December 16, 2014
Summary: This is basically your standard there’s-a-new-kid-in-Sweet-Valley-and-no-one-likes-her book. Ginny Lu Culpepper hails from Stony Gap, Tennessee, and has come to live with her aunt, Ms. Waldron, who’s a teacher at SVMS. It’s never explained why she comes to Sweet Valley, since her parents are back in Tennessee, but I guess it’s because Stony Gap only has a one-room schoolhouse, and Ginny Lu’s family wanted her to learn about things like electricity and running water.
Ginny Lu makes a less-than-favorable debut, bursting into a class and loudly asking where her aunt is. Everyone thinks she’s weird, because she has a southern accent and wears old-fashioned dresses. Ellen brands her a hillbilly, a stereotype the ghostwriter happily plays into. Ms. Waldron takes Ginny Lu shopping, and they run into Ellen and Lila. The girls offer to help Ginny Lu find the latest fashions so she’ll fit in at school. Then they put together a horrific combination of clothes and laugh in her face. Ginny Lu’s too naïve to realize that she was just mean-girled.
The students learn about an arts and crafts fair, which Ginny Lu considers entering. The other kids make it clear that this wouldn’t be a cool thing. Word has spread that Ginny Lu is weird, so everyone teases her and talks trash about her. Ginny Lu ends up skipping school and wandering around town. She winds up at Carson Stables, where she immediately takes a liking to a pregnant horse named Snow White.
When Elizabeth shows up for a riding lesson, the two girls bond over their love of horses. She compliments Ginny Lu’s artistic talents; she carves wooden dolls, which are what she thought of entering in the arts and crafts fair. Elizabeth later learns that this talent is for Appalachian folk art, and in high demand. Unfortunately, Elizabeth has bad news for Ginny Lu: Snow White belongs to Ellen.
Ellen is ticked when she finds out Ginny Lu has been spending time with her horse. She even has her father put up a notice to keep people off of their private property. Elizabeth helps her get around it and keep visiting Snow White. Ellen ups the rivalry by daring Ginny Lu to ride Mr. Riteman’s untamed mustang. She goes so far as to not attach the saddle properly, which Ted the stable boy notices. Ellen is an awful, awful person, you guys.
Ginny Lu enters her dolls in the fair, and they are clearly impressive. She even gets some admiration from other students. Suddenly Ginny Lu isn’t weird – she’s cool. But things get screwed up when Ginny Lu recites a poem and the SVMS mean girls make fun of her. Ginny Lu runs off in tears, ready to admit defeat and return to Stony Gap. First she swings by the stables to say goodbye to Snow White, and she discovers that Snow White has had her foal. The foal is premature, and if Snow White doesn’t nurse him, he’ll die. But Snow White won’t let Ted near the foal.
Of course, Ginny Lu gets to be a hero. Thanks to her bond with Snow White, she’s able to get to the foal, and thanks to her experience with farm animals, she saves the foal. Ellen arrives and realizes that Ginny Lu is a good person. So you see, kids, you shouldn’t make fun of people because they’re different from you. You should be nice to everyone. Except Ellen, who is Satan’s own spawn and deserves to be shunned.
B-plot: Jessica loans Ned’s tennis racket to Janet, who leaves it in her yard, where it’s run over by her brother Joe while he’s mowing the lawn. Now, if it were me, I’d make Janet and Joe pay for a new racket, but Jessica decides she’ll have to get the money herself. First she wants to sell some of her clothes, but she realizes that that would mean getting rid of her stuff. Then she tries to steal some of Elizabeth’s clothes to sell. Jerk. Jess also makes a deal with Steven, doing his chores in exchange for his allowance. Hilariously, Ned and Alice are so impressed with Jessica’s work ethic that they give her extra allowance money.
Jessica learns of Ginny Lu’s whittling skills and appoints herself Ginny Lu’s agent. Ginny Lu will sell her dolls and Jess will get a cut of the profits. Jessica is like a younger, female Zack Morris. Even without ever discussing the arrangement with Ginny Lu, Jessica manages to sell some dolls and collect 10 percent of the money. She successfully replaces the racket and lives to scheme another day.
Thoughts: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You couldn’t pay me to go back to middle school.
Elizabeth, you probably shouldn’t sign things with your initials, since they’re EW.
“If you show your dolls at the Arts and Crafts Fair, people will get a chance to see how talented you are. And no one will make fun of you for that.” Right, Liz. No one who’s got at something is ever teased. It’s like a rule.
Since when is Ellen’s family rich enough to have two horses?
Also, maybe all the rich people should keep their horses in stables that employ actual adults? Because when Snow White has her foal, there’s no one around over the age of 14.
December 14, 2014
Summary: Noah’s at the police station, insisting that he didn’t rape Valerie. He confirms that they had sex, but that it was consensual. An officer asks Valerie to clarify that she didn’t consent. Val points out that her ability to consent was taken away when she was roofied. David and Donna disagree about what happened; David believes Valerie, but Donna doesn’t think Noah would commit rape. Josh arrives and offers Donna some pills to counteract the fatigue caused by her painkillers.
Noah won’t be charged until after the police talk to the DA, so he’s allowed to go home. He tells the gang that he didn’t do anything wrong. He confesses to Donna that he slept with Valerie, but it wasn’t rape. Donna’s not too happy to hear that her boyfriend cheated on her. David reschedules a recording session so he doesn’t have to leave Valerie, who’s grateful that he’s postponing something so important for her.
Brandon and Steve discuss Valerie’s accusations, with Brandon wondering why Val would lie about being raped. Steve reminds him that she also lied about being pregnant and having an abortion. He thinks this is all about money. Whatever happened, someone’s lying. Valerie overhears and welcomes Steve to accuse her of being the liar
Josh talks to a lawyer friend who has pull with the DA, but Noah doesn’t want his help. He’d rather take his chances in front of a jury than let his family use their money to bail him out. At the beach apartment, Kelly tells Donna that since she was able to forgive Brandon for cheating, Donna might someday be able to forgive Noah. Kelly also doesn’t think that Noah did anything to Valerie. Donna takes a painkiller, then more after Noah arrives and she kicks him out.
Brandon and Steve discuss Val’s accusation with Steve’s new cop friend, Tammy, and her partner, Glen. Brandon asks if he and Steve can go on a ride-along and write up the experience for the Beverly Beat. Valerie worries that she’s going to be publicly humiliated, so David asks if she wants to drop the charges against Noah. She doesn’t get how she can’t remember something that makes her feel so horrible.
David and Kelly get in a tiff in the Walshes’ kitchen because she still can’t show any sympathy for Valerie. Brandon is willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. “People are capable of anything,” Kelly says. Steve reminds David of Valerie’s past lies and accuses her of lying about being raped so David would show her pity. They get into a fight that Kelly and Brandon have to break up. Valerie arrives and asks which side Brandon is on.
Before he can answer, Val learns that there isn’t enough evidence for the DA to file charges against Noah. David tells her to come stay with him. Brandon tells Valerie she’s welcome to stay at the house, but Val definitely doesn’t feel welcome. The others go to the Peach Pit to share the news with Donna, who still can’t support Noah. Josh offers to talk to her.
Brandon and Steve coolly congratulate Noah on not getting charged, but Brandon’s still mad over the cheating. Noah and I both call him a hypocrite. Josh gives Donna amphetamines, then tells her that Noah will do whatever she wants to make things up to her. She requests that he undo his cheating.
David suggests that he and Valerie call the DA and try to change his mind about charging Noah. Val spits out that men only want her for sex anyway. She tries to take off David’s clothes, but he stops her, insisting that sex isn’t the only reason he wants to be with her. Val says that she wants people to know that what Noah did was wrong, and that it matters.
