May 15, 2021

Felicity 4.9, Moving On: Have You Guys Considered Being Single for a While?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

TFW your ex and your new guy show up together

Summary: Ben shows up for a shift at Dean & DeLuca with Felicity and steps in when a customer gets annoyed with her. He apologizes for not calling her after he said he would (the last time they were together, when they had sex and then he left). She suggests that he come over later for a talk. He agrees, then changes his mind and tells her they need to move on. Meaning move on from each other, alone, without talking about what happened.

Javier has temporarily moved into the dorm apartment, where Felicity and Elena are moping over Felicity’s breakup. Elena doesn’t want to keep tutoring Ben, out of solidarity with her roommate. Felicity decides to paint through the pain. Javier encourages her to hang out with him that night and help him avoid a woman from his drama class who has a crush on him. He needs Felicity to intervene if she asks him out. He can’t say no on his own, since the woman is as pathetic as a puppy wearing a cone. After Felicity leaves, Javier tells Elena that they need to do something about Ben and Felicity.

Ben and Lauren meet up in the hospital cafeteria, where she tells him she’s made arrangements to stay in New York a little longer. She feels like she’s making a fresh start, though she worries that Ben thinks she’s running away from her regular life. Ben doesn’t care, and he asks her if she wants to get dinner that night. Lauren is a little iffy about dating such a young guy, but he tells her he’s dated an older woman before. Yeah, that turned out great! Anyway, it’s a date.

At the loft, Sean presents his latest invention idea to Meghan: comfort cologne, in scents that men find enticing, like brisket and macaroni and cheese. Ehhhh. Try again, Sean. Meghan’s annoyed that Noel is still living with them. He also has insomnia, and he likes to watch TV at night, so Meghan hasn’t been able to sleep. She wants him to leave. Noel overhears and promises to be gone in a week.

Elena stops by the studio where Felicity’s painting something dark. A TA named Owen thinks it’s great, and Elena thinks he’s cute. Felicity isn’t interested, since Owen never cleans up in the studio. Elena urges Felicity to ask him out anyway. When Felicity hesitates, Elena tries to ask him out for her. Owen seems clueless.

At Dean & DeLuca, Javier tries to convince Ben to come see A Streetcar Named Desire with him and his drama class that night. Yes, that would be the same production he’s making Felicity come to. Ben tells him he already has a date. Javier tries to guilt him, saying he needs company since he’s struggling with his split from Samuel. Ben falls for it and agrees to try to break his date.

Noel is now in therapy with a doctor named Auerbach, and it looks like Ryan was right – he has depression. Noel doesn’t feel like himself anymore, and he’s uneasy with all the changes going on in his life. Auerbach agrees with me that he has depression. Hey, look, I’m as smart as a psychiatrist! Maybe I should try to squeeze all my pre-med requirements into two semesters like Ben! Noel is hesitant to start taking medication, but Auerbach won’t force him to try it.

Felicity goes back to the studio after having lunch with Elena, and Owen impresses her by cleaning her brushes and the studio floors. Felicity clarifies that she’s not looking for a relationship, no matter what impression Elena gave him. She heads off to the play, stunned when Ben shows up outside the theater. They both quickly realize that Javier is messing with them. But then Lauren shows up, and Felicity gives Lauren her ticket and leaves. Sorry, Javier. Better luck next time.

Felicity goes straight home to yell at Javier, who’s taking a bubble bath. He thought seeing Stanley and Stella together would inspire Felicity and Ben to rekindle their passion. Javier…no. Just no. Felicity complains that everyone is acting crazy in an attempt to meddle with her and Ben’s relationship. Javier and Elena say they just want the two of them to be happy. Felicity says Ben seems to be happy enough with Lauren.

After the play, Ben and Lauren go to her apartment and make out. They’re interrupted by a call from a guy who insists that he and Lauren have to talk right then. Ben decides to leave, making plans to see Lauren again the next night. In drama class, Javier and a classmate named Rita act out a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. After class, Rita gushes over Javier’s talent. I think it’s safe to assume that she’s the one with a crush on him. She offers to go see the play with him, since he missed it, or watch the movie with him when he rents it. Javier lets her down gently.

Ben goes back to Lauren’s and learns that her ex wants to get back together. She wants some space to figure out what she’s going to do. Noel looks at apartment listings in his office, then runs into Felicity. He pretends everything in his life is great. She invites him to get coffee and catch up, since they haven’t seen each other in a while, but he’d obviously rather be alone.

Owen brings Felicity hot chocolate as she looks at her completely dark painting in the studio. He comments that she’s kind of intense. He reminds her that she’s in college, so she’s allowed to have fun. Felicity promises she does. She can also be spontaneous, as she demonstrates when she asks him out.

The next day, Ben and Owen both head to the dorm apartment at the same time. Felicity’s getting ready for a date with Owen, wondering what she’s doing. Elena thinks she’s smart to try to move on. Felicity’s already nervous enough, and when Ben and Owen come to the door together, things just get worse. Ben stays to study with Elena and watches his ex go off on a date with another guy.

Noel goes to another session with Auerbach with excuses for why he doesn’t have depression. He’s always been hopeful, and the person people come to for help. Auerbach asks who he goes to. When Noel names Ryan, Auerbach points out that Ryan has depression, so obviously Noel’s reasoning doesn’t hold up. If anything, depression makes you more empathetic.

Noel says that when he and Ryan were kids, Ryan would go through phases where he seemed distant from everyone, like he was at the bottom of a pool. Noel always thought he was boring his brother. Now he realizes that Ryan was drowning and no one noticed. Noel is ready to consider medication. “I’m not going to let you drown,” Auerbach promises.

On their date, Owen asks who Ben is. He’s okay being Felicity’s rebound, if that’s what’s happening. He determines that Felicity was in love with Ben and he broke her heart. Or maybe Felicity wasn’t getting what she needed from the relationship. Felicity takes the blame for the breakup. Owen decides they should move on (the theme of the episode; thanks, Owen!) and talk about other things, like hobbies.

Ben leaves someone a message, saying he just wanted to say hi. Owen walks Felicity home, both of them happy about how the evening went. But when he kisses her, she realizes she’s not quite ready to completely move on. He tells her she’ll find someone else eventually, even if it’s not him. They agree not to feel weird around each other the next time they’re both in the studio.

Felicity is the lucky recipient of Ben’s message, and Elena thinks it means he wants her back. She tells Felicity not to call him back – she needs to make him squirm. Lauren calls Ben instead, and since she’s moping and thinking about drinking, he invites her over. Rita gives Javier a lint brush, since he mentioned that his dryer is broken. He tells her he’s like Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, but also like Tennessee Williams, in that he’s gay. Rita knows – she just wants a friend. They bond over having lost their husbands.

At the loft, Lauren tells Ben that she knows she shouldn’t get back together with her ex, but she’s tired of feeling like she has a hole in her heart. The two of them hold hands as Lauren says she just wants one night where she doesn’t think about her heartache. They make out again, then move toward something more. They ignore the ringing phone – it’s Felicity calling to tell Ben she’s available if he wants to talk.

Thoughts: If you had told me ahead of time that this episode includes Javier trying to Parent Trap Ben and Felicity back together, I would have said, “Of course it does.”

I know Pavone’s methods worked, but Auerbach is so much better at therapy than she is. I mean…”I’m not going to let you drown.” That’s so powerful. (And it helps that the actor playing Auerbach, Richard Masur, is so good.)

Meghan wears…this. What is this? She looks like a three-year-old flower girl.

January 16, 2021

Felicity 3.9, James and the Giant Piece: Me and Earl and the Addict Girl

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

Creeeeepy

Summary: Living with Sean has rubbed off on Noel, who wants to sell an idea to a website. One of his professors is a programmer at a cartoon site, Icebox, and has encouraged Noel to submit graphics. Felicity likes the limping robot Noel has designed. Too bad it’s not supposed to be a limping robot. There’s also an elephant that’s really a mailbox. Better luck next time, Noel. He’s starting to question his decision to become a graphic designer. Since Felicity has taken classes about life drawing and figures in motion, she thinks she can help.

Elena comes home with news that she has to appear before the school’s disciplinary committee to address her fling with McGrath. She’s one of nine who have been identified as his love interests. Dang, he really got around. At an Al-Anon meeting, Molly tells the group that her boyfriend, James, is facing eviction because he spends all his money on drugs. She admits to using cocaine with him. James has graduated from that to crack, but Molly’s trying to avoid taking that step.

After the meeting, Ben tells the leader, Alicia, that they need to do more to help members who need it. Alicia told Molly about a program she should attend to help her with her drug use, but there’s only so much Alicia can do. She warns Ben that if Molly doesn’t want help, he needs to accept her rejection. He goes to see Felicity, asking her what she would do if she knew someone who was struggling with addiction. Felicity would try to listen to that person and be there as much as she could. Ben pretends he was talking about his father.

Meghan runs into Earl and some friends, and he taunts her for selling out. She’s boring now that she’s settling down with Sean and isn’t partying anymore. When Meghan gets to the loft, she tells Sean they have to go out tonight. She’s distressed to realize that Earl was right – she’s changed. She wants to go to a rave. Sean reminds her that he just had surgery, so he shouldn’t be in a place where people are slamming up against him. Sean suggests throwing raisins and cinnamon into the oatmeal he’s made, his version of going wild.

