December 27, 2016
Summary: Valentine’s Day is approaching, as is a Valentine’s Day dance at SVMS. The Unicorns (spurred on by Mandy) are organizing a fundraiser for the local children’s hospital (appropriately named Children’s Hospital) in which students can hire a personal servant for a day or two. Ellen wants to call it Yours for a Day, but the other girls say that’s dumb since the fundraiser takes place over two days. But that’s what the book is called, so I guess Ellen wins in the end. Anyway, for $5 you can hire someone for a day, and for $10 you get someone over two days. The “servants” don’t have to pay, but they also don’t get compensated, so servants are just volunteering out of the kindness of their hearts.
Mandy has a crush on a guy named Peter Jeffries, but she’s too nervous to ask him to the dance. When she calls to talk to him, she just hangs up the phone. Oh, Mandy, we’ve all been there. She also can barely speak to Peter when he comes by the Unicorns’ table to sign up to be a servant. Jessica realizes that if Peter and Mandy (who will be a master) get paired up, she can order him to take her to the dance. How romantic.
At the drawing, Mandy winds up as Jessica’s servant, which Jess is thrilled about. Not only is she paired with a friend (the other girls were worried about being paired with people they don’t like), but she can order Mandy to ask Peter to the dance. The drawback here is that the Unicorns are working as both servants and masters, and Jess winds up as Lloyd Benson’s servant. Lila’s working for Peter, and Janet’s working for Winston. Ha ha!
Lloyd’s annoyed with Jessica for the earthquake stuff in the last book, so he makes her do lots of stuff for him. If Jess were really smart, she would have Mandy do it for her. Instead, she tells Mandy that her only task is to ask Peter to the dance. Mandy manages to pull herself together and do it…but Peter already has a date to the dance. Aw, Mandy. At least he’s nice about having to turn her down.
Still, Mandy feels humiliated and gets mad at Jessica. She gets a little pleasure out of watching Jessica do dumb things on Lloyd’s orders, like eat gross cafeteria food and help him with science experiments. Aaron feels bad for Jess and tries to think of a way to get her switched to him so Lloyd can’t mess with her anymore. Elizabeth correctly guesses that Lloyd won’t agree to a switch since he’s eager to get revenge on Jessica.
Jessica is also hoping to switch, and she even asks Elizabeth to be Lloyd’s servant. Liz balks, but since Jess rigged the drawing for her and Amy (see the B-plot), she eventually agrees. But Lila and Mandy, scheming against Jessica, pull their own switch. Jessica was supposed to work for Belinda, so the girls get Belinda to switch servants with Mandy, making Jessica serve Mandy instead. In the meantime, Aaron convinces Lloyd to switch with him, thinking he’d get Jessica. Now he has Elizabeth as a servant.
The usually-not-vindictive Mandy makes Jessica sing “Feelings” in the cafeteria so she’ll be humiliated like she inadvertently humiliated Mandy. The song makes Grace Oliver cry, but not from horribleness. She and Winston had been going out, or whatever the 12-year-old equivalent of that is, but they had a huge fight and aren’t speaking. Grace asked Peter to the dance, but now she wants to make up with Winston and go with him. Jessica realizes that she has the opportunity to make everyone happy.
She goes to Lloyd, who’s Grace’s master for the day, and gets him to switch servants with Winston. Winston thinks he’s getting Jessica as a servant, but he’s getting Grace. They quickly make up and will be going to the dance together. Half of Jess’ plan is a success, even though the switch means Lloyd will be Janet’s master.
Jessica tries to negotiate with Lila to get her to make Peter, her new servant, ask Mandy to the dance. Lila wants too much in return, so Jess just calls Peter on her own. But it turns out that her work is done, and Mandy and Peter have already decided to go to the dance together. Once Peter learned that Grace was going with Winston, he asked Mandy, the person he’d wanted to go with in the first place. He wasn’t sure Mandy liked him, but once Jessica made her ask him to the dance, he realized she did. So Jess’ meddling helped a couple get together!
The new couple has a great time at the dance, and the master/servant fundraiser makes $800 for the hospital. Jessica’s the only one who’s not happy at the end, since Janet makes Lloyd a certificate entitling him to another day of servitude from Jessica. I guess it’s a small price to pay for a successful fundraiser.
In the B-plot, Elizabeth and Amy are annoyed with Todd and Ken, who are just acting like typical preteen boys. They play a prank on the boys, getting them to eat mayo instead of vanilla pudding. They think this makes them even, especially when the guys send the girls on a scavenger hunt for what the girls think will be invitations to the dance. They get the invitations, but they also get drenched with cold water. The girls decide they need more revenge.
Elizabeth and Amy get Jessica to rig the master/servant drawing so Todd will be Liz’s servant and Ken will be Amy’s. Then they make the guys do things like wear embarrassing ties, walk on their hands in the cafeteria, and give the wrong answers in class. The guys handle things well, and still want to take the girls to the dance. They’re even going to get them corsages. The girls think they’ve learned their lesson and are going to be gentlemen from now on.
On Valentine’s Day, the girls spend most of the dance sneezing. They figure out that the guys got one last revenge by putting sneezing powder in their corsages. The girls get revenge right back by making them sing “Feelings” in front of everyone. I guess this evens things up, as the pranks stop. The girls were definitely winning that war anyway.
Thoughts: Grace is in a lot more books than I remembered. I really didn’t think she was ever mentioned again after The Big Camp Secret.
I can’t believe Amy and Elizabeth didn’t think the guys might try to get them back after everything they had to do as servants. I would expect Elizabeth to be smarter than that.
“Daddy would give more, but he already donated a whole wing to the hospital, and he didn’t want to overdo it.” Oh, of course not. There’s such a thing as helping too many sick children.
October 4, 2016
Summary: Believe it or not, but even though it seemed like there was a dance in every SVH book, the SVT crew has yet to have one. Their first is coming up, and the girls are worried that the boys will be their usual annoying, immature selves. New girl Veronica Brooks would be especially disappointed if that happened. You see, at Veronica’s old school, the boys were all charming and intelligent and clearly alien life forms because there’s no such thing as a mature 12-year-old boy.
Todd asks Elizabeth to the dance, and Veronica’s totally jealous. Amy hopes Ken will ask her, since they’re basically dating, but Ken is an idiot in this book and doesn’t get that his sort-of girlfriend might want to do something girlfriend-y with him. When the Unicorns graciously hold an “open meeting,” which is basically a crash course on style, Amy attends so she can get some pointers on making herself girlier so Ken will want to take her to the dance. The Unicorns happily take on Amy as a project. I don’t know why they care whether a girl they don’t even like has a date with a guy they don’t like, but okay.
Amy wears some eye makeup to school, and I guess it’s a pretty bad application because Ken thinks she was in a fight. So did Amy try to do her own makeup, or did the Unicorns overdo it on purpose? Discuss. Either way, later Ken does ask her to the dance, but he’s really casual about it and doesn’t want it to seem like a date. Amy will take it. Meanwhile, Veronica’s mad that Elizabeth keeps outscoring her on tests, because at her old school, Veronica was the best student (and, I imagine, also the most popular and the prettiest and the best athlete and the best singer and…). Also, she likes Todd.
The night of the dance, a bunch of girls get ready together at the Wakefields’. Remember middle-school dances, you guys? My friends and I got ready together, too. Then when high school came around, we skipped all the dances except homecoming and prom because we realized how boring they were. Anyway, everyone has a date, and the guys all come by the house to pick up their girls, which is cute. Todd gives Elizabeth a heart-shaped locket with their pictures inside.
Even though Aaron is Jessica’s date to the dance, she accepts a dance with Bruce. One dance turns into many dances, and Aaron is effectively ditched. Then Veronica steals Todd away from Elizabeth, so Liz and Aaron are stuck on the sidelines, watching their dates with other people. Jessica and Bruce even kiss on the dance floor! Elizabeth tries to comfort Aaron by dancing with him, and they end up kissing, too. They’re outside, so at least they’re not giving the whole school a show…but Caroline Pearce sees them, so that event isn’t going to stay secret for long.
Indeed, by Monday morning, rumors are flying that Elizabeth and Aaron kissed. Todd confronts Elizabeth, who blasts him for spending so much of the dance with Veronica. He argues that he was just trying to be nice, like, one dance with her is nice enough, Todd. They end up having a big fight, as do Jessica and Aaron. Then Jess confronts her sister, and the two of them fight about Jess treating Aaron badly, and how Liz kissed her sister’s guy. No one comes off looking great.
Elizabeth and Aaron have lunch together, as do Todd and Veronica. It’s clear that they’re all trying to make each other jealous. Amy thinks everyone’s nuts. Jess starts hanging out with Bruce, who’s at his Bruceiest in this book. We always hear about how self-centered he is, and it’s really apparent here. He expects Jess to laugh at all his jokes, and for everyone to talk about how awesome he is. Ohhhhhh. Bruce is Donald Trump. I get it.
