October 28, 2014

SVU #26, The Trial of Jessica Wakefield: “The Grand Jury Hearing of Jessica Wakefield” Doesn’t Have the Same Ring to It

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:25 pm by Jenn

I have no idea who these people are supposed to be

I have no idea who these people are supposed to be

Summary: Jessica has been arrested, and things aren’t looking good. Because of the amount of cocaine she was found with, the police – including Nick – think she’s a drug dealer. Meanwhile, a suspicious Jordan delivers Celine what she thinks is her money, but what’s actually Lila’s hat. Jordan realizes what was really going on, and Celine warns him not to tell the police, since he’d be arrested, too. The guys she got the drugs from give her five days to get them their money.

Ned and Alice are out of the country, which leaves Steven as the default “grown-up” in the family. He’s barely in the book, though, and does nothing useful, like hire her a lawyer. Jessica struggles in jail, as you can imagine, and I would laugh at her but I know that if it were me, I’d cry the whole time. I actually feel sorry for Jess. Anyway, She tries to convince Nick that she didn’t do anything wrong and didn’t even know drugs would be involved. She just wanted to find out what he was keeping from her. The problem is that no one saw Jordan at the exchange, so it looks like Jessica was just hanging around with a bunch of coke.

Jessica and her public defender end up in front of a judge who’s determined to rid the world of drug crimes. He schedules a grand jury hearing to determine whether there’s enough evidence against Jessica to send her to trial. (This is how the book can get away with the legal proceedings moving so quickly. Otherwise, Jessica would be in jail for months.) No one can afford Jessica’s bail, so she goes back to lockup.

Nick has started to doubt that Jessica’s a drug dealer, and decides that he can’t testify against her. He’s suspended from his job, which just gives him more time to investigate the case on his own. This involves some deducing and other detective stuff that’s not really interesting to read about. Elizabeth is actually the better detective, as she gets Jessica to remember that Jordan was wearing an engineering sweatshirt, which could help them narrow down who he is.

Speaking of Jordan, his guilty conscience makes him call the drug hotline, where Alex happens to take his call. He confesses that his girlfriend got him mixed up in a drug deal, but he got a hatbox instead of money, and now mobsters might be after him. (Ahh, college was crazy for all of us, wasn’t it?) He tells her he’s going to hide out in his hometown.

There’s a Theta gathering, and Celine stupidly wears the hat Jordan gave her. Lila recognizes it and says that Jessica was supposed to pick it up for her. Alex figures out that Celine and Jordan were involved in Jessica’s “drug deal,” and she and Noah head off to try to find Nick. They first encounter Elizabeth, who tells them about Jordan’s engineering shirt. Alex finds Nick at the Theta house, looking for evidence that could clear Jessica, and tells him about the shirt and the call from Jordan.

Celine is next to sneak into the Theta house, looking for things she can steal for money. She comes across Lila’s bank card, which Lila lost a while ago and Isabella returned (but didn’t give back to her in person – good job, Isabella). Celine uses the card to pay off her debts and go on a shopping spree. Then she goes to withdraw money and gets busted by Lila’s own father, causing her to flee (still wearing that stupid hat).

Meanwhile, Nick does some more detectiving, which mainly involves driving all over California to find Jordan. He eventually does, and convinces Jordan to come to Jessica’s hearing. He arrives just in time to get everything sorted out and reveal that Celine was behind the deal. The judge is all, “Sorry, Ms. Wakefield. Your boyfriend is a good cop, though.” Jess is off the hook and back with Nick. Celine and Jordan are allowed to make deals in exchange for ratting out the actual drug dealers, so once again, Celine gets away with a crime. Sigh. At least Lila gets her hat.

The only substantial B-plot: Elizabeth and Tom are through, as he believes his father’s side of the story that he never hit on Elizabeth. Tom is a jerk through the whole book, which is really all you need to know. Liz tries to take her mind off of him and Jessica’s trial by going to a party. She accidentally gets drunk on spiked punch, and a guy who’s been bugging her comes close to raping her. Todd swoops in to save the day. The next morning, Elizabeth wakes up in Todd’s bed and freaks out, thinking they slept together. They didn’t, so Liz is still a lily-white virgin, but now her interest in Todd has been rekindled. So sorry, spending-the-semester-abroad Gin-Yung.

Thoughts: Yeah, like Jessica was really going to go to prison for a drug crime. I mean…middle-class white girl. Come on.

Celine buys turquoise velvet couches. Ick.

Danny declines an invitation to a Rams game so he can go to Jessica’s trial, and Tom thinks, “I finally get a chance to see the Rams play and something Wakefield related ruins it.” So now I definitely hate Tom.

Celine calls fake jewelry “paste.” I learned that term from an SVT book. The circle is complete!

Nick goes to the engineering department and gets hassled by a bunch of nerds. “‘I say he needs a reboot,’ the wiry guy cackled. Nick tensed. A reboot? That sounded threatening. He jumped back from the group and then swung around to face them. No one was going to give him a boot.” Nick, sweetie, you’re embarrassing yourself.

October 26, 2014

BH90210 8.14, Santa Knows: Brandon’s On the Naughty List

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:37 pm by Jenn

What's Christmas-y about a gnome?

What’s Christmas-y about a gnome?

Summary: Emma’s at the Walshes’, talking to Kelly about Monahan. Kelly’s going to report his sexual harassment the next day. Brandon and David arrive, and Brandon tries to keep David in the room so he doesn’t have to be alone with his girlfriend and the girl he’s about to cheat on her with (um, spoiler). David’s like, “Thanks, but I’m going to go pretend to make out with Valerie instead.” He’s not sure Noah’s buying that Valerie’s dating a guy who works at a carwash.

Kelly asks Emma what she thinks will happen to her “friend” from her column – the one who’s pursuing a guy who’s in a relationship. Kelly thinks that if they’re meant to be together, they’ll hook up. Oh, Kelly. Christmas is coming, so everything in Beverly Hills is decorated, including the After Dark. Donna’s surprised that Noah’s family was more about drinking and fighting than decorating, so he’s never trimmed a tree. She wants him to come to the Walshes’ with her for Christmas Eve, but he doesn’t think he’ll be much fun.

Ben still has no place to live, so he’s still crashing at the carwash. David can’t believe he bought Christmas presents for his parents, who kicked him out. Valerie shows up with lunch for both guys; she’s actually doing something nice for someone without asking for anything in return! It’s a Christmas miracle! Steve asks Terri and Emma to help him figure out what to get Carly for Christmas, since she won’t tell him what she wants. Terri thinks Carly just can’t think of anything she wants. Brandon tries to downplay his kiss with Emma, who wants more.

Kelly starts to tell someone from her foundation that Monahan is a creep. The woman, Audrey, asks her to speak about Monahan at the foundation’s holiday party so the clinic can get more funding. Steve and Carly bring home a Christmas tree and discuss Zach’s Christmas list. Carly still refuses to give Steve any hints about what she wants. Zach’s friend Billy announces that Santa isn’t real, because kids are jerks. Now Zach’s Christmas is ruined.

David takes Ben to his parents’ house so he can drop off their presents. Ben’s mother tries to chase him off before his father gets home. She doesn’t want him to leave the presents because her husband will just throw them away. Ben asks to come home, and his mother only says he can soon. David’s disgusted that Ben’s parents are going to let their son be homeless for Christmas. Ben’s mom doesn’t like that her son will have a “different” life if he’s out – he should just be straight and everything will be okay! Ben hates that his father hates him. His mom says they just need some time.

