You can’t be a hippie and a jock, or SVH Super Edition #9 “Mystery Date”

7 Aug

Before I recap the absurdity that is this book, let’s first take a moment to appreciate some of the awesome outfits it produced:

Read on for outfit snaps and Ken doing some serious birdwatching..

#1 This is, in my opinion, the standout outfit of the book

Elizabeth stepped away from Todd and posed with a hand on her hip. She wore a meticulously tailored outfit of Lila’s- a dress with a matching jacket in a soft shade of mauve silk with a coordinating hat, mauve nail polish, and more jewellery than she’d normally wear to a year’s worth of parties combined. 

“Where have I seen that embroidered Mexican fiesta dress Amy’s wearing?” Mr Collins asked. “On Rosa Jameson,” supplied Olivia. “Her grandmother made it.”

For the dance that Saturday night, Elizabeth’s hair was pulled back in elegant pearl-encrusted barrettes; Jessica’s flew out around her face as she danced, wild and free. Elizabeth favoured simple makeup-that night she wore only a touch of lip gloss and a hint of brown mascara. Her outfit for the informal dance – a floral print dress a few inches above the knee – was flattering but not flashy. Jessica, on the other hand, had been turning heads all evening in her white spaghetti-strap minidress. Her eyes were dramatically lined with sultry shadow, and she wore a deep red lipstick.

Even Olivia’s dress was wrong. Its loose, flowing layers of indigo and violet were hand-painted with abstract forms in delicate gold lines.

The tall blond girl [Dana Larson] shuffled onto the dance floor alone, her hips swaying in tight black leggings with a studded, low-slung belt. …Olivia stared enviously at Dana’s slim, graceful figure in a skin-tight midriff top with a vintage lace bra on the outside.


“Speaking of clothes,” said Jessica, “are these white shorts too casual?” “What about my top? Does the aqua colour make my suntan look washed out?” “The colour is to die for on you, and you know it,” Elizabeth told her. “But the top is a little bare, isn’t it?”

“You complained yourself that the boys aren’t gaga over your new baby doll dress today,” Jessica pointed out. “You have a point,” Lila admitted, smoothing the polka-dotted skirt with her hand. “This dress is way sexy on me.”

Olivia took a deep breath and glanced down at her outfit to make sure everything was in place. She’d changed her outfit four times before finally selecting a pair of batik-print sarong pants in royal purple and a matching loose vest over a simple white tank top. She knew it was an unusual outfit.

An honourable mention to Ken Matthews’ get-up, which my boyfriend refused, at point blank, to model. [I think the bf is still ashamed that I caught him reading “Return of the Evil Twin” over my shoulder.] Loose Guatemalan pants, a T-shirt, and Mardi Gras beads-the kind of outfit Keith Wagner might wear.

THE RECAP:

I shouldn’t be too harsh about the fact that this book revolves around people meeting on the internet, because lets face it, I write a blog. About Sweet Valley Freaking High. And I talk to Bruce Patman on Twitter. And without this device called the internet, you and I would not be able to maintain our pathetic obsession with this darn book series.

Our story begins with – what else? –  a school dance in the SVH gym, and we get a very stereotyped description of all the B-grade characters and the cliques they belong to:

“No way,” Keith Wagner objected. “Jamie Peters is mega mainstream!” Olivia didn’t know Keith very well. The closest thing SVH had to an East Village poet and musician, he had dated Jessica briefly. But his back-to-nature wardrobe and his environmental activism had quickly convinced Jessica that he was too weird. These days Keith seemed to be more into self-expression than saving the whales.

The next song was another hit with the jocks on the dance floor. Bryce jumped to the centre of the gym and started playing air guitar. Two other football players, Michael Lewis and Tad Johnson, ran to join him, bouncing to the tune and singing into their fists. Their friends from the sports teams and cheerleading squads laughed and clapped.

It is kind of nice to see old favourites like Claire Middleton and Nicky Shepherd pop up again. [although I thought he ran away in the aptly titled SVH #21, “Runaway”].

