objects to her child talking to strangers. Steve’s like, “What’s wrong with a kid chatting with a strange man who doesn’t even have a child in this soccer game I’m attending?” He tells Carly that Zach’s father should teach him to stick up for himself. Carly calls Steve a jerk. After she and Zach leave, Erin informs Steve that Zach doesn’t have a father.
Donna is invited to meet with someone about the assistant position. Meanwhile, David works at the After Dark, which is having financial problems. He’s also keeping all his stuff in his office until he figures out where he’s living. Donna suggests that he stay on her parents’ boat if he’s not going to move into the beach apartment. On their way home from the soccer game, Steve encounters Carly having car trouble and offers his help. She’s not interested, though he knows what he’s talking about. Oh, just make out already.
Kelly and Donna go shopping and discuss whether Donna and David should rush into living together. Kelly admits that shacking up with Brandon isn’t as great as she expected. She mentions the Tracy stuff, and Donna laughs at her because she probably has some of Dylan’s stuff lying around. They learn that Valerie’s “executive” job is spritzing perfume at the mall, and Kelly promises not to tell anyone, which means everyone will know in two hours.
Speaking of secrets, David complains to Brandon and Steve about how Donna hasn’t told her parents they had sex. Brandon points out that Donna must already feel guilty for having premarital sex, and she doesn’t want her parents to make her feel any guiltier. David sees Donna stalling as a lack of commitment. Brandon tells him that living with his girlfriend isn’t 100 percent awesome. He thinks he’ll try to smooth things over with Kelly by throwing her a surprise birthday party.
Kelly and Donna pick up Donna’s birth control at a drugstore, and guess who else is there? Felice! Oh, the irony! Kelly quickly covers, saying the pills are hers. Later, Donna goes to her job interview, which is now for a first assistant instead of a second one. She’d be helping out on a swimsuit catalog shoot with a famous photographer…in Honolulu. Donna gets the job easily, but the interviewer feels ill and jets off soon after hiring her.
The guys spend a boring night at the After Dark, thought at least Steve likes the waitresses’ new uniforms (which Donna designed). Valerie shows up and slams David for screwing up an alcohol order, which resulted in a lack of white wine. Steve hits on a waitress who tells him she’s not allowed to date customers. He tells her he’ll talk to David and get him to make an exception.
Valerie apologizes to David, then warns that if he doesn’t ramp things up, the club will go under, and soon. She proposes that she buy back in and they work together the way they used to. David won’t accept if it means hurting his relationship with Donna. Donna arrives and announces that she’s going to Hawaii for a photo shoot. She wants David to come along, and he invites the rest of the gang to come, too. Steve decides to use his “emergency fund” to pay everyone’s way. Val says she’s too busy to go.
But at the house the next day, Valerie ambushes Steve in the shower to ask him to loan her money for the trip. He agrees, as long as they share a room. She insists that they’re not going to hook up again like they did the night of their graduation party (twice), and bargains him down to separate beds in the same room.
Kelly tries to get Brandon to help her pick out wallpaper for their room, getting mad when he tells her he really doesn’t care. He knows she’s really just upset about his Tracy mementos. Valerie pops in to announce that she’s going on the trip, and she super-hopes Kelly can come along. Kelly can’t, so Brandon says he’ll stay home, too. Kelly tells him to go since they clearly need some time apart.
Steve goes out with the waitress, who’s too dumb even for him. Guess who their waitress is? Carly! Steve’s date thinks she’s rude, Carly thinks she’s dumb, and everyone’s right, but Carly’s the only one who gets in trouble. “I think she likes me,” Steve says after Carly dumps a drink in his lap. The day everyone leaves for Hawaii, Brandon still hasn’t 100 percent decided if he’s going. He’s sorry that he’ll have to miss Kelly’s birthday. Kelly encourages him to go, then cries when he leaves.
Thoughts: Yes, friends, we’ve reached the Hilary Swank episodes.
’90s music alert: Foo Fighters’ “Monkey Wrench.”
Poor Erin. Her parents, brother, and sister all ditch her soccer game and send her with her siblings’ friend.
Are the Martins paying the full rent on the three-bedroom beach apartment? Maybe Donna should move into a smaller place?
Steve, trying to guess where Donna’s going: “Borneo?” Brandon: “Burma!” Steve: “Why’d you say that?” Brandon: “I don’t know. I panicked.” Sometimes Brandon makes me laugh (on purpose).
Wish I could just jet off to Hawaii whenever I felt like it. “Oh, you’re going to Hawaii? I think I’ll tag along.” Maybe I just need richer friends.
July 26, 2014
Summary: Apparently Charlie didn’t tell his lawyer that Daphne moved back in, because she shows up at the house ready to move on his case. The lawyer has already investigated Daphne and gives Charlie her findings, advising him to take a look. He puts the findings in a drawer without reading them. Ned runs into Julia at a movie and starts chatting with her, not realizing she’s there on a date with Josh. The guys are still uneasy around each other.
Claudia does homework with some new friends, who then consider sneaking out that night. They’re not sure how to do it without getting caught, but Claudia knows the exact route they could take. Now that Mr. and Mrs. Reeves are divorcing, they’re moving out of their apartment, which means Sarah has to figure out what to do with her things. She winds up taking it all to her and Bailey’s place, lamenting that she feels like she no longer has a home.
Charlie and Daphne attend a birthing class but clearly don’t have the same emotional connection to each other or the baby that the other parents have. After seeing a horror movie, Julia tells Josh that she didn’t find any of it affecting, since she knows it’s all special effects. (I hope this is an inside joke about Neve Campbell doing the Scream movies.) He tries to kiss her, but she’s not ready for that step yet.
Claudia and her friends successfully sneak out, but get caught sneaking back in. One of the girls, Hallie, pretends she’s going to the infirmary with a nosebleed, and their dorm supervisor buys it. Charlie and Daphne go to a doctor’s appointment and are offered the chance to find out if they’re having a boy or a girl. Daphne wants to wait, but Charlie wants to know, so he talks to the doctor privately.
Sarah tries to track down Robin, but she seems to have vanished. They stayed in touch for a while after Robin left town, but in the past few months their communication died off. Bailey suggests that Sarah contact her theater company. Julia meets up with Griffin to give him some mail and learns that Charlie offered to let him move back into the “guest cottage” while he looks for a place to live. Julia babbles about finding it hard to move on from marriage, but Griffin’s already dating again.
Sarah meets with Robin’s theater director (I guess), while backstage, Bailey finds a memorial plaque with Robin’s name on it. At the house, Charlie shares the baby’s sex with Kirsten, warning her not to tell Daphne. Kirsten thinks Daphne wants to be surprised, but Charlie knows it’s because she hasn’t connected with becoming a mother yet.
Bailey points out to a grieving Sarah that at least she got the chance to meet her birth mother. Sarah wishes she’d been more appreciative of what she had. Daphne’s home sick, which means Kirsten has to deal with her while she watches Owen (so…is she Owen’s nanny again or what?). Kirsten accidentally lets slip that the baby’s a girl.
Sarah gets Robin’s parents’ address and decides to pay them a visit, though Bailey thinks that’s a bad idea. Sarah wants to know who her father is, and Bailey says that they won’t tell her, since Robin never did. He knows she wants her grandparents’ love, but if they never looked for her before, she might be disappointed. Sarah snaps at him for not supporting her.
Claudia’s friend Parker wants to sneak out again, but Claudia’s more interested in finishing Sense and Sensibility. Sarah meets her grandfather (her grandmother’s dead), who wants nothing to do with her, and can’t even be sure she’s telling the truth about being Robin’s daughter. He definitely isn’t going to offer up any hints as to who her father is. Sarah will have to star in her own failed spin-off to find that out for herself! She asks for something of Robin’s that she can have.
