Tag Archives: bruce patman

The One Where Nicholas Morrow proves he’s still got it: SVH #26 “HOSTAGE”

14 Jan

I recently spent an entire 22-hour plane ride engrossed in “Dancing on My Grave”, the tell-all autobiography of America’s prima ballerina Gelsey Kirkland. It’s a haunting read, depicting the mental torment of Kirkland, [who is in my opinion the greatest classical ballerina of the 20th century] and her well-publicised battle with cocaine.

So as I drifted off to sleep in that mid-afternoon, jet-lagged haze, where do you think my thoughts took me? To Baryshnikov? No! To the New York City Ballet? No!

Engrained in my conscious from a very young age is of course that ominous association between cocaine and…. Regina Morrow.

Oh,oh with white teeth

Oh, oh Regina…. [I googled this. I think it’s a Bjork song]

Now 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 fiction: SVH #26 “Hostage”. It’s the story of Bruce and the twin’s secret mission to free Regina from a “mean little man” [their words, not mine] and his evil accomplice.

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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.

Sweet Valley Confidential: The Verdict? Perfect! [Warning, Spoilers]

30 Mar

Unlike the sugar-coated, predictable, solved-in-sixty-pages plots of our bygone series, Sweet Valley Confidential is surprisingly… real. Told through a series of flashbacks – to high school, to SVU, and to the events that led to the war between the twins – each chapter provides just the right amount of tantalizing detail to keep you in complete suspense. It was absolutely unputdownable – to the point where I was pacing my living room like a maniac, screeching, “Lila had a boob job?!” “How the fuck did Liz find out?” and “Who has Steven been screwing all this time?”

And yet, it reflects just enough of the series we so lovingly snark, with the resurgence of original Sweet Valley personalities like Caroline Pearce, Ken Matthews and Jeffery French. It harks back to those defining events – the death of Regina Morrow, the demise of Enid-the-Drip – that even snarky old me remembered with a fond smile.

All the while, the book poked just the right amount of fun at the Sweet Valley franchise, with self-referential remarks such as

“Bruce Patman kissed her [Elizabeth] ! That had never happened before. At least, not while she was conscious anyway, but that’s another story.”

Yes, folks, a warm-wine-in paper-cup reference from fan favourite “Dear Sister”.

Although heavy on those age-old Sweet Valley-an themes of true love, sisterhood and commitment, the emotions ‘Confidential dealt with were surprisingly raw. For once, not everything fell into place for our twins, as even they had to cope with rejection, criticism and the realisation that they were  –  shock horror – not the perfect sized-six beings of the past.

Before I give you the story straight up, let me add this disclaimer: my recap can not do this epic work of chick lit the justice it deserves. Recapped in chronological fashion, it seems a little blah, but this suspense-filled book is anything but. Go and get yourselves a copy [or if you’re an Aussie* befriend your fellow Americans / have a super-awesome reader who will express mail you a copy].

Heavy spoilers below the cut!

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 16: The Wakefield Legacy, the Untold Story

11 Nov

Margo Pike strolled onto the eastern deck of Sweet Valley Country Club on Sunday afternoon, relishing the warm Californian sun on her bare legs. It had been a bold move going out in public as Elizabeth today, but so far it had been worth it. It was her seventeenth birthday, after all, and Bruce was spoiling her rotten! She took a sip of her cosmopolitan and wondered for a second whether anyone in the Pike family had noticed her absence yet. It was getting on for a month, after all. Nah, she thought bitterly, a sardonic sneer momentarily crossing her attractive face. Margo turned her attention back to the court, where Bruce was servng his cousin an absolute walloping. She hoped that word of Bruce’s date with “Elizabeth” would reach Hank’s ears before too long. But he was apparently in Chicago on a business trip for a couple of weeks.

“Jessica! Jess!”

A whiny voice called her attention, and she turned to see a willowy blonde skipping toward her.

Amy Sutton, Margo groaned inwardly. She’d already pegged the girl as a slut from her yearbook shots and her facebook profile.

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 14 SUPER EDITION “Mary Anne and Too Many Babies” or “The Morning After”

28 Oct

Claudia Kishi-Lee slumped across the wooden table, absently doodling in the margins of her sketch book. It was Day One of Mission: Rebuilding Magenta Galaxy, but her heart was still full of sorrow. She wished Mimi were here now, to make her a cup of green tea and tell her everything was going to be alright. But Mimi was gone, and everything was a schomozzle. shamozell. A Big Mess.

