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Return Of The Evil Twin: A Sweet Valley Drinking Game

1 Dec

Everyone knows the story. After all, it’s pretty much a rehash of SVH #100, on acid.

In short:

The previous Christmas, Crazy Margo from Long Island came to Sweet Valley to find the Wakefield twins, who happened to look EXACTLY like her, only blonde. After failing to knock off Elizabeth, she fell to her death in the Fowler’s pool house… or so we thought

Turns out she hid in the Wakefield’s basement and the local graveyard hatching murderous plots and rasping lots. [I bet she got MEGA skinny down there. Maybe a 4? Suck on that, Wakefields.]

This Christmas, Margo’s long-lost equally psycho twin has arrived from the Deep South and together they set out to take their rightful place in the Wakefield family [but they come to blows over who bags Jessica’s identity this time. Ha.]

Meanwhile, the real twins are fighting again, after Jessica saves Todd from a burning car wreck and Liz gets the shits. Also, it’s NYE so they’re off to a big carnival with a house of mirrors for Margo to play hell with.

After loads of twin/evil twin switching, Jessica ends up bound and gagged at school [nice work, Margs], while Nora stabs Margo to death in Jessica’s bed. Only everyone thinks Jessica is dead so they hold a fucking state funeral at Sweet Valley High.

Still with me?

Elizabeth is once again faced with two copies of her mirror image in front of her, and the dilemma of which one to kill. Nora is whisked away by police [BORING!] and everyone has a huge party and Todd and Liz pash and everyone is sixteen again for the fifth successive Christmas.

So if that wasn’t awesome enough [don’t know about you but I’m still in stitches], I now invite you to partake in the second part of this recap: The Return of The Evil Twin Drinking Game

You will need:

3-9 players

Warm wine in paper cups/ Magic Grain Flask Alcohol / any other intoxicating liquor you can get your hands on [I hear Betsy Martin has a stash]

A printed copy of the following character cards, which you can glue to a piece of sturdy cardboard and cut into equal sized rectangles

A copy of ROTET in reasonable condition, available at any decent ebay store

A paper cup labelled “Jungle Prom Juice” to be placed in the centre of the table

 Instructions:

Place the character cards face down on your table

Each draw a card from the character pile. This is your character for the game.

Whoever drew Enid starts as the reader.

Read out the instructions from the list below and follow them when you get the appropriate cue from the book.

After each chapter [or earlier if you’re drunk enough], switch readers in a clockwise direction

Drinking Game Rules:

  1. Every time the word rasping is mentioned, all take a shot
  2. Every time Jessica and Todd have a “moment”: Elizabeth takes a shot
  3. During Todd and Ken’s erotic hot dog scene [ref: page 178] Todd and Ken take a shot
  4. Whenever Margo and Nora fight over Jessica, Jessica takes a shot
  5. When the words “bloodcurdling” “glittering knife” or “tears streaming down her face” are mentioned, all take a shot
  6. Every time Nora detects a scent, Nora takes a shot. If the scent is detected via telephone, Nora takes two shots.
  7. Every time there is a twin or evil twin switch [e.g. Margo impersonating Jessica], all four twins take a shot each.
  8. Every time Enid is being a deadpan kiss-ass drone [read: mentioned], each tip one shot into the “Jungle Juice” cup.
  9. When Margo wolfs down three hot dogs in a row, all take a shot [It’s been a tough year, OK!]
  10. Every time an outfit is described, Lila takes a shot
  11. Every time someone leaves the house wearing half a santa costume, take a shot
  12. Every time a dead boyfriend is mentioned, Jessica takes a shot
  13. Every time Nalice make an insensitive comment about “clones”, Margo takes a shot
  14. Every time a twin senses the other’s presence, tip a shot into the Jungle Juice Cup
  15. Every time one of the Black/Chappelle twins says “Patience” take a shot
  16. Whenever Margo and Nora come to blows, take two shots
  17. Every time the whole gang’s hanging out, take two shots
  18. Whenever Nora/Margo spy on the Wakefields, all the girls tip a shot in the bowl
  19. Whenever Bruce is mentioned, all the boy characters take a shot
  20. Whenever Margo and Nora have “Wakefield Trivia Time”, all take a shot
  21. Whenever Ken says something corny, all the girls take a shot
  22. Place all the character cards face down in the centre and re-draw. Whoever gets Margo finishes off the Jungle Juice.