Zach takes his Santa denial to the Peach Pit, where Nat runs away instead of having to address his questions. Donna takes him to the After Dark, which is done up like the North Pole. Unfortunately, Santa is a stripper. Donna blasts Noah for throwing a Christmas party with a stripper, though it was a private party for adults. She’s mostly mad that he’s not respecting that Christmas means something special to some people.

David thinks Kelly’s foundation can help Ben out, but Ben insists that he’s fine. He got in touch with his mother’s sister, who’s going to let him move in with her family. He thanks David for being the only person cool with him being gay. Brandon goes by Emma’s place to get her article, then tries to leave right away. Emma attempts to seduce him, telling him he’s already moved on from Kelly. There’s some kissing, and then their clothes come off, and now Kelly’s Christmas is going to be really awful.

David finds Ben still at the carwash, though he said he was leaving for his aunt’s house. David’s seen through Ben’s story and figured out that Ben wants to kill himself. Indeed, Ben was about to cut himself with a razor blade. David yells at him, which is super-helpful, and says that Ben’s dad isn’t worth it. Ben wonders if he’s worth anything either. Brandon comes home with tons of presents, which I’m sure aren’t his way of making up for being a DIRTY CHEATER.

In the morning, David tells Valerie that he spent the night driving around with Ben to keep him from harming himself. Ben refuses to get help or talk to a professional. David isn’t sure he’s the best person to help anyone right now. Valerie says Ben is lucky that David was around. David isn’t sure someone will be there for Ben next time. At the Beverly Beat, Emma tries to get Brandon naked again, but he tells her he’s in love with Kelly. Emma’s upset that he regrets their hookup.

Noah visits Donna at a photo shoot, but she doesn’t want a relationship with him while he’s working with Valerie. She also doesn’t want to be with someone who wants to be alone when he’s going through hard times; she already went through that with David. Noah promises that this isn’t the same. David goes to Ben’s parents’ house and tells them Ben is suicidal. Ben’s father refuses to do anything to help his son as long as he’s gay.

Kelly and Brandon attend the foundation’s holiday party, meeting Monahan’s wife Nina. Despite having the perfect opportunity to trash her creepy boss, Kelly only says nice things about him to the foundation. Steve asks Zach for help writing a letter to Santa, but Zach says all the Santas he’s seen so far were fakes. Steve and Carly tell him that the real Santa won’t come until Christmas Eve. According to Steve, the others are the “warm-up act.”

Brandon chats with Nina while Monahan introduces Kelly to people who might be able to help her with her future career. He takes her to another room to thank her for saying nice things about him, then kisses her. This creeps her out, and she runs to Brandon to tell him she wants to leave. Valerie catches Ben leaving the Walshes’, trying to leave without saying goodbye to David. She blasts him for not trying hard enough or being grateful enough to David. She encourages him to teach his father a lesson by making a good life for himself.

Kelly tells Audrey about Monahan’s behavior, admitting that if he hadn’t cornered her and kissed her the night before, she would have kept quiet. Audrey warns that Kelly’s accusations will go on her record, and a false accusation could ruin Monahan. If Kelly’s potential future employers find out she filed a sexual-harassment suit, she could have trouble getting hired. Kelly recognizes that this isn’t fair, since she’s not the harasser, and Audrey points out that it’s her word against Monahan.

Donna decorates Noah’s boat so much that it looks like something Buddy from Elf would do. There’s some relationship talk, and then everything’s fine. Everyone goes to the Walshes’ house for Christmas Eve, including Nat, who wants to play Santa for Zach. Steve has already taken care of that, getting Zach the tree fort he asked Santa for. Ben’s parents show up and ask him to come home, promising that they’ll work on accepting him because they want the best for him.

Valerie and David celebrate Ben’s happiness by kissing. In his tree fort, Zach watches Santa Nat collect his bag of toys and sleigh keys so he can head on to his next house. Kelly finds a present in Brandon’s bag and opens it, not realizing it was Emma’s present for Brandon. She thinks Brandon got her a man’s watch so she’ll think of him every time she looks at it.

Thoughts: This is what Emma’s haircut makes me think of.

Hi, David. Don’t yell at the suicidal kid. Try hugging him.

How much coal does Santa leave you for cheating on your girlfriend? Maybe he’ll just give Brandon the coal he was going to give Ben’s parents.

Valerie’s a lot nicer than usual in this episode. I think she’s trying to get on Santa’s nice list.

October 25, 2014

Party of Five 5.16, Party of Freud: What Does Everyone Have Against Therapy?

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

Since Daphne won't go to therapy, Diana will probably be there in 15 years

Since Daphne won’t go to therapy, Diana will probably be there in 15 years

Summary: Julia tracks down Ned after he’s hidden out for a few days in the aftermath of his fight with Griffin. He’s realized that he now knows how Julia felt after he hit her. He’s not sure where his rage comes from. He’s decided that they need to end things. Julia refuses to let him decide that for them; it’s like he’s punishing her for what Griffin did. Ned says he doesn’t want her to get hurt again, and the only way to ensure that is for her to go away.

In L.A., Daphne’s happy to be back with Diana, though she’s worried about the effects of her leaving. Charlie points out that Diana’s too young to get what’s going on or remember that Daphne left. Owen’s teacher calls Bailey in to discuss the possibility that Owen has a learning disability. Bailey wonders if he’s just stressed out about all the changes at home. The teacher wants to test Owen to find out what’s going on.

Charlie calls Kirsten to tell her how great things are going with Daphne. Kirsten’s like, “I’m so glad your awesome life is so awesome. I’m still crashing in your attic, you know.” Claudia hangs out with Griffin, who’s trying to give Julia space. She wonders if he’s still in love with someone who obviously doesn’t care about him anymore. Julia tells Ned that their relationship isn’t over just because he says it is. She walked away from her marriage, and she’s not giving up on another relationship. Ned’s not a bad person, and if he gets help, Julia will stay with him.

Charlie wants to spend more time with Daphne, who has to go to work. She’s not sure what he expects from his visit. Charlie tells her he wants her to come home with him. He thinks they can work through her problems, which stem from her mother abandoning her. Daphne appreciates knowing the truth about her childhood, but she can’t make excuses for who she is. Charlie tells her she’s giving up, and she needs to fix what’s wrong: “You’re not doomed unless you decide to be.” Anything Daphne does from here on is her own fault, not her mother’s.

Ned and Julia see a university therapist, and he admits that he can be abusive. Bailey learns that Owen has a learning disability that can be improved with lots of work. Bailey promises that he’s willing to help his brother. Owen’s teacher invites him to volunteer in the classroom. The therapist tracks Julia down on her own to tell her about a group session she might want to attend with other abused women. Julia declines, denying that she’s a victim of violence – Ned just gets angry, but she’s not afraid of him. The therapist is like, “Yeah, I’ve never heard that before.”

Kirsten decides to go visit her parents for a while, which is probably a really good idea. Claudia thinks Charlie will be disappointed, but Kirsten feels like she’s in the way. She admits that she’s been sitting around, waiting for something to happen that isn’t going to. In L.A., Daphne tells Charlie that she’s decided to go home with him and get therapy. They just have to leave immediately before she changes her mind. Charlie tells her to tie up all loose ends first.

Bailey hangs out in Owen’s classroom, and one of the students tries to fix him up with Owen’s teacher. Owen cutely reminds his brother that he already has a girlfriend. In therapy, Ned discusses his angry father, and how he thinks that’s where his own anger comes from. The therapist points out that anger isn’t the issue – it’s the ability to control anger. Ned doesn’t want to talk about Richie, but the therapist guesses that he showed violence as a child, and their father blamed Ned.

