May 26, 2015
Summary: At the end of the last book, it wasn’t clear whether Elizabeth had decided to go to the Denver Center for Investigative Reporting. But now we have confirmation that she’s going. She tells Jessica, and Jess flips, because she can’t get through life without her other half/babysitter/conscience. At the same time, Danny (hi, Danny! Where have you been?) gives Tom the news. And not long after, Scott warns Dana to make sure things with Tom stay awesome. Obviously he’s worried that Elizabeth and Tom will get back together and she’ll end up staying in Sweet Valley.
Nina and Winston throw the first party of the book, to congratulate Elizabeth on getting into the DCIR. Winston has made a video commemorating Elizabeth’s life. When did he have time to do that? Do these people ever go to class? Todd’s at the party and on the video, and I wish there’d been a twist in this book where Todd and Elizabeth got back together, instead of Tom and Elizabeth.
Elizabeth and Jessica get into a stupid fight about how Elizabeth isn’t showing emotion, and how Jessica never shuts up, or something. Jessica accuses Liz of going to the DCIR to run away from Tom. They both storm off, and Jess goes to see Nick, who’s a little distracted by his plans to take a longer leave of absence from the police force so he can go to college. Thanks for showing up, Nick!
The twins quickly make up, and Jessica decides to throw a going-away party for Liz, even though she’s still upset that Liz is leaving. While she puts that together, Elizabeth gets ready to transfer to the DCIR, returning the books she’s already bought for next semester (of course) and cancelling her classes. Except Scott has already cancelled her classes for her. Elizabeth yells at him, but he does that emotional-manipulation thing and makes himself look like the good guy.
Jessica intercepts a call from the DCIR for Elizabeth; some guy there wants to meet with her. Jessica decides to pull a twin switch, meet with the guy as Elizabeth, and make him want to reject her from the school. I don’t get why this is happening at all, since Elizabeth has already been accepted, and Jess has to know that this will come back around to bite her. Wait, what am I saying? Jessica never thinks about consequences. It doesn’t work anyway, since the guy just thinks she’s goofing around when she acts out.
While all this has been going on, Denise has been struggling with her financial issues. She has yet to figure out a reasonable way to pay off her debts, and apparently the collection agencies start calling two minutes after you rack up debt. Getting a job would be too easy, so Denise tries to think of a way to make money fast. When she hears about Elizabeth’s party, she jumps at the chance to cater, because apparently Denise is a really good cook. Jess is fine with it, and gives her money from Ned and Alice to pay for everything. She wants all the food to be gourmet.
Denise and Winston go all out, buying lobster and other expensive food. Except they accidentally leave the lobsters in the car for hours, rendering them inedible. Raise your hand if you think Denise is getting dumber. Left with little money and even less time, Denise sends Winston back to the store to get something – anything – she can make for the party. He settles on tofu.
Just before the party, Elizabeth and Tom almost have a Meaningful Moment, but Dana interrupts it. Boo, Dana! I don’t even like Tom and Elizabeth together, but boo, Dana! Jessica invited Tom to the party, and he’s coming with Dana. That doesn’t sound like a potential disaster at all!
Speaking of potential disasters, Denise does her best to turn tofu into something resembling lobster. Somehow, this works, and she manages to fool Bruce and Lila. Unless they’re pretending so they don’t ruin the party. It’s not clear. Anyway, Bruce asks Denise to cater a party his parents are throwing, and she’ll need to make her special “lobster” dish again. Denise worries that she won’t be able to fool a bunch of rich people.
Jessica puts into motion her last-ditch effort to make Elizabeth stay in Sweet Valley. It involves another twin switch. She pretends to be Elizabeth and goes off with Tom to find out how he feels about Liz. Tom is still in love with her, and is thrilled to learn that, supposedly, Elizabeth wants to be with him again. Scott spots them kissing and takes Dana out to see what’s going on. She’s devastated.
Now here’s what’s weird: Tom is currently kissing Elizabeth but thinks she’s Jessica. Scott can tell just from watching them through a window that Elizabeth is Jessica. How is that possible? Anyway, Scott finds the real Elizabeth and shows her that Jessica’s kissing Tom. Dana eavesdrops and realizes that Tom is kissing Jess, not Liz. She realizes that she and Scott want the same thing – to keep Liz and Tom apart. And the plan is successful: Elizabeth realizes that she really has nothing keeping her in Sweet Valley, so she can go to Colorado without regrets. Ha ha, Jessica’s plan backfired!
Thoughts: Jessica’s codependency is out of control. Does she plan to live with Elizabeth for the rest of their lives?
Jessica doesn’t like Scott because he seems “slippery,” so somehow, in this situation, her instincts are better than Elizabeth’s.
Speaking of Scott, I notice that no one’s throwing him any goodbye parties. Probably because he has no friends.
May 24, 2015
Summary: Dylan goes out to Marchette’s mansion to confront him (with a gun) for moving Toni’s body. Instead, he ends up holding the people who now live there at gunpoint. They tell him that Marchette committed suicide after Toni died. Matt teases Kelly for not wanting to use his toothbrush even though they just had sex. Janet warns Donna and Noah (who are about to have sex themselves) that Steve’s in a bad mood because all the guys from his seminar are mad at him.
Gina’s waiting for Dylan when he gets home, desperate to keep him from using. She tells David that Dylan has the flu and will spend the night with her at the beach apartment. After he sleeps for a while, Gina confronts him over buying a gun and going after Marchette. She promises to stay with him and help him through withdrawal. Dylan doesn’t think she’ll want to be with him after seeing him like that.
Steve complains to Janet about how Kelly told all of the girls at the After Dark to go slowly (which he thinks made them turn down the seminar attendees), then went and had sex with Matt. Janet points out that they’ve been dating for a while. Plus, Steve shouldn’t consider his attendees having sex with people they just met to be a triumph. To add insult to injury, everyone in the class demands their money back, wanting to take Steve to small-claims court. David admits that he used the dead-grandmother story and scored.
The Martins are off on vacation in Amish country, so Noah suggests that he and Donna housesit for them. Donna isn’t really into having a romantic weekend in her childhood home. But since there are so many people hanging out at the Walsh house nowadays, it’s hard for them to find privacy, so Donna changes her mind. Kelly gives Matt a toothbrush to keep for her at the Walshes’ house. He introduces her to someone as his friend, which bugs her.
Steve tells Matt that he’s being taken to court, but since it’s small-claims, lawyers aren’t allowed. He suggests that they go on the show Judge Mary. Steve likes the idea of getting some publicity while he’s garnering sympathy. Matt’s like, “The judge is a woman. She’ll hate you.” Kelly tells Donna about the toothbrush, kicking herself for being so forward and only being rewarded with the “friend” label. Donna urges her to play it cool. She admits that she’s a little jealous because Kelly’s at the start of a relationship, which is always fun.
Dylan and Gina are all happy at the beach apartment, but when he won’t eat, she thinks he’s wasted. Because cooking spaghetti for someone you thought was going through withdrawal was a good idea? David goes on a date with Gertrude, the woman he picked up using Steve’s story. She encourages him to talk to the kids in her community-center program because, like some of them, he’s an orphan. Wow, this woman is naïve.
Someone called the cops after seeing Dylan’s motorcycle at Marchette’s mansion, and they track Dylan down. To make matters worse, they find drugs on him, so Dylan will be spending the night in lockup. Donna and Noah are excited to have privacy at her parents’ house, but it lasts for about ten seconds. All the carpets in the house are being replaced, so there will be workmen in and out. Womp womp!
Gina visits Dylan in lockup, where he demands that she bring Matt to get him out. She knows he just wants to be released so he can get drugs. Steve goes on Judge Mary, whose eponymous ruler doesn’t seem to like anyone involved. Steve’s anxious because David, his “star witness,” hasn’t arrived. Kelly tries to make plans with Matt, but he’s busy. She’s not exactly taking Donna’s advice, since one of her suggestions for something to do is taking a trip to Santa Monica.
