August 27, 2022

Buffy 3.20, The Prom: One Night of Glory

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

I’m not crying, you’re crying

Summary: Buffy’s asleep in Angel’s bed, and he’s watching her kind of creepily. Dude, personal space. They took a nap after patrolling but slept a little longer than expected. Now she has bed head and no mirrors to help her fix it. She suggests getting mirrors and a drawer for her to keep things in at his place. Then she can spend the night sometimes, like maybe after the prom.

Angel isn’t familiar with the prom, but Buffy has obviously already planned on him going. She figures lots of girls will bring older boyfriends, so it’ll be okay. Angel suggests that she get going, but she thinks she still has a few hours until the sun comes up. Wrong! She almost burns Angel with sunlight, which would have been a convenient excuse for him to use to get out of going to the prom.

At school, Anya approaches Xander. He confirms that she still doesn’t have her powers back. She insists that she will eventually. She’s eager to get back to punishing men, since she has no respect for any of them. She’s only talking to Xander because she needs a prom date. He thinks she would have better luck finding one if she didn’t rant about men all the time. “Men are evil. Will you go with me?” she asks. “One of us is very confused, and I honestly don’t know which,” he replies.

Anya blames him for the loss of her powers. He’s the reason she came to the school, since his cheating on Cordelia led to her making a wish. Now Anya’s stuck as a human and is having a bunch of feelings she doesn’t like. All she knows is she wants to go to the prom with someone. Xander asks how she chose him. She says he’s not as horrible as the other alpha males at the school, and he doesn’t have a date. He says he just hasn’t settled on anyone yet. Can we go back to the part where Anya thinks Xander is an alpha male??

She adds that she knows he thinks she’s pretty, since she’s seen him looking at her chest. “Nothing personal, but when a guy does that, it just means his eyes are open,” Xander tells her. He doesn’t have a reason to say no, though, so he ends up agreeing to go with her. He shares the news with Buffy, Oz, and Willow, who plans to say she told him so if Anya gets him killed. That means all the Scoobies have dates. “Some of us are going with demons, but I think that’s a valid lifestyle choice,” Buffy says. Also, she has an awesome dress that’s going to make Angel lose it. (Not his soul.)

At the mansion, Angel finds a notebook Buffy left behind with out-of-character, too-young-for-her-age scribblings like “Buffy & Angel 4 Ever!” Joyce comes by and takes in his living arrangements, which are nice in terms of size and decorations, but also a little scary because there are chains on the wall. She wants to address Buffy and Angel’s unplanned sleepover. She’s not concerned about that, but she’s worried about the couple in general.

Angel promises that he’s not going to lose his soul again. That’s also not why Joyce is there. She understands that Buffy and Angel are from two different worlds, but the problem is that she’s only 18 while he’s…well, much older. Angel has had thoughts about that, too, especially now that Buffy’s decided to stay in Sunnydale.

Joyce reminds him that Buffy’s just like any other 18-year-old in love. “You’re all she can see of tomorrow,” she says. The couple is going to have to face some difficult choices, and if Buffy can’t make them, Angel will have to. Joyce knows that he cares about her daughter, but she doesn’t know if he cares enough.

In the library, Buffy and Willow take a break from research to discuss prom dresses (though Giles thinks they’re talking about frilly blue demons). The pages Willow stole from the Books of Ascension have provided a little help, but knowing that the mayor is going to transform into a demon doesn’t give them enough information. There are thousands of species, and they can’t plan ahead how to fight him.

Wesley thinks they should stop wasting their time on frivolous things like school dances. Cordelia wishes they wouldn’t, since he would “look way 007 in a tux.” Wesley has volunteered himself to chaperone along with Giles. So when a random guy no one knows volunteered to chaperone the prom, the school was just like, “Yeah, sure, that’s fine”?

Buffy assures Willow that they’ll find her a dress. They can check out a store called April Fool’s. Cordelia quickly tells them not to. Giles asks the group to get back to work, but Buffy thinks they should get a last “night of glory” if they’re all going to die at graduation. In a rundown house somewhere in Sunnydale, a creature that looks like it’s part dog and part demon gets really worked up in its cage.

Apparently Buffy and Angel have skipped right over “let’s go to the prom together” to “let’s get married.” It’s just them and a priest. After they’re married and kiss, the bride and groom head down the aisle. It’s daytime, and Angel gets anxious about going out into the sun. When they walk outside, though, Buffy’s the one who burns up. Angel wakes up gasping from this nightmare.

He and Buffy go patrolling that night, ending up in a sewer tunnel. She brings up prom attire, but he, like Giles, wants to focus on more important things. Buffy stakes a vampire, then goes right back to their conversation. She’s noticed that Angel doesn’t like talking about the prom. He says he just doesn’t want her to get too invested in it. Buffy thinks the prom is exactly the sort of thing she should get invested in. It’s part of growing up.

Angel tries to pretend he’s not preoccupied by something serious, but he finally says that they should have a talk. Buffy insists on having it now, despite the possibility that a vampire will interrupt. He tells her he’s been thinking about their future. He’s started to believe that their relationship is unfair to her. Buffy thinks what the mayor said about them is getting to him, and Angel should ignore the musings of a villain. Angel tells her that she deserves more – something “outside of demons and darkness.” She should be with someone who can take her into the light.

Part of Angel’s concerns is the knowledge that he and Buffy can never have sex. She says that’s not important to her, but he thinks she’ll change her mind. Plus, she might want children some day. Buffy says he’s jumping the gun – she can’t even keep a goldfish alive – but he tells her time will go fast, and she’ll want a normal life sooner rather than later. She reminds him that she’ll never have a normal life. Angel knows that, but being burdened by the responsibilities of a Slayer is even more reason for Buffy to have a real relationship, not a “freak show.”

Buffy wants to leave, but Angel stops her to apologize. He loves her and it hurts him to say this. Buffy tells him not to, then. She’s thought about this, too, though he doubts she’s done it enough. She accuses him of seeing her as a “swoony little schoolgirl.” Angel says he’s trying to do what’s right. He’s trying to think with his head instead of his heart. “You have a heart? It isn’t even beating,” Buffy spits out. She can’t stop loving him, and she’s never going to change. She can’t. She wants to have a life with Angel. “I don’t,” he whispers. And that’s the final nail, something they can’t come back from.

Buffy asks how she’s supposed to stay away from Angel. He tells her that after they’ve dealt with the ascension and the mayor and Faith – if they survive – he’ll leave town. He hasn’t decided where to go yet. Buffy’s in shock and wonders if this is really happening.

They mope separately that night, and the next day, Willow goes to Buffy’s house to offer comfort. She thinks Angel’s being a jerk, especially for breaking up with Buffy right before the prom. Buffy isn’t mad about that, since he doesn’t really get the prom, and she tells Willow she doesn’t have to make Angel the bad guy. Willow says that’s her job as Buffy’s best friend. Buffy, however, thinks that in the long run, Angel’s right. Willow feels the same, though she tried to hope for the best for them. Not that that makes it any easier for Buffy, who’s so grief-stricken that she feels like she can’t breathe.

The dog/demon creature is even more riled up than before, and it’s able to escape its cage. Downtown, Xander spots Cordelia in April Fool’s, seemingly shopping for a dress like she was the last time he saw her there. She plays along until a co-worker tells her to get back to work. Xander’s confused, since Cordelia’s rich and shouldn’t have to earn money to buy a prom dress.

She admits that she has nothing now. Her father “made a little mistake on his taxes…for the last 12 years,” and the IRS took everything the family owned. Cordelia can’t go to college because she can no longer afford it, and she can’t stay home because they lost their house. She expects Xander to laugh at her, but he doesn’t.

The dog/demon creature bursts in through the store’s front window, and Xander pushes Cordelia aside to try to take it on. The creature leaves him alone but attacks a guy trying on a tux. It looks over some other people in the store but also leaves them alone. Then it just heads out the door like it was browsing and didn’t find anything it wanted to buy.

The Scoobies watch security footage of the attack in the library, wondering why the creature acted the way it did. Cordelia notes that it had good taste, since it skipped over Xander and went for the guy in the tux. Buffy doesn’t want to watch the video again, figuring she can fight the creature without knowing all its moves. Wesley thinks it’s a hellhound, which Giles says is a kind of “demon foot-soldier” trained to kill.

Wesley asks why Xander and Cordelia were together at the time of the attack. Xander covers for her, saying they were shopping at the same time. Oz notices someone outside the boutique who looks unconcerned about the creature. In fact, he’s holding a device that he might even be using to control the hellhound. A look through the yearbook IDs him as Tucker Wells, a quiet Sunnydale student who never struck anyone as the kind to get involved in this sort of thing.

Willow hacks into his email account and finds a message he sent someone about surprising his classmates on their “big night.” Giles puts together that he’s going to attack the prom with a hellhound. “Once again, the Hellmouth puts the ‘special’ in ‘special occasion,'” Oz notes. Willow guesses that this means the prom will have to be canceled, but Buffy refuses. They need to have a normal, fun evening even if she has to kill everyone on the planet to do it. “Yay?” Xander replies.

Buffy sends Wesley to Tucker’s house (yes, he can take Cordelia) and Willow and Oz to talk to the guy Tucker emailed. Buffy asks Wesley and Cordelia to also go by the magic shop next to April Fool’s, but Xander offers to do that. He’ll be trying to find out if anyone’s been there to buy hellhound-related items. And since hellhounds eat brains, Buffy goes to a meat-packing plant, where she learns that Tucker’s been buying cow brains.

