March 20, 2013
Summary: This Super Mystery has not one, not two, but THREE mysteries, so it actually deserves to be called a Super Mystery. And they’re actually mysterious!
First, it’s almost Christmas. (Yeah, I know it was Christmas in the last book. I’ll get to that later.) Someone is auditioning for the role of Grinch by breaking into houses in Kristy and Abby’s neighborhood. Fortunately, the break-ins happen when no one’s home, and only a few things are stolen, but there’s a lot of destruction. Plus, the burglar is painting “naughty” on the houses. Kristy’s house is left alone, but the family gets a note calling them “nice.”
A rake is found at one of the houses, which is weird since it’s winter and keeps snowing, so obvious no one’s doing yardwork. Speaking of yardwork, the only thing the break-in families have in common (other than their neighborhood) is that they’ve all recently fired their gardener. The Thomas/Brewers and the Stevensons still employ him. Dawn figures out that the gardener is the burglar, and that the rake fell off his truck, which has been spotted in the neighborhood. The Thomas/Brewers set up a sting with the police (including, of course, Sgt. Johnson), and he’s arrested.
The other Stoneybrook mystery involves a pregnant woman Mallory and Jessi run into who doesn’t know who she is. No one in town knows her and she doesn’t know how she got there. Because she’s pregnant around Christmas, she’s nicknamed Mary Doe. The Pikes invite her to stay with them so she won’t be alone over the holidays.
Mallory manages to figure out what the police can’t: Mary’s wedding ring is unique, probably custom-made, and her sweater came from a store in California. She picks a jewelry store in the same town in California and sends them a picture of the ring. The owner recognizes it: Her nephew had it made for his wife, Lisa.
Once it’s determined that Mary is Lisa, the real story comes out: She was visiting family on the East Coast, started to take the train back, and decided to stop in Boston to visit friends. When the train stopped in Stoneybrook, she got off and most likely had her purse stolen, suffering a concussion in the process. Because no one knew when she was getting back to California, no one knew she was missing. And her husband was out of the country on business, so he didn’t know he needed to be worried. Somehow, going into labor jogs Lisa’s memory, so she’ll be fine.
The third mystery involves Stacey and Claudia, who are visiting Stacey’s dad in New York. They spend a lot of time with Stacey’s boyfriend, Ethan, who keeps staring at Stacey and is possibly following the girls. He also won’t let the girls see certain parts of his apartment. Then the girls start getting notes and seeing fake blood in the elevator and near Stacey’s dad’s apartment. The doorman says no one has come into the building who could have left anything, so the culprit appears to live there.
The girls are summoned to the basement one afternoon, after being stuck in the elevator, which they thought they had to take since the stairs were roped off. It turns out there was nothing wrong with the stairs, which makes things weirder. Stacey asks Ethan about the note, and he admits that he used to date a girl in her building, Cybil, and she’s, shall we say, unstable. She’s the one who’s been following the girls and doing weird stuff to them. Ethan’s only been staring at Stacey because he’s sculpting her; the sculpture is the reason he doesn’t want the girls in his room.
The three decide to go to the basement at the allotted time, and sure enough, Cybil shows up. She starts ranting about how Ethan likes her, not Stacey. She’s turned off the lights, so no one knows what she’s planning to do. Claudia knocks her down and Ethan grabs her, though it doesn’t seem like she was going to do anything dangerous. Cybil’s parents agree that she needs help, and everything’s okay between Stacey and Ethan again.
Thoughts: Once again, we have continuity problems. The last book took place around Christmas and included a visit from Dawn. This book takes place around Christmas and starts with Dawn arriving in Stoneybrook. Stacey and Claudia go to New York in this book, but they were in Stoneybrook for the last one. Plus, Logan mentions at the end of this book that he was out of town, but he was in Stoneybrook in the last one. Arg.
Claudia, re: Ethan: “He had staring spells, sort of like the ones Mary Anne’s kitten, Tigger, gets.” That cracked me up.
Anna suggests that the burglar is using a fake delivery truck to case the neighborhood. When I inevitably turn to a life of crime, that’s what I’m going to do. Thanks for the idea, Anna!
Claudia notes that if the elevator she and Stacey are stuck in were to drop, she and Stacey could become “big dead pancakes.” Then she thinks that sounds like a good name for a punk band. I call it! Mine!
Mallory sometimes uses her dad’s briefcase instead of a backpack. Mal, this is why people make fun of you. (Though I’m sure if Claudia did this, it would be oh-so-cool and fashion-forward.)
March 16, 2013
Summary: Ray brings a Christmas tree to Donna’s parents’ house and they kiss under the mistletoe. Felice clearly doesn’t like Ray, and she’s not happy when Donna admits that if Ray proposed to her right now, she’d accept. Dr. Martin, however, is amused by Felice’s annoyance and advises her to stay out of it; if she meddles, Donna will just want to be with Ray more. Cindy and Jim are heading to London to spend Christmas with Brenda, but Brandon and Kelly are staying behind. Valerie will be spending the holiday with friends in Buffalo.
Andrea and Jesse take Hannah to the mall to see Santa. She does not enjoy the experience. At the Peach Pit, Steve, David, and Clare help Nat cook for the homeless as Steve laments his bad past Christmases: going to New Mexico, almost getting expelled, and breaking into Randall’s office. This year, he’s facing community service as his punishment for the fire. Clare suggests to David that the two of them run the Peach Pit After Dark for Steve. David’s resistant, but Clare tells him he’ll need to be the one to talk Nat into it.
Brandon tries to get romantic with Kelly, but her burn dressings are the elephant in the room. Kelly admits that she doesn’t want him to see her injuries. Brandon insists that he can handle it, but she still doesn’t give in. Clare, Donna, and David decorate at the beach apartment before Donna leaves to take LuAnn Christmas shopping. She’s worried that LuAnn will overdo the drinking; it’s already awkward enough for her to spend time with Ray’s family, since they’re so different from hers.
Chancellor Arnold shows up and meets David (Clare’s “friend”). The chancellor wants to see Clare, Donna, and Kelly at the faculty Christmas party, and he wants Clare to bring Brandon. After he leaves, David questions why Clare hasn’t told her father that they’re dating. She promises to tell him the next time she sees him. Donna and LuAnn shop, and Donna encourages LuAnn to buy Ray a suit. LuAnn sees an ad for a cruise and mentions that it would be her dream vacation. Donna thinks she should ask Santa about it.
Felice visits Ray at work to ask what he wants for Christmas. He says his dream is to make an album, so Felice gives him a check for what’s sure to be a large amount of money. When LuAnn comes by later, Ray keeps mum. Dylan tries to see Jack’s ex Christine at the FBI, but no one will even confirm that she’s an agent. Dylan threatens to tell the press how the FBI screwed up Jack’s case and got him killed. Finally Christine comes in and Dylan asks for her help.