Griffin helps Charlie move his stuff out of the “guest cottage” so Griffin can move back in. Charlie’s worried that Julia will stop by and see Griffin with another girl, but Griffin promises he won’t have any guests over. I certainly hope Charlie’s charging him rent, because this living arrangement is beyond ridiculous, and he should at least get some money out of it.
Josh brings Julia flowers, and she rants about how he’s the first person to ever buy her any. When she calms down, they almost kiss. She gives him the old “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse, then complains that Griffin’s already moved on. Josh thinks she’s talking about Ned. Julia tells him she lied about having a relationship with Ned, and that that means she’s horrible and he shouldn’t want to be with her. Josh is fine with whatever she’s done as long as she’s not lying about her gender.
Daphne’s mad at Charlie for telling Kirsten they’re having a girl, but he argues that he wanted to tell someone who would be happy. He tries to use the opportunity to talk about their future daughter. He’d liked to name the baby Diana, after his mother. Daphne has bad associations with the name, and Charlie asks her to get over it. Daphne refuses, asking if she gets a vote. Charlie says that it actually matters to him; “the person who cares the most should win.” Ouch.
Later, Charlie shares the baby news with Bailey, who teases that he’s going to have to deal with dolls and pierced ears and hickeys. Charlie brings up the name; Bailey likes the idea of there being another Diana Salinger in the world. When he gets home, Sarah tells him that he was right to be wary about how her grandfather would react to her finding him. She came away from their meeting with nothing.
Parker and Hallie are cold to Claudia, and she tells them that she doesn’t see boarding school the same way they do. They’re all enjoying their freedom and being away from their parents. Claudia, however, never had rules, and her parents weren’t around to be strict with her, so she has nothing to rebel against. She’s fine with having fun, but they don’t have to break rules all the time. Parker and Hallie understand.
At the house, Charlie tries to get Daphne to realize that despite her lack of connection to the baby so far, she’s going to be a mother in nine weeks. He extends an olive branch, and she attempts to compromise. Bailey and Sarah go to city hall (I guess) and she changes her name to Sarah Reeves Merrin. Now she has something of her mother’s to hold onto.
Hallie and Parker bring Claudia a treat from their latest sneak-out, then talk about the guys they met. At Stanford, Julia complains to Ned about how Josh reacted when she came clean about her lies. He advises her to kiss someone so she’ll start to acknowledge that things are over with Griffin. Also, Ned volunteers as tribute. “Now it all gets easier,” he tells her as they start making out. Yes, hooking up with your roommate’s boyfriend will definitely make Julia’s life better.
Charlie and Daphne attend another birthing class, which means it’s ironic when she starts having contractions. “This isn’t supposed to happen,” the teacher says. Thanks for your help, teach. I’m sure that baby will keep that in mind.
Thoughts: Hallie is played by Joanna Garcia. Sarah’s grandfather is played by character actor Eddie Jones; I took a break in the middle of this episode and watched some of A League of Their Own, which he’s also in.
Why is Charlie letting the guy who cheated on his sister stay on his property?
Sarah to Bailey: “Maybe it’s because you have nobody and I have the possibility of somebody.” WHAT? Is what you’re saying, “Maybe you’re jealous because your parents are dead and I might still have a grandfather”? Shut up, Sarah.
I’m kind of on Daphne’s side about the baby’s name. I understand it’s important to Charlie, but if Daphne doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to use it. It’s her child, too. How about Mrs. Salinger’s middle name, or a character from a book she liked?
Bailey’s idea of a nightmare boyfriend for his future niece: “A guy named Meat – and that’s not even his nickname.” Hee!
Claudia’s so cute and ’90s with her men’s shirt and mini-skirt and Steve Maddens.
July 22, 2014
Summary: Julia Reynolds is a big movie star with auburn hair, so I think we’re supposed to see her as a version of Julia Roberts. The biggest difference between them is that Julia Roberts is alive, and Julia Reynolds will soon be dead.
This Julia is starring in a movie called Deadly Impact, which is supposed to come out in a few months but still needs some work. The movie is being produced by New Vision Studios, though Julia previously had a contract with Mammoth Pictures. She broke the contract to work with New Vision, and a guy named Ronald Bishop, who works for Mammoth, is ticked. So ticked that he wants to kill Julia to send a message to any other actors who might want to leave Mammoth for New Vision. He hires a guy named Pierce to do his dirty work. (There’s also a whole conspiracy here involving the police and the governor, but it’s pretty underdeveloped, so I’ll just skip it. Just know that this is a Big Deal.)
Pierce gets himself on the movie set, and happens to be there the same day Julia’s doing a dangerous stunt that involves jumping out of a window. What are the odds?? Before they do the jump, movie star Matt Barron (who happens to be Julia’s fiancé) notices a problem with the air mattress Julia’s supposed to land on. While everyone’s waiting for the mattress to be fixed or replaced, Julia jumps. Clearly, Pierce signaled her that it was time, but everyone thinks she committed suicide.
Everyone except Elizabeth Wakefield, that is. One of her journalism-class assignments is to write about something currently in the news. Elizabeth picks the story of Julia’s death, since Jessica is a big Julia fan. Liz somehow puts together the entire conspiracy, which means either she’s super-smart or the conspirators are super-dumb. Matt is also suspicious, especially since he found a letter Julia wrote to her mother, talking about how happy she is to be getting married, which isn’t really an action a suicidal woman would perform.
Elizabeth’s professor loves her paper and passes it along to an old reporter friend. Somehow it winds up in Bishop’s hands, which means everyone who read the paper needs to die. He kills the professor with a mail bomb and sends Pierce to shoot the reporter. Liz smells another conspiracy, but since the police are in Bishop’s pocket, they’re not helpful. In fact, one of them tells Bishop where Elizabeth is going to be so he can kill her. Bishop tags in Pierce to assassinate Elizabeth, but Pierce mistakes Jessica for her and shoots at the wrong twin. Also, Pierce thinks Jessica is too pretty to die and misses on purpose. Awww, what a nice murderer.
The twins are smart enough to know that they should maybe lie low, so they hide out in a motel while they figure out their next step. They consider changing their appearances, but Jessica objects to the color of the hair dye Elizabeth buys, so that doesn’t go anywhere. I’d suggest that Liz dye her hair alone anyway; identical twins are going to be memorable, but if the girls look different, people might ignore them. Eh, whatever.
While this is going on, Matt is contacted by his very own Deep Throat, a guy named Gomez who tells him that Liz is on to the conspiracy. Matt hits the road while Pierce tries to track the girls down and kill both of them. They realize they’re being watched and go out the window of a diner, just like in Wanted for Murder. They then run into Matt and mistake him for the killer. Elizabeth contacts Tom so he can meet them in Santa Monica and give them some stuff to take on the run with them. Matt overhears the location of the meet-up and heads to Santa Monica as well.
Eventually the twins and Matt all figure out they’re on the same side and team up. Matt is, of course, drawn to Jessica, despite the fact that his fiancée was buried, like, two days ago. He tells the twins that another actress, Candice, may be Bishop’s next target, since she’s considering ditching Mammoth for New Vision. Matt and Elizabeth send Jessica to the set of Candice’s new movie to keep an eye on her, and there’s a sort of fun section where Jess is picked for a walk-on role in the movie and she has a big freak-out because she’s so nervous. But then Candice gets jealous of her youth and beauty, or something, and has her fired. There goes Jess’ big break.