Gina arrives to announce that Dylan was arrested. Kelly tells her that she knew Marchette was dead but didn’t tell Dylan because he doesn’t like to talk about the family. Gina makes her leave before she tells Matt about the drugs. Janet tries to leave the courtroom when they show the video of Steve practicing his dead-grandmother story on her. Judge Mary calls her to testify about the technique. David arrives but doesn’t want to have to admit that the line worked, since he actually likes Gertrude.
Dylan is facing jail time for the drugs and assault, and if he pleads guilty, he won’t get bail. Matt says he has to spend at least 48 more hours in lockup before his arraignment. If he does make bail, Matt will make him go to rehab. Gina comes for another visit, and Dylan asks her to bring him some drugs from his stash. He’s already pretty sick, so he’s desperate. Gina won’t do what he asks.
Judge Mary rules that even though David may have had success with one of Steve’s techniques, and even though the seminar attendees might not have applied the techniques properly, the plaintiffs should get their money back. Noah and Donna try to find a place to have sex, since, as she already pointed out, they’re in childhood home. They settle on the hallway. Sexy.
Kelly and Matt have dinner at the beach apartment, talking about Dylan. Also sexy. She wonders if Matt still thinks there’s something going on between her and Dylan. Matt assures her that everything with them is fine, and Dylan isn’t the reason he didn’t want to go away for the weekend – it’s a money issue. Kelly finally mentions that she’s annoyed that Matt called her a “friend.” Matt goes outside and yells that Kelly’s his girlfriend.
Donna and Noah almost get fined for accidentally setting off the house alarm while trying to have sex. They really got the lame plotline in this episode, didn’t they? Dylan calls Gina to ask again for drugs. He wants to feel well when he goes to rehab after his arraignment the next day. Gina refuses again but is less adamant this time.
Noah and Donna finally get some alone time in the pool, just before everyone comes over for a barbecue. Matt gets Dylan out of jail so he can go to rehab, but Gina hasn’t shown up with his drugs, so he’s anxious. Matt wants Dylan to go to the barbecue with him and let his friends know what’s going on so they can support him. He warns Dylan that he’ll go back to jail if he uses again, no matter how rich he is.
Donna and Janet tease David about his new relationship; he says he doesn’t want his friends to meet Gertrude yet because they’re taking things slowly. Everyone notices that Dylan doesn’t look great. Even though he lost on Judge Mary, Steve’s thrilled to get some publicity (and he gets to be on TV). While the gang watches his episode, Gina arrives with Dylan’s drugs. She realizes once again that he’s using her.
Gertrude shows up, having been secretly invited by Janet, who used to volunteer at the community center. Of course, she sees him on Judge Mary and learns that the story he told her was a lie. So that’s it for David and Gertrude. Janet doesn’t feel bad at all, which is pretty funny. Donna catches Gina and Dylan fighting, and as Dylan starts talking to Donna, he accidentally knocks her into the pool. She hits her head and loses consciousness while Dylan spaces out. Steve and David pull Donna out of the water and Noah tries to revive her with CPR. Dylan’s in la-la land.
Thoughts: Judge Mary is played by Cristine Rose, who I last recapped on “Party of Five.”
Steve offered a money-back guarantee on the seminar, so the attendees didn’t need to take him to court. They just needed to ask for their money back. The plot would have made more sense if they’d asked for the money, Steve had refused, and they’d taken him to court to get it.
“I brought the onion dip. Are you guys naked?” Finally, Kelly said something charming.
I like Janet more and more each week. All hail Janet!
May 23, 2015
Summary: Bailey and Holly are pressuring Will to move out of the Salingers’ basement and into Holly’s apartment to continue their ruse with the INS. Will resists, saying he’s settled where he is. Plus, his girlfriend, Meredith, won’t be happy if he moves in with another woman. Bailey thinks something else is going on, but Will won’t talk about it.
Also not wanting to talk: Julia, who’s avoiding calls from a woman who wants to interview her about her book for an online magazine. Claudia reminds her that the point of writing her book was to help people. She made an appointment for Julia behind her back. Daphne’s supposed to go out for a crazy night with some friends, happy to have a break from motherhood. Kirsten, who’s been focusing a lot on getting ready for the baby, decides to tag along.
Claudia has a paper to write, so she can’t go out with Todd (who can somehow go out a lot despite having a job and schoolwork). A work friend suggests that she get a paper off the Internet and use it to “help” her. Bailey goes to Will’s work to confront him over not wanting to move in with Holly. He thinks it’s because Will doesn’t like her. Will insists that he does, but doesn’t confess that the problem is that he likes her more than he should.
Daphne, her friends, and Kirsten go to a club, but Daphne doesn’t have the stamina she used to. Julia meets with the interviewer, Phoebe, but they’re interrupted by Justin. He announces that he and Laura are done, and now he wants Julia back. She closes the door in his face. Phoebe praises her for what she thinks is Julia standing up to a bad boyfriend.
Kirsten tells Daphne and her friends that they’re brave for being strippers – she could never do it. She’s a rule-follower and has always done what was expected of her. Will moves in with Holly (sleeping on the couch) and resists any kind of physical contact with her. She and Bailey make plans together, then invite Will and Meredith along.
The interview turns into a therapy session for Julia, who tells Phoebe the whole Justin saga. Phoebe can relate since she has an ex who would come to her crying every time one of his relationships broke up. Then she would sleep with him. Julia says it’s different because Justin’s still in love with her. She admits that she feels the same about him. Phoebe thinks Justin’s selfish, and Julia shouldn’t feel bad about rejecting him.
Todd visits Claudia for a study break, surprised that she says she has to rewrite her paper. Apparently she’s taken one from the Internet and is going to use it as a guide. After some sweet talk, Claudia decides to put off the “rewrite.” Kirsten finds Charlie’s date-night plans for them boring now that she’s had a taste of Daphne’s fun friends and their fun life. He promises that they’ll do something crazy sometime. (As if Charlie could ever even think of something crazy to do.)
Phoebe tries to meet with Julia to finish up her interview, but Julia’s made plans with Justin. So much for all that encouragement Phoebe gave her. Bailey, Holly, Will, and Meredith’s double date goes south when Meredith reveals that she and Will broke up. Bailey says Will should have said something so they wouldn’t have an uncomfortable date. Will objects to the idea of Bailey and Holly wanting him to be comfortable, since it’s so clear he isn’t.
Kirsten complains to Daphne that her night with Charlie was boring. Daphne admits that her friends’ life – her former life – isn’t that great, and she doesn’t miss it as much as she thought she did. Kirsten points out that at least Daphne used to have that life and knows what she’s not missing. Will watches Holly through her shower curtain, which is pretty creepy.
Julia meets with Phoebe to make sure she won’t be portrayed negatively in the interview. She says she had to be nice to Justin because he was upset about his marriage not working out. While they were talking, she realized she’s not mad at him. In fact, they’re back together. Phoebe points out that the article has nothing to do with Justin – why does Julia feel the need to talk about him? If Julia wants to be with him, why does she feel like she needs to explain herself?
Claudia’s teacher praises her for her great work on her paper. Daphne takes Kirsten to see her friends at their strip club, which Daphne now looks down on. A stripper suggests that Kirsten take the stage just to see what it’s like. Justin’s happy to be back with Julia, who wonders if their reunion was too easy. He didn’t treat her that great while he was with Laura. She thinks they’re both rebounding. He thinks she’s overanalyzing it and trying to talk herself out of it.
Bailey tracks down Will in the Salingers’ basement and asks again what’s going on with him. Will finally admits that he has feelings for Holly. He tried to avoid her, but Bailey kept pushing them together. Bailey tells him that if he wants to be Bailey’s friend, he needs to find away to ignore his emotions.