Sarah complains to Bailey that her poetry professor isn’t giving them serious assignments. Bailey doesn’t think he’s the right person to have this discussion with, since he wasn’t so great at school. He knows he was smart, but he didn’t get grades that reflected that. He thinks that’s why he’s so focused on helping Owen. After therapy, Ned complains to Julia that the therapist is twisting things around and making his “temper” problem bigger than it is. He yells at his roommate, then tells Julia he wants to live with her so he doesn’t have to deal with annoying people.

Daphne’s not done tying up her loose ends, and Charlie quickly realizes that she doesn’t want to finish tying them up. She tells him she believed him when he said everything could work out, and that no damage had been done to Diana. Daphne’s putting an end to the “disease” her mother passed on to her, but if she goes home, tries to change, and fails, she’ll have passed the disease on to Diana. She doesn’t want to take the risk. She tells Charlie they need to sever all ties right now.

Bailey takes Owen to school, telling him Charlie will pick him up from the apartment that night. Owen’s not thrilled by that news. Charlie and Diana go home, and Charlie tells Claudia that it’s up to Daphne what happens next. She gives him the news that Kirsten left, thinking Daphne would be coming home. Charlie reacts like everything is totally fine.

Ned goes to his next therapy session alone, not wanting Julia to hear everything about his life. He blames her for making him angry, but the therapist calls him out: “You hit because you’re a hitter.” He tries to get Ned to admit that he’s hurt someone else, since that would mean Julia isn’t to blame. The therapist asks if Ned wants to hurt Julia even worse next time because he’s so out of control. Ned doesn’t, and he agrees to have a real conversation.

Charlie throws Griffin out of the house, ordering him to leave Julia alone. Everything in Charlie’s life is complicated, but this is simple, and has a solution: Griffin beat up Julia’s boyfriend, so he needs to leave. Claudia tries to defend Griffin, but Griffin says Charlie’s right. Bailey tells Sarah that he’d like to raise Owen. Sarah isn’t sure Bailey’s thought this through completely, but Bailey just wants to be there for Owen more than Charlie’s been able to.

Ned finds an apartment for him and Julia, but she’s clearly not that excited about living there. He tells her he’s going to find a way to deal with his anger other than therapy, which just makes his anger worse. It looks like his plan is to just avoid getting angry. Charlie goes to Bailey and Sarah’s to get Owen, and tells them Daphne didn’t come home with him. Bailey comes up with a list of reasons for Owen to spend the night at the apartment. Charlie has no idea what’s going on with Owen and decides it’s not worth arguing over right now.

Griffin packs up to leave the Salingers’ as Claudia promises she’ll keep in touch. Owen’s teacher calls Charlie to talk about Owen, but he doesn’t understand anything she’s talking about. She’s confused until he tells her she’s mistaken him with Bailey. Also, why is Owen seeing a psychologist? Julia and Ned move into their new place, and he tries to get her to agree to stop talking to other people about their problems. (Red alert! Red alert! Isolation is classic abuser behavior!)

Bailey and Charlie meet up at Owen’s school so they can argue about their brother’s problems in front of him. Bailey has accepted that Owen has dyslexia, but Charlie hasn’t. He says his opinion rules because he’s Owen’s guardian. Bailey decides it’s time to announce that he wants to take Owen in. He thinks he also has dyslexia and can work with Owen. Charlie doesn’t have the time or ability to help Owen, but Bailey does. If Charlie wants what’s best for Owen, he’ll let Bailey take him. That’s not exactly the way to approach things, dude.

Thoughts: The therapist is played by Gregory Itzin.

Daphne, please get therapy anyway. “Failure is better” is a horrible way to approach things. You make me sad.

I’d like to hear from Maggie about Ned. She dated him, and before that she knew him for years. I want to know about her experiences with him.

Once again, Claudia has no storyline. I’m surprised Lacey Chabert was willing to stick around to keep doing nothing.

These late-’90s hairstyles aren’t working for me. Please brush your hair, Claudia and Kirsten.

October 21, 2014

SVT #19, The Bully: Dennis the Menace

Posted in books tagged , , , at 6:33 pm by Jenn

The look on Lila's face cracks me up

The look on Lila’s face cracks me up

Summary: Seventh-grader Dennis Cookman has been menacing sixth-graders, and they decide they’ve had enough. They inform a teacher, Dennis is punished and starts receiving counseling, and everyone calls a truce. The end. Oh, wait, that doesn’t happen. Instead, some of the sixth-graders – including Ken, Aaron Dallas, and some scrawny kid named Jimmy Underwood – call a “summit conference” and invite Elizabeth to help them with their problem. Dennis is so intimidating that even Lila can’t bring herself to stand up to him – when he asks her for money, she just hands it over.

The summiteers meet at a place called Larson’s lot, which is near something everyone calls Dean Man’s Cave. The kids decide that instead of telling a teacher about Dennis’ bullying, they’ll just get revenge on him. Steven wanders by and tells them they’re dumb and they should tell an adult what’s going on. Jimmy hates this idea, since it’ll just get him in more trouble with Dennis, but the other kids decide to talk to Mr. Bowman.

Elizabeth and her cronies talk to the English teacher, who promises to handle Dennis. Elizabeth thinks that’ll be the end of it. Of course, it’s not. Dennis corners the summiteers after school, starts a fight with Aaron and Ken, and threatens to come after everyone else. The summiteers decide Operation Tell a Teacher was a bust, and they should try revenge next.

Their plan is to tell Dennis they’re going to spend the night in Dead Man’s Cave to peer-pressure him into doing the same. Aaron and Ken know there’s a rain pipe in the cave that they can use to get to the woods and head home. Dennis will sleep in the cave when his turn comes, not realizing that no one else spent the night. The summiteers put their plan in motion, making sure Dennis overhears Amy daring Aaron to spend the night in Dead Man’s Cave.

Meanwhile, Grace Oliver (who I remember from a later book but didn’t realize was in the series this early on) wants to join the Unicorns. To make sure she’s special enough for this super-exclusive group of girls who like shopping and own purple clothing, Jessica, Lila, and Ellen decide to put her through a series of initiation rituals. First she has to recite a poem in the middle of class. Then she has to get a bunch of kids’ homework. (I’m not sure what that’s about. Why would they give her their homework? Is she just pretending she needs to borrow it?)

For Grace’s last initiation task, Jessica comes up with the idea to make Grace ask Dennis to each lunch with her. Even Lila and Ellen are like, “Whoa, slow down, Regina George.” But Jessica is, for some reason, set on making Grace do her bidding. Grace tries to summon the courage to ask Dennis to eat lunch with her but fails so badly that she thinks that’s it for her chances with the Unicorns. Later, she happens to find Dennis’ baseball mitt, so she takes it to his house. He’s kind of surprised that someone’s doing something nice for him.

That night, Aaron completes his part of the revenge plan, pretending to sleep in Dead Man’s Cave. Ken agrees to go next, but Dennis is skeptical about the legitimacy of the situation and wants to stay outside the cave overnight so he can’t leave. Jimmy gets roped into staying with him. Once Ken’s part is complete, Jimmy takes his turn, which means Dennis really has no excuse not to do it as well.

Grace tries again to ask Dennis to have lunch with her, not realizing that Jessica (having been yelled at by Elizabeth for making Grace do something so difficult) has decided to let her off the hook. But at lunch, Dennis asks if he can sit with Grace. They talk about how he has no friends, and she points out that, you know, he’s mean to everyone. Dennis is all, “They’re mean to me, too! They make fun of me because I’m huge!” Grace is like, “Well, then clearly you’re allowed to be mean back and be surprised that no one likes you.”