Donna struggles at work, but I’m sure taking Josh’s amphetamines will help. Steve and Brandon go on the ride-along and learn that Glen’s last partner was killed in the line of duty. This is a cheerful episode! They’re called to the scene of a robbery, and Glen IDs a guy running away as a known petty thief. He beats the suspect with his club before handcuffing him. Donna does a bunch of work really fast, but it’s unnecessary.
Valerie goes to the After Dark, where Noah tells her that they both came on to each other, so no one was forced to do anything. She informs him that she’s filing a civil suit to make sure he doesn’t get away with what he did. She’s seeking $10 million in damages. Josh thinks Noah should settle, but Noah knows that will make him look guilty. He’d like to find out who’s really responsible, knowing that someone else gave Valerie a roofie.
Brandon asks to speak to the robbery suspect, wondering how the cops knew he was high on PCP. Glen’s like, “I’m a cop? I’ve done this for years? It’s my job?” Donna arranges a meeting with Josh so she can get more drugs; she needs them to help her get through a presentation at work. Josh tells her that Valerie is filing a civil suit against Noah. Meanwhile, Jasper tells David that everyone doubts his commitment to Sparkle Motion the band.
Donna brings up the lawsuit to David, who wants them to keep the situation from ruining their friendship. Donna finds it ironic that Noah and Valerie slept together thinking that David and Donna had slept together. David makes it clear that he doesn’t think Valerie consented. Steve asks Brandon not to write about the perceived police brutality in the paper. They learn about Val’s lawsuit, and whether it means there was really a crime.
Valerie comes home, and Kelly and Steve ask how she decided on $10 million as her asking price. Val invites Brandon to join the bashing. Brandon repeats that she’s welcome to stay at the house. Val says she doesn’t want money, just for Noah to admit what he did. Kelly and Brandon disagree over how mean they should be to Val right now.
Donna aces her presentation, so you see, boys and girls, amphetamines make you a better worker! She’s asked to make the presentation again for another group. That means more pills! Josh goes to David’s to warn Valerie that she’ll never win her civil suit, so he’d like to give her $200,000 right now to drop it. She’ll get a big chunk of money without going through the hassle of having her private life dragged out into the public.
Donna can’t find her pills and almost has a hissy fit. Kelly’s starting to get suspicious. She tells Donna that Noah offered to settle, but Valerie hasn’t decided whether to accept. Donna’s upset that everyone will think that Noah’s guilty. Out of pills, she calls Josh again. Noah finds out about Josh’s settlement offer and yells about it, but Josh tells him that if Valerie takes it, she’ll have to sign a statement saying that Noah didn’t do anything. Noah orders Josh to rescind the offer.
Tammy visits the Beverly Beat to tell Brandon and Steve that they arrested the wrong robbery suspect. Brandon’s mad that Glen was so violent, especially toward an innocent man. Tammy says that Glen’s partner was killed in a similar situation, and that Glen killed a criminal that night, too. She thinks he was just being diligent. Brandon and Steve decide not to publish the police-brutality story. They also realize that sometimes things aren’t as they seem.
Valerie’s considering taking the settlement, since she might not get justice another way. David has to leave her for the recording session he’s kept putting off. Donna goes to the clinic to apologize to Kelly for being a jerk that morning, then steals some drugs. Steve tells Valerie that he’s learned to see both sides of a story, so he’s going to keep an open mind about her. Val feels it’s too little too late.
Val then goes to the boat to tell Noah she won’t take the settlement. He tells her it’s been withdrawn anyway. Valerie doesn’t care – the offer means he knows he did something wrong. Noah tells her that if she was roofied, he didn’t notice. Valerie informs him that the truth will come out when she gets him on the witness stand and he has to testify under oath.
Thoughts: David and Valerie make no sense to me as a couple, but he’s a good boyfriend to her in this episode.
With the police brutality and the discussions of rape, this was more like watching the news than an 18-year-old fiction show.
Donna’s the fourth person in the gang with an addiction. What’s up with these people?
December 13, 2014
Summary: Hey, it’s Josh again! And this time he gets to talk! He runs into Julia on campus and they talk about writing and stuff. He’s surprised that she and Perry have become friends. He asks her out, but Julia isn’t ready to start dating again…or, really, to hang out with people. Other than Perry, of course. Cody and Claudia are back together, so when he takes her to his place, she thinks he only has one thing on his mind. She pretends to call Bailey and get summoned home.
Claudia doesn’t get home until after midnight, and Bailey’s mad that she’s late. She’s annoyed because Charlie never worried about her staying out late. She tells her brother to mind his own business, which is a mistake, because she is his business. Bailey points out that it’s best not to make each other worry about each other at night, considering what happened to their parents. He gets the last word in the conversation by grounding Claudia.
Over at Kirsten’s, things are much happier. Charlie wants to look at another apartment for himself and Diana, but Kirsten is beyond okay with them staying with her. At the restaurant, Bailey works on boosting business while Sarah works on a school protest against sweatshops. He’s upset that they’re not spending as much time together as they used to, despite still living together. He suggests that she host a big dinner with him.
Julia goes to see Perry at her apartment, and they discuss some of Perry’s writing. Julia’s hesitant to give her opinion to a published writer, especially the published writer she totally has a crush on. Perry drags her along to a function at the dean’s. Sarah meets with her fellow sweatshop protestors, then realizes she’ll have to miss the actual protest because it coincides with the dinner.
Kirsten gets and rejects a job offer from the University of Chicago. Meanwhile, Charlie has to take Diana with him to a doctor’s appointment, which leads to him singing “The Wheels on the Bus” just before getting a scan. Then he meets Bailey for lunch and tells him that he and Kirsten want to take things slowly, which is why he doesn’t want to live together yet. Bailey thinks that if they’re in a relationship they both want, they’re not taking too many risks.
After a writing session, Perry wants to take a break by going to a frat party. She can’t believe Julia’s so focused on work when she’s surrounded by so many fun opportunities. She took Julia to a faculty function, so now Julia should take her to a student activity. Claudia and Cody hang out at the house, which is empty for once, but Claudia has already arranged for a couple friends to come over and turn it into a group thing. Unfortunately, more than just a couple people show up, so she’ll have to figure out how to explain her impromptu party to Bailey.
Speaking of parties, Julia and Perry go to a frat bash, where a guy bugs Julia, then grabs her wrist to get her to keep talking to him. Josh rescues her, but Julia would still rather be with Perry. Bailey comes home during Claudia’s party and almost gives himself a heart attack by imagining that she’s having sex. She tells him that Cody left but won’t explain why there’s a party in the first place.
Charlie finds out about Kirsten’s job offer and is surprised that she turned it down. She doesn’t see any problem with wanting to stay in San Francisco to be near him. She points out that he convinced her not to take the job in Africa. Charlie says that a long-distance relationship between San Francisco and Chicago is much more reasonable. He doesn’t want to hold her back from a job she’s been working toward for years. Also, he blames himself for her past problems with depression and finishing her degree.
Julia thinks the frat guy only messed with her because she emits some sort of invitation to be messed with. Perry, on the other hand, emits a warning to leave her alone. Perry thinks Julia has had the better life, though, because she lets herself be vulnerable with people. Julia looks at some of Perry’s jewelry, making her uncomfortable with their closeness.
Claudia finally tells Cody that she’s been acting strange because she’s not sure she’s ready to be alone with him when it might lead to sex. Cody’s offended that she thinks he might force her to do something. He’s not that sort of person. Sarah feels out of place at Bailey’s party, and it doesn’t help when she’s mistaken for a waitress.