Gomez arranges a meeting with Matt, but when he and the twins arrive, Gomez is dead. They find a gold Mammoth Pictures pen on him and decide that he must have been an executive. After some research, they get his real name, Gilbert Bradley, and go talk to his widow. Somewhere in here, Elizabeth calls Tom to give him an update, but Pierce has bugged Tom’s phone (of…course?) and tries to intercept her when she goes to a mall to meet Tom. Tom awesomely leaps at the guy and helps Elizabeth escape.
Bradley’s wife gives Jessica and Matt a key to her husband’s safe-deposit box, which contains a letter outlining Bishop’s conspiracy. The next actor on Bishop’s list is Philip Markham, and Pierce is supposed to kill him at the Oscars the next night. Matt gets Elizabeth a job escorting the winners off-stage, and invites Jessica to be his date. I’m sure the press won’t find it strange that a guy whose fiancée died less than a week ago is taking a hot 18-year-old to the Oscars. As Elizabeth and Tom make tapes outlining the conspiracy, which Tom will give to reporters (in case Elizabeth is killed), Pierce poses as a cameraman to get admission to the Oscars.
On the big night, Markham wins an Oscar, and as Elizabeth is taking him off-stage, Pierce starts shooting. Liz jumps on him, but there’s some confusion in the middle of the chaos, and she ends up with the gun, making the police think she’s the shooter. Yeah, because millions of people weren’t just watching her and would have noticed if she’d opened fire. Elizabeth is briefly arrested, but Tom saves the day with her tape, and the truth about the conspiracy comes out. Pierce confesses, so enjoy prison for killing a bunch of people. The ending is kind of anticlimactic, but at least Jessica gets to briefly make out with a grieving movie star we’ll probably never hear another word about.
Thoughts: Everyone thinks Julia killed herself – only Jessica thinks her death might have been accidental. But that seems a lot more likely, considering the circumstances and the fact that Julia hadn’t displayed any suicidal behavior. Wouldn’t an accident be more likely than murder, too?
Elizabeth researches and writes her paper in two days, and it’s 30 pages long. First of all, no. That’s impossible. Second, I bet her classmates hate her.
Since when does Jessica eat things like sprouts and fried zucchini? And who puts sprouts on a burger?
When you’re on the run and probably don’t have easy access to a lot of money, maybe you shouldn’t be spending what you do have on Skee Ball and cotton candy.
Elizabeth: “You can’t hide from an FBI agent.” There’s a whole list of most-wanted fugitives that says you’re wrong.
There is absolutely no way an actor was nominated for an Oscar for a movie called Carnivore II – Medium Rare. Shut up, ghostwriter.
July 20, 2014
Summary: It’s graduation time! Brandon’s late, having run off to save Valerie. Clare’s graduating summa cum laude, and is also 45 minutes away from being out of our lives forever. Donna wants to get David on board with not staying out too late that night (since she plans to have sex with him). Clare warns Steve not to do anything that will embarrass her father, and Steve’s like, “Why are you still here?” The Walshes may be missing, but all Taylors and Martins are in attendance.
Brandon goes to the Shangri-La and learns that Valerie has already checked out (possibly in more than one sense of the phrase). Meanwhile, the graduation ceremony starts, and Kelly blames Valerie for Brandon’s absence. Valerie’s still standing on a bluff, so Brandon gets to be her white knight. He talks her out of jumping and promises to deal with the Kelly situation after graduation.
They arrive at the ceremony as Chancellor Arnold is quoting Robert Frost and telling the graduates to take risks. Brandon gets a symbolic diploma for being awesome, though if he’s graduating, why is his diploma symbolic? The graduates turn their tassels, everyone applauds, and Steve sets off the confetti cannons.
Despite being asked by Valerie not to say anything, Brandon tells Kelly what happened when they get home. She thinks Val faked being suicidal to get attention. Brandon can’t be sure, so he’s decided to let Valerie stay in the house. Downstairs, Steve and Valerie discuss Clare, who plans to spend the evening with her father since he’s heading to Paris the next day. Steve admits that he thinks Clare believes the chancellor’s leaving the country because Samantha dumped him.
Over at the beach apartment, Clare tells Donna that she’s having trouble with all the changes in her life. Donna promises that Chancellor Arnold and Steve will love her no matter what happens. David’s tired and wants to skip the party Bill’s throwing, but Donna talks him into going. Clare also wants to stay home, telling Steve that she’s also going to Paris, so her dad doesn’t have to be alone. Steve interprets this as, “I’m going so I don’t have to be with you anymore.”
David is nice to Valerie, telling her he was worried about her earlier. Clare chases after Steve to tell him that her father needs her more than Steve does. Steve reminds her that her father is her past; he’s supposed to be her future. Clare invites him to come to Paris, too, but Steve knows he belongs in Beverly Hills. He also knows he won’t handle a long-distance relationship well, so they’ll need to break up. YES! FINALLY! Ahem. I mean, so sad. I really wish those two had been able to make it work.
Everyone else dresses up in ’20s clothes and goes to Bill’s party. David plans to talk to the Cardigans’ manager after the party, which means Donna has to delay sex. Ryan and Austin try to talk their way into the party, getting an assist from Joy. David and Brandon talk about Valerie, agreeing not to let others in on what happened. Brandon laments that his good deed has gotten him in trouble.
Kelly tries to calm Donna’s sex-related nerves, then acts like a killjoy when Bill tries to get her to be enthusiastic about the party in front of everyone. The Cardigans perform “Love Fool” (of course – no one knows any of their other songs). Steve drowns his sorrows, telling Brandon that if he thought there was any chance he could convince Clare to stay, he’d be off trying to convince her. Later, Valerie joins Steve at the bar.
David wants to leave the party early, saying again that he’s sorry; apparently he’s not meeting with the Cardigans’ manager after all. Donna’s on the verge of losing her nerve about sex, but when David assures her that he loves her, she knows she’s making the right choice. Brandon encourages Kelly to spend some time with Bill while he’s in town, so she goes to talk to him. He tells her he wants to be back in her life. She still doesn’t trust him and won’t be won over with just a party.
Kelly storms out and tells Brandon that some things can’t be fixed. She’s mad that he’s been on Bill’s side so much. Brandon says that if she’s that mad, she shouldn’t move in with him. Well, I guess that solves that problem! While Donna and David head home for sex (though he doesn’t know that’s what she has planned), Austin hits on Joy. Ryan gets him to leave by telling him Steve has another girl picked out for him.
Kelly wants to leave, but passive-aggressively tells Brandon she doesn’t know where to go, since Donna’s reserved the beach apartment for sex. Brandon doesn’t give in, so Kelly apologizes for being a jerk. He tells her to let her father love her. Austin goes looking for Steve, who hasn’t picked out a girl for his brother – he’s picked out Valerie for himself, and they’re secretly having sex in some room.
Donna tries to get David to leave her alone for a little while so she can get herself all prettied up. Back at the party, Joy and Bill say goodbye to each other. Kelly makes up with her father, but they don’t have much time to celebrate: Bill has to leave with some federal marshals. Tomorrow, he’s going to jail for fraud and embezzlement. So…that’s probably not going to be good for their relationship.
Kelly must be in a benevolent mood, because she’s willing to let Valerie stay at the house. She’ll probably change her mind the next day. At the beach apartment, David falls asleep, then has to go hunting for Donna. He’s surprised enough to see her in lingerie, with candles everywhere, that he thinks that’s his only surprise. She tells him there’s much more, and she’s very sure that this is the right time. She’s ready for the next chapter in her life. David waited, so now David gets lucky. (And don’t worry, there’s a condom.)
Thoughts: I love that me reward for finishing season 7 is no more Clare.
I’ve linked to this before, but it needs repeating: Vulture’s oral history of this episode.
Chancellor Arnold is Mr. World Traveller, Mr. International, yet he quotes Robert Frost. Thanks for the clichés!