Elena meets with Dean Allison, who tells her about a former student named Sabina who’s filed the harassment complaint against McGrath. She got Elena’s name, along with McGrath’s other exes, from his assistant, who thought he was taking advantage of his students. It was a typical quid pro quo arrangement – the women slept with McGrath and he gave them higher grades.

Felicity has been able to improve Noel’s cartoon, so she thinks they should team up again. Elena comes home and tells them she’s not going to address the disciplinary committee. The circumstances of her fling with McGrath weren’t the same as the other students’, since he didn’t coerce her into a relationship and she didn’t sleep with him to get better grades. Sabina is the student Elena and Felicity talked to about McGrath’s seminar, and Felicity and Elena agree that she had a weird vibe. Besides, Elena is more concerned with fixing thing with Tracy.

Ben finds Molly at Epstein Bar and encourages her to break up with James. Molly doesn’t appreciate his input. Ben isn’t an addict, so he can’t understand the situation. James joins them, and Molly leaves with him. Elena agrees to talk to Sabina at Dean & DeLuca, but she doesn’t agree to go before the disciplinary committee. Neither will any of the other women who slept with McGrath, since they need his recommendation for post-grad stuff. Sabina just wants one other person to back her up.

Elena tells her that their situations are different, since she wasn’t coerced. Sabina says he just made her feel that way. She knows now that her relationship with McGrath was really a form of harassment. Elena continues to argue that she wanted the relationship. Plus, McGrath was going through a difficult time and needed someone – his ex-wife was sick. Sabina is familiar with that story and now knows that it wasn’t true.

Noel and Felicity keep working on his cartoon together. Does anyone care about this? Yeah, I didn’t think so. She wants to make a cartoon called “Loser Pet Store,” about animals no one wants. One character is a neutered poodle that thinks it’s a cat. Another is a snake that thinks it’s in a relationship with another snake, but it’s really its tail. There’s also an alcoholic goldfish that wants to swap its water for vodka. Noel loves the idea and wants Javier to voice the poodle.

Molly goes to the loft and tells Ben that she’s in over her head with James. In a clinic waiting room, she tells him she met James when he was on a trip to London. She kind of came to New York for him. Hmm, sounds familiar. James is charming and everyone loves him, including Molly’s mom, whose psychic abilities haven’t told her there’s anything to worry about. Molly appreciates that Ben cared enough to say he was worried. She knows James would have a hard time quitting drugs, but she can’t imagine quitting him.

Elena and Tracy chat after class, and though he’s polite and civil, he doesn’t want to talk much. Back at the dorm apartment, Elena admits to Felicity that McGrath changed her seminar grade after she slept with him. Based on that grade she didn’t earn, she got into upper-level classes and landed on the Dean’s List.

Felicity points out that she had to earn those honors by herself. But Elena knows sleeping with McGrath was what set everything in motion. She wouldn’t have met Tracy or taken chances if she hadn’t gotten that grade. Now she thinks she’s a fraud. She continues that the same thing happened to her as what Sabina went through. If she comes forward, though, she’ll have a black mark on her transcript and she’ll never get into med school.

Meghan brings Earl to the loft after spending all day and night partying with him. Sean is annoyed that she’s spending so much time with a guy like Earl. She’s acting like a completely different person. Meghan says this is who she really is. She changed when she started dating Sean, but he hasn’t made any changes for her. Sean thinks that having his testicle removed counts. “That ball can only get you so far!” Meghan yells.

Ben stops by the dorm apartment, where Felicity announces that James is going to move in for a while. She didn’t even know that Molly had a boyfriend. Ben gets Molly alone and asks why she didn’t break up with James. Molly says they had a long talk, and he’s even going to come with her to a clinic appointment. Ben says his father always did the same thing – he would promise he was going to stop drinking, but he never kept his word.

Felicity tells Ben that she wants to tell Tracy what Elena’s going through. Felicity, has meddling in your friends’ lives ever worked out? Over at the loft, Sean tries to make up with Meghan by offering her tickets to a comedy club. Yeah, not good enough. Meghan wants to go to the Fetish Ball. She plans to dress as a pregnant woman. Sean reminds her that it’s Friday night, so he has to observe the Sabbath. Meghan suggests that he tell God that Sean’s ex-girlfriend is going to the Fetish Ball.

Felicity goes to see Tracy and tells him that Elena is struggling with the whole McGrath situation. She only accepted one grade in exchange for sex, but it wasn’t really like that. Elena held everything in for two years, and now she feels like a fraud. Felicity just wants Tracy to reassure Elena that she’s still a good, smart person. Tracy doesn’t want to get involved.

At Dean & DeLuca, Felicity tells Ben she thinks it’s weird that Molly never mentioned having a boyfriend. Ben is only half listening, and he wants to leave his shift early. Tracy finds Elena and tells her he knows about the McGrath stuff. He confesses that he didn’t get into McGrath’s seminar freshman year, but Elena did, which means she’s smart. She shouldn’t believe that she doesn’t deserve the things she’s earned. Tracy isn’t over what happened between them, but wants her to know this is how he feels.

Molly and James are supposed to go to her clinic appointment, but first he wants to do some crack. She resists, but he basically orders her to join him. Ben goes to the clinic to try to catch Molly, but she’s still at the dorm apartment, making out with James. He tells her she should cut her hair, and when she says she doesn’t want to, he cuts it for her. Poor Ben waits at the clinic for so long that he falls asleep.

Noel tells Felicity that his professor loved “Loser Pet Store” and wants to take it to Icebox. Noel wants them to keep working on it together. He leaves as Ben comes over, just as Felicity finds Molly’s hair all over the bathroom floor. Ben tells Felicity that James shouldn’t be staying there. He starts to move James’ bag and a gun falls out. Ben tells Felicity that Molly’s in his Al-Anon group and has talked about James’ drug use. Felicity is a little annoyed that Ben didn’t tell her that Molly’s using, too. She agrees that James shouldn’t be staying there.

Elena meets with the disciplinary committee, alongside Sabina. She testifies that she initiated the relationship with McGrath, but that probably doesn’t matter, since she was 18 and he was 44. After the interview, Elena tells Dean Allison that she didn’t earn the grade McGrath gave her in his seminar. She wants to retake the class. Allison notes that her course load is heavy, so her other work might suffer, but Elena insists on earning her grade on her own.

Meghan goes to the Fetish Ball with Earl, but she’s not as happy to be there as she wanted to be. Earl is pleased that she’s giving up her boring life to go back to the person she used to be. Meghan says they’re not really over; their fetish is breaking up with each other over and over. Earl calls Sean as loser, but Meghan says she doesn’t date losers – she just hangs out with them.

Elena tells Tracy that she testified against McGrath and he’s going to be fired. She appreciates his advice to be honest and be who she is. He tells her she shouldn’t doubt herself. Elena says she misses him, and he jokes, “I hope so.” At the loft, Noel shows Meghan one of “Loser Pet Store”‘s characters, a dog that claims it’s well-traveled. Sean goes home, wearing rave clothes, since he went to the Fetish Ball to find Meghan. Meghan is touched by how far he went to try to be with her. Noel just cracks up.

Molly comes home to the dorm apartment alone and thanks Felicity for letting James stay with them. Ben announces that he told Felicity everything. Molly is understandably upset that he told her secrets. Ben says that James is probably dealing again, and he thinks Molly knows it. Molly says he insists he’s not, and she believes him. She asks to wait until the morning, and then the four of them can talk.

Ben tells her that James can’t stay at the dorm apartment. He mentions the gun, and Molly slams him and Felicity for looking through James’ belongings. Ben tells her she has to go back to the clinic to get help, or she can’t stay in the dorm apartment, either. Felicity thinks that’s too far. Molly tells them that they’re judging her because they think she has a problem, when instead they should be examining the kind of people they are.

Thoughts: I’m surprised Al-Anon lets people who are drinking or using attend meetings. Wouldn’t that trigger other members or make it harder for them to trust each other?

Felicity’s goldfish character sounds like something from a Seth MacFarlane show.

Felicity, if you’re starting a sentence with, “I know what’s going on is none of my business,” don’t finish the sentence.

Meghan and Earl in costume at the ball with techno music playing has intense Alias vibes.

Molly wears a shirt that looks like a sleeveless sweater. Please fire the wardrobe person who picked that out.

Please enjoy this gif of Sean in his rave clothes.

January 2, 2021

Felicity 3.7, Kissing Mr. Covington: Nothing to Lose

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:25 pm by Jenn

OH, ELENA

Summary: Felicity brings Ben home from the hospital after his beating by Randy’s friends. His face is bruised and his arm is in a sling. Since he won’t be able to work for a little while, Noel has offered to fill in for him at work. Mr. Covington calls, but Ben doesn’t want to talk to him. He’s surprised that Mr. C. knows about his assault. Felicity guesses that the hospital called him and he flew out to check on his son (Mrs. C. is out of the country). Ben repeats that he doesn’t want to talk to him.

Noel runs into Jane (or is maybe stalking her?) and invites her to get sushi. She had a bad experience with it and doesn’t eat it anymore. Plus, she has to get to class. She leaves as hopefully Noel figures out a way to learn how to talk to women like a human being.

