The one where Trusty Boyfriend Todd triumphs over Bruce Patman… Almost Married

15 Sep

Our book begins in typical Sweet Valley fashion, with a make-out session between Liz and Todd at Miller’s Point. Of course, Elizabeth’s mind is elsewhere, which  – strangely enough –  always seems to happen whenever TBT is attacking her neck. This time, she is thinking about Bruce Patman, who is blaming her mother for his parent’s recent marriage woes, accusing her of being the other woman. Alice Perfect Wakefield? Oh noes!

Sadly, when Liz did some searching recently to prove Patman wrong, she found a picture of Alice, in a wedding dress, with Hank Patman. Busted!

But back to TBT, who is nuzzling Elizabeth’s earlobe with vigor. He suggests that next time their parents are out of town, he shacks up at the Wakefield’s.

Todd is thinking with his genitals. I am surprised.

Conveniently, in the next scene, the elusive parents of Todd decide to disappear for a week, and Ned and Alice both get called away on business trips. It seems to have slipped their mind that the last time they left the twins, an evil clone came to Sweet Valley and tried to usurp Elizabeth’s role in their family. Then again, this is the kind of parenting we’ve come to expect from Nalice, who, in just two books time, come home drunk from the Plaza theatre. [A great example for their favourite twin, who recently had her licence suspended for a DUI charge. I’m guessing the inability to metabolize alcohol runs thick in this family.]

Also, Alice’s “special trip” involves going to Chicago with Hank Patman, which makes absolutely no sense given that she is an interior designer, and he has some kind of mysterious business job. Hmmm…

Bruce is having some Aaron-Dallas style anger attacks, which is what people do in Sweet Valley when their parents are fighting and they are at risk of ending up like one of THEM [THEM being people like Betsy Martin, Annie Whitman and Rick Andover, offspring of dysfunctional families.]

I thought the divorce stats were bad enough in Stoneybrook, but apparently Sweet Valley is edging closer to the YA fiction average.

Also – Bruce showing emotion is something we haven’t seen for awhile – not since he left his heroically deaf/dead girlfriend for Amy Sutton.

Next, Liz lets Jess in on her suspicion about Alice doing the dirty on Ned, and Jess is all:

“Ohmigod, does this mean Bruce is our brother? Ohmigod, I used to date him. I kissed him!” Jessica wiped frantically at her lips as if Bruce’s kiss were still imprinted there. HA!

For once, Jess makes a rational suggestion that they, you know, actually ask Alice about it. But nooooo…then we wouldn’t have a miniseries! Not to mention the ancestry magna editions that the Alice/Hank relationship spawned!

Elizabeth decides: “There has to be a reason mom never told us about this…I think we should wait before we confront her.”

So Lizzie dons her super-sleuth hat [note the SV Kids reference] and begins her quest for the truth!

With the parents away, TBT moves in and they go at it like rabbits on the Spanish-tiled floor. NOT!

TBT decides to, “Sleep on the couch, or in Steven’s room,” and Liz will keep her V-plates, and her bed.

Jessica blackmails them into doing their chores for the week in exchange for keeping their little tryst a secret.

No offence Jess, but surely you can come up with something slightly more interesting? Borrow the BMW for the week? I’m perplexed as to how many chores a 16 year old could possibly have, given that her parents are away.

At lunch the next day, Elizabeth and Bruce have a little gaze-moment in the cafeteria, which Liz attributes to the bond they now have after seeing their parents in a wedding photo.

On a side note – Bruce’s current girlfriend is Pamela Robertson. Alice Wakefield’s maiden name is Robertson…Some unique family ties perhaps, [comparable to Steven’s usual inappropriateness with his sisters in previous books]

We are also blessed with the token homoerotic scene driven by Ken Matthews:

“That must have been the world’s fastest shower, Wilkins. Are you sure you even got wet?” Ken Matthews kidded Todd in the boys locker room.

Ken was on his way into the shower [read: get back in there, TBT!] ; Todd was already out and half-dressed.

“Places to go and people to see Ken,” Todd quipped as he pulled his faded red polo over his head. “Time waits for no man!”

“And neither does Elizabeth Wakefield, eh?”

Ooh, they know! Scandal!

Liz wants to ditch TBT to do some sleuthing, but he sheepishly admits he was looking forward to “driving into the driveaway together.”

TBT, you are so sickening it is almost adorable!

But…Bruce and Liz are on a super mission. Their attraction is obvious – blushing, meeting each other’s tender gaze and my favourite, the electric shock! They dredge up old photos, love letters, and yearbooks, and decide that their parents are definitely getting it on. Of course, they blow off their better halves in the process. I think now would be a good time for someone to remind Liz that this is the same guy who screwed over her sister, tried to rape her while unconscious and served her warm wine from a paper cup.

The next night, Liz and Todd are finally getting cosy on the couch [i.e. talking] when Jessica waltzes in, demanding French toast. She threatens to tell everyone at school about their love-nest if TBT doesn’t comply, so of course he does. Uh, Liz – does it matter? Considering that in every other book these days you’re either reinventing yourself or trying to be more like Jessica, do you really think it’s going to hurt?