Angel happens to be there, too, picking up an order of blood. They’re awkward around each other, but she doesn’t want any kind of meaningful conversation, since being around him makes her want to shut down. She tells him she’s trying to stop a prom disaster, and that she’s still going, just without a date. She’s “over the Buffy-gets-one-perfect-high-school-moment thing,” but she wants the rest of her classmates to have a good time. Angel offers his help but she turns him down.

It’s almost prom time, but Cordelia leaves a shift at April Fool’s resigned to not going, since she hasn’t been able to make all the money she needs. Her co-worker tells her that her dress has been paid for. The other Scoobies are still at the library, where Buffy tells them she’s going to take care of Tucker while they get ready for the prom. She won’t even consider letting them help her.

Giles thinks she’s being rash for planning to go confront Tucker, but Buffy is determined to let the others have a good night. Giles guesses that she’s trying to cover up her feelings because Angel won’t be taking her to the prom. She tells him that Angel’s leaving town (and her). Giles isn’t sure how to comfort her, but he knows ice cream is a good bet. Buffy says they can save that till later – first, she needs to deal with Tucker.

The prom gets underway, and Xander quickly realizes that attending with Anya means he’s in for a rough night. (She talks a lot.) Giles and Wesley are out of their element, having gone to all-boys’ schools in England. Cordelia arrives and Wesley almost chokes. Willow and Oz come in soon after and she suggests that they dance while they can, in case something arrives to ruin the festivities. Oz convinces her that Buffy will take care of things.

Wesley approaches Cordelia and tells her she looks “smashing.” Xander is unreasonably thrilled to see them, since it means he can talk to someone other than Anya. Cordelia pointedly thanks him and he comments, “It looks good on you.” He paid for the dress! What a hero! Giles watches the doorway, waiting for Buffy to show up.

She’s at Tucker’s house, where she catches him as he’s about to take the hellhound to the prom. He tries to knock her out, then grabs something sharp as a weapon. She sees a bunch of videotapes of movies that involve prom scenes and guesses that he used them to brainwash the hellhound to attack people in formal wear. She doesn’t get why he would want to ruin his classmates’ happy night. Tucker doesn’t even have a good reason – he just couldn’t get a prom date.

He’s not very imposing, so Buffy figures she can just tie him up and then go to the prom. Unfortunately, the sight of a bunch of empty cages clues her in to the fact that Tucker doesn’t have just one hellhound. Three more are already on their way to the prom. But Buffy must know a shortcut because she’s able to get to the school just as they do. She shoots one with a crossbow and lets the other two chase her. They do until they hear the song “Celebration” coming from inside and head toward it.

Buffy fights them in the hallway, killing one with a knife. The other almost attacks a student but Buffy is able to wrestle it and then snap its neck. The student is shaken but just asks Buffy where the bathroom is. She drags the hellhounds’ bodies into the woods, then retrieves her weapons bag. Tonight it contains both stakes and her prom dress. She gets cleaned up and heads into the gym with plenty of time left to enjoy her night. There haven’t been any other incidents, and Willow tells her everything’s perfect.

Later in the night, some students are given awards, like a guy named Jack who’s picked as class clown. (Xander feels robbed.) Jonathan takes the stage to give the last award of the night. It’s for Buffy. A bunch of students wrote her in for a new category, and the prom committee asked Jonathan to read an explanation.

“We’re not good friends,” it begins. “Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t noticed you. We don’t talk about it much, but it’s no secret that Sunnydale High isn’t really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here.” A few people in the audience offer up examples: “Zombies!” “Hyena people!” “Snyder!”

Jonathan continues: “But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We’re proud to say that the class of ’99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history.” That gets a round of applause.

The class knows that Buffy’s responsible for a lot of their survival, so they’ve gotten her a little umbrella. It’s the class protector award. Everyone cheers and claps for Buffy as she goes up to the stage to get it. All these people she thought never saw her at the beginning of the year have really seen her all along.

The prom continues and Wesley uses 100 words to ask Giles if it would be inappropriate for him to ask Cordelia to dance. Giles impatiently tells him that Cordelia’s 18. Also, Wesley “has the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone.” He should just do it already. (Hee’s not her teacher or in any way employed by the school, so who is he scared will come down on him?)

A cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” comes on, and everyone partners up to slow dance. Well, everyone but Buffy. Giles praises her for her successful night and notes that her classmates are very gracious for acknowledging her. He points her attention to the door, where Angel has just appeared. He’s in a tux, and he’s there to help make her big night what she wanted it to be, even if this is the last time they share a moment like this.

Thoughts: The class protector award makes me choke up every time. EVERY TIME. To me, it’s more emotional than Buffy and Angel’s breakup. Of course they weren’t going to be together forever. She’s 18 and he was leaving for the spin-off! This was a rough way for the audience to have to accept that, though.

There’s no mention of Jonathan asking Buffy to the prom, as she thought he might, but he has a date, so good for him.

“Wild Horses” is great and all but it’s an odd choice for Buffy and Angel. “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away,” but Angel’s leaving.

’90s music alert: “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim

May 14, 2022

Buffy 3.5, Homecoming: Welcome to Slayer Fest

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Let the games begin

Summary: It’s another Bronze night for the Scoobies. Everyone except Buffy is talking about the upcoming homecoming dance, their last as high-schoolers. Cordelia expects to be homecoming queen, and she’d like a limo. Buffy reveals that she might not go. Scott joins the group and Willow tries to stop the conversation. Cordelia guesses that Buffy’s down because Scott hasn’t asked her to the dance yet. Scott says he thought she would find it corny, but they awkwardly agree to go together. They even kiss.

Buffy leaves her new boyfriend to go see her old boyfriend, who’s still hanging out in his old mansion and is jumpy but not feral anymore. She brings him some blood and asks how he’s feeling. He says it hurts less. She tells him she hasn’t told anyone about his return yet, and she isn’t going to. They wouldn’t understand that he’s okay. She’ll keep helping him, but her life has changed and she wants to devote more time to it. She mentions Scott, and Angel isn’t happy to hear that she’s seeing someone else. She tells him she appreciates having someone she can count on.

Cut to the next day, when Scott tells Buffy they should break up. She seems to be distracted all the time. She promises that she’s going to get better about that, but that’s not enough for Scott. They’re done. As Scott walks away, someone watches Buffy through binoculars. That someone is in a van full of surveillance equipment. The watcher has a twin, who calls someone (no name; I’ll call him Ian after the actor playing him) so he can connect his own surveillance equipment. Mr. Trick is there, pleased that the equipment will help him keep an eye on his “target.”

Deputy Mayor Allan Finch nervously enters his boss’ office with what might be bad news. His boss is Mayor Richard Wilkins, and the news is that the twins from the van (Frederick and Hans) are in town. They’re suspected terrorists and murderers. Wilkins smells the paper Finch handed him with the twins’ mugshots, then asks to see Finch’s hands. He doesn’t think they’re clean enough. People need to scrub their hands after every meal. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness. Wilkins tells Finch to put the twins under surveillance and inform him of any other sketchy people spotted in Sunnydale.

Over at Sunnydale High, it’s picture day. Cordelia’s is pretty much perfect, Xander’s is cheesy, Willow’s is uncertain, and Oz’s is…Oz. He doesn’t change his expression for the camera. Willow tells Xander she needs his help picking an outfit for the dance. She wants to wear something that will make Oz have a reaction. Cordelia checks out her competition for homecoming queen, Holly and Michelle. She only sees one of them as a threat.

Willow worries that Buffy will miss photo time. She’s in the library, training with Faith, and Oz isn’t sure anyone told her it was picture day. Cordelia offers to go get her now. Buffy will need to clean up a little first, since she’s working up a sweat taking out her anger over her breakup. Faith thinks that rage will give her an edge in slaying. She offers to go to the dance with Buffy, wanting her to have a fun night even without a date. As Cordelia is about to enter the library to talk to Buffy, she gets distracted and starts chatting with a couple of guys whose votes she needs.

The next day, Buffy tracks down one of her former teachers to ask if she’ll write a letter of recommendation to allow Buffy to come back to school. Unfortunately, the teacher has no idea who Buffy is. At lunch, Buffy mopes while Cordelia tries to drum up support from her classmates. Buffy laments how different her life is at Sunnydale High from how it was at her previous school. There, the yearbook was full of pictures of her. Here, she’ll just have one. The Scoobies break it to her that she won’t even have that one – she missed picture day.

Buffy goes straight to Cordelia to confront her for not telling her about picture day and for generally being self-centered. Cordelia argues that she’s under a lot of pressure. She doesn’t think Buffy gets how much work goes into campaigning for homecoming queen. Maybe she’d win if it were about monsters and blood. Buffy decides to prove herself and join the race. “You’ve awakened the prom queen within,” she warns.

Mr. Trick tells a group of people (including the twins and Lyle Gorch) that competition is a great thing. Everyone has a desire to win. He’s gathered some humans, vampires, and demons for a special competition. There’s an entry fee, and Lyle pays his with the money he and his new bride, Candy, were going to use for their honeymoon. (That money seems to be from a bank robbery. It’s blood-stained but nonsequential, so I think Mr. Trick will accept it.) Mr. Trick announces that the games will begin soon. It’l be open season for the two targets, Buffy and Faith. Welcome to Slayer Fest ’98!

Willow tries on some potential homecoming outfits in her room as Xander makes sure his tux fits. She’s really intent on having a nice experience since this is her first big dance with a boyfriend. She helps Xander with his tie and remembers how he wore a clip-on for a fancy eighth-grade dance. Now it’s four years later and they’re still friends. Xander thinks they’ll end up in neighboring rest homes and she’ll still be helping him out.