At the dorm apartment, Felicity is in a great mood and is dancing like no one’s watching. It turns out someone’s watching, though – Mr. C. She tells him not to take it personally that Ben doesn’t want to talk to him. He’s just “going through something.” Mr. C. is going to AA and thinks Ben should try out Al-Anon, meetings for family members of alcoholics. He wants Felicity to try to talk him into going to a meeting. Mr. C. wants Ben to get that he’s in the city because he really cares about his son.

Sean, who’s still in the hospital, has taken an interest in Judaism. He guesses that his roommate, Morgenstern, is also Jewish. Sean tells Meghan that before his surgery, he made a pact with God: If he survived, he would devote his life to God. Now he’s going to follow all of the 613 commandments in the Torah.

At the dorm apartment, Noel asks Elena for advice on how to get to know Jane. He admits that he got her email password and is tempted to read her private messages to find out more about her. Elena tells him to definitely not do that. Lies will ruin everything. Speaking of lies (well, secrets), Tracy arrives with news that the paper he and Finn wrote is going to be published.

As Noel logs into Jane’s email just seconds after Elena and Tracy leave, Felicity tells Ben that Mr. C. came to see her. Ben thinks Mr. C. is just using his charms to win Felicity over. Felicity asks Ben to give him one more chance. Elena meets up with Finn at Epstein Bar and tells him she loves Tracy, so whatever’s happening between the two of them needs to stop.

Mr. C. returns to the dorm apartment, disappointed because he’s sure he’s really lost Ben. His sponsor encouraged him to come visit, saying he had nothing to lose. Mr. C. gets that because he’s already lost it. He starts crying, and when Felicity gives him a comforting hug, he kisses her neck, then tries to move to her lips. He realizes how uncomfortable she is and leaves.

Despite not wanting anything from his father, Ben has put up a little basketball hoop Mr. C. gave Felicity to give him. Felicity tells him that Mr C. came to see her again. Ben has decided to give him a second chance after all, and Felicity awkwardly encourages him to go for it. Felicity, honey, you need to go back to therapy. I’m sure Pavone would love it.

Meghan is trying to gather stuff for a Sabbath meal, telling Molly that Sean is suddenly “ultra-Jewish.” Molly says that happened to a friend of hers who was hit by a car and then started thinking she was the Virgin Mary. Yeah, that’s not the same at all, Molly. Tracy meets up with Finn and another classmate, who share the news that McGrath was busted for sexual harassment. Tracy wonders “who would want to get down with the prince of darkness.” The third classmate knows someone on the disciplinary committee and has a list of women who were involved with McGrath. The list includes Elena.

Noel has gotten a bunch of info from Jane’s emails and now knows multiple ways to her heart. His first choice is crashing her yoga class. Elena warns that he won’t get away with this. Noel tries anyway, showing up with the same book Jane is reading. Then he asks her out for Indian food, her favorite cuisine.

Meghan takes Sean some Sabbath things and he thanks her for doing a mitzvah (good deed). She got a discount at a Judaica store because she told the clerk she was converting to Judaism. That lie may cancel out her mitzvah. Sean asks if she would ever convert for real, but Meghan thinks that’s a ridiculous idea. He tells her that, in that case, they have to break up. He wants his kids to be Jewish, “not Jew-witch.” Meghan leaves him all the stuff she brought him, except the wine.

Tracy confronts Elena over her relationship with McGrath, clarifying that his assistant filed the harassment complaint and gave the disciplinary committee the names of McGrath’s flings. Tracy knows they were together years before, and Elena didn’t cheat on him or anything, but he’s upset that she never mentioned this to him. He’s going to try not to take it too seriously.

Felicity helps Ben get ready for a visit from Mr. C., which goes well, though Felicity looks like she’d rather be anywhere else. When Ben leaves the room, Mr. C. apologizes to Felicity for the kissing. He’s had a horrible year and has felt alone, but talking to her made him feel hopeful. Felicity tells him that he’s making her uncomfortable. Mr. C. thanks her for not saying anything to Ben.

The next day, Ben tells Felicity that he got tickets to a play that night but can’t go. He wants Felicity to take Mr. C. instead. Meghan complains to Molly that Sean broke up with her after she spent all this time comforting him and let herself become vulnerable. Elena glares at Noel as he reads her one of Jane’s emails, then tells him that she cheated on Tracy with Finn. Noel tears up the emails and offers Elena a deal: He’ll tell Jane the truth if Elena comes clean to Tracy. Elena notes that she has more to lose here than Noel, but she agrees.

Sean’s roommate, Morgenstern, reveals that he’s a rabbi. He asks what will happen if Sean has a relapse or gets a different type of cancer. What will happen to his relationship with God? If Sean loves Meghan, he should propose to her. He shouldn’t waste his life on things that aren’t important to him. His “crash diet” with God won’t last. God isn’t a fad; He’s a way of life.

Elena invites Tracy to the dorm apartment so she can break his heart. Before she can, he reads her an acrostic he wrote her (“E is for everything you do so well. L is for your long, luscious locks…”). He promises that he will always love her. This is the first time someone’s written a poem for Elena, and she can’t crush him after that.

Noel and Jane have dinner together, and things are going well, but his conscience tells him he needs to be honest. Instead, he uses a line she wrote in one of her emails, the exact line she told a friend she wants a guy to say to her. In this instance, it’s not what she wants to hear, and she slaps Noel. Good for her. Run away, Jane! Run far away!

At the loft, Felicity tells Ben that she feels like she’s getting sick, so she should skip the play with Mr. C. He guesses there’s something else going on, but she just says that Mr. C. makes her uncomfortable. Ben asks if Mr. C. did something to her. The fact that his mind goes there says a lot, doesn’t it? Ben decides to go pay his father a visit.

He finds Mr. C. at Epstein Bar and asks what Mr. C. did that made Felicity too uncomfortable to be alone with her. Mr. C. first says that they hugged, but Ben guesses that there was more. Mr. C. admits to the kissing, then tries to explain himself, saying he came to New York because he wants to make things right with Ben. Ben replies that he doesn’t want Mr. C. in his life.

Back at the loft, Ben tells Felicity he feels bad for what Mr. C. did. He’s trying to hold in the rage he feels toward his father. Felicity reminds him of when they carved pumpkins together their freshman year. That was the first time he ever told her about his father. She thought she understood then, but now she knows it goes deeper.

She’s gotten him pamphlets on various groups that might be able to help him. Ben says he doesn’t need a group – he needs a new dad. Felicity tries to talk to him about Al-Anon, but Ben doesn’t want to feel like he’s the one who’s messed up. Mr. C. returns, and Felicity leaves without talking to him. Mr. C. has come to say goodbye to Ben, who isn’t interested in a conversation beyond that. He’s definitely not interest in offering forgiveness. Mr. C. says he loves Ben, then leaves.

Sean shows up at the dorm apartment and asks Meghan to marry him. She’s confused, since he just dumped her. He tells her he no longer cares that she’s not Jewish. Meghan wants an apology first, but when Sean apologizes, she says he doesn’t get the real problem. Dumping her because she’s not Jewish is “anti-anti-Semitic.” Heh. She says she’ll get back together with Sean but she won’t marry him.

Sean tells her that this wasn’t even his idea. Just what every woman wants to hear after being proposed to. He explains that Morgenstern pushed him to propose. He needs a little more time to decide if Judaism is really this important to him. Meghan is willing to give him that time.

Tracy finds Finn and says that Elena told him about the affair. Of course, Finn thinks he means his affair with Elena, not her fling with McGrath. Finn’s pleased that Tracy is cool with everything. He says it wasn’t really an affair anyway; he and Elena were only together one time. Oops, looks like Tracy’s going to get his heart broken after all.

Noel is a disaster filling in for Ben at Dean & DeLuca. Jane comes by to apologize (!!!), telling him that her friend reminded her that she wanted a guy to say exactly what Noel said to her at dinner. She’d like to get to know him better. Jane, nooooo! What’s wrong with you??? Ben goes to an Al-Anon meeting after all and is surprised to see someone he knows: Molly.

Thoughts: Leave it to Felicity to not be honest with Ben right after they’ve made up from a big fight over how she wasn’t honest with him.

Trivia: Kit-Kats are kosher.

Meghan wears her best green cheetah-print shrug and zebra-print tank top to visit Sean in the hospital. Guys, remember shrugs? Also, Molly wears three headbands at once. Sigh.

October 12, 2019

My So-Called Life 7, Why Jordan Can’t Read: Red Alert

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Angela needs someone to vet her outfits before she’s allowed out of the house

Summary: Lying in bed, Angela voices over that love is looking into someone’s eyes and seeing through to their soul. She thought she would fall in love in an extreme situation, like war or a blizzard, and definitely by the age of 15. Not only does she not have a love life, she doesn’t have any kind of life. Elsewhere in the house, Patty worries about gaining weight and looking older. She asks Graham if she looks fat. “…Um,” he replies. Ooh, bad answer. When Patty learns it’s the 12th, she gets concerned.

Angela and her classmates take a field trip to an art museum, where a chaperone is very insistent that everyone stay with the group. Angela wonders what the big deal is. What if Amelia Earhart had stayed with the group? “Or Diana Ross,” Rickie adds. Angela gives Rayanne some thoughts about Jordan, which she wrote when she couldn’t sleep. She thinks she’s finally gotten over him. She admits that she was a little obsessed with him, but that’s all in the past. Rayanne promises not to show her writing to anyone.