That night, Aaron calls the Wakefields’ house, and there’s a fun moment where Ned offers the phone to Jessica and is shocked when Aaron wants to talk to Elizabeth. He’s not much of a conversationalist on the phone, as most middle-school girls can confirm about their middle-school boyfriends. Bruce also calls Jessica, but again, he just wants to talk about himself, so she’s not as thrilled anymore about having a popular seventh-grader interested in her.
Jessica wants revenge on Elizabeth, and who better to help her than Liz’s new #1 enemy, Veronica? Veronica changes a bunch of answers on Elizabeth’s math homework so her grade will be lower than Veronica’s. She wants to read Liz’s diary, too, but Jessica doesn’t want to go that far. Instead, Veronica steals something from Elizabeth’s room, though Jess doesn’t see what it is. The next day, Elizabeth is shocked to learn that she failed her math homework. Veronica changed a lot more answers than Jessica expected, and Jess isn’t happy.
Also not happy: Amy, who’s trying a new look to attract Ken. The Unicorns give her a makeover, styling and dressing her like a hippie. Ken thinks she’s sticking it to Valentine’s Day (which is coming up) by acting like it’s Halloween instead. He still wants to go to Ellen’s Valentine’s Day party with her, though. Jess will be going with Bruce, and Liz is going with Aaron. But the twins have realized they want to get each other back together with their original boyfriends, and they’ve separately decided that the party is the place to do it. Neither twin realizes it, but they’ve both decided to pull a classic twin switch.
Liz also wants to make up with Todd, and thinks wearing her locket is a good way to indicate that, but she can’t find it. Then Veronica shows up to the party wearing one just like it. Amy sees her first and thinks this means Todd is moving on from Elizabeth. Jessica, meanwhile, is at the end of her rope with Bruce. He can’t believe she didn’t notice that he parted his hair on the left instead of the right! Bruce in this scene reminds me of Joey from 10 Things I Hate About You. Through all this, Amy and Ken are fighting because he thinks Valentine’s Day is dumb, and she doesn’t want to admit that she likes all the heart-shaped stuff at the party.
The twins quickly get to work on their switch, though they still have no idea that they’re both up to the same plot. “Jessica” makes up with Aaron pretty easily, but “Elizabeth” takes longer with Todd. He gets really awkward and clumsy when he sees “Elizabeth,” making Jessica think that he still likes her. Also, the only thing she can think of to talk to him about is books.
Amy tells “Elizabeth” that Todd gave Veronica a locket just like Liz’s, and Jessica realizes that it’s really Liz’s locket – that’s what Veronica stole from her room. “Elizabeth” calls Veronica out, and they end up in a little shoving match. Once it’s over, the twins switch back and make up with their boyfriends. (Also, they catch Amy and Ken making out.) Veronica, however, is angry (even though she ends up with Bruce), and she tells Jessica she’s going to get revenge. Hell hath no fury like a 12-year-old girl scorned.
Thoughts: Veronica: “At my old school, I was one of the in crowd. We were really wild. We didn’t just have geeky school dances – we had real kissing parties.” Wow. Wild.
The local drugstore has a soda fountain. What year is this?
“[The Unicorns are] all obsessed with this romance stuff. It’s like they’re always trying to get guys to say mushy things. That’s why I like hanging out with you, Amy. You never do stuff like that. It’s almost like being with another guy.” KEN. STOP TALKING.
“You still love to read. I love to read. We both love to read. That’s why we have so much in common.” You stop talking, too, Jessica.
November 28, 2015
Summary: Donna’s designs are all over the beach apartment, where she’s working on her fall line. Kelly decides this is a good time to tell her that she’s leaving the boutique after all. Donna admits to being scared, but Kelly thinks everything will go fine. They hope there will always be something that binds them together.
At the After Dark, Dylan tells Gina about a possible job opportunity at a sports channel, since her last job opportunity fell through. (She blames Dylan.) Noah’s druggie friends are still hanging around, and now they have a problem. Josie flushed her drugs, and her dealer’s not happy. He’s threatened to kill her if she doesn’t pay him back. Dylan tells Noah to stop hanging out with people who could get him in trouble.
Matt’s brother’s coming to town, and Matt’s not looking forward to the visit, which will come with criticism. He’s especially not looking forward to his brother looking down on the size of Kelly’s engagement ring. The brother, Patrick, proves to be annoying, but his wife, Juliane, is friendly. Matt tells them that he and Kelly are “on vacation” while they’re in town, rather than admitting that they’re both out of work.
The boutique is doing well without Kelly – so well that Donna’s having some trouble keeping up. David steps in to help. Kelly comes by, wanting to talk about the Durning brothers, but Donna doesn’t have time. So already the friendship between the two of them is worse than before. Gina meets with Russell, the man at the sports channel, who has one condition before he hires her: She needs to get his slacker preteen son Michael ready for a school dance.
Donna goes to an industry party and runs into Camille Desmond, who once wrote about her boutique for a magazine. She gushes over Donna’s clothes and the way she’s marketed herself. Camille wants to do a profile on Donna, and Donna decides to take advantage of the article to look for a new beau. Camille introduces her to an awkward buyer named Dan. Sample conversation: “I hear wool is back this year.”
Steve and Janet come home from a night out, happy that Darby is doing such a good job looking after Maddy. She’s not so good with discretion, though – Noah’s still at the house, and he and the nanny aren’t completely dressed. But hey, at least he’s not hanging out with the drug dealer! (I don’t think Janet would be as happy to hear that as she could be.)
Matt, Patrick, and Juliane go out to dinner, where Patrick blurts out that he and Juliane haven’t been able to have a baby. Specifically, Patrick can’t. Juliane can, and instead of adopting, the couple has decided to find a sperm donor. Well, not so much find as ask Matt to do it. Noah runs into Steve at the Peach Pit and tries to apologize for what happened with Darby, but Steve doesn’t care. He’s more concerned with whether she’s mentioned her college fling with Steve. Noah says she hasn’t. He suggests that Steve mention the fling to Janet before Darby does.
Matt tells Kelly about Patrick and Juliane’s proposal, which Kelly objects to. She doesn’t think Matt should donate sperm to create a child who’s also his niece or nephew. After all, that didn’t work out so well for Gina. Matt says he told his brother he’d think about it, but he does want Kelly’s input. Kelly’s like, “I believe I’ve already given that.”
Gina takes Michael on a walk, determined to get him to the dance so he can talk to his crush, Nicole. Michael complains about how hard his dad has been on him since his mother died. Gina doesn’t really care – she just wants the job. She encourages Michael to tell his father what he wants (example: an earring).
Steve checks out Darby, then starts to ask her about the party where they hooked up in college. Janet interrupts, so Steve drops it. Janet tells Steve that she really likes Darby, but she doesn’t like Darby hooking up around Maddy. Steve admits to Janet that he and Darby hooked up at a party. She’s about as happy as you would expect.
Kelly runs into Patrick, who tells her that Matt turned down the Uncle Father proposal – and blamed it on Kelly. Kelly tells Patrick that the problem is his and Juliane’s, not hers and Matt’s. Donna gets ready for a date with Dan, asking David for his opinion on her outfit. Just after they leave, Camille arrives looking for Donna. David likes having a pretty woman at his door.
Kelly confronts Matt for throwing her under the bus with Patrick. Now it looks like she’s the reason Patrick and Juliane won’t be able to have a baby. Matt’s upset that he turned Patrick away after waiting his whole life for Patrick to reach out to him. This is about his family, not Kelly. She always talks about responsibility, but in this situation, she won’t take any.
Gina goes to get Michael for another workout session, but Russell’s mad about her interference with his family. Michael got his ear pierced without his father’s permission. When Michael urges Gina to back up his actions, Gina stays out of it. Russell pays her for her work so far, telling her he’s already filled the job at the sports channel.
Janet confirms with Steve that he didn’t remember sleeping with Darby when they interviewed her. Steve says he only remembered after he talked to Noah about her. Janet would like details as to how, exactly, the conversation jogged Steve’s memory: “And if this has anything to do with cup size, there will be a trial separation.” Steve says Darby tends to give men hickeys in the shape of Idaho.
Janet fires Darby, saying the nanny misled them. Steve tells Darby that Janet knows all about their college hookup. Darby has no idea what they’re talking about. She also doesn’t know what the word “Idaho” refers to. She thinks the couple has been having some weird fantasies. After Darby leaves, Steve realizes that she doesn’t remember their hookup.
Donna admits to David that she kissed Dan good night, and she feels bad about it – she really only went out with him in hopes that he’ll sell her sweaters. David doesn’t think that Dan would have agreed to a date if he didn’t think he could make money from her clothes. Donna’s “honor is intact,” somehow, and a buyer likes her clothes. In other good news, David has a date with Camille, and talked Donna up to her for the article.
Kelly goes over to the Walshes’, where Patrick and Juliane are looking after Maddy. Juliane assures Kelly that there are no hard feelings over her objection to the Uncle Father situation. If Juliane were in Kelly’s place, she would have made the same decisions. Kelly promises that Matt really wanted to help. Juliane thinks this is a good lesson for Patrick in dealing with situations out of their control. She’s happy with her relationship and knows her husband will be a good father someday.