He asks how far Willow and Oz have gone. She says it’s none of his business, so he guesses they’re rounding second base. When she shows him her next outfit possibility, a simple but nice black dress, he tells her she looks gorgeous. Willow says he looks great, too. She starts worrying about dancing, so Xander offers to give her a practice spin. Their closeness makes them weak and they end up kissing. After a few seconds, they both stop and admit they made a huge mistake. They blame the fancy clothes and vow not to let it happen again.

The next day, Buffy gathers Xander, Willow, and Oz in the library and shows them a chart of all of her homecoming-queen competitors’ pros and cons. She knows she has a tough fight here, since this is a popularity contest and she’s not really popular. Then again, she’s not unpopular – after all, there was a good turnout at her welcome-home party. You know, the party where a bunch of people were killed by zombies. Still, everyone had a good time before that!

Buffy asks Willow to make a database so they can keep track of people’s votes. She wants Oz to talk to the less popular students and those who wouldn’t normally vote. Cordelia comes in and Buffy says she wants to keep things friendly; the Scoobies don’t need to choose sides. Unfortunately for Buffy, Cordelia has already recruited them to work for her. To be fair, Xander’s dating her. And I think Willow’s too scared to say no. And Oz just does whatever Willow does, so there goes Buffy’s whole crew.

As the others leave, Giles joins Buffy and says he doesn’t get why the girls are making such a big deal out of a little title. She lies that no one’s taking it that seriously, then clutches a glass bottle so hard that it breaks. Music montage! The girls chat with their classmates and try to get votes while the Slayer Fest competitors test out their weapons (or, in the Gorches’ case, make out). One demon, Kulak, has blades that come out of his arms. Convenient!

Buffy runs into Scott, who promises her his vote. She humbly accepts it, acting like she doesn’t want him to feel obligated, but after he leaves, she checks his name off a list of votes she wanted. More of the music montage! Buffy bribes her constituents with cupcakes, but Cordelia overshadows her with gift baskets. I guess the faculty doesn’t monitor this kind of stuff and there are no rules about it.

Willow is awkward around Buffy, who says it’s fine that her best friend is helping someone else, though she’s really trying to lay on the guilt. Willow agrees to give her 15 minutes with Cordelia’s database. The twins are watching them and now have microphones capable of hearing them, even though the girls are in a classroom and the twins are in their van. They learn that the Scoobies are going to the dance in a limo, and Faith will be riding with them.

Buffy gives Jonathan a cupcake and tries to get his support. He tells her Cordelia already bought his vote (with actual money). Buffy confronts Cordelia, who accuses Buffy of trying to be like her. She needs to stop trying to recapture her “glory days.” Buffy calls her out for being mean and asks if she has parents. Cordelia replies that she has two of them, unlike some people. Wow, really? What is this, second grade?

Cordelia tells Buffy to stay out of her way, then starts to push her a little as she walks off. Buffy grabs Cordelia’s hand and tells her not to do that again. Willow and Xander are approaching, and Xander tries to break up the fight before the rivals say something they’ll regret. “Crazy freak!” Cordelia exclaims. “Vapid whore!” Buffy spits back. Too late, Xander.

That night, Willow and Xander are back in her room, distressed because their friends are fighting. Willow thinks it’s her and Xander’s fault – they felt so bad about kissing that they overcompensated by siding with Cordelia, which messed up the Scoobies’ dynamic. They try to come up with a solution, but it’s hard when they can’t stop thinking about kissing each other again.

The night of the dance, Buffy happily gets in the limo at her house, then quickly loses her happiness when she sees that Cordelia is the only other passenger. The other Scoobies want the girls to take this time to work out their problems. They’ve also nicely left the girls wrist corsages. But now they have a new problem: Their driver is one of the twins, and instead of the dance, they’re being taken to Slayer Fest.

When they arrive, the twin runs off and the girls realize they’ve been left in the woods. Buffy quickly senses that something’s wrong. Nearby are a TV and VCR with a note telling them to press play. Mr. Trick appears on the TV screen and welcomes them to Slayer Fest ’98. They’re the prey for a bunch of hunters and have just seconds to get a head start running for their lives. Cordelia doesn’t get it, just calling out that she’s not a Slayer. When there’s a boom and the TV and VCR explode, the girls realize this is for real.

The other Scoobies are at the dance, but Willow and Xander aren’t having a good time. (Oz’s band is performing so he’s not with them.) Faith doesn’t get why they’re moping. She spots Scott with another girl and calls him a sleazebag. Giles arrives and tells Xander and Willow that something has happened and they need to find Buffy. Then he admits he was just messing with them and heads off to find food.

Buffy and Cordelia run through the woods, though Cordelia thinks she can get herself out of the competition by explaining to the hunters that she’s not a Slayer and shouldn’t be there. Buffy steps in a bear trap but is able to get out of it before it can snap onto her leg. Behind them, a hunter takes a shot, but Buffy throws the trap at him and immobilizes him. She takes his gun and makes him tell her what they’re dealing with. He gives her a rundown of the other hunters and the surveillance. As Cordelia tries to politely request an exemption from the competition, Kulak narrowly misses hitting her with his arm blades.

Faith amuses herself by pretending she and Scott had sex and one of them gave the other an STD. His date isn’t so interested in him anymore. Giles tries to cheer up Xander and Willow, then decides to leave until it’s time for the homecoming-queen announcement. He praises the Scoobies for their plan to make Buffy and Cordelia spend time together. Xander notes that they haven’t arrived yet, so they must be having an intense fight.

Buffy and Cordelia find a rundown cabin to use for shelter. Buffy’s the only one with a weapon, so she tells Cordelia to find one of her own. Cordelia’s starting to grasp the reality of the situation and is too worried about dying to think about anything else. Buffy tries to cover the windows and actually protect them as Cordelia frets that her life is going to end too soon. Buffy promises that they’ll get out of there and get some weapons from the library. Then Buffy will take out the hunters AND win homecoming queen. That lights a fire under Cordelia, making her angry rather than scared.

She looks for a weapon but only finds a spatula and a phone. Buffy’s like, “Remember what a phone is used for? Do you think that might be useful right now?” But leaving Giles a message gives Mr. Trick and Ian a heads up about where the girls are. Ian sends the twins after them. Giles gets Buffy’s message as Cordelia asks why things always end badly when she’s around Buffy. “Welcome to my life,” Buffy says. Cordelia would rather be in her own life, thank you. Buffy invites her to leave any time she wants.

Cordelia says that all she wanted was to be homecoming queen. That’s all Buffy wanted, too. Cordelia doesn’t know why Buffy cares about that when she gets to be a hero all the time. But that’s exactly why Buffy wanted something as normal as being crowned homecoming queen. Her life is all about being a Slayer. She wanted something she could look back on to remind her that she got to be like everyone else. It would be proof that she was chosen for something other than being a Slayer. “Besides, I look cute in a tiara,” she says.

Kulak crashes in through a window and tackles Buffy, making her drop her gun. She throws him off and grabs a pair of antlers from the wall to use as a weapon. Cordelia tries to be helpful by whacking him with the spatula. Buffy tells her to go for the gun, but Cordelia’s a bad shot. Buffy tells her to try the spatula again. Outside, the twins arrive and fire up a grenade launcher. When the grenade flies into the cabin, Buffy and Cordelia jump out a window. Kulak tries to do the same, only the window he chooses is boarded up. The cabin blows up with him inside it.

The girls head to the library, but the Gorches are there waiting for them. They knocked out Giles, those jerks. Mr. Trick is surprised that the girls got away, but Ian assures him it’s just temporary. Just then, some men arrive at their lair and drag Mr. Trick away. When the girls get to the school, they discuss their plan, which goes out the window as soon as they step into the library and encounter the Gorches.

Candy fights Buffy, but Cordelia has finally seen how helpful the spatula really is. She tosses it to Buffy, who uses the wooden handle to stake Candy. Lyle is upset but Cordelia is no longer scared. She tells him that she and Buffy have taken out four hunters and Cordelia hasn’t even broken a sweat. “In the end, Buffy’s just the runner-up. I’m the queen,” she says. And that means Lyle should be very worried about what she’s capable of. Lyle decides not to find out. He says goodbye and heads off.

Giles regains consciousness and starts cleaning up the mess in the library. He feels a little responsible for the girls’ night, since he approved of the Scoobies’ plans to put them in the limo together. Buffy’s okay with it, since she and Cordelia got some “quality death time.” Plus, as Cordelia mentions, they got free corsages. Giles didn’t know about those, and Buffy realizes they weren’t from the Scoobies. The corsages contain tracking devices, which the hunters have been using to follow the girls.

As the twins arrive at the school, Buffy tells Giles to get her some wet toilet paper. Ian gives the twins the girls’ coordinates and watches eagerly as they close in. Buffy runs out of the library, drawing the twins’ fire. When one follows her into a classroom, Ian directs the other toward Cordelia’s signal. Buffy throws the wet toilet paper at the twin following her, and Ian tells the twins to adjust their coordinates. They end up facing each other and shooting each other through a wall. When the corsage signals die, Ian declares himself the winner of Slayer Fest.

Mr. Trick is taken to City Hall, where he meets Wilkins. He knows Mr. Trick isn’t human, and he wants to make sure no one disrupts what’s going to be a big year for him. Mr. Trick thinks he’s going to be kicked out of Sunnydale for racist reasons. Instead, Wilkins talks about how children need to be looked after, and rebellious children need to be controlled. Mr. Trick thinks he’s talking about Buffy and Faith, and he says he’s taken care of them. Wilkins has heard about Slayer Fest and thinks it was a smart idea. He wants Mr. Trick to work for him.