Things are getting sooo hot between Liz-Todd that the next night they go on a date….to the LAUNDROMAT. Who needs the Beach Disco when you can do your washing together? In public? Apparently they also have movies there. And coffee. And since it takes a sip of magic jungle prom juice to get Liz off her face, you can imagine what 4 coffees can do. She gets messed up big time – she actually tickles TBT, and giggles, and sings, and suds up the effing machine. And here I quote:

Todd turned in his chair to look. The machine that he’d added the extra detergent to had started to shake. The glass window on the front showed nothing but thick white suds pressing and swirling against the glass. An occasional jeans leg swiped desperately against the window, as though it were drowning. As they watched in fascination, bubbles began oozing out through the door. “Oh, no. Its going to blow!” Todd exclaimed.

At that instant the washing machine door swung open and an ocean of white, foaming soap bubbles cascaded out onto the laundry-room floor. Todd stood there in disbelief, watching as sudsy foam swashed around his ankles and covered his sneakers.

If I were Freud, I might suggest that this represents TBT’s sexual frustration about his 16-year-old gf making him sleep on the couch. I’m not, so I’ll suggest that one sick, sick ghostwriter is just having far to much fun.

Liz and Bruce continue hunting down their parents past, and Bruce’s Mom decides to move out of the Patman estate. [Patman Place? Patman Manor?] Todd starts getting a little jealous at Liz spending all her spare time in 1BRUCE1. At one point, he even vents his frustration by kicking the recycling bin. Oooh! I give him some good advice to up the romance, because that usually works so well on Maria Santelli. So TBT slaves away on a gourmet dinner all arvo, only to have Jess, Lila and Bruce crash it. I now realize that in the next 2 years, everyone seated at that dinner table will have hooked up with everyone else. So many permutations!

In case you’re a moron, you will know by now that Liz and Bruce are falling for each other:

“It’s starting to make sense,” thinks Liz, “If Bruce is so much like his father, and I’m so much like my mother….”

Bruce gazed a Elizabeth “Energy, emotion, life…that’s you, Elizabeth,” Bruce thought. I’ll pay emotion – she often experiences pity and sorrow. And energy, yeah, when she has a mystery to solve or a pathetic life to fix. But if your best example of life is someone who goes on dates to the fricken Laundromat, I cannot call you Bruce Patman.

The Wakefields decide to throw a pool party that Friday, before Nalice’s long-awaited return.

Liz tells Enid, “I feel like a prisoner about to be released from jail!” Well duh – you would know, seeing as you were in there just 5 books ago, on that pesky little manslaughter charge.

Bruce and Liz make out in the kitchen, and of course TBT catches them and she is thrown into turmoil! Poor Liz! Unfortunately, no-one pushes her in the pool, so instead she decides to take a dive INTO THE SHALLOW END. Elizabeth is an idiot.

Of course, Todd rescues her, and forgives her, and we have a lovely little make-up scene. Electric shocks! Soul-searching gazes! More romantic ghostwriter clichés, including this gem: “A convulsive shiver wracked Elizabeth’s body.” I have long suspected that Todd is a Jedi and is using the force, but now I am 99% sure, because Elizabeth wakes up, realizes she was a fool to fall for Bruce, and that, although we’re onto double digits for guys she’s cheated with this year, Todd is THE ONE.

But…SURPRISE! Alice is home! She quickly puts Liz and Bruce’s little fantasy about her and Hank to rest, which she might have done 200 pages ago only that we couldn’t have completed the Wakefield-Patman cross-generational hook-up circle. .

“Now that we’ve solved the mystery,” says Liz, “We still have a puzzle to work on. We have to get Bruce’s parents back together!”

“That would be wonderful,” Mrs Wakefield agreed. She then proceeds to get Jessica on the job. Okay, Alice takes the cake. She is officially the worst parent I have ever heard of, and that includes Dawn Schafer’s mum.

I know who I’d choose! Till next time


5 Responses to “The one where Trusty Boyfriend Todd triumphs over Bruce Patman… Almost Married”

  1. cokie mason September 16, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    this is really funny winston – i think the best recap of Almost Married i’ve read so far. LOL @the sexual laundromat scene, I never read that far into it. And Todd as a Jedi. LMAO

  2. saucytemptress September 16, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    I would totally live in sin with Bruce Patman. But maybe that’s because I hate myself.

  3. Totally Sweet Valley September 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Great recap, just got hold of this one so I’m looking forward to it!! 🙂
    Bruce wins for me – I’ve always said ‘Screw bruce, marry Winston!”

  4. sophie September 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    I love the jedi bit. Classic NERD winston!


  1. Suzanne, The Plans They Made Put An End To You or SVH # 10 Too Good to Be True « WHAT WINSTON SAW - October 4, 2010

    […] Anyhow, the Wakefields, including their truant college boy, await Suzanne at Sweet Valley airport. As soon as they see her, Liz gets a Girl Crush, and thinks Suzanne is the most beautiful, sophisticated person EVER- which is fairly remarkable for a non-blonde in Sweet Valley. Apparently Su-Dev is a pro tennis player, swimmer, water-skiier, horseback rider and model. She goes to boarding school in London AND she has violet-blue eyes, which I find kind of creepy. Maybe she is a Jedi like Todd? […]

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