Sharon and Kyle make out while Brian pays more attention to Angela than the sculptures they’re looking at. Jordan is also in the room, and Angela follows him as he wanders off. Brian tries to stop her from leaving the group. Rickie tries to actually appreciate the art, while Rayanne sips from a flask and flirts with a security guard. Sharon and Kyle are still making out. Sheesh, guys, how do you breathe?

Angela and Jordan end up at an art piece together, and he tells her he’s had a song stuck in his head all day. It’s one he’s been working on for his band, Frozen Embryos. He invites her to come see them sometime. Before they can solidify any plans, Rayanne interrupts and confesses that she lost the page Angela gave her. But she met a cute guard, so really, this wasn’t a bad day. Angela worries that Jordan was being nice to her out of nowhere because he found the letter.

At school the next day, Angela approaches Jordan, who offers her the letter she wrote. She pretends she wrote it about someone else and just used Jordan’s name to disguise the other guy. Who died. He’s dead. Jordan tells her he didn’t read the letter, which Angela doesn’t believe. He admits he read parts of it, but it didn’t hold his interest.

Angela asks why – was it too emotional or personal? Or were there too many big words? Jordan yells at her to shut up. She suddenly realizes that he didn’t read the letter because he couldn’t. Jordan says he’s never told anyone that he has trouble reading. They’re interrupted by one of Jordan’s bandmates, who reports that they’ve found a loft (well, Tino found it) where they can rehearse. Angela invites herself to attend. In the bathroom, Angela tells Rayanne that she now understands Jordan in a new way. It’s changed everything.

At a deli, Patty tells Camille that her period is eight days late. Camille notes that she could be premenopausal. Patty asks if that’s like “pre-death.” Camille points out that their eggs will run out sooner or later. Patty thinks it’s depressing – guys get to have midlife crises and buy sports cars while women have to suffer. Camille hopes to look like Tina Turner when she’s 50. She reminds Patty that they’re only 40, too young for menopause. Her late period probably means something much different.

Rayanne gleefully tells Rickie that Angela’s going to the Frozen Embryos’ rehearsal. She thinks Jordan found the letter, and it made him want her. Angela and Jordan are about to get together. Since Rayanne lost the letter in the first place, she should get credit for this. She heads off to beep George, the security guard. Rickie congratulates Angela on her good news, then demonstrates that he knows more about Jordan’s class schedule than Angela does.

Patty has shared her possible pregnancy with Graham, and they’re trying to figure out when it happened. She notes that they could have their first boy. Brian has let himself into the house to get a book Angela borrowed, and everyone pretends he didn’t hear anything. Danielle shows up to earn a paycheck. She tells Brian that, wherever Angela went, she must be expecting to see someone she likes, because she tried on a bunch of outfits. P.S. Danielle totally has a crush on Brian.

Angela, Rayanne, and Rickie all go to the rehearsal, where the band ignores them. Angela voices over that there are huge events on the planet every day, like hurricanes and earthquakes. Why can’t Jordan just do one small thing – look at her? He offers to play the song he’s been working on, which is about being lost until he found “her.” The “her” in question is called Red, so Rickie figures the song is about Angela.

Rayanne and Rickie leave Angela behind at the loft, and since Tino doesn’t appear to be coming, Jordan decides to leave, too. He offers Angela a ride home. Outside her house, she wonders if he might have dyslexia. She knows a lot about it because her uncle has it. Jordan doesn’t want to talk about it, but Angela assures him that dyslexia doesn’t mean a lack of intelligence. Jordan insists that he can read, just not well.

He starts talking about getting a job making snow, and his face moves closer to Angela’s. They kiss, and it’s much better than their first attempt. Afterward, she can’t stop smiling. She twirls in circles on her way to the front door.

The next day, Patty tells Graham she’ll take the pregnancy test tomorrow. Danielle reports that Angela’s in love. She’s in the kitchen, drinking coffee (like Jordan does) and humming to herself. She asks her parents if she’s allowed to go on dates. Patty says yes, but there are some ground rules. Graham is unfamiliar with those rules. Patty lists off a curfew, info about who Angela’s with, and absolutely no drinking. Plus, they need to meet the guy first.

That last one dampens Angela’s mood. Why can’t her parents just trust that she has a guy who means something to her? Why does she have to parade him around? Patty sarcastically asks if Angela thinks he would be dragged down to their level. Danielle asks if she would have to introduce her parents to a guy she wanted to date if he was someone they already knew. Graham’s like, “Yes, please, let’s have another child.” Patty says it’s not about whether she wants to or not – if she’s pregnant, she’s pregnant. Graham worries that they’re too old for this.

Rayanne stares at Sharon and Kyle as they make out in a school hallway. Kyle says he heard that Rayanne had sex with George. Sharon notes that if one of Kyle’s friends hooked up on a field trip, the other guys would give him a medal. Kyle doesn’t know why Sharon’s defending Rayanne, since they don’t even like each other. Sharon says they can hate her without bringing up Rayanne’s sex life.

Angela tells Rickie that she’s been playing the kiss over and over in her head, like a movie. “That’s just what I would do,” Rickie says, somewhat sadly. He tells her to be near the gym after fifth period if she wants to run into Jordan. She practices some casual greetings before they cross paths. Angela tells Jordan she’s been thinking about his song, which reminds her of a movie. She kind of wants to see that movie again. Jordan takes a while to get the hint that she wants to go with him. She tells him her parents will want to meet him first, and he agrees to stop by that night.

Graham is nervous when he gets the news – he thought he’d have more time before Angela wanted to bring a guy home. Patty warns that Jordan is probably good-looking, so Graham will need to prepare himself. He slams her for setting ground rules. He wishes they could just lock Angela in her room. Patty wishes this weren’t happening while she’s bloated and “very, very interested in chocolate.”

The doorbell rings, and the Chases tense, but “it’s only Brian.” Aww. Angela comes downstairs all glammed up and gives him the book she borrowed. Danielle thinks he’s there for a music lesson he kind of, sort of agreed to give her. Angela tries to rush Brian out, telling him that Jordan’s coming over and they’re probably going to see The Bicycle Thief together. Brian taunts that Jordan won’t understand it. Angela only does because Brian explained it to her. He calls Jordan an idiot, and Angela tells him to never say that again. Brian analyzes everything but doesn’t actually understand.

The Chases sit around for a while, waiting for Jordan, who’s with his band. He tells them there’s something he said he would do. But after they leave, he stays behind at the loft. Angela tells her parents that the plan to have Jordan come by wasn’t set in stone. She tells them she’s going to bed. She cries in her room as we hear Jordan’s new song.

In bed the next morning, Angela voices over that this life has just been a test. Otherwise, she would have gotten instructions on where to go and what to do. At school, Rayanne and Sharon run into each other in the bathroom. Rayanne asks if Sharon and Kyle have had sex yet. Sharon says that’s none of Rayanne’s business. Rayanne knows that, and she knows they’re not friends, but she doesn’t care. Sharon can ask her anything she wants.

Sharon says she promised herself she wouldn’t have sex until she’s ready, and she’s sticking to that. Rayanne says she was just “vaguely curious.” Sharon seems to really enjoy her marathon makeout sessions with Kyle. Rayanne admits that she doesn’t always feel that much when she makes out with a guy. Sometimes she’s actually numb. Sharon says she might not have found the right person yet. Rayanne says it’s not a big deal.

Angela tells Rayanne that she wishes she could have real relationships like Rayanne, even if they’re short. Rickie notes that Angela hasn’t heard Jordan’s side of things yet. Angela claims she doesn’t care and doesn’t even want to see Jordan again, but when he comes down the hall, she can’t take her eyes off of him.

The girls walk off, and Rickie tells Jordan that Angela’s a little upset with him. Jordan says he wasn’t in the mood to meet Angela’s parents. Maybe she knows too much about him and makes too big a deal out of things. It makes them complicated. Rickie says that Jordan’s new song added to her feelings, especially since it’s obvious who Red is. “Yeah,” says Jordan. “My car.” D’oh!

Patty is in the bathroom at home, and Graham is waiting nervously for the results of the pregnancy test. Patty happily says it’s a miracle and exits the bathroom with a big smile on her face. Graham thinks they’re happy about the same thing, but they’re not. She’s relieved because she finally got her period. Graham hides his disappointment as she says she’s grateful not to have their lives change. She doesn’t want to go back to what they went through in their younger years. Patty finally realizes that Graham doesn’t feel the same way; he would have liked to have a son.

Patty takes Angela some ice cream and says she knows how Angela’s feeling. She had a pregnancy scare and spent the week preoccupied with the possibility. Angela thinks this is hilarious. Brian comes by the house and offers to give Danielle a sax lesson, but she’s over it. Brian starts playing catch with Graham, who gives Angela his glove and tells her to play instead. Brian brings up Jordan, and Angela tells him they’re never discussing him again. Brian will never understand her situation until it happens to him. She can’t wait, because she’ll laugh and say she told him so.

Thoughts: One of Jordan’s bandmates is played by Jared Leto’s brother Shannon, who’s also in 30 Seconds to Mars with him.

