April 15, 2014

SVT #6, The New Girl: Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

Posted in books tagged , at 8:10 pm by Jenn

This is one of my favorite covers in the whole series

This is one of my favorite covers in the whole series

Summary: Brooke Dennis is new in Sweet Valley, and she is an awful human being. She’s a snobby brat who thinks she’s too good for Sweet Valley. She also kicked a dog. She’s evil. Alice is helping her father with some decorating thing, so she basically volunteers Jessica and Elizabeth to show Brooke around school. Even Liz, who is tolerant of most everyone, can’t stand spending time with the girl.

The last straw for Jessica comes when Brooke spills paint on a poster Jess was making for the upcoming book fair. Apparently the poster was super-awesome and probably would have won first prize. Brooke doesn’t even apologize, so it’s a little understandable when Jessica wants revenge. And her revenge is so creative that it’s hard not to admire her: She tells Brooke that she and Elizabeth aren’t twins, but two of a set of triplets.

From then on, everyone is in on the trick, making Brooke believe that the Wakefield triplets are Elizabeth, Jessica, and Jennifer. The twins take turns playing Jennifer, always wearing a cardigan and a bow in their hair. Liz is willing to go along because Brooke was so mean to her sister. But Brooke becomes friends with “Jennifer,” and Elizabeth starts feeling bad for her. After all, her mother ditched her, her father’s never around, and everyone hates her, so she’s lonely. (Of course, being nicer might help that last one, but whatever.)

After Brooke expresses glee over the possibility of Jessica being injured while cheerleading, Elizabeth is up for the grand finale. At the book fair assembly (which happens to fall on Brooke’s birthday), the twins and some of their friends are going to humiliate Brooke in front of the whole school. They create a collapsible chair that Brooke will fall through. They know that when Brooke says Jennifer was responsible, everyone will think she’s nuts, because, of course, Jennifer doesn’t exist.

The day of the book fair, the twins even get Brooke to help carry the collapsible chair to school, telling her it’s Jennifer’s project. Elizabeth (playing Jennifer) remembers that it’s Brooke’s birthday and realizes how lonely Brooke really is, with no one to throw her a party or even eat cake with her. Elizabeth decides to put an end to the plan by making sure Brooke doesn’t sit in the rigged chair. She tries her hardest, but the other kids in on the plan keep up the act, and it goes exactly as planned. Only now Elizabeth thinks it was a bad idea.

After Brooke runs off sobbing, Elizabeth spreads the word to the other schemers that Brooke isn’t that horrible after all. They decide to make things up to her by throwing her a surprise birthday party. Brooke is slow to forgive, but eventually everyone makes up. Way to make a horrible first impression at your new school, though.

Thoughts: For the record, Brooke apologizes for being mean to the dog, but she doesn’t apologize to any humans for her behavior. So kids, the lesson is: Treat people however you want, and as long as you have a good excuse, you’ll get away with it.

Brooke wears a necklace with emerald beads and earrings that are lime-colored, so I can see why people hate her.

Why does Lila invite Elizabeth, Amy, and Julie to her birthday party?

I love that Elizabeth gets mad when Brooke calls Jessica a “two-faced phony.” How would Liz describe someone who’s been pretending to be someone else? Brooke pegged Jess without even realizing it.

April 13, 2014

BH90210 7.20, With This Ring: Isn’t Anyone On This Show Happy?

Posted in movies tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 2:53 pm by Jenn

Apparently the jeweler is Jason Priestley in makeup. Freaky

Apparently the jeweler is Jason Priestley in makeup. Freaky

Summary: Valerie has a dream that’s a mixture of her father and being in bed with Tom. She wakes up when Tom starts bleeding on top of her. Real Tom tells her that they’ll have to “face it all” when Abby returns from her business trip. Kelly writes in her journal on the beach, admitting to feeling alone. She chose herself instead of deciding between Brandon and Dylan; now they’re seeing other people and she’s single.

Brandon runs a production meeting at CUTV, but Tracy’s not paying attention. She’s not happy that he held on to the engagement ring he wanted to give Kelly. Brandon wants the conversation to wait until after the show. Donna talks to Clare about her David/Cliff issues; she wants to date Cliff but doesn’t want to take him places David might show up. She’s tired of people seeing her and David as always together, and would like to live her own life.

Ryan asks Steve for advice about taking a girl out. Steve suggests a double date with him and Clare at a pier carnival. Abby returns from her trip, and Valerie admits that she’s surprised to see her. She still won’t sign the papers for the second mortgage on the house. Abby decides to go back to Buffalo the next day.

That night, there’s a special CUTV program, where Chancellor Arnold presents Brandon with a plaque commemorating the station’s 100th broadcast. It’s followed by a party, which Clare, Steve, Donna, and Cliff ditch to go out. Tom urges Valerie to talk to her mother about her issues, but Val resists. Kelly and Brandon make awkward small talk, which Tracy sees, and she blasts Brandon for talking to his ex when they’d planned to have their big conversation.

The party ditchers go to the carnival, and Donna enjoys her time with Cliff. Steve wonders where David fits into things. Clare points out that David hangs out with Chloe all the time. Ryan’s date is going well, and he asks Steve for a condom. The girl’s parents are going out of town, and he wants to be ready for some alone time the next night.

Tracy and Brandon finally have it out, with her accusing him of cheating with Kelly. He assures her he’s not, but when she asks if he still loves Kelly, he doesn’t know what to say. Tracy’s done with him. Cliff tries to turn things romantic with Donna, but she resists since she’s kind of still with David. She doesn’t think she should be playing around with Cliff. Cliff replies that he’s not playing.

David’s hanging out with Chloe, who thinks Donna’s cheating and tells David to get out before he gets hurt. David’s sure that nothing like that is going on since Donna’s a virgin. He wants to respect her decision to send time with someone else. Valerie has another nightmare, this one about her father coming to tell her a story to help her fall asleep: “Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved her daddy very much. She made her father do all kinds of terrible things.”

Valerie immediately goes to Abby’s hotel for the talk she’s been putting off having with her. She can’t believe Abby was always able to sleep through everything Mr. Malone did to Valerie: She was molested. Abby doesn’t believe her; she and her husband were married for 20 years, so she would have known if he was a molester. Valerie says that Abby could have stopped him. Abby slaps her and tells her to go to Hell, but Val says she’s been there since she was 11.

Kelly wonders why she and Brandon aren’t together if there were truly meant to be. Donna tells her that she still loves David, but she has feelings for Cliff and thinks thing are easier with him. Kelly brings up what I did about how Brandon was with Emily when Kelly was in the fire, and how David was with Chloe when Donna was being held hostage. Donna urges Kelly to tell Brandon how she feels. Kelly points out that they’ve dated other people since they broke up, so they seem to have moved on. If she has to talk to Brandon, Donna has to talk to David.

Clare wants Steve to talk to Ryan about sex instead of just handing over a condom. Steve doesn’t think Clare is the best source for sex education, considering how she handcuffed herself to Brandon’s bed as a teen. Clare decides to initiate the sex talk herself. Brandon talks to Nat about Kelly, saying that she knows how he feels, since he proposed. If she wants to be with him, she knows where to find him.

Abby goes by the After Dark to talk to Tom, and he reveals that he knew Valerie was being molested. Now Abby gets that the accusations are true. Valerie shows up and explains why she never told anyone about the molestation: She thought she’d get into trouble. Plus, Mr. Malone told her that Abby wanted it to happen. Valerie reveals that she only said something because Tom threatened to go to the police. She confronted her father, and he responded by killing himself. Now she feels responsible for her father’s death.

Tracy goes to the beach apartment to tell Kelly that she and Brandon broke up because she found the ring. Tracy wanted to tell Kelly that she’s backing down, and Kelly and Brandon can be together again, but she wants him back. Kelly admits that she still loves him. Tracy’s upset that Kelly gave up her chance and now wants Brandon again. Steve approaches the sex talk with Ryan, but it turns out he doesn’t really need it. He’s relieved to hear that it’s okay if he wants to wait a little while. Kelly comes by to see Brandon, but Steve tells her he left to return the ring.

