The Ghostwriters Must Really Hate Us: SVT #103 “Elizabeth Solves It All”

31 Jan

Smug bitch. Is that too mean? She is twelve, after all. But something about the legs swung over the desk, the self-obsessed newspaper cut-out and the state-of-the-art laptop [this IS 1997, after all] are really pissing me off. And don’t even get me started on the prissy white sandshoes. Mine never looked like that.

I must really hate myself, because the first paragraph was enough to turn any sane person away:

“To Our Readers,

The Sixers is proud to announce, ‘Dear Elizabeth’, an advice column just for kids. Send in your questions and get great advice from Elizabeth Wakefield. As you all know, Elizabeth Wakefield is a great student, a great writer, and a person who cares about other people’s problems [Read: meddlesome shoulder patter]. So write to Dear Elizabeth, care of the Sixers, room 204, and take advantage of the wit and wisdom of SVMS’s very own professional adviser, Elizabeth Wakefield.”

I’m sorry, but “professional adviser” ?! What could possibly qualify a twelve-year-old for that role? Elizabeth, of course, feigns embarrassment on the matter [i.e. fishes for compliments about how awesome she is]. Fortunately, Amy Sutton is there to kiss-ass:

“Don’t be so modest, Elizabeth,” Amy said. “You are a great student, and you know it. Besides, we need to drum up business. Right Maria?”

At the risk of losing all my blog followers, I actually preferred the airheaded Amy of SVH to this annoying suck. Also, while Elizabeth has the job of “Editor-in-Chief”, she is “co-editor in chief.” Oh dear.

In the ensuing chapters, Amy and Maria think about Elizabeth. A lot. Amy decides to ask Elizabeth’s advice for cheering up her grandmother. And Maria decides Elizabeth should do some more “horn-tooting.” ‘Cause, geez you guys, enough of that doesn’t happen in Sweet Valley.  Maria was pretty much my all-time favourite Sweet Valley character back in the day: She was smart, funky and kick-ass, at least during the original SVH books. Clearly I gave her far too much credit.

The letters are pouring in! And Elizabeth is just brimming with solutions for EVERYTHING. Her advice lands Denny Jacobsen a pet dog.  She solves everyone’s pre-teen angst. Helps people with no friends. With too many friends. Solves mystery people’s parent’s marriage woes. Why Maria decides to write in for fashion advice though, I cannot understand. Surely bypassing the Unicorns for Elizabeth Wakefield is like ignoring Stacey McGill and turning up in one of Kristy’s turtlenecks.

In the B-plot, Amy’s parents are babying Grandma Sutton. Grandma Sutton is, well, kind of awesome. She’s a super independent feminist chic [who likes scrapbooking]. If only she appeared in more than one book and Amy actually took note…

Meanwhile, in the midst of her own patronizing, Elizabeth forgets something important – an ice-cream date with [three guesses!] Trusty Sort-of-Boyfriend Todd. Todd, Todd, if I were smug enough to shoulder pat, I’d put one on you now. You actually put up with this crap for four years?

Elizabeth cuts class, and shirks her laundry and grocery shopping duties. May I remind everyone that SHE IS TWELVE.

Eventually, Elizabeth’s streak of brilliance unravels and she starts giving bad advice. Everyone from Janet Howell to Randy is peeved, and it’s all Elizabeth’s fault. When Amy’s grandma loses the plot for good, she decides to write to St/Dr Liz about it instead of talking to Dyan and Mr Sutton. Dumbass. Grandma absconds for a bit, and it’s all ELIZABETH’S fault. [If you’re wondering, Lizzie suggested a psych consult. She actually should’ve referred to a geriatrician, if we’re being picky].

Poor old St Liz. Its tough carrying the weight of the universe on your shoulders.

Refreshingly, there is no “Liz rocks” party when the shit hits the fan [unlike that pesky Christmas celebration held in her honour.] Instead, she retires from her post and goes for ice-cream with Todd, like a normal twelve year old. And so my faith in Sweet Valley is restored.

On another note, Michael “Winston Egbert” Perl – the actor who, in my opinion, was the standout on TV’s Sweet Valley High – is producing and starring in a Hollywood play, “Jump Cut”. The play centres around a bipolar-affected man and the love-triangle that develops when he accepts the help of friends. The show begins Feb 19th and runs for 6 weeks. Proceeds go to the show’s partner charity,  Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).  Mr Perl is a very talented man so I encourage you to check out the website, and go see the show, if you’re in town. You can also follow it on twitter for updates.

Life has been busy but I hope to post my new parody fic soon – nothing like a bit of Margo to spruce up your day…

Winston

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3 Responses to “The Ghostwriters Must Really Hate Us: SVT #103 “Elizabeth Solves It All””

  1. Daniella February 1, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    I always liked SVH slutty Amy better than SVT Amy too. Her whole personality in SVT seemed based on Liz sometimes. Kinda like Enid’s did in SVH.

  2. Laura February 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I’d agree with you about Michael Perl – he just was exactly as I’d pictured Winston. (I’d also like to say that the first Lila (Bridget Flannery) and Bruce (Brock Burnett) rocked as well.)
    Thanks for brightening up my afternoon!
    Laura 🙂

  3. jane February 2, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    Oh Liz. Liz, Liz. *shoulder pat* sometimes you just really need to take your head out of your ass! There, there. Have a shoulder pat.

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