Buffy and Cordelia finally make it to the dance, filthy and tired and a little bloody. “Long story,” Buffy tells the Scoobies. “Got hunted,” Cordelia says. “Apparently not that long,” Buffy replies. She acknowledges that Cordelia isn’t to be messed with. They’re just in time for the homecoming-queen announcement, but after all they’ve been through, it’s no longer that important to them. Just kidding – it’s still really important. Devon reveals that there’s a tie. The two winners are…Holly and Michelle. Buffy and Cordelia walk out in disgust. Hey, at least they won Slayer Fest!

Thoughts: Continuing the excellent casting this season, Harry Groener is perfect as Wilkins.

I love this exchange between Mr. Trick and Kulak:

Mr. Trick: “We all have the desire to win. Whether we’re human…vampire…and whatever the hell you are, my brother. You got them spiny-looking head things. I ain’t never seen that before.”
Kulak: “I am Kulak, of the Miquot Clan.”
Mr. Trick: “Isn’t that nice.”

Buffy’s problem in the campaign is that no one fears her. Everyone’s too scared of Cordelia not to give her their support (or at least lie that they’ll vote for her). Which is actually a good thing, because that means Buffy’s nice.

I love that someone working for Mr. Trick took the time to come up with a Slayer Fest logo for the end of his welcome video.

December 4, 2021

Buffy 2.4, Inca Mummy Girl: Who’s That Girl?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Bro, I don’t know what the rules were 500 years ago, but nowadays, this is considered creepy

Summary: Buffy, Willow, and Xander are on a field trip to a museum, and Buffy’s complaining about how Joyce signed them up to host an exchange student for a couple of weeks. Sunnydale High is doing a whole exchange extravaganza, including a dance. Xander’s looking forward to the events, since they get to learn about other cultures. Buffy asks if he’s ever participated in an exchange program before. “My dad tried to sell me to some Armenians once. Does that count?” he asks.

The museum exhibit they’re there to see is about South America, but Cordelia’s mind is currently on Sweden, since that’s where her family’s exchange student is from. She expects Sven to be hot. Xander gets worried when he learns that Buffy’s student is a guy. Cordelia says she’s living on the edge by not checking out what he looks like ahead of time. Buffy and Willow smirk over Xander suddenly being less excited about the exchange program.

They spot a guy named Rodney (“God’s gift to the bell curve” – Xander) doing something he probably shouldn’t be doing to an artifact. He growls at someone who approaches him. “What he lacks in smarts he makes up in lack of smarts,” Xander continues. Willow knows Xander’s just resentful because Rodney beat him up for five years. Buffy offers to stop him, but Willow thinks this is a situation better left to someone who won’t use violence. She goes to talk to Rodney, whom she’s been tutoring in chemistry. He seems to respect her, or at least he talks to her like a human instead of growling at her.

A tour guide takes the students into an exhibit about an Incan princess. “The human sacrifice is about to begin,” he says. Anything to make a field trip more exciting, right? The guide tells everyone that 500 years ago, the Incas chose a teenage girl to be their princess, then sacrificed her to a mountain god by burying her alive. Willow feels really bad for her. The princess is protected by a cursed seal that warns away anyone who might want to wake her.

Xander isn’t that interested in looking at a 500-year-old dead body, so he brings up Buffy’s exchange student again. His name is Ampata and he’ll be arriving tomorrow night. They leave the mummy behind, and later, Rodney sneaks back into the exhibit. He tries to remove the seal the mummy’s holding, but he breaks it. She wakes up and strangles him.

At school the next day, Buffy asks Giles if she can go to the dance. He says no, since she’s the Chosen One. Buffy says that this one time, she’d like to be the Overlooked One. She mocks his usual speech about her responsibilities and the sacrifices she has to make, ending it with, “I’m so stuffy; give me a scone.” “It’s as if you know me,” he replies.

They’re training while they’re talking, so Buffy takes out her anger on the punching bag Giles is holding. He thinks that Buffy’s going to have a hard enough time keeping her Slayer identity secret from her temporary house guest; she doesn’t need another challenge on top of that. Xander objects to the idea of Ampata living with Buffy, like, he’s not staying in her room, buddy. You need to chill. Buffy thinks going to the dance would help her maintain the illusion that she’s a normal student. Giles is in danger of being kicked again, so he gives in.

Xander offers to drive the Scoobies to the dance, since he’d like a third person present with him and Willow. He’s afraid she’ll get the wrong idea and think they’re on a date. As Willow enters the library, unseen, Buffy asks if Xander has really never thought about kissing Willow in all the years they’ve known each other. He certainly did the day before school started. Xander says he loves Willow and she’s his best friend, but he doesn’t think of her romantically. Willow finds it hard to hide her disappointment.

She tells the others that Rodney’s missing, and his parents say he didn’t come home last night. Buffy realizes he wasn’t on the bus back from the field trip. The Scoobies joke that he might have awakened the mummy and been attacked. Then they realize they shouldn’t joke about that because this is Sunnydale and it’s extremely likely that happened.

They take their own field trip back to the museum, where they find the broken seal. The mummy’s still in the tomb, though, so everything seems okay. Suddenly, a guy runs at them with a knife, yelling. Xander jumps on him, and when the guy sees the mummy, he runs off. Giles decides they should leave before the guy comes back. Willow asks if the Incas were advanced. Yes, but probably not so advanced that their sacrificed princess had braces. Looks like Rodney is the new princess.

The Scoobies return to the library to try to figure out what’s going on. They guess that the pictograms on the broken seal can provide some answers, but it’ll take a while for Giles to translate them. Buffy suddenly remembers that she has to go pick up Ampata from the bus station. Since he’s from South America, she wonders if he could help them translate the seal.

Ampata has already arrived, and while he’s waiting for Buffy to show up, he hears a girl whispering his name. He follows the sound to the mummy, who grabs him and kisses him. Sometime later, the Scoobies arrive and search for Ampata. Instead of a boy, they get a girl. Since she’s pretty, Xander’s back on board with the whole exchange program.

They take Ampata to Buffy’s house and chat with her about things like whether she’s been to America before (she’s toured but hasn’t seen much) and how she speaks English really well (she’s a good listener). Xander is totally in love. At bedtime, Ampata appreciates her soft bed. She tells Buffy that back home, things are “cramped and very dead.” Compared to her, Buffy has a lot. Ampata wants to learn all about what it’s like to be a normal teenager. Buffy’s like, “Yes, I’m exactly the person to teach that.” Outside, the man from the museum is lurking in the bushes.

The next day, Cordelia tells a guy named Devon that she’ll be at the dance that night but she’s not going to be one of his groupies, so she won’t be worshiping him from the edge of the stage. She’ll meet him there after the dance, though. Unfortunately, they’ll have a third party in the form of Sven, who’s not as hot as Cordelia had hoped. She tells Devon the whole exchange thing has been horrible: “They don’t even speak American.”

After she leaves, Devon asks his bandmate Oz what he thinks of Cordelia. Not much, is the answer. Devon asks what a girl has to do to impress Oz. “Well, it involves a feather boa and the theme to A Summer Place,” Oz replies. “I can’t discuss it here.” Devon says he’s too picky for a guy who plays lead guitar, something all girls love. Oz says he’s not picky; Devon’s just impressed by any pretty girl who can walk and talk. “She doesn’t have to talk,” Devon says.

Willow has made her costume for the dance, but Xander hasn’t figured his out yet. He wants to look impressive for his new crush. Buffy’s just arriving with Ampata, and the two go see Giles. He shows Ampata the seal, which she of course recognizes. The Scoobies lie that they have an archaeology club. Ampata asks where the other pieces are, since the Scoobies only have one, then tells them to hide it. Giles asks about a picture of a man with a knife. Ampata says he’s like a bodyguard for the mummy.

Since Buffy now has “archaeology club” responsibilities to handle, she starts to ask Willow to spend the day with Ampata. Xander volunteers instead, because of course he does. Poor Willow can’t ignore how much Ampata and Xander like each other. Later, Xander introduces Ampata to the American wonder that is the Twinkie. She says he’s strange, but in a good way.

Buffy researches the seal while Willow tries to focus on Scooby stuff instead of thinking about Xander and Ampata. Buffy reminds her that Ampata’s only staying for two weeks. Willow’s bummed mostly because Xander actually has a shot with Ampata, which he never did with Buffy. She decides she can either wait for Xander to notice her or she can live her life. Buffy’s proud of her, but Willow says she hasn’t chosen which path to take yet.

Buffy’s research helps Giles figure out that Rodney may have been killed by the mummy. She’s capable of feeding on a person’s life force and basically mummifying them. Now they just need to figure out how to find and stop the mummy. Meanwhile, the guy with the knife (who we now know is a bodyguard) is back, and he demands the seal from Xander. When he sees Ampata, he recognizes her. Xander fights him off and runs away with Ampata.

They go to the library, where Ampata tells Giles that he needs to destroy the seal before anyone gets killed. She’s distressed to learn that Rodney has already died. Xander decides to tell Ampata who the Scoobies really are, but Giles and Buffy object, so Xander says their archaeology club is really a crime club. It’s “kind of like the chess club, only with crime and, um…no chess.” Ampata repeats that the seal has to be destroyed.

She leaves and Xander follows her, promising that he won’t let anyone hurt her. Ampata says the investigation is dangerous, and she just wants a normal life. Willow comes out to check on them, and she suggests that Xander take Ampata to the dance so she can have a normal teenage experience. Willow will go by herself. Xander thanks her by calling her his best friend.

Buffy can’t figure out why the bodyguard wants the seal. Giles guesses he needs to put it back together. The other pieces must still be at the museum. If the Scoobies go back there, the bodyguard will probably show up, too. Buffy’s pleased that she and Giles have come up with a plan. Unfortunately, they need to go tonight, which means Buffy will have to skip the dance.