Because this is SV, where the characters are completely one dimensional, one cannot like the same music as someone from another circle. The snobs all want to hear Jamie Peters [Jamie! I thought you quit showbiz?!], and Olivia and her weirdo friends request tree-hugging protest-ballad-twanging Colleen Dunstan [at a dance. Dear God.] Also, the jocks want the Beach Boys’ “California Girls.” This bothered me more than anything else. Tad “Blubber” Johnson [who Olivia bitchily remarks to herself is appropriately named] really needs to hear Brian Wilson, and so he decides to punch the lights out of Justin Belson [remember, the guy who killed Regina Morrow?]. Creepy Collins finally returns from the ladies’ room and decides to take disciplinary action by canceling the dance, and Tad is given early morning detention for the rest of the year [which, in Sweet Valley is a Very. Long. Time. Unfortunately for Mr Collins, Elizabeth had done no wrong.] Nicky Shepherd calls the jocks nimrods. And so begins THE BATTLE OF THE CLIQUES

Killing students from rival high schools apparently wasn’t enough, so now the factions of SVH have turned on each other. In Liz’s words, it’s “the punkers, artists, hippies, burnouts and brains against the jocks, snobs and student-politicos”. She feels compelled to publish an article in The Oracle about the hippies “anti-jock” sit-in. The rivalry escalates when a Keith Wagner or a similar burnout gets a copy of Tad’s D+ English paper. Instead of rolling it up and smoking it in his clove cigarette, he decides to post it for the world to see, which both amuses Jessica and pisses off Elizabeth [Score = one-nil to the burnouts.] Since the internet has just been discovered, that might have been a better move. But the school notice board suffices to humiliate the superjock, and to his credit, he doesn’t knuckle anyone but uses his words. Literally. The next day, there is a lipstick scrawl on the girls’ bathroom mirror that says: “Cheer-girls Have Pom Poms for Brains”, which is almost as awesome as the graffiti on the bulletin board: “Die, wimps, hippies, punks, and brains.” I don’t want to be too picky, because the jocks did just string five words together, but there are two inappropriately placed commas in that command. Anyway –

The stage is set beautifully for two dateless star-crossed lovers from warring factions to get it on. But instead of hanging out in the cafeteria and letting it blossom from there, they coincidentally meet in an online chatroom, which the ghostwriters obviously didn’t realize could be accessed from people all over the world, as well as by Creepy Collins and other perves. Olivia “Freeverse” Davidson is grumbling about how she doesn’t fit in, unlike her perfect friends Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, while Ken “Quarter” [for “Quarterback” ] Matthews is moping around because he got dumped by Jessica 10 books ago and never wants to date within his circle again.

Their “conversations” are pure torture. Here’s how it unfolds:

“A quarter fulfilled isn’t half bad,” replied Freeverse. “That leaves plenty of space to fill with new experiences.”

“What kind of experiences?” he asked, curious.

“Walking the road less traveled, fording the river uncrossed,” Freeverse replied cryptically.

“What else would you like to do?”

“Paint scenes I’ve only imagined. Feel skirts of exotic silks swishing against my legs. Savour the taste of unpronounceable foods from distant places.”

“To boldly go where no-one has gone before, :}” Ken added, using the emoticon for a smiling face. “You sound like an adventurer.” A female adventurer, he thought, thinking of the ‘swishing skirts’ remark

“In real life all I get to do is walk along the beach, watching the gulls soar.”

“I’m nuts about seagulls, too.” Ha! Ken Matthews, birdwatcher. Now I’ve heard it all.

It gets better the next day:

“I have a cyberpresent for you,” said Quarter. “I didn’t want to give it to you with a dozen people listening in.”

“I was passing a beautiful field of flowers on the way home from school, and I picked one for you. I’m clueless about the names of flowers, but I’ll describe it to you.”

“I’m into it,” said Olivia. “What colour is the flower?”

“It’s a bright, passionate red,” he told her “the reddest red you can ever imagine. And inside there are these black thready things!”

“It sounds like a poppy! I love poppies! It’s the best cyber present in the whole world!” I’m still deciding which one is lamer…

And then…

“Did you hear what happened tonight at the football game between SVH and El Carro?” he asked after they greeted each other.

[Of course, unless someone tells you otherwise, you must assume they are in SV, or else that a SVH fight is the top story on the national news that night. Ken is a dumb-ass.]

“Today would be a great day for walking on the beach and visiting all those seagulls!” He typed. So Olivia snags a private chat room and off they go!

“I can’t put things into words the way you can,” Quarter admitted.

“Try,” Freeverse challenged.

“The ocean is like, so huge and so beautiful. And all that bigness and magic you mentioned before, its powerful enough to make the problems at school seem minor.”

“Can you feel me slipping my arm around your shoulders?” Quarter said. A warm tingle began in Olivia’s shoulders and spread to her arms.

“Mmm” she typed. “I believe I can. You’re wearing one of those thick, Irish fisherman’s sweaters, right?”

“What about your lips?” he asked. Are they warm too?”

“I’m not sure,” she responded. “Maybe you should check and see.”