Dennis really doesn’t want to spend the night in Dead Man’s Cave, so he tries to pretend he’s sick. No one’s going to let him off the hook, especially after Jimmy supposedly went through with it. When the big night comes, there’s a storm a-brewin’, which means lots of rain in the rain pipe. Aaron realizes that if it gets too blocked, Dennis could drown. The kids head into the cave and rescue Dennis, who realizes that he should probably start treating them differently. He and Jimmy seem to become friends, while Grace gets to be a Unicorn. So the lesson here is that if you have a bully, you just have to save his life and everything will be okay.

Thoughts: They had to have named him Dennis just so people could make Dennis the Menace references, right?

“Steven Wakefield was fourteen going on obnoxious.” Hee.

Amy gets Dennis away from Jimmy by sending him after another group of kids. Well, that’s a bad idea.

“Jessica had just finished dyeing most of her white socks purple to add to her Unicorn wardrobe. If Grace managed to get Dennis to eat lunch with her, maybe Jessica would even give her a pair as an initiation gift.” Ooh, used socks! Go for it, Grace!

October 19, 2014

BH90210 8.13, Comic Relief: The Real World Is Awful

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 2:51 pm by Jenn

This seems like a totally normal thing to do

This seems like a totally normal thing to do

Summary: Kelly likes Emma’s column for the Beverly Beat, still unaware that Emma’s been hitting on Brandon. Steve gives Carly a pep talk about getting by while her mom’s gone, though she worries that her responsibilities are too much for him. Everyone in the Walsh house hears Valerie moaning and rattling her bedsprings, and they wonder who she’s been sleeping with. David’s in her room, but he’s not the reason the bed’s shaking – Valerie’s just putting on a show for her housemates. Kelly tells Brandon she wants to meet Emma, which he definitely doesn’t want.

When David emerges from Valerie’s love den, Brandon and Steve tease him about getting some. They tease him more when he reminds them that he’s starting his new job at a carwash. Donna comes by to ask Kelly to fill in for a model at a photo shoot that afternoon. Oh, right, Kelly used to be a model. She’s not thrilled about the job but agrees to help. Donna runs into David, noting that he didn’t come home the night before. Val’s like, “That’s because he was here, having the sex with me. Ha ha!”

At the clinic, Kelly overhears a heated phone conversation between Monahan and his wife. He confides that their marriage is pretty bad but Mrs. Monahan doesn’t agree that they should separate. He hopes Kelly never has to experience the kind of distance he and his wife do. She won’t if he keeps invading her personal space. David heads to his new job, where one guy is unfriendly and one guy, Ben, is kind of unfriendly but warms up to him.

Noah auditions stand-up comedians for a comedy night at the After Dark. They shouldn’t quit their day jobs. Steve drops by to supposedly check on Valerie, telling Noah who she spent the night with. Noah brushes it off and encourages Steve to audition for Comedy Night. Brandon asks Emma to write more articles for the Beverly Beat, and she asks to have lunch with him so they can discuss the assignments. Kelly stops by and meets her new favorite writer, who’s suddenly on her best behavior. Brandon turns down lunch with his girlfriend, not telling her his real plans.

Kelly then heads to her photo shoot, where Donna complains about David and Valerie but tries to brush it off. Kelly calls the Beverly Beat to talk to Brandon, who’s still out with Emma. Kelly’s surprised that he left the office after telling her he’d be having lunch at his desk. Out at a restaurant, Emma flirts and Brandon doesn’t shut her down. She wants to spend the rest of the day with him.

At the carwash, some of the guys harass Ben, and David stands up for him. The guys ask David if he’s gay like Ben is. At the Peach Pit, Steve bugs Carly to come next door for his audition. She thinks he’s definitely funny if he thinks she’ll be able to leave during the lunch rush. Valerie joins Noah for the auditions, and he brings up her night of passion with David. Steve does a set, making not just Noah and Valerie laugh, but also some delivery guys and other employees.

Kelly’s worried that Brandon’s up to something, since he was distant earlier and has now left his office. Donna wonders if she thinks he’s seeing someone else. She should be worried – he spent the day with Emma, and now they’re making out. At least he draws the line at going to her place. In the morning, Brandon makes breakfast for Kelly, like that’ll make up for his behavior. He tells her he spent the previous day trying to chase a lead. Now Kelly feels guilty for worrying about him.

Ben and David hang out, and Ben thanks his new co-worker for sticking up for him but says he should let it go. Besides, his parents are the real problem, having kicked him out for being gay. At the clinic, Monahan sees some of Kelly’s pictures from the photo shoot and looks through them as she protests. He remarks that it’s too bad she’s wasting her beauty on a “younger, less experienced man.” Yeah, and he’s a cheater, too.

That night, everyone gathers at the After Dark, and Donna tells Kelly that the photographer they worked with wants to use Kelly for a campaign. She gets distracted by thoughts of Noah, who Kelly reminds her really likes her, since he bought a boat to stay close to her. Donna and Noah join up to glare at Valerie and David together. Kelly tells Brandon that Monahan’s comments have gotten more inappropriate. He encourages her to call him out, then file a grievance if it doesn’t stop.

Donna and David trade barbs, and she tells him he should move into Valerie’s bedroom permanently. Nat looks after Zach at the Peach Pit while Carly goes next door to see Steve’s set. Emma shows up as well, and Brandon’s blood pressure goes up 50 points. She’s mad that he’s there with Kelly. Steve does his set, but this time his audience doesn’t find it funny. (They’re smart – it’s not.) He goes in a different direction and gets a much better reaction.

The next day, David pulls a Brandon, going to Ben’s house to talk to his parents about him. Ben’s mother is sympathetic, but his father couldn’t care less about his homeless kid. Brandon wants to print a good review of Steve’s comedy set in the Beverly Beat, but Steve refuses to let him. That leaves them with a blank space to fill, but Emma’s here to save the day with a column. It’s about how two-timing men are scum. Kelly very professionally tells Monahan that she won’t tolerate his sexual harassment anymore. Monahan mocks her for not knowing how the real world works.

At Carly’s house, Steve admits that he didn’t come up with his comedy act on his own – he stole it from Richard Belzer (yes, the Richard Belzer from Law and Order). Carly’s surprised, because she’s new here. Steve cracks her up by making fun of how dumb he is. Valerie tells Noah that David’s moving in with her, which means Donna’s now living alone. When Donna comes by, Noah insists that he doesn’t care about David living with Valerie. Donna says she might care, but she still wants to move on.

Kelly turns down the modeling job, telling Brandon that the situation with Monahan has made her decide she doesn’t want to “trade on [her] looks.” She talks to Brandon about Emma’s newest article, where she says she still wants the two-timing guy. Kelly thinks that maybe the guy and his girlfriend aren’t right for each other, and Emma and the guy are. Emma calls to tell Brandon she misses him, and he pretends there’s no one on the other end of the line.

Thoughts: ’90s music alert: Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.” They even left in the line “doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break”!

Can’t David get a job at a radio station? Are we done with that part of his life?

Steve: “I was the funniest guy in my fraternity.” Noah: “I’m curious: How does one decide that?” Steve: “Over a lot of beer.” I believe that.

Y’all know I’m no Brandon fan, but I never expected him to cheat on Kelly. Also, his brown suit with mustard-yellow vest is a tragedy.