Xander tells Ampata he likes her and wants to take her to the dance. She admires his courage in telling her how he feels. She says she likes him, too. “You’re not a praying mantis, are you?” he asks. Ampata heads to the bathroom to reapply her lipstick, but the bodyguard is waiting for her there. She begs him not to kill her. He reminds her that she’s already dead. Ampata argues that she was innocent and her death wasn’t fair. The bodyguard points out that the people she’s killing to stay alive were also innocent.

Ampata says she’s in love, but that doesn’t matter to the bodyguard: She’s the Chosen One, so she has to die again. She doesn’t get a choice here. He tries to stab her, but she grabs him and gives him a soul-stealing kiss. When she leaves the bathroom, all smiles, she tells Xander she’ll go to the dance with him. Sorry to whoever finds the mummified bodyguard on the bathroom floor.

While getting ready for the dance that night, Ampata tells Buffy she doesn’t have any lipstick. (Since we just saw her with a tube, I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt and pretend she means she doesn’t have lipstick that matches her outfit for the dance.) Buffy says she can borrow one, then tells her that the bus station finally delivered the rest of her things. She offers to unpack for Ampata while she’s at the dance, which Buffy laments she has to miss. Ampata admires that Buffy always puts others before herself. She’s like the Inca princess that way.

As Buffy starts looking through Ampata’s things, finding boy’s clothes, Ampata says that the princess was told that she was the Chosen One of all the girls in her generation. She absently opens one of Buffy’s desk drawers, which Buffy rushes to close before Ampata can notice her cross and holy water. She can obviously relate to the princess and her sacrifices, like not getting a chance to fall in love. Buffy starts to open Ampata’s chest, but the doorbell rings, distracting her before she can see the mummy inside.

Xander arrives dressed like a character from a spaghetti western. Ampata appears to be dressed as…herself, I guess, since she looks like an Inca princess. Joyce thinks Buffy’s voluntarily skipping the dance. Xander tells Buffy to be careful as they head out. Joyce comments that after just two days in America, Ampata already seems like she belongs.

Devon and Oz’s band, Dingoes Ate My Baby, provide music for the dance at the Bronze. Cordelia’s dressed like a luau dancer, and Willow’s dressed like…well, this. Cordelia’s trying hard to ditch Sven, who’s dressed like a viking. One of her friends thinks he’s cute, and that Cordelia should appreciate a guy who doesn’t put her through the horrors of small talk. Cordelia’s mostly annoyed that he doesn’t take orders in her broken English. Xander and Ampata arrive, and Willow feels less than beautiful compared to the princess.

Giles goes to the Summers’ house to tell Buffy that someone found the bodyguard’s body. Buffy doesn’t get why the mummy would kill him. Giles tells her that the bodyguard’s job wasn’t really to protect the princess – it was to make sure she didn’t awaken and escape. Buffy thinks Ampata translated the seal incorrectly, but then she remembers that Ampata’s been uneasy about the seal. They look through Ampata’s things and find the mummy.

Back at the Bronze, Xander and Ampata dance. Oz looks out at the crowd and asks Devon about a girl he sees. Devon thinks he’s talking about Ampata, but he’s talking about Willow. He’s immediately smitten. Giles and Buffy rush to the dance, or try to, since his car doesn’t drive very fast. Ampata’s getting closer and closer to kissing Xander, which could spell his doom. Just as they’re about to smooch, Ampata notices her hand mummifying and runs off.

Still in the car, Buffy and Giles discuss the seal. They realize that Ampata wanted them to destroy the seal because if they put it back together, she’ll be trapped as a mummy again. They need the other pieces. Giles decides to drop Buffy off at the dance and go to the museum himself to put the seal back together. Buffy hopes to arrive in time to stop Xander from getting “smoochy with mummy dearest.”

Xander asks if Willow’s seen Ampata. She shrugs, but her heavy coat makes it hard to notice. Xander tells her to actually say, “Shrug” next time. He leaves, and she says, “Sigh.” Nearby, Sven complains to Cordelia’s friend – in fluent English – about how annoying it is living with Cordelia. Because of her broken English, he wonders if she’s really from America.

Ampata needs to kiss someone to get a life-force boost, and she’s chosen Jonathan, a nerd who has most definitely never kissed a girl before. He’s surprised she’s showing interest, since he saw her with Xander. Xander comes looking for her before the kiss, and Jonathan realizes he needs to leave before Xander catches them together. Xander asks Ampata why she ran away. She says she doesn’t deserve him, which he thinks is funny, since he felt the same way about her.

She’s upset that her dream of falling in love seems to be out of her reach. Xander jokes that she can’t tell him what’s going on with her because then she’d have to kill him. He moves to kiss her, and she can’t resist, even knowing what could happen. After a few moments of kissing, Ampata resists her urge to feed on his life force, even as she starts mummifying.

Somehow, Ampata can sense Giles piecing the seal back together, so now she has something else to worry about. Buffy arrives at the Bronze and tells Willow that Ampata is the mummy. At first Willow’s happy, since they’ll have to get rid of her, but then she realizes that Xander’s in danger. Oz approaches just as they run off, so he doesn’t get a chance to strike up a conversation with his new crush. “Who is that girl?” he asks himself, intrigued.

The girls find Xander, who just remembers having a great kiss. They head off to the museum, where Ampata has already snuck in to stop Giles. He’s one piece away from putting her back in her tomb. She grabs the seal and breaks it again, then strangles Giles. Buffy arrives just then, making a “kiss and tell” joke that isn’t one of her best. Ampata notes that Buffy’s been keeping secrets just like Ampata has. Neither is a normal girl.

They fight, and Ampata wins, trapping Buffy in her tomb. Willow arrives and Ampata strangles her, but Xander offers up himself to save his best friend. He’s accepted that he and Ampata can’t be together. Ampata says she has to kill someone to stay alive, and she has to do it now. Xander again offers himself, challenging her to kill him if she wants to live. She decides she can handle that, and she starts to kiss him as her mummification continues.

Buffy gets out of the tomb and pulls Ampata off of Xander, but Ampata’s body is starting to fall apart, and her arms stay clutched onto his. If that doesn’t traumatize Xander, nothing will. Buffy drops Ampata, who shatters. Xander is single again, but he has his best buddy Willow and his other good friend Buffy to comfort him. Also, Giles. They all leave the museum, like, you’re not going to at least put Ampata back in her tomb?

The next day, Xander’s down because he’s 0 for 2 on choosing a love interest who’s secretly evil. Buffy thinks Ampata really did care about Xander, and she at least didn’t start out evil. Yeah, but she still tried to kill him, so…that’s not a lot of consolation. Buffy is sympathetic toward Ampata since she was sacrificed without having any say in the matter. Buffy went through something similar with the prophecy about her death. Xander notes that Buffy chose to sacrifice herself then because she knew it was the right thing to do. She reminds him that she had him to bring her back.

Thoughts: Oz! Oz! Oz! Who doesn’t like Oz? (The facial hair can go, though.)

This isn’t a great episode, but I like that for once, the audience knows what’s going on before the Scoobies do. Gotta keep things interesting.

I’m sorry, Cordelia would never go for Devon. He’s not high-class enough for her.

October 10, 2020

Felicity 2.18, Party Lines: Greg Wants to Make UNY Great Again

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

Yeah, please don’t let this guy run your Student Council

Summary: Sigh, the docuventary filming is still going on. Sean tells both Felicity and Ben that he needs more footage of them – specifically, their love life. Neither wants to discuss the other, since Ben ruined things by looking into Greg’s past. But Ben would like to know what Felicity said about him. (Psst, Ben – she called you a jerk. Work on that.)

Felicity, Julie, and Elena discuss Sadie Hawkins at Noel and Elena’s apartment; there’s a dance coming up, followed by Student Council elections. Julie complains that the other two will have dates, but she won’t. Noel tells them school dances are dumb, and they’ll agree when they’re juniors. Elena thinks he’s just bitter because he doesn’t have a date. (Ruby’s out of town, telling her parents she’s pregnant.) Felicity suggests that Noel and Julie go to the dance together. Noel doesn’t want a pity date, though.

Greg walks Felicity home after a bowling date and they kiss good night. She feels dumb asking him to the Sadie Hawkins Dance, but he’s happy to go with her. He also has a request: He’s running for Student Council president and wants Felicity to be his campaign manager. She has no experience, but Greg thinks that the way she ran the sit-in indicates that she’d be good at this.

Back to the filming. Felicity tells Sean that Ben is clearly jealous of Greg because of his accomplishments. She claims that working with Ben at Dean & DeLuca is fine and not tense at all. In reality, when Ben hears that Greg is running for president, he taunts that his platform must be “drugs, not hugs.” He’d be perfect for Student Council because all the people on the council are “stiff, earnest losers.” Felicity says that at least he has direction in his life.

Ben admits to Sean that he doesn’t have any direction in his own life. Then he visits Pavone to take a career-assessment test. His best fit is stockbroker, so he gets an internship. Sean tells him that Felicity will be impressed. Not that Ben cares, of course. Not that he’s trying to find direction so he can prove anything to Felicity. Why would Sean even suggest that? Leave it alone, Sean! This isn’t about Felicity!

On campus, Leila tells Felicity that she’s also running for Student Council president. Felicity quickly learns that Leila, unlike Greg, has a platform and is aware of issues affecting students. Richard’s also running, mostly so he can change the rules he wants to break. He’ll also institute Free Pizza Fridays. Felicity and Leila dismiss him.