Chloe gets invited to New York to meet with Luther Vandross’ manager, and she asks David to come along. David doesn’t want to leave Donna back in Beverly Hills, and he definitely doesn’t want to hook up with Chloe and her top that is definitely just a bra. Donna shows up for a talk, and David sends Chloe out of the room but she doesn’t stay out of sight. She comes in with her jacket undone, looking like she was just getting dressed.

As Abby’s packing to return to Buffalo, Valerie arrives to tell her she’ll sign the papers. Now, though, Abby wants to sell the house, knowing what was going on without her knowledge. She feels horrible that she didn’t know what Valerie was going through. The jeweler Brandon bought the ring from two years ago remembers him (whatever) and asks if he wants cash or an exchange. Brandon considers swapping it for a bracelet, but he wants to make sure he and Kelly are really over first.

Outside the store, Brandon runs into Kelly and tells her about returning the ring. She claims to be happy about that decision. She doesn’t think they should get back together. Brandon pretends to agree. At the After Dark, Valerie tells Tom that she wants to leave the past in the past, but looking at him makes her think of her father. She loves him, but she can’t be with him right now. Brandon gives Tracy the bracelet, having returned the ring after all. He has no idea that Kelly bought it.

Thoughts: Why are we suddenly back to Brandon and Kelly? Where did that come from?

I like Tracy, but she needs to calm down. And not just because Brandon’s nowhere near worth it.

They sure waited a long time for the Valerie reveal. I wonder if the molestation storyline was planned all along?

Girl with Ryan, what’s wrong with you?

Chloe doesn’t see what Donna sees in Cliff. Poor girl – she’s blind.

Clare, I’m 99 percent sure Ryan doesn’t want to have the sex talk with his brother’s girlfriend.

April 12, 2014

Party of Five 4.14, Of Human Bonding: Other People’s Problems

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

I don't know why your brilliant plan didn't work, Bailey. Everyone loves badminton

I don’t know why your brilliant plan didn’t work, Bailey. Everyone loves badminton

Summary: Charlie’s at the hospital for treatment, chatting with a fellow patient named Kevin who claims that having cancer makes him more attractive to women. After all, women like movies about guys who have cancer. Charlie admits that he almost looks forward to coming to treatment because he gets to spend time with people who understand what he’s going through.

While Julia starts an office job, Sarah asks Elliot about his sexual history, hoping that her lack of experience won’t be a disadvantage. It sounds like a moot point anyway, since they’re having trouble finding time to spend together. Bailey buys Natalie a badminton set, looking for a way for them to bond. Natalie isn’t appreciative, and Annie doesn’t like her attitude.

Julia finds a new co-worker, Jeannie, crying in the bathroom because her husband wants to go to a basketball game on their anniversary. They’ve been married ten years and Jeannie is totally over all of it. That doesn’t help Julia feel better about where her marriage stands. Sarah takes her car to Griffin’s garage for some repairs and asks for some relationship advice. She’s confused because Elliot’s no longer trying to get her into bed – is he losing interest? Griffin worries about what that means for him and Julia.

Charlie’s late getting home from treatment, which worries Julia and Claudia. It turns out he’s at a batting cage with Kevin. Kevin admits that he’s always avoided seemingly dangerous activities because of fear of injury, but now that he has cancer, he’s more adventurous. Bailey buys ice cream to try again to win Natalie over. Annie tells him to stop bribing her and give it time. Bailey points out that they’re letting Natalie call the shots, which Annie didn’t want.

Charlie finally makes it home, and his sisters bug him about disappearing. Griffin tries to get romantic with Julia while she’s doing laundry, but she’d prefer if he would help her with her chores. She points out that they’ve barely talked in the past few weeks, so he’s going to have to do something else to make her want to have sex.

Kevin makes breakfast for the Salingers before he and Charlie go fishing. They also plan to go camping, which Julia and Claudia object to because of all the horrible things that could happen or the ways Charlie’s health could worsen. Charlie puts his foot down. Bailey’s latest bribe is hockey night at the restaurant, and this is the one that cracks Natalie’s resolve. (Though maybe it’s the promises of grilled cheese and a Shirley Temple.)

Julia and Jeannie bond over their husbands only having sex and electronics on the brain. They decide to have a girls’ night together. Hockey night is a success, both with patrons and with Bailey and Natalie’s relationship. Sarah doesn’t want to go, so Elliot tells her to go do something else while he hangs out with Bailey and Griffin. Bailey ruins things with Natalie by accidentally singing a song her father used to sing. Annie tells him to stop trying to be Natalie’s father.

Julia and Jeannie wind up at the restaurant as well, and things between Julia and Griffin are super-awkward. (Also, Griffin is unable to display basic human manners.) Fed up with their wimmin-folk, Griffin and Elliot split to find fun somewhere else. Charlie and Kevin get ready for their fishing trip, though Charlie’s realized that some of Claudia’s fears about their remote location and possible illness are reasonable.

After some time at the restaurant, Julia, Sarah, and Jeannie go out to find something else to do and stumble across Griffin’s bike outside a strip club. Yep, that’s where he and Elliot went to escape their significant others. Julia is very displeased with her husband. Once they’re back home, Julia points out that Griffin didn’t do a very good job of hiding where he was; was he trying to hurt her? Griffin says he was just trying to get away, and this isn’t the first time he’s gone to a strip club. (Ohhh, wrong answer.)

The next day, Sarah confronts Elliot as well, but he’s a little more apologetic. Part of Sarah’s problem is that he went to look at naked women he doesn’t know but he doesn’t seem to be interested in seeing his own girlfriend naked. Natalie wanders off and Bailey finds her in the laundry room, trying to call her father. Apparently he changed his phone number and didn’t give the new one to his daughter. Natalie’s understandably upset.

Charlie and Kevin meet up again at treatment, having called off the fishing trip. Kevin isn’t upset since he knows Charlie needs to take care of himself. Jeannie thanks Julia for their night out, praising her for just walking out on Griffin at the strip club. She wishes she’d stood up to her own husband before last night, when she announced that it’s over. Julia’s all, “You can end a marriage? That’s an option?”

Annie tells Bailey that the situation with Natalie and her father makes her feel helpless. Bailey says it makes him angry since Jay’s bad decisions keep hurting Natalie, and she takes it out on Bailey. Annie keeps defending Jay, blaming his behavior on his alcoholism. She claims that no one’s better off without a father.

Claudia rents Charlie A River Runs Through It to make up for his missed fishing trip. She and Julia continue mothering their brother, who pulls a Jeannie and tells them to back off. They tell him they just want to make sure he’s okay. Charlie asks if they would leave him alone if he said he was okay. They’re great when he’s feeling bad, but they hover when he wants to do something that makes him feel good.

Charlie continues that Julia and Claudia make him scared to take a chance. They caution him against doing anything that could make him feel worse, not thinking that he could actually feel better instead. Julia’s fine with Charlie doing something new, but she feels like she’s the only one taking his illness seriously. She’s the one sacrificing so he can go out and have fun. Charlie tells her that when he’s in bed, he’s not living – he’s “just waiting.”

Bailey tells Natalie that he knows how she feels not having her father around since his is also gone. He knows that their fathers still love them and think about them. Natalie can hold on to her good memories of her dad, and Bailey will never try to take his place. Charlie wants to do something with Kevin, but Kevin’s health isn’t good enough right now for an adventure. Charlie offers to just hang out instead, though Kevin encourages him to go have the adventure on his own.

Julia tries to talk to Griffin, who turns things into a fight. She’s fine with that since it means they’ll at least be communicating. They admit that they’re not even sure why things are so bad. (I think I have a few ideas…) Sarah thinks she’s finally worked out what’s going on with Elliot: He’s nervous because she’s a virgin, and he doesn’t think she can be fun. She suggests sexy clothes to solve the problem. Elliot admits that he’s not as experienced as she thinks. He’s a virgin, too.

Bailey looks in on Natalie while Annie’s putting her to bed, and she asks if he’ll be there when she wakes up. He promises he will. Then she sings the song her father used to sing her. Julia and Griffin go to bed silently. The next day, Charlie goes parasailing by himself.

Thoughts: Bailey, trust me, low-fat, sugar-free ice cream is no way into a child’s heart.