Also, shortest ceremony ever. They didn’t even read people’s names.
I’m impressed that Steve wore a suit under his gown and not, like, swim trunks and a cowboy shirt.
Brandon: “What are you pointing at?” Muntz (dressed as Babe Ruth): “The bar. I promised I’d drink a bottle of scotch for some sick little kid.” Heh.
Also heh to Brandon, dressed as a ’20s gangster, carrying a glass and Johnnie Walker in a violin case.
Continuity alert! David thinks Donna got a pet, and he says he doesn’t want to have to deal with “a dog or some damn bird.” Speaking of which, whatever happened to the dog and the bird?
July 19, 2014
Summary: Kirsten’s putting together a care package for Claudia at her new school, but Charlie’s no help, since he’s preoccupied with Daphne having moved out. Apparently he keeps calling her, and when he tries to do it again, he learns that she’s disconnected her phone. He’s worried that she’s going to run off and he won’t be able to have contact with the baby.
Julia gets a job working in Stanford’s cafeteria, and surprise, surprise, Josh works there, too. She thinks she got the job because her family has a restaurant, but Josh confesses that he pushed things along for her so they could spend more time together. So that’s two guys acting somewhat stalker-ish in the episode so far.
Bailey and Sarah’s new apartment is gigantic. Sarah’s concerned because she hasn’t heard from her mom in two months, though Bailey points out that even when she gets a letter from Mrs. Reeves, she ignores it. Sarah frets that something could be wrong and she wouldn’t know. She feels weird worrying about her parents, but Bailey notes that that’s normal.
Charlie meets with a lawyer to talk about the situation with Daphne. The lawyer’s confused because Charlie’s health insurance is through Bailey, since Charlie’s still unemployed. She won’t take his case since she knows they won’t win custody of the baby while he’s unmarried and doesn’t have a job. Meanwhile, Daphne hangs out with a friend; he’s nice and all, but not very responsible.
Bailey visits Julia at her dorm, telling her she shouldn’t be working if it takes time away from studying and socializing. She admits that she kind of enjoys it. He writes her a check anyway. Claudia tries to make friends, which doesn’t go well, then plays dumb in her chemistry class to make herself seem more approachable. Ultimately she has to admit she knows stuff.
Charlie’s offered an architecture internship but doesn’t want it if it doesn’t pay. Bailey goes with Sarah to see her parents, but no one’s home. Sarah makes Bailey go inside to look around and make sure everything’s okay. He hears a man leaving a message on the answering machine, talking about how he and Sarah’s mom are hooking up. Sarah’s understandably upset.
Charlie goes to one of Daphne’s prenatal appointments, but she doesn’t show up. She’s hanging out with her old hard-partying friends, and starting to see Charlie’s point about how spending time with them might not be great for her. Charlie calls the lawyer and asks if the fact that Daphne apparently isn’t taking care of the baby works in his favor. He promises to have a job by the end of the day.
Speaking of jobs, Julia quits hers, then has to assure Josh that it’s not because of him. He calls her mean and manipulative for acting cold to him one day and nice the next. He spots Ned in her room, and Julia tells Josh that he’s her boyfriend. Claudia asks her chemistry teacher not to call on her in class so she doesn’t have to talk in front of everyone. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.
Sarah finally connects with her mother, who tells her she’s not having an affair – she and Mr. Reeves are divorcing. Sarah’s mad that no one told her, but Mrs. Reeves tells her it was in her letters. Josh calls Julia out for not just telling him she had a boyfriend, which would have made him back off. Julia says they’re technically over, and she’s interested in Josh, but it makes her feel guilty about ditching Ned.
Charlie goes to Bailey to announce that he got an emergency teaching credential and will be a shop teacher at a middle school. Bailey agrees to pay his lawyer bills until Charlie can afford them. Charlie sees this as a commitment to something that will make him look like a capable parent. Bailey wonders why Charlie’s giving up his dream of becoming an architect. Charlie says that will take a long time and cost money for school; he needs to be able to support a baby right now. He’s willing to put off his dreams if it means he can keep his child.
Julia studies while Maggie and Ned discuss Jewel, because this is the ’90s and people actually talked about Jewel back then. After Julia goes to class, Josh sees Maggie and Ned kissing. Sarah finally reads her mother’s letters, which talk about her life for a while, then turn into pleas for Sarah to come home. She feels like her parents had nothing to talk about after Sarah left. Bailey reminds her that her parents pushed her away.
Claudia’s chemistry teacher has to step out of class for a few minutes, and he asks Claudia to walk the class through something while he’s gone. One of the girls Claudia was trying to impress asks her a question about alcohol, trying to embarrass herself, but Claudia turns it around and gets a laugh. She ends up endearing herself to everyone.
Daphne finally realizes she missed her appointment, but she can’t call the doctor because the friend she’s staying with didn’t pay his phone bill. He’s not sympathetic toward her – she asked if she could stay with him, not if he could, like, care about things. Sarah meets up with her father, who tells her he’s better off single. She begs him to find a way to make things work with Mrs. Reeves. He tells her she’s being selfish – people change, and everyone loses something or someone.
Josh finds Julia, Maggie, and Ned together, and announces that he likes Julia. She says she likes him, too, but he doesn’t want to hear what she has to say. He tells Julia that he saw her boyfriend kissing her roommate, which just confuses Ned and Maggie. Josh and Ned end up pounding on each other. Charlie goes back to the lawyer, who’s pleased that he’s gotten a stable, respectable job. He mentions that Daphne’s job history isn’t stellar, accidentally giving the lawyer ammo to use against Daphne.
Later, Charlie meets up with Kirsten and Owen, telling Kirsten that his case is looking better, but he regrets spilling some of Daphne’s secrets. Kirsten compares the situation to Jerry Springer – his show is fun to watch, but you don’t ever think you’re capable of trashing someone in public. Claudia tries again to befriend a classmate, saying she can’t change the fact that she’s smart. The girl asks for help with their classwork.
Charlie goes to see Daphne, but she’s moved out of her friend’s place. Julia explains to Ned that she told Josh they were dating because it was easier than, like, being honest and stuff. She confesses that she’s still married. She’s jealous of Maggie and Ned’s relationship, which he says isn’t as great as it seems. Because they’ve been together since high school, there are no surprises, which is both good and bad.
Sarah mopes, and she and Bailey both talk about having snapshots of happier times with their families. Charlie goes home to make calls to try to find Daphne, but she’s turned up at the house. She admits that she doesn’t want to be there, but she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. She knows she can’t get through this on her own. I hope this means there’s no custody fight now, and Charlie doesn’t have to confess what he told the lawyer.
Thoughts: Claudia’s chemistry teacher is played by Willie Garson. It’s weird seeing him in a dramatic role.
There’s no way Bailey’s making enough money for everything he’s spending it on (like that apartment). And I’d love to kow how much he gave Julia to make her think she doesn’t have to work anymore.
Don’t students at Andover wear uniforms and, like, know things? Isn’t it pretty elite?
Dear Julia, try using these words with Josh: “Thank you for your interest. I will get back to you shortly. Now please back off.”
Is Kirsten working as Owen’s nanny again? Why is she always around?
July 15, 2014
Summary: Just so you know, I hate everyone in this book except Elizabeth.
Ned takes the twins out to dinner to tell them some super-big secret they’re not allowed to tell anyone. By the way, if you’re a kid and anyone ever says something like that to you, get a grown-up. Anyway, the super-big secret is also super-stupid: It’s a made-up language Ned and his best friend spoke as kids, and he wants to teach it to the twins so the three of them can speak it together and exclude Alice and Steven for no good reason. If I were Steven, I’d be ticked.