 Character Card Sheet:

Click on the image to make the characters larger to print.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any Martin-like activity or any injuries incurred when you play this game. I also don’t encourage drunkenness so remember this is a guide only.

Think of it as my Christmas present to you. As I am off celebrating my graduation overseas I probably won’t have time to post till the New Year. But rest assured, a copy of “The Evil Twin” is waiting in my backpack for Christmas Eve.  Happy Horrordays – and wreck the halls with bloody bodies!

Winston

It’s Lila’s Turn For A Doppleganger: SVH Super Edition “Jessica Takes Manhattan.”

19 Nov

Finally! A Sweet Valley Super Edition that really delivers. I can’t believe it took me till now to find this gem.

Like all good Super Eds, it has all the essential ingredients – an unexpected vacation, a rock star, a gang of kidnappers and, of course, a doppelganger. Only this time, the plot centres on Lila. Can you tell already this book will be EPIC?

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The One Where The Twins Almost Get Offed by a Werewolf: “Love and Death in London”

20 Oct

As you may have guessed from my lengthy absence, Francine never answered the call to Bring Margo Back From the Dead. My heart is pretty much broken. After all, previous tales had filled me with great confidence in Francine’s ability to resuscitate Margo.

So because I am the vengeful type, I am going to go to town on one of the most redonkulous books in Sweet Valley history:

“Love and Death in London”

Shame on you, Francine. I’m going to snark this like a polaroid picture.

Let’s begin with the cover, which is probably the high point of the book.

I’m going to take a stab and suggest that the 35-year-old high class call girls in trench coats outside the Big Ben are Wakefield twins [no doubt on some top-secret assignment entrusted only to them by the Scotland Yard].

And judging by the god-awful bangs and over-zealous rouge on the twin motif, I’d reckon this book was printed circa-1993. Please note that Elizabeth looks one inch taller and one pound skinnier than Jessica. Bitch.

And as for the half naked werewolf scaring off the random brunette and her gay bestie….lets just leave that one, for now.

Elizabeth and Jessica have ditched their regular summer jobs at the Sweet Valley News for the greener pastures of London.

Elizabeth is her usual annoying self and waxes poetic about famous architects and the Great Fire of 1666 and St Paul’s Cathedral.

They move into a student boarding house where there are like, kids from all over the world! Wow! Conveniently, Elizabeth’s old French toyboy, Rene Glize is ALSO at the exact same boarding house at the EXACT same time! Maybe they will sneak out and drink tequila and have sex in the common room? But no, we have to wait another five years before she returns to London and jumps in bed with a duke.

The twins begin their illustrious jobs at the esteemed London Journal. Because a Wakefield wouldn’t get out of bed for a tabloid paper. Jessica is pissed about being assigned as a social columnist. Uh, no offence Jess but you’re INTERNS. 16-year-old undergraduate interns at that. Fuck her self-entitlement complex gets to me. Also, isn’t social commentary pretty much Jessica’s dream job? Swanning around London snapping Pippa Middleton or Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Or in those days, the likes of Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley??

But worry not – within their first week our twins are promoted to senior fucking crime reporters, which not only involves chasing leads on the nation’s biggest murders but also taking on the job of the entire Scotland Yard. I guess some inferior, non-Wakefield plebs can take on those pesky tasks of reporting on petty theft at the Oxford Street 7-11 or a pommy breaching an AVO.

Gold star, you two.

But we couldn’t have such wonderful criminologists in town without an epic crime. And so, in London that week there is a spate of brutal attacks on humans and dogs which are suspiciously like the work of a werewolf. Beware the full moon, bitches.