October 18, 2014

Party of Five 5.15, Whatever Works: “Don’t Forget What He Did”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:50 pm by Jenn

Look at those tables turning! Just look at them!

Look at those tables turning! Just look at them!

Summary: Griffin is at Bailey and Sarah’s, telling the two of them and Charlie that Ned is abusing Julia. Charlie and Bailey refuse to believe that that’s possible. Charlie thinks Griffin’s just upset because they’re in the middle of the divorce process. Sarah, however, thinks it’s possible; one of the women in her victim support group was also hiding the signs of her abusive relationship. Bailey decides that they should ask Julia straight out. Meanwhile, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and Ned has something special planned for Julia.

Bailey meets with Sullivan, who’s working on a business deal and wants Bailey to work with him. Charlie’s with a psychiatrist to discuss Daphne; the police report his lawyer gave him revealed that she was abandoned by her mother for 18 months when she was three. He thinks that explains why Daphne had so much trouble connecting to Diana. The psychiatrist agrees. Bailey tells Sarah about Sullivan’s deal, which has something to do with partnerships and new locations. The two of them can’t figure out their schedules for a fancy celebratory lunch, so Bailey has it with Owen.

Claudia goes bowling with Cody and his annoying friends, though she’s not dressed for bowling and clearly wants to be anywhere else. She’s upset that this is Cody’s idea of a date. Charlie tells Kirsten that he feels bad about the things he said to Daphne, since he now knows why she acted the way she did. He thinks it would help her to know what happened to her when she was a kid. Kirsten is skeptical that the information will magically make Daphne want to come back.

Charlie then goes to Julia’s with Bailey so they can talk to her about what Griffin told them. Julia is, unsurprisingly, upset about the accusations and lectures her brothers about getting so involved in her personal life. She tells them that Ned’s always there for her, unlike her busy family and dead parents. Kirsten turns down money from Paul, wanting to get a job and support herself. You know, while she lives in her ex-boyfriend’s house. She tries to get some advice from Charlie, but he’s focused on his plan to go find Daphne.

Bailey’s too busy to meet with Sullivan anywhere than at Owen’s basketball practice. Yes, this is exactly the sort of person Sullivan will want to go into business with. He tells Bailey they need to meet with someone in person to close the deal. Oh, no, Bailey will have to leave Owen for 20 minutes! Cody tries to make up with Claudia by giving her a pick used by a guy who played with Coltrane. He tells her that no one has ever made him feel embarrassed about his friends before; he’s never met someone who made him care that much about how he comes across.

Griffin’s late to sign his divorce papers, and when he arrives, he blasts Julia her for lying to Charlie and Bailey about Ned. He refuses to sign the papers unless Julia promises that she and Ned are over. Julia tries to find away to get divorced without Griffin’s cooperation. Kirsten questions Charlie’s motives for looking for Daphne – does he just want Diana to have her mother back, or does he want to get back together? She warns that he could shake up her world by telling her about her mother. He needs to give things more thought before he jumps in.

Claudia tries to visit Cody at the record store, but he’s been fired for stealing. Yep, he stole her Valentine’s Day present. Amazingly, there’s a less professional meeting place than a child’s basketball practice: a strip club. The deal is on, but clearly Bailey shouldn’t be working with these people, especially since they look down on him for not drinking with them. Sullivan tells him to lighten up and appreciate what he has.

Griffin ambushes Ned at school and sarcastically congratulates him for fooling everyone about who he is. He orders Ned to stay away from Julia, which is about as successful as you’d expect. Ned boasts that they’re going to spend Valentine’s Day playing strip poker. Griffin responds by punching him in the face a bunch. Cops are called and Julia approves of them arresting Griffin. Charlie takes Diana and goes in search of Daphne, easily tracking her down. She refuses to talk to him, so he throws the information about her mother into her car.

Julia takes Ned to be treated for the wounds Griffin inflicted, apologizing for her ex’s behavior. She says he’s not the sort of person who would get violent. Ned’s like, “And I am?” Claudia gives Cody back the pick and chastises that he was supposed to prove that he was worth her going up against Griffin. Instead, Griffin’s awesome and Cody’s a loser. Sullivan calls Bailey while he’s at Owen’s basketball game, and Bailey ignores the call to focus on his brother.

Griffin calls Julia from jail, begging for her help. He promises that he didn’t visit Ned with the intention of hurting him. “Don’t forget what he did,” he says. Julia hangs up on him. Daphne shows up at Charlie’s hotel room to ask why he gave her the information on her mother. She feels like he’s trying to make a parallel between that and what she did to Diana. Charlie says it’s an explanation for the way she acts. He urges her to trust Diana because she’ll never leave, which means Daphne doesn’t have to protect herself by leaving first.

Daphne does leave, so Charlie decides to go home. Daphne tries to call Charlie later, finding herself unable to talk to him. Bailey talks to Sarah about how he feels torn between family and business. Sarah’s surprised that he’s not 100 percent sold on Sullivan’s deal. Bailey notes that he’s getting chances earlier than most people his age, since he had to grow up so quickly after his parents died. He’s afraid that if he passes things up, they won’t come back around for a while. But he also doesn’t want to miss any time with Owen.

Claudia gets Griffin out of jail and tells him how much the family needs him. Julia takes super-good care of Ned, feeling guilty that Griffin’s the reason he’s hurt. Owen hangs out with Bailey at the restaurant, revealing that he likes spending time there. Bailey tells him that when he’s an adult, he could run the place.

Daphne goes back to Charlie’s hotel room just before he heads home and asks if there was anything in her mother’s police report about a marionette. For years she’s had nightmares about one, and it turns out it’s part of a childhood memory. She doesn’t feel better knowing it was real. As a child, Daphne was told that her mother was gone because she was sick. Now she feels like she doesn’t know anything about her life.

Thoughts: If the writers are going to keep giving Claudia dumb storylines, they should just send her back to boarding school and write her out.

Cody’s been looking very Jesse Pinkman. That’s not good.

Hey, guys, I think Griffin’s redemption arc is complete. He used to be completely likable; now he’s the most sympathetic person on the show.

October 14, 2014

SVU #25, Busted!: I Would Like to Exchange a Hat

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:28 pm by Jenn

Nick is actually with the fashion police

Nick is actually with the fashion police

Summary: Still thinking that Nick is a spy, Jessica replaces him at a meeting he’s supposed to go to and pretends she’s a government agent. The person she meets gets spooked, then runs off when Jessica reveals that she doesn’t have any money for him. I’m not sure what would have happened if she’d been asked for information or given nuclear codes or something. She would be a terrible spy, but we already knew that.

On their way to breakfast the next morning, Nick spots someone who could blow his cover, and he has Jessica engage in a car chase to get away from them. Jessica’s like, “All right! Now we’re really getting into spy stuff!” Nick tells her the guys are from his former neighborhood, which was full of bad people. Later, Nick tells his boss that he was spotted by the brother of a drug dealer he put away. His boss is more concerned with the fact that Nick missed his meeting (the one Jessica went to) with a contact who could have been really helpful and might be difficult to get in touch with again. Nick decides to turn to Celine, who’s hinted that she has drug connections.

Celine is busy trying to figure out how she’s going to carry out her plan to get into the Thetas. She told them her grandmother would pay to renovate the sorority’s living room, which is a lie, so now Celine needs some money. She settles on the most ridiculous plan possible to accomplish her goals. First, she singles out a dorky freshman named Jordan who’s so flattered to have her attention that you just know he’ll do anything she wants. Thanks to Alison, Celine is vote into the Thetas, so as long as she can get the money she needs, she’s golden.

