Monday, August 21, 2017

Sweet Valley High Revisited - Hard Choices

Oh boy, it's kinda been forever, hasn't it? I feel like I'm increasingly starting blog posts with some variation on that theme though. I recently (like, recently in May) started back working full time so I'm just TIRED ALL THE TIME and in bed by ten o'clock most nights and ALSO, in case you haven't seen me banging on about it on Twitter and Facebook and Insta, I've started co-hosting a Sweet Valley High podcast with the excellent Anna Carey! Our first episode is out and it would amazing if you guys would subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts, just search for Double Love and you'll find us lurking, waiting to deliver some affectionate Sweet Valley snark to your ears. And if you enjoy it, then please rate or leave us a review, as it'll help keep us in the charts and spread the Wakefield word! (You can also follow us on Twitter here and please do, because we love dem numbers.)


Sweet Valley High #43: Hard Choices

Elizabeth Wakefield is helping her non-event of a best friend Enid to move her stuff up into the attic room of the Rollins house. You see, Enid's grandmother is coming to live with her and her mother because Enid's grandfather died a few months ago so instead of getting to stay in her nice big house in Chicago where normal people and all her friends live, Mrs. Langevin is coming to Sweet Valley. Leave all logic at the door, Nana! You won't need it here! Enid is super excited about Nana's arrival, even though she has to give up her room and move into the attic and hang all her clothes from nails in the wall. She even spent all her allowance money on fancy lavender heart-shaped soap and a bouquet of fresh flowers for her grandmother's newly-decorated bedroom. However, when Nana arrives, she's no longer the energetic and independent old lady that Enid was expecting, but frail and tired and passive aggressive as fuck.

While down at The Dairi Burger, Liz spots an article in The Oracle about a showcase for student documentaries that Hollywood big shot Jackson Croft (and father of her classmate Susan Stewart) is sponsoring. Enid tells her that she should enter because she's so great at everything and a few days later, Liz is struck by inspiration while hanging out at the beach with a bunch of kids from school. She's going to make a documentary about Sweet Valley, of course! Jeffrey is going to film it and Jessica will be the on screen narrator, "a sort of tour guide of Sweet Valley," reading from Liz's script and showing off all the "different places" in town that Liz wants to film. Will any of these places have anything to do with the time Liz was kidnapped by a lovestruck orderly, or the time Enid was in a plane crash, or the time Crispy Bacon's speedboat exploded, or the time Liz was in a near-fatal motorbike accident and came out of a coma with a totally different personality, or the time the twins rescued Regina Morrow from being held hostage but then Regina DIED after trying cocaine at a party that one time? Spoiler alert: nope. All this sweet drama, but you know she's just going to film the fucking mall or the beach or some shit.

"How does 'This Is Sweet Valley' grab you?"

It doesn't. Stop it.

Richard Cernak, Enid's mother's boyfriend is over for dinner to meet Nana, who's really rude and mean to him for no good reason and then when Enid has the twins and Jeffrey over for a meeting to plan for the documentary, Nana isn't impressed and tells Enid that her friends aren't "the nicest young people" for her to be spending time with, "especially that Liz," who she thinks is too bossy. Haa, in yo' FACE Liz! However, the fact that Nana is talking shit about Elizabeth Wakefield just cements her position as the villain in this story, as it is a truth universally acknowledged that EVERYONE LOVES THE WAKEFIELDS and anyone who doesn't is CLEARLY up to no good and probably kicks puppies in the face and is basically a monster.

Enid initially put her grandmother's bitchiness down to having to adjust to her new life in Sweet Valley, but then she talks Enid's mother out of letting Enid go away on a school camping trip with her boyfriend Hugh and his Big Mesa friends and teachers. She also takes up all of Enid's free time and afternoons, complaining that she doesn't like to be on her own and making Enid drive her around to the library or wherever so Enid keeps having to bail on plans for the documentary.

Liz & co. film a segment in downtown Sweet Valley, where Jeffrey films Jessica walking along and giving the intro to the documentary. By coincidence, in the background, Winston comes out of a joke shop wearing a fake arrow through his head and follows Jessica when he sees they're filming, and apparently it's totally hilarious. They then film at the beach and Alice tells the twins to take their golden retriever, Prince Albert, with them so he can go for a swim and he's super excited when they get down to the water.

"He didn't often get to go to the beach, so when he did, he could hardly contain himself."

What the fuck, Wakefields? You assholes are always going to the beach and dicking around in your Fiat Spider, take your damn dog with you and bring the poor guy to the beach, he obviously loves it and you guys suck.

