January 25, 2015
Summary: Donna’s on the reunion committee for West Beverly’s upcoming five-year reunion. Noah doesn’t want to go, but he looks through a pamphlet they’ve published with info on what the alums are doing now. Donna’s portion is totally inappropriate, about how she was a virgin for so long. She tries to keep Noah from reading any more. David has read the pamphlet as well, and learned that Valerie filled out his portion, which says he’s a rock star. He’s not happy that his classmates will get the wrong idea about him.
Kelly and Brandon go to the airport to pick up Andrea, who’s fighting with Jesse on the phone. He’s just made partner, but Andrea isn’t happy because she doesn’t want to be a housewife forever. Donna goes to a meeting with the reunion committee and lets everyone know she’s not a virgin anymore. Why is this a conversation topic? She tells everyone she’s trying to get David to perform at the reunion. The group decides that they want Andrea to give a speech. Once the meeting’s over, they look through an article about eligible bachelors in the area. Noah has been given the #1 spot.
Steve’s annoyed that the alumni pamphlet says he’ll show up to the reunion with a bimbo. He insists that he’s deep. Brandon brings Andrea by the office so they can brag about how awesome things are there. She teases Steve about bringing a bimbo to the reunion, so Janet speaks up that she’s his date. Andrea’s all, “Ooh, office romance!” Janet’s all, “Excuse me while I go throw up.” Donna confronts Noah over the article and how he failed to mention that he’s dating someone. He says he did mention her, then tries to call the writer. Donna flips because the writer is a woman.
Valerie urges David to go to the reunion despite the false impression she’s given his classmates. He ignores her and plays some of the jingles he’s written recently. Val reports that the reunion committee wants David to play, so she accepted the offer for him. Kelly, Brandon, and Andrea hang out at the beach apartment, talking about their classmates. Andrea resists making a speech at the reunion, starting to cry when her friends pressure her about it. She admits that things aren’t as good as she led on: She and Jesse are getting divorced.
Noah tracks down Donna at the Peach Pit to tell her again that he told the writer he was dating someone. He claims that he didn’t know he was being considered an eligible bachelor. Donna asks him to go to the reunion with her, but he thinks she’s asking him for the wrong reasons. Brandon and Andrea discuss her marital problems, which haven’t gotten better despite counseling and a trial separation. Andrea reveals that she even dropped out of medical school to work on keeping her family together. She tells Brandon to stop second-guessing her decisions.
Steve tries to convince a classmate that he’s sophisticated and reads books with words now. Janet’s excited about going to the reunion with him, and Steve has to pretend they’re going on a real date. Valerie bugs David about the reunion, which he still doesn’t want to go to. She promises that no one will know that he’s writing jingles. Eventually she wears him down, but David wants her to repay the favor at a later time.
Brandon and Steve get ready for the reunion, talking about how excited Janet is. Noah isn’t coming with Donna, which Valerie thinks is because of the article. Kelly teases Brandon for getting on Andrea’s bad side. Steve picks up Janet, nicely giving her a bouquet of carnations because he couldn’t find a corsage. Everyone meets up at West Beverly, and Brandon complains that Andrea keeps pretending that her family is perfect. Kelly tells him to stop thinking that this is easy for her.
Kelly catches up with a friend named April, who’s now married to another classmate of theirs, Ross. Kelly isn’t happy to see him. Valerie tries to endear herself to all the West Beverly people, pretending she works in disaster relief. She also gets under Donna’s skin about Noah. Steve and Janet take a picture together, like this is the prom, then chat with Rhonda, a hot classmate Steve doesn’t remember taking classes with. Valerie tells people that she met David in Tokyo, where he was volunteering with a charity after giving a concert. He plays along.
Steve ditches Janet to talk to Rhonda, who invites him to help her with a prank. Steve and Janet dance, but he can’t keep his eyes off of Rhonda. Kelly can’t keep her eyes off of Ross, but for different reasons. Andrea dissects Valerie’s claims about David, so apparently she’s naïve enough to think they might be true. Rhonda invites Steve to join her in the boys’ locker room for a shower. Janet calls him out for not treating her like the real date he promised she would be.
Brandon tells Andrea that everyone at the reunion is lying, including her and David. She tells him the truth isn’t that simple, even to tell to her friends. She wishes he would shut up and be supportive. She points out that he cheated on Kelly but didn’t put it in the pamphlet, so she doesn’t have to be completely honest either. In the bathroom, Donna hears some classmates talking about Noah, and how much one of them wants to get with him.
Valerie tells Kelly that she’s been pretending to be her all night. Heh. They spot some graffiti that says “Kelly is a slut.” Kelly reveals that it stems from when she lost her virginity to Ross when she was a freshman and he was a senior. After that, she got a bad reputation. (Except…didn’t Steve start that?) Kelly still hates Ross, but tonight he tried to act like nothing happened. Donna follows her classmates to the After Dark, where Noah rejects their advances. Donna spies on them, which Noah doesn’t like.
David performs his only hit while Steve goes to meet Rhonda in the locker room. She’s left him a lipstick note telling him to get naked and get in the shower. Ross introduces himself to Valerie, who says her desire for doing charity work comes from her first sexual experience. She calls him out for the way he acts and how much he hurt Kelly. Now Kelly respects Valerie, but I’m sure that won’t last. Steve’s naked and waiting for Rhonda, who shows up fully clothed. She tells him she’s Gomer, a geek he used to make fun of in high school. She brought him here to get revenge. She leaves with all his clothes.
As Andrea gets ready to make her speech, Brandon offers to go public if she does. As he tells the attendees that he always admired Andrea and wanted to be like her, Kelly and Valerie smash the tile “Kelly is a slut” was written on. Brandon tells everyone that they all want to be better than they are. The best thing they can do is tell the truth and stand by their friends. David decides to come clean about his career by playing a condom jingle. All the fighting couples make up.
Some guy named Bernie asks Andrea to dance, telling her he just got divorced. I hope you like your new stepdad, Hannah! Steve winds up on stage in front of everyone, wearing just a towel. He’s embarrassed at first, but once he realizes how much people are enjoying the sight, he takes off the towel. In the middle of the night, Steve goes to Janet’s house and gives her a corsage. He had to go downtown to get it, and thinks that shows how much he regrets hurting her. He tells her he’d like to take her on a real date. She says no.
Thoughts: Five-year reunions are pointless. Everyone’s either still in school or working crappy entry-level jobs.
Steve: “What kind of portraiture is that?” Janet: “Spell portraiture.” I love Janet.
“Hi, I’m Valerie Malone. I work with the poor.” Things you never thought you’d hear…
I would think David’s classmates would have heard if he’d become super-famous.
She doesn’t get a character name, but one of the alums is played by Constance Zimmer.
I’m pretty sure Kelly’s dress at the reunion is really a slip. And earlier, Donna wears a shirt that looks like a pajama top. Get it together, ladies.
’90s music alert: the Spin Doctor’s “Two Princes.”
January 24, 2015
Party of Five 6.4, Wrestling Demons: Risks! Consequences! Other Things About Taking Chances and Changing!
Summary: Victor has switched from being Diana’s nanny to being Owen’s, and is trying to talk to Bailey about his parenting philosophy. Since Halloween is approaching, he thinks he and Owen should decorate the house as a haunted house. Bailey resists. Owen doesn’t think Victor will last that long anyway, since his nannies never do. (Maybe not, Owen, but sometimes they marry your brother.)
Evan does some editing to Julia’s writing, trying to work while she yaps in his ear. She’d like to have a more personal relationship with the person who’s going to be tearing apart all her hard work. She asks for a joke, but Evan doesn’t seem to have a sense of humor. Bailey tries to get in touch with Sarah, but she’s busy getting her doomed spinoff off the ground.
Bailey runs into Will, who reveals that he’s been in town for a month. He decided to take a year off of school, and has gotten an internship with a pro wrestling organization. Bailey doesn’t get why Will didn’t inform him of these major life changes. He invites himself along while Will picks up someone at the airport.
Kirsten visits Charlie at work and they compare notes on research they’ve done about adoption (him) and fertility treatments (her). Charlie’s a bit overwhelmed by all the work that would go into having their own child. Cameron is still writing trash about his friends on the Internet, and Claudia’s still the only one who knows he’s the wannabe Gossip Girl. Alexa doesn’t like the idea of changing her habits to make the writer stop bugging her.
Victor meets Griffin, who’s still renting the “guest cottage” for his business. Owen gets his sisters to override Bailey’s veto of the haunted house, so Victor tells him they can do it as long as they’re willing to face the consequences. Julia’s friend Isabel tells her that people are spreading rumors that she got her book deal by sleeping with Evan. Julia finds the idea ridiculous; she and Evan have no interest in each other. Isabel isn’t so sure that Julia doesn’t have a little crush.