Noah meets with Josie and Shane to tell them that Dylan isn’t going to help them out of their problems with the dealer. Shane makes it clear that if something happens to Josie, he’ll come after Noah. Noah replies that he’s not going to help them get Dylan’s help anymore. Dan asks Donna out again, but she lets him know that they’re not going to have a relationship. He’s free to cancel the order if he wants, but he still likes her designs.
David promises Donna that she’ll wind up with the perfect guy and have a great life. Donna just wishes it would happen quickly, because she’s in dating hell. She suggests that the two of them spend the day at the beach, but David already has plans with Camille. Also, Donna probably shouldn’t be willing to close the boutique for the day if business is so great.
Janet’s still annoyed that Steve didn’t tell her about his hookup with Darby right away, but she’s not that mad about it. (Not to mention that she can tease him about Darby forgetting that they slept together.) She takes him to the carousel where he took her for their seventh date. He’s surprised that she remembers, and Janet says that his performance isn’t what’s memorable about him. Kelly tells Matt that he was right when he said the Uncle Father issue isn’t about her. She does need to take responsibility, and right now she’s going to do it by approving the deal.
Gina goes to Russell’s house to accompany Michael to the dance. She lectures Russell about the way he disciplines his son without ever letting him have fun. Gina knows what it’s like to grow up with a critical parent, and how her mother’s attitude shaped her. Michael deserves better. Russell tells Gina that Michael’s mother was great, and he’s not sure how to parent without her. He’s just been trying to keep things under control. Gina urges him to listen to his son.
Kelly and Donna finally have the chance to reconnect at the beach apartment, but Donna doesn’t want to hear how things have changed. She admits that she feels alone all the time. Kelly reads from Camille’s profile on Donna, which mentions how kind and genuine Donna is. Kelly thinks guys will be lining up to date her now. The two friends decide to recommit to their friendship with each other.
Michael’s surprised that Gina wants to go to the dance with him even with no shot at the job anymore. Gina says she’s there because no one ever showed up for her. She sends Michael to dance with Nicole, who says she likes his earring. Dylan randomly shows up to dance with Gina, because I guess any adult who wants can go to a school dance. At the After Dark, Shane and a friend kidnap Noah and drive off with him in a van.
Thoughts: Nicole is played by a frizzy-haired, brunette Ashley Tisdale.
Camille Desmond is the greatest soap name ever.
I don’t like Kelly’s attitude about the whole Uncle Father thing, but on the other hand, I don’t think Matt thought it through.
The whole situation made me think of the episode of Modern Family when Claire agrees to help Cam and Mitchell have a baby, and then they realize that she would be the baby’s mom and aunt (Aunt Mommy), which is weird.
August 25, 2015
Summary: At the end of the last book, Jessica was eager to write an article about the Unicorns for the Sixers. Elizabeth decides to humor her and publish it on the front page. The Unicorns are thrilled they’re going to get some publicity, as if everyone in the school doesn’t already know about them. But at the last minute, the Sixers has to include breaking news about a coach’s injury, and Jessica’s article has to be bumped. Elizabeth isn’t able to tell her ahead of time.
The Unicorns are furious with this development, accusing Elizabeth of deliberately messing with them. Then, like a typical child, Jessica announces that the Unicorns will just start their own paper. I mean, how hard can it be? Janet immediately takes control, though she at least tries to form a democracy before becoming the dictator we know she truly is. (In this case, though, it’s a good idea. Someone needs to make decisions.)
The girls write mostly inane articles, including one about an upcoming school dance they’re in charge of organizing. Lila’s supposed to book a band, since she thinks her uncle can use his connections in the music industry to get one. She writes in the article that a special mystery act will perform. The paper is supposed to come out on Tuesday, a day ahead of the Sixers, and will be eight pages, printed in purple paper.
Almost none of that happens. Ellen writes a horrible article about her new purple sweater. Tamara writes two paragraphs on the Unicorns’ history, when she was supposed to write two pages. Mary has to type everything up. No one other than Jessica is interested in actually getting the paper to press. There are only three pages of “news,” so Jessica adds in Unicorn meeting minutes (who’s taking minutes anyway?), claiming that people are always asking what happens at their meetings.
The girls can’t use the ditto machine at school to print the paper on Tuesday. (Were people still using ditto machines in 1990?) This means they don’t get their paper out before the Sixers. Not that it matters, since the paper Lila bought is too dark for black print. Even if they could read it, no one wants a copy. The Sixers figure they’re safe from any kind of meaningful competition. The Unicorns are reading to fold, but Jess isn’t going to let Elizabeth win. Janet lets her take charge, and the girls work toward a second edition.
Jessica announces that the paper will now be four pages, printed on white paper, and called The Middle School News so as not to alienate non-Unicorns. They’ll also include news about more than just themselves. Lila thinks they should print an interview with Donny Diamond, a rock star who’s the girls’ latest obsession. They don’t actually need to talk to him – they can just publish the answers he would give if they were to actually interview him. If anyone asks, they’ll say that Lila’s uncle introduced them to Donny.
This edition of the paper is a success, even though it now costs 15 cents. Everyone’s excited about the Donny “interview” and starts writing in with questions for him. The Unicorns answer them as only preteens can. (Example: Jealousy is good because it means your boyfriend cares.) One letter asks for photo proof that the Unicorns actually met Donny, since the writer doesn’t think they did. Jessica manages to alter a photo they took with Janet’s brother to make it look like they hung out with Donny. The Unicorns think the letter came from the Sixers, who have started to realize that The Middle School News might be a threat.
Lila’s slowly growing more anxious about the school dance, since she hasn’t heard back from her uncle. She admits to Jessica that she hasn’t been able to line up a special guest. She tries to pawn off the problem to Jess, who’s already swamped trying to turn out the paper. Then things get more complicated with gym teacher Ms. Langberg starts asking questions about the Unicorns’ dealings with Donny. Jess keeps up the charade pretty well, but she knows Ms. Langberg’s suspicions aren’t going to just go away.
In the next round of questions for Donny, the girls get an accusation that their picture with him was faked. The writer asks how long they can keep up their ploy before everything comes out. Jessica is sure that Elizabeth is behind the anonymous letters, but Liz is clueless. She has, however, heard rumors that Donny will be performing at the dance. Thanks to Caroline Pearce (of course), the rumors make it to the high school. Everyone is excited for the dance, thinking they’re going to get a private concert from a huge star.
Ms. Langberg tells Jessica and Lila that even she’s heard the rumors. The girls tell her they’re not true, then come clean about all the things they made up for the paper. Ms. Langberg orders them to make a public apology at the dance. She’ll provide a group for the music – her accordionist cousin, Donald Kaminsky, and his Polka Dots. So not only do the Unicorns have to reveal that they fooled everyone, but they have to listen to polka music.
There’s a huge crowd at the dance, all chanting Donny’s name. Jessica and Lila announce that the interviews in the paper were all fake. Everyone’s mad, accusing the girls of lying to get a big crowd at the dance (though, in their defense, the Unicorns never confirmed that Donny would be there). Donald Kaminsky and the Polka Dots come on stage to face a very angry audience. But it’s all okay – Donald is really Donny Diamond in disguise.
Everyone thinks the Unicorns planned this all along, and that their “confession” was just a joke. Ms. Langberg explains that Donny sent them the anonymous letters to shame them for making money using his name. Jessica and Lila nicely decide to donate the money they made (a whole $45, which isn’t much until you remember that they only charged 15 cents a copy). The Unicorns get their picture taken with Donny for real. Not much of a punishment for lying and fraud, is it?
We end the book with Bruce being a jerk to Lois Waller because she’s heavy. Elizabeth and Amy are there when he challenges Lois to a bike race. But her pedals fall off because Bruce messed with her bike to humiliate her in front of a group of people. Sounds about right. This will lead into the next book.
Thoughts: Lila Fowler has a bedtime? I don’t think so. I also don’t believe she ever walks to school.
“As second-in-command, it was her duty to be loyal.” Jessica’s going to make an A+ trophy wife someday.
“Jessica had suffered enough. Maybe she had even learned a lesson, for once!” Elizabeth, why are you so dumb?
February 21, 2015
Summary: Bailey has dinner with some really annoying girl, ditching her to talk to Joe, then Tracy. He’s disappointed that he can’t spend more time with his married girlfriend. He tells the annoying girl that they’re dating, but she doesn’t care. Charlie’s 30th birthday is coming up, and though he tells Kirsten he doesn’t want to make a big deal about it, he kind of wants to make a little deal about it. At school, Claudia and her friends plan Homecoming, but she splits when Derek shows up.
Brian tracks down Julia to apologize for kissing her. She’s happy to forget about it and move on. Bailey wants Charlie to move some of his things out of the Salingers’ basement so Will can live down there. Charlie would rather talk about how he’s dating two women at once. Then suddenly there’s a third woman in the picture; she’s at the wrong house, but Bailey wonders if they were meant to meet. He asks her on a date for the next night, bugging her when she keeps saying no.