Nick shows off some more spy-type skills, like disarming a guy who tries to rob a movie theater while he and Jessica are there. Then he asks the manager to keep his name out of the police report, kind of glossing over the details with Jess. She really just continues to think he’s a spy and keeps spending time with him, because what’s more exciting than a boyfriend who risks his life every day?

Meanwhile, Celine puts the next step of her plan into motion: She tells Jordan that Nick is an environmentalist looking into animal testing at the pharmaceutical company where her (fictional) brother works. Celine’s brother wants to arrange a secret meeting with Nick to pass along some information on his company’s illegal actions. He wants to stay anonymous, so Celine has agreed to get someone else to deliver the information. That someone else is Jordan. Jordan is reluctant to get involved but can’t say no to Celine.

Jessica gets the information about Nick’s meeting with Jordan, so now there are three parties involved who all think something different is going on: Jess thinks state secrets will be exchanged, Nick thinks it’s a drug deal, and Jordan thinks he’s helping a whistleblower. Celine, the only one who knows what’s really happening, buys drugs from some guys who make it clear that she won’t get by on just her charm and pretty face if she doesn’t get them their money. Also, they know her name and where she lives, even though she tried to keep her identity a secret. Celine is a moron. She’s arranging a drug deal so she can pay for a renovation.

As the “deal” draws closer, Nick is pretty casual about the whole thing, thinking it’s a goof and Jordan isn’t serious about it. Jordan gets nervous and asks Celine for details, and she assures him there are no drugs involved. Jessica has to pick up a hat for Lila (don’t ask – she never shuts up about it) and is worried she’ll miss the meet-up.

Jessica arrives in time to meet Jordan, who gives her the package of what he thinks is information on animal testing, but which is actually cocaine. Jessica thinks he’s handing over information on Nick. She doesn’t have any money, and she’s worried that Jordan will hurt her if she doesn’t give him something in return, so she hands over the only thing she has with her: Lila’s hat. Jordan leaves, and Jessica, who has officially bought drugs, gets busted…by Nick.

In the other main plot, Tom is very happy to have family he never knew about, and is spending a lot of time with his long-lost father, George. George takes Tom and Elizabeth to dinner, and starts getting creepy and inappropriate with Liz, touching her more than her boyfriend’s father should. While Tom’s away from the table, George tells Elizabeth how pretty she is and how she should wear diamonds. Elizabeth is uncomfortable and unsure how to react. She decides not to tell Tom anything, instead confiding in Nina, who also isn’t sure what she should do.

George then takes Elizabeth and Tom to a concert on campus, and just as Liz is starting to think she overreacted to George’s previous behavior, he starts getting creepy again. They’re left alone together afterward, and George gives her a diamond necklace and declares his love for her. Elizabeth is able to get away from him before he can kiss her, but she still doesn’t tell Tom what’s going on.

Nina advises Elizabeth to talk to George, so Liz goes to see him at his place. BAD MOVE. Always meet creepsters in public, if you have to meet them at all. George pretends that he knows he was in the wrong and asks if they can make things okay. Then he tries to kiss Elizabeth again. She runs off to cry in the library, where she encounters Todd and tells him everything. He encourages her to talk to Tom. When she does, Tom accuses her of being jealous of his relationship with George and making up his creepiness (which…when has Elizabeth ever done anything like that)? Elizabeth smartly tells him they’re done.

Alex is still struggling with her sobriety, so she decides to volunteer at the campus drug/alcohol abuse hotline. At first she’s just doing things like stuffing envelopes, but then she’s allowed to shadow a guy who takes calls. He lets her take a call of her own and she impresses both of them with her ability to talk to people about drinking and drugs. Making things even better for Alex, she and Noah make up.

The only really interesting thing with this plotline is that Jordan calls the hotline to confide that he thinks Celine got him involved in a drug deal. Alex can’t report anything because it’s all confidential. Then when the “deal” goes down, she and Noah see Jordan running across campus with a hat box, which is a pretty great visual. It’s even funnier when you realize that Celine thinks she’s going to get a stack of money but is really just getting Lila’s hat.

Thoughts: They mention Nina’s haircut again. Seriously, why is that so important?

Tom doesn’t seem upset that his parents lied to him his whole life about who his biological father was.

“On the one hand, it was so like Elizabeth to one-up her without even trying.” And it’s so like Jessica to think that Elizabeth is every trying to one-up her.

It’s funny that Elizabeth thinks Nick is weird because he’s always on his phone when nowadays you’re weird if you don’t do that.

October 12, 2014

BH90210 8.12, Friends in Deed: Bad Touches and Other Inappropriate Behavior

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 2:37 pm by Jenn

"You're not poor? But...my Poor Radar went off! It's never wrong!"

“You’re not poor? But…my Poor Radar went off! It’s never wrong!”

Summary: Kelly reads a magazine article by a woman named Emma Bennett and suggests that Brandon have her write something for the Beverly Beat. She will regret this later. Donna cooks Noah breakfast, but their alone time is interrupted by Felice. Donna confronts her mother for not mentioning that they’re auctioning off the family’s boat. This will leave Noah homeless. Felice is stunned to hear that Donna and David have broken up and that Donna’s spending time with Noah the “wharf rat.” Donna’s shocked that Felice is being superficial, because Donna’s never met her mother.

Kelly’s working at the Wyatt Clinic now with Dr. Monahan, hero to the downtrodden. Valerie visits Noah on the boat to ask him what he plans to do with the After Dark. She’d like to run it again. Noah taunts that he might take that job, but Val doesn’t think he’d like working inside. He won’t budge. David goes to the Beverly Beat to look at the classifieds, and Steve advises him to make nice with Noah so he can get his job back. David would rather never think about Noah again. Brandon doesn’t know that Noah’s dating Donna, and David’s mad that Brandon wants to take Noah’s side.

Carly and Steve are supposed to go on a date, but Zach’s sick. Noah finds David moping at the Peach Pit and asks him to run the After Dark. David thinks Donna’s behind the offer and turns it down. Kelly’s been talking up Monahan, which makes Brandon a little jealous, but she tells him Monahan is married. Brandon has taken her suggestion to meet with Emma about writing for the Beverly Beat. David starts a job at a store called Khaki Nation, and why would anyone shop in a place with that name?

Steve takes Carly to the Walshes’ house for a little alone time. Valerie and an exterminator interrupt. Steve’s having a bad week. Brandon offers Emma a job, but she’d rather stick to freelancing. She agrees to write an article to see how things go. Also, she couldn’t be coming on to Brandon more if she actually said, “I want to make out with you right now.” The After Dark is doing well under new management, so Val can’t bug him about that. Instead, she warns him that karma will get him for what he’s done to David.

Kelly has a stiff shoulder, so Monahan offers to examine it. And by “examine it,” he means massage it while sliding off her sweater and camisole strap. Kelly’s creeped out, as she should be. At the beach apartment, Donna crabs at David, telling him he’s the one responsible for losing the club and not letting Noah make things up to him. Noah tells Valerie that she was right about him not being able to run the club, and he’d like her to come back to work. She negotiates a deal and accepts.

Kelly tells Brandon about Monahan’s unprofessional behavior, though Brandon doesn’t see it that way. He thinks she’d be more sure if Monahan really crossed a line. She was probably just uncomfortable because she was being examined by someone she knows. After all, she’s talked him up so much that there’s no way he can be a bad guy. Kelly accuses Brandon of accusing her of making things up. Brandon says that if she were really uncomfortable, she would have said something.