Bailey and Will go to the airport to pick up a wrestler named Mr. Mayhem. The guy is unfriendly and wants to be taken to Walnut Creek rather than San Francisco, so he can see his wife. Bailey panics because he’s supposed to go to work. He suggests that Mr. Mayhem call his wife and have her meet them in San Francisco. Mr. Mayhem says no, since he wants to surprise his wife, then tosses Bailey’s phone out the window.
In Walnut Creek, Mr. Mayhem lurks around the back of a house while Will explains to Bailey that he and his wife are having issues. She’s also a wrestler, and it seems Mr. Mayhem cheated on her with a third wrestler.) Bailey continues panicking about getting off of his schedule. Will tells him to stop being so uptight. Mr. Mayhem announces that he’s going to hoist Bailey up to a balcony to let him in the house, since his wife changed the locks.
Julia goes to see Evan, who has learned to tell jokes. She notices his body language and how he puts a hand on her arm. Evan offers her tickets to a fundraiser ball, which makes Julia uncomfortable until he explains that he’s not going. Cameron tries to talk to Claudia about his website, complaining that Alexa is obsessed with how she looks. Claudia says that she deserves better than being trashed by Gossip Guy. He needs to be himself and be honest with his girlfriend.
Victor uses connections in the theater community to get creepy decorations for the house. Griffin helps out, surprised to hear that Bailey okayed the haunted house. Victor pointedly tells him that Owen said it was okay. While waiting to see a fertility specialist, Kirsten and Charlie overhear two women talk about how the treatments have affected their relationships and finances. Kirsten tries not to freak out.
Mr. Mayhem nervously waits for his wife, Isis, who erupts when she finds him in her house. She reminds him that she mentioned wanting space when they went to their last counseling session. She thinks he recruiting Bailey and Will from the support group she sent him to. Isis kicks Mr. Mayhem out of the house, then tells Bailey and Will that they’re not allowed to leave until Mr. Mayhem goes away. Bailey stands up to her, they wrestle, and Bailey wins.
Julia (dressed as Tippi Hedren from The Birds) goes to the fundraiser with Isabel, surprised to see that Evan’s there after all. He tells her his date backed out of their dinner – also, it wasn’t really a date, it was his cousin. He’s decided to try having fun for once, and he’ll start by dancing with Isabel. But Julia’s not jealous! No, definitely not jealous!
Charlie blasts Kirsten for pushing him to go to the meeting with the doctor without telling him all the possible consequences of fertility treatments. He notes that she’ll probably have to go off her antidepressants and take hormones that will affect her mood. That’s not the small risk she said the treatments would require. Kirsten promises that she’s okay with the risks. Charlie asks why she wasn’t honest with him from the beginning.
Finally out of the house, Bailey tells Will that he’d rather be boring than get involved in marital disputes between crazy people. At the fundraiser, Julia watches Evan and Isabel dance, totally! Not! Jealous! She asks Isabel to keep some distance, since it’s weird for her to see a friend dance with someone she works with. Isabel says she’d love to date a guy like Evan…unless, of course, Julia has dibs? She urges Julia to stop another woman from getting too close to Evan.
Bailey comes home to the haunted house/loud party he wasn’t aware was going on. Instead of saying anything, he checks his messages – and no, Sarah hasn’t called. Victor takes the blame for the party, lying that Owen said that Bailey might object. Owen keeps quiet, and Bailey doesn’t lecture him about consequences, so Victor’s plan backfired. He tells Bailey that Sarah did leave him a message.
Alexa shows up at the party to tell Claudia that Cameron broke up with her, saying he wants to be himself for once. She was surprised by how different he seemed. Charlie and Kirsten, who are also at the party, talk about having their own child, as opposed to adopting. She’s being trying to ignore the reality that she has an illness that may prevent her from doing things others can do. She recognizes that in some ways, her depression was harder on Charlie than on her.
Julia runs into Evan and hurts her hand, so Evan rushes her to the hospital. Bailey listens to Sarah’s message, which says that she’s sorry they keep missing each other. Julia calls the house to tell Charlie she’s at the hospital and needs her insurance info. Bailey stares at his ties, then tells Victor to keep the party going so there can be a little less control in the house for once. He’d attend, but all he has for a costume is one of his dozens of ties he can’t believe he has at the age of 21.
Cameron arrives at the party and gets an earful from Claudia for breaking up with Alexa instead of being honest with her. Instead of explaining himself, he kisses her. Charlie checks on Julia at the hospital (she has a couple of sprained fingers), then leaves her with Evan, who admits that he was worried about her. Julia pulls a Cameron and kisses him. Evan’s not completely comfortable with this but assures her that he’ll chalk it up to Halloween, when no one’s sure what’s real.
Victor has managed to get Bailey to dress up like a woman. Thank you, Victor. Will stops by the house, and Bailey tells him that his biggest talent is fighting off chaos. Meanwhile, everyone around him has fun. He’s realized that he’s devoted his life to the wrong thing. Now he’s scared because he feels like he’s losing people. Will assures him that their friendship will stay strong.
At home, Charlie tells Kirsten that seeing Julia tonight made him remember how much he likes having siblings. He’d like Diana to have some, too, so if Kirsten’s willing to take the risks, he’s on board for fertility treatments.
Thoughts: They had clearly run out of things for Griffin to do by season 6. He serves zero purpose in this episode.
Tyler Mane (Mr. Mayhem) is 6’8″. If I’d been drinking something when I read that, I would have done a spit-take.
How is childless Victor the best parent on this show? And can we fix him up with Ross, wherever he is?
Whoever put together the recording of this episode left in some very ’90s ads:
- Josie Bissett selling beauty products
- Payless Shoes, not only with the shoes in ’90s styles but with the models in ’90s clothes
- The Bachelor (the movie with Renee Zellweger and Chris O’Donnell, not the reality show), scored with the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Black Balloon”
- A local news story about something related to The Blair Witch Project
- Jennifer Love Hewitt’s spinoff, Time of Your Life, featuring Jennifer Garner before she was Sydney Bristow
January 20, 2015
Summary: Jessica, Elizabeth, Nina, and Winston are back to the Sweet Valley Shore for another summer. The girls are going to be lifeguards again, and Winston is going to stay with old pal Wendy and look for a dignity-sapping food-service job. The twins have lost touch with their previous summer loves, Ryan and Ben, and aren’t sure what their relationships will be like this time around. Nina is still dating Bryan, but is currently mad at all men who have ever existed because she thinks Bryan’s cheating on her.
Elizabeth quickly reunites with Ryan, but he’s acting a little distant. This doesn’t keep her from making out with him all the time, though. Why let something like talking get in the way of kissing? They go to dinner at Ryan’s AA sponsor’s house, and Liz learns that said sponsor, Patti, has fallen off the wagon in a big way. She’s upset that Ryan didn’t tell her. Ryan explains that he thought Patti would behave herself at dinner. He’s also wondering if she’s not right that alcoholics can have a few drinks in moderation without really harming their sobriety.
Ryan’s cranky a lot, yelling at Elizabeth for not doing her job correctly and being mean to beachgoers. When the anniversary of Ryan’s sobriety comes around, Elizabeth wants to go to dinner to celebrate. There’s this big deal made about how Elizabeth spends too long getting her hair done, and then the Jeep breaks down, and she can’t call the restaurant because she can’t get to a working phone, and she’s freaking out the whole time because she thinks Ryan will believe she doesn’t care about him. Apparently this is true, because Ryan thinks he’s been stood up, and he consoles himself with whiskey.
Ben is, indeed, back for another summer at the shore, and Jessica thinks they’ll go right back to their summer fling. She’s wrong, as she usually is. Ben is dating a girl named Priya, who is a horrible, snobby brat even Lila would call over-the-top. Priya thinks Jessica is dumb (which…okay, point Priya) and mocks her for not having read Dostoyevsky. Jessica goes out and gets Crime and Punishment, but she struggles to get through it. Priya calls her out for not remembering all the details, but Jessica gets her back later for not remembering all the details of Dangerous Liaisons.
Back on the beach, Jessica spots some people in trouble and starts to go save them. Priya trips her and rushes out to make the save in her place. So mature, that Priya. Jessica accuses her, but Ryan thinks she just screwed up and is embarrassed. The whole thing is dumb, and I hope Ben is worth all this madness.