Back at the house, Bailey invites Daphne and Griffin to Charlie’s birthday party. Somehow, they realize that he’s figured out that they’re…dating? Is that what they’re doing? Julia gets down about some critiques of her book, then gets more annoyed when Evan doesn’t show her any sympathy or give her support. Later, Julia and Brian encounter each other again at Evan’s house, and he tries to make her feel better about the critiques. Hey, do you think the show is trying to tell us that Julia and Brian are a better match than Julia and Evan?
Bailey’s fated woman, Holly, must be crazy because she agrees to go on a date with him. We’re supposed to think they’re cute, but it’s gross. She’s all type A and a control freak like Bailey, but she gave in to a guy who harassed her, so I can’t root for her. Julia has also figured out that Griffin and Daphne are…whatever, and she assures him that she’s fine with it. Griffin says it’s just casual, and he can’t picture them actually dating. Julia wonders if he could picture her with him before they got together. She encourages him to tell Daphne how he feels about her.
In the Salingers’ basement, Charlie finds a model of a house he made back when he was in architecture school. Claudia tells Alexa that she’s quitting the Homecoming committee because of Derek. She doesn’t get how Alexa can hang out with him like nothing happened. Alexa points out that Claudia didn’t tell anyone that he assaulted her; Derek didn’t get punished, so Claudia can’t expect other people to punish him.
Brian says goodbye to Julia before heading back to college, admitting that he doesn’t want to hang around and watch his father date someone he’d like to be with. Evan overhears them talking about the kiss but doesn’t say anything. Bailey wants to go out with Holly again, but she likes the idea of ending on a high note and keeping their good memories of each other. Their date is interrupted by Tracy’s husband, who confronts Bailey in the restaurant and punches him.
Julia pushes Evan to talk about her kiss with Brian and how she kept it from him. She wants to make sure he knows that the kiss didn’t mean anything to her. Evan believes her and isn’t surprised that Brian’s interested in her. Claudia’s an outsider at school again, now that she doesn’t want to spend time with the popular kids. Myra’s snuck in some alcohol, and Claudia decides to join her for a drink.
Bailey tracks down Holly, which is REALLY GROSS, and tries to get her to see that he’s really a good guy. He only hooked up with Tracy to get Sarah out of his system. Holly thinks they’re a mismatch because Bailey’s not mature enough to know that a meaningless affair is a bad idea. Julia’s upset that Evan’s always so nonchalant about everything and never shows emotion. Evan admits that the kiss bothered him, but he doesn’t see the point in complaining about it. Julia would like him to give her more emotion than he would any other random person in his life. Otherwise, why be together?
Myra’s alcohol loosens Claudia up, and when Derek starts to leave to get his own bottle, she announces that girls should be careful around him. She accuses Alexa and Cameron of knowing his true nature and not saying anything. She’s tired of the view she’s gotten from being in the top tier. Griffin goes to see Daphne at her job and asks her to go somewhere to talk. She knows what he wants to talk about, so she asks to go for a ride on his motorcycle instead. He puts his only helmet on her and lets her drive. She’s bad at it, and they crash.
Charlie, Kirsten, Julia, Claudia, and Victor convene at the hospital; Daphne’s mostly okay, but Griffin has a head injury and needs reconstructive surgery on his hand. He may not be able to fully use it. Plus, Griffin doesn’t have insurance, so he’ll have to be sent to a hospital with lesser facilities. Julia authorizes the surgery, declaring that the Salingers will figure out a way to pay for it. Bailey arrives late and runs into Holly, who works there and finally finds it creepy that he’s always around. Victor visits Daphne, who cries and asks, “What have I done?”
Evan shows up, ready to do actual boyfriend stuff for Julia. He knows she’s right about his problems showing emotions; she’s not the first person to mention them. He asks her to bear with him while he works through them. Julia, however, has realized that she has the bad habit of dating men who ask her to bear with them while they deal with their issues. She thought he was the opposite of Ned, who couldn’t control his feelings. She can’t keep dating someone who requires so much work.
Charlie spends the morning of his birthday on the roof of the hospital, telling Kirsten how seeing Griffin made him remember when he was in the hospital. He’s decided to start focusing on what’s important to him. He’s going to quit teaching and will eventually go back to architecture. Whenever anything bad happened to him, Charlie would try to trust fate; if he held on long enough, things would get good again. He’s going to try to remember that.
Holly tries to be nice to Bailey (nicer than he deserves), but he’s snotty to her because she said he wasn’t mature enough for her. He thinks he should get a pass because he made a mistake. Acting like an idiot got him a date with Holly, so she can’t say that being reckless is all bad. Julia tells Griffin that the doctors are hopeful, but no one’s 100 percent sure what kind of recovery he’ll have.
Thoughts: Holly is played by Rhona Mitra. When I looked up what she’s been in to find out what she’s known for the most, I realized that I’ve never actually seen her in anything.
Rejected Homecoming theme: the Heart of the Sea. SO ’90s.
Bailey, bugging Holly: “Sometimes you just can’t take no for an answer.” Well, you’d better learn to. Alert to all men: Bailey’s behavior in this episode is not cute. Asking a woman out multiple times and ignoring her when she declines is not romantic. You are not the star of an adorable Hollywood movie. Shut your mouth and walk away.
December 31, 2013
Summary: Some girls are rocking out in their car to the Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week.” Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) pulls up alongside them to glare and listen to “Bad Reputation.” Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is welcomed to Padua High School by the guidance counselor, Ms. Perky (Allison Janney), who hates everyone. Next she gets a visit from Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), who’s the resident bad boy. He used a bratwurst to pretend to expose himself to a lunch lady. Ms. Perky thinks he’s being optimistic with the bratwurst. After he leaves, she goes back to writing a romance novel.
Michael (David Krumholtz) takes Cameron under his wing and shows him around the school. He introduces him to various cliques: white Rastas, cowboys, future MBAs (yesterday, Michael was their god, but Bogie Lowenstein started a rumor that his Izods come from an outlet mall). They come across Bianca Stratford (Larisa Oleynik), and Cameron immediately falls in love: “I burn, I pine, I perish.” Too bad she’s not smart. She and her friend Chastity (Gabrielle Union) discuss the difference between like and love (she likes her Skechers and loves her Prada backpack) while Michael tells Cameron that the Stratford sisters aren’t allowed to date.
Kat goes to her English class with teacher Mr. Morgan (Daryl “Chill” Mitchell), where they’re discussing The Sun Also Rises. Kat hated the book because Hemingway was a misogynist. Joey Donner (Andrew Keegan) taunts her, so Mr. Morgan tells him to shut up. Patrick arrives late for class, then immediately leaves again. Joey continues taunting Kat, and Mr. Morgan warns that she’ll hit him one day and he won’t try to stop her. However, he’s also sick of her for constantly complaining since she’s rich and white. He sends her to the office just for annoying him.
Ms. Perky continues working on her erotica, with an assist from Kat in the form of a synonym. They exposit that she recently kicked a guy in the family jewels for groping her. Ms. Perky notes that a lot of people find Kat… “Tempestuous?” Kat supplies. “Heinous b&^%$ is the term used most often,” Ms. Perky replies. After class, Joey ogles Bianca, telling a friend he’s going to land her. Michael tells Cameron that Joey’s a model (not exactly international).
Cameron continues admiring Bianca, insisting that she’s deeper than she seems. Michael says that guys like them can never date girls like her. But if Cameron wants an in, he can tutor Bianca in French, despite not speaking it. Joey taunts Kat one more time as Chastity wonders if you can be “whelmed,” as opposed to under- or overwhelmed. Bianca thinks you can in Europe. Joey gives them a ride home, which Kat and her friend Mandella (Susan May Pratt) find gross. Kat almost runs over Michael, who tells Cameron that she’s Bianca’s sister. Then he accidentally drives down a hill on his scooter.
Kat goes home to read The Bell Jar and let her father, Dr. Stratford (Larry Miller), know that she hasn’t made anyone cry today – “but it’s only 4:30.” She’s thrilled to get an acceptance letter from Sarah Lawrence. Dr. Stratford objects to her going to school on the East Coast. Kat tries to change the subject by telling him that Bianca let a senior drive her home. He busts out his two house rules, both of which are no dating until graduation. Dr. Stratford is an OB/GYN, so he sees pregnant teenagers all the time and doesn’t want his daughters to end up in the same mess. Kat has no problem abstaining from dating since all the guys at school are gross. Dr. Stratford decides to use this to his advantage and makes a new rule: Bianca can date when Kat does.
Bianca goes to her first tutoring session with Cameron; he wastes no time asking her out. “That’s so cute! What’s your name again?” she replies. She tells him that she can’t date until Kat does. Cameron wonders why Kat’s such a jerk. “I’m pretty sure she’s just incapable of human interaction,” Bianca says. “Plus, she’s a b&^%$.” Cameron thinks they can find a guy somewhere who would think of going out with Kat as “extreme dating.” Bianca would be eternally grateful if he succeeded. So Cameron and Michael gather some guys to interview potential dates for Kat, but not even the most desperate of them is quite that desperate.