Claudia glanced down at her outfit. She’d dressed in dark colours for the somber occasion: Grey-and-white striped leggings underneath a black turtleneck, with flat patent leather boots and grey marle scarf slung across her shoulders. The tears weeping from her almond-shaped eyes were cleverly disguised by a pair of Jackie O sunglasses, and her favourite comfy knit beret sat atop her glossy black plait.

The BSC ghosties must've had a field day concocting outfits like this

She grabbed a Hershey bar off the centre of the table and looked across at her friends. Jessica, normally the bubby leader of their company, looked haggard and pale, the dark circles under her eyes a testimony to the fact that she’d barely slept since Monday’s inferno. And Lila was thumbing through the latest Vogue, but even Claudia could tell she wasn’t reading it.

Claudia picked up the felt-tipped pen with a sigh. It was time to rally the troops.

Wear to Start, she wrote on top of a fresh page.

“W. H. E. R. E,” Lila spelled, without looking up.

“Where do we start?” Jessica mumbled, absently picking at an Oreo. “We have nothing.”

“We have something,” Lila said pointedly.

“What’s that?” Claudia looked dumbfounded.

“We have money. We’ve got Alan, Ben, my parents…”

“What’s the use of money,” argued Jessica, “When we don’t know how to use it?”

Claudia set down the pen. Jessica was right – after all, Lila’s finances were still controlled by her father, and Jessica couldn’t organize a budget if her life depended on it. And as for Claudia – her arithmetic skills were almost as bad as her spelling.

Just then, Claudia’s kitchen door swung open, and in burst Stacey, looking flustered yet striking in a pale yellow trench coat.

“I came as soon as I heard!” She cried. “And I brought someone with me.”

A tall, attractive man with a crop of dark hair and slate-blue eyes entered the kitchen.

“This is Nicholas Morrow.”

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When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 9, “Too Good To Be True,” or, “Dawn on the Coast,”

28 Sep

A moment of self-criticism [Winston puts on his thinking hat and tries to look serious]: I did NOT like the previous chapter. The reason Margo is so awesome is because, as Ihatewheat of the Dairi Burger once said, she “gets shit done,” And the reason Elizabeth is so awful is because she broods, and thinks, and pities someone, and broods some more [refer to exhibit A: entire SVU series.] Last chapter, in retrospect, was something of a filler. Like “The Morning After” in the prom thriller miniseries, or one of the five books where Jessica is getting screwed over by a married couple with a rare blood disorder. Too much brooding, and not enough Getting. Shit. Done.

Now, I couldn’t have Margo just getting out there and murdering everyone, but I assure you that the Enid story arc over the ensuing three chapters can only end in bloodshed, and that while the Wakefields are falling to an all-time low, Margo is rising [and so are Stacey and Claudia].

When Lila Met Stacey Chapter 9, “Too Good To Be True,” or, “Dawn on the Coast,”

Hold on to your love, girl

Hold on tight.

I’m telling you

I never knew

What love was babe, and now there’s you.

Hold on to your love, girl

Hold on tonight.

I’m telling you until I held you close to me

I never knew what joy could be.

And now there’s you….

And now there’s you…. *

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When Lila Met Stacey CHAPTER7 “Elizabeth’s Heartbreak”, or “Mary Anne Saves the Day”

24 Sep

CHAPTER7

Elizabeth’s Heartbreak, or Mary Anne Saves the Day

Is it bad when the sight of a fictional character being miserable brings you this much joy?

“Last point wins!” Margo Pike purred, smoothing out the pleated skirt of her white tennis dress. She was at Bruce Patman’s family estate, spending Saturday morning with the handsome heir. She’d known Bruce for just over a week, but already they were getting on like a house on fire. And fire was just the right word, she thought, remembering back to their intense make-out session the night before. Bruce sure knew how to show a girl a good time – even if she had to let him win at tennis.

Bruce served up an ace, and Margo smiled. The game was over – now she could go inside and do some serious investigating! Bruce wandered over to her side of the court, a cocky grin on his handsome face.

“Moet?” he offered gallantly. How far they’d advanced from the warm wine in a paper cup he’d offered her just the other night!

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