Man-hating Nina goes for a float in an inner tube and ends up on a private beach. She seems to have heat stroke, and a guy named Stu tends to her. He’s a hippie surfer, with all the stereotypes that come with that – you know, New Agey, save-the-dolphins, surfer lingo stuff. He’s very sweet to Nina, calling her “mermaid” and making sure she’s okay. Nina is a jerk to him, because that’s who she is in this book.
Stu shows up at the beach while Nina’s on duty, and she tries to ignore him because she thinks he’ll just ditch her for another girl. But when another girl flirts with him, he tells her he already has someone in mind to be with. Nina soon realizes that not all guys are jerks, and that Stu is her ideal man. She goes to see him on his private beach, which is actually an island, because he made a ton of money designing some super-popular surfboard. She realizes that her bike tires are flat, and Stu tells her they’ll fix them in the morning. Nina has no instincts and doesn’t think there’s anything fishy about this.
Winston is hired at an ice cream place that may or may not be a front for the mob. He has a hard time dealing with all the little kids around, which is weird, because I always thought Winston was good with kids. At one point he asks himself WWJD, but the J is for Jessica. I would think Jessica would take a job that didn’t involve annoying children, but that’s just me.
After a bunch of kids complain about their ice cream, Winston takes off in his truck, then gets pulled over for driving recklessly. The police officer discovers that he doesn’t have a commercial license, which he told his boss he had, so he shouldn’t be driving an ice cream truck in the first place. Winston ends up getting arrested, and calls Wendy to bail him out. She reveals that things aren’t working out with Pedro, who’s now her husband, and she’s filing for divorce. What a happy summer everyone’s having!
Thoughts: I hate when they do these mini-series and ignore the regular series. Todd and Nick don’t seem to exist in this universe.
Nina is unbelievably annoying in this book. I told her to shut up many times while I was reading.
“My perfect guy wouldn’t dream of being an activist.” Check. Only selfish jerks for Nina.
Priya, re: Dostoyevsky: “Surely you’ve heard of his classics – Notes from the Underground, The Devils?” Those are the two you’re going with? Not Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov? No one’s heard of The Devils. You shut up, too, Priya.
Priya again: “I’ve read Les Liaisons Dangereuses in the original French, so don’t you dare tell me I’m wrong.” Jessica, channeling Cher Horowitz: “Well, I’ve seen Dangerous Liaisons starring the original Keanu Reeves.” Heh. Point Jessica.
January 18, 2015
Summary: Brandon’s nervous about getting to meet with a journalist named Peter Raitt, who wants to talk about some stadium. He’s also a jerk to Kelly because he thinks being a journalist is so much more important than what she does. Steve brags about the hot sex he and Jill had the night before – she’s basically moved into the Walshes’ house. Brandon doesn’t want to hear it, but Steve thinks he’s just jealous because he and Kelly are like an old married couple now.
On his boat, Noah gives Donna a diamond bracelet and asks her to live with him. Somewhere, Felice starts screaming her head off but doesn’t know why. Donna wants to hold off on living with someone again until she’s married, since things didn’t go so well with David. Noah tells her to keep the jewelry, assuring her that he understands her hesitation. David’s back to writing music, and thanks to royalty checks from his hit song, he can do whatever he wants, which is his dream. Valerie tells him that she set up a meeting for him with a filmmaker named Kyle Scott.
At the clinic, a man named Chris complains that since his mother’s work schedule has changed, he can’t work the night shift there anymore. Chris is developmentally challenged and is determined to hold a job so he can eventually pay for his own place to live. Kelly promises to help him sort things out. David meets with Kyle, who isn’t scoring a movie, as David thought, but is looking for a jingle for a deodorant commercial. David isn’t sure it’s worth it to make a little money.
Kelly and Valerie admire Donna’s bracelet, which Valerie thinks cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. She and Kelly snipe at each other about the worth of men who can afford expensive gifts. She offers to set Donna up with a jeweler to get the bracelet appraised so she can get it insured. Brandon meets with Peter, who wants them to share a byline on a story. Brandon seems tempted to aspire for a bigger job than just working at the Beverly Beat.
Kelly visits Chris at home to tell his mother that she was able to get him a day job at the clinic. Mrs. Myers objects to him having a more stressful job, since he needs extra help. Kelly promises to provide that help and keep him from getting overwhelmed. Jill makes herself at home in Steve’s room, redecorating according to her tastes. Goodbye, Shaq poster! Valerie accompanies Donna to meet with the appraiser, who reveals that the diamonds are fake. Val’s like, “I guess Noah doesn’t love you $20,000 worth!”
Valerie’s mood quickly drops when David blasts her for setting him up to write a stupid commercial jingle. Kelly helps Chris with his new tasks, and he repays her with a picture of zambonis, one of his favorite photos. Steve tells Brandon and Janet about Jill’s flaws, like calling him Steven and being too much of a perfectionist. Jill shows up just then to tell him she got them opera tickets. Steve adds “likes opera” to his mental list of her flaws. Valerie’s been doing David’s taxes, and she tells him that he owes a bunch of money, so his royalty checks aren’t going to go very far.
Brandon and Kelly have lunch with Peter, who’s just met with the developer who’s building the stadium they’re writing about. The guys are very optimistic about their story. Kelly thinks they should write about Chris, who wants to work into an apartment where he would have a support system but would still live on his own. Brandon loses interest when Peter says it would be too soft of a story. Kelly decides to leave early, blasting Brandon for sucking up to Peter.
Kelly goes back to the clinic, where Chris gets distressed when he makes a mistake. He thinks his mother was right about the day shift being too complicated for him. On the boat, Noah gives Donna a diamond necklace. She tells him he doesn’t need to show his love with jewelry, but Noah says it’s the perfect reflection of his love. Donna’s like, “Your love is best expressed through the giving of fake jewelry? Awesome.”
Steve and Jill come home from the opera while Brandon works late on his story. Kelly’s also out late, having gone looking for Chris. She feels bad that things went wrong after she promised Mrs. Myers that everything would be okay. Kelly admits that she feels like she’s holding Brandon back from the career he wants. Brandon assures her that he doesn’t regret the work choices he’s made. She knows he’s unhappy, though.
Valerie taunts Donna for not confronting Noah about the fake jewelry because she’s afraid of what he’ll say. She pockets the necklace without Donna seeing. Peter invites Brandon to go to a Kings game with him while he’s talking to the developer. This storyline is so boring. Steve tells Brandon and Janet that he wants to break up with Jill, but is hesitant because she’s so in love with him. Brandon thinks he should take advantage of the opportunity to dump a woman before she can dump him.
Kelly goes back to Chris’ to apologize to Mrs. Myers for how disastrous things were at work. He’s playing a hockey video game, and Mrs. Myers mentions that her other son used to take him to hockey games all the time before he moved across the country. She wishes there were a team Chris could play on. Steve practices breaking up with Jill while Janet gives him feedback. When it comes time for the real breakup, Steve just tells Jill that he doesn’t want to go to the ballet that night. She then gives him a picture of herself for their one-month anniversary.
Valerie goes back to the beach apartment to tell Donna she got the necklace appraised – it’s fake, too. She thinks Donna will thank her someday for revealing the truth. Kelly arranges for Brandon and Peter to take Chris to the Kings game and have him skate with the team. Just then, Peter announces that he’s been contacted about a big political story and has to run off to D.C. He’s backburnering the story he and Brandon were working on. Kelly asks about Chris, but Peter doesn’t consider him a priority.
David works on the jingle, needing the money now that he owes so much in taxes. Valerie doesn’t think he should feel ashamed of having to compromise to make a living. Donna finally asks Noah about the fake diamonds, which he insists are real. He’s offended that she would accuse him of lying. Donna asks if he invited her to live with him out of convenience, which I don’t get. Noah tells her that the jewelry belonged to his grandmother; it was the only thing she owned before her marriage, and she gave it to him because it meant something to her.
Kelly gives Chris the bad news that he won’t be able to go to the Kings game. Chris is upset that she broke another promise. Brandon offers to take Chris ice-skating in another rink. Jill visits Steve at work to tell him that she’s been trying really hard, but she can’t keep dating him since they don’t have anything in common. Steve thinks that’s a dumb reason to break up. Janet’s like, “Different method, same result,” since he wanted to break up anyway. She urges him to find a woman he can be friends with first, then have a relationship with. (Pssst, Steve: She means herself.)
Donna goes to the boat to make up with Noah, giving him back the jewelry. She promises that she never wanted to find out how much they cost; she got the bracelet appraised for insurance purposes, and Val took the necklace herself. Donna knows that she only did that to try to drive them apart. Noah decided not to tell Donna where the jewelry came from because he didn’t want to scare her off after she declined to move in with him. His grandmother told him to give them to someone he truly loved, so he did. Donna promises that she didn’t care that they were fake.