The homeless eat at the Peach Pit while Andrea tells Steve that she’s having trouble exposing Hannah to Christmas traditions. David brings up Clare’s After Dark idea to Nat, but he’s too busy to think about it. Kelly is shaken when she sees that one of the homeless people has massive scarring from burns. Christine can’t really help Dylan track down Kevin and Suzanne since there’s no one available to take his case. She has another idea and promises to do everything she can to help her ex’s son.
At the Walshes’ after the homeless dinner, Kelly tells Brandon that everyone was staring at the woman with the scars. He thinks the looks were sympathetic. Kelly’s worried that she’s not the same person she was before the fire. Brandon tries to distract her with a trip to a Christmas Eve church service. At the Martins’, Felice tells Donna that she offered Ray $10,000 to stop seeing her – and he took it. But isn’t it better that she knows now, before they get closer and he ends up leaving her?
Ray goes by the beach apartment, but Donna refuses to see him, telling David and Clare the story. Ray says he took the money only so he would have proof that Felice tried to pay him off. Kelly feels better after going to church, so Brandon’s going to have a nice Christmas Eve. Iris calls Dylan and assures him that he can keep fighting the urge to drink. They’re sorry to be apart over the holidays, but their relationship is much better. Dylan has a flashback to last Christmas, which he spent with Erica.
Kelly tries to change her dressings herself, but ultimately has to ask Brandon to help. He’s nicely supportive, assuring her that he doesn’t find the injuries ugly. She’s upset to have a permanent reminder of what happened. Brandon promises that he doesn’t see her any differently. First thing Christmas morning (also her birthday), Donna confronts Felice about the check. This is the first Dr. Martin has heard of the incident, and he’s equally unhappy.
Andrea and Jesse bicker over the fact that she took Hannah out of midnight Mass the previous night. Andrea points out that Hannah’s teething and was fussy. Jesse thinks she wants to cut out Christmas altogether. Dylan gets a visit from J.J. “Jonesy” Jones, who introduces himself as a friend of Christine’s. He’s a “salvage expert” who can track down Dylan’s money (though he’ll be taking half of it). Dylan agrees, though he’ll have to stay behind when Jonesy goes to Brazil.
Brandon, Kelly, David, and Clare go to the faculty Christmas party, where the first three are kind of jerks because they’re bored by Chancellor Arnold’s Christmas music. David takes over the piano and sings “Jingle Bell Rock” with the chancellor. Meanwhile, Donna and Ray give LuAnn her Christmas present: a cruise ticket. No one says it, but it’s clear that’s what they spent Felice’s money on. (Ha ha ha! Looks good on you, Felice.)
Things are still awkward at Jesse and Andrea’s, but Santa Steve, his Santa Clones (David, Brandon, and Nat), and elves Kelly and Clare help defuse the tension. Dylan also comes by to see Hannah for the first time. So now everyone’s happy, except maybe Erica, who’s still stuck in Brazil with horrible people.
Thoughts: I’m unreasonably proud of myself for that recap title.
Donna, please don’t wear a miniskirt and a belly shirt when you’re hanging out with your boyfriend’s mother. Actually, let’s just say don’t wear a belly shirt at all.
I hope you get nothing but coal every Christmas until you die, Felice.
Apparently church turns Brandon on?
Sorry, Jesse – Andrea wins this round. There are few things more annoying than a noisy kid in a church service.
Is it wrong that I love Jonesy?
March 10, 2013
Summary: Donna, Brandon, and David are at the hospital, where Kelly and Alison have been admitted to the burn unit. Meanwhile, Rush is trying to head off the legal trouble Steve will face for throwing a party that ended in injuries. Steve is clearly in shock, and is more worried about Kelly than himself. A lawyer tells Rush that Steve and Griffin can plead no contest and just face community service. Then the lawyer will just need to deal with any personal-injury suit Kelly or Alison might file.
Kelly has some burns to her neck and hand, but Jackie tells Brandon that Alison’s injuries are more severe and she’ll need skin grafts. Brandon thinks Kelly would be okay if he’d been at the party. Kelly doesn’t know that he was with Emily, or that Emily’s still in Beverly Hills. At the KEG house, the caterer asks Steve for his pay for the party. Steve’s concerned about all the equipment that was destroyed and doesn’t care about the caterer. Griffin assures Steve that his father will take care of all the damages.
Kelly is soon discharged from the hospital and decides to visit Alison before going home. Alison is basically mummified with bandages but is in good spirits. She’s just grateful to be alive. Kelly’s just grateful Alison was there to help her through the fire. Alison gives the credit to God. Speaking of God, it’s Hanukkah, and Brandon accompanies Andrea, Jesse, and Hannah to a party on campus. Kelly’s fine with him not being with her at the beach apartment because she’s tired of being babied.
Jackie refuses to let Kelly talk to Steve’s lawyer, but Kelly doesn’t want to press charges against Steve. She wants to settle and move on. Jackie tells her there’s a modeling agency that still wants to represent her when she heals. Kelly says her modeling days are over. She’s having an existential crisis and doesn’t have the same gratitude toward God that Alison does. Back at the party, there’s exposition that Jessie is about to start working for an advocacy program that provides lawyers to people who can’t afford them.
Brandon goes to Emily’s hotel and admits that he’s feeling guilty. But for some reason, he doesn’t want her to leave town for La Jolla yet. Emily doesn’t think Brandon should feel bad for not telling Kelly the whole truth about her while she was in the hospital. Donna and Ray help decorate his family’s pumpkin patch for Christmas, though Ray’s in a bad mood. Jesse has a client whose kids were taken away because they were neglected by a bad babysitter; Jesse and Andrea disagree about something or other that isn’t important at all.
Valerie offers to testify on Steve’s behalf so he can demonstrate that he didn’t purposely cause any harm at the party. Basically, she’ll say whatever he needs her to say. Steve isn’t appreciative. He tells Brandon that he knows the party was his responsibility, so he’ll have to face the consequences of the fire. Ray’s still grumpy at the pumpkin patch because he hates the commercialism of Christmas. He snaps at Donna for telling a woman they had low prices, since it led her to try to bargain. Ray’s uncle tells her she’d understand his attitude if she met Ray’s mother.
Brandon tries to take Kelly to an appointment Jackie set up for her with a plastic surgeon, but she refuses to go. He casually tells her that Emily’s still in town, assuring her that he spent some time with her but there’s nothing to worry about. Kelly gets defensive over him telling her not to worry and asks him to leave. Then she calls Dylan at rehab and he makes her feel better. They’re interrupted when Brandon visits Dylan and asks for advice on helping Kelly. He doesn’t think she trusts him enough to show him all her burns. Brandon then mentions Emily, insisting that there’s nothing going on between them. Dylan questions that.