The language, Ithig, basically involves inserting Ithig into every syllable of a word, or in front of the word if it’s short. The problem is that no one sticks to those actual rules, and it’s incredibly difficult to read in the book, so it just bugs me. Also, why is it such a big secret? Why does Ned place so much importance on it? Why can’t Steven learn it, too? Why does Ned have to be so exclusionary? I could write pages and pages of everything wrong with this book, but I don’t have the energy or the interest, so we’ll move on.
The twins pick up Ithig quickly, and are thrilled to have something just they and their father share. Caroline Pearce overhears them speaking Ithig and gets overly interested in what they’re doing. The Wakefields give her the brush-off. This is bad. Caroline quickly tells everyone at school that the twins have a secret language, and for some reason, everyone cares. Amy and the Unicorns are especially mad that the twins have something that’s only between them and won’t share it with their friends. I…don’t get that. Like, they’re already sisters and already have a special bond because they’re twins, but THIS is what ticks everyone off?
Everyone turns on the twins, since they refuse to break their promise to Ned and teach anyone their language. Lila and Amy do that whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing and are suddenly BFFs. Lila’s allowed to bring a bunch of friends to a party her father’s throwing, which will feature a benefit match with a famous tennis player, and she invites pretty much everyone she knows except Jessica. She agrees to invite Jessica if Jessica teaches her Ithig. Jess has no willpower, so she caves.
This makes Amy even madder, I guess since Jessica was a good enough friend to Lila to break her promise, but Elizabeth wasn’t a good enough friend to Amy to do the same. Then things get worse, because Lila teaches everyone else in school Ithig. Amy soon gets over it, but a new problem crops up. The twins’ music teacher goes out on paternity leave, and when the sub, Ms. McDonald, arrives, the kids pull that middle-schooler magic only preteens can, and act like jerks in her class. They only speak Ithig, they don’t listen, and they misbehave so much that they drive her to tears.
Elizabeth feels bad, because she’s the only person in this book with any humanity. She learns that when the district supervisor comes to visit the class, the kids plan to only speak Ithig so they’ll drive Ms. McDonald crazy and she won’t be invited to keep teaching. Elizabeth warns Ms. McDonald, but the teacher is no dummy: Thanks to language immersion, she’s learned Ithig on her own. When Lila pulls the Ithig trick in class, Ms. McDonald speaks it back to her, telling the supervisor that it’s a secret language the sixth graders use with each other.
Lila is furious, which is hilarious, because she needed to be taken down about ten notches in this book. She and a couple other students try to tell the supervisor that they don’t like Ms. McDonald, but he’s like, “Maybe worry about your grades and not being little punks?” I love that their scheme totally backfired. Probably the best part is that they’re too dumb to figure out that Elizabeth talked to Ms. McDonald, or that she might have learned Ithig on her own. Stupid punk kids. Get off my lawn!
Thoughts: I was thinking that Amy and Lila were being unreasonable about the twins keeping secrets from them, but then I remembered that they’re 12-year-old girls, so they’re unreasonable about everything.
12-year-old girls also aren’t that interested in pro tennis players. Sorry, ghostwriter.
Elizabeth: “How did Ms. McDonald ever learn to speak Ithig?” Well, if Jessica could learn it, anyone can.
“Maybe Ms. McDonald wasn’t such a bad teacher after all.” She never was a bad teacher! Her students were just jerks! That’s not her fault!
Oh, and they’re idiots, too. How can they not figure out that Elizabeth was the squealer? I mean, who else would try to rain on their parade like that?
July 13, 2014
Summary: Valerie has just told Brandon how Derrick took all her money. She swears that she didn’t invest with Bill just to mess with Kelly – not that it matters anyway, since Val’s the one who lost in the end. She’s eager for Jim and Cindy to come for the kids’ graduation so she can talk to some real adults about her problems. Unfortunately, they’re not coming. But Val’s mom is, so that’s…something. Kelly thinks Brandon has spent the past few minutes kicking Valerie out, but she’s wrong. Valerie hears her yelling at Brandon to get rid of her so Kelly can move in.
The college kids aren’t the only ones graduating this weekend – Erin’s graduating from kindergarten. (She’s still super-cute, by the way.) Jackie, Mel, Kelly, David, and Donna are all there for the ceremony. Kelly’s happy that David and Donna are so happy. The college kids were all invited to some big party where the Cardigans are playing; the party host is unknown, but David thinks it’s Rush. Jackie assures Kelly that Bill and Joy will be at her graduation.
Donna picks up her grandmother from the airport, sharing that she and David plan to move in together. Mrs. Martin laughs because Felice is going to flip out. She knows that Donna and David will know when the time is right for them to…you know. Valerie’s mother isn’t coming to graduation after all, and Val decides to tell her off. Brandon’s like, “I guess this isn’t a good time to make you move out, huh?” Val lays it on thick, thanking him for being such a great guy and always supporting her.
At the Peach Pit, Steve invites David to help him plan a major senior prank. He and Muntz want to set off confetti cannons, and they need a hand with the electronics side of things. Inside, Valerie packs up her office, getting no sympathy from David about her money problems or living situation. She asks him to talk to Kelly about letting her stay in the house. David tells her to solve her own problems.
Despite Kelly’s skepticism, Bill does arrive for the weekend, bringing Joy along. Kelly’s pleasant to one of them but not the other. Guess which! Go on, guess! Donna tells Kelly that she’s considering having sex with David; she wants to surprise him on graduation night. Kelly says that if she feels the time is right, then it’s right.
The honors grads, led by Brandon, give Chancellor Arnold a going-away present before he leaves for Paris. Steve crashes the end of the honors-grad luncheon, Chancellor Arnold asks about Samantha, Clare gets mad that Steve’s talking about her, and I roll my eyes so hard they pop out of my head. Steve confides in Brandon that he feels like Clare blames him for her father leaving. That makes no sense, but that’s Clare for you.
Brandon and Steve reminisce about various college experiences, then talk about the senior prank. Brandon is actually sad that Steve hasn’t asked for his help. At the Peach Pit, Valerie whines to Nat about Kelly, but Nat thinks she needs to suck it up and move on. Kelly herself shows up, and Valerie tries to convince her that Brandon said she could stay in the house. She threatens to call Jim and Cindy and fill them in – after all, they invited her to live in the house. Val refuses to move.
Donna goes shopping with Clare to find a going-away present for Chancellor Arnold, but Donna gets distracted at a lingerie store. Kelly and Joy are also at the mall, looking for something to wear to the big graduation party. Joy reveals that Bill is the person behind the party, and it’s all for Kelly. They run into Ryan and Austin (ugh), and Ryan instantly develops a crush on Joy. Joy thinks he’s cute. Kelly, quick, get her out of there.
Nat’s hosting a pre-grad party, and as Valerie and Steve get ready, Val tries to get him on her side about staying in the house. She asks him to appeal to Brandon on her behalf. At the beach apartment, Donna tries to hide all her lingerie and condoms from David. He wants her opinion on whether he’s an idiot for helping Steve and Muntz with the prank. He wanted to make sure he wasn’t completely missing out on something school-related, since he never joined a frat or went to a pep rally or anything like that. Donna seems to think it’s cute.
Just before they leave for the pre-grad party, Brandon finally tells Valerie that she needs to move out. Val whines that no one’s looking out for her. She threatens again to tattle to Jim and Cindy, but Brandon already did, and they told him he could make the final call. Valerie begs to be allowed to stay through the summer, but Brandon won’t budge.
The gang and their families have their get-together at the Peach Pit, though Valerie leaves early to go mope alone. Rush thanks Brandon for being so awesome and letting some of that awesomeness rub off on Steve. He wonders why he hasn’t heard anything about a senior prank yet. Steve and David are all, “Oh, I guess no one cares enough about the school to do anything.” They plan to slip out in a little while to meet up with Muntz.