Brandon, Kelly, Chris, and Mrs. Myers go to the ice rink, where Chris happily takes a ride on a zamboni. David plays his jingle ideas for Kyle, who doesn’t think any of them are right for the ad. David then plays him a song he wrote for Valerie. Kyle thinks it’s perfect, and tells David that no one needs to know the truth behind the song. While the guys have some zamboni fun times, Mrs. Myers thanks Kelly for doing such nice things for Chris.
David tells Valerie that Kyle’s using the song he wrote her for the commercial. She wanted him to compromise for his career, but not like this. He reluctantly promises not to sell his songs for her again. Chris ends up with a job at the ice rink, which means he gets to skate whenever he wants. Brandon tells Kelly that he’s less eager to be like Peter now that he knows what being a major journalist is like.
Thoughts: Some episodes Kelly’s annoying, and then there are episodes like this, where she goes out of her way to do something nice for someone who deserves it. Why can’t she be like this all the time?
Brandon: “I’ve been at the same weekly paper for some time now.” What, six months? Poor little college grad with his dream job right out of college and a major award just a few weeks ago. Not to mention that his parents own the house he lives in, so he doesn’t pay rent. It must be so hard to have things that other people would fight you for.
“I don’t do armpit music!” Oh, but you do, David.
January 17, 2015
Summary: Charlie and Kirsten come home from work to find Diana with a guy they’ve never met. He’s Victor, and he’s secretly been nannying, though I’m not sure how Daphne pays him since she was fired and hasn’t found another job. Oh, and she didn’t tell Charlie and Kirsten she was fired until now. At the house, Sarah gets a phone call from Mindy, a high school friend of her biological mother, Robin. Sarah wants to meet her and find out more about her birth family. Bailey is very supportive.
Julia meets with Evan, who wants more details in her writing about her family’s reactions when her father lost his temper. He thinks Mrs. Salinger enabled Mr. Salinger, and that Julia has inherited that. Kirsten objects to Charlie giving Daphne money, since it gives her an excuse not to find a new job. He suggests that she try to get Daphne a job as the assistant to Kirsten’s boss. At school, Claudia, Alexa, and other popular kids talk about how someone’s writing trash about them on the Internet. Alexa’s boyfriend, Cameron, isn’t fazed.
Charlie tries to reach out to Myra, a girl in his woodshop class who’s doing poorly in school. He offers to give her extra time on a project; if she doesn’t do well on it, she’ll fail. Myra doesn’t care. At home, Julia brings up a childhood memory of her mother telling her and Claudia to hug their father so he wouldn’t get mad about a broken bowl. She doesn’t remember Mrs. Salinger ever telling Mr. Salinger to stop being angry. Bailey tells Julia to stop talking about their parents like that, especially with Owen in the room.
Sarah meets Mindy and hears some stories about Robin. She looks through a playbill from a performance Robin did of Cyrano; she wrote a note on it to Mindy that she felt like her life was about to change. Mindy wonders if she was talking about having Sarah. Daphne gets the job Kirsten helped her with, admitting to Kirsten that she lied about her professional skills: “All I know how to do is make long-distance phone calls and steal office supplies.” Claudia thinks Cameron is behind the Internet trash-talking, but isn’t sure why he’s doing it.
One of Julia’s classmates, Isabel, apologizes for being so mean to her because of how Julia has a book contract already. Julia confides that her editor wants her to blame her parents for things she’s not mad at them about. Charlie gives Myra a new assignment for her big class project: build a guillotine. She thinks he’s taking pity on her, but he says it’s because he’s sick of everyone else’s uncreative projects. He adds that he’s hard on students so they’ll work hard to leave, because the alternative is coming back there to teach, like he did.
Kirsten helps Daphne with her job, though Daphne’s clearly more interested in playing with Diana. Kirsten finishes things up for Daphne, criticizing her for telling Diana how to do things instead of learning to do them herself. Victor’s like, “Hey, what great advice!” Sarah reads Cyrano, gushing over how romantic it is, and how Robin must have felt speaking the lines to her co-star, William. She’s done the math and thinks William could be her father. He has a studio in New York, and she’s made plans to go see him.
The next day, Bailey reads some of Julia’s notes and discovers that she’s painting their father as controlling. She denies that she’s making him out to be a villain – no one is a bad guy, even Ned. Bailey doesn’t like that she’s putting blame on their parents and looking in the past for answers. Myra starts working on her guillotine, and chats with Charlie a little, mentioning that she’s alone at home a lot. Some secrets of Alexa’s have made it online, and she and another friend, Rhiannon, think Claudia is responsible. After all, the trash-talk didn’t start until she joined their group.
Daphne goes to Kirsten at work to announce that she quit. She’s not comfortable working a job that requires her to do the same thing every day. Kirsten’s like, “Welcome to the world of being an adult.” She warns that Daphne’s leaving a good job when she doesn’t know what she wants, and she might have trouble getting another good job. Julia tells Isabel how much Evan annoys her by acting like her writing is just words, rather than experiences that actually happened to her. Isabel thinks he’s cold because his wife committed suicide. That’s news to Julia.
Sarah promises Bailey that she’ll be back after spending a few days in New York, but he wants to know what happens next. Does she expect to get answers to all of her questions? Bailey assures Sarah that he’s supportive of her wanting to meet her father, but he’s worried that she’ll end up disappointed. He’s connecting her search with their own relationship problems. Sarah can’t tell him honestly that there’s no connection.
Julia meets with Evan, telling him that she decided not to look more into her mother because her book is about her own experiences. Evan wants Julia to be honest in her writing. She accuses him of seeing the story personally – like something happened to him and he’s looking for someone to blame. Evan knows she’s talking about his wife. She tells him that since she can’t tell him how to feel about his wife, he can’t tell her how to feel about her mother.
Alexa apologizes to Claudia for her false accusations, since Claudia has now been trashed on the website. Cameron has also trashed himself, criticizing his inability to be grateful for the things he’s been handed in life. Sarah tells Bailey that she wants to look for her father so she can feel young and spontaneous. So her search does go back to their relationship, and how she feels stuck in an adult life when she’s only 20. Sarah feels like she left her ID and passport in New York, and she has to go retrieve them so she and Bailey can travel somewhere else together.
Evan tracks down Julia on campus, and she quickly apologizes for their fight. He admits that he’s always trying to make sense of why his wife killed herself, which involves blaming people. He just wants Julia to be honest about the way her parents might have let her down. She’s not blaming them, just trying to understand them. Julia can be disappointed in them and still love them, like she did when they were alive.
Charlie runs into Myra as he’s leaving for the night, and she asks for help with her homework. Julia packs up to move out of the Salingers’ house; Isabel offered to let her move in while she looks for her own place. Sarah urges her to talk to Bailey about their recent arguments. She knows that Bailey doesn’t like change because he wants stability around him. She thinks Julia should stay in the house. At their place, Kirsten tells Charlie that she thought she’d accepted not having a child of her own, but she still wants one.
Bailey’s happy to hear that Julia’s going to stay at the house after all. She assures him that asking questions about their parents is just as hard for her as it is for him to hear them. She feels closer to them now; it’s like she’s letting them be themselves instead of making them out to be something else. Bailey takes Sarah to the airport, promising that he’ll never stand in her way when she wants something. She invites him to come along, but he thinks she needs to do this on her own. He promises that he’ll be there waiting for her when she comes home from finding what she’s looking for. (Spoiler: She won’t come home. This is her last episode.)
Thoughts: ‘Bye, Sarah! Enjoy your failed spin-off!
Lots of recognizable guest stars in this one: Myra is played by Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under). Victor is played by Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life). Rhiannon is played by Jodie Sweetin (Full House).
So is Charlie ever going to talk to Daphne about how she kept quiet about losing her job? Their relationship is so weird.
Would a student actually be allowed to build a guillotine? That sounds unsafe.
’90s music alert: “Never Saw Blue Like That” by Shawn Colvin.
January 13, 2015
Summary: Happy anniversary to Ned and Alice, who have been married for 16 years! Unfortunately, their kids are the only ones who remember the anniversary. Their parents have been so busy recently that they haven’t been spending much time together. In fact, Alice has been spending a lot of time with a client named Frank Howard, a millionaire from Beverly Hills. The twins are distressed because Mr. Howard is hot and has a nice mansion and is a million times better than Ned, so he could easily tempt Alice into leaving her husband.
The sixth-graders have to do a group project for a history class, and Elizabeth, Amy, and Pamela decide to find out how their parents met and write about that. What does that have to do with history? They should at least talk about how the time period and events affected the relationships. This is all just a contrivance for Elizabeth to need to find out how Alice and Ned met.