There is more to this wonderfully transparent mystery:

Elizabeth befriends/cheats on Todd with a sensitive beatnik type called Luke Shepherd. Luke is strong and kind and poetic and they make electric shocks together and all that shit, but the real appeal lies in his dark obsession with werewolves.  Hmm…something tells me there’s a link here. Given that Elizabeth is an amazingly perceptive journalist, you would think she might come to the same conclusion when he takes her out to a restaurant known as “The Slaughtered Lamb.”

Also, Luke is a fucking tool, because he leads Elizabeth to the conclusion that a werewolf is behind all the killings. Luke is an idiot. And surely Liz is too much of a skeptic to believe him? No! It’s all very logical, you see. What creature other than a werewolf would be capable of tearing the throats out of innocent Londoners?

[Man, if only they’d written this a couple of years later. I can just imagine Jessica’s headlines:

“Did a Werewolf Kill Diana?” or, “What Camilla REALLY Gets Up to When the Moon is Full”].

But I digress. Back to this riveting mystery.

The killings go on and on, with no end in sight. Mainly because they have two sixteen year olds on the job, and the policeman in charge of the investigation is a bumbling fool called Seargent Bumpo. [This is making Twilight look like the work of Bram Stoker.]

But back at the hostel, some of the twin’s housemates have mysteries of their own.

Elizabeth is intrigued by social justice advocate Lina, who has headed to London all summer to work at a soup kitchen. She wears rags and looks somewhat familiar. Coincidentally, the young British Princess Eleina [who I’m guessing is Will and Harry’s cousin] has gone missing, and her face is all over the papers. Do you need a hint? Oh wait, you’re more than five.

There is also a snobby bitch called Portia who appears nightly at the Globe theatre. Only she’s not really a snob at all – she was just acting the whole time. All the time. Taking the Stanislavski method WAAAAY too far, methinks.

Jessica, meanwhile, is getting around with Lord Robert Pembroke, who is pretty much the English aristocracy’s version of Bruce Patman. She also gets VERY disappointed that Picadilly Circus doesn’t have any clowns. Dumbass.

Our story ends with Lord Robert inviting the twins over to stay at his manor. I’m sure he was doing a Prince Harry and thinking BINGO, but Liz goes and brings Luke the Werewolf along. That night, Jessica is the victim of a brutal attack when someone attempts to cut her throat. The book actually leaves on a high note, detailing how her limbs are all tangled, and she’s pulseless and soaked in blood.

“Elizabeth knew her tears would never end; her pain and sorrow could never be soothed. Her beloved sister was dead- murdered!”

Will Jessica die or is it just a hickey???? Only the second book of the story arc will tell…

Stay tuned for our super Halloween edition in the coming week!

Winston

All hail the lipstick feminist: SVH #86 “Jessica against Bruce”

25 Jul

This old favourite was a bit of a saviour this week, in a week where my feminist sensibility – and ego – copped a battering at the hands of my male, medical school counterparts.

Background – I’m in the final 6 months of medical school. And scared shitless, if you must know. I’m considering calling Project Youth for advice, and constantly berating my 18-year-old self about why I ignored journalism, or primary school teaching as suitable career choices.  [Maybe I could make a buck selling Tofu Glo? Who knows…]

This emotional state would probably be tolerable, were it not compounded by a soul-crushing breed of male medical student which I will refer to collectively as the BRUCE. The BRUCE male is typically showy, puts down women, brags about the number of hours he’s clocked up on the wards, and makes empty statements with a know-all air about everything ranging from to cardiogenic shock to brews of pale seed ale. I know about fifteen boys who meet this description, who for some reason regard the ending of a medical degree as something to get cocky about. Big fish in small pond syndrome? Who knows.

So this week, maddened to the core, I will live vicariously through Jessica Wakefield. In real life I do stupid things like hide out at my apartment in tears when they ridicule me, or just stand there, fuming, as an impressive comeback evades me. I bury my head in a textbook, making silly deals with God and begging that He won’t let me screw it up and asking why couldn’t He be a She after all?!

Jessica, for all her faults, wouldn’t do that. She’d simply grab the bull by the horns and kick a BRUCE squarely in the balls. So I guess that makes me more of an Enid, really. How pathetic.