Way to make laundry even less sexy, Griffin.

Annie, shut up. “You’re doing too much. You’re doing too little.” You and Claudia go whine to each other and let everyone else have fun. P.S. Natalie is absolutely better off without that sorry excuse for a father.

April 8, 2014

SVU #15, Behind Closed Doors: Jessica Hooking Up With a Professor Was Completely Inevitable

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 8:25 pm by Jenn

Twin on the left is doing an impersonation of me in math class

Twin on the left is doing an impersonation of me in math class

Summary: Jessica is placed in a medieval history course, and she’s not happy about it. She tries to get her schedule changed, but the registrar is immune to her charms and won’t help her out. Jessica is, by the way, in a very “down with love” place. She and Randy have broken up (after all that stalking – er, I mean, admiring from afar), and she’s decided that since she hasn’t had any good luck with love so far in her life, she never will.

One Friday night, while everyone else is at a party, Jessica goes to the bookstore to get books for her new class. She runs into a guy named Louis who really likes medieval history, and he sparks her interest in it. He also sparks her interest in him, and they have coffee together. Little does Jess know that Louis isn’t a fellow student – he’s her medieval history professor. Plot twist!

No longer down with love, Jessica starts spending time with Louis outside of class (all in the guise of doing schoolwork, of course). They run into each other on the beach and build a sandcastle together. Then Louis spots some woman and panics, as he’d apparently come to Sweet Valley to get away from her. Jessica thinks he’s panicking because she’s been flirting and showing interest in him. She writes a mostly mature note apologizing for getting so personal.

After their next class, Louis asks Jessica to meet him in his office, even giving her a key. He tells her that they need to remember that he’s the professor and she’s his student; they can’t have a personal relationship. Jessica runs out dramatically, Louis follows her, and there’s kissing. Way to hold that line, Louis.

Todd learns that he’s not going to be allowed back on the basketball team, and he’s ticked (understandably so, since he’s being punished for the department’s screw-ups with illegal recruitment – he didn’t do anything wrong). When Elizabeth hears about this, she decides to make Todd her pet project and get him back on the team. She wants to do a story on the situation for WSVU. Tom pulls rank, telling her to let it go. Someone’s jealous of someone else wanting to spend time with her ex…

Tom’s about to go out of town for two weeks, and he assigns Elizabeth to work on a story he was supposed to do about alumni donations. While she’s researching, she learns that the athletics department has gotten a ton of donations over the past few years, but the money hasn’t been used for anything. In fact, the dean told Tom that there haven’t been any donations.

Elizabeth discusses the disconnect with Todd, who confirms that no money has been spent by the athletic department. So Liz talks to a coach, who says there haven’t been donations in years. When she tries to talk to another coach, the first one kicks her out and warns the second that if he ever speaks to her again, he’s fired. Elizabeth finds a list of donors and supposed details of how their donations were used. She thinks the money’s going straight into recruits’ pockets.

Todd reminds Elizabeth about Mark, Alex’s boyfriend who was also busted for taking illegal recruitment offers. Mark didn’t take any money and doesn’t know anything about other athletes accepting payment. At this point, Todd is the only person Liz has really talked to about the situation, since Tom doesn’t want to hear about anything involving Todd. Tom’s a big jerk in this book.

Next Liz decides to focus on getting Todd back on the basketball team. She meets with a faculty member who tells her that Todd can plead his case before the alumni association. Todd’s happy to hear that, but tells Gin-Yung not to come to the meeting. He tells her that the association will see him more favorably if she’s not there. He actually doesn’t want her to have to hear about the whole recruitment scandal. Poor Gin-Yung is very patient in this book. Also, unlike Tom, she has no problem with Todd spending time with Elizabeth, and seems to genuinely like Liz.

Anyway, the day of the meeting, Todd is ambushed by a couple of guys in black. They beat him up and tell him to warn Liz not to keep digging around the athletics department. Todd misses the meeting and asks Elizabeth (who finds him bleeding) not to tell Gin-Yung about the attack in case getting her involved could put her in danger. But Gin-Yung’s no dummy, and when she asks Elizabeth for the truth, Liz tells her. Gin-Yung, who knows a ton about sports, thinks there’s a scandal involving point-shaving and gambling. Elizabeth and Todd pursue that angle by talking to a player who was kicked off the team for poor performance, though his skills seem to be intact.

Bruce decides to move off campus and asks Lila to live with him. There’s a weird scene where a real estate agent shows them a horrible apartment that no one would ever want to rent, let alone two supremely rich college students. They end up getting a beach house. The only problem is that Bruce’s decorating tastes are horrible. At least someone in this book is happy.

Remember how college is sometimes about academics? That’s what Winston’s here for. He’s been spending so much time with Denise that his physics grade is slipping. His dad is very strict when it comes to school, and Winston’s worried that if he fails, his father won’t pay his tuition. But Winston has very little willpower, especially when it comes to Denise, so he has trouble making himself skip socializing to study. Then when he does study, he falls asleep and misses a study group.

Winston asks his professor for help, but the professor isn’t very sympathetic. He wants Winston to study in order to learn, not just to pass tests. Winston decides to ask Denise to keep her distance until his big physics test; otherwise, he’ll have to drop out and go to community college, which means even less time for them to spend together.

Winston makes some headway in studying but again asks his professor for help. The professor says he’ll give Winston a study guide just this one time. Turns out the professor is kind of a jerk – the study guide is just a note telling him to read his textbook. But while Winston’s getting the guide from the professor’s office (the professor isn’t there), he spots a copy of the test. The devil and angel on Winston’s shoulders have a brief discussion, and the devil wins. Winston’s a cheater! Winston’s a cheater!

Thoughts: Jessica: “There’s no way I’m sitting through some boring class, listening to a dorky professor lecture about stuff that happened hundreds of years ago.” Then you shouldn’t have gone to college. That’s what 50 percent of it is.

Winston’s physics professor is Dr. Stark. I hope their final project is building an arc reactor. (There it is, folks. The nerdiest thing I’ve ever written.)

Nina has a Lenny Kravitz poster in her room. For once, the ghostwriter picked a celebrity a college student would actually find attractive.

April 6, 2014

BH90210 7.19, My Funny Valentine: Love the One You’re Not With

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:54 pm by Jenn

I wonder if Valerie has a reflection...

I wonder if Valerie has a reflection…

Summary: Kelly wants to start her and Tom’s first Valentine’s Day together with a jog. He’s not as peppy as she is. Valerie calls, so now Kelly isn’t very peppy either. Val tells Tom that she needs him to meet her at the After Dark right away – her mother’s coming in today. Kelly warns Tom that he’s being used, but he considers this enough of an emergency that he needs to ditch her for Valerie. Val then asks Brandon and Tracy to pick her mother up at the airport so she doesn’t have to be alone with her.

Tracy reminds Brandon that it’s Valentine’s Day and asks what he’s getting her. Apparently a Luther Vandross concert at the After Dark isn’t enough. Donna’s been skipping classes since her trauma with Evan, so Clare tries to cheer her up with a trip to the salon. David arrives with Valentine’s Day goodies, and Donna tries to act cheerful. Dick offers Steve some pot before they play golf together, which is the weirdest combination I’ve ever heard of.

At the After Dark, Valerie complains about her mother visiting. She thinks Abby blames her for her father’s death. As Brandon drives Abby home from the airport, she says that she knows Valerie believes Abby blames her. At the After Dark, David and Chloe meet Luther Vandross (Chloe’s opening for him), who’s giving the concert because he owes Mel a favor.

At the beat apartment, Clare again tries to convince Donna to go to the concert. Suddenly there’s something to make Donna want to put some clothes on and fix herself up a little: Cliff has returned! He wants to spend Valentine’s Day with her. Donna and Cliff go for a walk, and she tells him she has a boyfriend. He says that as long as they’re not on the road to marriage, he still has a shot to win her back.

Brandon takes Abby to the After Dark, which Valerie isn’t happy about. (But when is she happy about anything?) She thinks her mother has an ulterior motive. “Like mother, like daughter,” Brandon says. She calls her mother tough and manipulative, which is exactly how people see Val. Valerie says that’s because of Abby. At the beach apartment, Kelly complains to Clare about Valerie summoning Tom away. She still insists she’s not using him.