The twins start getting nervous that their parents are no longer in love. They tell Steven, who first thinks they have nothing to worry about, but then starts drinking the Kool-Aid and thinks they’re on to something. They decide that they need to make Mr. Howard believe that getting involved with Alice would be a huge mistake because her children are monsters. The twins offer to run an errand for Alice, delivering something to Mr. Howard, so they dress in ridiculous outfits and make it look like they never bathe. Mr. Howard just thinks they’re weird.
Then Mr. Howard shows up at the Wakefields’ house unexpectedly. The twins have already changed clothes, so they tell Steven to blast his music. Mr. Howard barely notices, and clearly wasn’t influenced by the twins’ previous scheming, because he still wants to work with Alice. Alice invites him to stay for lunch, so Jessica gives him super-spicy salad dressing, which manages to get him to flee. Out of Alice’s earshot, she tells Mr. Howard that maybe later he can meet Alice’s other children – from her first two marriages.
Elizabeth, Amy, and Pamela go out for ice cream at Casey’s (of course it’s Casey’s), and Liz spots her mother shopping with Mr. Howard. Pamela’s mother notices that it looks like there’s someone following them. Jessica has put on a trench coat and hat to stalk her mom. She would do that, wouldn’t she? Jess reports to Elizabeth that the adults have been shopping for china, and are now looking at rings.
Jessica’s next move is to tell Ned what’s going on. But Ned’s in such a good mood about a case he’s winning that the kids don’t want to ruin it. Then Jess decides to confront Mr. Howard directly and tell him to back off. While she’s at his office, she overhears him on the phone, telling someone that they’ll soon be together. Jessica thinks Alice and Mr. Howard are going to elope.
Time for a new plan: When Alice and Ned go out to finally celebrate their anniversary, the Wakefield kids will invite Mr. Howard over to dinner. A bunch of their friends will be there to pose as their siblings. They’ll all be dirty, loud, and obnoxious. The kids enlist Amy, Pamela, and a bunch of Steven’s basketball buddies. They all act like hillbillies and are extremely helpful with the twins’ plan, especially Amy, who makes it look like she’s missing teeth. If I were Mr. Howard and thought I’d be marrying into a family that insane, I’d be out of there in a second.
But one thing the Wakefield kids didn’t expect was Ned and Alice returning to the house. They’re quickly joined by someone else: Mr. Howard’s fiancée, Karen. Alice was helping Mr. Howard shop for wedding china and rings for another woman. Fortunately, Mr. Howard thinks the twins’ scheming is funny. The Wakefields are just grateful that their kids want their family to stick together. They came back to get them so the whole family could celebrate Ned and Alice’s anniversary together.
Now that everyone’s all together and happy, Elizabeth finally finds out how Alice and Ned met. It’s some story about how Alice was waiting tables at a restaurant where Ned went on a group date, and she spilled food on him and was embarrassed, but they started talking and fell in love. Except that didn’t happen, but whatever. Everyone’s happy, so no one cares about made-up history.
Thoughts: I can’t believe none of these kids know how their parents met. Parents love to talk about that stuff. I mean, one guy talked about it for nine straight years.
“I think your father is really handsome.” Amy, just…shh, okay?
Someone please explain to the Wakefield children that you can’t elope with someone if you’re married to someone else.
Alice tells Mr. Howard that “raising three children is definitely a full-time job.” Uh, Alice, spending five minutes a week with your kids is not “full-time.”
January 11, 2015
Summary: It’s Valerie’s birthday, and the gang is throwing her a surprise party at David’s house. David’s the only one who got her a present, so Kelly suggests that they say it’s from all of them. Donna arrives with a dress she made Valerie, and mentions that she finished all the dresses the boutique ordered. Kelly’s a little concerned over how much she’s working. Bill and Abby arrive for the party just ahead of David and Valerie, then hijack the festivities by announcing their engagement. Steve terrifies Kelly and Valerie by mentioning that they’ll be sisters.
The next day, Donna hangs around the boutique, MayaLee, so she can see who’s buying her clothes. A woman returns one of the dresses, having thought she was buying a Donna Karan dress. Valerie tells David that she and Kelly are getting together to plot how to stop Bill and Abby’s wedding. She mentions how much she hates her birthday because her family always had to pretend they were happy. She also didn’t like that her mother always gave her a charm for her charm bracelet. Unfortunately, that’s what David got her.
Janet wants to stay at work even though she’s sick; otherwise she won’t get paid. Steve has tracked down Ted but is worried that Jill will choose him over Steve. Brandon makes his day worse by admitting that he has a job interview with another paper, the Chronicle. Kelly and Val get together at the Peach Pit, and realize that their parents gave them matching necklaces. Valerie tells Kelly to be completely honest with Abby about what Bill is like. Kelly’s reluctant to go too far, but realizes that it’s necessary to prevent becoming Valerie’s stepsister.
Steve goes to see Jill so he can tell her how to get in contact with Ted. He still wants another chance with her, but Jill is focused on meeting Ted. He manages to convince her to go on one more date with him before he hands over Ted’s information. Brandon has a successful job interview and is immediately offered the position at the Chronicle. On his way out, he runs into a guy named Brian who was also just hired. They then encounter a guy who announces that he and his fellow reporters are going on strike. Brandon and Brian are scabs.
Donna learns that MayaLee sold all of her dresses, so they’ll need to buy more from her. She considers using the money to open her own store. Noah cautions her not to take risks just yet. Janet got a parking ticket while picking up Steve’s suit from the dry cleaner’s, so she tells him to pay the ticket. Steve has to admit to Brandon that he needs the suit for a date with Jill. The guys realize that Janet doesn’t appreciate having to do their personal errands.
The discussion turns to the reporters’ strike, which, as Janet points out, means that Brandon took someone else’s job. Brandon defends his actions by saying he waited a long time for the job. Steve thinks he should take it if it’s the break he wants, but Janet disagrees. Valerie and Bill meet at the Peach Pit, where Val orders Bill to find someone else to sucker. She wants him to take Kelly’s feelings into consideration. She threatens to call his parole officer or file false charges if he hurts Abby.
Meanwhile, Kelly has Abby over to the beach apartment to tell her what a horrible husband and father Bill has been. Abby thinks he’s changed. They’ll be getting married on Saturday. Brandon and Brian go to their first day of work, but only Brian crosses the picket line. Steve and Jill’s date doesn’t go well, and she doesn’t make it any better for him by telling him she still wants to give things with Ted a try. He gives her Ted’s work address. Jill asks Steve to arrange a meeting for them.
Donna spots a letter from MayaLee in Noah’s things and opens it, finding an invoice for the dresses. She’s confused because they’ve already been paid for. Noah has to admit that he paid the boutique to buy her dresses. Janet complains to Brandon and Steve that she’s annoyed at being overworked and underpaid, especially while she’s sick. They don’t really care. Steve has called in a potential replacement for Brandon, but he’s no longer needed, since Brandon wouldn’t cross the picket line at the Chronicle. Steve considers using him for another job.
Brian calls Brandon to tell him about a big story he’s covering. He needs help with the research and wants Brandon’s expertise. Valerie complains to David about her and Kelly’s failure to break up Bill and Abby. David realizes that she’s actually upset about her father. Val confesses that he sexually abused her when she was a child. Not long after, her mother invited a bunch of people over for her surprise 13th birthday party, which is why Val doesn’t like surprise parties.
While Noah tries to make things up to Donna, Brandon and Steve go to the Chronicle and wonder what the reporters are striking for. This time Brandon crosses the picket line, telling Steve to go ahead and give away his job at the Beverly Beat. Valerie, David, and Kelly go to a church for Bill and Abby’s wedding rehearsal, which Bill is late for. Valerie’s starting to feel that Abby was right about Bill having changed.
Steve takes Jill to a bar to meet Ted, who he’s asked Don (Brandon’s possible replacement) to pose as. Steve tells Don that he’s testing Jill to see if she would still love Don if he weren’t as hot as she expected. Don questions Steve’s real feelings for Jill if he’s willing to upset her. Steve tosses out the plan and introduces Jill to the real Ted. Donna spots her dresses in Noah’s office and realizes that he bought all of them.
One of the striking reporters, McCourt, goes to the Beverly Beat to school Brandon on unions. “Take the story; don’t take the job,” he says. Brandon’s like, “But I struggled for a whole six months to get a good job! Forget about how I’ve won an award and everyone loves me and I’m destined for greatness! I’m only 22 – it’s not like I’m getting any younger!” Bill shows up at the beach apartment on the morning of his wedding, telling Kelly he’s not going to go through with it. Kelly’s fed up with his broken promises.