Kelly’s in a great mood now, since Valerie’s leaving the Walshes’. Meanwhile, Val leaves a note on Brandon’s pillow. That night, Steve, David, and Muntz sneak around campus to set up the confetti cannons. They’re hilariously excited about the whole thing. Kelly, Donna, and Clare spend what might be their last night together at the beach apartment. They definitely won’t all be there the next night – Donna wants the apartment to herself so she and David can do it. Clare and Kelly secretly agree that she won’t go through with it.
Valerie checks into the Shangri-La Hotel, saying she’ll be gone the next day. At the house, Brandon finds her note, which says that she won’t be at graduation. She’ll be having her “own private ceremony,” doing something she should have done when she was with David a year ago. Brandon tries to call David to figure out what Val means, but he has to leave a message. Valerie tries to call her mother as she stands on the bluff where she and David discussed suicide. “I’m going to take care of everything tomorrow,” Valerie promises.
The next morning, David finally calls Brandon back, confirming Brandon’s suspicions that Valerie has talked about killing herself. David remembers that she used to stay at the Shangri-La across the street from the bluffs. The guys lament how hard they’ve been on her recently. Kelly arrives to meet up with Brandon before graduation, but he runs off to find Valerie. And for some reason, the episode ends here.
Thoughts: Jim and Cindy are skipping Brandon’s graduation? I thought they were good parents.
How weird would it be to graduate college while your little sister is just finishing kindergarten?
Do college students do senior pranks? I thought that was just a high school thing.
“We’ll be adults soon enough.” I’ve got news for you, Steve: You’re already an adult. You’ve been an adult for four years. Scary, right?
Part of me feels bad for Valerie, because she has no money so how is she supposed to find a place to live? But the rest of me remembers that she was gullible enough to fall for Derrick’s act, and burned her bridges with everyone she’s ever met, and manipulated David into buying her out, which is why she has no job. And then I remember that she’s fictional, so whatever.
July 12, 2014
Summary: It’s been a few months since “Fools Rush Out,” judging by the size of Daphne’s stomach, and everything is going well with her pregnancy. She’s annoyed that Charlie’s so overprotective. Bailey and Sarah look at a new apartment, which he offers to pay for; apparently the restaurant is doing well. Owen helps Julia and her horrible new haircut pack up to leave for college. Owen has been recast and now speaks in full sentences. Griffin shows up and notices that Julia’s still wearing her wedding ring. They say an awkward goodbye.
At Stanford, Julia quickly becomes everyone’s object of affection. Her roommate Maggie and Maggie’s boyfriend Ned aren’t very concerned with modesty. Bailey calls Charlie to the restaurant to talk about light fixtures that need to be fixed. Charlie laughs at him for being such an adult, then tells him he’s starting to lose his hair. Back at his new apartment, Bailey freaks out about his hair while Sarah tells him he’s in his sexual prime, which I guess means they should do it a lot before his upcoming birthday.
Julia gets a call from a guy who saw her picture in the freshman facebook and wants to show her his lizard collection (apparently not a euphemism). She and Maggie meet a delivery guy named Josh, and though he’s cute, Julia doesn’t seem interested. Maggie wonders why she’s not attracted to any guys at Stanford. Kirsten helps Claudia pack for boarding school while Charlie continues to be overprotective of Daphne. She’s disappointed with the way their new living arrangements are working out, and how their relationship has changed.
Julia admits to Maggie that Stanford is different from the way she pictured – basically, she imagined dating someone. Her future isn’t clear. Charlie wants to go back to being the guy Daphne was first attracted to, so he tells her to pick out something for them to do today. It’s a nice gesture, but she already has plans. She didn’t see the point in keeping their original plans, a tour of the hospital where she’ll be having the baby.
Bailey has a check-up with his pediatrician, like, if you’re old enough to be convicted of drunk driving, you’re old enough to see a grown-up doctor. His pediatrician agrees. “What if I don’t wanna?” Bailey whines. Somewhere downtown, Kirsten comes across Daphne with some of her friends, being loud and drinking wine. The Salingers (plus Jamie and Kirsten) have a goodbye dinner for Claudia at the restaurant, and Jamie gives her the address of his webpage. Awww, so ’90s.
Julia’s in town for the goodbye party and agrees to cancel her plans to spend Claudia’s last night with her in their old room. Daphne arrives an hour and a half late and Charlie yells at her for drinking. They have a fight and Daphne storms out. Sarah tries to lighten the mood with a limerick. You’re weird, Sarah. In bed that night, Claudia tells Julia that in her 16 years of life, she’s only had three rooms. She’s mostly only ever slept in their house. She’s not sure she’ll be happy in a new place. Julia reminds her that the family will always be there for her.
Daphne spends the night with a friend, and Charlie stays behind to talk to her instead of going with Bailey to take Claudia to Boston. (Nice brother, there.) Charlie wants to give Daphne what she needs, even if she needs him to shut up and leave her alone. In her first ten minutes at school, Claudia meets people she has things in common with, so she’s more than ready for Bailey and Sarah to leave. They head to a parents’ mixer, where Bailey is reminded yet again that he’s a grown-up now.
Josh runs into Julia again, but she’s not interested in being hit on. She’d like all the guys at Stanford to leave her alone and let her get an education, since that’s why she’s there. Jetlagged from the trip to Boston, Bailey falls asleep watching football in his and Sarah’s hotel room, then tries to prove his youth with sex. Claudia interrupts and Bailey goes on a rant about getting old. You’re 20, Bailey. Sit down. Charlie and Daphne go on their hospital tour, but it freaks her out and makes her announce that she can’t keep doing what they’ve been doing. She’s moving out.
Julia learns that she got into a writing class she didn’t think she’d get into. Oh, and Josh is in it, too. Just sleep together already. Bailey’s goodbye presents to Claudia are a credit card and a diary. He recognizes that the diary is something kind of young, but he doesn’t want her to feel like she’s getting old fast like he does. He gives a sweet, emotional speech about how much he’ll miss her. “Promise not to change without telling me,” he says.
Charlie tries to stop Daphne from moving out, saying he has a right to know what’s going on. She tells him that if she hadn’t gotten pregnant, they would have grown apart and broken up. Having a baby together has put pressure on them to work things out even though they’re not in love. She thinks they should break up now instead of continuing to drag things out. Charlie reminds her that the baby is his, too, but he can’t exactly make her stay.
Julia apologizes to Josh for picking a fight with him; she gets now that he was trying to connect with her as a fellow writer. He says she can make things up to him by going out with him. Charlie worries to Kirsten that Daphne won’t let him see their baby. He wishes he hadn’t tried to make things work with someone he didn’t love.
Bailey has to spend his birthday working late at the restaurant, so Sarah comes by to keep him company. She falls asleep while he’s cleaning up, but he enjoys dancing around to “Young at Heart” by himself. Julia visits Griffin, mentioning that she still has a line on her finger from where her wedding ring used to be. He assures her that it’ll go away. The Salinger house is now strangely quiet, since Charlie and Owen are the only ones who still live there. Charlie’s so sad and alone, waaaah.
Thoughts: Josh is played by Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott. Maggie is played by Heather McComb, the ex-Mrs. James Van Der Beek.
Me: “Hmmm…Scott Bairstow is playing Ned. His name sounds familiar. Did I see him in something else? What else was he in? Did he do anything after the ’90s?” (Googling) “‘Scott Bairstow Sentenced’? Aaaaaaaaand no more questions.”
Did anyone else see Scott Wolf on Hollywood Game Night this week? The man hasn’t aged since this series. He was also delightful and came across as someone you’d want to chat with at a party.