David’s horrible at his job and gets blasted for being unprofessional. He’s already past his limit and quits. Monahan asks Kelly to sit in on an exam so he can’t be accused of sexual harassment or impropriety. Hi, irony! How are you? Speaking of unprofessional behavior, here’s Emma. Brandon’s clearer on her behavior being inappropriate than he was about Monahan’s. Steve and Carly try again for an afternoon delight, but her mom has already beaten them to it with a date of her own. Also, she’ll be going to Arizona for a few months, so there goes Carly’s babysitter.

David isn’t concerned about being unemployed and beats Donna to the punch in telling him it’s his own fault. He snarks at her for being down because her life is going so well right now. She tells him that she’s starting to think she made a mistake by having sex with him. Wow, way to kick him when he’s down. David reminds Donna that he was fine waiting, so, as she would say, she has no one to blame but herself. Donna wants them to be friends, but David isn’t there yet. (He’ll still live with her, though.)

Noah’s interested in the Valerie who puts a lot into her work, since so far he’s only seen the shrew version of Val. Later, Val runs into Donna at the Peach Pit and reveals that she’s working with Noah. Donna goes straight next door to yell at her boyfriend for his bad decisions. He promises that there’s nothing personal going on, and besides, Donna has no right to say anything since she still lives with her ex-boyfriend. Donna doesn’t want to have to deal with Val hovering around her and Noah, though Noah thinks she’s backing away because Felice disapproves of him.

Brandon declines to tell Kelly that Emma hit on him. Kelly says she thinks she overreacted to Monahan, who’s always so careful with his female patients. Steve assures Carly that he’ll help her find another babysitter for Zach, and possibly not just because if they don’t find one, that’s it for Steve’s love life. Carly realizes that they’re finally alone in the house without even trying. Emma gives Brandon her article and hits on him some more.

David and Valerie hang out, talking about his new job at a carwash, and run into Donna. Her anger at seeing them together makes Valerie want to spend more time with David to make Donna and Noah jealous. David isn’t sure the plan will work, but he’s willing to go along with it. At the clinic, Monahan tells Kelly that she looks beautiful today, which doesn’t fill her with joy the way he probably hoped it would.

Donna meets Felice for the boat auction, and Felice apologizes for butting into Donna’s life. She should really apologize for the horrible things she said about Noah, but this is probably the best we can hope for. Just before the bidding ends, Noah arrives and offers $325,000 for the boat. Felice thinks he’s goofing off, since he’s a pathetic little street urchin. He gets the boat, and when Felice sees his check, she realizes who his family is. Donna’s proud of herself for keeping quiet, knowing Felice would treat Noah differently if she knew he had money.

Noah and Donna make up, and now they have their own boat to make out on whenever they want. Brandon notices that Kelly’s a little down, but she insists that everything’s fine. Emma calls, because it’s been five minutes since she flirted with Brandon, and she’s about to stop breathing. He turns down her offer to come over and check out her lingerie, but she’s sure he’ll eventually change his mind. When Kelly asks who called, Brandon tells her it was a wrong number.

Thoughts: “Wharf rat”? Go away, Felice.

Ugh, Brandon. Way to listen to your girlfriend, you jerk. Your attitude is one of the reasons women don’t report harassment or assaults.

I don’t think I could hate Emma more if I tried. Part of me does want to try, though.

Donna should be happy that Valerie’s spending time with David. It means she’s not spending time with Noah.

October 11, 2014

Party of Five 5.14, Stand by Me: Please Stop Making Bad Decisions, Everyone

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 3:30 pm by Jenn

"You two look like nice kids. You would certainly never let a criminal into the building. Well, one of you wouldn't"

“You two look like nice kids. You would certainly never let a criminal into the building. Well, one of you wouldn’t”

Summary: Julia and Ned go skinny-dipping in Stanford’s pool, because apparently she said she wanted to take more risks. She tells him they can’t hang out the next night because she’s going to Justin’s parents’ anniversary party. Of course, Ned doesn’t like that she’ll be hanging out with another ex. She promises that he has no reason to worry, especially since Justin has a girlfriend, but Ned invites himself along anyway.

Charlie and Kirsten take Diana to the park, in an inevitable step toward the three of them becoming their own little family. Kirsten says that finding out Paul doesn’t want to adopt makes her feel like she’s learning she can’t have kids all over again. Charlie encourages her to work things out with her husband.

Sarah tells Bailey that she promised to help Albert find a job. She’s officially gone farther than Joey Potter ever did. Bailey’s understandably upset – she’s helping the man who robbed her at knifepoint. A neighbor, Mr. Belmont, asks after Owen, thinking he was Bailey and Sarah’s son. Sarah’s like, “You know who does have a son? Albert.” Sarah, get it together.

She tells Bailey that her victim support group encouraged her to take control, so she’s letting Albert come over to search for a job. Bailey decides to stay home to be there, too, but Sarah doesn’t want him around, making Albert feel like criminal. Bailey’s like, “Uh, that’s what he is.” Sarah asks him to back off so she can face her fears. He gets her to agree to at least meet Albert somewhere public.

Griffin asks Justin to visit him at work so they can discuss Julia’s relationship with Ned. Griffin announces that Ned’s abusive, and Justin wonders why he’s not currently a) with Julia or b) beating the crap out of Ned. Griffin explains that he has to keep his distance. Justin figures out that Griffin wants him to rescue Julia instead. He’s not interested in getting involved, but Griffin points out that it must be really bad if he was willing to turn to Justin.

Claudia goes to Cody’s record store, because for some reason, this plot is still a thing. They’re all, “Why does Griffin want us to stay away from each other? It’s not like we like each other. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” They decide that they’re allowed to do whatever they want. Kirsten suggests a vacation so she and Paul can work on their relationship, but he doesn’t think it can be salvaged. She agrees that they’re over.

Julia and Justin reunite at the anniversary party, and he reveals that his girlfriend cheated on him with her ethics professor. (That’s called irony, folks.) Ned warns Justin to keep his hands to himself. Mrs. Thompson asks Justin and Julia to dance with each other, “for old time’s sake,” so she’s probably on some list of Ned’s now. Ned cuts in before Justin can ask Julia anything about Griffin’s suspicions.

Albert doesn’t get Sarah’s message changing their meeting place, and he winds up at her and Bailey’s apartment after all. Now she’s not so eager to help the criminal. She helps him with some job applications, cautioning him not to put his arrest on one, since it only asks if he was ever convicted of a crime. It probably won’t matter anyway, since he has little education and no job experience.

Kirsten goes back to Charlie for another conversation about her marriage. He offers to let her stay at the house while she figures out what she’s going to do next. Justin and Julia hang out (sorry, Ned), and this time he asks her about how things are going in her relationship. He finds Ned “intense” and “possessive.” Julia doesn’t get the hint. She runs into Ned’s roommate and tells Justin she has to leave before the roommate tells Ned he saw her with another guy.

Griffin announces to the band that he’s booked them a gig. They finally have a lead singer: Cody’s friend Melanie. Cue jealousy from Claudia. Sarah admits to Bailey that Albert came to the apartment and asks him to be proud of her for helping him, or at least happy that she’s facing her fears and feels safe. Bailey’s like, “I’m still a little stuck on the fact that a robber was in our apartment, but okay.”

Ned yells at Julia for meeting with Justin, couching it in disliking that she’s discussing their relationship with other people. There’s some classic abuser language, and then he slaps her. “It’s my fault,” she says, apologizing for doing things with Justin that Ned didn’t like. The whole thing is disturbing.