Everyone else gathers at the church, which Noah thinks is a good place to have a conversation with Donna about why he did what he did. She asks him to support her but not lie to her. Noah tells her that a department store wants to sell her dresses, and this time he had nothing to do with the deal. Brandon can’t believe that Steve got Janet to buy his wedding present. Brandon’s not going to keep the job at the Chronicle: “Best job I never had. I’m really proud of the work I didn’t do there.” He’ll go back to the Beverly Beat if Steve gives Janet a medical plan. Steve has to agree.
Kelly goes to the church to tell Abby that Bill won’t be coming. Abby wants to act like she’s fine, but Valerie’s sick of her doing that. She notes that people don’t know how to help if they don’t know anything’s wrong. At home that night, Kelly praises Brandon for making good decisions, unlike her father. Jill comes by to tell Steve that he was all she talked about with Ted. Now she likes Steve, not Ted. Valerie wants to focus on her happy memories, and she gets to create a new one when David makes her a birthday cake.
Thoughts: What happened to Brandon and Steve publishing together for years, like Brandon said in the last episode? Suddenly he wants a new job? Wouldn’t he talk to Steve about it ahead of time? Whatever happened to two weeks’ notice.
Jill, I know Steve can be charming, but it’s okay to say no to him. Otherwise, his ego will be bigger than Beverly Hills.
But kudos for saying no to someone with Ted’s haircut. You deserve better.
Steve’s also going to give Janet a raise for basically being his personal assistant, right?
The sound on the version of this episode I watched wasn’t very good, so I have no idea why it was called “Aunt Bea’s Pickles.” It should have been called “Bill Is Still a Jerk.”
January 10, 2015
Summary: Charlie and Kirsten are in Mexico on their honeymoon, but they’re not having a good time. He has a bad sunburn, she has food poisoning, and the people in the hotel room next to theirs are very loud when they have sex. Kirsten says she’s glad to be there anyway, even though she and Charlie have just been playing cards the whole trip. Back in San Francisco, Bailey and Sarah have been having lots of sex and are much happier than they were in the last episode.
Julia gets her book deal, which means now she’ll have to actually write the thing. She asks Claudia and Sarah to help her get all the details right. They’re more excited by the thought of her getting an advance and having her book turned into a movie. In Mexico, Charlie and Kirsten try to figure out who their neighbors are. They order the exact same food as a couple there for their 30th anniversary. The couple has also spend the whole trip playing cards, like Charlie and Kirsten have. The newlyweds rush to their room to have sex so they won’t seem old.
At school, Cody tries to get Claudia to go to a concert with him. She reminds him that they broke up, and she doesn’t want to be friends right now. Daphne takes Diana to daycare for the first time; she’s nervous but Diana’s completely fine with it. Sarah goes to pick up Bailey after an AA meeting, meeting one of his friends, John. She notes how strange it is that Bailey talks to strangers about her.
Julia goes to a writing class at her new college, but one of her classmates thinks it’s dumb that they’re focusing on a piece with a contract and deadline. Another classmate thinks she’s just getting published because she’ll look good on the book jacket. The professor points out that all writers face criticism, so they shouldn’t put it on each other. He tells the students to be on Julia’s side, rather than against her.
Cody hijacks the school’s PA system to play Claudia a song. Her classmates are impressed, though surprised that she merits this kind of behavior. Claudia’s hugely embarrassed. Sarah wonders how Bailey talks about their relationship at AA meetings – does he tell people that things are good? After all, they never talked about their recent problems; they just solved everything in bed. Bailey’s like, “Yes, but that’s working, so…?”
Unlike those two lovebirds, Charlie and Kirsten aren’t having much fun in bed. She’s not that concerned – they’re married now, so they don’t have to have a magical time every night. She doesn’t expect surprises anymore. She assures Charlie that there’s no pressure now. He’s not as happy to hear that as she expected. At school, a popular girl named Alexa tries to get Claudia to talk about Cody’s song, but Claudia won’t discuss it. She guesses that they broke up because of cheating.
Julia tries to talk to Evan about her book, but he’s more interested in the publishing angle than the writing part of the process. He also doesn’t think he’s the best person to ask, since he’s an editor more than he is a writer (despite having written a book). Bailey asks Joe to run the restaurant that night so he can spend time with Sarah. Joe offers to run it for a week to give them more time together. He admits that he doesn’t want to go back to L.A. because he and Franny have separated. He didn’t want to bring it up because the Salingers are all so happy.
Daphne continues to be on the show for no reason. Motherhood is hard, you guys. Alexa wants to talk to Claudia about boyfriends who cheat, and how sometimes they’re better boyfriends after that. Claudia realizes that Alexa’s boyfriend Cameron cheated on her. Alexa wants to know if Claudia gave Cody another chance. Claudia wants to know why Alexa cares so much about how Claudia handled her relationship problems.
Charlie and Kirsten discuss how their noisy neighbors are able to keep up their passion. There’s a discussion of tying someone to a bedpost, and Charlie teases that Kirsten would be into that. She admits that she tried that with a guy and enjoyed it. Bailey and Sarah try out that relationship thing where you talk instead of just having sex. Sarah’s realized that all of her life plans have involved Bailey, and she’s not sure how to make decisions about her life on her own. He doesn’t like to hear that she feels lost. He reminds her that he can help her feel found.
Cody goes to the Salingers’, where, fortunately, Bailey tries to get him to back off. Cody says that when things got rough, they didn’t discuss them, so they just got worse. Now that he wants to fix them, Claudia won’t talk to him. Bailey totally gets it. In Mexico, Charlie’s stuck on Kirsten’s bed-tying affection; she once asked him about it and said she’d never done it. Charlie’s insecure because Kirsten has had better sex than him. She insists that she’s happy, but he notes that things could be better in bed if she wants them to do something different.
Cody bugs Claudia once again about working things out, but this time Alexa comes to the rescue, telling Cody to respect Claudia’s wishes not to talk to him. Alexa also tells Cameron to shut up, so rock on, Alexa. Claudia feeds off of her confidence, telling Cody to leave. Daphne takes a break at work to go visit Diana (apparently the daycare center is in her building). Her boss disapproves and fires her. By the way, I don’t think that’s legal, but whatever.
Julia’s up late, crying while trying to write. Claudia doesn’t get why she’s stuck, since she’s just writing what happened to her. Julia corrects that she also has to write what it all means to her. She doesn’t think she should need help – a real writer should know what to say. She feels like she’s not a real writer after all. Claudia can’t believe that that’s the only thing she can think of that she learned from her whole experience with Ned.
Joe’s surprised to see Bailey at the restaurant rather than with Sarah. Bailey admits that their relationship isn’t as super as it seems. Joe points out that talking to him isn’t going to help if it means he’s not talking to Sarah. Bailey doesn’t want to be mad at Sarah for not knowing what she wants from them. However, he doesn’t want to tell Sarah how he feels because it’ll upset her. Joe tells him that this attitude isn’t going to fix anything.
As Charlie’s packing up to head home, Kirsten lets him know that she bought some scarves. If he’d like to use them to tie anything to anything else, she wouldn’t say no. Or they could just keep playing cards. At school, Alexa introduces Claudia to her popular friends. Daphne continues to exist. Why is she still on this show?
Julia goes to Evan’s office again, basically demanding that he help her. He wanted a book that would help him understand why she stayed in an abusive relationship. She doesn’t have an answer yet, but she thinks Evan can help her figure it out. Charlie and Kirsten are super-okay now. She offers to tell him more about things she experienced before they got together, but he’d rather wait and be surprised. Bailey and Sarah continue to have sex without talking about their issues.
Thoughts: Alexa is played by Maggie Lawson, Juliet from Psych. John (who only had one scene in this episode but is supposed to pop up again) is played by Jen Lindley’s father.
Claudia, wondering who should play Julia in the movie version of her life: “How about Sarah Michelle?” Sarah: “She’s way over-exposed.” I know that was supposed to be a joke, since Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt both did movies with her, but it just sounds mean. Also, of the three of them, Sarah Michelle Gellar is still the most famous 15 years later, so nyah.
Diana’s walking! I can’t believe she’s already that old.
January 6, 2015
Summary: This book is surprisingly awesome.
Bruce and Jessica have been taking a screenwriting class from an actual Oscar-winning screenwriter, Dennis Gordon. Bruce is really into screenwriting, and thinks the screenplay he’s written, The Victim, is good enough to be made into a movie. It’s about a guy who’s poisoned and tries to find out who wants him dead. He spent two weeks working on it, even skipping time with Lila to work. Lila doesn’t appreciate this.