Why, exactly, does Claudia want to go to boarding school? Before, it was because everything in the house was so crazy, but that’s not really the case anymore.
I can see why all the guys like Julia. I mean, she’s just so pleasant.
Normally that “you can apologize by having dinner with me” thing is annoying, but Josh is pretty charming and nice, so I’ll give him a pass.
July 8, 2014
Summary: At the end of Broken Promises, Shattered Dreams, Billie asked Steven for some time apart, so now they’ve broken up. He’s living with Mike and studying at the feet of Mr. Charm. This mostly means that they go out and play pool and get drunk together. Then Mike flirts with girls and Steve tries to do the same, but is dorky and inexperienced, and also not a man-slut like Mike (which is clearly the message we’re supposed to be getting here). Steven decides he wants Billie back, so he goes to their apartment to surprise her, but he sees her kissing Chas on the cheek and flips out. Cheek kisses are always a problem in soaps, too. Same with hugs.
Steven talks to Tom, who smacks some sense into him and gets him to decide fully that he wants Billie back, Chas or no Chas. For some reason, he needs a horn to win her back. Maybe Steven was Ted Mosby before there was a Ted Mosby. Mike knows a woman who runs some sort of store that happens to have horns (I guess it’s a pawn shop? It’s not really clear), and she gives Steven one, and he plays it really badly for Billie, and somehow that convinces her that he really loves her and they should get married. Like, next week. This is mainly so Steven can go to Spain with Billie when she spends her semester abroad.
Alice is still in charge of planning everything, and she goes extra crazy. It doesn’t help that Jessica becomes even brattier than usual and fights her on everything. Unfortunately, Billie no longer has a backbone, and doesn’t tell everyone to shut up and do what she wants, since it’s her wedding. Steven is no help either, since he’s just learn that half of all marriages end in divorce, and he’s freaked out that he and Billie won’t make it. He runs off to buy books about marriage, then starts spouting pop psychology stuff and acting very Stepford. It’s the kind of thing that’s funny to read about, but if someone actually pulled it on you, you’d slap him.
Of course, other crazy wedding stuff happens. The caterer disappears after giving people at his previous wedding food poisoning. Somehow, the water in the Wakefields’ pool is pink. Billie’s dress comes back from the dry cleaner’s with a stain on it. Her parents can’t get back from their vacation in Mexico in time for the wedding. Ned, the one person you’d think would actually be responsible, loses the rings. Steven’s like, “Huh. I guess this was a bad idea, then.” You think?
Because everything had to be thrown together so quickly, no one’s organized a rehearsal dinner, so Ned sends the twins out with Billie, Steven, Tom, and Mike to have a regular dinner in a nice restaurant. It doesn’t go well. Mike starts saying some sexist things, so he and Jessica fight. (More on them later.) Then Billie and Steven fight. Then Jessica and Elizabeth fight. Basically Tom is like, “I don’t know any of these people. I don’t know how I wound up sitting at their table.” Everyone ends up storming out.
Steven finally realizes what everyone reading this book realized long ago: He doesn’t want to get married right now. He tells Ned, who thinks he just has cold feet. Then Billie tells Ned she doesn’t want to get married either. Ned awesomely tells the two of them to talk to each other, because it’s too late at night and he’s too tired to deal with their crap. Steven and Billie come to a decision, but don’t tell anyone the next morning.
Everyone oversleeps, so Alice freaks out again, some more, and tries to get things moving on everything that has to be done for the wedding. Steven and Billie are too scared to tell her that they’ve decided to call it off. Part of me thinks that’s normal, since Alice is a freaking maniac in this book, but most of me is like, really? You’re only enough to make important life decisions but not mature enough to own up to them? They get Elizabeth to do it for them. Elizabeth should have smacked them both and told them to man and woman up.
Speaking of Liz, her and Tom’s plot is so ridiculous and stupid that I can’t believe I have to write about it. They’re sent to get Elizabeth’s Aunt Sylvia from the airport, even though Elizabeth has never met her and the only picture she has of her is from 40 years ago. Sylvia said she’s bringing her husband Howard with her, but Howard’s been dead for years. The plane arrives early, so the passengers are already off when Elizabeth and Tom arrive. They can’t find Sylvia, despite ingenious attempts such as asking random people if they know someone named Sylvia, or if they are Sylvia.
Elizabeth finally finds her, but she’s getting into a car with a man, and Liz thinks she’s being kidnapped. Most people would call the police at that point, if they really believed someone had been abducted, but not Liz. She talks to someone at a rental-car agency and learns that the man driving the car is staying in Santa Carmine, a town a couple hours away. Liz and Tom head off to look for Sylvia there, but first Tom calls Alice, pretending to be Sylvia (no, seriously), and makes up an excuse for why he won’t be seeing her today. These guys are brilliant. But Alice buys it, so I guess she’s just as brilliant.
In another stupid, stupid move, Elizabeth and Tom go home, deciding to resume their search for Sylvia the next day. Never mind that she might have really been kidnapped and could have been murdered by now. When they finally make it to Santa Carmine, they don’t seem to have a plan beyond looking around in hopes that they’ll randomly run into Sylvia or her possible abductor. But then, somehow, Elizabeth does see the man from the car, and she realizes that he looks like her late Uncle Howard. Even though he’s old, Liz and Tom aren’t able to keep up with him, so they’re alone again.
After all of this insanity, Elizabeth and Tom finally got to the police. But the cops think they’re crazy: If Sylvia got in a car with a man who looks like her husband, then she’s probably not in any danger. Way to do your job, police. But the horrible rehearsal dinner happens to be at a restaurant right near Sylvia’s hotel, and Elizabeth and Tom run into the man from the car and learn what’s really going on: The man is Carl, not Howard, and the only picture they have of Sylvia was originally of two couples – Sylvia and Howard, and Carl and his wife. Sylvia and Carl (now dating) came to Sweet Valley together to spread their late spouses’ ashes. So when Sylvia said she was bringing Howard, she meant in an urn.
There’s a happy ending, though: Sylvia and Carl decide that after Billie and Steven’s wedding, they’re going to find a justice of the peace and get married. When Steven and Billie call off their ceremony, the Wakefields just turn it into Sylvia and Carl’s wedding. I hope there was some kind of financial agreement made later, because the Wakefields and Winklers spent a lot of money on something two other people enjoyed. Whatever, mazel tov. Steven and Billie are still dating, and she’ll go to Spain alone for the semester. Sylvia throws the bouquet, but no one wants to get married, so everyone avoids it. Womp womp.
Jessica and Mike are half flirty, half crabby with each other, partly because she thinks he and Val are hooking up. Steven asks Mike to be his best man, and Jess throws a hissy about having to be in the wedding with her ex-husband. Val calms her down by telling her the truth about her history with Mike: He was friends with her husband, who was a racecar driver and was killed in a crash. Mike has been looking out for Jessica this whole time, asking Val to do the same. He even sold his car so they could afford to keep their business going.
So now Jess thinks Mike is awesome, and they decide to try dating again. First they try to fight temptation by eating gross foods that make them not want to kiss each other. Then Mike starts acting more subdued, and Jessica realizes he’s trying to be like Steven. Bad call, dude. Also, insert your own joke here about how Mike wanted Jessica to be attracted to her brother.
At the totally lame rehearsal dinner, Mike runs into an old (female) friend, and Jessica gets extremely jealous for no reason, because how dare her not-really-boyfriend talk to other women when she’s around? Doesn’t he know she’s the only female who exists? He can’t even talk to her mother or sister! If Alice asks how he is, he’d better ignore her! Eventually they realize that since Jessica is so overdramatic and jealous, and Mike can’t seem to keep himself from having completely innocent conversations with other people who have breasts, they shouldn’t be together. So last time they broke up because Mike was insane, and this time it’s because Jess is.