In chem lab, Cameron wonders if Patrick is an option for Kat. Michael quickly vetoes him: He set a state trooper on fire! He just got out of San Quentin! He sold his liver for new speakers! As Patrick uses a Bunsen burner to light a cigarette, Cameron makes up his mind that he’s the right guy. They approach him in woodshop, where Patrick won’t even talk to him, instead drilling a hole in his French book. The guys consider offering Patrick money, so Michael suggests getting it from someone dumb. That would be Joey. Michael advises him to hire someone to date Kat so he can have Bianca. All he wants in return is a “hi” from Joey every so often. And probably for Joey not to draw penises on his face anymore.
Michael approaches Patrick on the school’s sports field, where Kat has soccer practice. Michael starts with the truth, saying that he can’t date Bianca until someone takes Kat out. Then he offers Patrick money to go out with Kat. His opening offer is $20, but after Kat shoves a girl, he ups it to $30. Patrick figures that a movie date would cost $75 (popcorn alone is $53), then negotiates it to $50. It’s a deal. After practice, Patrick tries to talk to Kat, starting off with, “Hey there, girlie.” Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t win her over. He tells her he’ll pick her up on Friday. Cameron and Michael watch from the bleachers, Cameron trying to stay upbeat about how screwed they are. Then Bogie hits someone with a golf ball.
At home, Bianca bugs Kat to put more effort into her appearance and try to be nice. Kat insists that she doesn’t care what people think, telling her sister that she doesn’t have to act the way everyone wants her to. Bianca says she likes being adored. Kat notices that Bianca is wearing a strand of their mother’s pearls and objects. Bianca notes that their mom isn’t coming back for them. Kat goes shopping and runs into Patrick, who’s surprised that she’s not afraid of him the way everyone else is. Also, she’s probably thought of him naked. Joey double-parks her and she rams into his car.
Of course, Dr. Stratford is upset about this, and thinks Kat’s acting out because he doesn’t want her to go to Sarah Lawrence. Kat counters that her father’s punishing her because her mother left. He tells her that she doesn’t really know what she wants; by the time she does know, she’ll be too old to use it. Kat just wants him to let her make her own choices. Bianca confronts Kat for her actions, calling her psycho. Speaking of confrontations, Joey’s upset that Patrick hasn’t come through on his end of their deal yet. Patrick decides he wants $100 a date now.
Cameron and Michael visit Patrick in woodshop again and tell him they know about his deal with Joey. They want to help so Cameron can go out with Bianca. They offer to find out the kinds of things Kat likes so Patrick can connect with her. Michael thinks that he should take Kat to a party Bogie’s throwing that weekend. He also plans to get Bogie back by flooding the party with tons of students. A clueless Joey asks Bianca for her opinion on some headshots. He wants to hang out with her at the party.
Cameron also wants to hang out with Bianca at the party, and tells her that he’s working on getting Kat a date. Bianca confirms that Kat is straight, but the only guy she’s shown an interest in is Jared Leto. She also won’t date a smoker. They sneak into Kat’s room, finding concert ticket stubs and black panties; Bianca says that means Kat wants to have sex someday. Cameron asks to see Bianca’s room, but she gets flustered and tells him that a girl’s bedroom is personal.
Michael and Cameron find Patrick at a biker bar to give him the information they got from Kat’s room and Bianca. Patrick worries that he’s not pretty enough for Kat. Cameron and Michael assure him that he is. They encourage him to hang out with Kat at Club Skunk the next night. Patrick is reluctant until Cameron reveals that Kat has some black underwear. At the club the next night, Patrick “runs into” Kat, pretending he’s not stalking her and likes this kind of music, too. Also, he quit smoking. Just as he tells her she looked sexy dancing, the music stops and everyone hears. He invites her to the party again, and she plays coy.
Bianca and Chastity try to sneak out of the Stratfords’ house for Bogie’s party; when Dr. Stratford catches them, they say they’re going to a study group. He tells them they can’t go if Kat doesn’t go. Kat refuses, giving a speech about parties that she’s given so many times, Bianca and Chastity can recite it. Bianca begs her sister to do something nice for once, so Kat gives in and agrees to go with them. Now Dr. Stratford has no excuse to let them go. But first, Bianca has to wear a fake pregnancy belly to remind her what could happen if she has sex. Just as the girls are leaving, Patrick shows up to join them.
Cameron and Michael get ready for the party; Michael’s overexcited because the last party he went to was at Chuck E. Cheese. Dozens of students show up at Bogie’s, turning his lowbrow cigar-and-brie party into a kegger. Michael tries to hit on a girl by talking about possibly getting a Toyota. Patrick follows Kat around, losing track of her as she comes across Joey. He taunts that he’s getting closer to Bianca. When Kat tries to warn Bianca away from him, Bianca ignores her. Kat decides to drink some shots to distract herself. Patrick’s concerned since it’s not like her to give in to peer pressure.
Michael continues to fail at flirting. Cameron finds Bianca, who appears to be a little more into him, but she gets pulled away by Joey. He spends the next few minutes boring her. Later, Bianca and Cameron run into each other again, but don’t talk. Patrick goes looking for Kat and finds her dancing drunkenly on the kitchen table. She hits her head on a chandelier and falls off, but he catches her. He takes her outside, thinking she could have a concussion so he needs to keep her awake.
Cameron tells Patrick that the deal is off, since Bianca wants Joey. Patrick tells him to keep fighting for her. “Don’t let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want,” he says. He takes Kat to a tree swing, which he has to stop her from falling off of. She passes out and he revives her, genuinely concerned for her. Kat notices that his eyes have some green in them, then pukes on his shoes. Joey asks Bianca to go with him to another party, but she has to go home to make curfew. Chastity happily accepts the invitation in his place. Stuck without a ride home, Bianca asks Cameron to drive her.
Patrick takes Kat home while she talks about how she should start a band. She comments that her father would love that, and he notes that she doesn’t seem like the type of person to ask permission. Both of them mention that people think they’re scary. Kat says that her father wants her to be like her sister. Patrick tells her that Bianca isn’t that great. She tries to kiss him, but he declines.
Cameron drives Bianca home and they also have an awkward moment. He confronts her for pretending she wanted to hang out with him when she really wanted to date Joey. He asks if she’s always been this selfish, and she realizes that she has. Cameron tells her everything he’s done for her, and she kisses him. “And I’m back in the game!” he exclaims after she gets out of the car.
At school on Monday, Mr. Morgan raps a Shakespearean sonnet for the class, delighting the white Rastas (and Kat). He assigns the class to write their own version of the sonnet. He thinks Kat will object to the assignment, but she likes it. Mr. Morgan is so confused that he kicks her out. In the hallway, Cameron and Bianca make eyes at each other. Michael teases Mandella about the pictures of Shakespeare in her locker, then wins her over by quoting Macbeth. He brings her into his and Cameron’s inner circle.
On the field, Cameron blasts Patrick for not kissing Kat and furthering their plan. Then he shares that he got kissed himself. Michael reports that Kat “hates [Patrick] with the fire of a thousand suns.” Cameron suggests that she just needs a day to cool off. Kat disproves that theory by firing a soccer ball at Patrick’s head. Later, Kat tears down a prom poster, complaining to Mandella that no one smart would want to attend. Mandella’s annoyed that Kat wants to make yet another statement about something.
Joey visits Bianca during gym class, where she loses concentration and shoots the teacher, Mr. Chapin (David Leisure), with an arrow. He asks her to prom, telling her that he’s lining up a date for Kat so Bianca will be allowed to go. He gives Patrick some money, but Patrick won’t accept until Joey ups it to $300. He heads out to stalk Kat some more (seriously, he follows her around a lot in this movie), finding her trying out a guitar at a music store, then looking at feminist tomes at a bookstore. They snark that neither is as mean as he or she thinks.
At school, Patrick confirms to Cameron and Michael that Kat’s still mad. Cameron advises him to “sacrifice [himself] on the altar of dignity and even the score.” Patrick uses some of Joey’s $300 to pay a guy to help him sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (with accompaniment from the school’s marching band) to Kat on the field. She’s so touched that she flashes Mr. Chapin to distract him so Patrick can sneak out of detention. They end up in a paddleboat, talking about how they always disappoint others for not living up to expectations. Patrick says that Kat never disappointed him.
They play paintball and have their first kiss, then head to Kat’s house, clearing up various rumors about each other. Patrick asks Kat to prom, but she still thinks it’s a dumb tradition. He encourages her to defy people’s expectations. She asks what’s in it for him, and though he tries to laugh off the possibility that he needs a motive, Kat isn’t convinced. Patrick pulls out a cigarette, making her realize that he didn’t quit smoking after all. Cameron tutors Bianca, and her French is so good now that she can use it to insult him. She’s mad that he hasn’t asked her out yet.