If I didn’t already love Rickie, his Diana Ross comment would have sealed it for me.

Angela wears pink plaid shorts over black tights, and a gray sweater vest over another sweater. All at the same time. Sweetie, no.

March 21, 2017

SVT Super Edition #5, Lila’s Secret Valentine: Pretty Little Liar

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 4:52 pm by Jenn

Ugh, bunny ears. 12-year-old boys are exhausting

Summary: The Boosters want to raise money to hire a professional photographer for an upcoming Valentine’s Day dance, so they sell personalized cheers. For $2, they’ll give a shout-out to your crush or significant other in a cheer. For $4, they’ll create a brand-new cheer all about that person. Admittedly, this is pretty creative. But the Boosters aren’t going to spend so much time on this project that it takes away from their mission to find dates to the dance.

Lila is sure that Jake Hamilton, who’s practically her boyfriend, will ask her, so she’s crushed when he buys a cheer for Brooke Dennis. To save face, she tells her friends that she dumped Jake last week, so she’s not bothered. Besides, she’s already seeing a new guy, eighth-grader Gray Williams, who goes to a private school. Lila is so convincing when she describes him that no one catches on that he’s completely made up.

Lila figures she’ll just “break up” with Gray in a few days and her friends will never know the truth. But when the Unicorns come over and see some freshly cut flowers, they guess that they’re from Gray, and Lila plays along. She loves the attention too much to tell the truth now. Plus, she doesn’t want to admit that she’s single and Jake isn’t interested.

The ending of the book becomes clear early on, when Lila meets the Fowlers’ gardener’s grandson, Justin. She’s a jerk to him, but he’s hot for her. Justin, get some self-respect, man. Anyone over the age of five can figure out that Justin will eventually pretend to be Gray. But Lila hasn’t thought that far ahead, and is focused on having a hot date for the dance. She meets a guy at Casey’s, but the Unicorns chase him away, telling him that Lila’s spoken for.

Lila decides to fake a break-up, using an onion to make herself cry when she tells her friends that she and Gray had a huge fight after she forgot his birthday. The Unicorns secretly get him a cake and plan to take it to his school and tell him how sorry Lila is. To keep them from discovering that Gray doesn’t exist, Lila pretends that he called her at school and they’ve already made up. The Unicorns are gullible enough to buy this.

Just as Lila’s about to suck it up and come clean, Janet reveals that Sarah Thomas has been lying about her boyfriend. She said she was dating a ninth-grader, but she’s really seeing a seventh-grader. Now Lila can’t risk confessing her lies and being mocked by her friends. She confides in Justin, who quickly comes up with a solution but doesn’t get the chance to share it with Lila.

Lila’s next plan is to fake appendicitis (inspired by a teacher who just had it) so she has an excuse not to go to the dance. Most girls would just fake a cold or the flu, but not our Lila. She has to go all-out. She’s about to collapse at school when attention shifts to Jessica (more on that in the C-plot), so she misses her chance. Lila then tries to convince her housekeeper that she’s too sick to go to the dance, but she makes the classic fake-illness mistake of keeping the thermometer on the lightbulb too long, so her supposed super-high fever isn’t believable. Plus, Mr. Fowler is going to be one of the chaperones at the dance, and Lila knows she’d disappoint him by missing it. (By the way, Mr. Fowler is pretty awesome in this book, and clearly loves Lila a lot, despite never spending time with her.)

At the dance, Lila makes various excuses for why Gray isn’t with her – he’s running late, he’s getting refreshments, he’s talking to a friend across the room, etc. The Unicorns want to celebrate the new relationship by giving Lila and Gray a spotlight dance. When the spotlight falls on Lila and Gray is nowhere in sight, the Unicorns start to figure out that she was lying about him the whole time. But then! Justin arrives, pretending to be Gray, and saves Lila’s reputation. I would find it sweet, but Justin’s affection for a girl who treats him like dirt is just sad.

In the B-plot, Elizabeth and her fellow Sixers staff are publishing “lovegrams” to make some money. For a little extra, you can hire one of them to write a special Valentine’s message to your crush/significant other. Elizabeth gets really into it, going along the lines of “I burn, I pine, I perish!” On a roll, she decides to write Todd a passionate poem for Valentine’s Day. She thinks it’s more romantic to leave it unsigned, and she’s sure Todd will know it’s from her.

Todd, however, is a dolt and thinks he has a secret admirer. He becomes obsessed with finding out who wrote him a love poem. He’s so sure it wasn’t Liz that he breaks up with her. She turns her sadness and rage into super-passionate lovegrams, which disturb the buyers a little bit. Like, they want to tell girls they like hanging out with them, not pledge their undying love. Mandy Miller’s like, “I want this guy to think I’m nice, not that I want to elope.” It takes a little while, but Liz does get the hint.

Todd starts thinking that any girl who’s ever been nice to him could be his secret admirer. Brooke asked to borrow some money, so she must be in love with him! Maria smiled at him, so she must be hot for him! I fear for Todd’s ability to read signals when he’s older. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has become an object of affection for many guys at SVMS, now that she’s back on the market, and even Bruce wants to take her to the dance. Todd’s upset about this, and eventually realizes that any girl who might want him can’t be nearly as awesome as Elizabeth. He needs to make up with her and get back together.

At the dance, Todd tries to apologize with flowers and candy, but Liz is slow to warm up to him. I don’t blame her. When it comes out that she wrote the poem, she has to laugh at his failure to realize who it was from. I guess it’s a little funny that he dumped her for the poet, who turned out to be her all along, but it was also a jerk move.

The C-plot is that Jessica wants Aaron to ask her to the dance, but he keeps hanging out with and talking to Elizabeth. Jess decides to call him out in the cafeteria, while the Boosters are performing their Valentine’s cheers. But just as she’s about to call him a snake in front of everyone, the Boosters perform a special cheer Aaron commissioned for Jess. (You have to read it – see below.) All is forgiven when Aaron explains that he was only talking to Elizabeth to get help with the cheer. Jess is definitely his preferred twin.

Thoughts: This is almost exactly the plot of Love Letters, just for the middle-school set.

Amy thinks Elizabeth should get Todd a stuffed animal for Valentine’s Day. Amy, stop helping.

Lila: “[Gray] threatened to do something drastic if I didn’t immediately break up with Jake and go out with him instead.” Tamara: “Oh, Lila, how romantic.” OH, GIRLS, NO.

Lila’s outfit for the dance: “The top was a sophisticated black velvet bodysuit. Displayed with it were long hiphuggers with huge bells at the bottom.” OH, GIRL, NO.

Here’s Aaron’s cheer, in all its…well, glory certainly isn’t the right word:

“Oh Jessica, oh Jessica,
You make my heart beat fast.
You’ve always been the twin for me,
From first until the last.
I love the way you chew your gum,
Right in our science class.
Around you I am never glum,
Not even when you sass.
Your long blond hair is like the sun,
Your eyes are like the sky.
With you I have terrific fun,
I’ll never make you cry.
You take a joke just like a boy,
You look just like a girl.
I’d follow you to Illinois,
Or all around the world.
I can’t compete with Johnny Buck,
He sure gives me a blister.
And now I find, with just my luck,
You think I like your sister.
But Jessica, you must believe,
There is no other one.
I’d like to take you out tonight,
In order to have fun.
Please say you’ll be my date tonight,
I’ll bring you one red rose.
There’s no way I’ll be late tonight,
Or step upon your toes.
Be my Valentine, Jessica! Love Aaron! Yay!”

September 15, 2015

SVU #43, The Price of Love: Nick of Time

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:19 pm by Jenn

What...what is happening here? Is this supposed to be Nick? There's no way that's Nick

What…what is happening here? Is this supposed to be Nick? There’s no way that’s Nick

Summary: The book starts just where the last one ended, with Jessica and an unconscious Nick in the house where he tried to sting Clay. Nick regains consciousness, and Jessica tells him some of the things Clay said while he was out – namely, that he killed another cop, Riviera. Nick swears her to secrecy, deciding that he’ll pretend he heard the confession so Jess doesn’t have to testify and get involved in the whole mess. Unfortunately, until then, Nick and Jess will have to pretend they’ve broken up.

Jessica decides to make the fake split look more realistic by flirting with Clay. This seems like a foolproof plan. Lila thinks Jessica’s insane, considering what Clay did to Isabella. She tells Nick about Jess and Clay’s possible new relationship, which makes Nick go all Todd on Clay. Nick then covers up his jealousy by screaming at Jessica – in public – that she’s a slut for hooking up with another guy so soon after their breakup.

This doesn’t convince Clay of anything, or if it does, it doesn’t really matter. After all, Clay almost killed Nick, and with Nick…you know, not dead, Clay has a problem on his hands. He tries to have Nick kidnapped off the street, but Nick manages to get the attention of some nearby cops. Clay gets away, but Nick passes along the information that he killed Riviera, so the police are now on the lookout.

Since Jessica is a potential target, Nick enlists a young cop named Graham to be her bodyguard while posing as her new boyfriend. Jessica objects, even when Graham turns out to be cute. She’s pretty awful to him, making it clear that Nick is much more awesome than he is. I don’t think Graham really cares. Graham is a pushover, actually; he helps Nick and Jessica get together for a date when they’re not supposed to see each other. Thanks, Graham.