Ray: still cranky. Donna finally calls him on it and he confides that his mom always starts drinking around Christmas and shows up to make a scene. He poured out all her alcohol, so he knows she’ll be spiraling soon. Ray’s father left on Christmas 20 years ago after pushing LuAnn down the stairs and causing her to miscarry. Donna reveals that she was born the exact same day. Steve and Jesse run into each other at the courthouse; Steve thinks his case will go well because Rush has worked everything out. Kelly was cooperative and is part of the reason Steve will be able to get away with just community service.
Emily’s about to leave for La Jolla, and though Brandon doesn’t want to ask her to stay, he does admit that he still loves her. There’s kissing, and he wishes it were okay for them to “get carried away.” Back at the courthouse, Steve and Griffin plead no contest and receive 100 hours of community service, $1,000 fines, and two years of probation. The kicker comes when the judge informs them that they’re not allowed to host or organize any kind of party for profit for two years.
Steve blames Rush for not being able to negotiate that part away. He’s also mad that Griffin got everything he wanted because his father paid for the lawyer. Rush says that since they stole the key to the party house from Griffin’s father’s real-estate office, they deserve whatever they get. Steve is surprised to hear that they didn’t have permission. The only reason he gave Griffin a cut of the proceeds was because he supplied the location. Rush isn’t at all sympathetic that Steve’s planned career has gone down the tubes.
Steve waits for Griffin in his room at the KEG house and orders him to move out. If Griffin doesn’t, Steve will reveal that he stole the key to the house. He can even get Muntz to testify that Griffin overloaded the fuse box. Griffin isn’t the last bit worried – he even knows a court clerk who can alter their community-service sheets so they don’t have to complete the hours. Steve repeats that Griffin needs to move out, threatening him with physical violence this time. Emily visits Kelly to assure her that Brandon really wants to be with her. He told her before the fire that he loves Kelly. Emily asks Kelly not to tell Brandon she came by.
Andrea and Jesse have a Hanukkah party, which Steve stops by to deliver a gift. Andrea urges him to talk to Jesse about his legal problems. Jesse thinks Griffin’s father would have paid Steve off to accept the terms of the agreement even with the condition that he couldn’t host parties. Then he tells Steve about his other client, who took his kids out of foster care and took them back to Mexico. Steve blames the system, but Jesse notes that it works well for rich, white people. In fact, if Steve weren’t rich and white, he’d probably be in jail.
Brandon brings Kelly flowers, and she tells him things between them are okay again. Steve meets with the caterer at the Peach Pit to give him the money he owes and apologize for being mean the other day. The caterer is pleased to find a bonus with his pay. Nat drives Dylan home from rehab (that was fast), and Valerie and Cindy surprise him with a cake. The bigger surprise is that someone found Erica’s note in the airport bathroom and has sent it to Dylan.
Thoughts: Donna’s knit belly shirt really screams “Christmas spirit.”
This is why Dylan and Kelly should get back together! Brandon makes her cry! Dylan makes her feel better!
Emily, if you’re going to wear a pantsuit, you must tuck in your shirt. Also, why are you wearing a pantsuit?
Steve, your career is not over. You’re still in college, and will be until your probation’s over. You’re lucky Alison isn’t suing your pants off. Chill out.
Jennie Garth got to spend this whole episode in bathrobes. Comfy!
’90s music alert: “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree.
Steve, considering your recent brush with the law, you might not want to hand out envelopes of cash in public. It might be misconstrued.
March 6, 2013
Summary: It’s Christmas! Again! Mary Anne spends a ton of money on presents, which she can only do because her father lets her use his credit card, on the promise that she’ll pay back whatever she spends. She goes way overboard. I mean, I wouldn’t spend this amount of money, and I have an actual job, one that doesn’t require changing diapers for $4 an hour. Anyway, Mary Anne knows she won’t be able to make the money she needs by babysitting. She also only has two weeks to make it since that’s when Richard will be paying his bill, and he plans to charge interest.
Mary Anne learns that Winter World at the mall is hiring, so she goes to apply for a job. Yes, I know she’s only 13. Yes, I know Stoneybrook has a lax view of child labor. But before anyone can call BS, Mary Anne chats with another girl (Angela) who’s applying for a job, and is advised to say she’s 16. Mary Anne decides she doesn’t want to lie, but Angela turns in her application anyway. Both of them get hired to be Santa’s elves and wear hideous costumes. Mary Anne decides not to tell anyone about her job, since a) she lied to get it and b) it’s embarrassing.
Of course, Mary Anne is awesome at her job, and the kids love her, blah blah blah, but she keeps getting paranoid that someone will recognize her. Even though she’s wearing a giant elf head. Yeah. She also becomes friends with Angela, who it turns out was kicked out by her parents (because of her “lifestyle” – she never gives details on that, but she probably, like, kissed a boy and her parents thought she was “a fast girl”). Angela’s trying to make money to go out to California and live with some friends. Also, her parents are monsters, because at one point she tries to call them collect and they won’t accept the charges.
Basically the book goes on and on with Mary Anne working at the mall and trying to keep her secret. One day Logan and Dawn (oh, yeah, Dawn’s in Stoneybrook for Christmas) show up with Logan’s brother and sister, and Mary Anne practically has a heart attack. Dawn and Logan remain oblivious, but somehow, Logan’s brother Hunter figures out Mary Anne’s an elf. I really have no idea how.
Ultimately the truth comes out because Mary Anne and Dawn have a fight. Dawn has been distant and a little snobby since her arrival in Stoneybrook; her school in California is 8th-12th grades, so she feels all special that she gets to go to school with high schoolers. She suddenly thinks middle schoolers are babies and that she’s all sophisticated and stuff. She’s not. It’s annoying. Mary Anne calls her on it, and Dawn blasts her for being gone all the time and keeping secrets. Mary Anne confesses that she took a job at the mall, and Dawn convinces her to come clean to everyone, including Richard. He wants to punish her, but Sharon points out that it’s Christmas, so he lets it go.
The B-plot is so dumb that at one point it only gets a five-page chapter. The local hospital can’t afford to give toys to the kids hospitalized over Christmas, so Kristy organizes a big Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa extravaganza. People bring toys to a fair, and the BSC girls donate those toys, plus use the proceeds from the fair to buy more.
Thoughts: In this book, Hanukkah comes after Christmas. I don’t think that’s possible.
Richard charging Mary Anne interest seems mean to me. She’s basically just borrowing his money and will pay him back later – why should she have to pay extra? He’s not losing anything.