David stops by to see Donna, who’s out with Cliff. Kelly and Clare cover for her, but Donna and Cliff arrive as he’s leaving. David’s mad that after days of trying to cheer Donna up, she’s suddenly all better now that Cliff’s there. Cliff promises that he didn’t know Donna had a boyfriend. After he leaves, Donna tells David that she hasn’t been in touch with Cliff for months. David chooses to leave in a snit instead of be happy that she’s better.

At the Walshes’, Abby asks for a fresh start with Valerie, then immediately asks her to sign so she can take out a second mortgage on the family house (which Val owns half off). Valerie’s mad that she just came to town for money. She tells Abby to sell it, but Abby wants to keep it. Valerie would rather see the house burned to the ground – she hates it and she hates her mother for not stopping whatever happened there.

Everyone gathers at the After Dark for the concert. Steve offers Clare some pot, but she wonders why he would think she would be interested. She gives it back to Dick in front of his date, who was under the impression that he’d quit smoking. Clare doesn’t want to hang out with anyone who’s high. Kelly meets up with Tom, who promises that they’ll spend Valentine’s Day together. David and Donna smooth things over.

Brandon and Tracy take Abby to the concert, assuring her that she and Valerie will work things out. Steve goes outside to chat with Dick while he smokes, and gives in to peer pressure. Chloe gives a boring performance, and Donna complains to Kelly about all the time David’s been spending with her. Kelly teases that they should call Cliff to join them tonight.

Valerie picks another fight with Abby, who doesn’t understand why there’s so much animosity. She’s leaving the next morning for a convention, but when she returns in a week, she wants to sit down with Val and work things out. Valerie refuses, saying Abby won’t win her over. Luther performs and all the couples share a moment, except Clare and Steve, since she can tell he’s been smoking.

In the bathroom, Kelly runs into Valerie and notices that she’s not having a very good night. Val says she hopes Kelly and Tom are happy together, but Kelly needs to know something. Tom is the only person who’s ever really loved Valerie. If Kelly really wants to be with him, fine, but if not, she should let him go so he and Valerie can be together, since she really needs him right now. Kelly can tell that Val is being sincere.

Luther sings more. Clare’s mad at Steve. David tells Donna that he’s glad she’s doing better, but he wonders if she tried to get him to leave that morning because she knew Cliff was coming by. Donna assures him again that she hasn’t spoken to Cliff in months. When Chloe pops up, Donna storms off. This is clearly a healthy relationship.

Kelly tells Tom that she’s changed her mind about spending Valentine’s Day with him. She’s not in love with him, but Valerie is. Kelly says she went out with Tom to make Valerie jealous, and though she did eventually develop feelings for him, things didn’t start out right, so she doesn’t think they should stay together.

Donny, Kelly, and Clare go to the Peach Pit for pie and griping about guys. Cliff’s there and asks Donna to go out with him the next night. Donna accepts, so in your face, David. Tom tells Valerie that he and Kelly broke up, then dances with her. He tells her that over the years, he’s tried to get over her, but it’s never worked. There’s kissing.

Brandon tells Tracy that he has a present for her, then leaves to get a drink of water, telling to grab a shirt since it’s cold. She pulls a shirt out of his dresser and finds a ring. Brandon returns with champagne, and that combined with the ring gives Tracy the understandable thought that he’s proposing. Little does she know that the ring is the one he offered to Kelly. Tracy quickly figures that out, so…that’s awkward.

Thoughts: I guess David’s allowed to hang out with Chloe all he wants but Donna’s not allowed to hang out with Cliff? Shut up, David.

Luther Vandross is way too high-class for this show.

Stoned Steve can’t be much different from regular Steve, right?

I would never advocate drug use, but if there’s anyone who could benefit from the mellowing effect of pot, it’s Clare.

April 5, 2014

Party of Five 4.13, Parent Trap: Deal With the Consequences

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:25 pm by Jenn

The Salingers need to look at this polar bear cub and chill out for a while

The Salingers need to look at this polar bear cub and chill out for a while

Summary: We open with Bailey and Annie’s bedroom talk, so…great. Fortunately, Natalie interrupts and tries to get into bed with her mother. Annie hasn’t told her about seeing Bailey, so she doesn’t want Natalie in the bedroom. Bailey has to hide under the bed while Annie reads her daughter a story. Julia runs the house some more, again, assigning Griffin to pick Owen up from daycare. Griffin objects since he’ll have to close the shop. Everyone notices that Claudia is dressed up.

Charlie goes to the doctor to get medication for a rash, but the doctor isn’t very sympathetic. Bailey tries to take care of stuff at the restaurant while talking to Annie on the phone about how they can have a sleepover that night. He can’t, though, since he has to work. She’s annoyed that he works so much and goes to class during the day. Way to be understanding about his situation, Annie.

Claudia takes her new look to the coffeehouse to apologize to Reed for their fight***. He tells her to let it go, then notices her weird hair (which is supposed to be curled, but isn’t really). Griffin has to take Owen to the garage because Claudia wasn’t at the house to look after him. Griffin has money problems, which is totally brand new and not a boring storyline at all. He also can’t get much done with Owen around.

Kirsten takes Charlie to an herbalist to get treatment for his rash. The herbalist immediately diagnoses both his rash and his Hodgkin’s. He offers some remedies (but only for the rash, not the cancer, unfortunately). Annie shows up at the restaurant during the dinner rush, hoping to spend some time with Bailey when he has a minute. Bailey doesn’t have a minute. He also wants them to sit Natalie down and tell her about their relationship. Annie refuses, not wanting to introduce Natalie to someone who might not stay in her life.

Owen comes home with a new vocabulary thanks to things he’s overheard at the garage (“you owe me money” and “damn”). Charlie makes tea with his new herbs, stinking up the house. His sisters think he’s being messed with. Bailey’s finally ready to spend some alone time with Annie in the morning, but she has stuff to do. He convinces her to rearrange her schedule to spend some more time with him.

At school, Claudia slips a note into Reed’s locker. At the house, Julia catches Griffin leaving for work without saying goodbye; he came home late and they didn’t get to talk. He tells her that he wants to talk to her at the end of each day, but Julia has so much to deal with. Clearly, the honeymoon’s over. Julia wants to make sure they never go to bed angry.

A couple of girls find Claudia’s note and giggle over it. It turns out one of the girls swapped lockers with Reed. Reed catches them and tells the girls to leave Claudia alone. Kirsten visits Charlie, who tells her that the herbs haven’t helped his rash. He’s frustrated that he has to put up with something he has no control over. He’s starting to wonder if the radiation treatment is as useless as the herbs.

Julia goes to the garage to help out with some administrative work and stumbles across Griffin’s ledgers, seeing how much he owes. Griffin wants to use the money Howie’s stashing with him to pay off some debts without Howie knowing. Julia knows that’s a horrible idea. Griffin tells her to support him or “just stay home.” Yeah, the honeymoon’s definitely over.

Bailey learns that the thing Annie rescheduled to spend time with him was a job interview. He thinks that was a horrible idea and tells her not to do that again. Annie snaps at him for getting mad at her for trying to make time to be with him. Obviously she’s also mad that he won’t do the same for her, but whatever, shut up Annie.

At the coffeehouse, Claudia thanks Reed for coming to her rescue. He’s read her note and wants to make it clear that the two of them aren’t going to be anything more than friends. Claudia thinks that eventually they will be. After all, Jane Eyre and Rochester made it work. Reed’s like, “Sweetie, that didn’t really happen.” She wonders if he asked to trade lockers to get away from her.

Julia, Griffin, Claudia, and Owen have a silent, awkward dinner at the house. Claudia leaves the table early so Griffin turns on the TV. The next morning, Claudia refuses to go to school, but Julia’s so busy that she doesn’t do anything about it. Charlie reads a book. (No, really, that was apparently significant enough to devote five seconds to.)

Annie decides that it’s time to tell Natalie about her relationship with Bailey. She feels like sneaking around with him is too similar to how she snuck around when she was drinking. Bailey worries that she’s doing this for him, but Annie wants to do what AA taught her: take responsibility for her choices and deal with the consequences.