Julia has been cut out of Phoebe’s article, which now talks about taking back the ex who cheated on her. Phoebe says that sometimes you need to rewrite the rules for something important to you. Charlie wants to take Kirsten somewhere fun, as she requested, but now she’s fine with their boring life. When she gets ready for a bath, a dollar falls out of her pants. Oh, Kirsten.
Claudia tells Todd that she failed an exam on purpose to make up for the paper she plagiarized. She needs to spend more time on her schoolwork, which means she can’t go out with Todd all the time. She admits that that makes her feel like he’ll leave her behind. Todd suggests that they turn their time together into study time. He’d rather be with her than go out anyway.
Will apologizes to Bailey for not confessing that he has feelings for Holly, but Bailey isn’t mad. He still wants the plan to go forward, though. He says it’s because Holly could get deported and Will could be arrested if the truth comes out, but we all know it’s really because Bailey wants to keep Holly around, even if it makes Will miserable.
Julia makes a parallel between buying ice cream she likes, knowing she shouldn’t, and being with Justin, knowing it could be a disaster. She thought buying the ice cream/giving into temptation made her weak, but it doesn’t. So the lesson is that you should go after what you want even if it hasn’t been good for you in the past and you could get hurt. Awesome.
Thoughts: Phoebe is played by my girl Kimberly McCullough from General Hospital. Meredith is played by Samaire Armstrong from The O.C. and the just-cancelled Resurrection.
Matthew Fox directed this episode, in case anyone cares. That’s probably why he’s not in it much.
I love that Daphne and Kirsten are friends. They could so easily hate each other. It’s so much better for Diana if her mom and stepmom actually like each other.
“Stop having feelings you can’t control!” Shut up, Bailey. “My relationship is more important than those feelings anyway.” Seriously, shut up, Bailey.
May 19, 2015
Summary: It’s Kerry Glenn’s birthday, y’all! …You know, Kerry Glenn! She takes ballet with the twins and pops up every once in a while when they need a random character around. Okay, that’s not important. What’s important is that Sandra Ferris will be coming to Kerry’s party, and no one likes Sandra Ferris. She’s tall. She’s clumsy. She’s shy. She’s awkward. She probably talks to animals and collects soda cans. Kerry says she’s only invited to the party because their mothers are friends. Apparently Elizabeth was friends with Sandra when they were younger, but Sandra went to another school for a while and they lost touch. Liz is the only one who thinks people should be nicer.
Everyone going to the party decides to give Kerry gifts that have to do with ballet (Jessica’s idea). Jess is supposed to let everyone in on the plan, including Sandra. Of course, she doesn’t talk to Sandra. A lot of the girls going to the party find out the plan from each other, because they’re friends and talk, but Sandra’s out of the loop. She gets Kerry gloves. Do people in Sweet Valley even need gloves? Does the temperature ever drop below 60 degrees there? Sandra’s pretty miserable at the party, so Elizabeth chats with her, then invites her to hang out the next day.
What do you do when your twin sister’s hanging out with a loser (and you’re Jessica Wakefield)? You give the loser a makeover, of course! In the grand tradition of Cher and Dionne, the twins give Sandra a new hairstyle, do her makeup, and loan her some not-dreadful clothes. Suddenly, she’s pretty. So pretty that guys like Steven, Aaron Dallas, and even Tom McKay take notice.
When you become hot overnight, your whole life changes, as Sandra learns at school. All the popular kids want to hang out with her, including the Unicorns. In fact, a rumor starts (thanks, Caroline!) that Janet wants Sandra to become a Unicorn. Jessica hates that no one gives her any credit for turning Sandra into an unobjectionable person, and it makes her even madder that Sandra doesn’t praise her for her help. Also, Jessica, who’s suddenly an aspiring fashion designer, tried to sew lace cuffs on her sweater but didn’t stitch them properly, so they fall off.
The Sweet Valley Days festival, the town’s celebration of its founding, is approaching, and the mayor will be speaking at a special assembly at the school. A student will be selected by the social studies teachers to give his introduction. Plus, the kids get to elect a representative from each grade to ride a float in a parade. These kids will be dubbed Citizens of the Year. I love how the teachers pretend this won’t just be a big popularity contest.
Despite her shiny new exterior, Sandra still has self-esteem issues, and she worries that everyone is only being nice to her because she’s pretty. She decides to throw her hat in the ring as a candidate to introduce the mayor. If she wins, that means she’s awesome, not just pretty. Except the teachers are choosing that person, so it doesn’t really mean that. But anyway, she gets Elizabeth to nominate her, even though Liz had already agreed to nominate Jessica. Jessica pouts, but I don’t get why she didn’t just ask someone else to nominate her. Also, amazingly, Elizabeth isn’t nomination, or just given the honor outright for being such a wonderful person.
Once Sandra wins the honor, she rides the high to the competition for Citizen of the Year. Jessica had planned to win both honors, so she’s royally ticked. She and Sandra enter a heated battle to become the biggest teacher’s pet. They should have done that before; this is the competition where the students get to vote. The girls both randomly focus on a literacy program, which need more funds from the students. Why do they think middle-schoolers will be able to fund that? When I was in middle school, I only ever had, like, five dollars, and you better believe I was going to spend that on mini-donuts.
Jessica decides that if she can help raise money for a bookmobile, she’ll be a lock for Citizen of the Year. Because if there’s anything middle-schoolers admire in their classmates, it’s their love of fundraising. A talk with Steve gives Jess the idea to create commemorative booklets for Sweet Valley Days, like the seniors at SVH did for prom. When Jess tells Elizabeth the idea at school, Sandra overhears her talking about selling ads, remembers her older sister telling her about the prom books, and comes up with the same idea Jessica already had. She tells her teacher about it and gets all the credit without even realizing she kind of stole it.
Now Jessica and Elizabeth are both mad at Sandra, thinking she really did steal the idea and is using it to get ahead of Jess in the race for Citizen of the Year. Everything Jessica wanted for herself falls to Sandra, who wins Citizen of the Year and is praised for the booklet idea. But Sandra can’t be happy because the twins are mad at her, and friendship with them is the most important thing in the world.
Sandra goes to see the girls but talks to Steven instead and realizes that he gave Jessica the same booklet idea that Sandra got. She figures that she was inspired by Jess, so it’s reasonable that Jess would think she stole the idea. The girls all finally talk, and everything gets worked out. Then Sandra decides that Jessica should ride on the float instead of her, so she pretends to be sick the day of the parade. Sandra, you need to learn right now not to enable the girl. It’ll just make her worse. Jess does let Sandra take credit for the booklet, since she worked so hard on it, so I guess that’s nice. She just wanted to ride on the float anyway, so what does she care?
Remember how I said Jessica’s suddenly into fashion design? She wants to make a pioneer dress for Sweet Valley Days. Alice is very encouraging and agrees to help but warns that it will take a ton of work. Amazingly, Jessica actually does that work instead of, say, manipulating Elizabeth into doing it for her, or giving up two minutes in. The dress doesn’t turn out great, and she doesn’t finish the hem before the parade, so she has to go around with it taped up all day. When she gets home, she realizes it’s kind of a mess, but she’d rather trash it than fix it. That sounds like Jess all right. She’ll just have to find something else to become instead of a designer.
Thoughts: The first thing Sandra wears to school post-makeover: “A faded denim blouse and a pair of tan stonewashed jeans.” That’s bad even for the late ’80s.
For some reason, the image of Jessica’s lace cuff falling off into her macaroni and cheese has stuck with me all these years.
Amy nominates Ken for Citizen of the Year, rather than Elizabeth, so there’s the main difference between her and Enid.
Sweet Valley’s mayor’s name is Herbert Lodge, which makes me think of Herbert Love, Terry Crews’ character in the fourth season of Arrested Development. He should definitely not be mayor of anything. And from there I think of Herbert Cain, who Herbert Love was based on. And then from there I think of pizza. That was fun!