Kirsten learns that Charlie had tests run at the hospital and didn’t tell her. He assures her that the tests are standard, and he’s not sick again. She’s upset that he didn’t let her know about them even if it meant she might get scared for him. Kirsten announces that she’s definitely not taking the job in Chicago – she won’t let Charlie dictate how she’s supposed to feel about him. He asks her to come with him to the hospital to get the test results.
Bailey introduces Sarah to a guy who runs a company that happens to use sweatshops. This is the last straw for Sarah after a horrible evening. Perry tells Julia that she talked to a friend who might want to publish something Julia wrote. Julia’s so grateful that she kisses Perry. After a pause, they kiss again, but then Perry walks away.
After the party, Bailey chastises Sarah for blowing up at the guy without thinking about how it might affect her boyfriend. Claudia comes home and Sarah turns on her for not helping to clean up after her own party. Claudia confesses that she had the party so she wouldn’t have to be alone with Cody. Whenever they start to get close, she panics because she doesn’t know what Cody expects from her. Sarah encourages her to, you know, talk to him. Cody’s response is his own problem. Bailey overhears this.
While Julia also eavesdrops, listening in on one of Perry’s classes, Charlie and Kirsten wait for his test results. Kirsten gets the giggles over a ringing phone, which helps both of them loosen up a little. Claudia has her talk with Cody, but instead of just saying, “I want to wait to have sex,” she says something about creating boundaries in a pluralistic society, and paradigms, and some other crap. Cody’s totally okay with sticking to kissing for now. Meanwhile, Charlie’s tests come back clean.
Bailey tracks Sarah down at school so he can apologize for his reaction to her blowup at the party. He shouldn’t have been so worried about how it affected him when it was more important that Sarah was sticking up for herself. He’s also grateful that Sarah’s there to teach Claudia to stick up for herself. Bailey thinks that Sarah will be a great mother someday. She seems to feel a little pressure from that statement.
Julia goes to see Perry for the first time since their kiss, which Perry doesn’t want to talk about. Julia confirms that she didn’t kiss Perry because she’s gay, or at least she doesn’t think she is. Perry, however, is, and she doesn’t want to give Julia mixed signals. She’s gay because she likes women, not because she’s had bad experiences with men like Julia has.
Julia says she likes spending time with Perry and doesn’t want to lose their relationship. Perry doesn’t want Julia to use her to work out her issues. Elsewhere in town, Charlie gets a call back about the apartment he was looking at, but he’s decided to stay with Kirsten. The two of them and Diana are extremely happy, and it’s seriously adorable.
Thoughts: One of Sarah’s classmates is Parry Shen, who plays hateful Brad on General Hospital. Boo, hiss, Brad!
The guy who offers Kirsten the job is played by David Brisbin, AKA Mr. Ernst on Hey Dude, one of my favorite shows as a kid.
Claudia, I know Cody has an actual pet snake, but when you’re trying to avoid sex, it’s probably best not to blurt out, “I want to see your snake.”
The jerk at the frat party actually uses the “did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?” line on Julia. Has that line ever worked on anyone?
Cody was annoying before, but he’s turned out to be a good guy.
’90s music alert:
- “Battleflag” by Lo Fidelity Allstars, which I will always associate with that ER episode where Kellie Martin is stabbed
- “What It’s Like” by Everlast
- “Virginia Woolf” by the Indigo Girls. This comes on during Julia and Perry’s last scene, and the second I heard the opening bar, I started laughing. A little on the nose with the Indigo Girls, eh, show?
December 9, 2014
Summary: Elizabeth and Todd are back together, yay! Liz + Todd 4-EVA!!!!!1!1 (Ugh, I feel dirty.) They’re super-happy and stuff. Little do they know that Gin-Yung has returned from London and wants to see Todd. However, she doesn’t call him or go see him. Elizabeth thinks she sees Gin-Yung on campus, but since she’s supposed to still be in London, Elizabeth just tells herself it’s someone else. Gin-Yung spends most of the book getting bugged by her sister Kim to tell Todd what’s really going on. The ghostwriter really piles on the “what’s wrong with Gin-Yung?” mystery for the reader.
Todd, Elizabeth, Tom, and Tom’s new girlfriend Dana all end up at a recital together. They make civil, mature conversation and agree to have coffee together sometime. Ha ha, not on your life. Tom throws his new relationship in Elizabeth’s face, and she ends up in tears. She decides to focus on Todd and forget about both Tom and Gin-Yung. That’s not so easy, though, as Gin-Yung soon visits Todd and tells him she’s done with London. Now Todd has to decide if he wants to stick it out with Gin-Yung or ditch her for Elizabeth.
Todd tells Liz that Gin-Yung is back and he’s not sure who he wants to be with. Clearly he loves Liz more, but he feels bad about dumping Gin-Yung. Later, Jessica runs into Gin-Yung and tells her that Todd and Elizabeth were doing great, but Todd might leave his one true love for a girl he feels he’s obligated to stay with. Gin-Yung decides to let Todd off the hook so he can be happy. She tells him she fell in love with a guy she met in England, so Todd is free to see anyone he wants. Todd’s like, “Well, that was easy and in no way suspicious!”
But Todd and Elizabeth’s happiness is short-lived. Todd goes to Gin-Yung’s place to return some of her things, and he can immediately see that something’s wrong. She’s sick, and while he’s there she passes out and starts convulsing. He rushes her to the hospital, where Gin-Yung’s family reveals to him and Elizabeth that Gin-Yung has an inoperable brain tumor. She came back from London to say goodbye to her family before she dies.
Over in Theta world, Alison informs the sisters that a singer named Bobby Hornet (if that’s not his real name, it’s a horrible stage name) is putting together a charity swimsuit calendar. Nothing says “let’s raise money for the homeless” like a thong bikini. Bobby’s coming to town and wants a Theta in the calendar. Alison, of course, volunteers as tribute, then learns that a bunch of other girls would love the opportunity, including Jessica, also of course. The girls are told that they can go to a music store the next day to meet Bobby, and he can choose who should be in the calendar.
Jessica’s only hesitation about being in the calendar is that Nick might not like it. Jessica, hon? He doesn’t have to like it. You do you. Anyway, he thinks it’s an awesome idea, because he’s more interested in seeing his girlfriend in a bikini than he is in worrying that other men will see his girlfriend in a bikini.
Jessica goes to the music store in a trench coat, goes up a flight of stairs, drops the coat, and makes a grand entrance in just a red string bikini. Suddenly Bobby’s all, “Alison who?” Someone puts on the “Hallelujah Chorus.” That’s so dumb. Anyway, Bobby tells Jessica the calendar shoot is hers, then asks her to dinner to solidify the agreement. Jessica worries a tiny bit about going out with a guy who’s not Nick, but there’s no way she’s going to jeopardize her spot in the calendar.
On their date, the couple is followed by paparazzi, and Jessica freaks out about being seen with a guy who’s not her boyfriend. Amazingly enough, Nick drives by the restaurant and sees Jessica just as she’s trying to leave Bobby, who’s kind of creepy. Jessica goes to the police station to apologize to Nick, telling him that she thought she had to go out with Bobby to get in the calendar, but if Nick wants, she’ll drop the whole thing. He forgives her, because Jessica is just that charming.
Jessica gets the spot in the calendar despite her disastrous date with Bobby. He tells her that his brother is one of Nick’s co-workers, and that Nick came to visit him. We don’t find out what Nick said, but I’m guessing it was along the lines of, “After this photo shoot, don’t come within 100 feet of my girlfriend ever again.” And then Alison winds up getting a date with Bobby, so I guess she’s okay with not being in the calendar.