Kirsten drops by the house again and finds Charlie meditating. Both of them are surprised at this new behavior. He read an article about a plant in Mexico that cures cancer in mice, and he’s so desperate that he’s considered finding out if it works for humans. Kirsten notes that at least he’s distracted enough not to scratch.

Howie visits the garage and asks for a check for the bulk of what’s in his and Griffin’s account. He’s not too pleased with Griffin’s attempts to say no. It’s time for Annie and Bailey’s big talk with Natalie. Annie starts by saying that Bailey’s going to be spending more time with them; he already eats dinner with them a lot, and now he’ll be sleeping over. “You’re not my daddy,” Natalie tells Bailey.

Griffin answers the phone at the Salingers’ and learns that Claudia skipped school. He tells her she can’t avoid her responsibilities because of a fight with a boy. Charlie’s sick and Julia’s working hard to keep things under control. Julia overhears and yells at Griffin for yelling at Claudia. She tells him he’s like his father. Charlie shouts for everyone to shut up because he’s meditating. Claudia tries to talk to him, but he’s too busy.

In the morning, Bailey takes donuts to Annie and Natalie, but Annie doesn’t think it’s a good time for him to be around her daughter. Charlie’s rash is gone, and he thinks meditating is what cured him. Julia wonders if it was the detergent she’d briefly been using. Womp womp! Now that Howie has taken back his money, Griffin has to give up all his fancy garage equipment.

At school, Claudia tells Reed that she’s okay just being his friend. He notes that she takes everything wrong – anything nice that he says is interpreted as more than just a gesture of friendship. Charlie tells Kirsten that he really thought his meditation had cured him; it made him feel better about going to radiation today. He finally felt in control of something, and capable of beating cancer. Kirsten doesn’t think the details matter.

Griffin wants to discuss Julia’s accusations, but he’s still mad about how Claudia skipped school, so I don’t think this is going to go well. Julia remembers how Griffin acted one time when he came over after a fight with his father. He complained that his father made others feel bad because he had a bad day. Griffin says the situations are different, somehow. Then he reveals that Howie took his money back and Griffin lost his equipment.

Griffin continues that Julia doesn’t get how hard things are for him. But Julia does, because she completely understands being 19 and having real adult responsibilities. She knows they both want the other to fix things. Julia has to go back to the house to tend to Owen, and she asks Griffin to come with her, but he wants to go to bed.

Charlie meditates again, and Julia tells him it’s helping. Natalie won’t come out of her room while Bailey’s in the apartment, but Annie’s sure that she’ll eventually adjust. She and Bailey find it ironic that they went through all this to spend more time together. They try to figure out when they can spend more time together, but they still have busy schedules. Meanwhile, Julia’s lost time with her partner, too.

Thoughts: If your relationship has advanced to where your boyfriend is spending the night, yeah, you need to tell your kid. You should probably tell your kid before your boyfriend starts spending the night.

Bailey: “What am I supposed to do with 25 pounds of salmon?” Serve it to your customers? I mean, I’m no restaurant manager, but I imagine your chef might have some ideas of what to do with fish.

One of the giggly girls is soap actress Tamara Braun. Her teeny ’90s pigtail buns are scary.

“Will you guys shut up? I’m meditating!” made me laugh.

April 1, 2014

SVT #5, Sneaking Out: Dog Day Afternoon

Posted in books tagged , , at 6:44 pm by Jenn

Just say no to denim on denim, Jess

Just say no to denim on denim, Jess

Summary: Johnny Buck, America’s favorite rock star (or at least America’s teenagers’ favorite rock star) is coming to Sweet Valley for a concert! WHY AREN’T YOU MORE EXCITED? For $25, every Jimmy and Susie in Sweet Valley can listen to the Buck sing songs about…I don’t know. Kittens? Picnics? Something else inoffensive? Lest you think he’s just another product of the machine that gave us such artists as the Biebs, that other guy who’s kind of like the Biebs, and that third guy who’s also like the Biebs except Australian, even boys like the Buck. Or they pretend to because Bruce does.

Anyway, Jessica wants to go to the concert because the last time the Buck was in town, she and Elizabeth were deemed “too young” to go. But they staked out his hotel and he threw Jessica a hat. Well, actually he threw the hat to Elizabeth, but she snoozed and lost, so Jess grabbed it. She’s the bigger Buck fan anyway. And Elizabeth’s a pushover, so of course she let Jessica have it. Jess wants to take the hat to the concert and have the Buck sign it, since he obviously chose her out of all the other fangirls for this very important prize, which means it’s true luv. And Jessica wants to make him an honorary Unicorn. I’m sure he’ll love that.

Alas, Jessica’s hopes are dashed by Alice and Ned, who think the twins are still too young to go to a rock concert. Steven’s going but doesn’t want to play chaperone, which is understandable. And it’s not like it matters, since Jessica doesn’t have the money for a ticket anyway. But she decides to earn the money somehow, and figure out the logistics later.

Jess spots an ad looking for a dog-sitter, and though she hates dogs (and admits to being scared of them), she decides that’s the fastest, easiest way to make $25. The dog’s owner, Mrs. Bramble, is so impressed with Jessica’s maturity (cough) and love for dogs (cough cough) that she asks Jessica take the dog, Sally, home with her while Mrs. Bramble is out of town. Suddenly this dog-sitting job has turned into temporary foster care for a dog Jessica’s afraid of despite the fact that it’s a chubby, senior citizen cocker spaniel. But Jess has never said no to an easy paycheck, so she gets her parents to agree to let Sally stay with them. Mrs. Bramble pays Jessica up front, which is a horrible idea.

The only thing Jessica hates more than dogs is any kind of work, so she gets her family members to take care of Sally for her. Elizabeth is the only one who realizes she’s being manipulated. This works all the way through the morning of the concert, when Jessica’s the only one around to walk Sally. Mrs. Bramble is supposed to come back that afternoon and pick up Sally before Jessica goes to Lila’s to get ready for the concert. But Mrs. Bramble calls to say she missed her bus and won’t be in until that night, long after Jessica’s supposed to leave.

No way will Jessica give up on her dreams of lying to her parents and going to a concert to meet the supposed love of her life. She ties Sally to a tree in the backyard and splits. But Sally goes chasing after a squirrel and her leash comes loose. Run, Sally! Be free of these people! When Elizabeth comes home, she discovers that Sally’s missing. Being the responsible twin, she enlists Amy to help her find the dog, but they have no luck.

Jessica’s afternoon isn’t much better. Her and Lila’s seats suck, the acoustics aren’t very good, and at one point the Buck’s microphone dies. A bunch of people are upset enough to storm out, but the girls stay, still wanting the Buck’s autograph. The technical issues are resolved and the Buck resumes the concert, which Jessica now gets to enjoy from a better vantage point, since so many people left.

But then – a crisis! Jessica sees other girls with the Buck’s hats and realizes that the one he threw her wasn’t an object of his affection at all. He gives hats away like they mean nothing to him. While she’s dealing with her heartbreak, Jessica falls onto some grass, staining her clothes (which she borrowed from Elizabeth without asking). The girls head home, saddened by the reality that life is hard and sometimes rock stars don’t want to marry you.

Mrs. Bramble returns to town, and Elizabeth has to confess that Sally escaped. They do eventually find Sally at Mrs. Bramble’s house, where Elizabeth is confused by the concept of a doggie door. Alice is annoyed that Jessica left to hang out with Lila when she was supposed to be taking care of Sally, and she demands that Elizabeth call her and summon her home. Also, Jessica will have to give back the money Mrs. Bramble paid her. Elizabeth stalls, but that backfires because Alice decides they’ll just go to Lila’s and get Jessica themselves.

At the Fowlers’, Elizabeth gives Jessica the news that Alice is unhappy with her and she has to give Mrs. Bramble back her $25. Of course, Jessica spent that money on the doomed concert. She asks Elizabeth for a loan, but this is one time Liz won’t be bailing her sister out of an avoidable mess. Also, Elizabeth is upset that Jessica borrowed the earrings Liz bought for Alice’s birthday and then lost one.