Kristy wants to use canned-food donations to make refreshments for “Santa-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa Town.” First of all, why Santa and not Christmas? Second of all, that sounds like a Top Chef challenge. Enjoy your tuna and lima bean casserole, everyone!
I guess Winter World doesn’t run background checks on employees, or they would find out Mary Anne’s real age. It’s good to know a program using people around kids is so concerned with their safety.
February 23, 2013
Summary: Julia’s rushing to get ready for a family dinner but gets distracted when she finds out that Claudia has taken a bunch of her stuff. At the restaurant, Joe offers them a table for Thanksgiving, but the siblings haven’t even planned to have dinner together. The Salingers’ lawyer, Emmett, joins them and informs them that Walter Alcott has been released from prison. He was paroled halfway through his nine-month sentence for killing Mr. and Mrs. Salinger while driving drunk. Also, he wants to meet the siblings and apologize.
Back at home, the Salingers debate arranging a meeting – Claudia and Julia are pro and Bailey is anti. Bailey says the meeting would only make Alcott feel better, but Bailey doesn’t think they’re responsible for that. Charlie, who’s been silent for the whole debate, sides with Bailey. Since the decision isn’t unanimous, there won’t be a meeting. Later, Claudia steals a bracelet from Julia, then asks her what Alcott’s hearing was like. Julia tells her the basics but doesn’t want to elaborate.
Claudia goes to a bookstore and asks an employee for a book on jewelry. After a couple minutes, she tells him her name, saying she just wanted to see what he looked like. It’s Walter Alcott. Back at home, she shares the story with her siblings, and Bailey’s angry. Claudia’s surprised that Alcott was so normal and nice. Bailey wants to know if he was happy. Julia doesn’t get why Claudia left after introducing herself. Claudia says she didn’t want to talk to Alcott, and she didn’t go to get an apology. She also doesn’t want to talk about it anymore.
Bailey meets with Emmett, angrily noting that Alcott only served four-and-a-half months for each person he killed. He wants to make Alcott pay. Emmett says they can pursue a civil suit, but it would take years for anything to come of it. By the time it’s over, Owen will be old enough to understand what’s going on. Plus, winning wouldn’t change anything. Emmett’s afraid that Bailey will get consumed by the suit. Bailey says he’s already consumed by what happened.
Claudia realizes she’s lost Julia’s bracelet and tears up her tent looking for it. She retraces her steps, telling Bailey she’s doing a school project on memory. She goes back to Julia’s room, where Julia catches her. At the restaurant the day before Thanksgiving, Joe gives Charlie a turkey dinner and invites the Salingers over to his house the next day. Charlie assures him that they’ll eat; they just don’t want to celebrate a holiday. Joe knows they’re avoiding facing a holiday without their parents.
A woman shows up on the Salingers’ doorstep with a pie. She introduces herself to Julia as Annie, Alcott’s daughter. Julia politely declines the pie but chats with her for a minute. Annie says that her parents divorced while Alcott was in jail. She admits that she feels like she should be punished or forgiven. She wants Julia to know that Alcott isn’t a bad man: “He’s just a man.” Julia makes it clear that she doesn’t hate Annie.
Bailey goes to Alcott’s apartment and introduces himself. He doesn’t want to have a conversation, but he wants to know what Alcott knows about Mr. and Mrs. Salinger. Alcott knows the basics, which aren’t enough for Bailey. He tells Alcott how much his parents were in love. Claudia asks Bailey questions he can’t answer, and Owen won’t even know what to ask. He gets emotional, saying that his parents will never see Owen walk because Alcott got drunk and killed them.
Alcott asks what Bailey wants him to do. Bailey replies that he wants Alcott to put his foot on the brake and not run the red light. Alcott wishes the same, but he can’t go back in time; he has to figure out how to go forward. Bailey doesn’t think he deserves to since the Salingers can’t. He wants to take something from Alcott so he understands what he took from Bailey. He wants to make sure Alcott never forgets what he did.
Back at home, Julia tells the others that Annie stopped by. Bailey tells her not to speak to Annie again, saying he has the right to keep the Alcotts from the house. Charlie doesn’t want to get involved. Bailey notes that they don’t have to take responsibility for how the Alcotts feel. They get to have Thanksgiving together, but the Salingers don’t. After Bailey storms out, Julia blasts Charlie for not getting involved in the discussion.
Claudia tries to use Thurber as a bloodhound to track down the bracelet. Thurber is even less helpful than you would think. Meanwhile, Bailey goes to Kate’s, where her family’s about to have Thanksgiving dinner. He tells her about Alcott being paroled and how angry he feels now. Bailey can’t even think about his parents anymore, but all he wants is to be able to think about them without hurting. Kate is the only person he wanted to talk to. Bailey regrets pushing her away for stupid reasons.
Charlie finds Annie’s pie in the fridge, though Julia doesn’t tell him where it came from. Julia then goes to Alcott’s apartment, and he emotionally tells her that he feels like he should have to give something up to compensate the Salingers. Julia can tell he’s suffering, but knowing he is doesn’t make her feel better. She also knows that he wants her to forgive him, but she isn’t sure she can. Alcott changed multiple lives, and she can’t speak for everyone involved.
Julia continues that forgiveness won’t change anything, though she would like if it helped her stop being angry. She wants to stop hating Alcott as much as he wants her to stop hating him. She promises to try. Julia adds that the Salingers will be okay; knowing that might help Alcott be okay, too.
At home the next day, Julia starts cooking a late Thanksgiving meal, telling Charlie she thinks they were wrong to want to skip the holiday. Charlie disagrees; he thinks it’s disrespectful to act like nothing happened that year. She says they’re not forgetting, they’re just moving on. They can’t wait 20 years to take a step forward.
Julia announces that she went to see Alcott and thinks Charlie should, too. Charlie refuses. Julia doesn’t understand why he’s been so distant the past few days, but she thinks seeing Alcott would help all of them. Talking to him is like talking about a nightmare – it makes the monsters go away. Charlie telling Alcott he doesn’t hate him will make Alcott go away.
Bailey and Kate go for a walk, and she announces that her father had an affair, which her mother caught him in the middle of. Then her mother was upset again when her father met his second wife. She was angry for a long time, but one day she let go and moved on. She chose not to let her entire life be wrapped up in her ex. Kate hated her father for a while, but it took too much energy to keep up, so she learned to accept that people make mistakes.
Claudia decides to come clean with Julia about losing her bracelet. It turns out the bracelet was one their father gave their mother. Julia’s furious, lying that she wouldn’t have yelled if Claudia had come clean earlier. Claudia admits that she keeps taking Julia’s stuff because she wants to be with her. She hates that Julia never lets anything go; she’s still mad about Claudia not giving her a phone message seven months ago. Julia apologizes, then figures out that the bracelet Claudia took wasn’t their mother’s – it was cheap costume jewelry from a school play.