May 17, 2015
Summary: Why do we always start out at the After Dark? Dylan and Gina are there, making out. He loans her his jacket and she finds heroin in one of the pockets. It’s an instant turnoff. David complains on the air that there are only couples there, and asks for advice finding a girlfriend. Donna and Janet talk about how guys are losers; they share the worst pickup lines they’ve ever heard. Noah tells them they don’t understand how hard it is to pick up a woman. Steve says he’s mastered the “art” and can teach it to others. Janet suggests he title it the name of this episode.
Things are going well for Matt and Kelly, but she hesitates when he tries to take things to the bedroom for the first time. It doesn’t help that they’re at the Walshes’ house. Gina turns up at David and Dylan’s the next day, though it looks like all she wants to do is pout. Dylan makes a show of flushing his drugs, saying that Gina finding them was the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Donna thinks Kelly was perfectly justified in putting Matt off, despite Kelly’s worries that he’s mad at her now. Gina gets in a dig by making it seem like she spent the night with Dylan.
Donna addresses the things Gina said at her birthday party, and Gina claims she didn’t mean any of them. She announces that she’s gotten a job as a personal trainer. Her first client? Felice. Steve has actually started a class on picking up women, and he’s using Janet’s title, How to Be the Jerk Women Love. He asks David to video the classes so he can more easily spread his knowledge to the masses. Janet notes that he’ll be able to make more money that way, too. She thinks Steve is sacrificing his dignity, as if he ever had any of that.
Felice wishes Donna were as ambitious as Gina, who at least tried to get to the Olympics. She doesn’t think Donna has the attention span to stick with the store for long. Felice invites Gina to a luncheon with her (JFK, Jr. will be there!), thinking that Donna wouldn’t want to go. Kelly goes to see Matt, who’s taking cooking lessons from a woman named Marissa. Kelly gets jealous, because she’s a woman and we women always get jealous whenever someone else of our gender is around.
Donna, Gina, and Noah look at paintings at a museum opening while Dylan uses the bathroom. Gee, I wonder what he’s doing? Gina casually mentions that she’s going to the luncheon with Felice. Of course Dylan’s using in the bathroom, and he yells at a kid who wants to come in, because drug users are always mean and make kids sad. He tells Gina to pick out a painting and he’ll buy it for her. Noah can immediately tell that Dylan’s high, but Gina seems clueless. Gina sees that the painting she likes is from the Marchette collection…as in Anthony Marchette.
The next morning, Gina wakes up with a drug-sick Dylan, who insists that everything’s under control. He also doesn’t want to talk about Marchette. Gina asks if Dylan’s using needles, and even though he says he’s not, she decides they’re through. Kelly sees Marissa heading up to Matt’s office and laments to Donna that she’s to blame, since she didn’t sleep with Matt. David asks Kelly to come on his radio show to talk about relationships. Kelly and Donna learn of Steve’s seminar and crack up, which is the only appropriate response. They decide to sneak in.
Dylan goes to the cemetery and has flashbacks that recap the whole Toni/Anthony thing. But when he arrives at Toni’s grave, someone else is now buried there. He learns that she’s been disinterred, but her new location isn’t available. Dylan handles the news calmly and maturely ha ha ha ha ha no, he doesn’t. Gina decides to give up her spot at the luncheon, telling Donna that she thought Felice had already invited her and Donna had turned down the offer. Gina says that whenever Felice says bad things about her daughter, Gina defends her. Donna doesn’t like this.
Kelly and Donna hide out in the control room while Steve leads his seminar at the After Dark. He shows footage of a discussion he had with Noah and Matt, in which Matt says he prefers romance over cheesy pickup lines. Donna notes that he recently made Kelly a home-cooked meal, which makes Kelly think he was just using his typical technique on her. Dylan goes to the beach apartment to angst over Toni to Gina, whose awkward shoulder pat shows that she has no idea how to show empathy.
Kelly storms up to Matt’s office to complain about how women keep going up to his floor. He’s like, “I’m…a lawyer? With clients? And also, there’s a salon next door? Maybe they’re going there? Would you like to get your nails done, too?” Kelly then complains that Matt likes to cook dinner for women, so when he did it for her, it must have just been part of his game. He tells her he was trying to flirt. Back at the seminar, Steve plays footage of a fake pickup between him and Janet; he uses a sob story about his late grandmother to get sympathy.
At the beach apartment, Donna teases Noah by using his pickup lines from the video. Gina and Felice return from a shopping trip; Felice seems to enjoy being able to dress up her new fake daughter. Gina tries to smooth things between mother and daughter by giving up her spot at the luncheon, but Donna says she won’t go no matter what. Felice is like, “Well, you ruined today.” Mother of the year, that one.
Steve takes his class to the After Dark so they can practice using all the lines he’s taught them. Meanwhile, David and Kelly take calls from people who want relationship advice. A girl wants to know whether she should sleep with her boyfriend; she’s afraid he’ll dump her if she doesn’t. Kelly and David tell her to go at her own pace. The guys from the class all fail at picking up women, which is no surprise since they needed a class to learn how in the first place. Steve tells Janet it’s not his fault.
Kelly continues to tell callers that they need to take relationships slowly. Steve goes in to yell at her for putting that idea in people’s heads. Kelly goes out to dance with Matt, who tells her he’s fine with taking things slowly. However, if she changes her mind, he has a nice date planned for them. Kelly’s like, “I never intended to take my own advice! Slow is bad! Sex is good!” Dylan goes to buy a gun from a guy who’s chewing a toothpick, so you know he’s trustworthy. Meanwhile, Matt and Kelly take things the opposite of slowly, heading to his bedroom.
Steve and David find Dylan’s gun and rush to confront him for bringing it into the house. They’re concerned with his behavior, as they should be. Kelly tells Matt that she does want to take things slowly after all because she really likes him and doesn’t want to screw anything up. Donna tells Gina that Felice’s recent behavior is typical of her; Gina should be lucky that she wound up with a better mother. Gina reveals that she’s had to give half of her paychecks to her mom for years. Donna appreciates Gina standing up for her. As soon as she’s alone, Gina calls Felice to say that Donna’s behavior the previous day was unacceptable.
David tries to use one of Steve’s lines on a woman, but it doesn’t work. He and Steve can’t remember what it’s like to be in a normal relationship. Steve encourages David to try his dead-grandmother story on a woman, but David tries to have a regular conversation with her first. When it goes poorly, David tries out the story. The guys from the class confront Steve for not teaching them anything that worked, not realizing that at least one method has been successful.
Kelly and Matt plan to hang out, but first, the bedroom. Yeah, they’re really going slowly here. Gina tries to talk to Dylan, who says he needs to go see someone. She’s sick of him being mysterious and tells him they’ll have to stop spending time together if he keeps it up. Dylan tells her he wants to see Marchette and find out where Toni’s body is. Obviously, that’s what the gun is for. Ruh-roh!
Thoughts: Kelly and Donna giggling over Steve’s horrible pickup lines cracked me up, too.
How much did Steve have to pay Janet to participate in a seminar video? Does he have some kind of dirt on her? Janet, are you being blackmailed? Do you need help? Blink twice if you need to be rescued.
Donna, the pigtails on their own are okay. The shirt with the duckling on it is cute. But together, they make you look six. Maybe go shopping with Felice.
May 16, 2015
Summary: Will and Holly are at a courthouse, getting married. The judge marrying them asks if Will has anything to say to his bride. “You look nice,” he says. After a short ceremony, they’re officially hitched. Bailey’s a little uncomfortable to watch the new bride and groom kiss. Holly immediately goes on guard, noting that the INS could be anywhere, watching her.