Tom has been dating Dana but keeps thinking about Elizabeth. Basically, he slowly becomes obsessed with Dana, first as a distraction from Elizabeth, then because he actually likes her. His father, George, wonders what happened to Elizabeth, but Tom wants to banish all mentions of her and tells George to stop asking about her. Tom spends the whole book trying not to think about Elizabeth, but at the end, he finds a bunch of pictures that George has had taken of Elizabeth. Finally, Tom gets that Elizabeth’s accusations about George might not have been lies after all. Ruh-roh for George….
Thoughts: “And would [Nick] even allow her to pose with sexy Bobby Hornet in the first place?” Excuse me? “Allow”? Not to mention that Jessica has never asked permission to do anything in her life.
In the last book we had a Dash; in this one we have a Dub. People in Sweet Valley have weird names.
Winston to Todd: “You’re depressed because you have two girls in love with you?” Also, his wallet’s too small for his 50s and his diamond shoes are too tight.
Gin-Yung wears a “one-piece pantsuit.” What would that even look like?
December 7, 2014
Summary: It’s the morning after David’s performance with Jasper’s Law at the After Dark, and he and Valerie are both happy. She’s especially happy to have a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. Then David gets even happier when he hears his song on the radio. Now Valerie’s not so happy, since it’s the song he wrote for Donna, but she pretends everything’s awesome.
Donna also hears the song, but Noah wants to turn it off since it’s distracting her from their naked fun times. Donna calls to congratulate David on the accomplishment, but hangs up when Valerie answers the phone. David calls her back, pretending that his morning isn’t totally ruined. He’s having a housewarming party that night, and Kelly invites Jeff to attend with her as a lead-up to spending Valentine’s Day together.
At the Beverly Beat, Brandon and Steve pretend they’re not bummed not to have dates for Valentine’s Day. Janet’s smart enough not to buy it. Steve misses college dating, where you could throw a frat party and immediately find a new girlfriend. Janet knows someone who might be interested in one of the guys, and Brandon wins the game of Rock Paper Scissors to get the chance at a date.
At the After Dark, Valerie meets Noah’s brother Josh, who she didn’t realize existed. The brothers clearly hate each other, and Noah doesn’t have great feelings about their father either. He resists Josh’s efforts to reach out to him. That night, the gang goes to David’s for his housewarming party, where Brandon is civil but chilly toward Jeff. Kelly tells Jeff she’s looking forward to Valentine’s Day with him, and will spend the night with him in a hotel.
Valerie and Noah go outside to mope, and she reveals to him that her father committed suicide and her mother blamed her. Noah tells her that he and Josh have the same father but different mothers. Papa Hunter left Josh’s mother for Noah’s, so Josh always resented his brother. He contested Noah’s trust fund as soon as it kicked in. Valerie knows what it’s like to hate a family member, but after her dad died, she wished things had been different. Noah refuses to stop hating Josh.
Donna tells Steve that she met a model who’s interested in going on a date with him. Then she tries to make conversation with Val, who’s upset that she called that morning. Valerie asks if Noah minded the call. Donna tells her to stop thinking about Noah and be happy that she has David. Meanwhile, Noah asks David if he should be worried about David and Donna’s friendship. David doesn’t think he’s given Noah any reason not to trust him.
Brandon and Kelly discuss Valentine’s plans, and as soon as the clock strikes midnight and it’s officially Valentine’s Day, Brandon sneaks in Kelly’s first kiss of the holiday (just on the cheek, though). Later in the morning, Josh goes back to the After Dark to ask Noah to be his best man at his upcoming wedding. Noah doesn’t want to go home with him since he’ll get sucked back into the Hunter business. Josh admits that he wants to be like his brother. Noah invites him to stick around.
David helps Donna buy Noah’s Valentine’s Day present, admitting that they haven’t told their significant others who they’re with. David would rather keep their friendship quiet so their “insecure” partners won’t feel so insecure. Brandon returns some of Kelly’s things to her at the clinic, playing She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not with a daisy. He admits that, despite his blind date that night, he still thinks there’s hope for him and Kelly. The daisy finishes on “she loves me.”
On the way home from their shopping trip, David beats himself up for not telling Valerie where he spent the day. Donna points out that Val and Noah made the situation into a problem. David suggests that they lie low for a little while. A car cuts Donna off, causing a crash, and she injures her back but declines to go to the hospital. Now David’s late for his date with Valerie, who’s waiting at the After Dark. She and Noah are unhappy to see their significant others arrive together.
Brandon leaves a message on Kelly’s machine instead of going to meet his date, Stephanie. She ends up chatting with Steve instead. Steve, by the way, now has a second date lined up, thanks to Nat. Elsewhere, Kelly learns that Jeff was offered a job in San Francisco. He’s willing to stay in Beverly Hills if Kelly wants him to. Brandon leaves a bunch more messages for Kelly, so maybe she should change her number.
Steve meets his real date, then ditches her when Stephanie wants some company. Noah gets drunk and nags Donna about all the time she’s been spending with David. She admits that they kissed once. Steve is cornered by both of his dates, plus Brandon’s, and escapes by sending them to talk to David. While they’re occupied, another woman grabs Steve’s arm and asks him to pretend to be her date so she can escape her own blind date. Then she leaves without telling him who she is.
Brandon leaves more messages for Kelly, wrapping up the one-sided conversation by saying he’s going to move on. Back at the After Dark, Valerie tells Josh what’s going on with her, Noah, David, and Donna, the latter two of whom have left to pick up a prescription for painkillers. Josh suggests that he and Valerie drink a toast to trust. He knocks her purse off the bar, and while she’s picking it up, he puts something in her drink.
Kelly and Jeff go to their hotel room, which he’s decorated with daisies. They make her think of Brandon, and she decides she can’t sleep with Jeff. He warns that Brandon will just hurt her again, but Kelly wants to be with the person she still loves. Noah and Valerie continue drinking, thinking Donna and David have left together to have sex. They head to the office, with Josh, who’s on the phone, unable to stop them from having sex.
In the morning, Noah insists that he and Valerie keep their mouths shut about their night together. Valerie doesn’t get why she’s so out of it, since she only had one drink. David shows up looking for Valerie, and Noah says she spent the night in the office because she got drunk. David assures him that he and Donna didn’t spend the night together. He can quickly see that something’s not right with Valerie and rushes her to a doctor.
Brandon thinks Steve is crazy to let his three Valentine’s dates get away just because he wanted to hang out with his mystery woman. He thinks Cupid is messing with both of them. Steve gets pulled over and tries to tell the police officer that he’s rushing to get an organ transplant. Surprise, surprise – the cop is his mystery woman. She tells him he ran a stop sign but she’ll let him go with a warning. Steve asks for her number, then tells Brandon he was wrong about Cupid.
Valerie’s doctor tells her that she maybe have been given Rohypnol, so if she had sex the night before, it might not have been consensual. Val knows she had sex with Noah but doesn’t remember it, and doesn’t remember consenting to it. However, she doesn’t think Noah would rape her. The doctor points out that lots of women are raped by guys they know.
Kelly goes to see Brandon, having listened to all of his messages. He confirms that he meant it when he said he was going to move on. She doesn’t get how he could have sex with Emma when he didn’t love her, but she believes that Brandon won’t cheat again. So I guess they’re back together? Noah and Donna make up, deciding to have the date they didn’t get to the night before. While Donna leaves to take painkillers, Josh promises to keep quiet about Noah and Valerie’s night together. Of course, that’s when Valerie and David show up to accuse Noah of raping Val.
Thoughts: Josh is played by Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica, Revenge, One Tree Hill, How I Met Your Mother, and recently an episode of Scandal).
Stephanie is played by Nikki Ziering, who was Ian Ziering’s wife at the time.
Ugh, am I going to associate daisies with Brandon from now on?
Okay, Kelly. Here’s where I break out “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….”