Despite the fact that Nick is staying in a hotel and using a “light disguise,” Clay is able to track him down. He brings along Nelson “The Nose” Karl, the head of the whole Sweet Valley drug empire. I’m curious whether he’s called “The Nose” because he has a large one or because he does a lot of cocaine. Nick escapes and leads Clay and Karl straight to where a bunch of cops are waiting for them. They’re not the smartest criminals, are they? Also, there’s an appearance by a helicopter, which supposedly takes the criminals by surprise, because bad books and movies always forget that helicopters are loud and can’t exactly sneak up on people.

So this means things get to go back to normal for Nick and Jessica, right? Wrong. There isn’t enough evidence to put Clay away without Nick having to testify, and Nick can’t be protected even after Clay’s in prison. He’s decided he needs to enter witness protection. Jessica wants to go with him, but Nick refuses to make her leave her life. They won’t be able to see each other ever again. There’s a super-dramatic scene where they say goodbye to each other. I would be more interested if I didn’t know what happens in the next book.

Elizabeth and Tom spend the entire book not talking about whether he slept with Dana. Elizabeth is freaking out about the idea but won’t bring it up. Tom notices that Elizabeth is upset about something but can’t get her to tell him what it is. This goes on FOREVER. Elizabeth finally asks the question…and Tom lies. Freaking A, Tom. I can’t take this plot anymore.

Winston gets a ridiculous plot involving a bunch of prep-school girls who visit SVU. They’re all in love with him (though I think it’s mostly because they go to an all-girls’ school and are so desperate for any kind of male interaction that they’d take anything). The girls act like rowdy six-year-olds. They have an actual food fight. And one of them, Brenda, kisses Winston while Denise is watching. This plot is exhausting.

Danny should have the most interesting storyline in the book, what with Isabella still being unconscious in the hospital, but it goes nowhere. Remember how Danny was accused of stealing a test he accidentally picked up? He’s supposed to meet with the professor about the incident and whatever kind of punishment he faces for it, but instead, she realizes that he didn’t do anything wrong. The professor’s suddenly so nice to Danny that I was sure she was going to try to seduce him and kick off a completely different plot. But no, she just lets the whole thing go. And then Danny realizes that he’s not mad at Isabella after all, and he wants her back. She’ll have to wake up first, of course.

Thoughts: The girls on Winston’s hall only get a few hours’ notice that they’re all expected to house overnight guests. I would walk out and spend the weekend somewhere else.

Winston tells the prep-school girls that he has a degree in sexual chemistry. First of all, that’s so weak. Second of all, THEY’RE UNDERAGE, EGBERT.

Jessica wears black velvet jeans. Why do I feel like Lila tricked her into buying those, making her think they were fashionable?

July 7, 2015

SVU #39, Elizabeth ♥ New York: Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 9:20 pm by Jenn

LAME

LAME

Summary: Tom has landed a great summer internship. Elizabeth was supposed to do an internship for some news show, but it fell through, so she’s stuck working at a bookstore. They’re happy to spend the summer together, as they’ve supposedly planned for a while. Tom is also happy to possibly get some – he thinks this summer is going to be when Liz finally has sex with him. The only person who’s not happy is me, because I have to suffer through another book about Tom.

Elizabeth is a disaster at retail, so it’s good news when she learns that she’s won a fellowship to spend the summer putting on a play in New York. Apparently one of her professors submitted a one-act play she wrote but didn’t tell her about it because it was a long shot. What a surprise that perfect Elizabeth Wakefield beat the odds and came out on top once again!

Elizabeth is uncertain about taking the fellowship, since she’s a journalist, not a playwright. You’d think the fact that someone thought the play was good enough for the fellowship in the first place would be a confidence-booster. She’s also hesitant because she and Tom had planned to spend the summer together, and now she might go to New York. Liz tells Tom about the fellowship, and he immediately starts questioning the logistics: Where will she live? How will she get around? Can she survive a summer in a big, dangerous city, seeing as how she’s just a little girl?

Alice helps out by calling a college friend named Tish to get advice on where Elizabeth can stay. Coincidentally, Tish’s adult daughters are both away for the summer, so there’s plenty of room for Elizabeth to move in. Free housing! Lucky girl. Tom starts worrying about being away from his precious Liz for more than five minutes, so he quits his awesome internship and announces that he’s going to New York with her. That’s not weird at all! Have fun explaining that to future prospective employers, Tom. “I see here that you quit an impressive summer internship after just two days. Why is that?” “Sex.” Tom will also be living at Tish’s. Sigh.

While Tom is so certain that Elizabeth is going to sleep with him, Liz is having mixed feelings. She loves Tom and wants to show that love physically, but she also isn’t sure she’s ready for that next step in their relationship. I can’t tell you how boring it is to read about how they keep almost doing it and then don’t. I really, really couldn’t care less about them.

Anyway, New York. The city is awesome! There are so many people! It’s hot! There’s lots of traffic! People are rude! Liz and Tom meet Tish, who is supremely annoying. She’s every New Age cliché rolled into one, with more added on. If I spent more than five minutes with her, I’d have to leave the room. Elizabeth and Tom go sightseeing, then get all turned on and rush back to the apartment to have sex. Unfortunately, the cab ride home is a little crazy, and Liz accidentally bites Tom’s lip, drawing blood and killing the mood.

Elizabeth starts her actual fellowship, which allows her to cast and produce the play she wrote. The other two fellows are a goth girl named Claire (I can’t believe she doesn’t go by another name, like Raven or Abyssinia or something) and a guy named Gerald who is every pretentious English lit major you will ever meet. They think Elizabeth’s play is stupid – and to be fair, it really, really is. It’s based off a fight she and Tom had in the newsroom. It’s pretty basic for someone who’s supposed to be this spectacular writer, and I have a hard time believing someone thought it was good enough to win a competition.

The dramaturg, Ted, thinks it’s lame, too. He gives Elizabeth a bunch of notes, mostly about how the characters are holding back emotion. Since the characters are based on her and Tom, Liz thinks this means that she and Tom hold back emotion, which is related to their lack of sex. She wonders if they should break up. I think they should, but that’s mostly because I don’t like Tom and don’t want to have to read about him. I guess I’m too partial to get a vote.

Tom looks for a job, but it’s not like a journalism major can just walk into a news studio and start working. Elizabeth takes the wrong subway and ends up at Coney Island, so she calls Tom to come rescue her. Girl, get on another train. You don’t need his help. Tom thinks that since he’s coming to her rescue (and spending a lot of money on a cab to get to her), he should be rewarded. In bed. Shut up, Tom.

Elizabeth has another horrible day, since everyone at the theater thinks she’s lame, and they don’t want her input on their plays. In fact, the only person who’s nice to her is an actor case in Claire’s play. After he gives Liz some encouragement, she realizes that he’s mega-hot movie star Vince Klee. Okay, how many celebrities have the twins met over the years? Vince wants to do some serious theater (he’d probably spell it theatre to make it seem even more serious) because he has a reputation as a mindless action star. Hey, don’t knock it. There’s a lot of money in that.

Liz’s day is looking up, but it comes crashing back down when Ted casts a famous character actress as the lead in her play, without consulting Liz. The actress is annoying and totally wrong for the part. Tom spends the day helping Tish with her aromatherapy business (yes, really), and when Liz comes home, he tries to help her relax using the techniques he’s learned. But when he suggests that they head to the bedroom, she snaps at him. I’m on her side – he needs to read the room and realize she’s not in that kind of mood.

So Tom goes out drinking, encounters a sexist jerk trying to get a woman drunk so he can sleep with her, and realizes that he’s been going about this sex thing all wrong. He goes home and makes up with Elizabeth, who lets him sleep in her bed (all clothes on). The next day, he wakes up with a rash. I hope it’s scabies. Elizabeth goes to rehearsal and finally stands up for herself, telling Ted and Hildy that her play will be performed as written. Apparently Ted was pushing her to try to get her to be more confident and assertive. Then Liz is scandalized because Claire wants her actors to perform nude. Who cares? That’s not Liz’s problem.

Lest we forget about the other Wakefield twin, Jessica gets to have an adventure this summer, too. Her friends all have fabulous summers lined up, but Jessica’s plans haven’t been solidified yet. She tells everyone she’s going to a summer program at the Sweet Valley Police Academy, even though she hasn’t been accepted yet. She’s sure she will, especially after she stops a purse-snatcher from stealing Lila’s bag. But Jessica’s wrong – the academy program is full, so we’re spared the ridiculousness that would be Jessica learning to be a police officer.

Instead, we get a different kind of ridiculousness. Someone submitted Jessica’s name for a special training program for security personnel, and she’s been offered a spot in their Florida session, plus some money. Jessica immediately deposits the money, then tells her parents about the offer. Ned and Alice are somehow surprised that their daughter acted impulsively and made a decision that might not be able to be reversed. Jess drags Liz into it, saying that if Liz gets to go to New York, she should get to go to Florida. Never mind that Ned and Alice are the ones financing most of these adventures. They investigate to make sure this training program is legit, and when they confirm that it is, they let Jessica go.