Let’s take a look at the story:

Bruce [Patman] is being an all-around a-hole, convinced that he is way too cool for boring old Sweet Valley High. So to liven things up a bit, he starts an all-guy secret club – “Club X” – that does totally kick-ass dares like LET OFF THE SCHOOL FIRE ALARMS. In my experience, cool people don’t usually have to prove themselves like that, not that I would know, never having been one of them. But a secret club whose sole mission is to pull annoying pranks isn’t what I would expect from Sweet Valley’s social elite. He is Bruce Patman after all! Surely for kicks he can get his hands on some “good shit” and squander his family’s fortune at the Casino.

Several guys rally around Bruce to support his inflated ego, and they rile up the girls by calling it a “guys only” club, and going on about how a girl could never “have what it takes” to make it in Club X. Enter Jessica Wakefield, maybe the only girl who could look Brucey P in the eye and take him on, while still flashing her midriff and looking sensational.

And so an all out gender war erupts in the cafeteria. I find myself particularly enraged when Bruce Patman tells the girls they can “Cheer on Club X from the sidelines…in their shortest skirts.”. But I had to stifle a laugh when the cheergirls argued that “Girls can do anything….like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor..and Susan Butcher. She’s won the Idatarod, that incredible DOG SLED RACE IN ALASKA, several times.”

Thank you, Terri Adams. Nothing like a dog sled race to smash the glass ceiling for us.

Jessica stands up to the lions of injustice and joins Club X.

Meanwhile, several delegates from the “International Teacher’s Federation” are coming to visit Sweet Valley High, god knows why. And who better to show them around than Elizabeth Wakefield? She practically cracks a hernia when Chrome Dome announces at assembly that he will be choosing some exemplary students to show Mr Ociba and Madame Erlane around.

Get this:

“Guess who’ll get picked?” Enid said in Elizabeth’s ear.  “You.” [Fuck off, Enid.]

Elizabeth smiled. She thought it sounded interesting. She hoped she would have a chance to meet some of the visiting teachers and find out what high schools in other countries were like. [Fuck off, Liz.]

But wait for it – as she’s getting summoned from class by the principal, she checks with Mr Collins:

“Are you going to assign homework?”

For every point I give Jessica in this book, I take at least ten from Elizabeth. And 20 from Enid.

Joining Elizabeth on the committee are Todd and Enid, presumably because they are her closest friends. Also Bill Chase, which surprised me, as I assumed he was either too stoned or too busy surfing to attend class.

But while Liz is sucking up to her new multicultural friends, Jessica is effectively burning her aqua maillot in the war on sexism.

She throws the full force of her sized six body behind Club X. The secret society meets at night in their matching Club X jackets, and they spin a wheel to see who gets to carry out the dare of the day. Jessica is initiated – driving without headlights, smoking in Mr Cooper’s office and scaling a fence to jump off a 20m platform into a river. Strangely, the dares keep landing on her, because Patman is rigging the wheel with a magnet. But she gets her own back – when challenged to steal a car, she hotwires 1BRUCE1 and high tails it to the Dairi Burger. All the time there is this overtone of sexual tension, but I am SO thrilled that Jessica doesn’t disrespect the point of this story and give in to Bruce’s charm. [She’s currently dating Sam Woodruff. Heart!]

Elizabeth is less ballsy about the gender war, but prefers to debate it with Enid, which is obviously not a debate seeing as Enid agrees with everything she says. At least Winston has a new approach to Elizabeth’s question of whether men and women are equal.

“Of course not,” he says. “Women have better hair.” I’m glad Winston is getting to the heart of this matter.

Meanwhile, Liz is getting anxious that the escalating dare war will spill over and ruin SVH’s reputation in front of the international community. So she phones Project Youth hotline for advice. Given that the service is staffed by Amy Sutton and her equally vapid boyfriend Barry, I have to conclude that Liz is an idiot. Heeding Project Youth’s advice, she does nothing and lets Jessica and Bruce sabotage the school.