December 6, 2014
Summary: Lauren tells Bailey that she’s resigning, which means no more kissing in the empty restaurant. Bailey refuses to let her take another job, but she wants to put the brakes on their mutual attraction before it can go too far again. He promises that it won’t. They’ll just figure out a way to work in the same place without ever having any contact.
Julia has moved back in with Maggie and is focusing on school work to distract herself from her guy issues. Maggie thinks that’s a good idea. Thanks for showing up, Mags! Everyone who lives in the Salinger house, minus Bailey, winds up in Charlie’s room, which now appears to be Charlie and Kirsten’s room. Kirsten suggests that they hang out at her place that night so they can have some privacy. Charlie learns that Bailey has hired someone to renovate the attic without letting him know.
Sarah takes Claudia to a health clinic so she can see a gynecologist before she starts having sex. Claudia reminds Sarah that she’s waiting, and besides, she doesn’t even have a boyfriend. Sarah, however, is a responsible role model and knows that Bailey and Charlie won’t be any use for this sort of thing.
Charlie goes to the restaurant to talk to Bailey about the renovations. To Bailey’s surprise, Charlie’s fine with Bailey making big decisions about the house on his own. They both want to share the house in a way that’s fair to everyone. Julia and Josh’s (remember Josh?) writing class has a visiting professor, Perry Marks, and she and Julia quickly connect. Too bad she’s not that impressed with the story Julia wrote.
Bailey and Lauren are forced to have an actual conversation at the restaurant, and Sarah accidentally makes it even more awkward by interrupting. She’s decided to cancel a spelunking trip she was supposed to take with her geography class because things are so crazy at the house. Bailey’s like, “Yes, please spend more time with me so I can’t spend it with Lauren.”
Claudia wants to go to a secret REM concert with Melanie, but since when are they friends? She’s surprised that Charlie’s not stricter with her. While unpacking at the house, Bailey finds Claudia’s pamphlets and other souvenirs from the clinic and freaks out about the possibility of his little sister having sex. Sarah tells him to calm down. He encourages her to go on the class trip. There’s a joke here about Bailey doing some spelunking of his own, but I won’t make it, because I’m a lady.
Julia runs into Perry on campus and blasts her for being so critical. What does she think she’s doing, her job? How dare a writing professor act like a writing professor! Calm down, Julia. Perry tells her that her attitude shows that she’s a writer. She’s tougher on writers she respects, which is why she was hard on Julia. Yes, yes, Julia is the best at everything. Let’s move on.
Charlie and Kirsten have their quiet evening at her place, which she’s happy to have all to herself. Charlie assures her that he’s not jealous that she has a quiet home; after all, he can retreat there whenever he needs some peace. Claudia and Melanie run into Cody, and Melanie reveals that she lied about the secret concert to get both of them to come. She thinks their breakup was stupid and that they should get back together.
Bailey continues to take over as head of the household while Charlie enjoys having more time to himself. Bailey’s concerned about Sarah taking Claudia to a gynecologist, since he and Charlie can’t be sure where her sex education is coming from. Charlie criticizes that Bailey keeps asking his opinion when he’s already made up his mind about things. If Bailey wants to do something differently, he should just do it.
Julia and Perry discuss Julia’s story, and the question of why her protagonist stays with her bad boyfriend for so long. Julia admits that it’s because she stayed with her own bad boyfriend for so long. Perry encourages her not to ignore her feelings. Charlie leaves household responsibilities to Bailey so he can spend time with Kirsten and Diana.
Perry and Julia are totes BFFs now, talking about past relationships. Julia’s read Perry’s book and wants to talk about something she wrote about, but Perry resists sharing everything about her life. She only shares what she wants to in her writing. Claudia and Melanie go shopping, and Melanie continues to press Claudia to get back together with Cody. She also knows about Claudia’s crush on Griffin. She tells Claudia to give up on what she can’t have and go for what she can.
Bailey finds a packed suitcase in Charlie’s room and mopes. Julia goes to Perry’s book signing and gets blown off by her new BFF. Bailey confronts Charlie for packing to leave, and Charlie reveals that he’s moving out. Bailey thinks it’s because his changes around the house have ticked Charlie off. Charlie says that Bailey’s just better at running the family. Charlie never wanted to be in charge, but Bailey does.
Bailey panics because Sarah hasn’t called from her trip. Julia goes back to the bookstore to get Perry’s book and learns that it’s in the lesbian section. Bailey goes to Lauren’s house to have a freak-out about his tendencies to always want to be in control. They start to make out again, but Bailey puts a stop to it. Lauren doesn’t get why else he would be there. He admits that he’s trying to do too much and is pushing away people he loves. Lauren tells him she’s taking another job.
Charlie tells Claudia that he’s moving out and she can come with him or stay with Bailey. She decides to stay, since the house has always been her home. She’s not as grown up as he is, not as ready to move on. Charlie admits that he’s not that ready, and often thinks of their mother when he sees Claudia, because Claudia looks so much like her. Claudia says that if she’s grown up at all, it’s because of Charlie. She’s happy that he’s happy.
Sarah comes home, and she should probably be suspicious of how happy Bailey is to see her. He tells her that Charlie’s already moved out, and Bailey’s now in charge. He promises never to take Sarah for granted again. Julia confronts Perry for freezing her out and not being honest about her sexuality, instead talking about past boyfriends. Perry assures her that they’re still friends.
Charlie’s staying with Kirsten while he looks for his own place, which is weird – because why didn’t he just stay at the house? Anyway, she tells him he can stay “for a while,” by which she means, “Move in with me, hunky boyfriend no longer saddled with tons of annoying dependants.” Claudia meets up with Cody at the concert venue, where REM really is playing a secret show this time. Music montage! Julia writes. Charlie and Kirsten have privacy. Claudia and Cody kiss. Bailey’s the man of the house.
Thoughts: Perry is played by Olivia d’Abo, best known as Karen on The Wonder Years.
Hey, I was just wondering what happened to Josh. Too bad he’s only in one scene and doesn’t get any lines. Good work, Adam Scott!
I still don’t buy that Julia hasn’t discussed sex stuff with Claudia. Claudia’s the type to ask a lot of questions.
I can’t believe Perry doesn’t make a J.D. Salinger reference when she learns Julia’s last name. It’s like an English professor rule − if a student has the same name as a famous writer or character, you must mention it.
Charlie doesn’t want to be in charge? Is that why he fought so hard for custody of Owen? Whatever.
’90s music alert: REM plays “At My Most Beautiful.”
December 2, 2014
Summary: The Rapture happens, but only Elizabeth gets to go to Heaven, because she’s the only truly pure person in Sweet Valley. Wait, wrong Left Behind.
In this Left Behind, Elizabeth’s friend Sarah is neglected by her father, who’s always either working or spending time with his fiancée, Annie. Annie’s young and useless and most likely a golddigger. She wants nothing to do with a 12-year-old future stepdaughter, and only pays attention to Sarah when her father’s around. Mr. Thomas is totally clueless about everything, including the fact that his daughter just wants to spend time with him. (Sarah is Lila if Lila had manners and no confidence.)
Mr. Thomas has to go out of town for a week for work, and leaves Annie in charge of Sarah. The next day, Annie tells Sarah that her younger sister is sick, and Annie’s the only person available to take care of her. She’ll have to leave Sarah by herself in Sweet Valley while she goes off to wherever for a few nights. She basically bullies Sarah into agreeing by pointing out that she’s 12, not a little kid.
Sarah keeps quiet about her living situation, not wanting her father to find out. When Mr. Thomas calls, Sarah pretends that Annie’s in the shower. And when her Aunt Lillian calls to chat, Sarah pretends that her whole life is totally fine, and she doesn’t hate the idea of her father marrying Annie. I don’t get why she doesn’t rat out Annie, since that would likely lead to Mr. Thomas dumping her, but Sarah’s pretty meek.