While Mandella finds a dress and prom invitation (from William S.) in her locker, Dr. Stratford pretends to work out on his roof. Bianca approaches to talk about prom, shocking him so much that he accidentally launches a piece of exercise equipment. Dr. Stratford doesn’t want her to go out with Joey, and finds her naïve for thinking that she’ll just end up kissing a boy. Bianca insists that she just wants to do something normal. “What’s normal? Those damn Dawson’s River kids sleeping in each other’s beds and whatnot?” Dr. Stratford asks. He doesn’t approve of her “going out and getting jiggy” with a guy – “I don’t care how dope his ride is. My mama didn’t raise no fool.” At least his neighbor returns his exercise equipment.
Kat finds Bianca moping while watching The Real World: Seattle and tells her she’s not going to sacrifice her beliefs so Bianca can go to prom. She admits that she and Joey briefly dated their freshman year, and even had sex. Joey dumped her because she told him she didn’t want to sleep with him again. From that moment on, Kat promised herself that she would never do what everyone else was doing. She didn’t tell Bianca because she wanted Bianca to come to her own conclusions about Joey. Bianca’s mad that she was so overprotected.
After some moping from both sisters, Kat ends up going to prom anyway. Cameron arrives to pick up Bianca, to Dr. Stratford’s dismay. “I know every cop in town, bucko,” he warns. Kat and Patrick meet up (and make up) at the dance while Joey goes to the Stratfords’ to get Bianca. Dr. Stratford just closes the door in his face. Mandella nervously waits for her William S., making Kat think she’s lost her mind. It’s Michael, of course, so the two of them can go off and be weird together.
Kat’s surprised when her favorite band starts playing, having been hired by Patrick. Bianca learns that Joey brought Chastity to the dance instead of her, and tells Chastity he’s all hers. Chastity snots that Joey only wanted to date Bianca to have sex with her. He even made a bet with his friends that he would sleep with her after prom. Patrick tells Kat that he spent the past year (when he was rumored to be in prison) taking care of his grandfather. Joey pulls him aside to blast him for failing to help him land Bianca. Kat overhears that money exchanged hands and runs off.
Joey next confronts Cameron, who’s had enough of his vile talk about Bianca. Joey throws a punch, then gets punched twice and kneed in the groin by Bianca (once for hitting Cameron, once for the way he treated Kat, and once for the way he treated her). Kat blasts Patrick for the deal with Joey, though he insists that he didn’t care about the money. He tells her he only cared about her, but she tells him he’s not the person she thought he was.
The next day, Bianca invites Kat to go sailing with her and Cameron, thanking her for going to prom so Bianca could go. Kat’s glad that she had a good time. Dr. Stratford wants to hear all about prom, so Kat tells him about Bianca beating up Joey. He admits that he’s impressed, and not concerned that his mean daughter had a bad influence on his nice one. He tells Kat that it’s hard for him to see his daughters become independent, and it’ll be even harder for him to let her go across the country to attend Sarah Lawrence.
At school, Mr. Morgan asks for a volunteer to read his or her sonnet. Kat reads hers, which is a list of reasons she hates Patrick, concluding with, “I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.” She and Patrick both start crying. After school, Kat goes to her car and finds a guitar inside, purchased with Joey’s $300. Patrick approaches and they make up, though she notes that he can’t buy her a guitar every time he screws up. He notes that he still has plenty of instruments to get. They kiss while Letters to Cleo plays on a roof, because weird things like that happened all the time in the ’90s.
Thoughts: I’ve seen this movie so many times that I can tell when they’ve censored it for this broadcast.
She makes a great Bianca, but Larisa Oleynik will always be Alex Mack to me. That show was awesome.
Also, I want her wardrobe in this movie.
Whoever cast Bogie doesn’t know what high schoolers look like.
- “Maybe if we were the last two people alive and there were no sheep. Are there sheep?”
- “Should you be drinking when you don’t have a liver?”
- “Who knocked up your sister?”
- “You are amazingly self-assured. Has anyone ever told you that?” “I tell myself that every day.”
- “She’s meeting some bikers. Big ones. Full of sperm.”
September 9, 2013
Summary: Charlie tries to fix a chandelier while Claudia watches an infomercial about an exorcist/ghostbuster. She thinks there’s a hex on the family since bad things keep happening to them. Just as he tells her she’s ridiculous, he falls off his stepladder. Bailey goes with Sarah to a costume shop, where she’s looking for something to wear to a dance benefiting a children’s clinic. Sarah finds a Snow White costume tells Bailey that she’s always wanted to be her for Halloween. Now she has a Prince Charming to dress up with her, but Bailey won’t cooperate.
Charlie tries to call Kirsten from the restaurant, but her sister won’t put her on the phone. A woman named Grace asks to take the restaurant’s leftover food for her organization, which feeds the homeless. Charlie is not in the mood to be a nice guy. His next visitor is there to see Charlie’s father. Maybe Claudia’s hex idea isn’t so crazy after all. Julia thinks Justin’s passing her a note in class, but it’s for another girl. The guy at the restaurant tells Charlie that he used to do odd jobs for Mr. Salinger when he needed money. But again, Charlie is a jerk today, so there’s nothing for him there.
Claudia calls the exorcist/ghostbuster, Dr. Blalock, over to the house to purify it. He requests some of the family’s belongings and some alone time to “tap into the energy of the house.” Claudia should probably not be left at home alone anymore. At Bailey and Callie’s, there’s some business with condoms, which only exists so Bailey can tell his roommate that he and Sarah don’t have sex. But he’s not a virgin – he’s a real good sex person. He does it all the different ways. Callie does the math and realizes that if Bailey hasn’t had sex since he dated Jill, he’s been celibate for two years.
Justin and Julia carve pumpkins and talk about the upcoming dance; his note to Robin, the other girl in their class, was an invitation. Julia swears she’s fine with that. She’s not. Also, Robin sounds kind of annoying – she names everything, including her breasts. The lights go out at Bailey and Callie’s, and their apparent sexual tension (which I haven’t actually seen any evidence of yet) gets to be too much for them, so Bailey’s two-year no-sex streak is broken. Afterward, he’s regretful, but Callie doesn’t care. Sarah shows up with Bailey’s John Smith costume (to go with her Pocahontas costume) but doesn’t notice that anything’s off.
Handyman guy fixes some things up at the restaurant even without permission, and when Charlie tries to pay him to leave, he won’t take the money. He remembers a time when Charlie was a kid and helped him with a project. Now Charlie’s willing to find something for him to do. While Julia tries to find a date to the dance, Blalock starts to purify the Salingers’ house, telling Claudia that the family’s luck is going to change soon. He puts some of their things in a jar and has Claudia bury it in the yard.
Charlie works with handyman guy as he talks more about his memories of Charlie as a kid. Once everything that needs fixing has been fixed, Charlie comes up with more projects. Julia’s running out of potential dates, now that she’s learned that her most recent choice is gay. She runs into Robin, who thanks her for being so cool about her dating Justin. Julia ruins everything by calling Robin’s breasts by name. Sarah tries to make out with Bailey in a bookstore, but he’s jumpy about getting so physically close.
Charlie finds some of Blalock’s purifying salt in the Salingers’ kitchen, but Claudia pretends she doesn’t know where it came from. Charlie gets distracted by a phone call from a credit card company reporting large purchases made with Mr. Salinger’s card. Claudia realizes that Blalock may have gotten into Mr. Salinger’s paperwork and used his social security number to make the purchases. Bailey tries to get the Snow White and Prince Charming costumes, but they’ve already been rented out. “You don’t understand – I have to be Prince Charming!” he shouts.
Robin’s mad at Justin (totally reasonable) and won’t read the note he passes her in class. Charlie lectures Claudia about letting a stranger into the house as they head to the police station, having been told that someone was arrested for using Mr. Salinger’s card. But the culprit isn’t Blalock – it’s the handyman guy. Charlie realizes that he had access to paperwork because Charlie gave him the key to a file cabinet.
Sarah thinks Bailey’s cooled on her because she’s still in high school while he’s in college, and he doesn’t want to go to the dance. He’s all, “No, I want to go with you! I definitely don’t want to stay home and have sex with my roommate!” She’s all, “You’re such a great guy!” Julia tries to apologize to Justin for ruining his relationship with Robin, but that’s not what happened (Robin tells everyone the names of her breasts). However, he’s mad that Julia did something so horrible on purpose, in order to break them up. “You really think that you’re still that important?” he asks.
At home, Charlie looks through childhood pictures, trying to find photographic evidence of the things handyman guy told him about. He admits to Claudia that he’s having a hard time helping people and letting them in. At their apartment, Bailey tells Callie that what they did was a mistake. He accuses her of seducing him, since he doesn’t usually do stuff like that. Callie warns him not to blame her because he’s not happy with Sarah. She scoffs at the idea of him dressing up like Prince Charming.
While looking for something for a costume, Claudia finds the family’s water-heater warranty, which doesn’t run out until November 15th. This means they can get the roof fixed without having to pay thousands of dollars. She thinks this is what Blalock meant about the family’s luck changing. Charlie doesn’t like that Claudia believes she can throw magic salt around to fix her problems, but Julia wants to let her keep her naïve wonder since it makes her feel so good. (Basically, just because they feel crappy doesn’t mean Claudia should, too.)