The first person Jess meets is a guy named Harlan, who’s also flying to Florida from California. Jess thinks her summer will be awesome if there’s a hot guy to flirt with. If she weren’t so boy crazy, she’d realize that Harlan is kind of a jerk. Then again, if Jessica were smarter about any number of things, she’d realize that this summer program isn’t going to be the way she expects. She thinks it’ll be glamorous, teaching her martial arts and how to protect hot movie stars from stalkers. Instead, it’s basically boot camp.

It takes about two seconds for Jessica to get on the bad side of one Sergeant Pruitt, who thinks she’s a princess cheerleader girly-girl who’s in way over her head. I picture Pruitt as Kate Mulgrew (in Orange is the New Black, not Star Trek). She picks on Jessica for everything under the sun, which at first makes Jess want to quit, but then motivates her to shine. She and her partner totally kill an obstacle course, scaring off a snake with a makeshift blowtorch Jessica makes using hairspray and a lighter. Pruitt sabotages the truck they’re supposed to drive, but Jessica’s partner hotwires it to save the day.

Unable to rag on Jessica after she did so well in the competition, Pruitt gives her kitchen duty for “fraternizing” with Harlan. Never mind that all the others were talking to each other, too. Some of the other women are given KP duty, too, and at first Jessica’s worried because she thinks they don’t like her. They assure her that they do, and that everyone hates Pruitt, which allows them all to bond.

Pruitt gives Jessica and her new friends overnight guard duty after they failed to complete a bunch of laps she made them do. She also threatens to have a guy working in the gym discharged; I think the ghostwriter keeps confusing this program for the military. After catching Jessica trash-talking her, Pruitt suggests that they settle their differences in the boxing ring. Jessica is dumb enough to agree, despite not having any boxing experience. Oh, and Pruitt is a Golden Gloves champ. Good job, Jess! Let’s see her try to get out of this one.

Thoughts: Whenever I see a phrase like the title of this book – “X ♥ Y” – I think of Jack saying, “I do not heart prison anymore” on Will and Grace. And now you will, too.

“They’d been planning to spend the summer together for months.” That’s impossible – Tom and Elizabeth just got back together two books ago. Does continuity mean nothing in this series?? Oh, and Nick doesn’t seem to exist.

“‘Liz, please, just remember how much I’ll miss you if you go. That’s all I ask.’ Did that sound too manipulative? Tom wondered.” Yes, it does. Stop that.

Tish wears “a green crocheted vest with floor-length fringe over a flowing, diaphanous purple-and-gold blouse and a black peasant skirt.” She also wears “several crystals” as necklaces. I cannot deal with this woman.

Jessica, singing: “Summerti-i-ime, and the living’s easy / The fish are – something…and it’s OK to wear white shoes!” I’ll admit I laughed at that.

Tom runs into a friend in New York who makes $60,000 a year and can afford a penthouse on the Upper East Side. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha no.

“Doesn’t she realize everything I went through to be with her? You’d think she would want to do something for me!” Is Tom a meninist? Discuss.

May 19, 2015

SVT #31, Jessica’s Bad Idea: Sandy, Can’t You See I’m in Misery?

Posted in books tagged , , at 8:22 pm by Jenn

Sandra's prettier than Jessica, so whatever

Sandra’s prettier than Jessica, so whatever

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!

April 14, 2015

SVU #35, Undercover Angels: Spy vs. Spy

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 7:53 pm by Jenn

Elizabeth would never wear a shirt that sparkly

Elizabeth would never wear a shirt that sparkly

Summary: We pick up pretty much where the last book left off, with Bruce upset that Paul hustled him in a tennis game, and Elizabeth going over the details of the investigation in her head. She teases Bruce about calling the police on Paul to report that he’d stolen money he’d actually won. Bruce mentions that he gave Paul a check, which is news to Elizabeth, since she knows Tom saw him with a bunch of cash, including the bill Tom wrote “buena suerte” on, supposedly for a club employee. So the newest wrinkle in the investigation is that money one of the employees collected went to a club member.

Paul’s father, a congressman, is having a reception at the club, and somehow Dana was invited and asks Tom to go with her. Tom is basically done with Dana, but he needs her to get access to the country club, since you can only go there as a couple. What a stupid club. Elizabeth and Scott are also going to the reception, if anyone cares. And of course Lila and Bruce are going, because Lila practically lives at the club now. Lila chats with Paul for a little while, and then he heads off to switch cars with someone, getting into a van with a missing mud flap. Jessica happens to see this.

Elizabeth and Scott review the investigation, so I might as well, too: A caddy named Dwayne Mendoza was discovered dead in the lake at the country club. Brandon Phillips, a fellow caddy and SVU student, was arrested for murder after some of Dwayne’s things were found in his locker. A busboy named Manuel Coimbra has gone missing, and Elizabeth has uncovered possible voter fraud involving him – he got a voter registration card, despite the fact that he wasn’t a citizen. Plus, the card spells his name Manoel instead of Manuel.

Scott and Liz go to the county records office to look for Manuel’s address. None exists, but there’s info on Manoel. Except Manoel was from Brazil and died in 1991 at the age of 76. So it seems someone was employing some good old-fashioned fraud by collecting the votes of dead people. While Elizabeth is busy doing some actual investigating, Jessica snoops in her things to find out what she’s uncovered about the case. Liz catches her, and Jessica mocks her for keeping secrets so she can compete with Tom, instead of trying to solve the case and get justice.

Tom talks to Carlos, the waiter he gave the “buena suerte” bill to, and starts to think that Paul’s extorting the club employees who are working illegally. This makes a lot of sense, but I hate that Tom was the one to figure it out, because I don’t want him to be right about anything ever. Meanwhile, Scott and Elizabeth pose as lawyers so they can visit Brandon in lockup. Except Scott didn’t tell Liz that he’d planned this, which is pretty rotten of him, since I’m pretty sure they could get in a lot of trouble for this. All they really learn from their conversation with Brandon is that Dwayne may have figured out that Manuel was using someone else’s identity, and was killed so he couldn’t tell anyone.

Reception time! There’s a funny scene where Lila gets upset that Bruce isn’t dressed nicely enough for the reception at the club, so she fake-cries until he changes, because she knows Bruce can’t handle tears. If anyone else did this, I would be disgusted, but since it’s Lila, it cracks me up.

Jessica spots Tom and Dana making out, and she’s so surprised that she accidentally breaks character (as Perdita). Lila overhears her and figures out that she’s Jessica. Jess hightails it out of there. Elizabeth also sees Tom and Dana together, so Tom ditches Dana to try to get Liz to agree to work with him on the investigation. Scott shows up, as he always does, and Tom’s so mad to see him that he decides not to tell Elizabeth anything he’s learned, since she would inevitably give the information to Scott. Lila tracks down Jessica but doesn’t care what “Perdita” and “Chip” are up to as long as it doesn’t keep her and Bruce from becoming VIP members.

Congressman Krandall addresses the guests at the reception, and Bruce seems to be the only one surprised that it’s really a fundraiser. Why else would a politician hold an event for rich people? Bruce refuses to give Krandall any money. While he and Lila are fighting about this, Tom overhears him mention that he gave Paul a check after he was hustled, so now Tom is confused about where Paul got all that cash, including the “buena suerte” bill.

Tom goes looking for Carlos, but he’s busy, so Tom tries to talk to a busboy instead. The busboy doesn’t seem to speak English, but Tom knows someone who speaks Spanish: Perdita! Ha, I knew this would come back to bite Jessica. He pulls Jess in to translate, but unfortunately, Carlos arrives before she can really make a fool of herself. Carlos warns Tom to stop snooping around. While Tom’s trying to figure out if Carlos is threatening him or helping him, Jessica breaks her cover again. Tom tries to get her to tell him about the investigation, but she won’t.

Lila’s mad enough at Bruce to tell him they’re through. She can put up with a lot, but not a cheapskate! She thinks Bunny’s bored with Paul, so she just needs to get in good with him to be able to stay at the club. Speaking of Paul, the van Jessica saw him driving has been found abandoned with a few dozen people inside. Nick and Jessica are sent to talk to one of the people, who reveals that they were brought over the Mexican border after being promised papers and jobs by a guy using the name Wil E. Coyote. So Nick and Jessica head out to check out the van. Tom sees them and follows, while Elizabeth and Scott see him and follow.

While this caravan of fools drives around, Bruce goes back to the club and announces that people are being extorted. Carlos thinks he’s uncovered the whole illegal-worker thing, but Bruce is just talking about Paul’s hustling. Lila hopes that the two guys start fighting over her. Oh, Lila. Bruce makes a big scene, then leaves, stealing the trophy from the tennis tournament Lila fixed. Lila falls in the pool. I don’t know.

The others all meet up at the van, where Nick almost shoots everyone because it’s a little sketchy for people to be tailing a cop. He’s pretty ticked that reporters are running around, getting involved in this investigation but not sharing any information. He’s ready to arrest everyone, even though he doesn’t actually have anything to charge them with. Jessica tricks everyone into getting into the van (AKA the crime scene – come on, Jess), then says they can only get out when they start working together. She wants them to feel the way the immigrants felt when they were abandoned in the van.

