Sweet Valley: Taking the Moral High Ground Since 1983

9 Feb


I was fortunate enough recently to have the chance to browse through the religion section of Joshua Fowler State Library. After I managed to push aside the gold-plated Wakefield replicas, I found a rare copy of the original Sweet Valley Bible. You won’t believe some of the stuff that was in there:


  1. Do not have any other gods before me.

…Unless they are Wakefields, who were put on earth to be adored, and worshipped, and admired by all.

2. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

…And Elizabeth will make sure of it.

3. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

…By going to the Beach Disco, Palomar House, The Box Tree Cafe, and Miller’s Point. No dry humping please, this is Moses.

4. For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

…Which translates to scheming, manipulating, meddling, shoulder-patting, and maintaining the journalistic integrity of the entire f-ing universe. Who knows, you might even get time to take in a class or two at Sweet Valley High?

5.  Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

…Especially if your mother is the only interior designer in town and your father practices 137 different kinds of law

6. You shall not kill/murder.

…Pushing evil dopplegangers through pool houses and spiking your sister’s drink so she wipes out her jeep and your boyfriend excluded.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

…Unless it is any given summer during junior year and Todd is away on basketball camp again.

8. You shall not steal.

….Unless you’re Jessica Wakefield and the object has a Y chromosome.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

…Unless your neighbour is, quite literally, Caroline Pearce and she bugs the crapola out of you with letters from her fake boyfriend.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour

…Unless your neighbour is a Patman, or a Fowler. Or a Morrow.

I also found something  resembling the 137 Deadly Sins. Mostly they focussed on greed and gluttony – so Robin Wilson and Lois Waller were under the hammer. Serves them right, I suppose, for stashing chocolate bars and ice-cream sandwiches in their pockets. [I hope Claudia Kishi is reading this, or at least Mimi is reading it for her.]

And let’s not dismiss the beatitudes:

Blessed are the meek. For they will get contact lenses and a jumpsuit and turn into Linda Rondstant.

Blessed are the merciful. For they will shoulder pat their way to triumph.

Blessed are the pure of heart. For they will see God, just like Tricia did.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will get squished by a fridge.

Hear ye, my disciples – almighty Fran-Pasc, creator of the Valley, and her twelve ghostwriters, and her pious Saints Elizabeth and Jessica couldn’t let a book slide by without a moral [at least until we got to the mid-90s and the werewolves took over]

And what is more engrained in Sweet Valley-an pedagody than the ominous warning imparted by the death of Sweet Valley’s darling: Regina Morrow.

Don’t do drugs, kids – ‘cause chances are you’ll have a rare congenital valve defect and die.


Our didactic tale begins with Amy Slutton putting the moves on Bruce, who is currently seeing former deaf girl and Ingenue cover model Regina Morrow. Ironically, Amy and Bruce are working on a school project about drugs. Because, drugs are bad, you guys! Amy lowers her lashes and purrs, and we know Bruce is sold because he starts speaking huskily. That and all the electric shocks.

Meanwhile, a rumour goes around school that some people – outcasts Molly Hecht and Justin Belson –  are actually taking drugs. No shit. Jessica Wakefield, for one, is horrified. I know this is the pre-Gossip Girl era, but really? The coolest girl at a SoCal high school has never seen or been offered a joint before?

At the Wakefield’s cookout the following night, Amy and Bruce start making out behind a tree. Guess that limp ash-blonde hair is hard to resist, huh. Elizabeth actually spots them, tells Jeffery to split them up and goes to DISTRACT REGINA so she is none-the-wiser. Shit friend, Liz. Regina, naturally, is pissed, and confronts Elizabeth :

“Thanks, I really appreciate your consideration,” she spat out sarcastically. “From the way you’ve acted tonight it’s obvious you really care about my feelings.”

[excuse me while I finish my happy dance.]

Regina befriends Justin Belson, a reclusive personality-disordered pothead who has some shady friends called Buzz and Jan. Elizabeth tries to bring Regina back to the light with a series of phone calls and annoying lectures. Because I’m sure Elizabeth is exactly the person she wants to speak to.

“Some of those kids are heavily into drugs!” she prophesizes. “And not just marijuana either!”

ZOMG. You should be listening, Regina.

Anyways, Regina is off to Molly Hecht’s place for a wild drug party with Justin-the-emo and Buzz-the-dealer. Elizabeth is stalking her and makes an emergency call to Regina’s brother, hunky Nicholas Morrow, who proceeds to call the cops.

Since there are no psycho killers or evil dopplegangers in town, the police are probably sitting around eating pretzels, so of course they turn up at a high school party to bust the only deal in town. But they are just a minute too late – by the time they get there, Regina has snorted a single line of cocaine and died. According to the intern at JFMH, [who quite possibly snorted 3 lines of the stuff at his own after-work party that night] :

“Regina took a lethal amount of cocaine tonight and experienced an extremely rare reaction- rapid acceleration of the heartbeat, which brought on sudden cardiac failure. It’s possible that a heart murmur she’s had since birth may have contributed to this.”

When I’m a qualified physician, and SVH is getting updated for the 21st century, I put my hand up now to be the medical fact-checker. Because that, my friends, makes very little sense.

Of course, Sweet Valley cancels class all week to mourn the loss of its darling child [ok, I admit – I still cry every time I get to this bit.]

Elizabeth is the only person who gets any closure, because Regina just happened to write her a god-awful letter on the night of her death, apologising for being a bitch and saying, “You’ve always proved right in the past. Why should I stop listening now?” Oh please. And why does Elizabeth get to do the euology? Why?

You taught me many things, O almighty Fran-Pasc. But while I refuse to accept Elizabeth Wakefield as senior high prophet of your cult, one thing’s for certain: This little disciple definitely did not inhale.


5 Responses to “Sweet Valley: Taking the Moral High Ground Since 1983”

  1. Daniella February 10, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    I love every single bit of this! The ten commandments part made me actually laugh out loud. Genius!

    • Totally Sweet Valley February 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

      AMEN!! 🙂

      That bit in On the Edge always seemed a bit weird, that its ‘an extremely rare reaction’ – I thought it would be reasonably common for cocaine to affect your heart? Either way, I’d never touch the stuff, thanks to Regina (and my own faulty heart, my lack of funds, my lack of a “bad crowd”, etc…)

  2. ashleebbb February 26, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Where are you?? I miss you!!!


  1. Tweets that mention Sweet Valley: Taking the Moral High Ground Since 1983 « WHAT WINSTON SAW -- Topsy.com - February 9, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Winston Egbert, Winston Egbert. Winston Egbert said: http://t.co/c2d2ore @ReginaMorrow- if only you listened to St Liz […]

  2. The One Where Nicholas Morrow proves he’s still got it: SVH #26 “HOSTAGE” « WHAT WINSTON SAW - January 14, 2012

    […] I’ve recapped Regina’s untimely end previously, so when I was wide awake at 4am the following day, I started reading this epic little piece of […]

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