Alcott closes up his bookstore for the night as Charlie waits outside. Alcott lets him in and tells him the events leading up to the accident. He just had too much wine at dinner and drove home. A million events had to have come together for everything to happen exactly as they did. Charlie says it was his fault: His parents were going to a concert, and Charlie was supposed to watch Owen, but he was late because he was with a girl. If he’d been on time, his parents would have been at the concert when Alcott drove through the red light.
Charlie notes that his father was angry and told him, “Next time, be here.” His mother handed over Owen and they left. Charlie cries and says he’s the one who needs to be forgiven. Alcott protests, blaming himself. He thinks Charlie’s actually the hero in the story. Back at the house, Julia and Claudia cook to round out the meal Joe provided some food for. Julia and Bailey agree that it doesn’t matter that they’re having their meal late.
Charlie arrives, only saying that he was out, though Julia knows where he was. Before they can sit down in the kitchen, Charlie directs everyone to the dining room. The next day, all five siblings go to the cemetery. Claudia notes that some headstones have stones on them. Bailey explains that some people like to leave things behind to show they were there. (He doesn’t explain that it’s a Jewish custom.) The siblings gather some stones and leave them on their parents’ headstone, alone with a Pez dispenser. Then they play tag, which can’t be very respectful.
Thoughts: Annie is played by Kelli Williams (The Practice, Lie to Me, Army Wives). She was 24 with this episode aired, and looked nothing like a high school student. Like, I thought she was Alcott’s wife. (Sorry, Kelli! I think you’re awesome!)
Julia: “Have you seen my plaid shirt?” It’s the ’90s, Julia. You’re going to have to be more specific.
Julia also has a Shawn Colvin CD. Remember her?
There’s a lot of good acting and writing in this episode. I’m impressed.
September 22, 2012
Summary: Joey voices over some lame story about how happy she is while she and Eddie wander around downtown and talk about their likes and dislikes. She notes that they have nothing in common. He doesn’t care since the sex is awesome. Joey asks him to come to Capeside with her for Christmas, immediately realizing she’s jumped over a few relationship steps. But she still wants him to come and help her convince Bessie to get a real tree. Eddie also thinks they might be moving too quickly.
Later, as Joey packs for break, Audrey returns to the room, having missed her flight home. Joey knocks her for drinking in the airport lounge, commenting that Audrey could spend next semester in rehab. Audrey can’t get another flight until the next day (which happens to be Christmas), so Joey invites her to come to Capeside. Everyone will be at the Leerys’, which Joey predicts will be disastrous. Audrey doesn’t want to be a charity case or go back to boring Capeside. Joey won’t take no for an answer, winning Audrey over with the offer of getting to meet her father.
Pacey makes a surprise visit to Doug’s house and presents him with both gifts and gay jokes. Todd and Natasha are at Gail’s with Dawson, and Gail is very curious as to where Dawson and Natasha’s relationship is going. Dawson himself doesn’t know, noting that this is the first relationship he’s been in that he couldn’t define or predict. In other news, Todd wants to sleep with Gail. Also, Lily is suddenly blonde, but no one else is concerned, so I won’t be either.
Everyone does Christmas Eve things, and then Alexander wakes Joey up early on Christmas morning. Before they can open presents, Mike tells Joey that she has a visitor – it’s Eddie, and he’s brought a tree. Later, a tipsy Audrey tells Mike that Eddie is a combination of Dawson and Pacey’s best qualities, making him “the T-1000 of love interests.” Then she asks for stories about Mike’s time in prison.
Joey teases Eddie about changing his mind about coming to Capeside, then goes in to help Bessie in the kitchen. This is mostly so Mike can have a man-to-man talk with his daughter’s boyfriend. Eddie has to admit that he’s uneducated and unemployed, so maybe he has more than just Pacey and Dawson’s good qualities.
Speaking of Dawson, he’s wistful about Joey but stuck with Natasha, who wants to have sex in his childhood bedroom. He’d rather talk about Max Winter. Specifically, he wants to talk about how she told him she’d spend the evening alone, but wound up entertaining Max instead. Dawson wants to know where their relationship is going. Natasha says they’re just having fun.
Dawson notes that she was pretty jealous of Joey, which doesn’t fit with “just having fun.” She accuses him of bringing her home for Christmas to show her off. She warns that one day he’ll regret not having sex with her in his childhood room when he had the chance. But that’s what he gets for thinking with his brain instead of parts more southern.
Eddie and the Potters head to the Leerys’, Eddie trying to assure Joey that he won’t be getting into anything with Dawson. They agree to get through dinner and then go spend time with Eddie’s family. He promises that his family is less intimidating than hers, leading Joey to ask if Mike was rude. (She should probably be more concerned over whether he tried to recruit Eddie to sell drugs with him, knowing Mike’s past.)
Pacey and Doug arrive next, discussing the expensive presents Pacey got for their family. Doug’s worried that his brother’s new job isn’t completely legit. Pacey says Doug could just be proud of him for once. He thinks Doug’s jealous of his new wealth. Doug says he’s just worried. Before dinner, Audrey takes some pills from the medicine cabinet and shows up blitzed as Jen and Grams arrive (Jack’s in Europe with Andie and Mr. McPhee).
Todd (also drunk) says grace, refining his British accent to make a good impression on his fellow dinner guests. He finds Jen familiar and she reminds him that they met on a plane. (She assures everyone that they didn’t sleep together.) “Where was I?” he wonders. “Oh, yes, the birth of Christ.” He thanks God for Gail, then sings Dawson’s praises, declaring his love for him.
Todd continues that Dawson’s gotten himself involved in a sexual relationship with Natasha; this reminds Todd of his first movie, when he slept with an underage girl. Dawson finally gets Todd to shut up. Mike also praises Dawson, then asks Todd if he could find Eddie a job. Joey tells her father to shut up. Audrey asks Mike why he doesn’t think Eddie’s good enough for Joey. “This isn’t going to end well,” Pacey remarks.
Audrey isn’t happy about Pacey butting in, and Jen gets yelled at as well when she tries to get Audrey to quiet down. Jen says she thinks Audrey has a problem. Audrey asks if Jen’s still upset that she slept with C.J. She admits to being high, so Gail tries to get her to go lie down. Audrey would rather stay and blast everyone for being hypocrites.
For starters, Dawson and Pacey still hate each other and should stop trying to pretend they’ll ever fix things. Joey and Dawson keep acting like they’re okay with the other’s new relationships, but the truth is that they finally slept together but never dealt with it. They need to deal with everything before they can really move on. Audrey blasts Pacey for never being able to commit because Joey (“Audrey Hepburn”) broke his heart, telling him to grow up.