Bruce decides to try to make it up to her by letting her read his screenplay. (I don’t get how Bruce’s mind works, but okay.) He prints out a copy to turn in to Gordon, then a second copy for himself. He runs out of white paper and prints part of the screenplay on pink paper. Then he prints a third copy all on pink paper. This is actually important to the plot.
Thanks to how distant Bruce has been, Lila has no problem flirting with a guy she meets named Marcus Stanton. He’s hot and he went to a prep school Lila’s familiar with, which means he’s rich. Not long after they meet, Marcus leaves some flowers outside Lila’s door, earning Bruce’s wrath. There’s a note from Marcus asking Lila to dinner, so Bruce trashes the note and takes credit for the flowers.
Gordon invites his class to the opening of the Beringer Wing at SVU’s film school. Belinda Beringer was an SVU student who allegedly committed suicide after emptying her trust fund. Jessica thinks her story is interesting enough to turn into a screenplay. She tries to talk to Gordon about Belinda, but he’s not feeling chatty right now. While Bruce tries to make friends with Gordon, Lila learns that Bruce didn’t give her the flowers after all. She decides to get some payback by going on a date with Marcus.
Gordon tells Bruce that his screenplay is a mess and not even worth a rewrite. Bruce should just get rid of it. The main character is okay, someone the audience should root for, but the plot is unbelievable. Yeah, that’s always a dealbreaker for a movie. Bruce and Gordon (…did the ghostwriter watch Batman before writing this book?) drink Scotch together before Bruce leaves to mope about how he’ll never be a famous screenwriter.
Lila goes out with Marcus, though now she feels bad about sneaking around behind Bruce’s back. She admits to Marcus that she has a boyfriend, so they can’t go out again. Marcus is furious that she didn’t tell him about her boyfriend sooner. Lila is smart enough to know that it would be a bad idea to spend any more time with this guy, so she tries to get a ride home from someone else. Meanwhile, Bruce realizes that he left his pink and white copy of the screenplay in the film library.
Bruce ends up at a bar called the Blue Lagoon, where he runs into Marcus. The thing is, Bruce doesn’t know that he’s the guy trying to woo Lila, or even what his name is. They start drinking together, and Marcus drunk-chats that he thinks his previous girlfriend was murdered. He won’t tell Bruce why he hasn’t expressed that to the police. Later, after Marcus leaves, Jessica arrives; she was supposed to hang out with Steven and some of his friends, but they’ve already left. Bruce takes her to a frat party, where he drinks some more, then protects her from a skeezy frat boy who can’t keep his hands to himself.
Jessica and Bruce end up spending the night in Jessica’s dorm room (Elizabeth’s out of town and, blessedly, not in this book) after Bruce passes out there. Jess takes advantage of his faulty memory by letting him think they slept together. Lila arrives, thinks the same thing, and bolts. Bruce goes home and finds that she’s left him some coffee. He thinks that means Lila has forgiven him. Which is weird, because why would she suddenly figure out that nothing happened without even talking to Bruce or Jessica? Whatever.
Bruce tries to go see Lila, but he blacks out and ends up in the hospital. There, he learns that he was poisoned. The ER doc, Dr. Martin, tells him he probably has fewer than 24 hours of life left. Bruce wants to leave so he can find out who poisoned him – just like the protagonist in his screenplay. Dr. Martin doesn’t try very hard to keep him there or to connect him to the police. Instead, she gives him a pager so she can contact him if she has any new information or somehow figures out the antidote.
Bruce does go to the police, but since he can’t tell them who poisoned him or what was used, they say they can’t help him. Apparently detectives in Sweet Valley aren’t expected to do any actual detecting. Bruce then catches up with Jessica, who agrees to help him find his poisoner. Bruce’s first suspect is Marcus; Marcus could have poisoned his beer at the Blue Lagoon, and he could have taken Bruce’s screenplay from the film library, maybe to pass it off as his own.
Jessica and Bruce go to the dedication for the Beringer Wing, where Marcus happens to be…because he’s giving a speech. He was Belinda’s fiancé. Once Bruce learns his name, he realizes that this is the same guy who was trying to get his hooks into Lila. Now Marcus could have another motive for wanting to get rid of Bruce.
A brief fistfight ensues, followed by a car chase. Bruce is feeling so sick that he actually lets Jessica drive 1BRUCE1, the lucky girl. She accidentally drives it off a cliff, but at least she had a few good minutes there. Elsewhere, Lila runs into an old friend who went to the same prep school Marcus claimed he attended. The friend has no idea who Marcus is. Lila wonders if Marcus lied about everything he told her.
Jessica and Bruce survive their plunge over a cliff (of course), though 1BRUCE1 doesn’t. RIP, 1BRUCE1. The pager is also gone, so Bruce has no way of knowing if Dr. Martin has made any progress trying to save his life. Bruce tries to call Marcus, but there’s no one by that name with a listed phone number in the area. Bruce then tries to call Lila, but she doesn’t answer because she’s just been knocked unconscious in her apartment.
Bruce has an actual good idea – get Marcus’ address from the florist where he bought the flowers for Lila. He and Jessica pose as siblings trying to buy flowers for their parents’ anniversary, and Jess distracts the florist while Bruce sneaks a peek at her records. However, Jessica refuses to take Bruce to see Marcus. She insists that he go back to the hospital, since he’s getting worse. Bruce lets her take him to the hospital, then asks her to get him a wheelchair. While she’s gone, he takes off.
Marcus lives in a crappy neighborhood, so there goes his lie to Lila about being rich. Bruce learns that Marcus took Belinda’s trust-fund money and was going to use it to finance her screenplay. Unfortunately, he gambled it all away. Also, he insists that he didn’t kill Belinda. Bruce is suspicious, especially since Marcus has his pink and white screenplay. There’s another fight, and Marcus produces a gun. There’s a shot, and suddenly Marcus is dead…but Bruce didn’t kill him. Someone fired from outside the window, then left with the screenplay.
Bruce next goes to Lila’s, where he sees that someone burned the pink screenplay in the fireplace. Then he discovers Lila unconscious and calls an ambulance. She’s able to tell him that she was attacked by someone she didn’t see, and that he said, “See you at the movies.” Bruce tells her about his poisoning and vows to find her attacker and/or his possible killer. For some reason, Bruce decides it’s time to pay a visit to Gordon. This is a great idea, though not for the reason Bruce thinks.
But Bruce quickly figures out that Gordon is more involved than he thought. He’s crossed out Bruce’s name on his screenplay and written in his own. Bruce also sees Gordon’s Scotch and realizes that that’s how he was poisoned. He grabs the decanter so he can take it to Dr. Martin and help her figure out what he was given, but Gordon stops him. Then he does that thing dumb villains do, where he reveals way too much. He killed Belinda, took her screenplay (the one he won the Oscar for), and was going to do the same to Bruce. He killed Marcus because Marcus had figured things out, and he attacked Lila so she couldn’t reveal Bruce as the real screenwriter.
Speaking of Lila, she and Jessica are at the hospital, discussing Bruce. Lila mentions that her attacker said, “See you at the movies,” which Jess remembers Gordon saying before. Jessica goes to Gordon’s office, where he and Bruce have just wrapped up a big battle. Gordon is about to strangle Bruce with a lamp cord when Jessica knocks him out with the first heavy object she can find: the decanter. There goes the Scotch that Dr. Martin could have tested. But somehow, miraculously, Bruce’s glass from the other day is still there, so Dr. Martin can test that.
Bruce and Jessica rush to the hospital, where they hand off the Scotch just before Bruce collapses. But don’t worry – Dr. Martin gets the antidote, and Bruce recovers. Professor Gordon is caught, and eventually confesses to his crimes. Then Bruce becomes a hot commodity in Hollywood, as everyone wants to turn his screenplay into a movie. Mm-hmm, sure.
Thoughts: This book unfolds like a movie plot, which is part of the reason it’s so awesome. I’d watch it as a movie.
Jessica’s screenplay, Supermodel Shop-a-thon, is about models vacationing in Paris. Is she 18 or 8?
Of course the detective Bruce talks to has a “gravelly” voice. Detectives in books and movies aren’t allowed to have any other kind of voice.
How and why does Bruce know how to hotwire a car?
If I were looking to buy a screenplay, I’d be more interested in one about Bruce’s experiences in this book than in the one he wrote. Plus, it has the built-in punch of being a true story.