Jess then has to apologize to Mrs. Bramble, and she ends up spilling everything she did – going to the concert without permission, spending the $25, and not liking dogs. Mrs. Bramble is sympathetic since she did some things as a child that she wasn’t supposed to do. She makes a deal that Jessica doesn’t have to pay back the $25, but she’ll have to walk Sally every day for a month. Jessica decides this is fair, especially since her parents never find out about the concert and she’s able to give Elizabeth a replacement for the earrings. I guess dealing with a slobbering dog is enough punishment for Jessica this time.

Thoughts: I enjoy Alice actually being a parent. Of course, it won’t last.

Johnny Buck’s supposed to be a rock star, but I can’t help thinking of him as being like the Biebs. They even have the same initials! Which are…also my initials. Okay, I’m not sure what that means.

The clothes Jessica borrows from Elizabeth are “a pale beige with a scoop neck and a raspberry jacket,” and leather slippers. Leather…slippers?

Jessica also doesn’t ask to borrow the outfit or the earrings Liz bought for Alice because she’s sure they would both understand how important the concert is to her and would want her to look nice. This is most likely one of the symptoms of Jessica’s psychopathy.

The Wakefields call the police about the missing dog, which is ridiculous, mostly because in SVH and SVU, they don’t call the police abut real emergencies.

Elizabeth: “Lots of animals find their way back from much farther away. Remember Lassie.” Alice: “Lassie did come home.” Freaking A, people.

March 30, 2014

BH90210 7.18, We Interrupt This Program: Anything Can Happen On Live TV

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:41 pm by Jenn

If you say there's rain in the forecast one more time, I swear to God...

If you say there’s rain in the forecast one more time, I swear to God…

Summary: With Garrett out of the picture, Donna’s going back to her weather segment at CUTV. Evan suggests that they act like she never left. Vile Rusty arrives and blasts Brandon for getting the police on his case. He wants everyone at the station to be knocked down a peg: “I hope you and Donna rot in Hell.” Tracy wonders if they should take his anger as a threat.

Donna moves back into the beach apartment as Kelly and Tom make date plans. Donna thinks Kelly’s just trying to date Tom to make Valerie mad, but Kelly says she really likes him. Making Val jealous is just a side benefit. Chloe practices at the After Dark, and David tells her she’s going to be a big success. She appreciates the support since her parents don’t like that she dropped out of school to become a singer. He offers the use of his home recording studio so she can make a demo.

Steve, Clare, Chancellor Arnold, and Samantha go to a retreat together, though the younger couple isn’t thrilled with the older couple’s romance. Clare breaks the news to Steve that the room arrangements will be based on gender, not relationships. At the After Dark, Valerie is short with Tom, so Kelly’s plans are definitely working out the way she’d hoped. Val tells Tom that Kelly’s only using him for revenge. If he doesn’t dump her, he’s fired. Tom tells her he quits.

Samantha is a fan of Clare’s, though Clare wonders if some of her praise comes from trying to get Clare to like her. Samantha tells her that Chancellor Arnold is proud of her, promising that they won’t do anything Clare wouldn’t approve of. That doesn’t explain the black lingerie she brought with her. Donna calls David and Chloe answers the phone, telling her how great David is. Donna tries to make plans with him, but he’s busy with Chloe.

As someone loads a gun and grumbles about Donna, the retreaters have dinner together. Clare’s overly concerned with her father’s eating habits, trying to turn Samantha off. Steve calls her on it and she asks him to help her drive them apart. Steve, however, likes seeing his mom happy. Clare complains that Samantha’s taking Chancellor Arnold away from her. After a date, Tom asks Kelly if she’s using him to get back at Valerie. Kelly kisses him to let him know she really likes him. Tom tells her he quit when Valerie threatened to fire him.

Donna goes back to CUTV, where Rusty insults her even after she says she’s sorry that the police questioned him. Evan tells him to back off, but Rusty’s already on his way out, since he’s quit. Steve and Clare scheme, because they’re 12, then spot their parents kissing. Chancellor Arnold tells Samantha that he doesn’t think they should be together because their kids aren’t on board. Now Clare feels bad, as she should.

Evan tells Donna how awesome she is, then picks out lipstick for her to wear. She’s getting a little uncomfortable with his closeness. He kisses her on the cheek, which makes her pull away, and tells her he knows she likes the attention she got from his flowers and phone calls. Yes, boys and girls, Evan is Donna’s stalker. He wants them to be together and only put the rat in her bed and tried to run her down because she made him mad.

As Brandon and Tracy arrive, Donna runs to them and tells them Evan’s the stalker. Brandon starts to call campus security, but Evan pulls out his gun and takes control of the studio. He wants to say something on the air, and if he doesn’t get to say it, Donna will pay the price. Evan sends Brandon to the control room, then puts Donna behind the news desk for a very special broadcast.

While Evan assigns Tracy to run the camera, Brandon calls 911 from the control room. Evan notices that the phone is off the hook, but Brandon plays dumb, saying it must have gotten knocked out of its cradle. Evan doesn’t seem to be concerned that he might have made a phone call. The broadcast starts, and Evan holds his gun on Donna while he orders her to talk. At the Condor’s Nest, Kelly sees the broadcast on TV.

Evan makes Donna declare his love for him, then gets her to read entries from his journal. They’re about her and how he thinks she’s going to end up with him. Outside, a SWAT team gathers and a detective named Rendell calls Brandon to give him instructions. Evan makes Donna say she loves him again, yelling at her to say it like she means it. No matter how she says it, he doesn’t believe her.

Brandon announces that the police are on the phone and want to talk to Evan. Evan refuses to get on the phone. Brandon asks him to release the hostages, adding that since he hasn’t hurt anyone yet, he might not be in too much trouble. Evan makes him hang up. Back on the air, he accuses Donna of leading him on. Kelly calls David and leaves him a message telling him to turn on CUTV. Evan gets Donna to say how horrible she is, then tells everyone that the broadcast is far from over.

At the retreat, Clare tells Chancellor Arnold that she doesn’t want him and Samantha to break up. He promises that Clare will always be his first priority. Meanwhile, Steve tells Samantha that he only went along with Clare’s plan because she asked him to. However, he’s also a bit jealous of all the time Samantha spends with Chancellor Arnold.

The police turn up the heat in the TV studio, then offer to send drinks in. Evan lets Brandon get them, and while he’s distracted, a woman in the studio grabs the phone and begs the police for help. Evan waves his gun around but doesn’t shoot anyone. Rendell asks Evan to let the hostages go, since the police did him a favor. Donna agrees to stay since she’s the one Evan really wants. Evan gives in and sends everyone out except Donna, Brandon, and Tracy.

Rendell tries to negotiate with Evan, who wants a car, and for everyone to know what a liar Donna is. He tells Rendell that Donna agreed to stay, so she’s not a hostage. Rendell says he’ll have to prove that by putting his gun down. He starts to, then spots SWAT guys lurking in the control room. He sends them out and demands a car again, threatening to kill Donna if it doesn’t arrive within an hour.

The standoff lasts into the night, with Evan brainstorming places to flee with Donna. She tells him she’s not going anywhere with him – if he liked her, he should have just asked her out. Evan says that without the gun, he’s a nobody. Donna basically snaps, telling him that if he wants to shoot her, he should do it already. If he wants her, he’ll need to act like a man, not a stalker, and put the gun down.

It almost works, but then Evan catches Tracy staring and snaps at her. He tells her to leave, and she tries to get Brandon to go, too, but he wants to stay with Donna. Rendell praises Evan for letting Tracy go, then tries to negotiate some more, but Evan makes Brandon hang up the phone again. Evan cries and asks Donna not to hate him. Outside, the SWAT team prepares to use a flash grenade to get control of him.

Donna does what I call steering into the crazy, by pretending she wants to be with Evan and will leave the country with him. She and Brandon tell him that David means nothing to her. Brandon goes a step farther, saying that Donna told him she has a crush on Evan. Donna asks Evan to kiss her, getting him to put the gun down. Then she kicks the gun away and grabs it while Brandon tackles Evan. The SWAT team bursts in and arrests Evan. “You said you wouldn’t leave me,” he says. “I lied,” Donna replies.