Audrey wishes the “scumsuckers” a Merry Christmas, grabs some keys, and leaves. Despite the fact that she’s clearly under the influence, no one even attempts to stop her as she gets in Pacey’s new BMW and promptly crashes it into the house. (And I mean she drives it right into the living room.) “I kind of think I zagged when I should have zigged,” she says.
Outside Pacey begs Doug not to arrest Audrey; he wants to try to help her on his own. Doug thinks it would be better for Audrey to get in trouble. Pacey pleads with him to “make it go away” and blame Pacey for what happened. Doug remarks that Pacey has made himself over but is still the same person, looking for a quick fix. He warns that Audrey’s now free to drink and drive again. Doug continues that he was proud of Pacey when he was a chef because there was something honest and noble about it. “Guess it didn’t suit you, did it?” he asks.
Jen offers to call Audrey’s parents, but Audrey is adamantly against that idea. Jen asks why she’s so angry. Audrey taunts that Jen can stop trying to impress C.J. “Pretend that I’m too far gone,” she says. She’s tired of people saying they want to help because it took them until tonight to realize how far gone she is.
Dawson catches Natasha trying to sneak out, and she admits that she slept with Max. Again, she thought she and Dawson were just having sex and having fun. She didn’t think they would make it long after the movie wrapped anyway. Dawson realizes he doesn’t love her either, which Natasha already knew. She thinks they’re both too young for such a serious relationship. She heads back to L.A., advising Dawson to check on Todd, who’s passed out in the bathroom.
Eddie’s also on his way out, but he doesn’t want Joey to come with him anymore. He thinks she needs to stay in Capeside and deal with everything that happened at dinner. He knows Mike has a point in not thinking Eddie’s the best guy for Joey. Eddie wants to stay in the present, not deal with issues from past relationships. Joey promises that they’ll do that from now on. He says that if she met his family, they’d wonder why she’s with him, too. They’d think she’ll wind up breaking his heart.
Joey and Dawson end up together by the water, much more lighthearted about the evening’s events than they should be. She admits that she keeps trying to forget that they were ever close. They both think the evening put things into perspective. Joey knows that Dawson will always be there for her if she needs him, but she can’t figure out why they keep hurting each other.
Dawson notes that they’re not hurting each other right now. Joey says it’s just a truce – an illusion. But she’ll take it, if it means she can temporarily forget what happened to get them where they are. They can go back to hating each other in the morning. Dawson agrees, but both of them admit that they don’t really hate each other.
Thoughts: Alexander is adorable. And he calls Joey “Auntie Joey,” which makes him even cuter.
So suddenly the Potters are all one big, happy family? Why didn’t we get to see Joey and Mike work through their issues? I feel cheated.
Who invited Doug to the Leerys’? It’s not like he’s friends with Gail or anything. And I’m sure he and Mike were thrilled to have to hang out together.
In Todd’s defense, Gail does look very pretty in this episode.
So Audrey’s drunk and high, but when she leaves, no one goes after her or at least makes sure she doesn’t drive. Scumsuckers indeed.
How disappointing that Bessie, Grams, and Bodie are all in this episode but don’t get to say or do anything.
September 8, 2012
Summary: Judging from the decorations all over Beverly Hills and the Walshes’ house, it’s Christmas. Speaking of the Walshes, they’re headed to Hawaii after they celebrate Christmas Eve at home. Brandon calls Brenda out for being nervous about flying. Cindy reminisces about their first Christmas in California, leaving out the unhappy parts. Her family reminds her that she was homesick for Minnesota and hated their tree. Then they talk about Santa, and I hit fast-forward.
Dylan shows up with presents; despite the fact that his one remaining family member lives in Hawaii, he won’t be going there with the Walshes. They’re all sad that he’s going to spend the holidays alone in Mexico. Over at the beach apartment, Donna and Kelly decorate their own tree with Donna’s favorite ornaments. Dylan brings them presents and winds up under the mistletoe, but Kelly makes Donna kiss him instead of doing it herself. They start to make out, which is pretty funny.
David’s getting ready for a party at Mel’s, and he’s not thrilled that afterward he’ll have to come home to Donna. She thinks he’s just upset about the ongoing custody fight. She encourages Kelly to go to Mel’s as well, but Kelly doesn’t want to be disloyal to Jackie. After Dylan leaves, Donna notes that he’s been in a really good mood lately. Kelly worries that he’s overcompensating with Christmas cheer and is actually depressed.
Dylan packs for his trip to Baja, taking a few minutes to remember visiting Jack on Christmas. (I hit fast-forward again.) He follows it up with a memory of Jack’s car going boom. Dylan’s reminiscing is interrupted by a woman and a girl on his front doorstep. The woman says that Jack once told her to look Dylan up if she was ever in town. She’s looking for a hotel to stay in. Dylan lets them in to use his phone. The woman is Suzanne and the girl is her daughter, Erica. While Dylan’s in the kitchen, Suzanne tells Erica to do exactly as they’d planned.
The Walshes are off to the airport…or they will be, once Brandon gives Andrea some “ecumenical advice.” Jesse wants to take her to midnight Mass, but she doesn’t know what to expect. Brandon advises her to call the Vatican hotline instead. Dylan and Suzanne talk about Jack; it sounds to him like the two of them used to date. He’s also suspicious that she waited a year to express her condolences. Suzanne takes him down a notch by telling him she and Erica lost everything in a flood and have been living in a Red cross shelter.
Brenda’s nervous on the plane, and Brandon tells her she has a phobia. Cindy and Jim are enjoying living it up in first class. There are more flashbacks, but I don’t feel like dealing with them. The flashbacks do succeed in distracting Brenda from being anxious during takeoff. At the beach apartment, Donna tries to use mistletoe to be romantic with David, who’s being very Grinchy. Kelly seems perfectly content eating the chocolates Dylan gave her (so I guess her eating disorder is a thing of the past).
Dylan offers to let Suzanne and Erica stay at his house for the night. Suzanne tells him that Erica’s father died last year, but father and daughter weren’t close. Dylan babbles about parents and children for a while until Suzanne announces that Jack was Erica’s father, making Erica Dylan’s sister. On the plane, Brenda and Brandon babble about how all the kids have changed this year, with the exception of Steve.
Steve, by the way, is at the Peach Pit, telling Nat about his baseball-stealing bust and possible setup. Nat tells him the obvious solution is for him to leave KEG. Steve can’t, since his father was in the frat and would disown him for leaving. David mopes through Mel’s party, mad that Donna won’t sleep with him. Mel makes the same assumption that he’s angry about the custody case. He gets an emergency dental call, as he does every year, but this one’s from Kelly, who cracked a tooth.