Ben comes home from his first day at his internship in a bad mood. All he got to do was look after Stephen, his boss’ son. Greg is finally developing a platform, but it’s the opposite of what Felicity supports. For instance, he’s against affirmative action on campus. Meghan stops by to offer to make a sign for a rally that Thursday where the candidates will address the student body. She’s upset to learn that Felicity is Greg’s campaign manager. “Sometimes I really want to kill you in your sleep,” she says.

Felicity confides her feelings to Sean about Greg’s platform as Ben puts in another day as Stephen’s babysitter. Ben practices a card trick on him, but it’s not successful. At least he gets tickets to take Stephen to a piano concert. Oooh, fun. At home, Sean asks Ben if he’s told Felicity about his internship. Ben says he doesn’t want to admit that he’s basically a babysitter.

But at their next shift together at Dean & DeLuca, Ben tells Felicity that he’ll be out tomorrow because he has an internship on Wall Street. She’s happy for him. Then he ruins it by asking about Greg’s campaign promises. Felicity says it’s pointless since Ben will never vote for Greg. She tells him Greg wants to reinstate the swim team, but Ben doesn’t believe her. Pam comes by and Felicity watches as she and Ben chat.

Sean learns that Pam asked Ben to the dance and asks if he’s actually into her. Ben says she’s “just a girl.” Next, Sean asks Felicity for her best memory of Ben. She tells him about an incident from their road trip the previous summer; there was a spider in a motel bed, and Ben freaked out about it while trying to get rid of it. He screamed and she laughed. Sean thinks she still likes Ben and bugs her to admit it. Instead, she gives him the finger, making him note that he’s lost his PG-13 rating.

Over at Noel and Elena’s, Tracy is trying to take more wallpaper down. The landlord must really hate this group. Elena casually asks if Tracy wants to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance with him. He’s clearly been waiting for this invitation, but Elena put it off too long, so he already has a date, a classmate of theirs. Elena notes that the classmate got a B- on a test, but if that’s the kind of person Tracy wants to date, fine.

Felicity gives Greg some notes on his campaign before they go to the rally. People are very excited for Free Pizza Fridays. Felicity sees Leila leave the auditorium, having what looks like a panic attack. Felicity checks on her and tries to assure her that she can get through addressing everyone. She passes on the advice Elena always gives her: focus. Felicity reminds Leila that the campaign is about more than just a speech, but Leila can’t stop thinking about the large audience, which includes her parents. She asks Felicity to read her speech for her.

So Felicity takes the stage for Leila (pretending Leila lost her voice) and talks about how the student body is diverse but also similar. They’re all there to learn, grow, and make the school the best it can be. That’s why the school shouldn’t repeal affirmative action. This gets a big round of applause from the audience. Leila also supports letting the students write messages around campus in chalk, something Greg is against. Noel and Julie almost die laughing when Felicity asks “her” parents to stand up. Afterward, they decide to go to the dance together.

Greg isn’t happy that Felicity just delivered a greet speech for one of his opponents – not to mention one that goes against his entire platform. Felicity just wanted to help a friend, and she knows Greg isn’t going to change his platform, so…Felicity’s leaving his campaign. Greg admires her passion so much that he’s not even mad.

Felicity feels great now that she doesn’t have to support a candidate whose platform she doesn’t support. She thinks Leila has a great chance of winning. But Leila comes by her room to announce that she’s dropping out of the race. She can’t handle all the public speaking the presidency would involve. She and Elena think Felicity would make a great candidate, though.

The next day, Tracy goes to Noel and Elena’s to tell Elena he’ll accept her invitation to the dance after all. Elena says he’s rude for breaking off his other date just before the dance, but Tracy says it’s better than going with her and letting her fall in love with him when he’s not interested. Elena tells him to uncancel his date, then says she’s not going with him. Tracy won’t accept her rejection, even though, since this is a Sadie Hawkins dance, it’s supposed to be ladies’ choice. He notes that Elena kicks him out of her apartment a lot, considering she claims to like him.

Ben takes Stephen to Dean & DeLuca, but even the promise of free pastries doesn’t interest Stephen. He declares Ben the worst babysitter he’s ever had. Ben counters that Stephen is the worst kid he’s ever met. Stephen confides that he doesn’t want to go to the piano concert. He’s a prodigy but quit playing a year ago. Ben decides to take him somewhere more fun, a gym where they can play basketball. They chat about dads, and Ben sees that Stephen, like himself, doesn’t have a good relationship with his father.

At the health center, Felicity makes a call to find out if she can still register to run for president. She needs to get 200 signatures on a petition. Ben brings in Stephen, who hurt his finger. Greg declines to help, since Stephen isn’t a student, but the health center was close by and Ben doesn’t want to take Stephen to the hospital. He tries to help Stephen fight through the pain while Greg fixes him. Suddenly Felicity’s in love with Ben again. She tells Sean that seeing Ben with Stephen reminded her of something, but she won’t say what.

Ben asks Felicity about Greg’s campaign and learns that she’s left it and is considering running herself. She doesn’t think she can get 200 signatures in time. Ben says she has a way of making people want to try harder, so she should go for it. She praises him for the way he helped Stephen. Ben promises to sign her petition, leaving her with only 199 signatures to gather.

Stephen’s father is less than happy about his son’s injury, noting that it’ll get him out of piano practice for a few weeks. Stephen tells him he quit playing. I can’t tell if he’s been lying about taking lessons or if his father’s too clueless to know he quit. Anyway, now Ben thinks he would be good at coaching a team, like kids’ basketball. Pavone is pleased.

Felicity tells Greg that she’s thinking of running for president. He thinks Ben talked her into it. Felicity reminds him that this isn’t a big deal. In that case, Greg says she shouldn’t run. I think she should run – run far away from Greg. He tells her he risked his job by treating Stephen, but she warns him not to turn doing something good into a favor. Greg tells her to do whatever she wants.

Sean invites Felicity to talk about the fight, asking if it was about Ben. Felicity won’t talk, so Sean tells Ben that she and Greg got into a big fight and aren’t going to the dance together. There’s a back-and-forth where Ben and Felicity tell Sean they’re not getting together. Ugh, just do it and save us all from having to hear about how you don’t want to be together.

Elena is surprised to hear that Noel is going to the dance with Julie. Elena’s the only one not going, so Julie tells her to call Tracy. Elena refuses, wanting to hold on to her pride, but she lets that go pretty quickly and calls him. He immediately accepts her invitation, and she tells Noel and Julie that Tracy is wrapped around her finger.

Everyone gathers at the dance, and Felicity tells Ben she’s running for president. She thanks him for encouraging her. Tracy and Elena dance together, but when a slow song comes on, she tries to sit it out. He makes her dance, teasing that it’s painful how much she likes him. As Richard hands out free pizza, Greg tells Felicity that he’s glad she’s running for president. He overreacted, and he wants to beat the toughest competition to feel like a real winner. Noel and Julie haven’t danced yet, so they finally stop putting it off. Felicity dances with Greg but has her eyes on Ben. He and Pam look pretty close, but he also has his eyes on someone else.

Thoughts: Up until this episode, Ben has really not done a good job this season of making a case for why Felicity should be with him. No wonder she wanted to be with Greg.

Richard is a stealth genius. Never underestimate the draw of free food for college students.

Why are these people so interested in a school dance? This isn’t eighth grade. Judging from the turnout, most UNY students agree with me.

November 9, 2019

My So-Called Life 11, Life of Brian: Whatever Happens, Happens

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

She deserves better

Summary: Angela voices over – no, wait! Brian voices over, as his mother calls through the house for him, that his mom is a behavioral psychologist and his father is a Freudian psychiatrist. Oh, that poor, poor kid. They disagree over whether he’s currently in latency. Brian tells us they actually disagree on everything. He’s using a telescope to spy on Angela through her window, thinking that she and her family are really normal.

Patty, Graham, and Danielle are in the basement, getting ready for Graham to embark on a project: wallpapering the bedroom. They’ve had the wallpaper for years and have never put it up. Graham wants something to keep him busy, now that he’s unemployed. Patty tries to get enthusiastic.

At school, Brian takes pictures and voices over that he joined yearbook to watch life without being part of it. However, this means he’s never in the picture. Guys, I don’t think he just means that literally. Sharon introduces him to a new student, Delia, who already seems to have a crush on him. Brian gives her the bare minimum of conversation. After Delia leaves, Sharon urges Brian to ask her to the World Happiness dance that’s coming up. She’s helping to organize it and wants to see more school spirit. Sharon tells Brian that Delia works at Big Guy Burger, so he can always run into her there.

Rayanne complains about the World Happiness dance, which Angela and Rickie agree must have been Sharon’s idea. Angela wants to go, thinking it would be fun in an “obvious” way. Rayanne tells her Jordan won’t be there, but Angela can always let Brian ask her. Angela doesn’t like the idea of having to hang out with him. A guy comes into the classroom where they’re talking and asks if a teacher is around. Rayanne sends him away, but first he compliments Rickie’s vest.

At home, Brian voices over about fisherman, who wait patiently for a tug on their line, then don’t panic when it comes. He’s semi-interested in Delia (whose last name, coincidentally, is Fisher), but he’s still constantly thinking about Angela. He wants to stop being her puppet. He promises he’ll never again show up at the Chases’ door with a dumb excuse to see her.

Cut to Brian showing up at the Chases’ door with a dumb excuse to see Angela. She’s not home, so Brian makes small talk with Graham, then helps him put up the wallpaper. He’s curious as to why Graham isn’t going to work anymore. Graham says he’s working on plans so he doesn’t blindly jump into his next job. It’s like wallpaper – you have to pick the right pattern because you’ll have to live with it for a long time.