Thoughts: Good job by Trevor Edmund (Evan), who hit all the notes in sweet, creepy, and crazed. That can’t be easy, especially all in one episode.

Clare, shut up. I put up with you for a long time, but now you’re bugging me again.

I wish Chancellor Arnold and Samantha had only fake broken up to teach Clare a lesson.

David hanging out with Chloe while Donna was a hostage is like Brandon making out with Emily while Kelly was trapped by a fire, yes?

I kind of feel bad for the actors in this episode who didn’t get to be part of the hostage storyline. They only got to do boring stuff.

March 29, 2014

Party of Five 4.12, Empty Shoes: “Grow Up and Do Your Jobs”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Maybe Owen would eat Bananas Foster?

Maybe Owen would eat Bananas Foster?

Summary: At the restaurant, Charlie meets with a man named Bancroft who’s tasting food for a big anniversary party. Julia’s gotten a job as a server and is interfering more than Charlie would like. While Charlie’s berating her for acting like she knows how to manage things better than he does, he gets sick. He winds up in bed, though he tells his siblings that he’s having a normal reaction to his treatments.

Julia worries that Charlie won’t be able to work at the restaurant while he’s in treatment, because the smell of food makes him sick. Julia offers to run things for him, but Charlie needs her to run things at the house. She’s also the only person other than Charlie who has a driver’s license. Julia notes that she and Griffin need money, but Charlie wants Bailey at the restaurant. Bailey accepts his assignment. Claudia’s sad that she can’t help out more.

Julia tries to deal with Owen, who’s being picky about what he wants for breakfast. The only thing he wants is oatmeal, which they don’t have. At the restaurant, Bailey immediately has issues: He’s short on waiters, they’re out of fish, and the place is booked. He’s also trying to juggle schoolwork with his new responsibilities.

At home, Julia brings a bunch of problems to Charlie, who quickly gives her solutions. Later, Bailey does the same, disagreeing with Charlie’s negotiations with Bancroft. He also wants to change the restaurant’s policy on specials, since the waiters have trouble memorizing them. Charlie’s done with him and tells him to do whatever he wants, which is a horrible, horrible idea.

Claudia and Reed hang out at the coffeehouse, where she helps him with a paper and he encourages her to eat better. She appreciates the break from her family issues. Then she takes things a step farther, telling Reed that she loves him. He manages to not run screaming from the coffeehouse, so points to him. He just goes back to working on his paper.

Julia and Bailey both sneak into Charlie’s room, looking for various things, and accidentally wake him up. It’s a good thing, since he’s able to direct them to what they need. They try to offer him movies and CDs and a ride with Griffin, but Charlie just wants to sleep. Bailey questions Julia’s decision to let Owen have popcorn for breakfast.

At school, Claudia unloads her concerns on Reed, telling him that he’s the one thing she has that distracts her from all of them. He decides not to tell her whatever he was going to tell her (probably that he doesn’t want to be more than friends). Sarah stops by the house to ask to borrow something for Charlie for a theater-production class. Charlie thinks Bailey sent her over to “entertain” him. Sarah really does have a design project, though, and just wants to use his drafting table.

Bailey’s restaurant problems continue, partly because Julia’s been out running errands. She’s missed the beginning of her shift and snaps at Bailey for replacing her. She reminds him that she has extra responsibilities right now and needs some slack. Then the waitress who replaced her gets mad that she’s going to be moved. Guys, I’m getting the impression that Bailey is bad at this.

Claudia and Reed play video games at his place, and he asks how things are going at home. He decides to let her stay for another game. Things at the restaurant have calmed down a little, but Julia hasn’t mastered Bailey’s new system for the specials, so she’s screwing up her orders. She yells at him for trying to change things because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. She reminds him that it’s still Charlie’s restaurant.

At home, Charlie takes a look at what Sarah’s been working on for her class and decides to help her out. Claudia falls asleep on Reed’s couch while watching a movie. Bailey also falls asleep working at the restaurant after hours. Julia comes home late and rejects Griffin’s attempts to have sex. (Way to read the room, Griff.) Julia complains that she keeps getting told to do things but is never consulted for her opinion.

In the morning, Charlie’s in a better mood than he has been, still looking at Sarah’s project. His mood changes when Claudia admits that she spent the night at Reed’s. Sarah chastises Bailey for neglecting his responsibilities at the apartment building. Then he gets an earful from Julia, who’s upset that she’s been taken off the anniversary party.

At the house, Julia complains to Charlie about Bailey, who then comes in to unload his problems on his brother. Charlie tells them to shut up and stop dragging him into their issues. “Grow up and do your jobs,” he tells them. Bailey’s the manager, so if he wants to do something, he should do it. Julia needs to shut up about her tables and worry about Claudia’s behavior.

Charlie then goes to the basement, where Sarah’s seen the changes he made to her project. He’s changed the entire design, actually, and tells her it wasn’t working. If someone tried to build a set based on the design, it would actually kill the audience. Sarah appreciates the adjustments and asks for more advice.

Julia calmly approaches Claudia to ask her to help out more at home, and especially not spend the night at Reed’s again. Claudia already has plans with him that night, which means she can’t watch Owen, so now Julia’s in a bind. Bailey works the anniversary party while Julia deals with rude customers (though she’s not exactly polite herself). Claudia waits for Reed at the coffeehouse, but he doesn’t show.

The restaurant’s running low on bananas for Bananas Foster, which means Bancroft is probably going to be upset. Bailey gets a flash of inspiration and tells Bancroft that everyone’s eating the Bananas Foster, implying that it’s safe and boring. He just got a shipment of exotic fruit and recommends serving that instead. Bancroft falls for the ploy.

Julia makes a fuss over a poor tip from her rude customers, and if she weren’t working for her brother’s restaurant, I guarantee she’d be fired on the spot. At the end of the night, Bancroft comes to the kitchen to praise Bailey’s success as Charlie’s substitute. He gives him a generous tip for his troubles, then says he’ll be back next year.

Instead of taking a moment to celebrate, Bailey fires Julia, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to her. He points out that she hates the job, and it’s obvious to the customers. Julia says it shouldn’t matter whether she likes the job or not – she needs it. At home, Griffin’s upset over Bailey’s treatment of Julia, especially since she’s done so much for the family, but Julia doesn’t want her job back anyway. She admits that Bailey was right.

Bailey handles some apartment issues, then has breakfast with Annie, catching up on what she’s been doing while he’s been so busy. She enjoys hearing how he’s been dealing with problems at the restaurant. She’s proud that he was in charge on the restaurant’s highest-grossing night ever. Bailey admits that he hasn’t given Charlie the good news, but Annie thinks he should, since Charlie will be able to relax knowing that Bailey can run things without him.

Charlie works on Sarah’s project some more, putting on some finishing touches he’s always wanted to add to a project. He tells her about how much he enjoyed his classes before he had to drop them to help Joe at the restaurant. At school, Claudia tracks down Reed, who says he didn’t think they had definite plans the night before. He tells her, a little harshly, that he likes her and wants to help her, but he doesn’t want to be her boyfriend.

Bailey chats with Charlie, purposely not telling him anything about the restaurant. Charlie asks for news, so Bailey tells him that the anniversary party went horribly. They definitely need Charlie at the restaurant. Charlie reveals that he heard from Bancroft, who praised Bailey’s work. Bailey again makes it clear that it’s still Charlie’s restaurant, but Charlie tells him that until he can come back, it’s Bailey’s.

Claudia tries to talk to Reed, but he ignores her. He finally tells her that things are too intense for him to spend time with her. Bailey does his thing at the restaurant, proving that he’s learned a lot and can be a success. Julia tries to get Owen to eat something, but he’s being picky again. She also can’t get Claudia to talk to her. Finished with Sarah’s project, Charlie pulls out one of his old designs and gets to work on it.

Thoughts: Owen has developed a bit of an attitude, and I love it.

’90s music alert: Cake’s “The Distance.”

You know who should be in charge? Of, like, everything? Ross. Ross is the only person on this show I would trust to take Charlie’s place.

Oh, Reed. You’re trying, but you’re a jerk. Claudia deserves so much better.