The poor girl has a hard time sleeping because she’s afraid of all the noises in the house. Who hasn’t been there, even as a teenager? Heck, even in my 20s, I got a little nervous spending the night in the house by myself. Elizabeth suggests that Sarah go see the school nurse, and Sarah’s tempted to go just so she can lie down for a while, but she’s worried that the school will call her father.
Annie doesn’t come home when she’s supposed to, telling Sarah that her sister still needs her, and Sarah can handle a few more nights alone. Annie says that when she was Sarah’s age, she was taking care of all her younger siblings on her own, so Sarah can suck it up. What is this, Dicey’s Song? Who’s letting a 12-year-old raise a family? Mr. Thomas and Aunt Lillian remain in the dark, though Lillian can tell that something’s not right with Sarah.
Elizabeth invites Amy and Sarah to spend the night at her house the day before Annie’s supposed to come back. Sarah’s thrilled – she’ll finally get a good night’s sleep. But the afternoon of the sleepover, Sarah falls down the stairs at her house, hitting her head and injuring her foot. She can’t walk to get the phone and call for help, and obviously there are no adults around to find her. She ends up blacking out.
Ned, Elizabeth, and Amy to the rescue! They arrive at Sarah’s house to pick her up for the sleepover, and Elizabeth sees Sarah unconscious. Ned breaks a window so they can get inside the house and call 911. They all go to the hospital with Sarah, and in some very sweet scenes, Elizabeth and Amy ask to stay so Sarah won’t be surrounded by strangers when she regains consciousness.
When Mr. Thomas makes it back to town, he’s stunned to learn that Annie ditched Sarah, and that his 12-year-old daughter spent a whole week fending for herself. When he calls around to find Annie, he learns that she doesn’t even have a younger sister. Annie arrives, and Mr. Thomas tells her she’s too immature for him. Annie’s tries to call his bluff, all, “I guess I’ll just leave then!” Mr. Thomas basically tells her not to let the door hit her on the way out.
Then Lillian arrives to lecture Mr. Thomas about being a bad parent. She wants to have Sarah come live with her. Sarah confides in Elizabeth that she wants to stay with her dad but doesn’t want to hurt Lillian’s feelings. Elizabeth has to tell her to actually say what she feels, because Sarah is mature enough to take care of herself for a week but not emotionally mature enough to express her opinions. But it doesn’t matter, because everything just ends anticlimactically, with Lillian calming down and Mr. Thomas realizing that he’s been a pretty crappy father. And then I don’t think we hear about any of them again until book 62.
In the B-plot, Jessica wants to show queen bee Janet that she’s much more mature than other sixth-graders. Janet wants to throw a big Unicorn party, and she asks Jessica for ideas. Jess thinks they should throw a luau, and Janet thinks it should be held at Jessica’s house, especially if Steven will be there. Hey, is Steven there right now? Can Janet come over and hang out with Jessica, but only if Steven’s there? Has Steven ever said anything about her? What is Steven wearing right now? What is Steven doing right now? What is Steven thinking right now? Janet’s like the overly attached girlfriend meme, except without actually being someone’s girlfriend.
Jessica doesn’t catch on to Janet’s real interest; she’s just happy to be spending so much time with such a popular person. Lila’s ticked, though, since Jessica doesn’t pay attention to her anymore. I actually feel kind of sorry for Lila – I’ve been in the position of being ignored in favor of a new friend, and it sucks. But I don’t get why the three of them don’t hang out together. Lila and Janet are cousins, after all; it’s not like they hate each other or anything.
Jessica goes to Janet’s house to talk about the party, but Janet says there are painters over and talks her way into a visit to the Wakefields’. Steven’s there, and Janet flirts with him (badly), but he’s definitely not interested. Janet tells Jessica that hanging out with her is a waste of time. Now Jessica has two friends mad at her. Plus, she’s afraid Janet will kick her out of the Unicorns. But things get all anti-climactic again, with Jessica making up with both Janet and Lila. Plus, the Unicorns all like her luau idea. Jessica may not be queen bee, but she’s definitely in the running for princess.
Thoughts: How does Annie not get arrested for neglect or child endangerment? Shouldn’t Ned the lawyer do something about that?
Also, what’s with people named Annie being horrible to children? The woman who kidnapped Mary was also named Annie.
Janet doesn’t like popcorn. What kind of person doesn’t like popcorn?? Oh, right, an evil one.
I have to laugh at Jessica and Janet making up so easily, and Janet wanting to use Jessica’s ideas for the party. In real life, Janet would make the other Unicorns shun Jessica, who would wind up with an eating disorder.
November 29, 2014
Summary: Brandon corners Kelly at work, STILL not getting that she doesn’t want to talk to him. A patient sticks up for her, and his posturing plus the arrival of Jeff make Brandon leave. The patient is Andrew, someone Jeff knows, and he was recently released from a maximum-security prison. He was convicted of murder when he was 17. Noah gets a hold of one of Donna’s photo albums and goofs around with her just as Dr. Martin pays a visit. He has the bad news that his mother has an aneurysm and will be coming to California for a consult. Dr. Martin isn’t sure if she’ll be okay.
David’s sick of crashing in Valerie’s room, so Steve suggests that he move into Carly’s place; she still has four months on her lease. Val’s upset that her boyfriend doesn’t want to live with her anymore. Steve then goes to the Peach Pit and chats with a woman named Madeline, whose girlfriend he double-parked behind the day before. He mentions taking coffee to his “partner,” Brandon, who he both works with and lives with. Steve offers to take Madeline and her girlfriend, Libby, to lunch the next day. She asks him to bring Brandon, too.
Kelly goes to the Beverly Beat to ask Brandon to talk to Andrew. After 20 years in prison, he was released with a small amount of money and sent into an unappealing living situation. She thinks he deserves a job and a second chance. Noah needs someone to look after the After Dark while he spends time with Donna, and Valerie immediately volunteers. He gives her a probationary shot. Valerie has already arranged for a record-label rep to come see Jasper’s Law perform, now with new keyboard player David.
Kelly tells Jeff that she asked Brandon to write a story about Andrew. She admits that she’s taken an interest because her own father is in jail. She hasn’t gone to visit him, and still hasn’t forgiven him for being out of her life so much when she was younger. Donna takes Noah to meet her grandmother, who’s a little out of it and thinks Donna and David are still together. She declares that David and Donna are meant for each other.
Valerie apologizes to David, telling him that she’s used to fighting for what she wants. She tells him that a rep will be at Jasper’s Law’s performance that night. She also thinks that the song he wrote was about her, not Donna. David thanks her, then rushes off to check on Donna at the hospital. When he arrives, he’s very comfortable with the Martins, which Noah notices. Mrs. Martin asks David to take care of Donna, still not accepting that she’s with Noah now.
Brandon meets with Andrew, but he’s more interested in the murder case than in his story about getting out of jail. Andrew shot his mother’s abusive boyfriend and was sent to prison on his 17th birthday, partly thanks to the testimony of his mother. Brandon wonders if Andrew feels remorse for what he did. (Considering the guy was hurting his mother, probably not.) Andrew thinks Brandon believes he’s just a murderer and can’t accomplish anything. He doesn’t feel bad about killing a monster, but considering what he’s left with, he wouldn’t do it again.
Valerie asks Noah about David’s visit to the hospital, and Noah tells her that Mrs. Martin wants David and Donna to be together. Donna comes over to the After Dark to see David’s set, even though her grandmother is having surgery the next morning. David resists opening the set with the song he wrote for Donna, since she and Valerie are both there. Jasper thinks that makes things even better – Valerie doesn’t know the song is about Donna, but even if she finds out, a catfight will make the night memorable.