Brian asks how he might go about picking a particular pattern. He knows he really likes one, but he’s not sure the other is right for him. However, the great one is out of his price range. Should he settle for the second, or wait until the first is cheaper? Graham says it depends how badly Brian needs wallpaper. Brian says he needs it badly, so Graham thinks he has his answer.

Brian goes to Big Guy Burger and sees that Delia is cheery and friendly to everyone. He guesses she comes from a small town where everyone’s nice and smiles at each other for no reason – the kind of town he hates. Brian tells Delia he stopped by because he was in the neighborhood. As he leaves with his food – which he immediately throws out, since he didn’t actually want it – he voices over that nothing ever happens in his life.

Delia follows Brian out and apologizes for not having much of a conversation with him; she was trying to stick to her regular script. She offers him a sip of her drink, and their hands touch when he takes the cup from her. There’s a car alarm going off in the background, and Brian voices over that it’s suddenly the best sound he’s ever heard. The two share a smile as Delia goes back inside. Brian isn’t so down on his life anymore.

At school, things aren’t so great for Sharon and Kyle. She’s waiting for him to ask her to the dance, which he’s dragging his feet on. She tells him she’s under a lot of pressure and doesn’t want to have to worry that she’ll be dateless at the dance she organized. Kyle asks her unenthusiastically, and Sharon warns him not to screw things up.

Brian voices over that he knows he needs to ask Delia to the dance, so he counts to three to psych himself up. Just as he gets to 3, the bell rings. He can’t force himself to speak to her, so he just leaves for class. He runs into Rickie, who’s not going to the dance, and says he’s probably not going, either. Rayanne snags Rickie as she leaves a session with the guidance counselor and tells him that she fake-cried when asked if she was going to the dance. But she hasn’t had a drink or taken any drugs in ten days.

Rickie tells Rayanne he’s thinking of asking some girl to the dance. He can’t keep his eyes off of Corey, the boy who complimented his vest, so Rayanne tells Rickie to ask him instead. Rickie can’t find the courage to do that, so Rayanne says she’ll take care of it. Rickie warns her not to say a word to Corey.

Patty oversees Graham’s wallpaper hanging, cautioning him to line it up correctly. She notices a bubble, which Graham says he can’t get rid of; it’ll be there forever and outlive them all. Patty gives him a continuing-ed brochure she picked up at a college while dropping off a print job. She’s circled some cooking classes, since they’ve talked about him becoming a chef. They can’t afford a culinary institute, so this is a good plan B.

Angela spots Jordan on her way out of school and tries to make small talk. She thinks people obsess over stupid things to keep themselves from thinking about important stuff. Like, for example, the dance. As if it’ll actually make the world happier. Jordan hasn’t heard about the dance, despite all the posters advertising it. Angela passive-aggressively angles for an invitation, but Jordan has a philosophy about not making plans. That just leads to obligations. He just likes to let things happen naturally – “whatever happens, happens.” Jordan starts to drive off without her, so Angela pretends she needed to go back inside anyway.

Brian finds Delia in a classroom but chickens out before approaching her. She spots him, so he comes in and pretends he’s been busy all day. He helps her with whatever she’s working on, and their close proximity gives him an erection – his first from “actual physical contact.” Angela walks by the room and pauses for a moment, probably confused as to why Brian’s hanging out with a girl.

Brian goes back to the Chases’ for more wallpaper assistance/advice from Graham. He reveals that he’s chosen his “wallpaper,” and he thought it was what he wanted, but the other wallpaper still makes him happy. Graham finally tells him he knows they’re not talking about actual wallpaper. Wait…they’re not??

Patty comes in and asks Graham if he had a chance to look at the courses. He only has a day left to register, so Graham casually says he’ll wait until the next semester. Patty notes that some big-time chefs are teaching, like one who Graham is pretty sure is dead. She thought Graham was planning on doing this now. Graham, like Jordan, would rather let whatever happens happen.

After school the next day (I guess), Delia asks Brian if he’s thought about going to the dance. She needs to set her work schedule, so if she’s going to go, she needs to decide pretty quickly. Rickie’s still keeping an eye on Corey, so Angela tells him that Rayanne said he has a crush. She can obviously relate to having feelings for someone you don’t have a chance with.

As Brian puts forth some sort of debate-style offer to go to the dance with Delia, Rickie tells Angela that they should go to the dance together. They’re happy to not attend alone. But Corey approaches and says that Rayanne has already invited him to go with her and Rickie. Angela says she’ll tag along, but Rickie doesn’t want it to look like a double date. However, if she doesn’t come, it might look obvious what Rayanne’s trying to do.

Angela says she’ll bow out, then immediately goes to Brian. She figures out that he already invited Delia to the dance, though Brian brushes it off like it’s not a big deal. Angela tells him about Rayanne’s matchmaking scheme, then babbles as Brian realizes what she’s about to do. She tells him it would be “convenient” for the two of them to go to the dance together – just to drive there together, not go as dates, since he’s already going with Delia. Brian stays calm as he agrees.

Rickie interrupts while Rayanne’s flirting with a guy (“can he excuse us?” Hee!) so he can confront her about the Corey setup. He’s annoyed that she meddled after he told her not to. He’s also annoyed that Corey painted Rayanne’s shoes with colorful stripes. Rickie says he’s overlooked Rayanne’s crazy plans in the past, and he’s willing to overlook this one, but she’d better keep her mouth shut while they’re at the dance.

Rayanne says she’s not going, since she’s not ready to attend a school function. “Who cares about your stupid drinking problem?” Rickie exclaims. “This is my life!” She tells him she’ll call Corey and explain everything. It’ll all be fine. “Fine” for two guys to go to a school dance together in 1994? Sure.

Brian thinks for a while in his room, then goes to see Delia. He tells her he forgot about a previous commitment. He voices over that he regrets backing out of the date, but that doesn’t stop him. Delia guesses that he already made plans with another girl. She tells him that the timing of the plans shouldn’t matter – he should go with whoever he wants to go with. She just wants him to be honest. So Brian is, telling her he’d rather go with the other girl. Delia cries and tells him to go away.

Patty has gone behind Graham’s back and enrolled him in cooking classes. She pretends it’s because he was busy with the wallpaper and didn’t have time. She also knows he can have trouble focusing. Graham is mad about her meddling. It’s not just that he likes to cook – it’s the one thing he’s good at. Brian shows up, dressed for the dance, which surprises the Chases. They think Brian and Angela are going as a group with Delia. Brian lies that she had a family emergency and can’t go.

Later, Patty tries to apologize to Graham, who’s transformed the bedroom with the wallpaper. She notes that that’s something else he’s good at. They laugh over Angela’s discomfort when she found out Delia wasn’t coming, which leaves her alone with Brian. They think it’s funny that Angela’s going to have a bad time. Patty semi-apologizes for nagging Graham and says she’ll get him out of the classes. He tells her not to. He needs to see if that probably-not-dead chef is still good at it.

People seem to be having a good time at the dance, so Sharon should be pleased. Rickie and Corey are sitting in the stands, having a great conversation. Corey asks where Rayanne is – she never called to explain the setup. He’s disappointed that she’s not coming, since he wanted to ask her how she likes her sneakers. Rickie says she’s “changeable.” Corey says he had a picture of how things would be, and they’ve turned out differently.

Brian tries to make himself start a conversation with Angela, apparently not getting that she would clearly rather be with anyone else. He goes to get her a drink, and Rickie asks if he can hang out with Brian and Angela. Brian tries to be gently as he says they’d like time alone. When he goes back to Angela, she asks what they were talking about. She’s upset when Brian says he told Rickie to keep his distance so they could have privacy. Angela has no idea why they would want privacy. What does Brian think is happening?

Brian says they might want to dance, which Angela thinks is a ridiculous idea. He says they should just see how things progress. He doesn’t even believe in making plans – “whatever happens, happens.” Angela says that’s the dumbest thing she’s ever heard. They both see Delia talking to Rickie, which alerts Angela to the fact that Brian lied about her not coming to the dance. She calls him heartless and says he doesn’t understand people.

Angela starts to leave, then stops when she sees Jordan at the dance with his friends. Brian thinks it’s ironic that Angela would call him heartless when she’s the same way. As Jordan sees that Angela has spotted him, Brian approaches Delia and apologizes for being…well, heartless. Sharon and Kyle join them, and Sharon says she’s glad Delia came even without a date, because there are tons of cute guys for her to meet.

Angela joins Rickie outside and learns that Rayanne didn’t explain things to Corey. Killing her would only solve half of Rickie’s problems. The other half is that Rickie feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere or with anyone. Angela gives him a comforting hug. Jordan and his friends pass him as they leave for more interesting places, and Rickie tells Angela it’s okay if she wants to go talk to him.

Brian starts to come outside but goes back in when he sees Angela and Jordan together. Jordan does what he does best, leaning over Angela as if he wants to kiss her. He asks her why she likes this. She doesn’t know what he means. “Like how you are,” he replies. Angela still doesn’t know what he means, but he goes off with his friends without explaining.

Back in the gym, Delia and Rickie find themselves standing near each other, so he invites her to dance. It’s awkward at first, but then Rickie just goes for it, dancing like he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. His enthusiasm is contagious, and Delia joins in. Even Kyle’s impressed. Brian just watches from a distance as the girl he could have had fun with has fun with someone else.

Angela finally goes back in and apologizes to Brian for ruining his night. All he can think about is how great her hair smells. They both say school dances are dumb, so it doesn’t matter. She asks him to dance, but he says, “Not with you.” He backtracks, saying he doesn’t care about dancing that much. Angela says she doesn’t, either. So they just stand and watch while the rest of their classmates enjoy their lives.

Thoughts: Delia is awesome and Brian sucks for hurting her.