Lila’s father wants to buy her donut shop, though he apparently doesn’t know it’s hers. I don’t know how that’s possible, considering all the publicity it’s gotten lately. Plus, you’d think she’d brag to him that she runs a successful business. Anyway, Lila wants to give the shop to a non-profit organization, but she plays hardball with her father and gets him to pay twice what he wanted for the shop. Bruce starts to realize that his girlfriend is kind of good at negotiating. He worries that someday they’ll end up married, then divorced, and he’ll lose all his money and toys to her.
So Bruce decides that they should create pre-nups. Never mind that they’re not getting married, and aren’t even engaged. They work on them, but start fighting and agree to drop it. Then they both secretly go to their lawyers to have them create the pre-nups. Their lawyers happen to work for the same firm. Bruce and Lila make out while their lawyers basically attack each other, fighting about hypothetical situations and money that doesn’t actually exist. I don’t know.
Thoughts: Billie doesn’t appear to care that she just had a miscarriage. It’s a little disturbing.
Dear ghostwriter, Lila’s father’s name is not Robert. It’s George. Be ashamed of yourself.
Tom: “I don’t know anything about weddings.” If you’re not in it, sit down and shut up. That’s all.
Elizabeth not calling the police over a possible abduction is why we can’t have nice things.
“A lot of strange stuff seems to happen to the Wakefields that doesn’t happen to anyone else I know.” Finally, Tom and I agree on something.
July 6, 2014
Summary: Valerie learns from Clare that Bill is in town, and that he and Kelly are apparently getting along better than usual. At the beach apartment, Kelly gives Brandon the news that she’s not pregnant after all; her period was just late. He’s a little sad that she’s so happy. (Well, she was going to have an abortion anyway, and that probably would have made her sad, so isn’t it better that she’s happy but has the same outcome?)
Brandon’s getting an Outstanding Student Award (of course he is), and the award ceremony includes a roast. First, though, Steve has to meet with Rush about his plans for the future. He thinks his father’s going to make him a junior partner. Clare learns from her father’s secretary that Chancellor Arnold is going to leave CU for the Sorbonne in Paris. Nice of him to tell her, huh?
David’s pleased that his relationship and professional lives are both going so well, and he’d like to add something else positive to his life by living with Donna. Donna’s annoyed that he’s trying to have this discussion just before she takes her exam in Professor Langely’s class. Valerie goes to see Derrick, who tries to cover his surprise at the news that Bill’s in town. He’s also impatient that Valerie and David’s After Dark deal hasn’t been complete yet, so she can’t give him money until that night.
Steve meets with Rush at the Peach Pit and is disheartened to find out that they’re not there to discuss business – Rush just wants him to ask Chancellor Arnold about some alumni award. He then gives Steve books about Bill Gates and Lee Iacocca so Steve can learn how to become a self-made man. In other words, he’s not getting a job at his father’s company. Donna tries to take her dreaded final, but the pressure makes her have some sort of psychotic episode, and she walks out.
Kelly goes to the doctor and learns that she was, in fact, pregnant – she had a miscarriage. Also, she might have problems with getting pregnant or carrying a baby. Steve and Clare share their father-related news with each other, though Clare’s now has a new wrinkle: Chancellor Arnold wants her to move to Paris with him. Steve figures she’ll go, since she always chooses her father over him.
Donna arrives and tells David that she didn’t take the final. He wonders if she sabotaged herself so she can’t graduate and doesn’t have to make any major life decisions right now, like whether or not to live with him. Yes, David, this is all about you. Valerie and Derrick meet for dinner, sans Bill, who was supposed to join them. Val says she’s not investing in Bill’s company without talking to him. Derrick thinks that’s ridiculous, since Bill’s so busy and important and stuff. Valerie admits she only wants to invest with Bill to make Kelly mad. Then she gives Derrick a check.
Steve starts the roast, teasing that Brandon is only awesome because everyone else around him is a screw-up (like Steve). Brandon turns the roast around on him, but his so-called jokes strike a nerve with Steve. When Steve complains, Brandon tells him to stop feeling sorry for himself. What a nice friend! I wish I had a friend like Brandon! Then Steve falls in a fountain. Womp womp.
Kelly arrives late and tells Brandon that she miscarried. He reminds her that she didn’t want a baby right now anyway. Now he can look forward to the family they’ll have in the future. She tells him that won’t happen: She probably can’t have children. Clare tries to cheer Steve up, but he’s mad at her for possibly going to Paris. She points out that they’re all under the pressure of having to move on with their lives while wanting to stay where they are.
Donna goes to Professor Langely’s office to beg for another chance on the final. Langely isn’t sympathetic. Bill calls Valerie, who pretends she and Kelly are close friends; in fact, Kelly encouraged Val to invest in Bill’s company in the first place. Bill agrees to meet with Valerie before he has dinner with Kelly, and the three of them can eat together.
At the beach apartment, Kelly is cold to Brandon, not wanting to discuss her medical news. She reveals that she has endometriosis, which will make it harder for her to get pregnant, and which might have caused her miscarriage. Brandon wants to be optimistic about her odds of having children. Kelly, however, is focused on the lost baby and how her condition could change things for them. She doesn’t know how Brandon could be happy with someone who can’t give him children.
Donna tells David that he was right about her being scared to move on. She’s especially afraid that their relationship won’t hold. David promises that it will. Donna managed to convince Langely to give her another shot at the final, so David offers to help her study. Valerie meets with Bill, telling him how awesome Derrick has said he is. Bill’s surprised that she knows Derrick, but Kelly arrives before he can ask more questions. Kelly storms off, and Val gets to be smug.
Rush goes by the Walshes’ to brag to Steve that he got the alumni award he wanted. Steve blasts his father for cutting him off and not giving him a job. Rush is like, “I paid your tuition. How is that not good enough?” He is who he is because he went to CU, and he knows Steve will be fine, too. Steve then goes downstairs to yell at Brandon for having an awesome life, as if Brandon didn’t have to work to get what he has. His only safety net is his friends; if he fails, no one can catch him.
Donna gets to take an oral final, which means Langely gets to ask her a trick question, saying she wanted to see how Donna would handle uncertainty. Donna asks why Langely is so mean to her. Langely says she’s tough on people who will have to survive in a tough profession – and she’s toughest on Donna because she has so much potential. She just needs confidence.
Steve asks Clare straight out if she’s going to Paris, and she says she’s not. She admits that she might have gone if Steve hadn’t been so crazy about the situation. Steve has decided to try planning ahead for once, now that he can’t live in the moment anymore. Donna does well on her final, and Langely encourages her to start believing in herself.
Brandon goes to the beach apartment, where Kelly tells him that Valerie and Bill had dinner. She claims not to care why they were together; she just hates them both equally. She’s grateful that Brandon has always been with her through difficult times. Valerie meets with Bill again, learning that Bill fired him three months ago for taking clients’ money and running off. Guess what? Valerie gave him $100,000 and is now flat broke. Oops!
Thoughts: I hate, hate, HATE when TV shows write plotlines where women can’t have children. It’s such a soap thing, and it’s so overdone. Not to mention that soaps almost always end up finding some out-there medical solution that cures the woman’s infertility and renders the whole storyline moot.
A final worth 75 percent of the grade? Langely IS evil.
That wasn’t a roast! A roast is an hour of people trashing Brandon! What do I have to do to get that?
So…David’s the only one with a post-college job? That’s crazy. I can’t believe Brandon hasn’t had 17 offers.
I’m also surprised Valerie didn’t try to seduce Bill. But then she wouldn’t have lost all her money.