“Your lips are like raspberries, as light as a whisper at first-”

“And then we hold each other tightly as the flames cast orange-and-red-tongues of light around the room,” Olivia continued, breathless.

FINALLY, they stop being so sickening, and decide to get a room for real. Because each thinks the other goes to El Carro, they arrange a meeting at Izzy’s Incredible Ice Cream in that suburb the next day.

Of course, Ken turns up looking for a babe, and Olivia turns up expecting a poet, so they sit alone, sipping their milkshakes, without even considering that their opposite could be their cyber-lover. Sheesh.

Back in real life, the rivalry is escalating. Tad’s aggression is making Aaron Dallas look as unflappable as Regina’s corpse. He gets kicked off the football team and then expelled. Jessica and Heather Mallone are unified. Jan Brown says nasty things like “Fashion Queens are Ice Princesses.” There is order in the chaos though, because Liz and Todd are fighting.

Olivia does a little more whingeing to Liz about how much she wants to be her. [No offence Olivia, but I would be Liz over you. Falling fridges aren’t really my thing]: “Besides Winston, you’re the only person I know who seems to become part of the in crowd for every crowd you hang with.” Nawww, thanks Livvy.

The next Sunday, while Jessica is on a triple date with Danny Porter and Bryce Fisherman, Tad OD’s on sleeping pills. Which is just the wake-up/Wakefield call this school needs to become unified!

Because her genius idea of holding a school dance to passify the rivalry WORKED SUCH A CHARM LAST TIME [Jessica’s Palisades High bf got gang-bashed to death] Liz decides to retain her post on the dance committee and host a “Walk in Each Other’s Shoes” party, where they do just that.

I now refer you to the start of this article for some of the outfit swaps that happened. Liz looking like a Lila-inspired blueberry is still my favorite.

Jessica repeats Dana’s studded ensemble for this dance, and the jocks wear hemp shirts and take hackey sacks. Amy Sutton even talks to Jan Brown. I have to admit, the party is a success – Jessica pashes Keith Wagner and Olivia gets with Ken, which I think is the point of the story.

[Oh, and I wore drag again. I’m not trying to tell you guys anything. I swear!]

Ken and Olivia’s make-out is fairly raunchy by SVH standards, and refers to raspberry lips and electric shocks. And we get reminded about 137 times how amazing it is that opposites attract and you can like, date someone in another clique.  But hey you guys – guess who broke the mould first? That’s right, yours truly. Here’s a snippet from page 33:

In Ken’s living room, cheerleader Maria Santelli was gazing adoringly at Winston Egbert. The only nonjock present, Winston was so klutzy he could hardly walk without tripping over his own big feet – let alone play a team sport. [I guess the fact that I was once a competition gymnast has been forgotten.] But his wacky sense of humour made him welcome in any crowd. Winston and Maria were a fixture at Sweet Valley High jock parties.

Ha!

And another thing – apologies to the desperate teens who stumbled across WWS on a Friday night with the google searches: “teen in skirt and tights” and “hot twins make-out”. Sorry we couldn’t accommodate your needs. This is, after all, Sweet Valley.

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5 Responses to “You can’t be a hippie and a jock, or SVH Super Edition #9 “Mystery Date””

  1. jen August 8, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    super awesome winnie!

  2. Miss Moppet August 15, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    Oh God, keep the fashion shows coming, they are hilarious. I imagined Liz’s mauve outfit as a mini-suit – jacket and very tight mini-skirt – but still, so funny!

  3. kiwimusume October 24, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    Ken’s screen name always made me think of Quarter Pounders.

    And this:
    “Walking the road less traveled, fording the river uncrossed,” Freeverse replied cryptically.
    Reminds me of a terrible job application essay someone proudly posted on a forum, which everyone else proceeded to make fun of.

    Jan Brown says nasty things like “Fashion Queens are Ice Princesses.”
    Wouldn’t the fashion queens just take that as a compliment? Come on Jannie girl, at least call them sluts! This book only came out a year before the SVSY book where someone wrote “Jessica Wakefield is a slut” on the blackboard.

    No offence Olivia, but I would be Liz over you. Falling fridges aren’t really my thing]
    I dunno, being able to come back to life after premature death seems quite a handy skill to me!

    Loving the recaps, keep ’em coming! 😀

  4. 5 mistakes December 10, 2011 at 4:12 am #

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The one that should be called, “Too Good To Be True” or SVH #21 Runaway « WHAT WINSTON SAW - November 1, 2010

    […] trek to San Fran alone. Apparently emo-boy couldn’t stick it out though, because he turns up in Mystery Date to give the anti-jock demonstrations a […]

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