It’s 1994, girls. Time to grow backbones and ask boys out yourselves.

Delia manages to adorably combine two major ’90s trends with a plaid scrunchy.

’90s music alert: “What Is Love?” by Haddaway

December 5, 2017

SVT #114, The Boyfriend Mess: You’re 12! Stop Worrying About Love!

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 4:57 pm by Jenn

Scrunchie sighting!

Summary: The couples from Young Love have gathered for their prize trip to Dizzy Planet. No one’s happy (except for totally-in-the-dark Todd, who thinks he’s going with Elizabeth, and Maria, who doesn’t mind spending the day with Patrick), since no one has matched with the person they wanted to be with. But if they want their Valentine’s Day dance, they have to fulfill their contractual obligations. No one seems to remember that they’ve all been wanting to go to Dizzy Planet, so hanging out with people they may not like is a small price to pay.

Jessica wants to get Todd carsick so she can ditch him and hang out with Byron. The plan backfires, and instead Byron ends up carsick. Byron’s cousin Marshall (well, he says he’s Byron’s cousin, but he sounds kind of uncertain) is tagging along, and he and Maria hit it off right away. Now she’s not quite as thrilled about having to spend the day with Patrick when she could be spending it with Marshall.

Sophia learns that the show is trying to catch “cheaters,” and she worries that she and Patrick will get busted for trying to rig their match. She takes a bus to Dizzy Planet but can’t afford the entrance fee. She manages to sneak in with a group of kids from a daycare by pretending to be a chaperone. Elizabeth also learns about the hunt for cheaters and accidentally stumbles into a way to enter the park without paying – Byron mistakes her for Jessica and brings her in. He also gives her a shirt from the show, so now the twins are accidentally dressed alike.

While the girls search the park for Patrick and Jessica, Maria tries to get some alone time with Marshall. For some reason, these 12-year-olds are willing to admit that they want to ride a carousel. Todd wants to win Elizabeth (really Jessica) a teddy bear by playing some sort of bowling game, but the bear costs 100 tickets and Todd isn’t very good at the game. Jessica’s getting more and more bored by the second.

Liz finds her sister and asks to undo their twin switch so she can hang out with Todd. Jessica jumps at the chance to go find Byron and spend the day with him instead. But she also has to make sure he doesn’t see Todd with Elizabeth and bust the twins for their scheme. The twins and their guys end up on the same water ride, and Jess has to fall overboard to distract Byron from seeing Liz and Todd together. Meanwhile, Liz herself is so distracted by the scheme that Todd thinks she’s lost interest in him and takes off alone.

Sophia finds Patrick and shares her theory that Marshall was sent to spy on him. She thinks Patrick can fool him by pretending he really wants to be with Maria. Patrick takes it too far, though, and Maria blasts him for showering her with affection right in front of Sophia. Good for Maria for being all sisters before misters here. Patrick explains what’s going on to Maria, but now she thinks Marshall was just being nice to her because he was sent to spy on her. Her and Sophia’s day have been ruined.

When it’s time for everyone to leave the park, Maria doesn’t get on the van with everyone else. Apparently this is a violation of the contract, and if she doesn’t come home with everyone else, they have to forfeit the dance. The people there with the show find this amusing, apparently forgetting that they’ll have to tell Maria’s parents that they lost her.

Amy tracks down Maria, who’s moping because she thinks everyone in Sweet Valley is awful. Amy reminds her that she has friends, then encourages her to get in the van because if she loses the dance for everyone, they’ll be even more awful to her. So Maria secures the dance for her classmates, but then Byron, who says he’s suspected the twin switch all day, tricks “Elizabeth” into outing herself as Jessica. He doesn’t care, though, since the same twin who came in the morning is going home with the group. And at least now Todd knows why “Elizabeth” was acting so weird all day.

Everyone goes to the dance, where Byron reveals that he’s been filming them all day for a new show about the negative side of dating. They were only looking for “cheaters” so they could feature them on the new show. Byron waxes poetic about love, and how it can be tough, and blah blah blah, they’re 12, dude. They’re all going to break up next week for stupid reasons.

Elizabeth and Sophia are busted for their scheming, but they don’t get in trouble, so it doesn’t matter. Everyone ends up with his or her preferred partner, including Maria, who learns that Marshall, while not a spy, is really Byron’s nephew. (His sister is a lot older and had a child just a few years after Byron was born. They find it easier to say they’re cousins than to explain their real relationship. No one cares.)

In other news, Janet and Donald wound up having a great day together and are now practically BFFs. Who knew?

Thoughts: The kids seem to think that enjoying their time together is part of the deal for the party, but there’s no way that’s enforceable. Plus, the odds are pretty low that all those couples who were paired off because one of them liked three answers the other gave to random questions would be 100% compatible.

One of the women from the show, when Maria doesn’t show up to the van: “You don’t like it, blame her. Tear her apart Monday morning when she gets to school. Or poison her milk.” LADY. You should not be allowed around children.

Maria is suddenly insecure about what people think of her. It’s really out of character for her.

Marshall calls the SVMS kids “the losingest bunch of stuck-up dorks I’ve ever met.” He’s not wrong.

May 9, 2017

SVT #90, The Cousin War: Blockin’ Robin

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:11 pm by Jenn

No one wears her hair like that

Summary: Cousin Robin is coming to visit for two weeks while her parents are on a trip for their anniversary. (No mention of Robin’s younger sister Stacey, so I guess she’s Home Alone-ing it.) Jessica’s top priority while Robin is in town is to find her cousin a “vacation boyfriend.” There’s a Sadie Hawkins dance coming, and she wants to get Robin hooked up with someone. Jessica herself is interested in a guy named Juan, an exchange student from Argentina. She has no problem ditching Aaron…even though, awkwardly, Aaron’s family is Juan’s host family.

A bunch of sixth-graders go bowling together one afternoon, though Elizabeth has to skip the fun to work on a special issue of The Sixers. She asks Todd to be nice to Robin, since she doesn’t know anyone except Jessica. Robin and Todd hit it off, while Jessica tries to get to know Juan better. Robin quickly falls in luv with Todd, telling Elizabeth all about her new crush without mentioning his name. Liz has no idea that her cousin is interested in her sort-of boyfriend. And Jessica has no idea that her new crush, Juan, is interested in Robin.

Robin gets a note and some candy from a secret admirer and figures that Todd is trying to express his interest. Jessica thinks Robin is interested in Juan, so she wants to make a move before her cousin does. When she learns that Robin actually likes Todd, she decides to use this to her advantage – she’ll send Robin after Todd to keep her away from Juan. She doesn’t care that this might hurt Liz. She just wants Juan all to herself.

When Robin gets another secret-admirer note, Jessica eggs her on to go ask Todd to the dance already. But when Robin goes to Casey’s to talk to him, she sees him with Elizabeth. Robin is immediately furious with her cousin, thinking Liz is trying to steal her man. Because she’s 12, she doesn’t stop to think about how Elizabeth and Todd might have already had something going, or that Elizabeth couldn’t steal Todd from Robin when she didn’t know Robin liked him, or that you can’t steal a guy from someone he’s not actually dating. All Robin knows is that her cousin betrayed her.

Jessica sees this is a great time to ask Juan to the dance, but first she needs to make sure Robin doesn’t find out that Liz and Todd are together. She pretends to be Elizabeth and asks Todd to accept when Robin inevitably asks him to the dance. Liz won’t be attending herself since she’s so busy with the Sixers issue. Robin asks Todd to the dance, and he says yes, so he’s really surprised when the real Elizabeth is upset with him for agreeing to go on a date with another girl.

Jess asks Juan to the dance, and he admits that he was hoping Robin would ask him. She tells him Robin’s going with someone else, so Juan accepts her invitation. Meanwhile, Todd feels bad about accidentally hurting Elizabeth, so he backs out of the date with Robin. Robin is stunned to learn that Todd and Liz are sort of dating. Also, now she knows that Juan is her secret admirer, not Todd, and she’s lost her chance to go to the dance with him. To her credit, she feels bad about the way she treated Liz.

To make amends, Robin invites Todd over the night of the dance so she can smooth things over with Liz. The three of them figure out that Jess masqueraded as her twin to get Todd to accept the date with Robin. As retaliation, Elizabeth pretends to be Jessica and tells Juan that Robin wants to be with him. Then Liz gets to go to the dance with Todd, while Robin gets to hang out with her secret admirer, and Jess is alone. Well, at least until she learns that Aaron was helping Juan win over Robin, in part because he didn’t want Juan to be with Jessica. Jess thinks jealousy is hot, so she’s back to liking Aaron. Ick.

Thoughts: Robin knows her way around Sweet Valley pretty well for someone who’s only visited a few times.

“What was the big deal about Robin, anyway?” So Jessica throws over Elizabeth and helps Robin steal Todd, and then wonders what’s so great about her. JESSICA, YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON.

“Then it hit her. The only reason Elizabeth would dress just like Jessica was if she wanted everyone to think she was Jessica.” Check out the big brain on Jess!

December 27, 2016

SVT #76, Yours for a Day: Indentured Servitude Has Never Been So Romantic

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

I can't believe the Unicorns let Mandy wear this outfit in public

I can’t believe the Unicorns let Mandy wear this outfit in public

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

SVT #66, The Great Boyfriend Switch: Middle-School Relationship Drama Is the Worst

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:09 pm by Jenn

Everyone looks fine except Amy (what else is new?)

Everyone looks fine except Amy (what else is new?)

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

BH90210 10.15, Fertile Ground: Uncle Father

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:32 pm by Jenn

Michael's probably really popular with all the guys now

Michael’s probably really popular with all the guys now

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.

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