Nick, Elizabeth, Tom, and Scott finally start sharing information, which leads to them deciding that Congressman Krandall is Wil E. Coyote, and he was using fake votes from illegal immigrants. They also think that Paul was extorting the illegal employees at the club, so they were getting doubly screwed. They ask to be let out of the van, but Jessica’s in no position to help them – Paul has followed them all out there and has stuffed her in the front of the van, which he plans to drive into a reservoir.

Jessica accidentally knocks herself out, which is pretty spectacular. When she comes to, she manages to get out of the van, like I’m so sure Jess was able to jump out of a moving vehicle without killing herself. She heads off to get help, and just happens to come across Bruce (who, hilariously, doesn’t realize at first that Perdita and Jessica are the same person). They head after the van as Jessica fills Bruce in on Paul’s crimes.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth figures that Jessica’s dead, and though the others convince her that Jess is probably okay, they know they’re going to have to save themselves. They face off with Paul, who reveals that Dwayne wasn’t murdered after all. Paul was just going to beat him up, but when he threw Dwayne in the lake, he quickly discovered that Dwayne couldn’t swim. Also, nothing bad happened to Manuel; they just sent him back to Mexico. (Later, Jessica finds out that he was one of the immigrants in the van, having come back across the border for another shot.)

Paul’s accomplice arrives, and the investigators realize that Paul isn’t Wil E. Coyote. So who is? It’s Carlos, the waiter Tom gave the “buena suerte” bill to. This was a nice twist I didn’t see coming. Paul plans to kill all the investigators, starting with Elizabeth. He shoots at her, but Tom shields her, because they’ve kind of reconnected and she’s given him a reason to live, or something. Carlos doesn’t think Paul’s plan is the way to go, and Tom seizes on his conscience to try to talk him out of helping Paul any longer.

It’s a moot point anyway, because rescue comes in the form of Jessica. She shows up with Bruce’s tennis racket and helps the captives overpower their captors. Carlos ends up with the gun, but Tom talks him into not using it. Then Bruce arrives and knocks Carlos out with the tennis trophy. Then Lila shows up, somehow. Why are all these people driving around in the middle of nowhere at the same time? The bad guys are taken into police custody, and Elizabeth and Tom come close to kissing.

The whole mess with the club leads to Lila deciding that she doesn’t want to be a VIP member after all. Also, she’s turned on by how brave and strong he was. He hit someone with a trophy, Li. Calm down. Tom covers the story on SVUTV, and Scott encourages Elizabeth to write about it for the paper. He also makes out with her, and this time, she’s into it. Too bad he’s about to leave – he was accepted into some investigative-reporting school in Denver. He thinks Liz should apply, too. And in other career news, Jessica announces to Nick that she wants to leave SVU to become a police officer. He tells her he wants to leave the police force and go back to school. Womp womp!

Thoughts: Why no, I don’t know why the book is called Undercover Angels. Thanks for asking.

Bruce: “I’m not obsessing. I’m venting. There’s a difference.” I’m stealing that for future use.

Dana wears zebra-print jeans. ICK.

Lila carries a papier-mâché clutch shaped like a sea cow. Uh, what? Rich people are weird.

My favorite thing in this book as how Jessica keeps saying “adios” and running away from Tom before he can completely figure out who she really is.

Nick gets mad at Tom and kicks the van. Jessica: “Why are you kicking the van?” Nick: “Because it’s illegal to kick him.” Hee.

Elizabeth with a gun pointed at her: “Yikes!” Okay, Liz.

“We’re just two college students, completely unarmed except for a tennis racket and a tin trophy cup. What am I supposed to do? Yell ‘Freeze or I’ll double fault’?” Bruce, you’ve just given me a great idea for a unique new action hero…

March 17, 2015

SVU #33, Out of the Picture: You’ll Find Me in Da (Country) Club

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 8:08 pm by Jenn

Twin with bangs: No

Twin with bangs: No

Summary: For this book, we have to pretend that the previous four never happened, and that it’s only been a few days since Gin-Yung died. We start at her funeral, where everyone is understandably somber, but somehow Elizabeth is the saddest. Interesting, since they were never friends and both wanted the same guy. Todd is also wrecked, and he decides he needs time to himself to mourn, so he and Elizabeth are over. Again. For the 19th time. After the 20th, they get a free sub!

Elizabeth decides to sweep aside the breakup and all the other messes she’s been in through the SVU series, and make a fresh start. She quits the TV station and joins SVU’s paper, the Gazette. What’s awesome is that Liz, star reporter and editor of the Oracle, is a big ol’ nothing at the Gazette. No one cares that she edited her high school paper because everyone at the Gazette did the same. I think a lot of the time Elizabeth forgets that she’s a freshman, and that freshmen have no standing anywhere.

Pretty much the only person who’s happy to have Elizabeth at the paper is Scott, who’s obviously in love with her. He keeps trying to spend time with her, and he’s gotten a little touchy-feely. It makes Liz uncomfortable, but she tells herself that he doesn’t mean any harm. Yeah, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell him to stop. It doesn’t matter what someone’s intentions are – if his/her behavior makes you uncomfortable, speak up. Okay, end PSA.

Elizabeth is assigned to do a fluff piece about the Verona Springs Country Club. She’s mad that she’s given such a softball, and the editor reminds her that she’ll have to work to get to the juicier stories. But Liz does some research and comes across a better story: a murder. The body of Dwayne Mendoza, an SVU student who worked at the club as a caddy, was found in the lake. The club kept the murder quiet for a week before going to the police, more worried about protecting their reputation than getting justice. Yeah, that’s not shady at all. Also, no one at SVU seems to know about the murder. Dwayne’s things were found in another caddy’s locker, so it looks like that caddy robbed and murdered Dwayne, but obviously that’s not the case, since the police are still investigating (more on that later).

While this is going on, Tom’s father, George, is still trying to reach out to him, because he thinks Tom should be over the fact that George hit on Elizabeth. He sends Tom two memberships to Verona Springs, encouraging him to give one to Elizabeth. Because there’s nothing a college freshman wants more from her ex, who dumped her because he believed his father over her, than permission to wear tennis whites and hang out with snobby rich people. Shut up, George.

Tom takes Dana to the club instead, even though Dana is, like, totally punk rock, yo, and completely the opposite of everyone at the club. I’m surprised they let her through the gates.  They run into Elizabeth and Scott, and everyone is really awkward with each other. Then they encounter a gardener named Juan, who’s Dwayne’s uncle. He obviously knows something about Dwayne’s murder but is too scared to say anything. Tom decides to investigate as well, and hopefully beat Elizabeth and Scott to the scoop. Oh, and then Scott kisses Elizabeth, and she’s like, “When did I ever give you the impression that I wanted your lips on me, creep?”

Jessica is obsessed with playing cop – she wants to go on a stakeout with Nick, who keeps insisting that it’s too dangerous. Also, they don’t just let random people go on stakeouts. Of course, Jessica has never heard a “no” she can’t turn into a “yes,” so she keeps bugging Nick no matter how many times he refuses. This somehow turns into her saying that she wants to be a cop herself. It also somehow leads to Nick deciding that he needs to choose between his job and his girlfriend. He decides he’ll take one last case – the murder investigation at Verona Springs – and then quit.

Nick is paired with another cop, Eileen, and they go undercover at the country club. Jessica goes nuts over this. How dare her boyfriend work with a woman who’s not her, after he told her the job was too dangerous for her! How dare he do his job and accept the partner who was assigned to him! How dare he speak to another female! Eileen has to leave the case to be with her ailing father, so Nick’s chief suggests that he take Jessica to the club in her place. Yeah, okay.

Jessica thinks Nick’s cheating, so she takes all his stuff to the police station and throws it at him, screaming about what a jerk he is. Hilariously, other cops can be heard in the background, egging her on. Nick tells Jess that she wins – she can be his partner. Because the best way to handle Jessica is to give her exactly what she wants.

Lila is affected by Gin-Yung’s death more than you would expect – it makes her remember losing her husband, the count. Bruce can relate because he lost Regina. Not really the same, but okay. He tries to cheer Lila up with trips to the country club, and she develops a new obsession: VIP membership. She and Bruce are currently just “couples only” members, which I guess means they can only go to the club with each other, but being VIP members would give them access to more areas of the club. I find it hard to believe that they’re not VIP members because of their families, or that they haven’t just bought their way to the top echelon.

Lila’s in for VIP membership is Pepper Danforth, and you can tell from her name exactly what kind of person she is. People named Pepper are usually snooty (exception: Pepper Potts). Pepper is a horrible human being, and hanging out with her makes Lila start acting like her. Amazingly, Bruce doesn’t like her new behavior, and is actually offended by how horribly they treat the staff at Verona Springs. When did Bruce develop human feelings?

Thoughts: The police hang out at a coffee shop called the Mug Shot, which is owned by a former crime-scene photographer. That is brilliant.

Jessica, after learning that Nick and Eileen are going undercover together: “Exactly what kind of covers do you two plan to be under?” Also brilliant.

With all the gossip we know goes on at SVU, how is it possible that a student died and no one heard about it? Wouldn’t the newspaper have run an article about it? Wouldn’t the administration have said something? Why is this the least believable part of the book?

Dana wears a purple dress and red sneakers to the country club. Even Claudia Kishi would class it up more than that.

Dana also calls Dwayne’s uncle “some old Mexican dude,” despite not knowing his ethnicity, which is awesome because I already hated her, and now I feel justified.

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