After learning about the rigging of the dare wheel, Jessica sneaks in and weights the wheel to land on Bruce. She dares him to play banned hard rock radio station KZZP over the PA system at the special assembly.

Bruce has no choice but to partake.

The music blasts, the school is humiliated, Jessica is actually put on detention AND grounded, and Liz gets the shits temporarily.

But of course, this is Jessica, and she never gets her come uppance. Liz disregards her spine and goes along with a twin switch so Jessica can sneak out to see Sam. I guess for once, I’m not even too pissed about a Wakefield getting off the hook with murder.

Maybe I could get a Club X jacket? Or get the precious logo embezzeled on my stethoscope? Maybe I could hotwire a BRUCE’s Lexus and drive it into our local burger joint? Either way, Francine has inspired me to smash the glass ceiling, Wakefield style.

The One Where Yet Another Psychopath Fails to Kill the Wakefields: SVH #125 “Camp Killer”

13 Jul

Can we all take a moment to appreciate this awesome cover.

The guy with his hand in the fire.

Charlie Sheen on the right toasting marshmallows with the Sweet Valley gang.

The humorous attempt at perspective drawing which makes Elizabeth look like a dwarf.

And, oh wait. The axe-wielding psycho killer in the background about to lob her head off. [Like Margo, he was THAT close, but just couldn’t bring himself to do it.]

It’s another summer at Sweet Valley High, and all our fave gang are heading to Camp Echo Mountain, Montana, to live in sin with interstate campers and do the dirty on their long time loves back home. So really, just another ordinary summer for Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield.

Yet somehow, the ghosties managed to make this into a three-part story arc.

Elizabeth has finally met her match – a tough-talking, kick-ass chickie called Nicole Banes, who we know is tough because she wears a baseball cap. They fight over who gets the much-sought-after job of writing the camp play, and over Yale University student [read: wanker] Joey Mason. Must be those fricken coffee coloured eyes.

Also, Liz has found a replacement for Enid the Drip in one of my all-time favourite characters, Maria Slater. Maria is retiring from her acting post in Hollywood to Sweet Valley, and just happened to want an unglamourous job as a lowly junior counsellor for the summer. I guess Dancing With the Stars wasn’t hiring.

Anyhoo, Maria and Nicole have been best buds for several years, since Maria ditched out on Sweet Valley after middle school. Yet another spanner in the works for poor Lizzie, who even has to fight for a friend. I guess it would be difficult when you’re used to making friends by finding someone worth pitying and fixing their life.

I rather like in this book how Elizabeth just assumed she would be an awesome counsellor [the kids hate her]; and that she would automatically be chosen to write the play [she has to work for it.] I especially like this Nicole girl, who points out Elizabeth’s total hypocrisy in screwing around with Joey while knowing full well that Trusty Boyfriend Todd is pining for her back at basketball camp.

Also this: “I’ll fix her, and fix her good….” thought Nicole as she drifted off to sleep. “It’s payback time.” Ooh! Isn’t that just chillingly Margo-esque?

Meanwhile, another of Jessica’s dead boyfriends is quickly forgotten as she sneaks off to hook up with one of her camper’s older brothers, Paul Mathis. Sadly, Christian Gorman, the surfer dude who Bruce, Todd and Winston gang-bashed to death in the high school war seems just a blip on the horizon. She justifies her salacious behaviour by saying that Christian would want her to live “each day at a time.” Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Lila, meanwhile, has met the love of her life in Beauregard Creighton the third. The get caviar shipped from a gourmet shop in SoCal, and talk about skiing, and speak French to each other, just ‘cos they can. I still don’t know why Lila wasted a Summer at a hovel like this. But at least she keeps things spicy.

Speaking of spicy, let’s not forget Winston’s contribution to the gossip column – fearing that Maria Santelli was riding cowboys at the dude ranch where she spent the summer, Winston allowed himself to be seduced by a fifteen year old redhead.