They start with the song, and Noah quickly realizes that David wrote it about Donna. She laughs off his worries about David trying to win her back. Noah says he doesn’t have to – according to Mrs. Martin, they’re fated to be together. Brandon and Steve go out with Madeline and Libby, who think they’re a couple. Steve somehow thinks that they’re on a straight double date, not two couples having a meal together. Brandon leaves, and Steve agrees to dinner at the women’s house.
Kelly checks on Donna at the hospital, and they talk about how tough things are with their ex-boyfriends always around. Donna encourages Kelly to consider getting back together with Brandon if it’s what she really wants. Mrs. Martin suffers complications during the operation, and Dr. Martin tells Donna to go see her because she probably won’t survive. Donna tells her unconscious grandmother that she remembers everything Mrs. Martin has told her.
Andrew’s upset over Brandon’s story since Brandon also interviewed the murder victim’s son. He doesn’t think the son deserved to have his past dragged out. Brandon just wanted to tell both sides. Andrew’s mad that he’ll always be seen as just a murderer – he did one thing wrong and it’ll follow him the rest of his life. Brandon seems to think he can relate, because cheating on your girlfriend and not being forgiven for it is totally the same as spending 20 years in prison for murder.
Mrs. Martin dies, and Noah comforts Donna. Meanwhile, Valerie helps David move into Carly’s place. She’s in a good mood because she still thinks he wrote the song for her. David comes clean, and there goes Valerie’s good mood. She thinks David wants Donna back. At the clinic, Andrew tells Kelly that he hopes Brandon’s article will serve as a cautionary tale. He’s grateful that she reached out to him, since most people want nothing to do with an ex-con. Kelly agrees to go to Mrs. Martin’s funeral with Jeff, even though Brandon will see them together.
Brandon and Steve go to Madeline and Libby’s for dinner, and Steve and Brandon somehow still don’t get that they’re a couple and this will not lead to the guys having sex with them. Brandon catches on when Libby tells him that she and Madeline share a bedroom. The women are equally surprised to learn that the guys aren’t a couple. They thought the guys were just acting a little distant because they’d had a “lover’s tiff.”
David’s spending one last night at the Walshes’, so Donna goes there to tell him that Mrs. Martin died. Valerie’s not thrilled to see them hugging. Donna quickly gets uncomfortable and leaves. Valerie tells David that she’s not going to the funeral, and he shouldn’t either – Donna has Noah to comfort her. David says that they can still be part of each other’s lives, but Valerie thinks he needs to choose between them. He won’t take the bait – he and Donna have known each other longer, and he’s going to the funeral to be there for her.
After the funeral, the gang heads to the beach apartment, where Brandon calls his mom. Awwwww! Kelly overhears him telling Cindy that he misses Kelly. She warns him that Jeff is there. Brandon thanks her for encouraging him to write about Andrew, because talking to him helped him figure out that he needs to serve a sentence for his crime. He needed help to see that his actions hurt Kelly, and he can never make things right, no matter how much he apologizes. Kelly says that she does want Brandon back, but she can’t trust that he won’t hurt her again.
Later, Steve and Brandon head to work, arriving just before Andrew. Janet relays a message that the auto-body shop where he worked as a teenager is willing to rehire him. Brandon and Andrew each hope the other can put bad things behind them. As David’s about to leave the beach apartment, Noah suggests that he stay so he and Donna can share good memories. Donna thinks Noah just feels left out because he didn’t know Mrs. Martin.
David reveals that Mrs. Martin gave him her locket with the picture of her and her husband inside. He and Donna kiss, but she stops them before things can get more serious. David says that Mrs. Martin asked him to take care of her. Donna agrees to let him, but only as a friend. In her bedroom, Kelly writes a letter to her father, reaching out to work on their relationship even though he’s hurt her.
David goes home to his new place, where Valerie tells him that Jasper’s Law got their record contract. She gives him a cactus as a housewarming gift, because it’s a metaphor for her and blah blah, I don’t care. Donna goes to Noah’s boat and thanks him for giving her time alone with David. He invites her to tell him all about her grandmother.
Thoughts: Madeline is played by Josie Davis, who later returns as a different character.
How awkward that David gets along better with Felice after his breakup with Donna than when they were together.
But Brandon and Steve basically are a couple, right?
I can buy Steve not getting that Madeline and Libby were a couple. Madeline was a little flirtatious with him, and he was blinded by lust. But I figured Brandon would have caught on. For a journalist, he’s not very observant.
November 28, 2014
Summary: Post-elevator hookup, Griffin has gone to Julia’s dorm room for more hooking up. She wants him to skip work for even more of the same, but he can’t. He also can’t hang out with her that night because he has plans with some co-workers. Julia’s like, “This reunion with a person I had a bad relationship with isn’t going as perfectly as I expected it to.” Griffin doesn’t seem to think this is a good idea.
At the restaurant, Lauren would like to address the sexual tension she felt between her and Bailey. She thinks he’s been avoiding her since the blackout. He denies that he is, and that there’s any reason to avoid her in the first place. Charlie needs a sitter so he can go on a date with his vice principal, a concept that Claudia finds ridiculous – he can’t date his boss. Also, he should be dating Kirsten anyway. Charlie notes that Claudia’s not the only person to tell him that. He tells her what Paul said, and Claudia backs him up. They need to express their feelings for each other.
Bailey meets with Owen’s teacher, who’s concerned that a drawing he made of his family seems sad. She thinks it’s because of the change in his living arrangements. “He needs to know who his family is,” she says. Julia meets Claudia at her school, and Claudia can tell from Julia’s good mood that she’s met someone. Julia admits that she and Griffin are back together. Claudia doesn’t think that they necessarily make sense now just because they did in the past. (Wait, they did?) Claudia’s going to pretend to be supportive, though.
Charlie finds an excuse to visit Kirsten so he can gauge her feelings for him. She admits that she might not stay in San Francisco, since nothing’s tying her down, and this is a good time for her to travel. Charlie indicates that he thinks she should stay put, but tells her to do what she wants. The Salinger brothers play together at the house, and we get to see Thurber for the first time in years. This is all in case we didn’t get that this is the best place for Owen.
Claudia goes to see Ross in a concert, and afterward she can’t stop herself from telling him about her life. Charlie tells Julia that things are complicated with Kirsten right now, and he’s not sure why he would want to give things another shot if they’re not going to work out. Julia notes that it’s been two years, and they might be ready for something different. Charlie thinks that since Kirsten has been avoiding him for weeks, she doesn’t want to start things up again.
Sarah notices that Owen’s super-happy after having spent the afternoon at the house. She tells Bailey that he misses Claudia and spends an hour on the phone with her every night. She tries to assure Bailey that Owen’s happy with them, but Bailey can’t shake what his teacher said about the move shaking things up for him. Sarah suggests that the three of them move into the house. Bailey objects, wanting to hold on to the independent life he worked so hard for. He wants to give the arrangement more time to work out.
Claudia tells Ross that she doesn’t feel like Julia appreciates how much Griffin does for her. She’s sympathetic toward Griffin for the things he had to go through when he and Julia were married. Ross realizes that Claudia’s in love with Griffin. He can empathize, having loved someone who would never love him back, and he encourages her to put her emotional pain into her music.
Charlie gives Kirsten information on teaching in Tonga for a few months. It’ll combine two things she wanted to do – traveling and teaching. She’s surprised that, after he noted that she hadn’t been around, he’s encouraging her to be around even less. Kirsten wonders what he wants. Charlie says he’s just trying to be a friend, and is surprised that she’s not more excited about this opportunity.