January 4, 2015
BH90210 8.24, The Nature of Nurture: Beware Gay People and Their Horrific Agenda to Be Parents and Give Your Child a Loving Home
Summary: Donna meets Noah at the Peach Pit, where she opts for caffeine instead of the pills she’s no longer taking. She’s frustrated that she can’t find another job. Also frustrated: Kelly, who hasn’t yet been approved as a foster mother for Leanne’s baby. Instead, the baby has been placed with a couple who have named him Raphael. Kelly’s disappointed that the foster parents can apply for custody and eventually adopt Raphael. She’s also disappointed that they’re gay. Brandon wants to write about them, of course. Kelly’s unsure of their ability to raise a child.
Brandon gets to work right away, discussing with Janet how weird it is that people consider it controversial for gay couples to adopt. (It’s no less controversial 17 years in the future, guys.) Brandon notices that Steve is taking some cost-cutting measures. Steve admits that without a big advertiser, they may not be able to keep publishing. He’d like to publish cigarette ads. Brandon outright refuses to advertise a product that kills people.
Valerie and David go to the airport to pick up Abby, who’s decided to visit in the wake of Valerie’s recent trauma. Val is really, really not happy to see her mother. Noah encourages Donna to make her own clothes since she can’t find a designer to make them for her. He’s willing to cover all the costs, too. Donna’s hesitant but can’t really say no to a fully funded chance to make her dreams come true.
Kelly calls the social worker to complain about the gay couple, Kyle and Gene, being allowed to take care of a child. The social worker assures her that they went through all the same verifications as straight couples, and were cleared to be caregivers. The phone call ends when Bill suddenly shows up. He was let out of prison early for good behavior, and wants to start working on his relationship with Kelly. She’s eager to do the same.
Steve goes out with Jill, having to make up stuff about the people Ted wrote her about. (Hilariously, he says that he and “his” brother, Sam, went hunting, which is a miracle because Sam was in a wheelchair. Jane is taking the news well, and Jill hopes she and Sam can patch things up, because “it was a crime of passion.” I want to meet Ted’s family!) Steve has to scramble to keep Jill from finding out his real name from his credit card.
David meets his new neighbor, who likes to play his music loud. David recognizes him as Woody Sloan, but Woody doesn’t appreciate being recognized. Brandon learns that Steve went behind his back to work on a deal for cigarette ads. He puts a halt to the deal, then asks Kelly if she thinks he should give in to save the Beverly Beat. She thinks he should stand up for what he believes. Brandon segues to her disagreement with the social worker, admitting that he doesn’t think Kelly should get Raphael.
Donna gets right to work on making her clothes, telling Noah that they should set some ground rules so working together doesn’t get complicated. If they disagree on something, it won’t get done. She’d also like his opinion on her designs. Noah’s worried that this is too much for Donna to handle while she’s recovering from taking the pills. She assures him that everything is awesome and this is a great arrangement and there will be rainbows and puppies in their future.
Valerie continues to resist connecting with Abby, which David thinks is ridiculous. They listen to Woody play, and David tells Val that ten years ago, he was a Grammy winner with a huge contract. He’s not sure where things went wrong. Valerie wonders why Woody still plays when David doesn’t. David’s sure that Woody isn’t playing just for the joy of it. He blasts Valerie for acting like there’s something he needs to get over.
Steve confronts Brandon for halting the ad deal, which keeps them in financial trouble. Brandon has a hard time taking Steve seriously when he’s currently lying to his girlfriend. Steve promises that he’s going to tell Jill the truth. Brandon doesn’t think it matters if he’s already sleeping with her. There’s more fighting across town when Bill shows up at the After Dark. Val yells at him a little, then introduces him to Abby. The two parents are immediately taken with each other.
Jill invites Steve to her hotel room, where she wants to enact the fantasies he once told her about in a letter. Steve quickly gets uncomfortable when Jill keeps saying Ted’s name. He ducks out before there’s any sex. Brandon asks Kelly what she thought of his article; she didn’t like it since he sided with Kyle and Gene. She doesn’t like that Raphael will be raised without a mother. Brandon wonders if she would feel the same about the arrangement if Kyle and Gene were lesbians. Just as they’re sort of patching things up, Leanne arrives and begs Kelly to help her get her son back.
After a day of failed pitches to stores, Donna asks Nat to take a look at her designs and state his opinions. He has no idea what to say, which makes sense, because he’s not in fashion. (Also, she used spring colors and he’s an autumn.) Donna thinks this proves that she’s never going to be a successful designer. Noah thinks their last meeting will go well. He tries to get Donna to take her mind off of work, but that fails.
Kelly takes Leanne to meet with the social worker; she’s happy that Leanne wants the baby back, because one ill-equipped teenage mother trumps two stable, nurturing, mature fathers. Leanne is even less of a fan of gay parents than Kelly, and Kelly ends up defending Kyle and Gene a little. Apparently Leanne found out about the arrangement from Brandon’s article. She objects to her son (who she’s named Eric) being “raised gay.” Kelly says that people are born gay, not raised that way. She also realizes that someone who left her baby on a doorstep is probably not the best judge of what’s right for him.
Steve talks about the Jill situation with Janet, who’s already figured out that he got uncomfortable about which guy Jill wants to be with. Brandon confronts Steve about the ads, and Steve points out that they both have the financial problem, not just him. He knows that Brandon will move on if the Beverly Beat closes, while Steve will struggle to find something else. Brandon isn’t making as big a deal out of the situation as Steve thinks he should be.
The next time Woody plays his guitar, David starts playing his keyboard, and the guys have an impromptu jam session. Meanwhile, Steve goes to tell Jill who he is – or, more accurately, who he isn’t. She’s disturbed that he read her intimate letters to someone else. Steve thinks they could have a great relationship, but Jill disagrees. Noah secretly makes arrangements with a boutique to pay for anything necessary if the boutique will sell Donna’s designs.
David goes to the Walshes’ to happily tell Valerie that he started playing music again. Her good mood over the news is quickly ruined when she learns that Abby and Bill are going on a date. Kyle’s upset to learn that Leanne is back in the picture and can take Raphael/Eric back. Brandon apologizes for the fact that his article caused the upheaval. Kyle and Gene are unwilling to fight Leanne since they might ultimately have to give the baby up anyway, and it would be even more painful after they’ve raised him for a few years.
At some later point, Brandon’s up for some award, and Steve’s not happy for him. Kelly admits that she doesn’t think Leanne will be a better parent than Kyle and Gene…and she doesn’t think she would be better either. She also didn’t object to Gene and Kyle as parents because they’re gay – she objected because she wanted the baby for herself. Abby and Bill show up to announce that they’re dating. Kelly’s as unhappy about the relationship as Valerie is.
Noah’s deal with the boutique is a success, and Donna has no idea how it came about. I’m sure there’s no way this will come back to bite anyone. Kelly goes to Leanne’s to see how things are going, but Leanne isn’t happy to see her. Uh, she got you your kid back, girlie. Show some gratitude. Kelly tells her that Kyle and Gene would have been great parents. Now Leanne is stuck with a baby she doesn’t know how to take care of, and no help from her mother. She insists that she loves the baby, but Kelly thinks she made the wrong decision.
Brandon doesn’t win the award, and he and Steve aren’t talking, and Kelly’s late arriving, so the Beverly Beat‘s table at the ceremony is pretty dreary. Then Steve is called up to presents a surprise award to Brandon. He says he tried to explain to Brandon what a difference his stories make, but Brandon wouldn’t listen. (Whatever. Brandon loves hearing that stuff about himself.) Brandon tells Steve that they’ll be publishing their paper far into the future, which I guess means they’ll be running cigarette ads.
David visits Woody, who’s grateful for their jam session since it helped him finish a song he was working on. He wants to know what happened to David after his sudden (and brief) success. Woody plans to just play their song for the enjoyment of music, not to gain fame or fortune. David uses it to get Valerie to calm down and stop freaking out about how Abby and Bill are going away together for the weekend.
Steve goes back to Jill, arguing that they’re meant to be together. He wants her to be happy, and he’s figured out the way to do it: He’s going to find Ted so he and Jill can be together. Kyle and Gene show up at the Walshes’ with Raphael, having been asked to foster a child they didn’t even know was him. Kelly and Brandon are happy for them.
Thoughts: I was going to say, I didn’t buy Kelly being homophobic. I appreciate the show trying to tackle a subject like this, but it didn’t fit that Kelly would have anything against a gay couple.
If this series took place ten years later, Donna could go on Project Runway.
Nooooo, Noah! You were doing so well as a good guy!
I can’t believe I’m on Valerie’s side about anything. Abby’s a jerk for going out with someone she knows her daughter has problems with. (Eh, Abby’s a jerk in general.)