Justin tries to avoid Julia at the dance, which Bailey shows up to dressed as Prince Charming. Sarah actually looks pretty cute as Snow White. Things are still awkward between them, though. Charlie tracks down Grace and apologizes for being a jerk to her earlier. He’s brought food so he can feel better about himself…I mean, so he can help the less fortunate. At the dance, Julia, who’s dressed as a fortuneteller, pretends to read Robin’s palm in order to tell her that Justin still likes her and is a good guy. She ends up giving Robin some advice on how to get revenge on Justin for whatever he did.
Bailey wants to spike the punch so people will have more fun, and definitely not because he’s slowly turning into an alcoholic. He also criticizes Sarah for charging too much for pictures, even though the proceeds go to charity. She calls him on being a jerk, and he tells her he only came because she guilted him into it. In better couple-related news, Justin and Robin have made up. Julia runs into a friend and they end up dancing together. Bailey goes home to his roommate/bed buddy, but she has another guy over. At least Bailey has beer to comfort him. Delicious, forgiving, understanding beer.
Thoughts: Justin, you don’t have to run your dating plans by Julia. You know she was all over Griffin two minutes after you broke up, right?
Claudia’s defense of letting Blalock into the house: “He wasn’t a stranger – he was on TV.” Hee!
Again with the weird school schedules – in the scenes before and after Claudia goes to the police station with Charlie, Julia and Justin are at school. Why is Claudia always on a different schedule?
I wish we’d gotten some sort of resolution to the handyman storyline. Did he really know Mr. Salinger? Why did he use a credit card from a guy he knew was dead? I wish they’d at least had a scene where Charlie meets with him and forgives him or offers him help or something, in fitting with the theme of the episode.
August 14, 2013
Summary: This book is jammed with people and plots, and is unlike SVH in that it’s not boring. I already like this series more. Of course, more content means longer recaps, so we’ll see how much more I like it when I’m an hour into writing and can’t think of any more ways to say Jessica’s a brat.
High school’s finally over, and Elizabeth, Jessica, Enid, Todd, and Winston are going to Sweet Valley University! Bruce also goes there, but he doesn’t have much of a presence in this book. I think Lila’s supposed to be there, too, but she never came back from her summer in Italy, and Jessica later finds out that she married a count. That guy has no idea what he’s getting into. Anyway, Enid decides before they leave that she wants to be known as Alexandra, her middle name. She’s tired of being Liz’s sidekick and wants to have fun.
The twins are living together, which is probably a huge mistake, considering they can barely tolerate living next door to each other at home. Jessica immediately likes college, which makes sense – it’s full of interesting people who don’t know what a pain she is (yet), her parents can’t tell her what to do, and there are tons of cute guys. Classes are just a necessary evil. Elizabeth, however, has a really rough time. Everyone’s too busy to hang out with her, and instead of, you know, trying to make new friends, she just stress-eats and cries a lot.
Elizabeth is also upset that Enid (now Alex) has become so outgoing and is having a great time. In other words, we’re done with boring, drippy Enid, and now we have normal, no-longer-in-Elizabeth’s-shadow Alex. Todd is also having a great time because he’s bonding with the other jocks and gets everything handed to him.
Winston’s one wish in college is to be taken seriously and no longer be seen as a class clown. But things start falling apart as soon as he arrives on campus. Someone screwed up his housing paperwork, and he’s listed as Winnie and placed in a girls’ dorm. The girls adopt him as a lovable pet, and while you’d think living with that many girls would be a college guy’s dream, he’s embarrassed by it. He especially doesn’t want his new friends in the Sigma frat to know.
Like I said, there are a bunch of new characters:
- Isabella Ricci – Jessica’s friend, who she ends up ditching Elizabeth to live with. Kind of a watered-down version of Lila, but not actively unlikable, at least not yet.
- Danny Wyatt – Jessica’s first semi-love interest. He’s black, as we’re reminded many times.
- Peter Wilbourne III – president of Sigma frat and a huge, racist jerk. He basically runs the campus. Isabella warns Jess that Peter will make her life horrible if she dates Danny.
- Tom Watts – Danny’s roommate. He used to be a jock, but after some unspecified accident, he got into reporting at the TV station.
- Michael McAllery – a guy Jessica gets into a car accident with. More on him later.
- Mark Gathers – a guy Alex is interested in. He gets set up on a date with Jessica, which makes Alex sad, but Jess and Mark don’t like each other like that, so it’s okay.
- Celine Boudreax – Elizabeth’s roommate after Jessica moves out. She’s a horrible person, but only Elizabeth sees it because Celine puts on a demure-Southern-belle act with everyone else, including Todd.
- William White – a friend of Celine’s. He’s the Sebastian Valmont to her Katherine Merteuil. He’s very interested in Elizabeth, for some reason.
So after Jessica meets Mike (by crashing into his car), she becomes obsessed with him. This is despite the fact that a) he has no interest in her, and b) he’s a huge jerk to her. After the accident, he gets Jessica’s information, supposedly for insurance purposes, then lets himself into her dorm room to bug her. She thinks that since he never filed an insurance claim, he doesn’t plan to make her pay for the damages. She’s too dumb to realize that he seems to be willing to accept sex as a payment option. Isabella and Steven both warn Jess to stay away from him, but…you know, dumb.
Danny takes Jessica to a Sigma party, where he has a run-in with Peter. Tom breaks things up, noting to himself that in the past, Danny would have handled things on his own. We come to learn that Danny has a brother who got into a fight, was stabbed, and is now in a wheelchair. Danny decided that he doesn’t want to get hurt over something trivial, so he no longer uses violence. Elizabeth tears into Peter for his behavior, which means neither twin is on his good list, but Tom is suddenly infatuated with Liz.
Not so infatuated with Liz: Todd, who wants to have sex. Silly Todd. Elizabeth’s distaste with premarital sex even spills over into her relationship with Alex after Alex spends the night in Mark’s room (but they don’t do anything). Elizabeth gets up on the highest horse she’s ever been on, effectively ending her and Alex’s friendship.
Things get worse for Liz: Celine brings a guy back to their room, so Elizabeth sexiles herself, only she has nowhere to go. She ends up spending some time at Steven and Billie’s. Nothing important or interesting happens. Then, because Celine has been so sweet to Todd, he thinks Elizabeth is crazy for not liking her. They fight and end up breaking up. I’m sure that will last.
Oh, by the way, a rumor is spreading around campus that some psychic predicted that someone will be murdered on Halloween. Everyone figures, with no evidence whatsoever, that the victim will be a blond girl. Tom decides to protect Elizabeth, who he officially meets when she starts working with him at the TV station. He thinks the Sigmas started the rumor about the murder, and that they’re targeting Liz. She tells him she doesn’t need protection.
Halloween rolls around, and there’s a dance. Jessica dresses as Penelope from The Odyssey while Elizabeth wears a similar costume as…Justice. Gag. Jess goes to the dance with a guy named Geoff, who’s one of the racist Sigmas and is two seconds away from date-raping her when Danny pops up and saves her. The Sigmas attack Danny, but this time he fights back, later implying to Tom that sometimes you need to be a little violent. He also says that his brother could have taken all of them by himself, even from a wheelchair, which is pretty funny. I like Danny.
Instead of thinking that maybe she shouldn’t be going off alone, Jessica leaves and is attacked by either Peter or William (hard to tell since he’s in a costume). She’s saved again, this time by Mike, who is apparently into her now. And for some reason, that’s how the book ends.
Thoughts: Yay, now you guys get to hear me talk about my college experiences! Get excited! …Hey, where’s everyone going?
The twins, Todd, Alex, and Winston all get to take cars with them to college. Yeah, I bet.
Yes, I’m calling her Alex, because I respect people’s wishes, Elizabeth.
“It wasn’t as if Elizabeth was the annoying member of the Wakefield family. She was the Wakefield twin everybody loved.” Liz sure thinks highly of herself, doesn’t she?
Jessica slams Elizabeth for being into women’s rights. I bet she’ll change her tune when she has her first unplanned pregnancy and needs to find an abortion clinic. Because we all know that of all the girls in the Sweet Valley-verse, Jessica’s the most likely candidate for that to happen to.
Peter: “I’m Peter Wilbourne the Third.” Elizabeth: “You mean they tried twice before you and they still didn’t get it right?” SUH-NAP. That was awesome.
Winston, you idiot. The Sigmas would like you MORE if they knew you live with a bunch of girls.
Jessica, Mike doesn’t want to date you. He wants to plow you. He has freaking cards with his name on them! He’s evil! See, this is what’s going to lead to you needing an abortion clinic.
July 29, 2013
Summary: The Salingers have dinner together (at home, not at the restaurant) and discuss Jake, who’s been away on business two days longer than he said he would be. Bailey wonders if he’s run off again and they just haven’t figured it out yet. Claudia panics, thinking something bad happened. At some other point in time, Kathleen gets ready for a local news award ceremony, which Charlie can’t make it to. Apparently she’s recovered from her suicide attempt.