Dylan goes to the Peach Pit, where Nat tries to enlist him to help get food ready for the homeless. Dylan confides in him about Suzanne’s claim, which he thinks is bogus. Nat tells him to be Christmasy and give her the benefit of the doubt. Jesse goes to get Andrea, who’s dressed like she’s going to church with the characters from Steel Magnolias. He teases that she’ll have to give confession, become a nun, and do missionary work in a third-world country. (I love Jesse.)
Mel takes care of Kelly’s tooth, quipping that despite being a bad husband, he’s a good dentist and father. Kelly says she tried to talk Jackie out of going overboard with the custody case. He knows Jackie won’t forgive him for what he’s done, but it looks like Kelly’s okay with him. The Walshes learn that the computer controlling the plane’s landing gear has gone down, and though the crew has everything under control, they’ll have to return to L.A. (And land…how?) Aloha, Hawaii.
Donna comes home from the party and gets a Happy Birthday/Merry Christmas serenade from Kelly. David’s still at Mel’s, but Donna swears they didn’t have a fight. As the pilot follows procedure in case of a non-wheeled landing (and the Walshes freak out), Erica gives Dylan his Christmas present: a picture of the two of them and Jack, signed “from your little sister.” Andrea and Jesse attend Mass while the Walshes’ lives literally flash before their (and our) eyes. Then they land and no one dies.
In the morning, Nat and the remaining kids serve the homeless while Steve plays Santa. Kelly blasts David for ignoring Donna all morning. Andrea really enjoyed the Mass and keeps talking to Donna about it, which at least distracts her from her relationship problems. The Walshes make a surprise appearance just in time to sing Christmas carols.
Suzanne and Erica are off to Disneyland, but Erica’s sad that Dylan isn’t there to say goodbye. Suzanne thinks he’s already on his way to Baja. He actually went out to get a tree and another ticket to Disneyland so he can tag along. It’s all smiles over at the Peach Pit until Donna goes looking for David and he tells her their relationship isn’t working, “especially the sex part.” So Donna gets dumped on Christmas. Which is also her birthday. Fa la la la la.
Thoughts: Trivia: The Walshes are Presbyterians.
The kids haven’t taken finals yet? What kind of schedule is CU on? Most schools end the semester before Christmas and start the new one after the new year. And why is Andrea still in the dorm? Don’t most schools close their dorms during the break?
Nat, there’s giving the benefit of the doubt and there’s being a gullible fool.
You know the beach apartment is huge because they have a gigantic tree that they can just stick in a corner without having to move anything to accommodate it.
If I were Brenda, I’d tell Brandon I was totally right to be nervous about flying.
Enjoy the coal in your stocking, David.
August 25, 2012
Summary: The morning after Brandon ran away like a little boy, Brenda shares the news with Cindy and Jim. Cindy’s worried but Jim knows he’ll be back for Thanksgiving. Brandon drives down a highway somewhere, then pulls into a gas station to fill his tank. He spots a woman with blond hair, wearing a beret, and thinks she’s Emily Valentine. She’s not.
The KEG and Alpha houses are working together to serve dinner for runaways and pregnant girls at a place called Downey House. Kelly, Donna, Steve, and Sears are all involved. Apparently Sears spent last Thanksgiving hitting on various girls. Steve lets an insult slip, but Sears and the other brothers tell him to shut up since he’s still a pledge.
Donna promises to protect Kelly from Sears before she heads to Houston to see her parents. Kelly laments spending Thanksgiving with just Jackie and Erin. Donna spots Kelly and encourages her to patch things up with Dylan. After all, he cared enough to smash a pie in Sears’ face. Kelly notes that he did that for himself. (No, Kelly, he did it for me.) Donna suggests that Kelly invite Dylan over for Thanksgiving. Kelly does, but he has plans to go to Baja.
Dan and Andrea play chess and discuss Thanksgiving; he’s invited her to spend it with his family but she hasn’t accepted yet. She’s nervous, which he says is because she’s neurotic. (This guy’s a winner.) Brandon winds up at a campsite, where a man named Curtis invites him to join his family for dinner because everyone loves Brandon so much that they just have to spend time with him. Through exposition, we learn that he’s going to Marin County to look up Emily.
At Downey House, Donna tries to keep Sears away from Kelly. Sears quickly turns his attention to a runaway named Denise. He cranks up the charm, and the poor girl has no reason to think she shouldn’t trust him. Brandon tells Curtis about his past with Emily, which is a nice way for us to kill a couple minutes.
Dylan goes to the Walshes’ to get a check from Jim and ends up eating dinner and chatting with Brenda (she’s been cast in a campus play). She invites him to come over for Thanksgiving, noting that he always says he’s fine but always ends up coming over anyway. Cindy approves of the invitation and tells Brenda there’s room for more guests, especially since Brandon’s still gone.
In the morning, Brandon heads to the Valentines’ house in Marin. Well, to their former house – they moved to Greece. Andrea helps Donna and Kelly get ready for the Downey House dinner, telling them she’s worried that dinner with Dan’s family is something of a test. She also revealed that she slept with Dan. Brenda calls Kelly to tell her that Cindy’s already invited Jackie over for Thanksgiving. Kelly knows David is in for a bad holiday with Mel, so she asks to bring him, too.
Brandon finally calls home, telling Cindy he’s in San Francisco and will be home for Thanksgiving dinner. He gets on a cable car, and in a huge whatever moment, he runs into Emily. She now looks completely different, with shoulder-length brown hair. KEG and Alpha serve dinner for the girls, and Sears flirts more with Denise. Kelly spots the two of them leaving together and gets worried. She and Donna send Steve to check things out, noting that Denise is only 15.
As Steve tells KEG’s president, Mike, what’s going on, Sears and Denise go outside for more charm and flirting. Steve interrupts to tell Sears that Mike wants him to go back to the house to get something. It works, so now Kelly and Donna are happy. Brandon goes home with Emily, who has the nicest place I’ve ever seen an 18-year-old live. They discuss her previous mental issues, then quickly move on to making out.
Emily’s neighbor Rosie interrupts and invites Brandon to stay for Thanksgiving. Emily also offers him use of the shower and possibly a bed for the night. When Brandon goes to get his things from his car, Rosie reminds Emily that she’s moving in a week. Emily isn’t sure what to do since she’s still madly in love with Brandon. Meanwhile, Sears returns from his errand unhappy that he was sent away.
Brandon calls Cindy again to tell her his Thanksgiving plans have changed. Cindy doesn’t seem to think it’s strange that he’ll be spending the holiday with a girl they last saw damaging property. Brenda tells her and Jim that Brandon keeps a picture of Emily in a drawer. The Walshes who aren’t Cindy think Emily has changed, but Cindy’s worried that she’ll break Brandon’s heart again.