Interestingly, Aaron Dallas spent most of his camp time with the other guys…

Late at night, the campers sit around the fire, making s’mores and telling stories. Camp Legend holds that an axe-murderer known as Crazy Freddy [I shit you not] lives in the bushes and comes out at night to terrorise campers. Throughout the story, there is an eerie premonition of “something in the bushes”…. which of course is “just a tree branch”, or “a twig snapping.”

This provides a perfect opportunity for Nicole to get at stupid, gullible Liz. She actually tricks Elizabeth into sneaking out into the night to meet Joey. Meanwhile, Nicole hides behind a tree with a rusted axe, pretending to be Freddy. The girl clearly has guts, but that is kind of creepy.

Their rivalry reaches a pinnacle with the Colour War, which sounds incredibly racist, but is really just a sports competition of the “red ream versus blue team” variety.

Nicole sneaks into the Camp Director’s office and changes Joey to her team. A teensy bit desperate, but whatevs. She also fails miserably in her bid to send Todd some written evidence of Elizabeth-and-Joey love notes. [Maria decides to intervene.]

The colour war ends with some kind of treasure hunt thingy which involves looking for a flag in the forest. Sounds kinda dangerous, what with a crazy axe murderer on the loose out there and all. But hey. Winston even bribes Elizabeth with pecan cookies [bless!] But she gets on her high horse and is all, “I don’t accept bribes.”

Bitch.

Of course, the hunt winds up with the twins right in the path of Crazy Freddy. Jessica is busy dry humping her man in the bushes, when a rough hand clutches her perfect face and a leering voice goes, “C’mon blondie, the forest needs you.”

For what, firewood? That’s kind of a weird psycho-line. I think I preferred Margo’s rasping.

Elizabeth momentarily forgets her bitchin’ as her twin-stinct is switched on, because, OMG you guys, they’re Wakefields! And one of them is in danger!

Meanwhile, Jessica is holed up and gagged in a hovel with Pauls’ sister. Like all kidnappings in Sweet Valley, the psycho talks rather suggestively [“Be a good girl, blondie! Open the door! Mwah ha ha!] but never actually molests anyone. Jessica calls him “Mr Freddy”, which makes me laugh.

Finally, Liz and Nicole band together with Joey and Paul to rescue our damsel in distress. Nicole even sacrifices herself, which isn’t really necessary at all because no-one dies. Not even Jessica’s boyfriend.

The Wakefields Get A Job: SVH # 131 “Fashion Victim”

6 Jun

This story arc was a bit of a landmark in the Sweet Valley series, as Elizabeth and Jessica said goodbye to high school for two whole weeks [!]  to learn about the big wide world of working girls [in the non-prostitute sense.] We also said goodbye to our early-90’s illustrated covers and hello to the Daniel twins. I’ll forgive the daisy-print onesie because I actually found them rather cute circa 1997.

I would really like to thank the Sweet Valley writers for preparing me so well for working life, because this book taught me SO many valuable lessons:

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The one where Margo buys blue-green contacts: Sweet Valley High #98 “The Wedding”

2 May

So I was browsing through my local Blockbuster Video store recently, when I came upon this cracker of a title: “Margot at the Wedding”. No shit.

I haven’t gotten around to borrowing it yet, partly because I’m too embarrassed to go back in there on account of the bizarre stares I copped when I cracked up laughing, right there in the Rom Com aisle.

Furthermore, I realise that no amount of Nicole Kidman and Jack Black brilliance could possibly live up to my vision of a movie by that name- I’m talking a Lila Fowler and Magic Jungle Prom Juice and Margo-posing-as-a-caterer-to-spy-on-Elizabeth saga.

It’s only fitting that today I recap one of the finest titles in Sweet Valley history – the story of George and Grace Fowler [and Margo]: Sweet Valley High #98 “The Wedding”.  Luckily for me, it’s among the 20 books that made the cut and scored a place in my new [smaller] house. However, I’ve had a ridiculous amount of difficulty getting the book back off my housemate. I was so sure that she only borrowed the book to humor me, but judging from the amount of difficulty I’ve had prising it off her, I’m pretty sure she’s been converted.

I now pronounce this the second best book in Sweet Valley history.

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