Jake comes home, and Bailey blasts him for being gone and not contacting them. Jake apologizes, saying he’s not used to having to tell people about his comings and goings. Julia has the option of writing a story instead of taking a test, and though Justin offers to work with her, she wants to take the test. Justin writes his own story about a couple drifting apart. Julia decides she’s sick of her bedroom décor, so in Justin’s story, he writes that his female protagonist blames her relationship problems on the house.
The other Salingers help Jake with some gardening, but they end up throwing dirt at each other. Jake ends things by spraying the others with a hose. Later, someone named Lauren calls the house looking for him. He lets the call go to the answering machine, then picks up and addresses the caller as “sweetheart.” Julia clears a bunch of things out of her room, and Justin continues narrating her story, lamenting that she’s getting rid of things he gave her. He kisses her, but it’s awkward.
At the restaurant, Charlie turns on the TV to watch Kathleen’s award ceremony. She wins and announces that she loves him. At home, Bailey checks the answering machine and hears Jake’s conversation with Lauren. Oh, and by the way, Lauren is Jake’s daughter. Claudia and Julia are happy about Kathleen’s win and recognition of Charlie, but Charlie isn’t excited. His day perks up when he reads a good review the restaurant got.
Justin takes Julia shopping at a thrift store so she can redecorate her room. They end up fighting, and he continues his story, which now involves a weed the couple is trying to destroy. Bailey stalks Jake as he meets with Lauren, then stalks Lauren to tell her they’re related. After he tells her how, she tells him she once found a picture of Bailey’s mother and suspected that they were sisters. Lauren confirms that Jake was in and out of her life, but he stayed in touch. Bailey’s surprised that even with their spotty relationship, she still wants him around.
Julia reads Justin’s story but doesn’t seem to get that it’s about their relationship. She doesn’t like that the characters use a magic potion to get rid of the weed. Justin has decorated her bedroom with glow-in-the-dark stars so she can pretend she’s looking up at real ones. Julia says they’re “still just plastic on the ceiling.”
Now that Kathleen’s publicly declared her love for Charlie, her mother wants to meet him. He admits to Kathleen that he missed her speech because Kirsten came by the restaurant. Kathleen guesses that she wants to get back together with Charlie. Apparently this is Charlie’s way of breaking up with a mentally unstable woman.
At home, Bailey confronts Jake over Lauren and orders him to move out. Jake thinks he can explain himself, but Bailey doesn’t want to deal with a man who abandoned one family to go have another. He doesn’t think things will stay as great as they’ve been, and he can’t sit around and let the others love Jake while he waits for things to fall apart.
After Jake leaves, Bailey shares the news with the rest of the family. Julia remembers how she and Claudia found two wedding rings in Jake’s things. Bailey and Julia are in favor of making Jake leave, but Charlie and Claudia think that was going too far. Claudia thinks Bailey’s jealous because she has Jake to spend time with, so she doesn’t need her brother as much anymore. Charlie wants to give Jake the benefit of the doubt that his bad behavior is in the past. Claudia thinks his love is enough, but Bailey doesn’t want to risk him disappearing again.
Justin’s story continues with an Answer Hag telling the protagonists that there’s something that can fix things. They just have to figure out what it is. Charlie talks over his problems with Owen, because why not confess your lies to someone who never talks? Kathleen packs up the things Charlie’s left at her place and finds his little black book. She looks up Kirsten’s number and calls her, but Kirsten’s answering machine says she’s out of town.
Justin tells Julia that he keeps trying to fix things, but she’s not doing anything. He’s constantly been there for her and even ignored the fact that she went out of town. He knows that what happened was awful, but it’s completely changed their relationship. There’s a dance the next night, and Justin wants to go, but if Julia doesn’t, they’re not going to work out. Julia says she’ll go.
As Claudia tends to the new garden, Bailey tries to apologize for ruining her chance to have a good relationship with a grandparent. She tells him she’s never talking to him again, but he knows that’s not true. He says that when she’s ready, he’ll be there, unlike Jake. Claudia points out that she’s the one who’s losing out, not Bailey.
This makes Bailey go see Jake and tell him that having him in the house has been great, which makes him wonder if he’s wrong about Jake. He doesn’t want to be the person who makes a bad decision and hurts the family. Jake tells him that during his first marriage, he would go for long drives and try to talk himself into going home to try to fix things, but he never listened to himself. “That’s what happens,” he says. He confirms that Bailey’s assessment of him is correct. Bailey asks him to keep in touch.
As Justin’s protagonists try to find something to save their marriage, Justin finds pictures of himself and Julia that makes him think things will get better. In the story, the couple’s laughter gets rid of the weed. Claudia says goodbye to Jake, noting that she’s around the age her mother was when he left her. She wishes they had more time to talk to each other about her mom. They agree to keep in touch and keep sharing stories.
Justin and Julia meet up at the dance, but she quickly becomes uncomfortable with their closeness and leaves. Kathleen gives Charlie his things, then tells him she knows he lied about Kirsten. He gives her the old “it’s not you, it’s me.” He promises to pay back the money she put into the restaurant, but she has a different idea: She’s assembled an investment group, and they’re buying the building that houses the restaurant. Charlie has three months to get out. “This has nothing to do with you,” she says. “Huh. It sounded so true when you said it.”
Thoughts: Somewhere along the way, Justin became awesome, and now it’s totally wasted on Julia. Boo.
Owen status: alive.
Is Neve Campbell super-short or is Brenda Strong super-tall? In their one scene together in this episode, they stand next to each other and it looks weird.
Julia, you can wear your hair up or down, but not both at the same time.
There’s a scene where Claudia gives some very Julia-like body language, and I don’t know if Lacey Chabert did it on purpose, but it’s a nice touch.
The Salingers don’t seem to care that they have an aunt they never knew about.
June 8, 2013
Summary: It’s finally time for prom! No, not Jungle Prom, a new one. Elizabeth and Devon are on good terms after he set her up to see if she’d choose him or Todd, and they’re going to the dance together. (By the way, there are three events that night: Lila’s pre-prom party, the prom itself, and an after-party on a yacht.) Devon and Liz plan to have dinner first, but he calls to tell her to meet him at the restaurant instead of Secca Lake. Jessica forgets to give Elizabeth the message, so Liz winds up at the lake, where she runs into Todd. She thinks Devon has stood her up, so she and Todd decide to go to the dance together, even though he was supposed to go with Courtney.
Remember how Jessica and Lila both made dates with the same guy but didn’t know it? The guy, Jordan, thinks they’re horrible for going behind each other’s backs, so he ditches them both, leaving them both dateless. Jessica suggests that they just steal other girls’ dates at the prom. She goes to tell Devon that Elizabeth didn’t get his message, then decides to pretend to be Liz and spend the pre-prom time with him, then give him to Liz for the prom. Devon falls for it.
Elizabeth and Todd skip the pre-party, so they’re not there when Courtney shows up, ticked about having been dumped just before the prom. Lila tells her to come to the prom anyway. Courtney does, and when she sees Todd and Liz together, she freaks out. Meanwhile, no one (except Enid and possibly Maria Slater) notices that Devon and Todd both think they’re with Elizabeth, and Devon thinks Todd is with Jessica. I really have no idea how Devon goes the entire dance without figuring out he’s with the wrong twin. Well, at least until Courtney tells him who he’s really with.
Devon confronts Elizabeth, whose default reaction is to start crying. (I can’t feel that bad for her; she went along with Jessica’s plans and let Jess pretend to be her.) Todd is also ticked, so Liz is single again. Lila wants revenge on Jessica, so she and Courtney arrange to lock the twins up in a shed. Liz is with Enid and Maria, so Lila locks them in, too. Then everyone else heads to the yacht for the after-party.
Tyler and Blubber (Maria and Enid’s dates) free the girls, and they all take a speedboat out to meet the yacht. No, I don’t know who would rent a speedboat to a bunch of 16-year-olds after dark. On the boat, Courtney goes fully insane and pushes Todd overboard. Elizabeth rescues him, but he still doesn’t want to be with her. Then Jessica sees Lila and Devon together and gets mad, though I don’t think they’re actually doing anything.
Thoughts: Guys, the first 1,000 people who log on to the Sweet Valley website get a free ‘N Sync cassette sample and autographed picture! Hurry, hurry, hurry!
“We’ve beend reaming about prom night for years, and it’s finally here!” You’ve already had a prom, Jess. Remember? Your boyfriend died?
I’m surprised Lila finds Jessica’s twin switch so objectionable. Maybe she’s just jealous that she can’t do it.
Winston: “You only have one junior prom.” No, you don’t! Am I the only one who remembers Jungle Prom?
The twins think they can pull off the switch for the entire dance. The problem is that they would need everyone else to go along with it for it to work. As soon as anyone talks to Elizabeth and Todd, and finds out that’s Liz, it’s obvious Jessica’s with Devon. To have everyone either pretend Jessica is Elizabeth and vice versa would be impossible.
Tyler wears a navy jacket with black pants. As a model, he should really know better.