Charlie already has a crib for the baby, but Kirsten worries that they’re tempting fate. (By the way, they haven’t told anyone about her pregnancy yet.) An INS agent surprises the McCorkles, suspicious because Bailey seems to have his own set of keys to their apartment. He sets up an appointment to interview Holly and Will about their relationship. Adam shows up at the Salingers’ after spending some time at an artists’ colony in Mexico. He announces that he’s moving there, but wants to spend the next few days with Julia.
Will’s sure that he and Holly won’t be able to fool the INS agent. He knows that if they get caught, he’ll never be able to run for elected office. Bailey’s like, “Hey, future president, you live in my basement. Chill.” He advises them to pretend Will is Bailey and answer questions as if they’re being asked about him. Will still isn’t assured.
Claudia tells Julia that she had an awesome dream about Todd declaring his love for her. Julia doesn’t think it’s that great – after all, it didn’t really happen. At work, Charlie and Bailey clash with a guy named Mitch who disagrees that they should be training people on a new process so they can increase their output. Charlie tells him to give it a try and go back to his way if things don’t work out.
Adam asks Julia to come to Mexico with him so they can be hipster starving artists together. She resists, so he invites her to just come for a week. He’s sure that she won’t want to leave. Holly admits to Will that she feels bad for making him go through so much so she can get a green card. He’s equally apologetic, calling himself a coward. She thinks he’s actually being selfless.
One of Julia’s professors lectures on Charlotte Bronte, who encouraged her readers to follow their dreams. Kirsten cancels a weekend away with Charlie, worried about being too far away from her doctor. Claudia tries to enact the dream she had about Todd, but he’s not clear on what she’s doing. He’s speechless when she mumbles that she loves him.
Charlie tells Bailey he’s firing Mitch for not following orders. Bailey asks permission to talk to Mitch and try to get him in line so they don’t have to pay him severance. Charlie’s more concerned with the money they’ll lose if the business goes under. He announces that he’ll do Mitch’s job if they let him go. Bailey reminds him that he can’t do every job; after all, that’s why he hired Mitch and Bailey in the first place.
Julia tells Adam she’ll go to Mexico with him for a few weeks. She sees it as a chance to do some writing that actually interests her, instead of writing boring papers. Will asks Bailey some intimate questions about Holly so he can put on a believable front for the INS. He also asks about the couple’s worst fight, which leads to Bailey and Will having their own fight about it.
Claudia’s written Todd a Dear John letter, and says Julia was right about how she shouldn’t have read too much into the dream. Julia feels differently now, and praises Claudia for saying “I love you” before Todd did. Claudia tears up the letter.
Bailey’s annoyed with Holly for telling Will about their fight; he feels like they’re exposing everything about their relationship. He accuses her of caring more about her green card than him. Holly angrily says that might be true. She calms down and tells Bailey that the only thing she’s ever felt sure of is her desire to be a doctor. She knows it’s her future, and she can’t afford to jeopardize it.
Julia finds Kirsten crying in the Salingers’ house, where she’s picking up some of Daphne’s old pregnancy books. She’s bleeding, so Julia takes her to the hospital, but everything’s okay. Her doctor urges her to have faith that things will work out so she doesn’t stress herself out so much worrying about something that might not happen.
Will and Holly meet with the INS agent, who asks the one question they can’t answer: How did they fall in love? Will talks about how great Holly is, and it becomes clear that he’s speaking from the heart. Todd tells Claudia that his parents always said “I love you” to each other, even though they were having affairs, so the phrase never meant anything to him. Instead of saying it to Claudia, he demonstrates his love for her by letting her drive his beloved car.
Mitch comes in to get his last paycheck, and Charlie tells him that he was right about his method being a bad idea. He recognizes Mitch’s hard work and would like him to stick around. They agree to try to trust each other more. Instead of meeting Adam to leave the country with him, Julia meets him to tell him she’s staying put. She needs to be close to her family because they give her strength.
Holly’s pleased with the way Will snowed the INS agent, apparently clueless that he’s actually in love with her. She and Bailey make up, as he says he’s grateful that she told him how she feels. Will’s saddened to see them close again. As Charlie and Kirsten finally announce their pregnancy to the family, Adam leaves Julia a message asking her to change her mind and join him in Mexico. She ignores it so she can celebrate with her family.
Thoughts: How pregnant is Kirsten supposed to be now? She found out weeks ago, and she’s still not showing.
Holly knows they have doctors in England, right? Why does she hate to be one in the U.S.?
Scott Grimes (Will) is really good in this episode. It’s too bad they never gave him more to do.
Julia, you can leave your family for a few weeks. Try to work on not spiraling into co-dependence.
May 12, 2015
Summary: UGH, this Elizabeth/Tom/Scott triangle is still going on. Can’t we have another Nina book? No, instead, we have to hear about how a newsmagazine with the stupid name of NEWS2US wants to profile Elizabeth and Scott about the country-club mystery. The interviewer (a woman) mostly focuses on Scott, and Elizabeth is basically asked to be pretty and look at Scott like she admires him. When the article is published, it paints Scott as the sole mystery-solver, and Elizabeth as a groupie.
Elizabeth is understandably upset (as are Jessica, Nick, and Tom, who were major players in the case). Scott tells Liz that the interviewer was just jealous of her, because all women are always automatically jealous of other successful women. He claims that the interviewer also hit on him. Liz is dumb and falls for this.
Tom’s upset when he reads the story, since he knows Elizabeth deserves more credit. He calls a contact at NEWS2US and learns that Scott’s father is on the board of the corporation that owns the magazine. Plus, the elder Sinclair has connections to the Denver Center for Investigative Reporting, a supposedly prestigious journalism school (with a dumb name) where Scott has just been accepted. Tom thinks this is a huge scandal and even does a story about it on WSVU. Clearly Tom has never heard of nepotism.
Elizabeth is also accepted into the DCIR but has a hard time deciding if she should go. She and Jessica are so codependent that she’s not sure they can be that far apart from each other. Tom is also a factor – if she leaves SVU, they might never see each other again. She’s upset that she keeps seeing him with Dana, who’s still as annoying as ever. Elizabeth tries to talk to Tom about the story he did on Scott, but they end up having a huge fight in the cafeteria, which everyone hears. She reveals that she also got into the DCIR and might leave.
At the end of the last miniseries, Jessica decided to leave school to attend the police academy, and Nick decided to leave the police department to go back to school. Jess has seemingly abandoned her plan, as she’s still at school. She uses a hugely embellished version of the country-club case to get an extension on a creative-writing assignment. The professor’s so impressed with her imagination that he gives her an A – she basically just wrote the story on the fly while talking to him.
Jessica’s next big adventure is the swimsuit calendar she previously won a spot in. Nick suddenly decides he doesn’t want her to do it, but Jessica whines enough to make him change his mind. He’s wrong for trying to stop her from doing something, but she’s also wrong for being a brat, so neither of them comes off looking too great here. While Jess gets ready to be a model, Nick gets ready to take his college-entrance exams. Neither of them enjoys the experience. Jess doesn’t like the pictures afterward, and she decides she doesn’t want to do the calendar. Alison’s like, “After all that fighting, you quit??” I guess Jessica needs excitement after the whole country-club adventure.
Nick has been so busy studying that he hasn’t called Jessica in a few days, and she thinks it’s because he got hurt on the job. When she goes to see him, she’s relieved that he’s okay, but she soon realizes that by leaving a dangerous job to do something calm like school, Nick isn’t that interesting anymore. She’s not sure she’ll feel the same about him once he’s no longer a cop. Then all that gets brushed aside when Jess hears about Elizabeth and Tom’s fight and learns for the first time that Liz might go to Denver. At the same time, Elizabeth finally makes a choice about whether or not to accept her spot at the DCIR.