March 25, 2014

SVU Thriller, Kiss of the Vampire: Vampire Journalists Give New Meaning to the Word “Deadline”

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 6:47 pm by Jenn

Scary for the wrong reasons

Scary for the wrong reasons

Summary: Elizabeth and Tom both apply for a journalism mini-fellowship that will send the winner to New Orleans to help a famous journalist with some research. Tom wins and gets to spend the weekend in the Big Easy with Nicholas des Perdu. Wow, a whole weekend! He and Elizabeth act like he’s going off to war. Of course they’re one of those couples who can’t go ten minutes apart without talking about each other the whole time.

Nicholas is super-rich, with a driver named Fortune and a housekeeper named Marielle. Nicholas is doing a story on Halloween and All Saints’ Day in New Orleans, but I’m not sure how much work actually gets done. As soon as Nicholas sees a picture Tom brought with him of Elizabeth, he’s distracted. We get a flashback to 1788 in France, and what do you know? Nicholas was alive back then. The flashback is to his wedding to a woman named Lisette, who looks like Elizabeth. Seriously, how many lookalikes do the twins have?

Tom and Elizabeth are supposed to talk on the phone while he’s gone, but he forgets to call her the first night he’s in New Orleans, so they have to suffer for, like, 12 hours with no communication. Elizabeth tries to call Tom, but the phone number he gave her doesn’t work, and Nicholas’ number is unlisted. When Tom finally gets around to picking up the phone, he suddenly gets drowsy. Marielle’s lurking around, and the two of them start making out. Marielle tries to bite him, but Tom suddenly realizes that he’s doing something wrong and makes Marielle leave.

Nicholas has another flashback, this time to when he had to leave Lisette to go deal with some pesky peasants. While he’s reminiscing, Elizabeth has a dream about Nicholas, though she’s never met him. The next day, Tom’s supposed to head back to Sweet Valley, but bad weather delays his flight. Oh, no, now he and Elizabeth have to wait even longer to see each other! How ever will they survive?

Tom kills some time by reading about women being killed in New Orleans and found with their blood drained. He goes exploring in Nicholas’ house and discovers a coffin in the basement. Of course. Tom heads back to Sweet Valley, and not long after, Nicholas follows, wanting to meet the woman who looks so much like Lisette.

Back at SVU, the twins are throwing a big Halloween party in an abandoned house on campus. No, I don’t know why there’s an abandoned house on campus. No, I don’t know why it hasn’t been turned into a dorm or a frat/sorority house. No, I don’t know why the administration would leave an empty building there for students to easily throw big parties in. Stop asking me questions! Anyway, the money’s going to charity, so the party is a Nice Thing, because Elizabeth isn’t allowed to just be normal and have some fun.

When Tom gets back to town, he goes to the house (Hollow House – ooh, spooky) to help Elizabeth set up for the party. The lights have been acting up, and when they go out, Tom leaves Liz alone to check the fusebox. Elizabeth thinks he comes back and makes out with her in the dark, but obviously it’s Nicholas.

Eventually Liz meets Nicholas for real, and he tells her he came to Sweet Valley to keep working with Tom on the story. He takes Elizabeth out somewhere, to “talk about Tom,” so now Tom’s confused about why his girlfriend, formerly so clingy that she couldn’t stand to be away from him for two days, is spending time apart from him. Also, Nicholas doesn’t want Liz to tell Tom he’s in town, which should be a major red flag, but we all know Elizabeth has no instincts about that sort of thing. Tom tries to get Elizabeth’s attention back on him, but she’s having too much fun with her new boy.

Jessica spots Elizabeth getting into Nicholas’ car and thinks she’s cheating on Tom. She kind of is, though it doesn’t seem like she’s acting under her own control. There’s another flashback, and we learn that when Nicholas returned home to Lisette, she’d been told that he was dead, so she killed herself. Nicholas starts drinking, and one night he meets Marielle, who turns him into a vampire. Back in the present day, Elizabeth comes to her senses enough to stop making out with Nicholas, who goes to a bar and kills someone else because Elizabeth ditched him.

Tom and Elizabeth finally get some alone time, but they go to a vampire movie and Elizabeth freaks out and bolts. Nicholas isn’t happy that his long-dead non-wife is seeing someone else. He goes to Liz’s dorm and tries to make her jump out her window, but Tom manages to save her. He and Jessica are starting to realize that something weird is going on. Tom also reads in the paper that there have been killings in Sweet Valley similar to the killings in New Orleans, so he wonders if Nicholas is in town. Meanwhile, Nicholas sends Elizabeth flowers – white with one red – and a note saying he’ll see her that night. Then he calls to tell her they’ll be together forever. Ohhhhhkay…

By the way, Jess is now in Theta, and there’s a single room available in the sorority house. Alison also wants the room, and of course, since these two hate each other, there’s going to be a fight to the death to determine who gets it. Jessica tries to claim her territory by moving furniture in, but Alison one-ups her by putting a sleeping bag in there to indicate that she’s spending the night. In fact, both girls end up there overnight, but neither trusts the other enough to fall asleep in the same room.

This subplot is only important because of what happens the night of the Halloween party. Alison locks herself in the room, so Jessica goes outside to taunt her through the window. She yells some threats about wanting Alison to die, so of course that means something bad is going to happen. As Jess is leaving, she sees someone else outside the window but thinks Alison has a gentleman caller.

So: party! It’s awesome. Tom’s not there, since he’s discovering that Nicholas is staying in a hotel in Sweet Valley under the American translation of his French last name. Meanwhile, Denise and Magda find Alison in the sorority house, minus a lot of her blood. Guess who Alison’s visitor was? Go on, guess!

Tom goes to the party to tell Jessica that Nicholas is in town and may have something to do with why Elizabeth’s been acting weird. Jessica tells him about the flowers, which she’s sure were from Nicholas. They hear about Alison, who’s been taken to the hospital, so now they’re pretty sure Nicholas is a vampire. They can’t find Elizabeth, though, since Nicholas has whisked her away, planning to take her to New Orleans, then on to Paris.

So we head back to New Orleans, but Nicholas and Elizabeth get there first since Jessica and Tom can’t get a flight. Nicholas plans to spend the night in his coffin, then consummate things with Elizabeth the next day. At this point the ghostwriter isn’t even trying to pretend the whole story isn’t a metaphor for sex. (Just like Twilight. Ug.) When Elizabeth wakes up, though, her head is clearer and she realizes that she wants to be with Tom. Too late! Nicholas wants her to wear Lisette’s wedding dress and become his eternal bride. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.

There’s some making out, and now Nicholas makes his move, biting Liz. Of course, that’s just when Jessica and Tom arrive. Tom rescues Elizabeth while Jessica fights Nicholas off with a candelabra. I guess that was the only weapon handy. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has accidentally started a fire, so between that and the vampire, things are getting a little dangerous. Jess has an advantage, though, since Nicholas thinks she’s Elizabeth/Lisette. She uses that as a bit of a distraction, allowing Tom to come in and knock him out. Then Tom and the twins flee the house. Nicholas most likely gets out, too, but they can’t be sure.

Tom and the twins go back to Sweet Valley, and Jessica decides not to move into the sorority house after all. I guess it would be pretty creepy to live in a room where someone almost died. A guy delivers some flowers for Elizabeth, and Jess accepts the delivery, seeing that they’re the same roses Nicholas sent before. Jessica’s smart enough to throw them out.

Thoughts: “[Elizabeth] raised one leg and examined a tiny bleach spot on her jeans. Should she change? No. Not for an evening with Nina.” Sorry, Nina. You don’t warrant clean clothes.

“Maybe I really NEED to go to some club, toss down a couple of diet Cokes, and then flirt outrageously with some good-looking airhead.” Whoa, Liz. Put the brakes on before you get out of control.

Jessica has a wicker dresser, so I automatically question her taste in everything ever. Clearly Alice didn’t pass on her interior-design genes.

Jessica packs a suitcase before she and Tom chase Elizabeth and Nicholas to New Orleans. I’m sure that didn’t make them lose any time. Also, you’re not going there for a vacation, Jess. I don’t think you’ll need a change of clothes.

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