Charlie goes with Kirsten to meet with the same lawyer he talked to when he thought Daphne might keep Diana from him. Kirsten blames herself for the marriage falling apart, and the lawyer wonders if Charlie had any bearing on things. The lawyer then sends Kirsten out of the room and asks Charlie if Daphne’s departure had anything to do with the information she gave him. Charlie says he never looked at it.

Justin calls Julia to try to get her to meet him, but she tells him she’s sick. Ned’s in her room the whole time. Kirsten takes the room in the Salingers’ attic and they laugh over memories of the early days of them knowing each other. Justin goes to Julia’s dorm but finds only Ned there. Justin fails to goad him into admitting that Julia makes him mad sometimes. They discuss what Griffin’s said about Ned, but Justin decides not to pursue it.

Sarah and Bailey are woken up by a gunshot and call the police. Griffin’s band does their gig. Melanie has a really annoying voice and Claudia tries to upstage her. A detective tells Bailey and Sarah that some apartments were robbed, and Mr. Belmont was shot when he walked in on the burglar. Of course, that burglar was Albert. Sarah blames herself for bringing him over, but that’s not the worst part: Bailey’s gun is missing.

Sarah’s mad that Bailey got a gun after she told him not to, but Bailey points out that that’s not really the issue here. Sarah’s like, “Albert couldn’t have shot anyone without a gun.” Bailey’s like, “Albert couldn’t have gotten the gun if you hadn’t let him in.” They’re at an impasse over who’s really to blame for what happened. Hey, how about we blame Albert?

Claudia and Cody make awkward small talk, and she learns that he and Melanie aren’t just friends – they’re dating. Claudia realizes that that’s the real reason Griffin wanted her to avoid Cody. She babbles until Cody kisses her, so I guess he and Melanie are over? I’m confused. Whatever, I don’t care enough.

After spending the night thinking about it, Charlie digs up the information on Daphne. He tells Kirsten that it’s full of things Daphne might not even know about her own life. If she’d known them, things might be different. He’s decided that he needs to find her. Bailey and Sarah visit Mr. Belmont, then discuss security measures in their apartment. Bailey offers to move, but Sarah wants to learn to feel safe no matter where she is. She assures him that he makes her feel safe, too.

Julia returns to her dorm and learns that Justin came by. Ned claims he’s not mad, but it’s probably only because Justin’s going back to school and won’t be around anymore. He sings “Stand by Me” so the episode can get a title, and they dance. Knowing what we know about him, it’s creepier than it’s meant to be.

Thoughts: The Kirsten/Paul stuff was especially interminable because I know how things end up for her. So thank goodness that’s over.

Didn’t Justin’s parents have another kid? Why is she never mentioned? She must be hanging out with Owen somewhere.

I guess we should be grateful that Sarah didn’t ask Bailey to give Albert a job at the restaurant. That would have been a disastrous conversation.

Melanie’s former band was the Julienne Fries. Ugh, no. It should be Julienne and the Fries.

’90s music alert: Griffin’s band plays Counting Crows’ “Rain King.”

October 7, 2014

SVT #18, Center of Attention: The C Word

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 6:16 pm by Jenn

I just don't think Steven would put up with this

I just don’t think Steven would put up with this

Summary: Alice has been sick for a few days, and though she keeps insisting it’s not that serious, the twins are worried. Jessica tries to put it out of her mind so she can focus on auditions for the middle school’s production of Carnival. She’s desperate to play the lead, Lily, and needs to work on her singing so she can beat Dana Larson for the part. Kerry Glenn briefly makes Jessica panic by telling her that when her mother got sick with the same symptoms Alice has, she turned out to be pregnant. I’m surprised Jess doesn’t want a little brother or sister to boss around and dress up like a doll. But anyway, Alice isn’t pregnant, just sick.

In fact, Alice is so sick that she stays home instead of accompanying Ned on a business trip. She even has blood tests done. When she gets a call from her doctor, Jessica listens in and hears that there’s something abnormal in the results. Jessica quickly tells Elizabeth and Steven, and they all ask their mother what’s going on. Alice admits that she needs to have a lump on her neck biopsied – it might just be a swollen lymph node, but it could be something else.

Jessica takes charge of the family, assigning chores to her brother and sister, and appointing herself Alice’s caregiver. I’m not surprised that Elizabeth just goes along to avoid an argument, but I am surprised that Steven doesn’t protest. Jessica gets all the credit for being such a big help. But it might not matter anyway: Alice’s test results are inconclusive, and she could have anything from a virus to the dreaded C word.

Of course, Jessica immediately jumps to the worst-case scenario and starts panicking that her mother’s going to die of cancer. She can’t focus on anything else, even her potential starring role in Carnival. This means that when Caroline Pearce calls to talk to Elizabeth, Jessica makes the rookie mistake of mentioning that Alice is desperately sick. To no one’s surprise, the news spreads around school, and suddenly everyone is feeling sorry for the Wakefield twins, with their possibly dying mother.

Elizabeth isn’t happy about this turn of events, but Jessica loves that everyone’s so interested in her. Yes, it only took a potentially fatal illness for Jess to gain the popularity she so desperately craves. What does that tell you about our resident evil twin? Jessica considers giving up being in Carnival, in case it takes her away from the last precious moments her mother has on Earth, but Alice loves the musical and encourages Jessica to try out. Jess figures that playing the lead could give her mother her last earthly happiness. Then she steals money from the family’s emergency stash so she can order a pizza.

Jessica “bravely” forges ahead with her audition plans, telling the Unicorns that she will proudly martyr herself to star in a musical. The words “my mother’s dying wish is to see me on stage” are implied. After a day of crying and worrying about Alice’s test results, the twins get the news that she just has a virus. Too bad – dying would have been the most interesting thing Alice could do in this series.

Jess heads to the auditions, where Dana tells her that she’s going to drop out so Jessica can be the star. I guess Dana was a shoo-in and no one else was going to audition for the lead. The role is automatically Jessica’s, and she decides not to say anything about Alice’s health, so people will continue to give her things she hasn’t earned. Jessica would rather star in a musical than celebrate her mother’s good health with her friends. I don’t think that’s news.

Ned comes home from his trip, and the family spends the weekend together, swimming in their pool. Dana, Brooke, and the barely mentioned Sandra Ferris drop by the house to spend time with Jessica, who tries to shoo them away so they don’t find out that Alice is not only dying but is actually goofing off with the rest of the family. Just as Jessica’s conscience is about to get the better of her, Elizabeth shows up and pretty much blows her story. Jess pretends she was just about to give her friends the good news that Alice will be okay. She also decides to give up the role of Lily to Dana.

Elizabeth and Steven punish Jessica for her behavior by making her do their chores. Jessica also gets in trouble for stealing money to buy pizza (though she tells Ned she was going to buy Alice flowers – yes, she covers for a lie with another lie). Dana gets the role of Lily, but Jessica gets another role in the musical, plus the sweater she’s been wanting the whole book. Consequences for bad actions? Jessica doesn’t know what you mean by that.

Thoughts: Yeah, you probably shouldn’t tell people (especially kids) you might have cancer when you don’t know for sure. Nothing good can come of that.

“Winston was a tall, quiet boy.” I believe that’s the first and last time Winston’s ever been described as quiet.

So there’s no possibility that someone other than Jessica or Dana could get the lead? Like, say, an eighth-grader? Does Dana still have to audition? If I were one of the other girls who wanted to be in the show, I’d be ticked.

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