Archive | October, 2010

Prince Albert is the Wakefield’s dog, but Prince Arthur is their toyboy, or SVH #91 In Love With A Prince

25 Oct

I always liked Dana Larson. She was spunky, smart and her own person [not a pseudo-individual like Olivia Davidson or Dawn Schafer], and best of all, she didn’t fawn over those bloody Wakefields. But in this book, she morphed from Democrat to Monarchist, and totally lost her soul to Elizabeth’s penpal, Prince Arthur de Castillo of Santa Dora.

The TV version was even more awful – in the absence of Dana, Prince Arthur hooked up with Jessica, and the character who was called Lila but behaved like Caroline Pearce revealed his engagement to a Santa-Doran dutchess at a bash at Fowler Crest. Sheesh.

The outfits were definitely the high point of the book

Jessica paused to check her reflection in a plate glass window. She was wearing a crisp white linen minidress, a pink blazer, high heels and more gold necklaces and bracelets than Dana could count.

Dana had thrown on a baggy black cotton sweater and flowered leggings, a casual outfit that had earned her a disapproving look from Jessica when she’d squeezed into the twin’s jeep.

Lila stared down at her, her hands on the hips of her red-and-white polka dotted minidress.

“Besides,” Dana added with a smile, looking down at her bike shorts, hi-top sneakers and wacky t-shirt, “When all is said and done, I’m not really the princess type.”

The plot is definitely the low point:

Elizabeth’s penpal, Prince Arthur [you may remember him from Sweet Valley Twins, so 10 points for continuity], is coming to visit from Santa Dora, which is described as being “a tiny kingdom on the Mediterranean seacoast between Southern France and Northern Spain”. Now, I checked with google images and this is all I found for “Santa Dora, Mediterranean”

I recognise this from my 4-year-old niece's stocking last Xmas 

I checked google maps, too and nope, nothing. Must be incredibly tiny. Or a figment of Fran-Pasc’s imagination.

So Arthur’s coming to town and Jess and Lila have their claws out, despite the fact that Jess is dating Sam Woodruff, and Lila was molested by John Pfeifer in the last book. I always thought Lila’s response to her assault was quite realistic, but now I see it was delayed by a good four books in which she continued to chase boys.

Liz is, of course, Arthur’s first choice for an American hook-up, but she actually resists his charms and sticks with Todd for a change. I hate Arthur already. Also, I wish Margo had sped things up by five or so books so she could ruin him.

Anyway, we have an all-American welcome dinner at Casa de Wakefield, which is attended by the usual crew-  Ken, Terri, Enid and equally dull date, and Maria Santelli who cant stop fawning over Arthur. Personally, I would have gone for the bodyguards Arthur has in tow, Justino and Paulo. They sound kind of cute.

Dana Larson will have none of it, ‘cause she’s tough-ass Dana and immune to Arthur’s flirtatious charm. At SVH the next day, when she starts spouting her anti-royalist sentiments, Creepy Collins encourages her to aggravate their new guest and have a political debate. Idiot.

“A debate is the perfect solution,” Winston looked pointedly at Maria. “Maybe it will give people, especially of the female persuasion, a better perspective on this royalty thing.” Right on, Winnie!

At The Droid’s band practice that night in Max Dellons’ garage, Lynne Henry [the Linda Rondstandt lookalike who won over Guy Chesney] wants to rehearse a song for Prince Arthur called “Rule My Heart”. Yawn.

The next day, Dana puts together a well-constructed argument about how the De Castillos are corrupt and how Sweet Valley’s democratic society is like, way better than tyranny. She champions for the poor masses who fund Arthur’s glitzy lifestyle while he lounges around and doesn’t pay a cent. Uh, no offence Dana but I rarely see you turning down a bash at the Fowlers.

Arthur blabs on about his philanthropic causes and how he works, like, totally hard.

If you sensed sexual tension…you were correct! At another Wakefield party the next evening, where they are eating hot dogs and slutting around in stars-and-stripes bikinis, Dana and Arthur actually dance. We never find out what she wore, however. Boo.

She does let us in on something though: “I haven’t felt like this since…since the last time I fell in love!” Up here for thinking, Dana.

And so we have our whirlwind, fairytale romance, with electric shocks and various other clichés. Arthur even takes Dana to La Maison Blanche, which must have changed its name in four years because it was definitely La Maison Jaques in SVT. Either way, I’d pegged Dana as more of a Kelly’s Roadhouse kind of chick….

Oh yeah and she actually considers his marriage proposal. Dana has really lost it this time.

But all’s not well – the Sweet Valley News phones Dana, and it turns out that according to Santa Dora tradition, Arthur is only pursuing her because needs a wife by his 17th birthday. Yes, evil Lila did some research and leaked the story.  [GO LILA!] If it’s not Dana he marries, Arthur will get hitched to some mole called Tracey he’s betrothed to back home. So Dana feels used and abused, and tells Arthur and Liz where to go. [Go Dana!]

But then….Arthur grows a spine and calls home and tells Daddy to abandon the custom which has only been around for, you know, hundreds of centuries. He asks Dana to marry him, “not now but someday”, and she says….NO!!!!

Suck it, prince –

For once someone in Sweet Valley realizes that having a boyfriend isn’t the be all and end all, and that there might actually be some things she wants to do before she settles down. Dana is alright after all, I’ve decided. Back to her kick-ass feminist ways.

But it wouldn’t be Sweet Valley without a sappy ending, so I’ll leave you with this disgusting pash in the final scene, when Dana says goodbye to her royal fling:

She lifted her face to Arthur’s for one last kiss. It was warm and gentle and salty; they were both crying.