The C-plot belongs to Denise, who is dumber than we all thought. She’s the poorest Theta sister and decides that getting a credit card is what she needs to feel better. Of course, she goes on a huge spending spree, which is why 18-year-olds having credit cards is often a bad idea. Especially credit cards with what appear to be no limits. I don’t get how Denise can spend so much. When I got my first card (sometime in college, but I understood that, you know, you have to actually pay the money you’re charging), my limit was $1,000, I think. Now, at 33, my limit might be twice that, at most.
So Denise’s card gets declined at a super-fancy restaurant, and when she goes to the bank to discuss the situation, the guy who signed her up for the card is like, “Maybe you should…stop spending so much money? Have you thought about that?” Denise can’t even afford to pay the minimum amount every month, and then the college comes after her to start paying interest on her student loans. Which…I don’t think is possible. They have access to her credit reports? And I don’t think they can make you pay anything on your loans until you’re done with school.
Anyway, instead of getting a job, like a reasonable, smart person, Denise learns of a company that will help her consolidate her loans. Of course, the interest will be huge, and she still has to make monthly payments, so this isn’t better than having credit-card debt, but Denise thinks things are wonderful. I have a feeling this miniseries will end with Denise living in a cardboard box, eating the crusts of Lila’s tea sandwiches.
Thoughts: They’re calling the mystery at the country club the Krandall Scandal. That’s beautiful.
Jessica’s in a “detective film fan club chat group on the Internet.” I can only imagine her contributions to those discussions.
“Encryption is a word, isn’t it? Or is it kryptonite?” Jessica worries me.
“The Only Bank wants to be your friend.” It’s a cult! Run, Denise!
College-entrance exams require knowledge of trigonometry? If I had to try to get into college now, I’d wind up curled in a ball, whimpering.
Scott, after convincing Elizabeth that he’s not benefiting from nepotism: “I think you’re afraid of your feelings for me, Elizabeth. You keep looking for reasons to dislike me. Don’t you think I deserve better than that from you?” EW EW EW. This is the behavior of an abuser. “It’s your fault you feel that way. You’re crazy for believing that. You’re wrong for thinking like that.” Anyone who tries to make you feel like your feelings are wrong, unimportant, invalid, etc., is someone you need to avoid. Cut him loose, Elizabeth! Don’t get involved with someone like this!
Denise has always seemed like a smart person, so how in the world does she not understand how credit cards work?
Elizabeth spends 20 minutes picking out an outfit before she goes to see Tom…and she settles on overalls. Nailed it! Then she starts chewing a blade of grass. Is she secretly a redneck?
In Tom’s head: “She was so dear to him. He cherished her integrity, her spirit, her intelligence.” Who wants to tell the ghostwriter that no college guy has ever thought like that?
May 10, 2015
Summary: Donna, Kelly, and Gina are discussing an upcoming 12-hour dance marathon. Gina says she’s going with David, though it kind of sounds like a lie. Donna mentions that a shop near the boutique was recently robbed, so now there’s a security guard hanging around. Gina reminds her that she was the one who welcomed a gang member with open arms. Dylan shows up to take Kelly to breakfast, and when she hedges, Gina volunteers to take her place. Gina needs to chill.
Donna and Gina find gang girl Sonia and a guy asleep on the floor of the boutique. She tells them they didn’t have any other place to go. Instead of breakfast, Dylan takes Kelly to an airport – they’re going to Cabo. Matt’s going to have to step up his game. Donna lets Sonia keep working off her debt at the boutique, as long as she promises not to spend the night there again. Another gang girl shows up to show off her switchblade and warn Sonia to stay away from her man. Good thing the security guard is there.
In Mexico, Dylan brings up Matt, then decides he’d rather have fun with Kelly than talk about her relationship. Steve has bought a story for the tabloid, and Matt warns that it will probably lead to a lawsuit. Janet’s more concerned with the fact that they’re not a respectable paper if they buy their stories. Steve doesn’t care – he just wants readers. Noah asks Steve to sponsor him in the dance marathon, which is raising money for Fight AIDS. Steve sees this as a networking event, so he’s definitely on board.
In Cabo, Kelly and Dylan buy crazy hats and a statue. Then Dylan sneaks off to buy some drugs, which he stashes in the statue. They joke that Kelly will be smuggling art back to the States, since they don’t have to declare religious artifacts at the border. Janet objects to the $1,000 Steve offered Noah for the marathon; the paper can’t afford it. Steve says it’s fine, not realizing that he pledged $1,000 per hour, which means he actually has to pay $12,000. Don’t worry, Steve – I doubt Noah can dance for that long.
Noah asks Gina to take care of getting Donna’s birthday cake. Gina tells him about the gang girl who showed up to threaten Sonia with a switchblade. Noah worries that Sonia’s presence at the boutique will threaten Donna’s sales. He asks her to quit, and Sonia obeys. Dylan and Kelly return to Beverly Hills and make out, only stopping when Matt calls. Kelly tells him she was out all day Christmas shopping with a friend. While she’s on the phone, Dylan retrieves his drugs. He’s a little too excited about the fact that Kelly just lied to her boyfriend, but she realizes they’ve gone too far.
Gina’s annoyed with Kelly, as usual, so when Matt shows up to see her at the boutique, Gina outs Kelly’s lie about her whereabouts all day. Kelly comes clean about where she was and who she was with, making Matt flee. Janet urges Steve to withdraw his pledge, but he doesn’t want to look like the Grinch. He has a plan: They’re allowed to pick the people who represent the paper in the marathon, so they’ll just put up people with low stamina, namely Muntz and his wife. Except they’ve been working out with a trainer, and Muntz has been running 10Ks, so he’s not so out of shape anymore.
Gina invites Dylan to the marathon, having to come clean that she’s not going with David. When David arrives, Dylan mentions that David and Gina both want to go, so they should go together. Sonia shows up at the boutique, telling Donna that the other gang girl, Lucy, is pregnant by Tony, the guy they’ve both been involved with. Sonia admits that she wanted to get pregnant so she could leave the gang. Donna announces to Noah that she’s going to help Sonia, as if there were any doubt.
At the Peach Pit, Kelly tells Matt that she was surprised by the trip to Mexico; she thought she and Dylan were just getting breakfast. Dylan shows up, and Matt tries to make a quick escape. He tells Kelly that he’s not going to compete with Dylan for her, not least because he can’t match Dylan’s efforts. Dylan decides to move on from Kelly with Gina. Looks like Christmas came early for her.
When they get back to town the next morning, Dylan and Gina learn that the boutique was robbed. Gina admits that she closed an hour early the night before and isn’t sure she did it properly. Kelly’s more upset that Dylan and Gina went to Mexico, and he bought her a Mayan goddess of fertility. Dylan promises that Gina closed up properly – he would know because he was with her. Gina says that Sonia obviously broke in, as she’s the only other person with a key.
Kelly assures Matt that nothing happened between her and Dylan in Mexico. He doesn’t have to worry about her taking any more trips with him. She wants to get back together with Matt, but he knows Dylan will just keep pursuing her, and she won’t be able to resist him. Kelly tries to prove her commitment to Matt by inviting him to dance with her at the marathon. There, Noah double-checks with Gina that things are ready for Donna’s birthday party right before midnight.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra provides the music as the marathon begins. There are some fun ’40s outfits. Dylan left his second statue at the boutique, but the presence of the security guard keeps him from getting inside to get it. Three hours into the marathon, the Muntzes are going strong, so Janet urges Steve to tell them he can’t afford their pledge. Of course, he’s not going to do that.
Donna’s distracted by Sonia’s problems, the store’s failure to really get off the ground, Gina’s weirdness, and Noah’s distance. She’s also a little upset that she and Noah haven’t discussed plans for her birthday. Her timing is perfect, as it’s time for them to go next door to the Peach Pit for Donna’s surprise birthday party. Everything is good except for the cake – Gina got chocolate, which Donna’s allergic to. Noah pulls Gina aside and she rants about how she’s always been second to her perfect cousin. Donna overhears, shocked that Gina feels like this.