The next day is Thanksgiving. Jackie and David make awkward small talk at the Walshes’ while Erin remains adorable. Kelly’s surprised and annoyed when Dylan shows up, since he was supposed to be in Baja. Steve and Sears are at the KEG house, and Sears has decided to make Steve’s pledge process horrible. Steve admits to being part of the stunt the night before, reminding Sears that Denise was 15. He doesn’t regret what he and the girls did.
Andrea meets Dan’s parents but is more interested in their catered affair’s bartender: Jesse. They even remember each other’s names from their brief first meeting. Andrea impresses Jesse with some Spanish but almost ruins the mood but admitting that she’s dating Dan. Jesse doesn’t seem to care. Neither does Andrea, who gives him her last name and address.
Kelly’s anger at Dylan makes dinner at the Walshes’ tense. He finally pulls her out of the room and they have a loud fight everyone else can hear. Kelly’s mad about Dylan ditching her for the Walshes, and he’s mad about her ditching him for Sears. They do agree that he should have told her he was spending the holiday with the Walshes.
Emily burned her, Brandon, and Rosie’s turkey, so the three of them decide to get pizza. Rosie urges Emily to tell Brandon she’s leaving, but Emily wants to wait another day. Then there’s more making out, and I feel bad for Rosie since she has to be in the same room with the two of them.
Thoughts: Ugggggg, Emily. What did I do to deserve this?
Denise is played by A.J. Langer, who’s probably best known as Rayanne from My So-Called Life. Did you know her husband is a lord and the future Earl of Devon? She’s a frigging countess!
The only reason this episode is called “Radar Love” is because they keep playing it through the episode. It’s annoying.
If nothing else, this episode made me want to go back to San Francisco.
“Did they have a forwarding address?” What, are you going to drive to Greece, Brandon? Actually, do it. I want to see you try.
Jesse’s a cutie. I don’t blame Andrea for having a crush on him. I do, however, blame her for staying with the annoying, condescending, boring Dan when she could be with someone much more interesting and fun.
If nothing else, this episode made me want to go back to San Francisco
July 3, 2012
Summary: It’s almost Christmas, but since this is Jessi’s book, that means it’s also Kwanzaa. We get to learn all about it. Jessi keeps emphasizing that it’s a holiday about unity and family. Jessi, Becca, Squirt, and Aunt Cecelia are in a car accident a couple weeks before the holidays, and Squirt is admitted to the hospital with a head injury. All the family’s togetherness goes down the drain. They fight with each other, worry about Squirt constantly, and don’t have time to get ready for the holidays. Also, Cecelia is really, really annoying.
The BSC girls are putting together a Kwanzaa festival, complete with a play (of course), which introduces them (and us) to other African-American families in Stoneybrook. Jessi tries to find time to help out, but she’s not really feeling the Kwanzaa spirit. The intra-family fighting continues until dinner one night when Jessi’s cousin Keisha tells everyone to basically shut up and celebrate already. Then the festival goes well, so everyone’s in a good mood again.
Thoughts: I didn’t remember much about this book, and I was all set to roll my eyes the whole way through it, but it’s not that bad. It emphasizes the importance of family and shows how close the Ramseys are.
I don’t think I know anyone who celebrates Kwanzaa. And outside of this book, I think the only time I’ve read about it was in The Boondocks. (Man, I miss that strip.)
Squirt gets hurt because Cecelia lets Jessi undo his carseat strap while she’s still driving. So…shouldn’t she be charged with child endangerment or something?
Also, if I spoke to any of my brothers’ kids the way Cecelia talks to Jessi and Becca, they wouldn’t be nearly as patient as Jessi’s dad is.
One of the kids in the Kwanzaa play wants to sing “Colors of the Wind,” so now that’s stuck in your head, too, ha ha ha!
Mallory brings the Ramseys a Christmas tree since they don’t have time to get one. Aw, sometimes Mallory’s a little awesome.
Apparently Becca’s over her horribly, legendary stage fright, since she narrates the play.
June 18, 2012
Summary: A family called the Kents, who are somehow related to the royal family, buy a house in Stoneybrook while the parents work at the United Nations (just go with it). They have an eight-year-old daughter, Victoria, and want her to hang out with Americans, so they hire Mary Anne to be her “companion.” I don’t know why they don’t just have her make a bunch of friends, but whatever. Victoria’s kind of a brat, but not horribly so; she’s just spoiled and is used to having her way. But she takes to Mary Anne and calms down a little.
There’s a random trip to New York, which involves Mary Anne, Stacey, Kristy, and Victoria ditching the girl’s nanny in a very out-of-character-for-the-BSC-girls move. Victoria’s parents make an appearance but don’t spend much time with her, which makes her understandably upset. Mary Anne realizes that she also hasn’t made any friends in Stoneybrook and doesn’t even seem to like hanging out with kids her own age. Sharon guesses it’s because she doesn’t want to get close to anyone, since people in her life are always leaving.
Mary Anne invites Victoria, her nanny, and their driver over for Thanksgiving, but Victoria’s upset by her parents’ absence. She winds up breaking down and having a talk with Mary Anne about her fears that her parents don’t really love her. Mary Anne has been experiencing a little separation anxiety of her own, as her father’s on a business trip, but she gets Victoria to see that her parents will always love her and come back to her. She also talks Victoria into trying to make some friends.
The B-plot parallels the main plot a little: Sharon misses Dawn and has kind of been using Mary Anne as a substitute daughter. She’s even started calling Mary Anne her daughter instead of her stepdaughter. Fortunately, nothing is over the top, and Sharon just admits that she misses Dawn but doesn’t see Mary Anne as a replacement. Also fortunately (for Sharon, at least), Dawn has planned a surprise visit and asked Mary Anne and Richard to keep it quiet. So Dawn shows up on Thanksgiving and Sharon has a great holiday.
Thoughts: Mary Anne finds a tie on a bookcase and a loaf of bread behind a pillow. Has Sharon been checked for mental illnesses?
There’s a chapter where Victoria goes to a middle school football game, and there are a bunch of BSC sitting charges there, including Becca, who’s become obsessed with royalty. At the beginning of the chapter, there’s a scene at the Ramseys’ house where everyone’s teasing her a little about wanting to be a princess. It made me realize that of all the BSC girls’ families, I’d most want to be a part of Jessi’s. Her mom is sweet, her dad is funny, and Becca seems like a fun little sister to have. I could take or leave Cecelia, though.
That said, I might like to hang out with Richard and Sharon (as long as Dawn and Jeff weren’t around). Sharon’s fun, and somewhere along the way, Richard picked up a pretty good sense of humor.
Do a lot of eight-year-olds know what David Letterman looks like? What about British eight-year-olds?