Ew.

Last note: This was on the back cover, heralding the start of a new age of Sweet Valley: werewolves, vampires, magic jungle prom punch and of course, evil doppelgangers and their identical twins….

Go back to College, Steven or SVH # 135 Lila’s New Flame

18 Oct

Before I forget, the TEAM MARGO shirt is still up for grabs here

There is so much I love about this photo. It could only be better if the Chuck Bass of Sweet Valley [yes that’s you Bruce Patman], walked into the frame at that moment.

Since SVH junior year has reached 1997, there’s also some awesome outfits in this one:

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Presenting Magenta Galaxy and Daniella Fromage: SVH#62 Who’s Who?

11 Oct

“I’m telling you, Liz, the boys around here are so immature it makes me want to join a convent sometimes.”

How’s that for an opening line? Right up there with “Marley was dead. As dead as a doornail.” and “Two households, both alike in dignity/ In fair Verona where we lay our scene.” Yup, Jessica Wakefield, right up there with the likes of Dickens and Shakespeare with her sociological observations.

But lets not kid ourselves – the awesomeness of this book lies not in the plot, nor the Wakefield twins nor the D-list characters they dredge up.

On the contrary, this book is in my all-time top ten SVH books [All things Margo-related knocked it out of the top five] on account of the incredible outfits it produced.

Cover courtesy of Shannon’s Sweet Valley High blog

 

The plot is quite ordinary by comparison – Jessica applies to a dating service under two psueudoyms – Daniella Fromage and Magenta Galaxy, and hooks two eligible teenagers, Pierre and Brett, respectively. Daniella is a “cultured” snob based on Suzanne Hanlon, [who Jessica hates but uses to borrow clothes and personality traits]. Magenta is a Dana Larson-style wild rocker, a character that Jessica is going to find extremely difficult to back up because she has no musical talent. Also, she hates foreign films and doesn’t speak French, rendering this whole exercise a complete waste of time destined for a chaotic end. How she thinks this could possibly work is beyond me. I think she needs a part time job. Or a hobby. Seriously.

So, Jessica goes along and dates both at once, and our book culminates in a dinner scene where she and Liz switch between the characters. Finally, Pierre and Brett wise up, and Jessica is ruined until a couple of books later where she meets someone else on a teen phone line. Apparently teens met through dating services and phone lines in Sweet Valley back in the day. Good God. I’m glad facebook hasn’t been discovered yet.

But enough of that- lets see how Daniella Fromage and Magenta Galaxy measured up in the fashion stakes:

DF:

“How about this cream silk blouse?” Elizabeth suggested, picking up the cream coloured silk one she had noticed before. “You have those navy blue linen pants. They would look great with this.”

A square silk scarf in red, blue and gold caught her eye. She made a triangle out of it and held it against the blouse. Terrific.

“Oh that’s great!” Jessica exclaimed when she saw the effect. “It’ll be perfect with that little red bag of Suzanne’s and my blue suede flats.”

I was loving this outfit…then I realized that instead of “black snakeskin pumps” it read “blue suede flats”. Daniella Fromage, you’ve let us all down…

MG:

For her outfit, she had chosen tight black bicycle pants, a black tank top, and a leather jacket she’d borrowed from Lila. Almost anything from Dana’s collection would look right with the ensemble.

“The guitar pick earrings, definitely!” Elizabeth said. “And those black bangles.”

On Thursday night, Jessica had another blue streak in her hair. She wriggled into a blue strapless minidress and fastened a necklace of dice and tiddlywinks [what are tiddlywinks?] around her neck. In among the clicking pieces were scrabble tiles that spelled out “hard rock”.

This is a legitimately awesome necklace. I give it 18 points.

Dana looked down at her wrists. She was wearing four thick black bangles on each arm. They went perfectly with her skintight black pants, black and white-checkered shoes, and lime green t-shirt. In one ear she wore a guitar pick dangling from a silver wire.

Uh, no offence Dana but you look more like The New Elizabeth than a, like, hardcore rock chick.

One outfit: Two Ways

Faced with two dates on the same night, Jessica must appear as both Daniella Fromage and Magenta Galaxy. Being two places at once is a cinch when you have a doormat for an identical twin, who agrees to act as one of the females. But not content with spending the night with just one of the guys, Jessica decides she and Elizabeth will continually switch between DF and MG

“Here’s how we’ll do it. We’ll wear the same basic outfit, black leotards and black skirts, but I’ll start out with Magenta’s jewellery and you can wear Daniella’s accessories. And Suzanne’s cropped jacket. And a beret. And we’ll each have a blue streak in our hair, but when we’re Daniella we can cover it up with the beret.

DF

MG

[I love you guys, but not quite enough to subject myself to blue hair dye.]

Oh yeah and it turns out that Brett S and Pierre de Luc are as fake as Magenta and Daniella – Pierre thinks Fellini is a type of pasta and confuses Ingrid Bergman with “Swedish director Ingmar Bergman”. And Brett gets the Doors and the Rolling Stones confused. These people are weird.

I thought Jessica would learn from the inevitable failure of her ridiculous plan, but no – she and doormat are back up to their dirty tricks when she dates a photographer and a gaffa in the Fashion Victim story arc.

Are you Team Magenta Galaxy or Team Daniella Fromage? After all, this is the one-dimensional world of Sweet Valley where you couldn’t possibly be a bit of both…

Later this week: WLMS Chapter 12 and Your chance to WIN a Team Margo T-shirt [screw the Wakefields – Margo Forever!]

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