Dylan comes to the marathon, obviously in withdrawal, and asks Kelly to let him into the store. She’s not willing to let him in to get the statue he bought Gina. She makes it clear that they’re over. Dylan moves on to Gina, telling her he needs the statue for luck. The promise of attention makes Gina only too happy to help. Muntz and his wife win the marathon and donate their $5,000 to Fight AIDS. Fortunately, Steve has suddenly gotten a reputation as a nice guy, which has led to an increase in ad sales. Merry Christmas, Steve Sanders!
Sonia comes to the After Dark to return Donna’s keys, and Donna sees that she was beaten. Sonia tells her that the other gang girls wanted her to help them rob the store, but she refuses. The security guard, however, was an accomplice. The happy ending is that Sonia’s out of the gang. Matt and Kelly get burritos, which is as close to a trip to Mexico as Matt can get. She’s surprised that he knows her tastes better than she thought he did.
Dylan and Gina spent the night together, and in the morning, he snorts heroin in his bathroom. Noah gives Donna her birthday presents, fake snow inside the After Dark and a bracelet his father once gave his mother. Somehow, David doesn’t think it’s strange to broadcast from 20 feet away while his ex dances with her current boyfriend.
Thoughts: Kelly and Dylan get champagne in Mexico, so I guess we’re just completely ignoring his alcoholism?
Really the only difference between Gina and Valerie is that Gina’s better at playing innocent when she messes with someone’s life.
I wonder when Vanessa Marcil and Brian Austin Green got together? They don’t really have chemistry (though supposedly couples without chemistry on-screen have it off-screen).
Since when is Donna allergic to chocolate?
May 9, 2015
Summary: Apparently Adam has gone to an artists’ colony in Mexico, but Julia isn’t mad, since the stuff he said about her not doing things for herself was true. Claudia’s surprised that she’s stopped working on her book. Julia says it just has problems and people don’t get it; otherwise, it would have been published. The sisters suddenly spot Ned and everything goes into slow motion. They leave before he can see them.
Bailey has signed up for three classes but is now considering going back to school full-time. He’s thinking of going to Stanford, which is where Holly wants to go to med school. She tells him she’s probably not going to be able to go after all – she has to work full-time to pay her rent, but that violates her student visa, which has now been revoked. After exams in a few weeks, she has to go back to England. Holly’s optimistic that her lawyer will work things out for her.
Kirsten makes Charlie breakfast in bed to commemorate the first anniversary of the day they got back together. Charlie’s too overworked to remember the anniversary. He offers to skip a meeting that night so they can celebrate. Claudia encourages Victor and Ross to talk, since Ross knows a little about custody issues, and Victor now wants custody of his daughter, Charlotte. Victor quickly catches on that Claudia’s trying to hook them up. He notes that he and Ross aren’t automatically compatible just because they’re both gay.
Holly’s lawyer doesn’t have good news for her, and she can’t think of any other options to keep her in the U.S. Bailey suggests a green-card marriage. Holly doesn’t want to put any pressure on their relationship, since they haven’t been back together that long. Plus, they could get caught lying. Bailey says that people only get caught when they don’t love each other. Holly can start keeping some of her things at his house, and everything else will stay the same.
Julia’s jumpy knowing that Ned’s in town, and she’s considering being proactive by going to see him before he can ambush her. Griffin hears her and Claudia talking and objects to the idea of Julia visiting him. Julia insists that he’s not going to hurt her, but Griffin notes that she’s scared anyway. He tries to get her to promise not to see Ned. Charlie and Kirsten’s romantic evening is interrupted when Daphne and Diana show up a week ahead of schedule. Daphne says they may be back in town for good.
Julia ignores Griffin’s concerns and goes to see Ned, blasting him for taking away a year of her life. After only about a minute, she leaves. Daphne tells Kirsten that Luke travels a lot and there’s nothing to do where they live, so she decided to come for a visit. She wonders how Charlie and Kirsten find time for each other. Kirsten admits that she’s not sure how she manages to be as patient as marriage requires her to be.
Bailey calls for information on getting married, pretending he’s looking for a fishing license when Will walks in. Will’s not as dumb as he used to be, and he easily figures out that Bailey wants to marry Holly so she can get a green card. Bailey insists that he’s only being helpful; he doesn’t really want to get married. Will’s happy that Bailey has finally made a solid decision about something. If he felt the way Bailey does about Holly, he’d get married, too.
Claudia’s matchmaking has been half successful, as Ross is now interested in Victor. Claudia tries to let him down easy, telling him that Victor would rather stumble across a guy he likes than be set up. Kirsten tries to talk to Charlie about Daphne, but he doesn’t think they should worry about her. She just needs to be patient while Luke gets settled. Kirsten feels bad that Daphne’s alone with Diana in a place she doesn’t see as home. She doesn’t think Daphne will stay at the base long if Luke keeps traveling.
Holly’s annoyed to learn that Bailey discussed their marriage with Will. He tells her to relax – this could be fun! There’s almost no chance the INS will catch on! This is a totally brilliant, not-at-all-risky plan! Bailey thinks a honeymoon will be a good way to convince the INS that they’re a legitimate married couple.
Ned goes to the Salingers’ to apologize to Julia, telling her that his abuse landed him in jail for two weeks. He’s trying to become a better person, and has made a vow not to date anyone until he’s sure he won’t hurt her. He wishes people would stop looking at him like he’s a monster. Julia points out that it’s not up to her to make him feel more human. Griffin walks in and chases Ned off.
Ross tries to chat with Victor when he comes to the house to meet Claudia, who claims she forgot he was coming. Ross calls Victor on saying Ross wasn’t his type because he’s too smart and sweet for him. He thinks Victor has the wrong idea about love – working for it is hard, but it’s worth it. After all, he worked hard to adopt his daughter, and he doesn’t love anyone more than her.
Luke makes a surprise visit to San Francisco with the news that he wants to be home more. Charlie admits to Kirsten that he got Luke to see what Daphne needed. Kirsten isn’t impressed – she needs Charlie to make the same kinds of promises about being home more. Otherwise she’ll feel like a single mother, too.
Griffin thinks Julia’s crazy for wanting to talk to Ned, but she wants to forgive him. She thinks that will help her forgive herself. After all, she did love Ned, and she wants to feel like that wasn’t the wrong decision. Griffin thinks that forgiveness will make Ned believe that his abuse was okay. Holly tells Bailey that she appreciates him for coming up with a solution to her problems, and she loves him, but she can’t marry him. She doesn’t want a relationship where they’re confused about what’s real.
Julia finds a website for victims of abuse where people can share stories of their experiences. She wants to upload her book so people can read it. She’s added an afterword about seeing Ned again, and now thinks the book is “good enough.” She thinks it’s ready, and hers is the only opinion that matters. Claudia runs into Victor at a coffee shop and apologizes for trying to fix him up with Ross. Then she spots Ross and realizes that the two of them have decided to go on a date after all.
Charlie comes home from work early and promises Kirsten that he’ll work shorter hours a few nights a week. She doesn’t think he’ll be able to keep that promise. Thanks, Kirsten! Will has a proposal for Bailey and Holly: He’ll marry Holly so she can get her green card without jeopardizing her relationship with Bailey. Holly agrees to this, clearly not having thought this through. Julia gets positive feedback about her book, from women who are happy to have someone to relate to. One woman says that now that she can count on herself, she’s never alone.
Thoughts: How is Victor single, though? He’s such a catch!
“Person I abused, don’t you feel sympathy for me?” Go away, Ned.
“I know I told you that you should take over the factory, but now I’m mad that you did.” You go away, too, Kirsten.