At the restaurant, Julia notices that Bailey’s a little flustered (it’s totally because of Lauren). Bailey’s surprised that his sister is there to have dinner with Griffin. Griffin actually has no plans to be there, and ignores the message Julia leaves him. Charlie goes by the loft, and Owen asks both of his brothers to read him a bedtime story. After he falls asleep, Charlie and Bailey mention how happy he is when they’re all together. Charlie’s on board with Sarah’s idea about them moving back in.
Julia goes to Griffin’s garage to confront him for missing their date. He doesn’t make any excuses, telling her that he thinks they made a mistake. He doesn’t need more than the week they’ve been back together to realize that it’s not going to work. Bailey spent the night thinking about the Salingers’ living arrangements, and he tells Sarah that after he’s done so much for Owen, he can’t avoid doing something else that would be good for him. They’ll move back into the house.
Kirsten applies for the teaching job in Tonga, and Charlie is asked to give a reference. He learns that the job isn’t just for a few months – it’s closer to two years. He knows that Kirsten wants to finish her graduate degree. He reveals that she hasn’t finished her thesis, and her divorce isn’t final. These might be two strikes against Kirsten getting the job.
Bailey confides in Lauren that he’s sick of people telling him what he should do. He doesn’t feel like he can complain, because he has everything he wants, but he’d like some time to himself. Lauren’s the only one who makes it easier. She’s like, “Yeah, there’s totally something between us, but we’re not going to talk about it.”
Kirsten goes to the house to yell at Charlie for hurting her chances to get the job after he encouraged her to take it in the first place. Charlie admits that he was being selfish and tells her that he wants her to stay. Once the truth is out, Charlie wants to backtrack, afraid that if they get any closer, he’ll lose a really good friend. Kirsten tries to change his mind by kissing him.
Bailey goes to an AA meeting and talks about how much he wants to give up control, but how afraid he is that it’ll lead him to drink again. He thought that after enough time sober, the urge to lose control would go away, but it hasn’t. Julia laments to Claudia that everyone was right, and she and Griffin were never going to work out. Claudia thinks it’s better that they’re ending things early. Julia’s upset that the person who was there for her even after they broke up is really gone now.
Charlie and Kirsten end up in his bed together, stunned that they ignored their feelings for each other for so long. He wants to take things slowly, like, I think the ship has already sailed on “slowly,” Chuck. Claudia goes to Griffin’s garage to blast him for breaking Julia’s heart. He knows that they love each other, but that doesn’t meant they should be together. He was always afraid of screwing things up, and didn’t realize that it could screw him up. He wants to live his life without worrying about holding up someone else’s.
Bailey, Sarah, and Owen quickly start moving into the house, where Kirsten pretends she spent the night (on the couch, then in Diana’s room) because she lost her keys. Only Owen buys that. Sarah’s clearly unhappy with the new living arrangements, despite them being her idea, and Bailey’s like, “Could you please not act like your favorite pet just died?”
Claudia plays her violin while Julia looks at her divorce papers, accepting that she and Griffin are really done. Charlie goes to see Kirsten, and they’re possibly the only happy people left on the show. Bailey and Lauren are at the restaurant late, and he finally gives in to his urge to lose control. She says he shouldn’t have kissed her, but she doesn’t resist when he goes back for more.
Thoughts: ’90s music alert: “Run” by Collective Soul. Remember Collective Soul, guys?
Hey, it’s Ross! Why wasn’t he at Claudia’s birthday party?
I was starting to think that Claudia should have trapped Charlie and Kirsten in an elevator together to make them talk things out. Thank God that’s over.
Hey, Sarah? I know it sucks, but you were willing to do it, so get on the train or get off the tracks.
Imagine Owen’s family drawings now: “This is my brother and his girlfriend. This is my other brother and his girlfriend. This is my sister. This is my niece. And my other sister and her husband used to live in our shed.”
November 26, 2014
SVU #27, Elizabeth and Todd Forever: Everyone Knows You’re Going to Wind Up Together, So Just Do It Already
Summary: At the end of The Trial of Jessica Wakefield, Todd and Elizabeth kissed, but they haven’t talked about it. They run into each other at some hipster grocery store that I’m sure college students can totally afford, and they chat a little, but Elizabeth doesn’t want to discuss Tom or the fact that they’re pretty much over. They wind up dancing in the parking lot, which is supposed to be romantic but sounds pretty dumb. Todd clearly wants Elizabeth back, and since he and Gin-Yung agreed to see other people while she’s in London for the semester, he doesn’t feel weird about pursuing his ex.
Pretty much the whole book is Todd and Elizabeth hanging out, Todd trying to figure out where they stand, and Elizabeth moping because she and Tom are through. Todd is amazingly patient while Elizabeth cycles between “Todd and I are totally meant for each other” and “maybe I should give Tom another chance.” I don’t think I would have been able to put up with it. Ultimately, she decides to get back together with Todd.
Throughout the book, we check in on Gin-Yung, who’s not having much fun in London. She misses home, she thinks Todd has lost interest in her, and she’s tired all the time. At the end of the book, Gin-Yung comes home early, having received some sort of bad news, and blacks out at the airport.
Jessica is still with Nick, who is hesitant to take her home to meet his parents. She’s furious, thinking that he doesn’t think she’s good enough for his family, but it’s really because his mother is insane. Okay, maybe not insane. Difficult. Annoying. An uber-WASP. Like, imagine Lucille Bluth cranked up to 15. That’s Rhoda Fox. Lila thinks Jessica should be grateful since she once dated a guy whose mother liked her so much that she wanted Lila to marry her son when they’d only been on a few dates. But Jessica can’t stand the idea of someone not loving her.
On her way to meet the Foxes, Jessica gets in a fender-bender with a Lexus. The Lexus driver, also an uber-WASP, is stopped at the end of an off-ramp, which is so stupid I don’t even know where to begin. She screams at Jessica for hitting her, when clearly she’s an idiot for stopping her car there. After a few pages of yelling, the two drivers exchange insurance information. When Jessica gets to the Foxes’ house, she recognizes his mother’s car – she’s the crazy woman from the fender-bender.
Jessica decides there’s no way she can have a civil dinner with that lunatic, so she pretends to be sick and cancels over the phone. Mrs. Fox thinks Jessica’s a ditz for skipping dinner. Jess tries to smooth things over by sending a gift that even a nine-year-old would find saccharine. Lila gives her a horrible idea: Call Mrs. Fox to talk about the accident, use a fake name, win her over, and already have Mrs. Fox on her side when it’s time to meet. This doesn’t work because there is no winning over Mrs. Fox.
Jess cancels the rescheduled dinner, making Mrs. Fox hate her even more. She thinks Nick should date the girl from the fender-bender, because I guess she wants her son to be with a woman who has a temper. I don’t know. Eventually, Jessica has to meet Mrs. Fox face to face, but Jessica’s “spunk” makes Mrs. Fox give her a thumbs up. I really, really don’t get this. Why was this a plot?
Tom spends the book partying and pretending he’s better off without Elizabeth. He spends a lot of time with his father and his younger brother and sister. He’s also a huge jerk to Liz, which makes me so mad that she considers getting back together with him. Really the only important part of his plotline is that he falls for Dana, his sister’s cello teacher, so it looks like he and Elizabeth are really done. Good – he’s a jerk. Good luck, Dana.
Thoughts: “Maybe I should have gone after him…maybe I should have punched him.” That’s our Todd!
Elizabeth has a lingerie drawer? What’s in it, longjohns and flannel nightgowns?
There’s a guy at SVU named Dack. Dack? What kind of name is that?
For once in her life, Jessica doesn’t opt for a twin switch when it might actually work. She could have made Mrs. Fox believe that Elizabeth was the one who hit her car.
Jessica almost jumps out of a car going 60 miles an hour. She’s beyond drama queenery now.