When Prince Albert comes running out of the water, he jumps up on Jessica in her on-camera sundress outfit so she squeals and tries to stop him, but he's so pumped up from being brought for a swim for once in his sad neglected doggy life that he thinks it's a game and it all goes on for enough time for Jeffrey to sneakily film the whole thing as some absolutely gas footage for the documentary.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Rollins is anxious because Richard has asked her to marry him and she needs to give him an answer, but she's all confused now that her mother seems to hate him and has managed to turn Enid against him too and they end up having a row, with her saying she can't get married while everything is so unsettled. Richard works at the local tv station, and Enid and the documentary gang run into him while they're there to interview a local talk show host, and he offers the use of the station's editing equipment when they finish filming. Nana continues to guilt-trip Enid into driving her around so she can't spend time with her friends and passive-aggressively saying she doesn't want to be a bother while going out of her way to be massive pain in the hole. Things between Enid and Hugh have been strained since before she had to cancel on the camping trip and are even more so now because he lives so far away.

Enid's bitchy resting side-eye here is probably the most interesting thing she's ever done, looking like she's about to straight-up murder someone with that bouquet.

Liz and Jeffrey head to the tv station to get stuck into the editing, Jessica had cheerleading practice and Enid had to stay home with Nana, so it's just the two of them there to meet Richard, who shows them to the editing room and they end up spending six hours in there condensing the footage into an hour long documentary. On their way out of the building, they overhear Adele Rollins and Richard arguing because Richard wants Adele to come with him to some important broadcasters awards dinner but Adele says she has to stay home with her mother.

"What should we do?" Elizabeth whispered.

YOU DO NOTHING ELIZABETH BECAUSE IT'S NONE YA BUSINESS. They hear Adele eventually agree to go to the dinner and because it's on Saturday night, they wonder if that means Enid will miss the viewing party they've planned to have at the Wakefield house to show everyone the documentary. Enid and her mam have a nice moment at home where they both eat from a jar of applesauce in the kitchen and no one is stressed out or anxious until fuckin' Nana shows up to ruin everyone's day. The senior centre is showing a film that she wants to see on Saturday night and when Adele explains that she's going to the awards dinner with Richard, and Enid has a party to go to, Nana juts out her chin, says she understands and martyrs her way to her bedroom so Enid feels terrible.

On Saturday morning, Nana is acting the bitch, pretending to be sick and doesn't get out of bed. Adele arranges for a friendly neighbour, Mrs Cutler, to come over and stay with Nana that evening. However, when Adele is about to head out the door to the dinner, Nana says she doesn't want "that woman" coming over because she doesn't like strangers, so when Adele calls the neighbour and tells her there's no need for her to call over, Nana demands that Adele stay in with her now. However, she's going to the dinner and apologetically lands Enid in it, saying it's the last time, and leaves. Enid is outraged and when Hugh arrives at the door only for her to cancel on him again at the last minute, so he storms off and Enid figures it's over between them. Nana overhears everything and tells Enid it's for the best and he's not worth it, so Enid finally loses patience with this bitch and flips, telling her she's ruined everything and that she hates her. Her grandmother tells her she's selfish and Enid yells at her some more, grabs the keys to her mother's car and runs out of the house.

People start to arrive at the Wakefield's house and when Elizabeth notices Enid slipping into the room late, Jessica announces that they're starting and everyone watches the documentary on a projector.

One by one, the faces of students of Sweet Valley High flashed onto the screen; Neil Freemount hitting a tennis ball; the cheerleaders forming a pyramid; Winston Egbert, Tom McKay, Ken Matthews and Aaron Dallas pressing their noses flat against the cafeteria window; Olivia Davidson, Penny Ayala and Mr. Collins in the newspaper office; Lila Fowler in her lime green Triumph.

It's basically the opening credits to the Sweet Valley High tv show that should have been. Everyone loves the documentary and thinks the two scenes of Jessica with Winston and Prince Albert are hilarious. Jessica is initially annoyed but takes it well because the documentary is such a smashing success. Afterwards, the party gets started and Elizabeth sees that Enid is upset so they up to her room to talk and Enid spills the whole story about what happened. Overcome by guilt, Enid rushes home and finds her grandmother in the kitchen, making ginger snaps. Nana tells her to sit down and says she's been doing a lot of thinking and tells Enid she was right, and that she was indeed being an absolute wagon (in so many words) and apologises and they both make up. Nana says she's decided to move back to Chicago as she was just running away from her old life. Then Hugh shows up and apologises too and and Adele comes home from the dinner and everyone makes up and is having a lovely time eating ginger snaps and everything's cool again.

Notable outfit:
Jessica first on-camera outfit for the documentary, borrowed from Elizabeth.

"Maybe I could wear your white linen suit, huh?"

CATEGORY IS: The Ho from Del Monte

Things I counted:
Number of pages: 152

References to the twins' blue-green eyes: 1 (WHAT)
References to the fact that the twins are blonde: 1 (OUTRAGEOUS. SOMEONE CALL THE COPS. NO, NOT THE REGULAR COPS)

Amount of times Nana insists she doesn't want to be any trouble/a burden/a bother, while being the exact opposite: 8


  1. I had this one, but I really hated the ones featuring Enid. She was such a snore. I prefer sociopath Jessica all day every day!!

  2. "The Ho from Del Monte"
    Can't stop laughing at this!

  3. I can't believe it wasn't Elizabeth who snapped Nan out of it. Surely she was meant to go over there and exert her beautiful blonde influence to fix It?

    Good to have you back!


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