May 5, 2015
Summary: For their 86th summer, the twins are going to camp for two weeks. Amy and Ellen are also attending, but Lila skips out at the last minute in favor of a trip to Paris. That seems like a much more Lila-like vacation than camp. I can’t imagine she’s a big fan of the outdoors. Anyway, that’s not really important; it just leaves an empty bed in the cabin. A friend of the twins’ named Grace was supposed to go to camp, too, but her parents are possibly getting divorced and Grace doesn’t want to bring up camp in case it makes them fight. They want to take separate vacations and leave her with her godmother. I don’t get why she can’t go to camp if they’re going to be gone themselves. This whole setup is really dumb.
So the girls go to camp, where they first thing their counselor is an annoying girl named Tina. Jessica short-sheets her bed, because in teen books, someone always knows how to short-sheet a bed. I remember reading how to do it, either in a BSC book or in the Paula Danziger book There’s a Bat in Bunk Five, but without a visual example, I completely forgot about it. Fortunately, though, the annoying girl isn’t a counselor; the girls instead get Jamie, a nice girl who seems perfectly suited for this job.
Really, the whole camp sounds like a preteen’s dream. There are tons of activities, no one seems forced into doing stuff they don’t want to do, the food isn’t too horrible, and almost everyone is nice. There’s only one problem: The boys’ camp is on the other side of the lake, and there’s no comingling. Jessica wants the two camps to have a dance, and she spends most of the book trying to drum up support. Of course Jess can’t go two weeks without male attention. She asks the camp director, Mrs. Edwards, about having a dance, and Mrs. Edwards says she’ll think about it.
At a campfire, Mrs. Edwards tells a ghost story about a nearby hill called Crying Moon Mountain. Two people were in love, they couldn’t be together, one of them died, etc. There’s supposedly a ghost in the cabin on the mountain. Elizabeth and Amy think that’s dumb, so Jessica peer-pressures them into checking the cabin out in the middle of the night. Now Elizabeth wishes she’d kept her mouth shut. During a treasure hunt, the girls meet another camper named Barbara, who’s apparently the only girl at camp who isn’t nice. She thinks everyone is beneath her, and she seems to be allergic to fun. Even Elizabeth can’t stand her.
That night, Elizabeth and Amy climb the hill to the cabin. Jessica accidentally scares them when she decides to tag along, feeling bad that she made them go up in the middle of the night. In the cabin, the girls are scared again when they learn it’s not empty. But there’s no ghost – it’s just Grace. She hopped on a bus to camp instead of going off with her godmother, who thinks she’s on a cruise with her mom. She’s staying in the cabin so no one knows she’s a camp stowaway.
The other girls want Grace to be able to experience camp like everyone else, so they take turns skipping activities and letting Grace participate in their place. She’s able to hide in plain sight by keeping her face hidden when Jamie’s around, or pretending she’s just staying in another cabin. Everyone who finds out plays along, because who doesn’t want the poor, sad kid to have a good time?
Well, Barbara, that’s who. She hates her cabin-mates, and she wants to bunk with the twins and their friends. She threatens to rat out Grace if they don’t let her move in and take Lila’s unused bed. The girls have no choice but to give in. Unfortunately, this gives Barbara the freedom to make them do her bidding in all sorts of ways. Instead of dressing up as hula dancers for a luau, they have to dress as clowns. And she throws a game of Capture the Flag just for the heck of it. I don’t know why you’d want to have a bunch of people you’re living with mad at you, but Barbara makes no sense anyway.
Somewhere in here, Jessica starts to circulate a petition to garner interest in her dance idea. Once a bunch of girls have signed, she decides to get some boys’ signatures. She paddles a canoe across the lake and hands off her petition to some boys, including Bruce and Jerry McAllister. They couldn’t care less about a dance, but a cute boy named Sandy shows some interest in both the dance and Jessica. Leave it to Jess to make a love connection while attending an all-girls camp.
Grace is apparently a pretty good artist, and she makes a sculpture of a horse. She and her friends are sad that she can’t enter it into a competition. The day of the contest, the girls see that Barbara has entered the sculpture of her own. She wins, and everyone decides this is the last straw. She’s been too mean to everyone, and now she’s stolen Grace’s artwork and put her own name on it. Barbara retaliates by threatening to out Grace if Jessica’s dance goes forward.
Grace is upset over all the trouble her presence has caused, and she decides she should leave camp and take away Barbara’s power. Her friends decide to leave her alone for the night; hopefully she’ll feel better in the morning and rejoin the camp activities. Meanwhile, Mrs. Edwards asks Jessica about the dance petition. Jess never told the boys that it was a secret, so they started bugging their counselors about when the dance was. The counselors asked Mrs. Edwards, who was confused because she’d never officially approved the dance. But it’s all good because she’d already decided it was a good idea. The dance is on, and Barbara can’t do anything about it, so nyah nyah.
Just before the dance, Barbara delivers a note she found from Grace, explaining that she’s going to walk to the bus station and go home. But there’s a huge thunderstorm, and the girls worry about her walking around while it’s unsafe outside. They call the bus station to find out if she’s gotten there, but she never showed up. The twins decide it’s time to tell Jamie and Mrs. Edwards what they’ve been hiding. The grownups aren’t pleased with the fact that Grace has been attending camp without her parents’ knowledge, but they’re more worried about finding her.
Everyone forms search parties, but Barbara can’t stop being a jerk for two seconds, so no one wants her to join them. She runs off, which means there are now two missing girls. Good job, Barbara! She heads up to the cabin, where she’s been hanging out during the day, crying over letters from her parents. Barbara’s parents, like Grace’s, are having a lot of problems, and they snark about each other to their daughter. So we’re supposed to feel bad for Barbara, because she has trouble at home, and I guess that’s supposed to excuse her horrible behavior.
It turns out that Grace is still at the cabin – she decided to wait out the storm there, then hurt her ankle and had no choice about leaving. She didn’t realize that people were looking for her. Barbara tries to make amends by revealing that she entered the sculpture in the contest so Grace could get the prize. Things are going well until Barbara learns that Grace read her parents’ letters. She’s too mad to care that Grace can relate, and could probably use someone to talk to who understands what she’s going through.
Barbara opts for the dramatic storm-out, but suddenly lightning strikes the cabin and it catches on fire. She runs back in to get Grace, who has somehow already passed out from smoke inhalation. Grace is so grateful that she no longer cares that Barbara is a brat. And now that Barbara’s received some positive attention, she’s okay. Grace’s parents are summoned to camp, and she finally tells them how she feels and stuff. She could have saved everyone a lot of trouble if she’d just talked in the first place instead of worrying about upsetting people.
Grace is allowed to finish out the camp session, which probably won’t be much fun with an injured ankle. While she’s reuniting with her parents, her friends are clueless about what’s been going on – all they know is that Grace was in the cabin when it caught fire, and Barbara was somehow involved. Barbara comes to tell them everything, but everyone’s mad at her and yells at her for a little while. Then everyone else leaves to see Grace, and Jessica tries to kick Barbara out of the cabin, throwing her things outside.
Grace tells everyone what happened, and how Barbara saved her life. Then she urges Barbara to tell all the other girls about her family troubles so they’ll understand why she’s been acting the way she does. They’ll probably still hate her, though. I guess then everyone forgives everyone, and all the girls enjoy the rest of their time at camp. And, of course, they get to go to the dance. Barbara makes a love connection with Jerry. Good for her? Now I just want to reread There’s a Bat in Bunk Five.
Thoughts: The girls get to put sheets on their beds instead of using sleeping bags. What kind of fancy camp is this?
They play Capture the Flag wrong. You’re not supposed to know where the other team’s flag is.
Barbara may be having a rough time at home, but being nasty without provocation is a good way to lose my sympathy. “They had started silly rumors about her, saying she was mean.” They’re not rumors if you’re actually mean, you brat. You can’t be mean to people and then complain when they’re mean back.
“It’s not a crime to have trouble at home.” Grace, please repeat that over and over through the rest of the series and into SVH.